Project Life: El Salvador | Scrapbooking Our FS Journey


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project life, scrapbooking, travel scrapbook, el salvador scrapbookAs I shared in my 2014 Future Letter to Myself, one thing I want to do this year is start complete a scrapbook about our time in El Salvador. I’d like to create a scrapbook per post (although for Afghanistan, it’ll probably be more focused on our R&R trips!).I love scrapbooking. I made a wedding scrapbook. I made a scrapbook about my post-college European backpacking trip. I started and never finished a handful of others, including one about my short-lived career as a journalistBut the thought of tackling my El Salvador scrapbook overwhelmed me.So the first 15 months or so of our living in El Salvador, I amassed a trove of beautiful photographs, a couple hundred blog posts about our adventures and a box of ticket stubs, receipts, menus, invitations, race bibs and anything else deemed “scrapbook-worthy.” Because I. Save. Everything.project life, scrapbooking, travel scrapbook, el salvador scrapbookI put off starting a scrapbook thinking, Once our tour is over, I’ll go through everything I have and organize it into a beautiful custom-built scrapbook incorporating all the wonderful souvenirs I’ve hoarded collected over time. But that’s never going to happen. Because who has the time?Enter Project Life, a pre-packaged yet customizable “memory-keeping system” that requires, at minimum, a binder, a Project Life Core Kit (themed sets of pre-designed, pre-cut cardstock that is easily insertable into one’s scrapbook) and a packet of Project Life photo pocket pages. Add some photos and a few notes/captions, and you’ve got yourself a scrapbook.project life, scrapbooking, travel scrapbook, el salvador scrapbookIt’s meant to make on-the-go scrapbooking easier, so you don’t — like I had originally intended — have to wait until you have enough a) material b) time or c) energy to plan out a scrapbook from start to finish. Because like I said, ain’t nobody got time for that. And it’ll never get done.project life, scrapbooking, travel scrapbook, el salvador scrapbookRight now I’m playing catch-up on the last 16 months of living in El Salvador (not to mention all the trips we’ve gone on). My hope is to complete this phase within a few weeks, so I can just focus on adding pages as we go. And by the time we leave here this summer, I’ll have a completed scrapbook about our time in El Salvador.project life, scrapbooking, travel scrapbook, el salvador scrapbookPer Project Life founder Becky Higgins’ suggestions about how to set up a Project Life album, I acquired the requisite materials — 12×12 binder, a Project Life Core Kit (Cinnamon Edition) and a Big Pack of Photo Pocket Pages — and pre-filled the sleeves with some of the cards, leaving space for the gajillion 4×6 photo prints I ordered from Snapfish and some others that I printed at home on our photo printer. (Since I had so. many. photos. from the past 16 months, I decided it would be more economical to order them from Snapfish rather than use all our printer ink at this point, but going forward I will probably just print a few photos at a time once I catch up and start “memory-keeping” in real time.)project life, scrapbooking, travel scrapbook, el salvador scrapbookI have to say, my OCD personality had a hard time just filling in the photo pockets at random, without having all my photos and all my memorabilia organized and outlined in some kind of scrapbook order. (OK, I did give in a little bit to my OCD-ness and make a list of things I wanted to include in my Project Life album and in what order — which I sort of had to do in determining what photos to order — but I stopped short of predesigning all 120 pages.)I haven’t been working on it that long (my photo prints just arrived last week) and I’ve had to do some rearranging and re-sizing, but so far Project Life is working out well for me. The one thing I’m having trouble with is incorporating all of the non-photo stuff I’ve accrued (the aforementioned ticket stubs, receipts, race bibs, etc.) because not all of it fits neatly into the pre-cut pockets. But I’m figuring it out, and I might end up using a couple “traditional” scrapbook pages (plain 12×12 cardstock covered in plastic) in order to fit some stuff.Are you a scrapbooker? How do you preserve all your memories?

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

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