Project Summer: A Summer Journal

around the summer

I am starting a summer journal inspired by Project Life (daily pocket pages) and Project Runway (restrictions in time and materials), and I’m calling it Project Summer.

My children are also participating in Project Summer by creating their own journals. My daughter is 12 and my son is almost 10.

I’ll be posting about our progress a few times during the next 3 months. There will be ideas for journaling cards, scrapbooking with tweens & boys, scrapbooking while traveling, apps we are using, and more. The ideas won’t be restricted to summer (waving to my friends on the other side of the globe).

Note: For journal ideas for younger children, try summer badge booklets.


Planning a Summer Journal

First, we thought about what we wanted to include. Photos, lists, maps, itineraries, postcards, journaling, comics, drawings, things to do while traveling… It was quickly apparent that a 4×6 photo album was not going to work.

I also didn’t want to do a blank journal. We tried that last year and it proved too intimidating. I had to prompt the kids a lot. (Why don’t you write about your day? Draw a turtle. Put a sticker on it.) Small pages and journaling cards would be less intimidating than a blank journal.

Then we added up how many days of summer vacation they have – to get an idea of how many pages we would need. 80 days of summer vacation.

The kids were VERY disappointed that the Phineas and Ferb song had led them astray (“there’s a hundred and four days of summer vacation…”). They concluded that Phineas and Ferb must go to a really good private school. There was no discussion about Phineas and Ferb being cartoon characters.



After much deliberation, we decided to use Simple Stories 6×8 albums and page protectors. My son agreed to it because baseball cards will fit (loosely).

I already had one album. I bought two more albums at Michael’s craft store for $7.50 each with 50% off coupons. I also bought some extra page protectors.

Guess which one is my son’s:

project summer notebooks


Title Page

“80 days of summer vacation” immediately made me think of the novel/play/movie “Around the World in 80 Days.” I found a fun movie poster image to use as inspiration:

around_the_world_in_eighty_days_ver2  around the summer title page

Movie poster source: impawards

I titled mine “Around the Summer in 80 Days.” I considered “Enjoying the Summer for 80 Days” and a few others that probably made more sense. Then I realized how much time I was spending deciding on a title.

This is how I get stuck when scrapbooking – choosing words and fonts. Scrapbookers: you know what I’m talking about. Make it work! I said to myself, and moved on.



American Crafts / Dear Lizzy “Neapolitan” 12×12 paper pack ($15 at Target). This is the first paper pack I’ve bought in years. I feel like I’ve cheated on my diet.

Bubblegum Sans font (free)



  1. Create a border and add text (but not the text for the balloon); print on white cardstock and trim to  6 3/4″ x 8 3/8″.
  2. Cut cloud vellum to same size and place over the cardstock.
  3. Create text for the balloon. I used Photoshop to create the arc and slight rotation. I think you can also use WordArt in Microsoft Word. Print on patterned paper.
  4. Cut out a balloon design using patterned papers. Piece together.
  5. Place the balloon over the cloud vellum. I lightly glued the cardstock, vellum and balloon together so they wouldn’t slide around while I was sewing. I only glued behind the balloon so it wouldn’t show.
  6. Sew around the balloon edges. I used white thread but probably should have used darker thread for contrast.
  7. Cut patterned cardstock to 6 3/4″ x 8 3/8″ to use as the back piece.
  8. Attach back piece. Punch holes. Zig-zag stitch around.

I remembered to take a photo of the balloon back before I attached it to the patterned paper back:

around the summer sewing

Close-Up Photos:

around the summer close up 1


around the summer close up corner


around the summer back of page



In album:

around the summer in notebook

The kids are still working on their title pages. :)

  • Kelly Vandermolen

    reading your post yesterday made me count…we only have 74 days of summer vacation (it still sort of fits into the song!) but i love your idea and i think i am going to try to get my son to buy into it. he is nine. i am anxiously awaiting your post about scrapping with boys.

  • Sofia D.

    Love this title page and how you were inspired by movie poster art! This looks fun and easy.

  • Lisa Bailey

    Lisa, summer journals are such an amazing idea! Absolutely love your creative layouts.