Inspiration for my LifeStory Books Format

Working on my own family’s LifeStory book has been way tougher than I could ever have imagined. I knew that one day I would find inspiration that would meet my vision but it was becoming painfully clear that I had found myself at a standstill. Literally. I haven’t even posted here for months  because I found myself kind of stuck but it was always in the back of my mind that when I saw it, I would know it… and after so many years, it finally happened.


Scrapbooking? Genealogy? Me?

For some readers, the whole concept of digital scrapbooking may seem like a foreign concept and for others, the process of looking into one’s family history is quite foreign and new. Part of the beauty of this site is that I can document the process as I discover my perfect mix between the digital scrapbook world and my genealogy research to bring my own LifeStory Books to life and maybe it will inspire and encourage one of you to possibly add one or the other into your own mix!



Some things just seem like destiny and just when I was seriously considering whether or not I could bring this “vision” to life, I came across a posting of a layout made with a Paislee Press digital scrapbooking kit and it just about brought me to tears. In so many ways it felt like I had been given a present that I had wanted my entire life. I have been looking for that magic mix of documentation, photos and stories for a long time but found myself stuck because I could never settle on a style with which to present it.  Finding a style for a LifeStory Book is such a personal thing but sometimes it is harder when it is for yourself. Isn’t that always the case? We can see what other people need to do, but when it comes to ourselves, the decisions become harder. But, for me, it was important to get this right because I want it to be exceptional when I present it to a wider audience.



[I want to insert a quick disclaimer in here. Right now I’m using each of the digital kits that I mention below with a “personal” license. If and when I can get things figured out to the point that someone might like to hire me to produce a similar book for their family, then I will definitely be changing my license to a business license. The digital artists work very hard at what they do and I fully applaud their talents!]


Here’s the Details…

Just to get my mojo going in the right direction, I thought it would be appropriate to start with a kit named Generations which was a collaboration between Paislee Press and One Little Bird. I did add a bit of ephemera from a kit by Sahlin Studio called, Ephemera Stacks. All of these kits can be found on The LilyPad website. If you should go there, make sure to look at the layouts and their gallery — I literally spent a good portion of an afternoon just clicking through the images, one after the other.


Now… how to pull it all together and not look like a jumbled mess? Because this project will include so many combo layouts that include documents, photos and stories, I decided to try the pocket page format once again, but this time I used a template by Lynn Grieveson Designs titled, Messy Pockets {no.06} and it is also found on The LilyPad website. It gives me a jumping off point. I’ve always been a fan of the Becky Higgins’ Project Life format for creating nice compact little areas to add color, photos and stories, but bringing documents that aren’t all that visually pleasing to look at into the mix has also been a roadblock for me. This Messy Pocket template seems to fit the bill and give me plenty of room to move things around as needed.

Who is your audience?

I want my kids to look at the pages and get a sense for what a census record or some other type of research document would look like and see the rich amount of information that you can get out of it. But I know them and if it looks a bit like all my research binders, their eyes will glaze over and I will have lost them. This layout gives me some larger places for the documentation as well as plenty of room for photos and stories — perfect! And a bonus is that it takes some of the planning out of the picture (no pun intended… really!) and I don’t have to think so much about the basic design and can enjoy the process. I’m not that big of a user of templates, but this set has really been the perfect solution.


I have my family heritage photos scanned with dates and names attached along with my documentation that I’ve been collecting for over seventeen years. And now I have a style and look to start my LifeStory Book. I’m not sure that it will end up in this 12×12 format, but is a beginning and I’m feeling very happy to be moving forward! To be fully honest, I’m skipping my parents’ generation to begin with because I know that it will take a great deal of time and I want to make sure that I get all the pieces together. With so many pictures and stories for my parents’ generation, this is the generation that I think it would be best to leave for last so I have all the major decisions all ironed out.


Can you tell I have a big smile?

While this style isn’t for everybody and it might still glaze over a few eyes, but it makes me very happy to share this with my family! Most importantly, I know that this might not be the format that I eventually decide to follow, but I am actually back into the game and it feels really good. The only puzzle piece that I’m really not sure about at this point is the size of the pages! But that is why I’m going ahead and jumping back into this. Sizes can be adjusted at a later point. Seeing the stories begin to take shape along with the all goodies I’ve been collecting for so many years is a work of love — my gift.