By Anonymous

Your Life, Hour By Hour

How to scrapbook the magic of one ordinary day
eZine image: 

In 2004, my cousin, Julie Watson Smith, invited me to contribute to a book she was writing titled Mommyhood Diaries. The assignment was simple: keep track of what I did for a day, from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed. It was an easy enough assignment, and I faithfully kept notes on my assigned day,sent them in, and congratulated her later when the book was published. 

After a recent move, that book caught my eye as I unpacked a box; I flipped open to my section and was nearly in tears as I read my entry. It didn't occur to me that seven years later, my words would appreciate in value so greatly.Small details of when I was a mama-of-one came rushing back to me. Even though I didn't take pictures to accompany my record, the words were powerful enough on their own.

Fast forward to 2011: Now a mama of three girls, I wanted to replicate this experience with a twist: what would my day look like if I took a photo every hour from the time I awoke until the time I went to bed? 
 

Supplies:

digital patterned paper (Cosmo Cricket at www.jessicasprague.com) • photo frames (Pages for Mac) • digital clothesline kit (Kitschy Digitals at www.jessicasprague.com) • fonts (Helvetica Neue, Clementine Sketch) • 12 x 24 digital spread by Elizabeth Dillow

The Challenge:

Set aside a single day and take one photo on the hour, every hour from the moment you wake until the moment you fall asleep. Set a kitchen timer, an alarm on your phone or watch, or another reminder to help keep you on schedule. Keep your camera (or camera phone) with you all day, and when you hear the alarm, stop what you're doing and snap an authentic, in-the-moment photograph. At the end of the day, gather up all of your images and make a layout!

 

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I picked a Monday for my challenge and promptly forgot to take photos until after 10 am, quickly realizing that remembering to take photos (not necessarily on the hour, just within the hour) would be a challenge. Happily, I completed the challenge a few days later without forgetting a shot. Like my Mommyhood Diaries journal in 2004, my day contained nothing out of the ordinary. I couldn't be more pleased with the results, though, because this time I know: meticulously documenting my ordinary day is an extraordinary gift to my future self.

I love sharing a worthy challenge, so I invited a few other scrapbookers to document a full day of their lives, too. Kim Byrns knew she might need a reminder to stay focused, so  she set her calendar to send her a tremendously helpful email each hour! She also tried to take more photos than necessary so she would have choices when scrapbooking later. Kim neatly fit sixteen photos across four columns by standardizing their sizes and rounding their corners. She was thrilled to capture the small details of her family’s life right now, knowing that six months (or even a week!) down the road, those small details might be telling a different story.
 

Supplies:

digital papers (Yesterday and Today Digital Supplies by Anna Aspnes, designerdigitals.com) + circle outline (The Story of This Day set, Ali Edwards, designerdigitals.com) + dashed lines (Dotted & Dashed frames, Cathy Zielske, designerdigitals.com) + fonts (You Are Loved, Courier T1) + 12 x 12 digital spread by Kim Byrns

 

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Lee Currie had no trouble remembering to take a photo every hour, but didn’t expect her day to stretch 18 hours—that’s a lot of photos to fit on a page! Note how she incorporated two clever uses of product to anchor her hourly photograph: punched circles provide balance on the page for each hour notation, and a sheet of die-cut specialty paper with a numerical theme serves as a foundation. With four kids, life in Lee’s household is fluid; the feel of her free-flowing layout reflects that perfectly. (Anyone else daydreaming about visiting Lee’s 6:00 pm location?)
 

Supplies:

patterned paper (Basic Grey) + lasercut paper (KI Memories) + stickers (American Crafts) + adhesive (Stampin' Up Dimensionals) + punches (Creative Memories Circle Punch (3/4" and 1") + font (VTPortableRemington) + 12 x 12 layout by Lee Currie

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Danielle Hunter approached the challenge in an entirely different way by documenting the toughest of hourly activities: potty-training. Armed with only her cell phone camera, a Polaroid printer and her good attitude, Danielle snapped away all day long through both frustrations and small victories to capture a slice of parenthood that deserves a medal of honor for surviving, quite frankly. Her biggest challenge (aside from the obvious) was trying not to take too many photos on her cell phone, while developing the story with a limited number of prints. She switched from black and white to color when her daughter made significant progress! In the end, Danielle was grateful for the focus the challenge afforded her: a full day to share a major milestone with her daughter.
 

Supplies:

cardstock/patterned paper (American Crafts, Recollections, Me & My Big Ideas, Georgia Pacific) + stickers (Making Memories) + marker (Zig) + 12 x 12 spread by Danielle Hunter

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Hopefully by this point we’ve convinced you that the hour-by-hour photo challenge is a worthy one. But if lugging around your camera every hour for an entire day makes you want to run screaming, here’s another way to document a bevy of everyday moments through photography: the twelve photo challenge. In 2010 I played along with a brilliant challenge to take (or at least choose) 12 photos to represent the 12th of each month. Looking through the 144 photos—really, 144 distinct memories—I preserved when I finished was exciting. A 6 x 4 mini-album made assembling my mosaics and notes a snap!
 

 

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Supplies:

digital patterned paper, elements (Paislee Press) + fonts (Helvetica Neue Light, Helvetica Neue Bold, ChunkFive, 2Peas Garden Girls Love Me) + 6 x 4 mini-album by Elizabeth Dillow

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So what’s the moral of this story? There is no one way to document everyday life, but it would be a shame to leave this treasure trove undocumented. I just hope you’ll choose to earn your family photojournalist badge in a way that suits you. Keep it simple, and I guarantee you it will be priceless.



Get more of Elizabeth's extraordinary take on everyday life
(and a dozen useful, meaningful challenges just like this) by purchasing your copy of Scrapbooking the Everyday, co-authored with Tina Cockburn.

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