Craft Chat

#TBT: Family Yearbooks

In 2012 I made my first “family yearbook” inspired by Pinterest, and that project became one of my most popular posts! I made two yearbooks – 2010 and 2011 – chronicling our first two years in San Francisco. And for 2015, I finally made another!

Pics below, but first some Throwback Thursday action.

Here’s what I wrote in 2012:

I am determined to get my photos under control.  I can never decide what I want to do, so I end up doing nothing at all.   I think the main problem is I want a way to collect and organize my photos, but I also want to be able to actually look at them—and I’m much more likely to do that with a physical copy rather than clicking through a slideshow on the computer.  And!  The other problem!  I take way too many pictures.  So basically, I’m overwhelmed. I’ve been saying that I’m going to organize my photos for years now, but I’m finally doing something about it!

A few different ideas on the internet got my attention: this pin about Family Yearbooks.


Then I found the Simple as That blog, and I love what Rachel has to say about her monthly photo collages:

“A couple of years ago I started this little month-in-photos project. I’d just had my fourth baby and wasn’t feeling like I could tackle project 365 that year, but I still wanted to do something to record our monthly happenings. This simplified approach has been so perfect for me! I love sitting down at the end of each month to go through our photos and create a photo collage highlighting the significant events of that month. I’ve let go of the idea that I need to record EVERY detail with these collages. I include some point form journaling telling what the photos are about and leave it at that.”

The wheels in my head really started turning, and I finally came up with something that might work for me.

The idea is simple: each month, choose 8-10 photos from the hundreds (thousands?) of digital pictures stored on my computer.  Set them aside in a separate “Yearbook” folder on the computer.  At the end of the year, create a Family Yearbook using online photo site.  Ta-da!  Why didn’t I ever think of this before?

I want some kind of physical book of photos, so they’re not stuck on the computer, but trying to choose the right photos at the end of a year is completely overwhelming.  So I’m hoping that if I do the choosing a little at a time, month by month, it will be much easier to put it all together at the end of the year.  We’re a two-person family right now, but hopefully this will help me start a good habit for corralling photos in the future.

I got so excited about my new strategy that I went through all my digital pictures for 2011, 2010, 2009… but I lost steam at 2008.  Still, it was progress!  With those pictures culled and organized by month (the hard part), I went straight to Shutterfly to make my yearbooks (the fun part).  I’ve used Shutterfly before—for Christmas cards and to make photo books as gifts—but since the last time I’ve used the site, they have come out with a lot more customizable options.

There are tons of themes for photo books now, complete with “stickers” and embellishments—it’s like simplified digital scrapbooking without the fuss or cost!

The best part was that there was a sale—50% off—so I made two books for the price of one.  Now the years of 2011 and 2010 are crossed off my list!

And now back to the present…

I had high hopes of continuing the tradition each year… but three years passed until I got it together again. Behold, our 2015 Family Yearbook!

I stuck with the same system of a 1-2 page spread for each month, with bullet points instead of photo captions.

The Amateur Librarian // 2015 Family Yearbook


The Amateur Librarian // 2015 Family Yearbook


The Amateur Librarian // 2015 Family Yearbook


The Amateur Librarian // 2015 Family Yearbook


The Amateur Librarian // 2015 Family Yearbook

My favorite spread might be the very last 2 pages showing everything I crafted in 2015.

The Amateur Librarian // 2015 Family Yearbook


The Amateur Librarian // 2015 Family Yearbook


The Amateur Librarian // 2015 Family Yearbook

I’m working on catching up on 2012-2014, but we’ll see how that goes. Maybe it’s OK not to fill in all the blanks, but I hope to keep it up in the future! I’m circling back to the original idea of setting aside a few pics each month in a separate “yearbook” folder on my computer, so the pictures are ready to insert into Shutterfly (I know there are other companies out there too, but it’s the only one I’ve ever used). If you choose the “custom path” photo book you can use their “storyboard” feature which cuts down on a lot of the design process, plus they have lots of cute designs and embellishments.

The Amateur Librarian // 2015 Family Yearbook


The Amateur Librarian // 2015 Family Yearbook

How do you corral your photos? Any tips are appreciated!


2 thoughts on “#TBT: Family Yearbooks

  1. This sounds like a really do-able process – thanks for sharing your idea. I’ve never used Shutterfly, but may have to look into it now. I’m with you – I like looking at physical pictures rather than looking through them on the computer.


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