Welcome new readers!

There are quite a few new readers to this blog, so I’d like to take a few moments to give you a summary of how I got to this point in documenting life how I do. December is a time I really reflect and looking back on this year, it’s been one of significant change.

This year I really focused on trying out new things to find what works the best for me. It turns out to be a blend of a Smash Album and traditional field journals for usually used for research with a dash of digital goodness tossed in. It took three years of searching for my style and system, but I think I can honestly say I’m now a fully hybrid scrapper – equally comfortable with paper and digital, but lean toward a simple style.

After five years of strictly digital, I stepped back from scrapbooking completely to search for what felt missing in my creations. I still documented life in my daily journaling and lurked in lots of places, looking for things that piqued my interest. Looking through my digital pages, the nature theme recurred often – and I wanted to create a more cohesive system to document the nature around us.

Intrigued by analog documentation, I looked to systems used in traditional Field Journals and research. I pulled ideas from the old, yet efficient, ledgers at Clerk and Recorder offices. I came across sites like this one from the Smithsonian and I studied how researchers keep up with the documentation of observations. The underlying question was always, “What part of this makes sense to add to how I want to document the nature around us and our life lived in a semi-rural area?”

I took classes and followed many scrapbooking and nature blogs. I gave Project Life an honest try and found the 12×12 size just unwieldy. As a digital scrapper, I scrapped mainly an 8×8 size. I like a smaller notebook. I’m glad I tried it out, though, because I’ve found ways to make my favorite parts of it (page protectors & small stories on cards) work in a smaller format, and am anxiously awaiting the Seafoam Core Kit to hit the Amazon shelves.

The biggest shift happened, though, when I committed to creating a travel scrapbook this summer for our Yellowstone trips. I went through Ali Edwards’ Scrapbook on the Road class, and simply watching her create in the video became a turning point for me.

In the end, nobody created the paper or binders I knew made up a part of my solution, so I had them created. To cut the cost, we bought in bulk and while I’m happy with a lifetime supply of paper and binders, my husband is happy that I agreed to open up a shop to sell some of them.

I’m excited about starting the system I think will cover all bases for me in January, and am having a ball taking the story approach to December Daily (rather than the daily focus).

Each week (ideally) I also do a Friday Phenology post (which should be up sometime today) about the nature observations for the week (or two), and often a short slideshow of the images from our wildlife camera trap. Right now, though, with the holidays really being an aspect of human phenology, that’s where my focus is.

So, welcome, new readers! I’d appreciate it if you would also follow/like me on Twitter and/or Facebook. There are lots of things in store for 2013.

There’s a giveaway of the chipboard binders with the field journaling paper over on Cathy Zielske’s blog this weekend, so head on over and leave a comment to be entered.


Posts to help you learn more about The Field Journaling Method:




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  • Janet Kemper
    Dec 14, 2012., 07:33 •

    I am loving how you are doing your story telling. PL worked great for me this year, I got alot done. I would say though, I love smaller sizes, the 12x12 is not my favorite. I am excited to start my 2013 album, and put more stories into it.

    • Janet
      Dec 14, 2012., 08:46 •

      Thanks, Janet. :) Are you going to continue Project Life this year as a 12x12?

  • Janet Kemper
    Dec 14, 2012., 15:46 •

    I'm not sure yet. I hesitate to change, because PL worked so well for me this year. Though, I am actually thinking about doing a smaller size, just because 12x12 has always seemed TOO BIG for me. I'll let you know... :-)

  • Debbie
    Dec 14, 2012., 22:02 •

    I have been thinking about doing a smaller album similar to project life this next year. I love PL but I do not have 12x12 shelving to display the books. I like your ideas :)

    • Janet
      Dec 15, 2012., 18:40 •

      Hi Debbie, I finally got the shelving, but realized too late that I actually pull out the scrapbooks to find out a tidbit of info - when did we....(fill in the blank). Smaller works so much better for me.