Lesson Three | Capturing the Moment

Friends, I’ll be honest: it’s probably the yogi in me talking right now, but I am incredibly focused on present moment. And I’m loving it. Which is why I’m SO super happy to share this discussion on present moment with you today. 

Tracey touched on busy-ness in our first prompt: a seasonal manifesto. She mentioned that, once the season starts, it’s easy to lose yourself in the new routines, the travel, the demands that come with the season’s bounty of sunshine, warmth, and plans. It’s easy to fall into habits that take us away from ourselves. And, once we’re there, it’s even harder to get out of it.

But right now, we have this chance. It’s a chance to take back the season. To focus a little less on the acts of summer, and to focus a little more on the experience of summer.

It’s not the baseball game, or the trip to the zoo that matters, it’s that moment, in between all of the other moments, when you take a second to feel how happy you are. To experience the taste, the breath, the essence of that moment, and capture its parts in whatever way brings the most meaning to you.

With that, I’ll turn it over to Catherine to share her story, how she arrived at this prompt, and how she’s bringing the essence of her life – right now – into her album.


Hi there! I’m Catherine Saunders, a graphic designer, memory-keeper, mom to two boys and a Navy wife. I love including lots of journaling alongside photos in my memory-keeping projects, which are generally photobooks and pocket-page albums. I spend a lot of time in Photoshop, editing pictures and playing around with digital supplies.

This summer our family is in a bit of a unique situation. My husband is a military pilot, which means that we move pretty frequently.

But this move is especially brief.

We moved last fall from California to Newport, Rhode Island. We’re here for just 12 months. This fall, we’ll be off to somewhere new.

Because of our short time here, and because it’s unlikely we’ll ever live here again, I’m especially focused on being here, in this moment. In every moment. For our one summer in Newport.

Everything seems special: our routines, our home, our way of living.

And that’s what I’m trying to capture here. The special in the every day. The present moment. No matter what we do, it’s special. It’s once. And I want to remember all of it.


The Prompt

Maybe you aren’t experiencing such a dramatic change, but the truth is that wherever we are in life, we often spend an incredible amount of time thinking ahead to what’s next. We wish away time with our kids and our friends. We look forward to the next vacation or school year. But you’re only living this summer once. What do you want to do? What do you want to see? What do you want to remember?

Hint: documenting your summer is about capturing the essence of the season.

It’s the little moments that I cherish most about our life right now: later bath and bedtimes, weeknight trips to get ice cream, sparklers in the driveway, beach days and bike rides.

And having them all in one place, in one album, is truly special.

This week I’m challenging you to capture the essence of the season. Your essence. The things that make you smile. The sounds, the smells, the best glimpses of summer. Maybe that means reading a book. Maybe it’s watching the sun set. Maybe it means naps. Relaxing. Or cooling down with your favorite iced treat.

What does your summer look like? What does it smell like? What are the little moments you don’t want to forget?


My Album

In the interest of keeping it simple, I’m doing a 4 inch x 4 inch mini-album using a stash of supplies that I actually had around the house:

  • front and back 4×4 inch covers punched with holes (mine are blue acrylic from Jamaica Makes, but sadly, they’re no longer available)
  • two binder rings
  • a bunch of photos (mine are 4×6 but you could have 4x4s printed)
  • a paper trimmer (to cut the photos to size)
  • an assortment of journal cards and patterned paper (mostly the Midnight Edition and the Moments Like These kit)
  • a single hole punch
  • a favorite pen
  • two-sided adhesive

Last summer, I noticed a huge drop-off in my memory-keeping. Turns out, after spending hours on my computer during the day for work, the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time on it doing my hobby. I’ll probably put together a big “Newport” photobook documenting our year here, but in the meantime I wanted to make sure I was capturing some of those little, but significant, moments.


The idea is to print random photos from the summer – one from each story or moment – and then intersperse them with journaling. I’m using my stash, not over-thinking, writing in my own handwriting, minimally editing the photos (mostly on my phone), and just getting it done. I can’t believe how quickly it’s coming together and how rewarding it is to document in such an easy-breezy way.



The Technique

Here are the five steps I’m taking to put this mini-album together.

one / Choose your photo(s). I’m using one pic per story, so for the Fourth of July, I just chose one photo (from dozens) to put in my summer mini-album. I’ll put the extras in a photobook documenting the year, but for now, I’m choosing one per moment. I move the selected photo to a separate folder on my phone or computer and gather pics until I’m ready to work.

two / Print your photos, either as you go or in a batch. I don’t print at home, so I sent a batch of pics out to print in town, and because my local printer doesn’t do square prints, I just printed 4x6s. Again, I’m not over-thinking this one.


three / Prep or trim your photos. I had to cut mine down to 4×4 inches using a paper trimmer.

four / Adhere photos together and punch holes. For this mini-album, I simply took two photos, stuck them together with two-sided adhesive, and punched two holes in them to align with the cover of my album. Really, really simple stuff. I didn’t even worry about the order.


five / Use your stash to add paper, pattern and journaling. I wound up with a journal card (either 4×4 or 3×4) in between each photo. If I didn’t like what was on the back of a two-sided card, I just found another card, adhered it to the first, and created my own two-sided card. I worked my way through the pictures and jotted down a little note, thought, word or memory associated with the adjacent photo.

With the journaling, I tried to be cognizant of what might trigger the feeling of that photo as I flip through this years from now. Essentially, the mini-album alternates between photos and journaling, so there’s one journal card next to each photo. It’s really simple and really fun to put together.


I’m looking forward to sharing the final mini-album with you later this week, but my bottom line for this project is this: keep it simple – in your life and in your documenting. This is summer! Don’t overthink it, have fun, and live in the moment – right where you are, right now. It doesn’t matter if your camera is kind of crummy or if your summer is a pretty low-key. If you wait long enough, life will change, and I promise you don’t want to miss this.

Happy summer!

We want to see the moments you are capturing so please use the hashtag #littlesummerjoy when sharing so that we can all follow your journey.

If you have questions about this week’s prompt, or want to share more of your moments, join us in the Lesson Three community.

Believe us, you’ll want to see Catherine’s full album in this blog post!