Scrapbooking for the Rest of Us

I LOVE scrapbooks - when done right, they're a beautiful keepsake of memories and photos. I also love my free time, yet still value a wonderful keepsake. I combined my laziness smarts and photos and made the easiest keepsake scrapbook EVER. I'll tell you about it!

I won a once in a lifetime vacation to South Korea. It was a photo contest sponsored by Travel and Leisure magazine, Lotte, and Korean Air. I won the grand prize - round trip business class airfare (so swanky!), and stays in amazing hotels in Seoul and on Jeju Island in the East China Sea. I know, I'd never heard of Jeju-do either. It's Asia's answer to Hawaii - a gorgeous tropical island (that manages to get snow in the winter!) of beaches, basalt crystals, waterfalls; it's famous for its black pigs and tangerines (I recommend eating both if you visit).

the winning photo

the winning photo

I took, over the course of our week, thousands of photos. I am proud that it wasn't more - I really took my time to enjoy the trip, the scenery, the people we met. Instead of aiming my camera out the windows of the taxis, I talked with the drivers and my fiance about what we were seeing, where we were going. I made an effort to be present - and am grateful for it. But I took plenty of photos (many snapshots with my iPhone, but I also used a D700, a pinhole camera loaded with Velvia, and there were two casual point and shoot cameras with us, too). After editing, I wound up with a whopping 644 finished photos - about 100 photos a day. Wowzer.

The truth is, I love those photos. But no one, NOT ONE PERSON, will ever have the patience to look at all 644 with me. If I were to put together a presentation of the 644 photos, people would leave in protest, eyes would glaze over. What I really needed was a simple way to present the highlights, the CliffsNotes. What I needed was a scrapbook.

Now, I'm quite crafty. But I also like spending my time tending the chickens, bowling, going out to eat, etc. It is rare I sit down and craft something. But I really wanted a final product of my vacation, something I could hold, and share, with ease. What I came up with? A photo book, duh!

I love AdoramaPix - I use them whenever I need something printed. Their site is painless, their customer service is wonderful. I set out to make a big "scrapbook" of our adventures in South Korea, something that would really WOW people when I shared it with them, without boring them, and without taking hours and hours and hours of my life and sanity.

I picked a pretty large book - as it was going to live on my coffee table. I chose a 10x12.5 book, and even opted to use a world travel theme, to really drive home that it was a record of our vacation. Over the next week, whenever I had a little spare time, I would futz with the layout. I chose the highlights of where we'd stayed, things we'd eaten, beautiful things we'd seen. I chose a combination of photos of us together in places we may never see again, and the intentional landscape and cityscape photos I'd taken the time to shoot with my pro-gear. I kept them in the rough order of our trip, to tell the story of our time. I was even able to customize the font and colors for captions I applied to the pages - which I loved!

my AdoramaPix book - front and back covers (well worn and loved!)
my AdoramaPix book - front and back covers (well worn and loved!)
the opening pages feature our tickets, bag claims, our in-flight menu, a photo of an Airbus A380 next to a standard jet, views from our hotel, our first tast of Seoul!
the opening pages feature our tickets, bag claims, our in-flight menu, a photo of an Airbus A380 next to a standard jet, views from our hotel, our first tast of Seoul!

When I was satisfied with my work, I ordered the album. It was a small investment* (but still under $100 on sale!), but it had saved me time, I didn't have to go to a craft store and fight with old ladies over sale paper and cutters, in fact I got to sit at my desk in my pajamas, and it was beautiful in hand. It arrived beautifully wrapped and I was thrilled with it.

*I say investment because this is a product that will always be priceless to me, an instant reminder of my adventures overseas with the love of my life

the next several layouts feature all the sights and adventures in Seoul - one page even has a photo taken from the N Seoul Tower, and we circled our hotel and Gyeongbokgung Palace in the distance
the next several layouts feature all the sights and adventures in Seoul - one page even has a photo taken from the N Seoul Tower, and we circled our hotel and Gyeongbokgung Palace in the distance

But there was more. I took out a bag of receipts and tickets from attractions. Instead of genuinely scrapbooking, I had intentionally left some room here and there on pages to add actual items to the book. I set out with glue and tickets, and finished the album. It contained, upon completion, photos, ticket stubs, and even a room key from a fancy resort we'd stayed at on Jeju.

I chose to really wow with a great photo of us on Jeju our first morning, and some shots around the resort
I chose to really wow with a great photo of us on Jeju our first morning, and some shots around the resort
I was very careful to mix both landscape and silly tourist snapshots, so as not to bore anyone!
I was very careful to mix both landscape and silly tourist snapshots, so as not to bore anyone!

This album has been SO well loved - it lives on our coffee table. Friends and family flip through when visiting. I've taken it with me to share with friends when I've traveled. Instead of lugging around a laptop full of 644 photos, I can pull out an album. It takes a few minutes to flip through, I get to narrate our adventures, point out cool things. My friends' eyes don't glaze over - as it's the abridged version. I get to talk about things with the person flipping through, answer questions, share my experiences in both a verbal and a visual manner. It's really a pleasure having this album to hold and share. Even I still look at it sometimes!

So, if like me you value your time and sanity, and detest craft stores, I can't recommend my lazyman's scrapbook - a beautiful photo album, modified to contain your ticket stubs. It's really win-win!

the key to our resort is mounted near a photo of us being dorks in the lit up pool at night
the key to our resort is mounted near a photo of us being dorks in the lit up pool at night
and our last full day on Jeju, a mix of landscape and dorky tourist photos, again
and our last full day on Jeju, a mix of landscape and dorky tourist photos, again
back in Soul we did both scenic things, like viewing the Banpo Bridge at night, and silly things, like visiting Lotte World, Seoul's answer to Disney World! We put in a ticket stub, of course!
back in Soul we did both scenic things, like viewing the Banpo Bridge at night, and silly things, like visiting Lotte World, Seoul's answer to Disney World! We put in a ticket stub, of course!
and we close with some more dorky photos, a visit to a beautiful Buddhist temple - just like we ended our real vacation - quietly and contemplatively
and we close with some more dorky photos, a visit to a beautiful Buddhist temple - just like we ended our real vacation - quietly and contemplatively