Is it just me? My children come home daily with piles and piles of scraps of paper, cardboard bits and sticky stuff they call artwork… I’ve always been keeping my kids’ artwork (after weeding out the stuff that needed recycling!), but their Art folders are huge and take lots of space.
To be perfectly honest, I’m pretty ruthless when it comes to artwork and I recycle anything that’s just a couple of pen marks or looks just like a previous drawing. Over the years, my four have still accumulated a lot of drawings, paintings and collages. I always write the date on the back of their chef d’oeuvres. You never know, we might have a Picasso or Monet in the house!
The ‘approved’ masterpieces then go into art folders, never to be seen again. It sounds a tad pessimistic, but it’s not far from the truth. Each child has their own art folder and although they love looking through them, I’m not so keen: whenever they do, drawings get mixed up, bits come unstuck, glitter flies everywhere… an guess who’s got to tidy it all up when it gets abandoned on the living room floor? Yep, you guessed right: moi!
A few weeks ago, I completely cleared my living room and dining room so that the original floorboards could be restored. Since then, I’ve been reluctant to bring chaos back to the ground floor of my house. I’ve been dreaming of a less complicated, more minimalistic way of doing things around here. Time for a change!
So when the lovely people at Snapfish challenged me to create End-of-School Year Keepsakes, I knew exactly what I was going to do. For a couple of years, I’ve been thinking of taking photos of their artwork and compiling them all in an album each so they could look at their drawings whenever they wanted. I was also planning to recycle all the originals, but I’m hesitant now. Is it a step too far? Would you do it?
As you can imagine, it took forever to sort through all their drawings and decide which ones were going to make it to the books, but it was a really enjoyable process. We did it together and had lots of fun looking at their early mark-making and primitive drawings, comparing them with each other at similar ages, noticing patterns and recognising traits of personality through their artwork.When he was little, Crevette was all about hearts and drawing faces. Beanie would make mini books with creative (OK, whacky!) storylines, from a very young age. Jumpy was all about flowers and rainbows and Wriggly is really into drawing people and adding detail to their faces.
It was also blatantly obvious that anything they make at Art club really stands out.
Jumpy really enjoyed taking photos of her own drawings and putting them in order with me. She also took photos of her favourites with my phone. I took over 300 photos of the children’s drawings and once they were in the camera, creating the photo albums was a very quick and easy process.
First, I picked the photo books I wanted. There was a wide range to choose from, and 7 different sizes I could pick. I went for 4 completely different books, and also opted for pre-made design templates to make the whole process a lot easier for myself.
Wriggly would get an A5 Landscape Papercover Photo Book, with the ‘studio’ book layout, white and neutral, allowing blank pages at the end to be used to stick artwork as it comes from preschool and playgroup.
I went for the ‘Precious Experiences’ theme and an 8×8″ Square Hardcover Photo Book for Jumpy.
Beanie’s would be a Classic Album’ 11×8″ Landscape Hardcover Photo Book (A4).
As for Crevette, I opted for the ‘Instagram’ layout in a 12×12″ Square Hardcover Layflat Photo Book.
The books were incredibly quick and easy to put together. I’d taken my photos quickly, not worrying too much about white balance or framing. Some of them were from my camera, others I imported from Instagram really easily. It was extremely simple to crop my photos and make them brighter as I was building my albums.
What I found really useful was being able to sort photos from oldest to newest and vice versa or shuffle them if you wanted to. I also found the autofill option rather convenient: what a time saver! Even though I’d picked themes for my books, I could still customise them by changing layouts, the number of photos per page, fonts used, colours etc. Every single one of these books is unique, and truly makes a wonderful keepsake.
Less than a week after I ordered the book, they’d arrived. Talk about fast processing time! Crevette, Beanie and I had a nice bike ride to our sorting office yesterday to collect the books and they couldn’t wait to see them as I’d kept the final design and look a secret. When they all opened their albums, it was like Christmas day for them (and for me too!). The quality of all four books is impressive and I love the fact all photo books, cards and bespoke gifts by Snapfish are made in the UK, which helps secure more jobs and avoids adding to our carbon footprint.
We’ll certainly be treasuring these beautiful books for years to come and I’ll keep taking photos of my children’s drawings as they land on the dining room table, so I can print them and add them to the albums, or even create new albums.
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Where do you keep your children’s artwork?
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all opinions and photos are my own.