In a perfect world, I'd have a tidy little album photographed and ready to illustrate this idea and that was certainly the intent. After all, it's not like I came up with it yesterday. But the holidays turned out to be more hectic than usual and when they were over and I got down to business on it, I was hit with a nasty stomach virus or food illness or something. Whatever it was, I lost three full days of productive time.
So under the theory of turning lemons into lemonade, I'll share the idea and a little of my process and then add another post as soon as the album is done. This could be interesting as I'm known to stray far from my original plan in constructing layouts; we'll see if the original design holds up in this mini album.
Needless to say, I never jumped on the Project Life bandwagon. (For the non scrapbookers: A year-long scrapbooking album in which photos, stories and pretty papers are included in pocket-style page protectors a week at a time.) I love the idea and perhaps if we were still raising children, I'd give it a go but I already have more scrapbooking projects than I can complete.
I am, however, a big proponent of documenting the everyday, even if on some levels that everyday seems forgettable. A "by the numbers" project seemed like the perfect way to keep track of some of those details of ordinary life without the every-week commitment.
So at the beginning of 2012 I made a list of various aspects of our lives it might be fun/interesting to track and set up a Word document as a home for that information. For 52 weeks I made note of things like how many loads of laundry I did, how many times we went out to eat and how many states we visited. They aren't monumental parts of our lives but taken together they tell a story different from any represented by the photos we took otherwise.
And the results are surprising and sometimes shocking. I walked a total of 1,280 miles during the year. That's like walking all the way to El Paso, Texas, or New York City. We ate out 162 times. I'm rationalizing that by the three trips to Kansas, one of which included an excursion to Colorado too. And we shopped at Walmart 81 times. Wayne swears that's in error; it seems like we're there all the time.
I came up with about 20 categories to track throughout the year, some of which I ended up combining at the end. And my plan is to turn this into a mini album.
I ran out of daylight before I got the photo taken so the quality isn't the best but you can see the start of my process here. I choose a kraft cardstock for the base because it should work well with all the different colors in the photos. The background sheets have all been cut to size and the photos printed.
When I plan an entire album like this, I like to lay all the pages out together at one time rather than doing one at a time. I can see all the colors in the photos, pick papers to mix and match throughout the album to make it more cohesive and, most of all, to give me the most flexibility. Sometimes a brilliant idea comes along part way through a project and it's a whole lot easier to implement it when nothing is glued down.
And here's the basic page design, at least as it stands now. I'm such a visual person that I always start my pages with something like this although not usually this detailed. Don't let those colors or patterns fool you; they aren't likely to show up in the finished pages. They're all grabbed from the scrap basket because they were the right shape to create the visual.
I do these "mock-ups" because I want to see how the photos are going to fit together. At least that's the rationale on layouts, and it holds true here because I'm using photos in each of those four main quadrants over the course of the album but just one per page. Pretty paper will fill the rest. At least, that's the plan right now...until a different creative whim strikes. The pictures are, however, printed so I don't anticipate a big change there.
A mini album appealed to me for this project but you could easily convert it to a page layout. Or make it the closing page in your Project Life album.
The categories I chose to track are unique to our lives but here they are: Miles driven, states visited, days/miles walked, geocaches found, text messages, new restaurants tried, meals out, salmon at home, rounds of golf, yoga, loads of laundry, trips to Walmart, blog posts, haircuts, photos taken, movies/festivals/events, lottery numbers and sudoku/crossword puzzles.
Your life might include books read instead of yoga or hours spent on your favorite website instead of sudoku/crossword puzzles. Just pick a selection of activities in which you engage and start tallying their frequency. Or simply pick one and make a single layout about it when 2013's numbers are in. There are no rules; it's all for fun. And since only a few days of the year have slipped away, you should be able to catch them up quickly.
I'll share the pages as soon as they're together. I won't be counting the number of hours that may take though. :)