This weekend I finished up my oldest daughter’s preschool memories book and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. When I began this project I went back and forth between creating 12×12 digital pages to upload to Shutterfly or using the templates they have “built in” to the Shutterfly Custom Path system. (I had only used custom path once, for “inserts” in my 2012 Volume One Project Life Album, and even then I am pretty sure I didn’t change any of Shutterfly’s idea pages–I just simply plugged my stuff into whatever they had defaulted the page to.) However, once I saw that the Mayfield Edition was part of their template collection I decided to take the plunge and figure it out.
The Photos: I am lucky that my daughter’s preschool not only takes photos throughout the year of what the class is doing, but also takes the time to organize them by child. When the time came for Holly to “graduate” they gave us a disc of photos of Holly organized by year. This made putting together 2009-early 2012 super easy. The majority of the last school year was spent at our local elementary school, so I had far fewer photos, but luckily I was still able to pull a few out from my weekly Project Life folders that coincided with big events at school that I remember we attended.
The Words: Thankfully during the past four years I kept things like conferences, notes home, and favorite artwork in a paper folder in my office. Every once in awhile I would scan this stuff in, not sure of what I was going to do with it, but knowing I wanted to keep it. I kept it all in a folder on my desktop labeled preschool. The preschool folder has folders in it labeled with each year she attended, and within each year’s folder there is a folder for conferences, notes home, and photos. For some reason I kept artwork in it’s own folder that contained stuff from 2010-2013, which made that portion of her album a bit harder to figure out.
Putting it together: When it came time to create her preschool album all I did was open Holly’s preschool folders on my computer. I did not have a real plan other than I didn’t want the album to be larger than 20 pages, so I simply worked within that framework. I knew I wanted to have a two-page spread of all of the artwork, and a last page showcasing her most elaborate family portrait, but other than that I didn’t know how the years would turn out. I think the first year (2009) I was missing notes from the week and had only conference papers. So I used the conference notes as best I could and added in some of my favorite photos from that year to create the pages. Sometimes the words matched up with the photos, but most of the time it did not. 2009 is maybe a two page spread, but 2010 is four. I am completely fine with all of that. If you have a pile of stuff like I did, and many years to complete, you can only work with what you got. Make the best of it right?! I used a combination of layout pages, idea pages (embellished already), and other layout pages (minimal embellishing included if at all) and always made sure that at least one page from a year was a design A page. I liked that little bit of continuity, plus it’s the best layout I could find to give me dedicated room for more text.
The Future: Marie will attend the same preschool starting this fall so I have a preschool folder already set up for her organized like I detailed above. (The only change of course being the addition of an artwork folder each year.) With artwork, or any papers sent home for that matter, I am a big fan of scanning so will continue not keeping the originals. (There are of course a few exceptions to that which are for now in a box awaiting framing…etc..) With Holly starting kindergarten this year I plan to pay a bit more attention to her “school life,” using the Mayfield edition’s prompt cards and journaling cards as a guide of what to record. I won’t be able to have as many photos of her during the day like I did when she was in preschool but I will be able to set aside photos of her from our day-to-day that may match-up with what is going on at school. I plan on keeping those photos within her kindergarten folder so they don’t get lost in the mass of Project Life weekly photos. I would take forever to find them otherwise!
Here is a look at the finished book. Let me know what you think! If you have any questions about how to use the custom path option, or would like to see a video, let me know. I debated about creating one, but wasn’t sure if it was easier for everyone to figure out than it was for me. It was a bit of a process for me to get my brain around–I am so used to scrapping in Photoshop!