Mini Album Project: a book of photos and words for the school year

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking34 Comments

Three years ago I shared a mini album project I made for my then senior in high school daughter, Aidan. It was a very simple concept: one photo and one short, written message or memory for each week of that glorious final year of high school. When it was over, I uploaded all of the digital pages to Artifact Uprising and printed a simple 5 x 5 softcover book to give to her as a gift.
I think she really liked it and I KNOW that I really liked it.

Well guess what’s happening this year at Chez Zielske?
Yep. This one? Heading into his final year of high school so you know what that means, right? Mama is going to make another mini album.
I couldn’t help but think there may me other mamas out there who might like to make a mini album for their student, senior or otherwise, so I recorded a new tutorial that outlines the basics of this very simple digital project.


  1. Set an alarm on your phone for the same time every week to remind you to find a pic and write a message. Sounds a bit micro managed, but that is what I did with the album I made for my daughter. Don’t overthink it! Stop, drop, find a pic and write!
  2. Don’t stress out about the photos. This album is essentially a labor of love and what you do each week will be fabulous. It’s not about artsy, Instagram-worthy shots!
  3. Have fun! Mini albums are fun because they are typically easier to do. This one is easy, too! It just takes a bit longer to complete.


  1. Document a pregnancy. What a fun way to document those 40 weeks!
  2. Document a remodel project. Show the progress and record your thoughts!
  3. Document a career change. Changing jobs is full of ups and downs. Document it!
  4. Document a vacation! Instead of weekly entries, do it by day for each day of your vacation.


Click on this image to see in the shop!

I’ll post a follow up video in 2018 to show you how I create the final album with Artifact Uprising’s easy to use software.

Here’s to simple—and meaningful—year-long projects!




Cathy ZielskeMini Album Project: a book of photos and words for the school year

34 Comments on “Mini Album Project: a book of photos and words for the school year”

  1. #1

    I remember this post and I love the little album. These cute templates could be used for something other than a senior child album – obviously. It’s just such a cute idea. I’m pretty sure I need these templates.

  2. #3

    This is one of my favorite projects that you’ve done. I took inspiration from it and made one for my oldest kid and his first year of school two years ago and this year am doing it for #2 and his first year of school. I’m hoping I remember in 12 years and do a senior year book for them too. Kind of like bookends to their school years. Thank you for the inspiration and great ideas!

  3. #4

    Hey! I got here by swiping up on you instagram account!! This is a great little book. My kids are past this phase of life, but I certainly can see using this idea for so many other things. Love your templates. I use them often.

    1. #4.1
      Cathy Zielske

      WOOT! It actually worked!!! And yes, anything with a time stamp could work, you know? A weekly entry about a remodel, a pregnancy… my mind is blank right now but you know what I mean!

  4. #5

    GREAT project….I hope many take your nudge and do it…no kiddos to photograph this year, but your templates are so adaptable, that I may end up changing up the subject and adapt. Thanks so much!

  5. #6

    What a timely post – my oldest is entering his final year of high school this year. His high school years have been different than most as he’s a student in the school I teach at. I’ll have to think about some photos to show our morning commute together, etc.

  6. #7

    This is MAGIC! My kiddo is starting Kindergarten this year. Totally doing this! THANK YOU, CATHY!!!

    1. #7.2
      Heather Johnson

      I have a soon to be kindergartener as well. I thought the exact same thing!!!!Considering the poor girl is the second child and has no baby album and not nearly the amount of photos, I should knock something out of the park for her!

  7. #9

    HA! I just purchased the template and imagine my surprise after I finished paying to see that I also purchased “The Change” digitals. They must have been in my cart from a previous browsing session. 🙂 Gotta tell you that I’m not a bit disappointed! I feel that change a comin’!

  8. #10

    Today was day one of senior year for my youngest. I needed this idea today. Going to set my phone alarm right now. Thanks, Cathy!

  9. #11

    My son was a senior the same year as Aidan. When I saw your project back then, I remember thinking, “I wish I knew about this at the beginning of his senior year!” Well, I have a junior girl and a sophomore boy in HS right now, so no excuses for this mama… I have PLENTY of time for these two (or may be not!). Thanks again for sharing your talent and inspiration with us! Just bought the template.

  10. #12

    Yay! This is awesome! I also have a senior and this will a fabulous way to record her last year of high school! Your post just prompted me to text her and get her to take some selfies with her favorite teacher as they get the art room set up for the start of school today. Thank you!!!

  11. #13

    Hi there Cathy – here from Instagram too! Yet – 10k – I thought you were advertising a run you were doing at first like 5k, 10k etc… Anyway, love this idea. Mine have both left school and work – they attend the university of life! However, their dear old mum (me) started university in March to do a nurse degree. Change of career after a long illness… So lots going on even tho my 2 boys have left and smart phones hadn’t made it to the market when they were still at school… I feel ancient at mid 40’s! Well done on reaching this goalpost – hoping the next 10k come quickly.

  12. #14

    My oldest still lives at home, but is about to start her senior year of College(!). She’ll also be applying to Grad School, which means she’ll be moving away next summer to who knows where, and to top it all off, she is getting married before they move. I’m thinking this will be a great year for your project. There is so much I want to say to her before she goes. Thanks for the reminder about this fun, meaningful project. It would be fun (and inspiring) to see some updates throughout the year.

  13. #15

    This is timely for me too, my son will be starting senior year also, although he’s my first. I bought your Project Life CZ design cards and planned on doing a little of your idea (weekly) and mixing with Stacey Julian’s 180 days (using PL-not digital and not a daily pic). I am intrigued by digital and may need to look into it and PSE…all a little scary to me.

    1. #15.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Yay! This can be whatever you like, and yes, I know digi stuff can be intimidating but this idea can extend out to traditional albums, too!

  14. #17

    Please explain why the layer for the message is slightly wider on the right side. I was thinking of using justified text so would I need to change that layer?

  15. #18

    Oh, Cathy! This brings back all the feels. My youngest is a year younger than your daughter and when I saw this book you had done, I was sold. I loved working on it and she loved it. She read it in private, but I know it meant a lot to both of us!

  16. #20
    A Hug

    You sound like a cool Momma 🙂
    I’m letting my daughter know about your idea so she can prepare to do something similar or the same in 5 years.
    Thank you and God bless!!

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