A couple of weeks ago I received on the mail my photo book for 2018 and I can’t be happier about it (mostly because I only paid around $40; the cheapest I’ve paid for a photo book). This was my fourth year ordering from Shutterfly (note that this is not sponsored and I’m just sharing my experience and thoughts) and I recommend it, especially if your budget is limited because they offer different discounts throughout the year such as 50% off and free shipping. I can’t say which printing service is better because I haven’t tried any other, but I am pretty pleased with my book’s quality, the fast shipping and, obviously, the price.
Before I share more details I want to reiterate my love for digital memory keeping and so far the only “con” that I’ve found through this journey has been that you have to wait a full year (maybe more) to hold the final product in your hands. Besides that, recording my memories digitally has been the best thing I’ve done. It is convenient, it provides a long lasting product that occupies minimal space at home, and you can get as creative as you want because of the availability of digital embellishments. I have moved almost completely from the creative side of memory keeping last and this year (shared a bit about that here) but the options are endless.
Here are some images of my favorite pages from the book and I hope to inspire you especially if minimalist memory keeping is your kind of thing:
Stories– The stories I shared were actually facts of everyday life; the things we did during the week and sometimes my feelings and thoughts about it. I included screenshots from conversations, movies/tv shows posters and books. My process was pretty simple and working on my phone made it easy to be up to date throughout the year.
Process– For 2018, as in my previous three years, I used the Project Life app on my iPhone. For photo editing I used the Snapseed (free) app and Dropbox for baking up my pages. I worked most times on a weekly basis and keeping a simple but consistent workflow helped my to stay on track throughout the year although some times I felt behind. The steps I followed sum up pretty much like this:
- Open a new template on the PL app every Monday (most times used the Design A template)
- Name the template with the year, week number and a letter to identify the layouts (2018_WK 13 A, 2018_WK 47 B, etc….)
- Add a title card with that week’s number and dates (for 2018 I used the Project 52 Bloom edition for title cards)
- Add edited photos throughout the week (I usually mark as “favorite” the photos I will use)
- Add the journaling at the end of the week in white journaling cards.
- Fill empty spaces (if any) with patterned cards and overlays from the different Liz Tamanaha’s kits (she’s one of my favorites!)
- Proofread the journaling
- Back up the layouts to Dropbox
- Create my photo book
Creating a photo book in Shutterfly– Some time through the year I created a new blank 10×10 book in shutterfly.com and set all pages with full page photo containers and then started adding my completed layouts. For the cover I chose my favorite photos and the most representatives of my life that year. When the project was ready I added it to the cart and started looking for the discounts to see which fitted my budget the best (I never paid more than $130 for a 100+ pages photo book).
Shutterfly discounts fluctuate between 40-50% off and also free shipping in orders over $39. One day I got an email with a promo code that gave all the extra pages for free. Their books include 20 pages in their base price and mine had more than 100. All those extra pages for free? Yes! I think this is the best discount you can snag with Shutterfly if your book is big so it was worth the wait.
Although Memory Keeping is not popular where I live, I am glad that a while back I learned about this hobby. Working on my Life Books is very rewarding and gives me a valuable treasure to share with the people I love. Sometimes it becomes overwhelming when there are so many options and products out there but if you can keep the essence: stories (or facts about your life) and photos that support them, you already have a wonderful gift for yourself and the people in your life.
Note: The Project Life app’s creator seems to be evolving her brand to something she can’t yet explain (or doesn’t want to). There have been notable changes in their brand, according to what they share on social media, and also there has been a bit of inconsistency, in my opinion, with product creation and app updates. But that’s life, at some point we all change and evolve and maybe we don’t know how or why and that’s okay, I guess. I think that my decision of stop using their stuff happened on a perfect timing. I am happy for evolving in my memory keeping as well. And I am grateful that there are so many options out there besides pocket page scrapbooking to cover every memory keeper’s needs and style.