Welcome to the Leading Your Best Creative Life interview series! In this series, I feature memory keepers who make time to scrapbook in their busy lives. Each month you will meet a scrapbooker, just like you, and learn how they lead their best creative life.
I hope this series will help you see that we all our doing our best to document our memories. It can be hard to prioritize your creative outlets. But you aren’t the only one that struggles with finding time to scrapbook and craft.
This month’s interview is a little different since I am featuring a Scrapbooking Dad! His name is Sean Eyring who’s been the memory keeper in his family. He currently is running through a project to turn his scrapbooks digital. He’s been updating his old layouts using the Project Life App and creating new layouts for current memories. He writes posts on his blog “Taking Scrapbooks Digital”. He also posts updates on his Instagram @projectlifeappdude. His story is inspiring and reminds us that if we don’t document our stories, then no one else will.
How long have you been scrapbooking and why did you start?
I started scrapbooking in earnest while dating my wife 23 years ago. I had seen some of the scrapbooks her mother had made for her of her growing up years (mostly just photos glued on pastel cardstock with typewritten captions for the photos). But I thought they were so cool, having grown up with nothing like that. I don’t even think my parents owned a camera. But I knew I wanted to have more than just old photos in a shoebox-I wanted to document the stories that went along with them!
When you first had children, did you find it difficult to keep up with memory keeping?
For my first son, it was pretty easy. We had a camera (film back on those days) and took and developed pictures regularly. And life was just not as busy back then and I could spend a weekend pulling out all the supplies, spreading it across two card tables and making a huge mess! But the older our son got, and the busier our lives got, things slowed WAY down after a few years. Slowly I went from super detailed pages that took me hours to complete, to just slapping a picture on the page and saying that I would “journal later”. Yeah, that never happened. Kid number two (who’s now 14) hardly has any scrapbook pages.
How do you currently make time for scrapbooking and how often do you scrapbook?
Since I exclusively use the Project Life app, I can easily crank out a page, journaling included, in just a few minutes. In fact, I became fully converted to the app when I was visiting NYC. I had taken a tour of the Empire State Building and shot a few pictures of the experience. And completed my first digital scrapbook page on the elevator ride down! I now scrapbook while lying in bed each night, either with pictures from the day on my phone’s camera roll, or with older photos I have scanned and saved in Google Photos.
How has your scrapbooking methods changed over the years?
So I began to scrapbook the same way I had seen it my wife’s scrapbooks: photos glued on a page with either handwritten journaling or typed up, printed and cut out journaling. After we were married and I was in college, I got a job working in the warehouse of Pebbles in My Pocket (a scrapbook store in Utah) and was very quickly immersed in a whole different world! I discovered (and admittedly probably over-used) die cuts, stickers, lettering stencils, decorative scissors, you name it! That served me well for probably 10 years. But now, as mentioned above, I’m a total app scrapper, sticking mostly to what’s available (kits, fonts, templates) within the Project Life app.
Are there any methods, supplies, or strategies you use to scrapbook more efficiently to be able to finish projects?
With the Project Life app, I’ve fully embraced setting up and using the Preferences option. Using the a default template I set up, I picked a single font and size, decided I liked the square corner style, and no drop shadows effect, and so now I can just jump right in and begin creating a page without all those decisions up front! I also tend to go through the photos on my camera roll and delete all but the “best” ones before I even get started, to help make the adding-photos-to pages process go faster. I also like that I can save a page mid-process (like when I get the photos placed but still need to journal) and come back to it later.
What is your biggest challenge in scrapbooking right now?
I just wish there were more masculine kits available in the Project Life app. I feel like sometimes I use the same 10 kits over and over. There’s a LOT of pink and purple and girly sets—-but I’m a guy and I only have boys, so I can’t/don’t want to use many of the card designs that are there.
Another challenge is that sometimes I go weeks without taking pictures on my phone. I’m a big “event” scrapper, and sometimes I don’t have any events happen in my life worth scrapping about! Or sometimes is seems like all I have are the SAME kinds of pictures (we’re in the middle of Spring baseball season) and I’ve got dozens of pictures of my kid pitching, or at bat…but nothing else…and I already make 1 page per game! That’s why, during the “slow times” I’ve started to scan old photos and old paper scrapbook pages and am working to convert them into Project Life app pages. Many of those old paper pages didn’t have journaling and were about 80% finished, and now I have a way of completing them, and having them look like what I’m currently doing, page-wise.
- Favorite scrapbooking tool or product? I love the PicTapGo functionality in the Project Life app (iOS version). I color correct 95% of the photos I use. Mostly just lightening or darkening or fixing the yellow/aged look. It’s quick and easy with this integrated option (sorry Android users!)
- Current inspiration that gets your scrapbooking creativity flowing? I love seeing other people’s pages! I follow several app scrappers on Instagram and the contribute regularly (and gets ideas from other users) on the App Scrappers- Simply Project Life facebook group.
- Favorite scrapbooking guru? I know everyone probably says this, but Becky Higgins is kind of the bomb. I knew her when she was a teenager and have watched her grow into (in my opinion) one of the great ones–great ideas, great products, great business owners.
- Your go-to scrapbooking method or design? I have all my photos backed up on Google Photos (they save there automatically from my phone, too). I arrange them there within albums according to event. Each album is labeled with a year and title (for example: 2018 Back to School or 2015 Disneyland Trip). When I’m ready to scrapbook, I’ll pull up an album and then re-download to my camera roll, the 5-10 photos I want to use on the page. Then I pull them into slots in the Project Life app, add some journaling cards and filler cards and am done. All within about 5 minutes. Then I save my finished pages directly to Dropbox right then (before I forget). I name them using a similar strategy: 2015-Disneyland-Trip.jpg (for a finished page) and use the same name for the editable backup copy: 2015-Disneyland-Trip.plpage.
- Something new you’ve recently discovered in the scrapbooking world? I really like the idea of no drop shadows in Project Life pages made in the app. And I like to sometimes use other apps like LetterGlow to add text to photos as well.
Share a recent project that you made – we would love to see!
A. Let George Do It – This was an old paper scrapbook page I made back in the late 90s that I never added journaling to. When I came across another old scratched photo from way back then, I turned it into a Project Life page and finally added the journaling I wanted–decades later!
B. Mint Julep – One kind of scrapbook page I like to make are those that center around favorite things. Drinking a mint julep at Disneyland is one of those favorite things for me–so I made a page about it!
C. Turkey Hat (two-page spread) – Every year my wife’s whole family finds an odd piece of clothing or a hat and everyone takes a picture wearing it! I don’t do two-page spreads very often, but this layout worked out with the number of participants and the number of card slots in this particular template (Squared Away 16 template in the Project Life App). It’s one of my favorites to look back on and laugh!
Any last thoughts for memory keepers’ out there who are struggling to prioritize their scrapbooking and creative time?
Just start somewhere. You don’t have to be caught up to yesterday. Heck, I just made some pages this week from my junior prom…in 1990! I think it’s important to document your life in pictures, but you don’t have to make yourself crazy because you get behind. Find a groove that works for you. It may be lying in bed at night looking over the photos on your phone–take a few minutes here and there. Don’t make unreasonable demands of yourself. Do what you can do and be happy with that. 🙂
Thanks again to Sean for being a part of this series! He is taking on a massive project to move all his layouts to digital. Little by little he will have his family’s stories in one place that works best for him. I know it’s got me thinking about how different ideas to redo old scrapbooks. Let me know in the comments below how Sean inspired you!
If you are interested in participating in the interview series, please contact me here!
See you next month – until then, lead your best creative life today!