I am as excited to begin 2012 as I was two years ago when I was about to start my first album. I thought a few random tips might be helpful for those of you who are newbies... there's no right or wrong way, but hopefully I can help you figure out what works for you...
1. Keep notes. For most of last year I made a note in my planner on each day describing the photo I would use and sometimes a short description if something happened that I thought I might forget. More recently I've been using the notes app on my iphone. It's working our great. I just keep adding the most recent day on top. You can see my notes are very short and to the point.
2. Printing photos. I recently purchased an Epson Artisan 837 and started printing my photos at home. I like that when I work on my layouts I can choose the photos, print and keep going rather than having to wait a few days to get the pics back. Before I had the printer, I would order prints every two or three weeks. Once I knew which pics I was using I would write out my journaling so that by the time the prints arrived, I was done except for sliding in the photos.
3. Extra photos. Since I got my new iphone, I've been taking a lot more photos of everyday happenings. I really like adding in a variety of instagram pics or just regular iphone pics in either the journal card slots or sometimes doubled up in the photo slot. It's great for when I have a photo that doesn't require a lot of writing. If my journaling on one card covers two or more of the main pics, it frees up a spot for another photo in a journal card spot. Here's an example from November.
4. Journaling pens. My favorite pen is the signo 207 gel pen so I was thrilled when I learned they are acid free and archival quality. They come in medium and micro point and a variety of colors. They are available just about anywhere you can buy pens.
5. Get your kids involved. I haven't done this too often, but I'm hoping I'll talk my boys into participating a little more in 2012. So far, they've both written out a list of what they are thankful for for the thanksgiving week layout. They agreed to write a card about our summer vacation last year, but it hasn't happened yet. :)
6. Use a template. If you find it helpful, right click on the template I made and save it to your computer. I sometimes print it out and jot down notes about which photo will go where so I'll know how many to print, where they're going and what size I need. The boxes aren't to scale because I made it to fit on a letter size sheet of paper.
7. Filling up your album. The first two years, I added my title cards and journaling cards to the whole album in advance. It took quite a while to get them all in, making sure I didn't repeat the same card too close together. This year, I've decided just to grab them from their lovely box as I use them. I'm not going to worry so much about repeats. I really don't think anyone's going to be analyzing my album to see if I used two striped title cards in a row!
8. Date stamp. I love using a date stamp to mark journal cards with the date. I don't do it for every single card, but it's a nice touch. I'm sure they can be purchased in a variety of places and there are a few to choose from on amazon too.
I hope that helps you to get started! It's going to be a fun and rewarding journey and you will be so happy with the beautiful album you will have at the end of 2012. If there's anything you have questions about, let me know. Have a happy new year and don't forget to take a pic of the day!