Hi all, Jen N here. I've been away for a couple of months from the blog, as I've been busy having a baby! Now that my little daughter is here, I've been itching to get back into creating, but of course time is very limited with a newborn and a toddler in the house!
My ongoing project life album is the one creative outlet that I find is the easiest to pick up and put down for a few minutes here and there. I'm way behind with my pages partly because of the aforementioned time issue, and partly because I'd hit a bit of a road block. How on earth do you go about documenting the arrival of a child? It felt too big to even contemplate. I had no idea where to start. I was overwhelmed by photos and emotions. I wanted to "do it justice". These issues could also apply in many other situations such as holidays or weddings - how do you squeeze such a big event into a weekly album without taking up pages and pages?
My usual weekly process is to write down the events of the week, then sketch out my double spread and fill in where each thing will go. I have a diary where it's all kept, and any memorabilia to include is jotted down too. Most of my photos at the moment come from my phone, so I jot down when I've used my "big camera" in the diary too to remind me.
I've stuck to the same page protector throughout the year - Project Life Design A. I always have the dates in the top left, and during my pregnancy the two 6x4 spaces of the bottom left of the spread were dedicated to bump photos and pregnancy information. Usually for bigger events or days out I simply add an insert or two, but I felt that Amelia's arrival required more than that. I decided that I would split the week into two - before her arrival and during/after. Being born on a Thursday meant this was quite easy to do. I dedicated a double page spread to the 3 days of the week before she was born, and a double spread with inserts to her birth and our hospital stay.
In order to help the whole week feel cohesive I used one set of supplies for the whole set of pages. I usually use a totally different colour scheme each week, so it's noticeable in my album that these pages go together. I chose a Project Life Mini Kit in Baby - For Her as the base of my pages. Using these kits is so simple and easy, and takes away a lot of the time consuming (for me) process of choosing colours and papers. Although I do find that process enjoyable, I really wanted to get this week done so I could move on with my album as I definitely felt very "stuck". This particular kit is a gorgeous mix of pink, yellow, orange and green. Tjhere are a few baby themed cards, but the vast majority are usable for anything. Having made the decision about how many pages to do, I made a rough plan of what to include where, and I printed my photos at home for ease and speed. I tend to stick to 3 photo sizes - 6x4 (sometimes cut down to 4x4), 3x4 (two fitted onto a 6x4 sheet), and 2x2 (6 fit on a 6x4 sheet). This makes it much easier for me to decide what size to print at.
I simply added some washi tapes, some glittery thickers, flat alphabet stickers from Jillibean Soup, a little twine and some wood veneer. I find the best way to approach this album when I'm behind is to keep it very simple and focus strongly on the photos and words, worrying much less about adding embellishment to the pockets. Having a double spread dedicated to just 3 days meant I could use a couple of the lovely filler cards that you get in project life packs (the cards are all double sided - there's usually one journalling side and one solid design), which I don't usually get to do as I have too many things to squeeze in! The box contains both 6x4 and 3x4 cards. You get each 3x4 card twice, so if you love both sides you can use them both - yay!
My weeks usually don't run particularly to a time line within the week, I just put things where they fit the best, but for the baby's arrival I felt it definitely needed to be in some kind of order or it wouldn't make sense! I started with the dates as always in the top left, then added photos from the morning she was born - the sunrise, the last bump photo I took before we left for the hospital & photos of us waiting to go to theatre. I then added a couple of her first photos and a "welcome" card with her name, date & time she arrived, & weight. That completed the left hand spread. The right hand side is photos from the next couple of days in hospital, including our first family of four photo (notice it's in the same spot as the family of 3 photo in the previous spread) and meeting her big brother. The page is finished off with us going home and the first picture of her in her moses basket at home. Handily, we went home on a Sunday evening, which fitted in very nicely with my usual Monday - Sunday week!
I had a lot to write about her actual birth and the hours and days that followed so I included an insert of "the story". This is actually two 6x12 inserts (I've created a collage). The design I've used is American Crafts divided 6x12 page protectors. I ran out of journalling style 6x4 cards from the pack that could accomodate lots of words so I taped together two identical 3x4 cards in order to continue my writing without using different supplies. Once I stopped stressing about making it perfect, or including all the photos I found the week came together pretty quickly. Not everything is there; there are plenty of photos that aren't and several small details too, but I'm okay with that. My full birth story is written down elsewhere, and I have tried not to include too many negative feelings on this page (without being dishonest) as it will be read and kept by all. The salient facts are down, and it's a good overview of the week which tells a story from start to finish. Or bump to baby if you like! I have plenty of extra photos and I plan to make some 12x12 pages too, but for now I can move on to the newborn weeks and attempt to catch this album up to date - wish me luck!