Today I’m chatting with Elizabeth Dillow, who has recently collaborated with Angie Lucas at Ella Publishing Co. to create the 2012 Take Twelve Project. It’s a challenge to take 12 photos on the 12th of the month for the next 12 months. A guided inspiration kit is available for downloading to help motivate and inspire participants as they go.
Suzanne: Before I ask you specifically about the 2012 Take Twelve Project, Elizabeth, can you give us a little history of your own involvement with scrapbooking?
Elizabeth: I started pasting birthday invitations and post cards into a very acidic brown album when I was about four years old; this led to an era of sticker albums in which I carefully collected and traded all varieties of stickers with friends. I jumped into the world of modern scrapbooking in 2002 after two years of lurking around Two Peas in a Bucket, absorbing as much as I could.
Suzanne: What has your professional involvement in scrapbooking and other memory-keeping been to this point, and what are you currently working on?
Elizabeth: I began contributing to Simple Scrapbooks magazine in 2005, and later went on to become a contributing editor for the magazine until it sadly ceased publication in 2009. I won a spot in the Creating Keepsakes Hall of Fame in 2006, and had the amazing opportunity to write a book for the publishing house of both magazines in 2007 (The Scrapbooker’s Almanac). I’ve also worked as an instructor for Big Picture Classes since 2006, co-founded Write.Click.Scrapbook. in 2009, and continue to work for my old editor at Simple (Angie Lucas) at her new company, Ella Publishing Co. My current projects include a second run of my Design Challenges class at Big Picture (registration is open, class begins April 25), and I am a contributor to a really cool upcoming eBook at Ella called Books and Crafts. It will appeal to you : )
Suzanne: Do you have a personal “philosophy” of scrapbooking?
Elizabeth: Yes, definitely: scrapbooking should be guilt-free—meaning, you should never worry about getting “caught up.” Just tell stories as they speak to you. I also believe that it’s important to cultivate the process of scrapbooking by challenging yourself creatively and seeking inspiration regularly. It’s impossible to sustain a hobby if you get bored with it.
Suzanne: And what has your own involvement been with photo challenges? How has it affected how you approach memory-keeping and photography?
Elizabeth: I love photo challenges! I first participated in one at Two Peas run by Marci Lambert in November 2005; the challenge was to take one photo each day for a month. I was immediately hooked, and have completed a whole bunch of month-long projects and two year-long photo-a-day projects since. One photo can’t possibly capture the entire story of a day, but it certainly captures at least one story—those collections of stories are among the most dear to me.
Suzanne: So tell us the basic premise of the 2012 Take Twelve Project.
Elizabeth: The Take Twelve Project is based on a simple concept: on the 12th of the month, take twelve photos (or more, and narrow it down to twelve) to tell the story of that particular day. It’s a great snapshot of your life!
Suzanne: I am wanting to participate in this, but I am already (obviously) running two months late on this project, and that is pretty much the story of my life. Ha. Can you tell me the advantages to committing to the parameters of a photo project, even if I’m running behind?
Elizabeth: How about a kind of unrelated story to illustrate why it’s worth it? I started keeping a book diary in 1998. I had a little bit of a bad attitude about it when I started because I was so mad at myself for not having started, say, when I began reading in elementary school. Think of all those books I missed documenting! But I did it anyway, and I’ve continued to do it without fail since 1998 (though I did transition to Goodreads for my record keeping in 2008). If I’d never started because it was so “late,” I would have missed out on fourteen years of book-keeping. It’s kind of the same with photo projects and scrapbooking; you’ll be so glad you did it in hindsight that it won’t matter that you didn’t start when you think you should have started.
Suzanne: I’m enjoying looking at my Take Twelve Kit, which I ordered and downloaded all online. There are all kinds of goodies in here. I honestly am wanting to hug you for all the ideas, because it is making me feel excited about scrapbooking again, and grabbing some of these memories before they fly out of my old brain. How do you recommend best using the guided photo checklists, for instance?
Elizabeth: The guided checklists are great because you can use them as inspiration only, or you can actually plan to follow them and practice your photojournalist skills by taking the photos listed. Either way, you’ll get behind your camera and think deliberately about capturing the people you love, the activities you value, and the stories you create. You can’t go wrong when you’re doing those things.
Suzanne: What are other elements of the Take Twelve Kit that you enjoyed developing and think we are going to love using?
Elizabeth: I am a huge fan of the List-It! line of journaling cards that Ella Publishing Co. sells—they are a really fun, quick way to jot down information whether you decide to add them to a scrapbook page or just print them out and stick them on a book ring or a bulletin board. I also am a huge advocate of sketches, and the sketches that Donna Jannuzzi created for the kit are wonderful. They can be used for any scrapbooking, too—not just the Take Twelve Project!
Suzanne: And I see in the kit that you advocate documenting even the most boring of days. Say, for instance, that I have a completely ho-hum March 12, involving the school run, housework, a few errands, making dinner, maybe a little television at the end of the day … why should I keep track of this?
Elizabeth: Wouldn’t you just love to know what your great-great grandmother did on her completely ho-hum March 12? Exactly.
Suzanne: At the end of this project, what, ideally, will I have to show for it?
Elizabeth: The first time I played along with this project in 2010 I kept it very, very simple; I turned my twelve photos into a collage at Big Huge Labs and blogged a little about each photo before the next 12th of the month rolled around. At the end of the year I turned all my photo collages and notes into a cute little 4 x 6 album, and it is a treasure to look back and remember all those moments. This year I’m creating a full-size page each month with my photos. It’s really whatever you want it to be! If you only blog about your photos, that’s great. If you decide to turn them into something fancier, well, you’ll be thrilled you did that, too. It’s a win-win situation no matter what!
Suzanne: Thank you so much, Elizabeth. I am excited about participating in this project, and will be posting my Take Twelve photos and layouts here in suziebeezieland. If any of you also feel inspired to do this, please make sure and let me know here in comments so that we can keep track of how it’s going, and enjoy each other’s memory-keeping!