2017 Family Yearbook Scrapbook is Done!

Y’all, I am so excited! Today I finished putting the final touches on my first family yearbook. I created it using Becky Higgins’ Project Life (PL) app and this app has totally brought me back into my digital scrapbooking game. My book is done at the 12×12 size and has 110 pages so is pretty thick.

my 2017 family yearbook

As Christmas presents this year I made several calendars using the PL app and liked the front page I created for them; so, while I made a cover page for my yearbook previously, I decided to remake it but using the same template as I’d used for my calendars. I like this template and will use it for years going forward too.

cover page

I printed my pages both from the PL app, and from a separate online service. The quality of the printouts from the PL app is exquisite! But, at $2 a page, for budgetary reasons I used Scrapbooks Please because I could get 12×12 prints for .99 each.  The cheaper prints are not the same quality as PL, but they are fine enough, especially since all the pages are in page protectors.

inside the book

My page protectors are from both Heidi Swapp and a generic brand, but in the future, I plan to get the Becky Higgin’s page protectors. I just didn’t want to wait this time.

I even made a video to go over my book! I’m hoping it helps inspire others as much as my seeing others inspired me. Happy Scrapbooking!



2017 Resolutions Update: Photo Organization

At the beginning of 2017, I outlined 3 New Year’s resolutions for myself. Resolution #1 was to keep a bullet journal. I ended up not staying with that format, but rather converting to a traditional planner and it has been great! I’ve been using my planner steadily since June. Resolution #3 was to send more physical cards this year to my family for birthdays, anniversaries and such. That flat out didn’t happen!

But, for Resolution #2 I have been much more successful, though slow going. My goal was to better organize my family photos. I haven’t finished, but I wanted to share my progress.

I now have all my pictures in one location in our apartment. They consist of three groupings.

a) photo albums I previously compiled. some of them are photo albums I put together during Kaleya’s first couple of years of life. Another is a collection of random family photos over a span of about 20 years.

my pre-existing albums


open album with dates and captions

b) binders I started this year.  This was my major goal – to organize my pictures in binders by year. I decided to do 3 groupings – Taneya’s Family (pictures of my side of the family and my childhood); Kalonji’s Family (pictures of his side of the family and his childhood), and Our Family (photos from the time I met Kalonji and of our nuclear family with our 5 kids).  Within each binder, I have dividers for decades (e.g., 1950s and earlier, 1960s-1970s, 1980s, 1990s). Within each year range, I have not tried to put the pictures in exact chronological order. The goal was just to get them in the right year span. Besides, there are many pictures for which I do not know the exact year. Once I get into the 2000s, I know my dividers will have to represent smaller year ranges because I tend to have increasing numbers of photos.

my new photo binders – grouped by family (my family, Kalonji’s family, and our joint nuclear family)
page excerpt – start of 1950s and earlier section

c) loose pictures. Yes, I still have loose pictures that I need to get into binders. But, I will continue to work on it!

loose pictures

So far, I am seeing great benefit from the organization. I can more easily find specific photos I am looking for as I know generally when the photo was taken. And, of course, I know which side of the family I should look, whether it be mine, Kalonji’s, or our nuclear family.

I have a few remaining considerations:

  • My earlier set of photo albums – do I deconstruct them and fit them into my new organization schema? I am not sure — I will hold off making a decision until I finish organizing all the loose pictures
  • I initially thought I would print out pictures from years which I wasn’t doing that. Do I want to really do that? That would make for a LOT of pictures! I’ve taken digital scrapbooking back up, so would I be best served by selectively scrapbooking events from these years? (namely 2006-2016). I am very close to finishing a 2017 Family Yearbook in a scrapbook format, so I already know I will not en masse print out pictures for 2017. I will be selective.
  • Once everything is organized, I’ll next consider how to properly store them in archival quality format. I’m on a mission to establish my own personal family archive and the materials I have them in now will not do long term. But, they will do for now.

I’ll continue my organization quest throughout the 2018 year. Having undergone this process for my physical photo collection, it has also impacted my genealogy digital organization. I’ll blog about that on my genealogy blog – stay tuned!


My 5 Year Journal: The Project Life Edition

The first time I did digital scrapbooking was back in the late 2000s. I never did physical scrapbooking, but the digital appealed to me and my general digital lifestyle. I fell out of it after a few years however and was excited to learn about Project Life (PL) at the beginning of the month for I knew right away it was exactly what I needed to get back on the bandwagon.

The appeal of Project Life for me is 1) the mobile app – so much more convenient than using a desktop program and 2) as Project Life’s creator, Becky Higgins says, “simple equals done” and this app truly does make it simple.

So, I’ve been a busy scrapper these past few weeks and even have already done the 1st quarter of a family journal for 2017. Then, as I continued to read about the different ways people scrap, I decided I wanted to do more; I decided I wanted to do a 5-year journal in scrapbook form. This post is to describe my thinking & workflow process in case others find it helpful.

What is a 5-year journal? Earlier this year, I purchased my name 13-year-old daughter a 5-year journal, where the concept was to write a few lines each day of the year in response to a given prompt. The journal is arranged such that each page shows the prompt for a given day, and the page has space for all five years. Thus, on any given day, you can see how your answers vary over five years. Some example 5-year journals are available on Amazon.

excerpt of “One Question a Day: A Five-Year Journal: A Personal Time Capsule of Questions and Answers” by Aimee Chase.

I thought this was clever! My daughter, not so much. So I took the book back thinking I would do it instead. Except, I never started. Until now 🙂

The Plan. Now that I’d made the decision, I next needed to figure out a plan. This involved several steps.

Layout – I decided I wanted to have an answer and a picture each day so I then needed to figure out what layout to use. I knew I wanted space to be able to have the day of the year, space for the prompt, and space for five entries of both an answer and a year. I wanted each scrapbook page to hold all five years. This means my scrapbook will have at least 365 pages. To hold them all, I’ll need to have more than 180 page protectors. Yikes! That’s 3+ binders full of pages, and I do plan to print my pages out – oh my! Choosing a design layout was tricky and I tested several different ones, but ultimately, I found one I like – Design F.

Project Life – Design F

Questions – I may use some of the questions from the book, but I can be pretty picky about what questions I want. So, I have been looking around online at different suggestions. I found this blog series from Tami Taylor on the Get It Scrapped blog and will probably use many of them. Most importantly for me is that I choose questions that pique my interest and where my answers are likely to vary from year to year. That will give the scrapbook some nice variety! With a quick Google search, you can find many, many question options for journaling questions.

Images – when I have an image from my personal collection, I’ll use it. If not, I’ll grab an image from somewhere off the internet to use. In all transparency, I will do a page for the scrapbook that indicates which days use my own images that way years down the line, my family will know those that were indeed mine.

Scrapbook platform – so far, I’ve only been using the app to do the other scrapbook projects I’ve already started, but this one is massive – over 350 pages! This would be far too many pages to keep in the Project Life on an ongoing basis while I wait for the 5 years to pass and do my annual updates. So, after finishing each page I will export the page as. 12×12 image, and also save an editable version of the page. I usually use Google Drive for my cloud storage, but I learned that DropBox must be the cloud storage platform in order to bring those pages back into the PL app when it is time to update the page each year. In the iOS version of the app, it is possible to import an editable page from Google Drive so I hope this can be done for the Android app in the future.

With these components figured out, I’m ready to roll and have started!
Here is my template for my November prompts; I decided to start my journal on Thanksgiving Day this year. I’m using the Adventure Edition kit right now and will change the page design for each month for variety. Below are two examples of my pages. You will see I have a journaling card for each of the 5 years to be covered, and for the 4 years I’ve not journaled yet I just put a placeholder card. My title box is 25pt. I’m using Raleway font throughout the entire book. I’m not going to worry about the font being the same size each year – whatever I end up writing is what I end up writing.

After I do my journaling, I’ll export the page in an editable format, save, and then delete from the app. Next year, I’ll add journal the questions again and add new pictures (hopefully the Android version will have this feature). At the end of 5 years, I’ll have a wonderful personal time capsule of my life during this time frame – isn’t that exciting!

A Man Said to the Universe

When I was in the 11th grade, I read a poem in my English class that has always stayed with me – Stephen Crane’s “A Man Said the Universe.”  The poem has stayed with me because of its simplicity in stressing how there is more to the world than us and we are only a small part of what happens in this world.

Today, I was able to experience the total solar eclipse here in Nashville and that experience was the perfect manifestation of the poem for me!  The phenomenon of what happened with the interplay between the moon and the sun gives such an incredible appreciation for nature and the universe.

Kaleya and I went to Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage to view it with friends and it was amazing! I did not get good pictures, but viewing the corona was so cool, I saw Baily beads, and the diamond ring as the moon receded was spectacular!

Before the day, I learned of a coloring page for the eclipse from Skip to My Lou.  I totally got my inner child on and colored it to document the experience. I don’t color often, but it was fun to do to pass time as we waited.

Had such a great time! Now I’m ready to plan my travel for the next one in 2024; I’m not as fortunate to have it happen in the city where I live 🙂

Could I Be Any Happier?!!!

This weekend, we went to Lexington ComicCon and I could not have been happier? Why? Becuase I was able to meet Lee Majors and get his signature! This was exciting for me because my name came from an episode of the Six Million Dollar Man.  In the episode “Taneha” he chased a wild cougar (the namesake) and my mother saw this episode shortly before I was born. She like the name, and chose it for me (though misremembering the exact spelling). I was able to tell Lee about my story and he told me I had a nice name 🙂 total fangirl moment! This is one picture that I am definitely printing out!

In addition to this, Kaleya was able to meet the author of My Little Pony (MLP), Christina Rice. Kaleya is a big fan of MLP.  I’ve watched several episodes with her and find it absolutely charming. Kaleya told me I’m like the pony Twilight because Twilight likes to read, does family history, is organized, and loves the color purple. Check, check, check, and check!  Christina is a librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library and was very sweet and kind to talk to. She signed an MLP book for Kaleya too.

Kalonji was eager to meet Brian O’Hallaran and Marilyn Ghigliotti – stars of Kevin Smith’s movie Clerks. Kalonji loves their roles in the movie and Brian’s character Dante’s signature line “I’m not even supposed to be here today.”  They were very personable and even took a joint picture with Kalonji. My personal favorite movie of Kevin Smith’s is Dogma so I’d love to meet Kevin himself one day.

On top of this, there we so many great cosplayers! We took many pictures. We also joined friends there for the day so that made it even more enjoyable.

StayPuft and a Ghostbuster

Kalonji and Rocky Doll – a well-known cosplayer
Red Queen and the Mad Hatter
I was all about the Jack Sparrow cosplay!

We took many more pictures than I can put here so you can see them online in our photo album.  This was by far the largest comic convention we’ve been to and it was so cool! Next year, I want to dress up. I need to start working on plans now…