I had been putting off writing this post as I found the thought of writing again rather intimidating. Before motherhood I wrote all the time and blogged frequently but I have barely written at all in the last 21 months. Before motherhood I was “cool”, I took off on regular road trips, I went to concerts like they were going out of style, I had put a deposit on a full sleeve tattoo, I wore jeans that didn’t have elastic waists! A lot has changed…. Now I take off to mom-and tot programs, doctor’s appointments and swimming lessons, scrape copious deposits of food off of sticky floors (or more often pretend the sticky floor doesn’t exist), and frequent loads of tiny human laundry and my elastic waist pants!
One thing has stayed consistent though…my desire to document life…if anything it has become stronger. I used to scrapbook and spend hours working on intricate designs and layouts for each page. I wanted to do that one my son was born and I tried, I eventually got two pages done…in a year! I have so many photos and so many more moments that I want to remember but the time it takes for traditional scrapbooking is just no longer something that life allows for. Yes, I have Facebook and Instagram, but I really wanted something I could hold and pass down over generations AND I didn’t want to worry about all my pictures being lost if Facebook ever got hacked or shut down. Don’t get me wrong I love Facebook, it helps me keep track of when it all happened and what was going on when it did. It is super convenient…just not something I wanted for the long term. I grew up looking through the albums my mom had put together of me, and I wanted my son to be able to have that same experience. So, of course, I was thrilled when I found a memory keeping system that worked for me. I know the solution I found will not be the solution for every mom, but I’m pretty sure you likely want a way to keep your memories around for years, so I thought I would do a little digging and see what options were out there for us modern day mommies.
If you want to get your photos off you phone, camera card, Facebook etc, the fastest and easiest way to do that is to upload them to a printing service and either pick them up at the store (costcophotocentre.ca, walmartphotcentre.ca) or have them delivered to your door (Blacks.ca) from there you can keep them in a decorative box or stick them in a simple photo album as is.
If you are wanting something a little more informative and organized there are various online apps/websites that you can upload your photos to and captions and they will mail you a printed photo book. Three of the most popular ones seem to be Chatbooks, Qeepsake and My Social Book.
- Chatbooks – I tried accessing their website on my phone and was given a hacker warning by Google and it would not let me continue. Maybe just a temporary glitch?? I was able to access the site on my PC and got some information on their service. Photobooks start at $8 for a softcover (USD) plus $5 shipping (USD) per book. You upload photos to their service and every 60 photos a new book is sent to you. The books are 6×6 and I think you can add a caption to each photo. They have other customize-able books which start at $12 (USD) each. http://www.chatbooks.com
- Qeepsake – This service sends you text message questions about your child and saves your responses. You can also text pictures which it saves too. Your information is saved in “journal” on their website which you can access and have printed. The service charges a monthly fee… which ranges from $1.99 to $7.99 depending on how many questions you want and how many pictures you want to be able to text in. The more expensive plans also allow for spouses to have an account too. If you subscribe to one of their plans you have to option of printing out your Qeepsake book. The 10” x 8”, 20 page, hardcover book costs $29.99 USD (plus shipping) and you choose which entries and photos you want included. The book is expandable so you can add additional pages later. http://www.qeepsake.co
- My Social Book – pulls all your posts from Facebook and Instagram and puts them together into a customize-able book which is printed and shipped to you. Books start @ $13 CAD for 25 pages plus shipping. http://www.mysocialbook.com
None of these options were the right fit for me. Chatbooks was too blah and I wasn’t keen on sending all my innermost thoughts about parenting and my child to Qeepsake. Also, really wanted a family album style so Social Book wasn’t the feel I was hoping for
- The memory keeping system I found and fell in love with was a pocket page system through Stampin’ Up! And yes, full disclosure; I am an Independent Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator, and I became one because I loooooove their products. And now I get discounts on them too! For those of you who are unfamiliar with pocket page systems, they are a hybrid of a traditional photo album and a traditional scrapbook. You can get albums and pages in both 12” x 12” and 6” x 8” sizes. The pages have pockets arranged in various layouts in which you can put photos, memorabilia and memory keeping cards and embellishments. This is where the MAGIC happens! The cards are sold in coordinating theme sets and accessory packages. This makes it soooo easy to make beautiful personalized pages in minutes. You simply slide your photos and cards into the pockets and you are done! Or at least you can be… You can also add the coordinating embellishments and journal on the cards to make it even more personal. They have baby theme sets, holiday sets, year round sets and more! The best thing about it is thought is that you can work on it as time allows and make additions to your pages as you go. Remember how I said it took me a year to get TWO traditional scrapbooking pages done. Well in two nights I got 40 12x 12 pocket pages laid out and most of my pictures added (I had to stop because I ran out of photo paper…more on that later)! I still want to go back and add embellishments and do some journaling but my photos are in an album, laid out in beautiful pages and best of all…. my son has already started flipping through it to look at pictures and point out daddy and mommy and his Mia (my mom). It was such an awesome feeling to see my album finally coming to fruition and I look forward to the day it’s finished. Yes, I’ve ordered more ink and photo paper for my printer, but this album will hold so many more pages…I don’t think it’s even a third full yet. Below are three of the pages I have been working on, I still want to add journaling and all the embellishments, but I already love them! You can check out the entire Stampin’ Up! Memory keeping line here (http://www.inkninspiration.stampinup.net)
- The last option I wanted to share with you is called Digital Project Life. It is based on the pocket page system I described above, but it is all done online. You purchase card sets to use with your pictures and journaling and arrange them in pages using Photoshop Elements (you would have to purchase and learn how to use this software if you don’t) and then you can have the pages printed. If you are more tech savvy and less paper crafty this may be a great option for you! http://www.digitalprojectlife.com
A special note on printing: If you are going to stick with traditional scrapbooking or complete a pocket page album, I would recommend getting a Canon Selphy photo printer (not being paid to say that…) They are wireless and you can print your 4 x 6 pictures from your phone and computer. You can even use PicMonkey or PicFrame to change up the size of your photos to print 4x 4 and 3×4 photos. Refills come with both ink and paper and are available on Amazon.ca. Each refill box prints 108 pictures. It makes it easy to work on pages in between all the other mommy duties.
If you are wanting to give pocket page albums a go but are unsure of where to start, I’d be happy to chat with you in person or online and give you some pointers.
With warmth & inspiration,