A project in the home stretch

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking25 Comments

The craziest thing happened last week.

Both of my children opened the cabinet where I keep all the scrapbooks and retrieved their respective elementary school albums… to show other people.

[ cue collective gasp from the crowd ]

I know. Crazy.

Cole pulled his out to show some of his friends; Aidan pulled hers out to show one of hers.

Aidan’s elementary album is pretty much finished. It spans Pre K to 6th Grade.

Cole’s stops abruptly at 5th.


And Cole’s album, unlike Aidan’s, got switched midway from traditional to digital.

Here’s an example of the traditional part:


And here’s the more recent digital approach:



In fact, here’s what the title page looks like now, I just have to add the sixth grade photo, print it out and replace the old title page:


Next, I need to design the 6th grade pages, then get both the 5th and 6th years printed, which I’ll do at Persnickety Prints.

As he was showing his album to his friends, not once did I hear him say the following:

“Sorry for the switch up in the way my mom made this book you guys. I know, SO lame.”

Nope. He just showed them old photos and they laughed at how little and adorable he used to be. No one noticed the switch from traditional to digital, and even if they did, I can say with confidence they probably did not care one bit.

I’m not sure why I stopped at 5th grade. I’ve been meaning to get back to this and I’ve been keeping all the pieces that either need scanning or tucking into a pocket. I mean, I’m in the homestretch, people. Just one more grade to add!


The last time I updated this album was in 2011 (you can read that post here.)

After reading this post from my friend Ali on getting her projects in order, it inspired me to do the same with the few that I currently have floating around.

I’ve set a goal this week to finish the album and get the digital pages printed.

I don’t have a ton of projects hanging over my head, but it’s time to get back to those few that are dangling.

What about you? What projects are vying for your crafty attention these days?



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Cathy ZielskeA project in the home stretch

25 Comments on “A project in the home stretch”

  1. #1
    Britiney @ Consider the Lilies

    I’m STILL behind on PL from 2013. Mostly just journaling, but . . . I’ve had that and my 2014 PL out on my desk since Christmas and have done zilch on them. I’m also a few years behind on my (3!) boys’ school albums and I also have an album I started with our family history stuff that hasn’t seen the light of day in a while. BUT! I have a scrapbooking weekend with some girlfriends scheduled in April and those albums WILL see progress. Hopefully before that too, especially the PL albums. To be honest, I bought the new style album from HSN and the fact that it has different sizes has affected my enthusiasm to dive in this year. It seems crazy, even to me. But it was a road block I didn’t anticipate. I have a few other kits (because I’m on PL kit away from ending up on Hoarders) that I could bust out to get going, but . . . well . . . life. I do have to say, though, that the thing I love most about PL is that I never feel stressed about being behind. I keep taking pictures every day and I know that in a a few hours time I can be completely caught up. So thankful for that.

  2. #2
    Danielle King

    This is one of my favourite projects that you’ve done Cathy. I’ve been following it since your first post and it has inspired me to create something very similar for my own children. I went digital right from the start &, fingers crossed, I’m hoping for an incredible print when my oldest finishes school at the end of this year. Like you, one more year photo to go…. 😀

  3. #3

    It makes me a little sad that I am not more of a documenter of life. I have all the photos but no order.

    I guess my mantra will be “just do it!”.

    Reading that your kids are going back to look at their school albums tells me I better put those memories together for my kids.

    Started those project life albums, never completing them and you know what, my girls actually look at them even when they are not complete.

    Thanks for letting us know that your efforts are appreciated!

  4. #5

    Okay, okay I know this post is supposed to be about the albums and not the kids,but…you left out some important details here:

    Were they happy? Did they seem to like having a place where all these little stories were kept? Were they maybe even a little proud to show it off?

    Were you proud? That the stories were there, regardless what form? Or did you do that thing that we women do, which is dwel on and apologize for everything that’s not perfect?

    For me, with someone only in the first grade, I’m riveted by the idea of what this project will look like not only when it is complete, but years later when my child looks more like a grown up than a baby. So, please. Let me live vicariously!

  5. #6

    I’m thisclose to finishing up PL 2013 and also eager to finish up a vacation minibook from a few years ago. I also want to set PL aside periodically and make some regular 12×12 layouts. I photoshopped my husband’s face in place of Adam Levine’s on the Sexiest Man Alive cover, much to his delight and amusement, so I want to scrap that. 🙂

    [Hurray for flash sales, since I’ve been meaning to decide on my journaling card option(s) for 2014 PL. I’m scarfing up Clean and Simple Cards No. 2 and Frame Journalers No. 2.]

  6. #8
    Brenda D

    Oh my gosh, I love your work so much. I’m 52 years young and I want to grow up to be just like you (scrapping wise). Just love all your ideas!!!!

  7. #9

    Love the “switch up” comment, too! I have so many albums that I’ve torn apart and restarted that my husband always teases me. We’ve been married 22 years…no wedding album. I was visiting my mom last weekend and we (along with my 15 yo son) looked through 2 complete albums I had given her. One was an album of a cruise we had taken (complete with letter stickers and doodles everywhere a la CM). What I realized as we reminisced is that the format didn’t matter one bit! We had so many laughs just looking at the pictures and reading the stories and being reminded of a fun trip. At that moment I realized that my son hadn’t seen very many pictures of his “young” parents and that is my fault because I am worried about format…so dumb! Time to remedy that!

  8. #10
    lynne moore

    First thing my daughter asked for when returning home from college at Winter Break? Some of her early albums. Why? Because her boyfriend came home with her and he wanted to see her adventures before her iPhone. They went thru 2.5 albums before he had enough.

  9. #11

    Well, I loved the fact that they were lauging, looking through the albums. It was a fun experience for them, you know? I truly believe that my kids dont need or want quantity. Just some quality stories and memories that have been saved for them. Key aspects about who they were, a little of what they did. Thats my goal. I would never apologize for anything scrapbook related. Apologizing for being a parent with a lot to learn in a good chunk of their lives? Absolutely. : )

  10. #12

    THANK YOU! You just solved a major problem for me (I had an “ah-ha moment”). My son is 2, and will start Pre-K next year (we have Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4 here), and I was worrying about how to document this. I am currently doing project-life style monthly pages for him (not digital), and was wondering how to transition to a digital format. Perfect!

  11. #13

    I bought your school templates last year to document my new pre-schooler. She is only four, but she looks through our scrapbooks all the time. Makes me happy.

  12. #16

    Wow, what a case of deja vu. I was just sorting last year’s photos for just this album. I was inspired to start them by seeing your album in your books. They are so cool.

  13. #17

    I’ve been making books for my youngest bonus son ( nice way of saying step son) since he came into my life when he was 8 yrs old. He is now 18 and will graduate this June. Over this past Christmas break he was looking through his early books and was surprised to see I had captured so many things from his visits with us. At one point he commented that these were the only pictures from his childhood (mom does not believe photos are important and she does not see the point in owning a camera or taking pictures). And then he thanked me for taking so many pictures and asked if he could send me pictures from his phone, Facebook and Instagram so he would have those pictures in a book forever too. This kind of thing just reinforces why we scrapbook.

  14. #18
    Cheryl :)

    Thanks so much for this post. My daughter graduated from college last year and I’m trying to do/redo (mostly do) albums. Her boy-friend was in last week and they too, went thru some of the more recent albums I’m working on (PL) and giggled like toddlers. Made me feel warm inside. Just made my dd purchase and can’t wait to use your templates! Thank you again for all of the inspiration!

  15. #19

    Well I almost have my oldest daughter’s school album completed. Just need to add her senior year. Not sure what to do about her first year in College. I don’t see her much and only have a few things so I may just skip it. I have my youngest daughter’s school album up to her 7th or 8th grade….She is a Junior in High School. I know, I need to get busy. Time to stop all the fun projects and get back to work. Other projects, I have way too many to can’t – I think I only have two vacation albums completed. 🙁

  16. #20

    Well, that’s a good question : I’m finishing my 2013 sort-of-PL and I am still wondering : “who gets the albums when I’m not there anymore?”. Let me explain, when my grand-mother passed away, we had to decide who got her recipe notebook (among a lot of other things, of course, but these ones tend to be more difficult, because they are so much more personal), in the end one of my aunts got it and promised we would get copies. So same problem here : I’ve got a number of photo albums, not digital at all, dealing with family life, travels…. who gets them in the end? which one of my sons (I’ve got two) will end up with the pictures of a lifetime (that’s a big word)? Back to your project on these school albums, after reading one of your books and following you here I decided to make a digital album for my son’s 10th birthday, it’s HIS and he won’t need to share it with anybody else, although this one would be easy to share and duplicate because it is digital and we could reprint it anytime. I had started with a non-digital album for his little brother on his 5th birthday. So, they get to keep their own album and I want to do that again on a regular basis (I haven’t decided on the time between two albums yet – school levels as you do or each 5 years, don’t know), but I still don’t have the answer to who keeps the other bigger albums when I’m gone and how many “side” projects, more individual projects, I should start in order to give them their fair amount of memories. Even trickier would be : how many pictures/stories does one really need in the end? It seems that I’ve got quite a lot of unfinished and not started yet projects ahead! Sorry, that was a long comment.

  17. #21

    I say YOU keep the bigger albums until the day comes that you are no longer here. That is totally my plan. My kids can take their baby albums and their school albums, but all the traditional albums can stay here (with the exception of the kids other albums). But now, with my doing digital project life, I can make copies for the kids if they want them some day. : )

  18. #22

    I’m completely behind… I know Stacy Julian would say I’m not behind, but I feel like I’m so very much behind on my albums. I have 3 kids, a house, a husband, a life… and the scrapbooking just seems to get lost in there. I NEED to complete their baby albums. I want to do this for them… okay, for me too. THEN I’m going to work on their elementary school, middle school albums. My oldest is going to be in highschool next year… and I’m still hanging onto so much of his elementary school stuff, in a file. sigh. So much to do… the problem is I have too much scrapbooking stuff that my albums don’t feel cohesive. I need them to feel cohesive. I started out with a Creative Memories School kit, then to a Becky Higgins School Kit from way back when… then I switched again to another Creative Memories school kit and then to digital/hybrid. My scrapbook albums look schizophrenic! I don’t like them looking like that, but I need to get over that so I can continue on with their albums. Perfectionist me is holding me back. It’s a problem. I know. Okay. I need scrapbook therapy.

  19. #24

    I think what youre experiencing … youre not alone! There are a lot of us out there who started with one system, switched to another, have too many products, etc. Take heart in that I believe any saving of memories you do is a good thing. A very good thing. You have a busy life! Sometimes scrapbooking isnt something that just slips in neatly. I wish I could come up with an idea for a scrapbook therapy class, man. I really do. Just to help people get over that hump. : ) Just remember: you save memories and that is awesome. Okay?

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