Monday, April 25, 2011

Feeling overwhelmed with your scrapbooking? Part 2

I borrowed this post from the Digital Designer Shop blog because I thought there were some great ideas on how to get organized. Everyone has their own method but if yours isn't working for you or you are just now getting around to thinking you need some organization, take a look at this part 2 of the organizational posts from the DDS blog.

Photo and Scrapping Stress
If you are like me, you’ll look at the ton of photos you and your family takes and want to do them all!  But is that realistic?  Very overwhelming.  
I’ve learned the hard way that when you load your photos onto your computer, you need to tag and think about them right there and then.  
Something that I have always done is to know what album the photos will go into in the end.  Will it be the family album for that year?  Will it be a child’s personal album?  Vacation album?  You get the idea.  I’m still trying to find the best way to do this on my Mac, so I am still putting the originals by Year-Month folders.  
Now I can hear you saying, “But I don’t know what I’m doing because I’m so overwhelmed!”  Yep, there with you again.  What I found personally was to have an Overview for my scrapping with small parts of categories or albums I wanted to scrap written out.  Take everything in smaller bites.
Getting an Overview
  • Review what you want to get done and WHY!  
  • What’s important?  Do you want to focus on albums with messages?  Or maybe an album of events?  Do you have the need to create chronologically? Are you wanting to create individual albums for each child or family member with chapters of life?  Or do you enjoy the freedom of a huge 100 page family album for the year? 
Write down each main idea you want to accomplish.  Assign a time span if relevant or a due date if it is for a gift.  (Speaking from experience of having something ready on time so I’m not running around like a you know what days before hand.)
Break it All Down
Once you know what you want and your direction, you can then begin to break it all down into smaller manageable pieces-parts and more importantly, manageable tasks.
First! Give yourself permission to do baby steps.  Daily baby steps if need be.
Second!  Take pride in each and every achievement no matter how big or small. 
Now step back and look at your list. If you already know Specific album names list them or use general names.
For example currently mine looks like this: (yes I do at least this many a year plus more).
2011 Family Album - This is usually a 100 page album.  All my misc. pages go in here. (what's awesome is I print several so all members of the family will have a copy, gotta love digital!)
Bailey’s “When I was Five” Album
Bailey’s “2011 Monthly Pages” Album - 1-2 pages for each month
Casey’s Grand Canyon Album -  These are all his photos from being a Boat Captain at work and his love of the American Natives and the beauty of the outdoors.
Kara’s “Land of Fae” Album - One day I will finish this. ;)
Messages to my Children Album - Ongoing Chapters of life.
My personal Art-Life Journal Album-  I do one each year
Since these are all digital albums, I create a folder for each of the above.  
Then I create sub-folders within each for all my items I will need to work with.
NOTE: For my "themed albums", ones with consistent art used throughout it,  I use COPIES of everything and leave original photos and art in my other folders.  I simply delete the folder when done with the album.
Why?  Because I just find it easier and faster to have it all in one spot then to go searching for it in the middle of my high creativeness which is valuable time for me.  

Here is what my sub-folders look like for example:
Art to Use
Completed Pages to Print
Journaling Docs
Photos-Scanned Items to use
Templates to Use
Working PSD files
So my break down of tasks for EACH Themed Album would be:
Gather Photos
Decide if and what art theme the album will be
Decide if I want to use a certain set of templates for an album
I assign time slots each day or week to do this until done or caught up at least.
Some days I can only do 15 minutes.  AND THAT’S OK!  I did something!  Remember, we have permission to do this in baby steps.
Photos to Use folder:  As I go through and/or upload new photos, I put a copy of them into the appropriate Album’s Photos to Use Folder that I think I might use.  
Templates to Use: If I know I have a set of Templates I want to use for a particular album, I put a copy of them in that folder.  Example: I am using Tiffany Tillman’s Summer Templates for Bailey’s 2011 Monthly Pages Album.  
Art to Use: Decide on Art - I do this for themed albums as the art I use usually has a theme.  So no matter if I make the art or I buy the art, I put a copy there for fast and easy access.  
If I buy a kit with a particular album in mind, I put a copy of it right into this folder as soon as I buy it.  
I don’t work on one album all at once.  I hop around as inspiration hits me.  Unless of course I have a deadline set to have it done.  Then I do try to focus on that album before others.
I keep my weekly 1/2 hour or so to keep up with my Supply organization but I found that more and more, I buy, download, and organize right away now that I am caught up in my downloads folder.  It’s easy to maintain once you gain control.
I schedule time each week to work on my albums and pages. This is MY time!  It does change week to week, but I block the time out on my desk calendar.  
Then I just keep plugging away.
Try and find a time in your schedule that works for you that you can sit down and do those baby steps.  If you are not feeling creative to make a page, work on journaling or gathering.  If you are caught up in that, go find yourself some inspiration!  Look at galleries or other scrapper’s pages you love.  Screen shot it, Evernote it, Pinterest it, anything in any way you keep track.
I have a few artists and scrappers that I adore and it never fails.  Five minutes looking at their pages and I have my inspiration!  
Know that no matter how or what you scrap, you CAN do it!  Just take those baby steps and have a plan that you can return to.  Hopefully you will find some useful tips from my system to adapt to your own.
One last piece of advise from my personal experience.  Archive!  Weekly or monthly doesn’t matter.  That will depend on how much you are creating or uploading photos.  Just do it!  Because the day WILL come, your compy WILL crash.  And like me, you will be giving a big old smooch to your external hard drive or offsite storage host.

How often do I archive?  NIGHTLY!  I have my Mac's Time Machine to back up nightly.  I also do a weekly backup to a separate External Hard Drive and I keep all my completed work there along with all new art created or acquired.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Feeling Overwhelmed with your scrapbooking?

So you haven’t scrapped in a while.  You’re feeling guilty but every time you sit down to do it you have this overwhelming feeling come over you.  Sound familiar?   This has been me last few weeks in trying to get a few albums done so thought I'd share my plan.  This will of course be multiple postings and I will most likely expand on and share as I go.
So we started the year 2011 with the best intentions!  Made our goals list, worked hard at beginning them.  And then?  
I hear ya sister!  I find myself there and know it’s time to take a step back and get real.
Supply Chaos
How many items are in your download folder waiting to be sorted, tagged and put away?  No, I’m not telling you how many I have!  But I will tell you I would be embarrassed at times if I did. 
One Solution:  Spend 15 minutes a day or every few days unzipping, sorting and tagging your supplies until you get that folder cleaned out.  When you commit to do this in small spurts, it’s easier to handle and you will get it under control.
Recommendation:  Forgo downloading freebies while you whittle away at this list.  Do you really want them all anyways?   
Long term solution:  Commit to spending time each week to do this task so you never end up there again.  
Your current stash:  Again, spend 15 minute time slots to get it organized and tagged if you do that.  I admit, I no longer tag after switching to a Mac, I just use Finder and the little spot light search.  
NOTE:  I do add a search word to file names to make the item searchable now.  
And as a designer, I am trying now to name my files logically for this too.
Think about how you scrap, how you search for something.  Write it down to help you visualize!  Do you scrap by the kit?  Do you shop your stash?  Do you look for something by a Style or Designer?  If you’re not sure, take notes the next time you scrap a page.  Was very enlightening for me to do this.
There is no right or wrong answer as we all scrap differently.
What you need is to organize that stash by how your mind works.
Mine works mostly by designer and kits so I have all my products in folders like that.  Also makes it easy to see if I already have a kit from a designer so I don’t buy two.
My second step is by type for all my misc. mini kits.  I have folders called Brushes, Stitches, Fasteners, frames etc.  Within some of  these folders I have sub-folders by types and or styles.
  My brushes folder (which is HUGE), has sub-folders named:  Floral, Trees, watercolor, animals, ink splots, fabric texture, grunge texture, doodles, alpha, Postage, holiday... and some have even a sub of a sub folder.  Holiday has Christmas, Easter, Halloween.   

As you go through all your products, decide if there are ones you don’t want, are out dated and you’ll never use in this lifetime and trash them.  I know when I started digi scrapping, I downloaded everything from anywhere.  Think it’s the quilter’s code in me of “The one who dies with the most pieces wins.”  But... not really!  Bet I trashed a few Gigabytes when I switched from my PC to Mac and made the commitment to go through my stash and organize.  Some of those I looked at after 8 years of having them and thought “What was I thinking?!”  Some are just very very poor quality and not worth my hard drive space.  Looked good on the screen in the preview, but upon closer inspection, or after I printed in my earlier days, it was very poor.  Not all freebies are good.  BE PICKY!  Even today, I will see a freebie, from a designer I know does high quality, and I ask myself that big question... would I every use this?  Is it me?  If I answer no, I do not download it!  No offense to the designer, it’s just not my style.
Follow a plan, bite off little pieces bit by bit, and you will overcome supply chaos!
So what’s your system?  Do you have more ideas or solutions that work for you?
Share them here or link us up so we can all learn from each other.  I’m always willing to learn and/or adapt to new ideas that help me. This is an ever evolving hobby and change is not bad when it helps me have more time to enjoy it.