Guest post: Jo (and a call for submissions!)

Alternative to project life

Recently I’ve been sharing some photos of my Project Life-inspired weekly photo journal. Well today, I’ve very pleased to present a reader response from Jo. Here is her lovely book, in which she writes her one-sentence journal and keeps a weekly photo collage. It’s a lovely way to publish your family’s story!

My easy quick alternative to Project Life

Click here to see my photo diary

Here’s how she describes her journal:

How did you make your book? What materials did you use?

I decided to use a B5-sized exercise book from Morning Glory: mostly because I had it but also because I like the size. They are cheap: $2-$3 each. This one is blank, but I did see lined and spiral-bound books on my last visit there. They are probably not archival, i.e., acid free, but I’m not concerned about that. I’m considering scanning the handwritten pages later, and I have the photo collages stored on my computer anyway.

The covers of the exercise books are possibly a bit thin. I’m considering redecorating the covers and making them a bit sturdier. My other thought was to cut the covers off and get them all spiral bound together at the end of the year– I’m still thinking about that.

One-sentence journal ideas

The weekly photo collage next to the one-sentence journal

How do you work on your book every day and every week?

I basically just started by writing the date and then a few sentences about what happened that day. I like that I’ve got space to write lots if I need to, or just write a few words if it’s a boring day! I started on the 1st of December, which was a Sunday so I’ve stuck with Sunday-Saturday. Usually the writing goes over two pages, and then the next page is the photo collage. If there’s some extra space at the bottom of the page after the writing I write in anything that comes to hand to fill in the space.

How do you make up the weekly photo collage? Do you have any tips?

I do the photo collage in Photoshop, mainly because that’s what I use for my digital scrapbooking. I’ve made a page template the size I want (smaller than the page so it fits better) and when I’m ready I just add the photos I want then resize as I go. If I’ve got odd spaces I use some digital elements or words to fill in the spaces. The majority of the photos have been taken with my phone and the rest with my digital SLR.

One-sentence journal and photo layout project life

Why do you like to keep your photo journal this way?

I’m really liking doing it this way. I can write up a week’s worth of dates without having to stop and think about photos for each day. The photo collage comes together quickly and can be done at the end of the week, or even a few weeks can be done at a time. I’ve taken to writing the date of the week’s photo collage on the page where it goes if I don’t get it done or printed in time. For example: if I’m going away and won’t be able to get photos printed, then I can just paste them in on the relevant pages when I get back home.

This is the longest I’ve ever kept something like this up: two-and-a-half months so far! Sometimes there are very busy weeks and I have trouble finding photos for the week, so these days I’m always looking for opportunities to take photos!


Thank you so much for sharing this with me Jo. It just goes to show that you don’t need expensive materials to create a beautiful keepsake. A simple exercise book and your creativity is all that’s needed. And when you commit to producing something on a weekly basis, you end up taking a lot more photos of the important people in your life.

Have you created a DIY photo journal like mine or Jo’s? Would you like to contribute to Zoe At Home? If you can answer these questions and submit some photos (with names and faces pixelated for safety), then I will consider you for a guest posting opportunity. Please use the form on my Follow & Contact page to get in contact.

Also, I think this photo-diary-journal-scrapbook-thingy needs a name. A catchy name that describes this simple method of publishing your family story. A Life Story Book? A Weekly Visual Journal, perhaps?? If you can think of a great name, please leave me a comment below. Perhaps I can send out a prize to the winning suggestion!


2 thoughts on “Guest post: Jo (and a call for submissions!)

  1. I’ve been trying to upload my photos off my iPhone each week and do a weekly collage on Muzy with just a few words describing the week below. I think I am currently a few weeks behind though…

  2. What a lovely thing to do — and you’re creating something your family will cherish for years. (I’ve been going through old family photos lately, 50+ year-old memories, and wishing there were comments!)

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