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  • shannanmanton

State of the Projects

September is the official beginning of Spring here. The warmer weather and change of season always brings feelings of renewal and fresh-starts. For me, it's a time for re-assessing and looking at what's working, what I want to change and what I want to do more of, in all aspects of my life but also creatively.

I've been on a recent mission to reduce the physical footprint of my scrapbooking in my home. I've recently shared about re-doing my 2010 Project Life album as a photo book (HERE) and I've also been busy pulling out all of my printed digital scrapbook pages from my albums, finding the original files on various hard drives and putting them together to be printed as books.

I've been a mostly-digital scrapbooker since 2010 and I've treated my digital pages in two ways: one-off layouts have been generally printed at home and placed in page protectors in my albums, alongside my traditional paper layouts, and theme pages that belong to a bigger story with a beginning and end (travel, PL, other topics) have been printed as photo books. (Except for 2019 when I printed my every-day layouts as 5x8 books too).

So what does that mean going forward?

I want to make digital pages and print them as photo books rather than print out at home and store in binders. There is something about the binders that reminds me of office files and I don’t enjoy flipping through them very much, especially the larger sizes. The pages in my older ones are starting to sag in the protectors and I just don’t have the space for these on-going.

If you’ve been around here for a while, you will know that I’ve said this before. On my blog. On various podcasts. On instagram. So what happened?

In 2019, frustrated by the lack of stability in being able to source albums and protectors, I decided to just make all of my pages at 5x8 and print as books (I did a January to June and a July to December). I loved it, they came out great. But I felt disconnected from the hobby having layouts only living on my harddrive and not being able to see anything tangible for six months.

So for 2020, I decided to buy a Heidi Swap 8.5x11 album and just make and print pages at home again. It was great to make something and hold it physically in my hands. Filling my album as I went made me so happy. Adding in some hybrid layouts when I felt like it. But in the end, I remembered that I don’t really like the whole binder thing and as I continued on my second one for 2021, I realised I was right back where I started.

This is the thing. I love making my digital pages, and I love my photo books way more than the albums, but I find myself disconnected from it all because I have to wait so long to see a finished product. That bit I’m just going to have to get over because I cannot keep adding albums to my meagre shelf space. My 2010 paper project life album has a 3.5 inch spine whereas the re-done book is about a half inch. It just makes the most sense as a digital scrapbooker.

So let's have a look at what I'm working on right now:


Yeah, I need a better name for this. (I'll probably just keep the Life Catalogue name I used on an earlier project). It's a very lite version of Project Life - the photos off my phone, little things I've collected, quotes, journal cards and simple little notes-to-self placed into a 2x2 grid format to be printed as a Blurb 6x9 trade book. I didn't start this until April so I plan to continue it in 2022 and will just pick an end point somewhere (probably based on page numbers) then start a new one. I love this form of documenting. It's simple, doesn't take a lot of time, captures the daily stuff I want to capture and I never feel behind because I'm not making weekly or monthly spreads. I generally sit down once a week and make three or four pages.


I just started this one. A digital writing-based project to collect my longer thoughts and stories without having to become 'layouts'. I'm using a simple magazine style design and thinking of it as a journal. I'm enjoying this one a lot and figure it will be something I add to gradually with no end date.

MY 8.5x11 ALBUM

I've taken all of the digital files for my 2020 and 2021 8.5x11 albums (I have one for each year) and sent them off to print as an 8x10 book. I will still make these 'traditional' one-off type of digital layouts but I will now size them at 8x10 and save them up for printing.


I love these little albums but I've filled a lot of them, so again, space. I've corralled all of the original 4x8 files and started putting them into a 6x9 book (I chose 6x9 because it will give some white space above and below compared to 5x8). I will put any future 4x8 layouts into that photo book as I go. I'm keeping my one-off projects in these albums though - December Daily, Week In The Life etc.


Oh this poor, neglected project (more on it HERE). I really thought I would dig into this while in lockdown, but again no. Turns out lockdown is not as conducive to productivity as I had hoped. Also, it turns out telling old stories is not easy. On the plus side, those stories aren't going anywhere so I can jump back in any time. Maybe I should just pencil in an hour per week to work on this? This will be an 8x10 book.

So that's it. Feels good to take stock and think it all through.

The other thing I've realised is that maybe I'm not a scrapbooker. I don't use a lot of products and embellishments and I think a non-scrapbooker would not see what I do as very crafty. But I am a documenter. A memory-keeper. A story teller. And while I don’t think we really need more labels in life, sometimes defining yourself can help you go more mindfully in the right direction.

Thanks for reading, as always, any thoughts and comments will be greatly appreciated over on Instagram. S

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