Pockets In Real Life: Bolivia Edition

I've mentioned before that I have a collection of paper scrapbooks that I made as a teenager, which I'm not very fond of. My grievances towards them are the following:

  1. They are ugly. This means I don't actually show them to anyone.
  2. They weigh about 1 million pounds.
  3. They do not fit on normal shelves.

Being both ugly and unmanageable has meant that I've harbored a particular resentment towards them. I finally resolved to do something about it and I'm quite pleased to be here today and share with you the results of my first Pockets in Real Life project.

First, I had to preserve the old scrapbook, even though I wasn't that fond of it. I still made it and it's a significant part of my journey. So I spent a good chunk of time with my scanner. As you can imagine, this was not a small project.


This Bolivia Scrapbook is the first traditional paper scrapbook I ever made. If you want to see more of my humble beginnings, it's all right here.

At some point I decided to jump into the pocket craze, and give it a try. It was a great success, and I'm already busy with my next book. I decided to go with the 6x8 format because I never again want to see a 12x12 album. I'm not even really sure how you're supposed to hold them to look at them if I'm completely honest. 6x8 seemed to be the only other size that had consistent pocket products being made. It was definitely a tight squeeze to get what I wanted into the album, but the winnowing process was worth it because now I have a really cute album that fits on my bookshelf and that I can carry without a workout.

Making this album for my parents taught me a good lesson that less is often more. It's hard to chop out photos when they're so personal, but I'm not looking at these albums as a full record, but instead I look at these as a little reminder, something I can show people without overwhelming them, something I can store easily if I need to pack everything up again. All the photos were saved in digital format, so if I want to go back someday and make something more thorough, that possibility is available to me.

One of my most favorite aspects of my new album is the "hidden journaling." One thing I've always disliked about sharing my scrapbooks is the idea that people feel like they have to read the journaling. I don't know if people actually feel this pressure, but it makes me uncomfortable. I didn't have much room to include journaling anyway, and when I saw on Pinterest someone include a tag behind the photos, I knew all my problems had been solved. Also it had the bonus of making the top of my album look ridiculous in ribbons.

2015-03-13 09.07.19 1

Another big help to getting as much as I could in a small space were these little pockets you can attach to a page. Also, so fun!

2015-03-13 09.02.33 1

I don't own a printer, but I did make a few trips to Kinko's to print out some of my journal cards and word art.

2015-03-13 09.02.27 1

I could not be more pleased with how this album turned out. I do plan to someday get an actual cover for the book, but I'd like to have a matching set, so I'm holding out to see how many I need.

Side benefits to the project included looking up places I had been on the map, which I had apparently never done before. I was quite surprised to see where some places were. Not at all where I imagined them to be. Also, my handwriting has not changed since I made this scrapbook, so I don't have to worry about losing that aspect of the book, since I can just rewrite or add writing and it's like I did it 15 years ago.

Side note: My family lived in La Paz, Bolivia from 1997-2001 (I was age 12-16). We traveled a fair amount while we there. That's what's recorded in this book. I'm working on a second book which covers school and friends.

Recent Comments

Pichi Sockenbart
Pichi Sockenbart Sat, 07/04/2015 - 05:37

love the idea of the hiding note! :)

Marisa Lerin
Marisa Lerin Fri, 03/20/2015 - 08:12

@Melanie: As far as I know no such scanner exists within a price range that's anywhere near reasonable. So I use a regular sized scanner and stitch several scans together with Photoshop. It is a giant pain.

Beatrice Loren
Beatrice Loren Fri, 03/20/2015 - 04:12

Love your re-do!

Violet Irisovna
Violet Irisovna Thu, 03/19/2015 - 21:51

This is so cool! I am, as ever, so inspired by your productivity and creativity. The pages you've shown here look beautiful, and what a great idea to slip the journaling behind with those cute little strings.

Melanie Colantuno
Melanie Colantuno Thu, 03/19/2015 - 12:15

You scanned the 12x12 traditional pages? If so, may I ask what kind of scanner you have that can scan more than 12x12? I am planning to scan the 12x12 traditional pages and then convert them into a digital scrapbooking - photobook..

Kathie Gray
Kathie Gray Thu, 03/19/2015 - 07:45

I still love the 12x12 format but totally get your point about them being difficult to store and handle. I still feel a little sad that you are reworking what your younger self did but then I realised that when I started scrapbooking I effectively did the same thing by turning all the random holiday scrapbooks I had made when I was younger into "proper scrapbooks"! And of course you scanned all the pages first (something I didn't do) so you still have the virtual versions, it must have taken you hours of hard work to do that! One thing I don't like about digital scrapbooking is that I can't really have hidden journaling, like you I don't want everyone who looks at my pages/albums to feel like they have to read loads of personal memories and I loved finding cleaver ways to hide journaling in my paper layouts. Your new pocket books are so cute, fun and accessible and you must love reliving all those old memories.

Vicki Iseminger
Vicki Iseminger Thu, 03/19/2015 - 04:15

I like the hidden journaling tags idea for both of the reason you mentioned. Cute album!