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Simple Scrapbooks for Your Baby's First Year

The designer: Jennifer McLaughlin of Whittier, California created a first-year "highlights" album for her daughter Ainsley.

The concept: Design an album that covers highlights in these areas: growth chart (personal changes or milestones), places you go, people you love, and things you do. This album requires only four photographs each month, as well as four journaling blocks.

Pre-baby checklist

  • Choose an album. Jennifer used a 12 x 12-inch post-bound album for her project (Note: When you use a consistent color and design scheme, it's fun to use an album that coordinates with the overall feel.)
  • Create a title page and dedication page.
  • Choose a design scheme. Jennifer used Ainsley's quilt as a starting place for her page design. Note how the color blocking on each page is drawn from the colors and patterns on Ainsley's quilt.
  • Preassemble monthly album pages, designating an area for the photos and journaling.
  • Set up a journaling template in your word-processing program. Since Jennifer knew her journaling squares would be the same size each month, she set up a text box and saved it. She also saved monthly headings and simply typed new information once a month when she updated Ainsley's pages.

Post-baby checklist

  • Jot down journaling information about your baby's growth and development, places you've been together, and special people she's meeting. Once a month, sit down at your computer and type the new information. Print the journaling on vellum and attach it to your premade scrapbook pages.
  • Take pictures of your baby and add them to your album.

The designer: Nancy Church of Augusta, Georgia. Nancy created a monthly memory album for her daughter, Lauren.

The concept: A month-by-month album allows you to easily organize and document your baby's growth and development throughout the first year. You can sit down and scrapbook once a month and stay caught up on all the milestones.

Pre-baby checklist

  • Choose an album. Nancy selected an 8 1/2 x 11-inch album so she can easily add extra pages for each month if needed.
  • Create a title page, a dedication page, and a table of contents page for your album.
  • Select cardstock and/or patterned paper for your photo mats and journaling blocks, and prepurchase embellishments for each month's section. (Having all your materials on hand will make your scrapbooking time much more efficient!)
  • Create a section page for each month (i.e., second month, third month, and so on). In Nancy's album, each month has its own theme, listed on the table of contents. This allowed her to introduce new colors and accents and take advantage of more of the fun baby-themed scrapbooking products available.
  • Create blank pages for your album, leaving room for photographs and journaling.

Post-baby checklist

  • Take photographs during each month of your baby's life. (Want to keep it simple? Take one roll of film a month.)
  • Keep notes of your baby's growth and development during the month. Nancy suggests keeping a small notebook by your bed and jotting down memories on a daily basis.
  • Scrapbook once a month. Pick up your roll of film from the photo lab, type your journaling from your notes, and assemble your monthly set of pages.

The designer: Tonya Haynes of Tucson, Arizona. Tonya created a beautiful album with striking black-and-white photographs.

The concept: This Special Moments album is an ongoing project that allows you to add noteworthy photographs throughout your baby's first year of life.

Pre-baby checklist

  • Choose an album. Tonya selected a small spiral-bound album with room for one picture on each page. (If you'd like to add extra pages throughout the year, choose a three-ring album.)
  • Create a dedication page at the front of your book that includes your child's name and the dates of the pictures in the album.
  • Choose a design scheme for your album. Tonya used two shades of blue and two shades of green cardstock, plus two matching patterned papers. She used a single cluster of flowers as an accent throughout her book.
  • Cut photo mats and adhere them to the pages in your album.
  • Look for baby-related quotes and poetry. The Internet is a terrific resource; you can find a variety of quotes and sayings at Web sites such as www.quotationspage.com. Also save the cards you receive with baby gifts and use the poetry in your baby album.
  • Make a list of pictures you want to capture on film. How about a close-up of your child's tiny hands and feet? A photograph of your child snuggled with a favorite teddy bear? Your baby sleeping with his favorite blanket? Interacting with various friends and family members?
  • Is a family member or special friend taking pictures of your baby? Ask the photographer to hand you the camera so you can include a picture of her with your baby in your album.

Post-baby checklist

  • Take the pictures on your list and add them to your book. Be sure to date your photographs.
  • Look through your collection of quotes and poems. Transcribe the most applicable and meaningful poems onto cardstock and attach them to your pages with appropriate pictures.

Visit www.simplescrapbooksmag.com for more great scrapbooking ideas and to subscribe to Simple Scrapbooks, the new magazine from the publishers of Creating Keepsakes. With inspiring ideas, streamlined techniques, and a clean and elegant style, Simple Scrapbooks makes it possible to create beautiful pages in minutes and stunning albums in a weekend!

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.