The Memory Gatekeeper

Preserving memories in tangible form is a labor of love.

It takes time, it takes effort, heck, it even takes money!

Let me try to persuade you into making 2017 the year that you whole-heartedly commit to a memory keeping routine.



More than mere hobby and creative time, for me, memory keeping is an act of defiance against our faulty minds.  How easily we forget the little moments we thought we’d never lose.


I see myself as my family’s Memory Gatekeeper.  Looking back on the projects I’ve completed gives me a sense of contentment about the passage of time.  You could never hope to capture every nuance of every day, but the glimpses of time I do get tucked away into an album act as sparks- little triggers that can usher in thoughts buried away that you most likely couldn’t summon to consciousness otherwise.  All of the sights and sounds of those days can be relived all because someone took the time to care enough about the little moments.



Now, I’m not bashing my mom here!  However, her memory keeping efforts got as far as a couple of years in a baby book, a few incomplete photo albums, and mixed up pictures shoved into a shoebox.  Technology and memory keeping products have come so far since her days of mothering, so it’s hard to compare the ease with which we can preserve our memories nowadays.

I do however mourn the loss of moments.  I wish for those little snippets of time back.  What was my favorite outfit when I was six?  What were my thoughts about Disney World when I visited?  What are the details of my prom day?  I mean, how cool would it be to have those kinds of treasures to revel over from time to time?  My own children will leave home with albums full of these little gems, some made by their own hands!  I want an album made by me at age 7!  😞


Take some time for yourself in the next few days to think about the collections you’d like to leave behind.  The options for memory preservation are plentiful and range from super simplistic to as elaborate and artistic as you’d like to make it. Your albums can be done all digitally or printed and crafted by hand.




I hope you make the commitment!  Please treat it like anything else you wouldn’t want to flake out on.  Take time to schedule it periodically (as in using an actual planner and making a date with yourself).  Just like with anything else: failing to plan is planning to fail!


Go make 2017 the year you dedicate to becoming your family’s Memory Gatekeeper!


Here’s a glimpse into my plans for 2017 to inspire you…



Project Life




I’ve been participating in Project Life since 2013.

I’ve always loved scrapbooking but I’ve never loved the idea of huge 12×12 single layouts.  When I stumbled upon Project Life and pocket scrapbooking it was like the gates of Scrapbook Heaven opened up their gates and let me in.  Here was a project that I could get into!  All of our stories and photographs for a year in one spot?!  Hooray!

I have a dirty little secret though….this is the first year I’ve actually gotten through the entire year!  GASP!


I’m not alone though, this is a common phenomenon amongst those who participate in Project Life.  I do plan on taking the time to catch up my other albums soon.  So, what made this year different?  Putting it on my calendar and treating it like a job!

For every previous week layout I would scrapbook on Thursday night (ie. Sunday Jan. 1- Saturday Jan. 6 layout week I would scrapbook on Thursday Jan 11).  This kept me accountable and the information fresh in my mind. Throwing together one week at a time was not time consuming and really fun.  My partner was in charge of making dinner that night and keeping the kids out of my hair for a little MOI time!  I plan on keeping this schedule in 2017.

As far as the actual details of the album here’s what I’m thinking I’d like to do:

Seems everyone is downsizing to smaller albums lately and I do not plan on following that trend.  To me this is THE PLACE where our stories and photos are amassed and a smaller format than 12×12 just won’t cut it for me.  I need some gosh darn space!  I also want consistency through the years.

One thing that was a pain in the tush in years past was adhering to the standard Design A pocket pages.  It was so restrictive to me.  Pictures I wanted big were always the opposite orientation than the available pocket.  To solve that problem this year, I started going crazy ordering every style page protector I could get my hands on. Soon I was letting the photos guide my page protector selection, not vice versa with mostly great results.

Do I love every week’s spread?  Of course not!  Overall though, I’m in love with the album and I plan on sticking with this method in 2017.


I’ve chosen to use these newly released 12×12 white d-ring albums from my store this year:



I dream of having shelves of matching albums.  I love the idea of crisp white albums sitting on some pretty wood shelves (made by my MOST TALENTED partner Brian Fireman of course).  Yes, I’m worried about them getting dingy or stained but the allure of white is sucking me in.  My aesthetic is pretty minimal and clean so this fits the bill.

The look I’m going for is more white space and more stories/words.  Due to spending most of 2016 on the couch with my lovely friend Lyme (waves middle finger at Lyme) a lot of details went missing.  My main focus was just getting something, anything in the book while I could stand on my two feet.  I plan on using digital templates more this year to add the stories directly onto the photo.  I like my albums photo rich, but also detailed enough not to forget the stories behind the photos.  I feel like using the digital templates will assist in getting more words onto the pages.

I’m thinking I’m going to make a real effort to incorporate all the yummy paper I have in my craft room.  I use a handful of sheets a year and think that is a pity.  I’ve got the idea to back or frame my photos with the patterned paper and then of course use physical embellishments to dress up the pages.  I’m going to keep putting most of the embellishments on the outside of the page protector as I’m loving having tactile elements.


One Little Word




Shout out to scrapbook GODDESS Ali Edwards!

I love everything Ali does and have participated in One Little Word for the past two years (kinda).  What I really meant to say is I did it fully the first year and Lyme (more middle finger waving) caused me to bail on the second year which is a big regret of mine.

I’ve decided to do it again this year but schedule time for it once a month regardless of how I feel.

I find self reflection and art therapeutic so getting it in is going to be non-negotiable this year.  I will reveal my One Little Word the first week of January as our whole family chooses words and I don’t want to spoil the surprise on New Year’s Day.  Before the actual class I used to pick a word for the year on my own.  My words in the past have been:


2013:  Rise

2014:  Soar

2015:  Prosperity

2016:  Bold


My Little Life



Okay, so I just made that title up in this moment.  What My Little Life has been for the past three years is an album made by my kids about their year.

Every New Year for the past couple years I’ve gifted my children with a blank album.  I help them print the pictures and they do all of the decorating and journaling.

Sometimes they love doing it and other times I may as well have asked them if they wanted to clean the toilets.  However they feel about it in the moment though means nothing to them once they complete an album.  They love to go back and see what they were like when they were younger.  We include art and little facts about them all throughout the album.

When they move out on their own they will have some seriously cool memento albums made by their own hands to cherish for a lifetime.






Previously I’ve used SMASH books (2 years in a row).  I really liked these for their ease of use.  Just print your picture and glue them in.  Add decorations and voila, a masterpiece to adore!




Last year I used Recollections 6×8 albums.  These were similar to the SMASH books but have binder rings so you can add photo pocket page protectors which was fun.  I purchased them on clearance at Michael’s at the end of 2015 and my Google search didn’t turn up any for sale.




This year I bought everyone a different color SNAP Studio album by simple stories.  (They also come in this pretty SNAP burlap style and these SNAP leather 6×8 albums which I might use next year.  I’m also considering these adorable 8×8 Doodlebug albums for next year, but that’s way in the future!)





The past albums have been full of preprinted pages.   The SNAP albums have some chipboard dividers and clear pocket page protectors so this will be a change from previous years.  I will have to purchase a few more Becky Higgins page protectors or hand cut some patterned paper to have enough room for them to do a weekly spread.  I will be detailing how we do this on the blog this year.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.  I flip through their books all the time, they are so very precious to me!


Love Letters





Next up I want to be really consistent about writing to my kids!  When they were still little beans in my belly I bought them expensive, beautiful journals to write love letters to them.



When they are grown and out of the house I will gift these journals to them.  I want them to know me and I want to share my feeling about them throughout their lives.  It’s going to be such a wonderful surprise for them to read a letter I wrote them while they were still growing in my womb.



Project 365



I am going to take a photo every single day in 2017.

I wrote a separate blog detailing that here.  I am most likely going to do a big collage of the pictures at the end of my 2017 Project Life album as I can’t see myself making a separate album for that purpose.  It’s a personal challenge to myself to document something once a day and improve my photography skills.  Time to break out some photography books!



1 Second Everyday:  Video Diary





I’ve seen these for a couple of years and have just not committed even though I think they are so cool.  This is the year that I want to make it happen!

Can you imagine being 80 and having a clip from every day of your life?  How about sharing that with your grandchildren?  Uber cool!  It is an app that you have to purchase on your phone but it is super cheap and well worth the couple of bucks.  At the end of the year I want to share my video here on my blog.


Well, I think that about sums it up for the planned projects.  I know it SEEMS like ALOT but it really is just a couple of windows a month devoted to something I care deeply about.  Scheduling is the key to memory keeping success!

What are your memory keeping plans for 2017?  Tell me about it in the comments below!



My name is Jessica Veilleux. My favorite book is the dictionary and I consider raising kittens a hobby. I'm happiest in nature. I could eat potatoes at every meal. Mildly OCD. I invite you to read my blog, join the discussions, and contact me. Thank you so much for stopping by.


  1. Love your blog, this page kicks ass!

    1. I think you kick ass!

  2. Above you have a picture of 4 albums – one has a peace sign, one has a hot air balloon. I am trying to figure out which they are that you are describing. Are those recollections?


    1. Hi Jennifer,
      They are indeed the Recollections albums. I doubt they sell these any longer as they were purchased at the end of 2015.

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