It’s been months since we last featured a Filipino who uses the pocket page scrapbooking system to document their life! Today, Carina shares how she used to system to document personal highlights from the past year.
Do you have any prior experience with making your own scrapbook or memory-keeping in general?
The first time I ever encountered scrapbooking was when I was in grade 6. I didn’t really have much of a life back then (haha) so it never really took off. The scrapping supplies available were also really limited and expensive, so that never carried over to when I was a bit older.
How did you get started with the pocket-page style (Project Life) of scrapbooking?
I’d been hearing about Project Life as a system for a while, but was intimidated by all the (seemingly!) overwhelming components. Eventually, I realized that it only looks complicated but that it’s actually such a great and easy way to start documenting by way of scrapbooking. What pushed me to actually pursue it is seeing Life Documented Manila! I didn’t want to deal with ordering supplies and end up not liking the system, so seeing a Manila-based shop that was easy to acquire stuff from kind of nudged me into going for it. I used to follow Ch’s pages a long, long, long time ago, and seeing that she was part of LDM kind of sealed the deal.
What kind of documentation did you use in your album (monthly, weekly, highlights, themed: travel, event, etc.)
Since I started my Project Life album in December, I decided to go with a 2014 Highlights Album. I’m not particular with keeping them in neat, specific albums, so I’ve got a bit of my 2015 spreads thrown into my 2014 6×8 album. I’ve decided to go for a traditional Project Life Weekly spread scheme for my 2015 PL though I plan to move up to a 12×12 book. I’m also planning on doing mini albums for trips or special projects. I’m working on one right now of our recent trip to Taipei!
» This was the last “highlight” of 2014, around the time I started making Project Life. This highlight featured my first completed spreads and print-outs from my standard printer… which look gross. I may or may not switch out the photos. As you can see, embellishments are minimal—just some labels and journaling.
How long did it take you to finish your album?
It took me a few weeks, just because I like working on cards a little at a time. My main medium as an artist is collage, so my process for Project Life is pretty similar, in that I let the cards sit for a while and then keep adding certain elements that I think would best suit it. I think it’s a little different for Project Life because it’s a bit easy to go overboard with all the stickers and fun things you can add to it.
What did you like about the pocket-page system?
I liked the ease that it offered me. Ever since, I’ve been more comfortable with working on smaller cards or bases. With my collages, I also like doing small ones… perhaps I’m intimidated by big space! I like the neatness of it, and how each pocket is its own individual “page,” but that it works well beside other pockets, to form a page, and that the pages can exist as a spread, and so on. I love how it’s structured but also super flexible at the same time. I’m also a graphic designer, so this ease of laying out elements really appeals to me.
Where you able to include any memorabilia in your album? What are your favorite kinds of memorabilia to collect? Do you have a specific, favorite one? How did you keep these little things throughout the year?
I like to include site-specific or event-specific items such as ticket stubs, napkins, cup warmers from coffee places, nicely-designed cards. I don’t think I have a special preference for memorabilia collecting. I’ve just always liked bringing home brochures from galleries and museums, but could never figure out how to keep them without just stuffing them in boxes. This is a perfect way to squirrel away my paper souvenirs.
» The start of our 6-week US trip! These comprise some of my favorite spreads, perhaps because they photos are so inherently interesting. I just kept memorabilia like boarding passes and metro cards, but I relied a lot on photos.
How did you choose which stories from 2014 to highlight, and document in your album?
I pretty much update my Instagram constantly, so if I need to jog my memory for something important that month, I referred to it. Since I started very late into the year, the “big things” like trips and personal exhibits obviously pictured into the album more prominently than the days on which I did nothing.
With your background in art and design, did this affect your process in putting your scrapbook pages/spreads together? (Good or bad)
I think it certainly helps because I’m so used to working with similar materials anyway, and I have a better sense of what I like, visually. I love that this is such a no-pressure project that I get to have fun doing, and that I don’t feel pressured to make it as “nice” or cohesive as some of the stuff I do for work, just because the only person, really, whose opinions matter in this case is me!
» New York and Boston spread. I don’t take a lot of selfies (for PL anyway…) so I feel like my photos always look a bit somber. I like leaving a bit of negative space to place text or titles on. This spread makes me feel a bit limited when it comes to 6×8 albums, which makes me want to move up to a 12×12.
Do you plan on making another highlights album at the end of 2015, or albums with other themes?
I’m really looking forward to trying out the Weekly Spreads and seeing how far I can get with that set-up. Like I mentioned before, I really want to do mini albums, since I don’t want trips specifically to fill up so many spreads and pages, but I do want to dedicate space to document them, since I love exploring new places so much.
» I love this spread too, except for the 4×6 pocket on the right page. At this point, I didn’t really know how to keep the ephemera so I sort of stuffed them in a big pocket and clipped them on a 4×6 card. I like the left spread. The 2×8 pocket is perfect for long pictures and long ticket stubs.
We’re also usually curious about the process and organization of our fellow memory-keepers. Here are some additional questions for Carina:
How and where did you print your photos? I bought a Canon Selphy, so that’s my main mode of printing. I really like printing at the Fuji near my house if I need photos bigger than the Selphy’s 4×6 inch paper. I also sometimes use my dad’s Fuji Instax Share SP-1 if I want to print some photos on Instax film.
How do you keep your photos and supplies organized? I have to get around to actually organizing my stash, but I usually keep similar items together (i.e. stamps, stamp pads, washi tape, stickers, Dymo labels) for me to find them a bit faster.
What were your favourite products and tools for your album? I love stamps, alpha stickers, my old school Dymo label maker (not the digital ones!), washi tape, enamel dots, the corner rounder. I’m not really big on embellishments. They’re cute, but I feel like I don’t know how to use them well, if that makes sense.
I usually rely on photos heavily, so my favorite “tool” is probably the Canon Selphy, and maybe the glue tapes (the ones that look like correction tape) because they just made my life so much easier. I used to use a glue stick by Elmer’s and it was so messy. I use ones by Tombow.
» This is possibly my favorite spread to date. It’s mostly photos and a little journaling. The 2×8/4×4 page protector is also a revelation to me. I stored a photobooth strip of my sister and me in the long pocket and created collages for Instagram photos for the square pockets. The first 4×4 was also the first pocket to receive digital handwriting!
Who are some of your favourite “Project Life-rs”, if any? I love Ch Herrin, Kelly Purkey, Geralyn Sy (@gjoysy), Jamie Waters, and Juli (@julimakesthings). I’ve been discovering a lot of new Project Lifers, though, and some of my new favorites are Caylee Grey, Tracy, Kelsey, and Liz Tamanaha! I would love to know other people’s favorite Project Lifers. 😀
Any tips for those who want to make a similar project – an album documenting a year of highlights?
Don’t get intimidated or get carried away by supplies. Sometimes the photos, a few words, are enough to speak for the things you want to remember.
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If you’ve been on the fence about starting a similar project, why not take Carina’s lead and take a look back at the past year through photos you’ve shared on Instagram or even Facebook?