Visually recording and documenting your craft and DIY projects is a great way to celebrate your accomplishments and see your own growth. I’ll share how I use an HP Sprocket to document my projects in my planner, as well as give tips for how you can use it to record any other goals and progress.
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I’ve never really kept a journal or a diary of my thoughts. But ever since I was in university, I’ve used some sort of a weekly planner to keep track of assignments, work, chores and events. I’ve kept them all since the early 2000s, and it’s a fun throwback to look through them. It’s also a good way to jog my memory if I need dates for something.
I used to buy whatever random planner was pretty and caught my eye, using a different one each year. Then for a number of years I bought black Moleskine planners, until I realized that the page set-up wasn’t quite working for me.
A couple years ago I saw the whole Bullet Journal craze on Pinterest and it was very appealing. I bought a Leuchtturm1917 dotted journal and was pleased with the possibilities of setting it up however I wanted to. In the end though, I decided that I don’t want to devote hours to making my journal look pretty. So I’ve settled on a simple layout that works for me.
On each double page spread, the left side contains a row for each day of the week. Here I would write down work commitments, events, appointments, holidays, etc. On the right side, I keep running to do lists for each day of the week, crossing things off when they’re completed. I have a couple of charts in the back for bigger ticket items to shop for, movies I want to watch, and a list of completed craft projects. But otherwise I keep it pretty simple. I’ve found that if I don’t waste too many extra pages in the back, that I can get two years of weekly double page spreads in each journal.
Gifted an HP Sprocket
A couple of years ago, my husband surprised me with an HP Sprocket. It’s a little machine that prints small pictures without using ink. You put in special Sprocket photo paper, and select a photo from your phone camera roll, which is connected via Bluetooth to the Sprocket. You can edit the photo, adding frames, stickers, text, etc. Then you print it out. There’s a backing that can be peeled off to turn the photos into stickers. I find that the colour of the photos is often a little off. However, for capturing memories and not requiring any ink, I find that they do the job well. Also, my Sprocket is older and there are newer models out there. Therefore, I can’t speak to how a newer one compares to mine.
I’ll admit – at first I was unsure about what I would use the Sprocket for. It was fun to print tiny photos that were stickers, but it’s not like I collect stickers in my childhood sticker book anymore. And then one day it occurred to me that they were a great size for sticking in my planner without covering up too much space. I think the first few photos I stuck in were of Oliver.
Visually documenting my craft projects
After that, I began to look through my camera roll for the “best memory” of each week. Sometimes that’s a photo of something we did, or a cute photo of Oliver, or of a project I completed. During the pandemic, I started doing a lot more craft projects that usual, so the bulk of my weekly photos are of completed creations. Occasionally there’s nothing particularly memorable from the week and so I won’t add a photo. In rare weeks I’ll add two (or even three) if there were multiple great things to remember.
Before this, I always had a record of finished projects in my camera roll. (Especially if it was an item that I gifted and would no longer have access to). And I would share my projects on my personal social media with family and friends. We live across the country from all of our family, and so I like to be able to share and connect with them.
However, in comparison to public sharing, the purpose of putting Sprocket photos in my journal is to create a record for myself. Printing out 4×6 photographs of my projects to add to a photo album would also work to document craft projects. But I prefer to see the Sprocket photos on my planner pages, in the context of time and what was going on in my life around them. Being able to flip through the visuals of all the completed projects I’ve done allows me celebrate my accomplishments. It also allows me to see my own growth. That might be new skills I have learned, skills that I have improved, or perhaps daunting projects I finally was brave enough to attempt. I even include projects that didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, because there’s always something to be learned.
I like to document all sorts of other other things too. Check out my Family Heirlooms Journal sheet.
Keep reading for other uses for a Sprocket.
Beyond Documenting Craft Projects: Other uses for Sprocket photos
Documenting Other Goals and Memories
You don’t need to feel limited to using Sprocket photos to document craft projects. You can use it to visually record and celebrate all sorts of other achievements or special memories in your planner. Perhaps you’d like to take a picture of your newly organized pantry that’s never been so clean, document progress you’ve made toward fitness goals, or remember a trip to the pumpkin patch as a family. The possibilities are endless!
Here are just some ideas of things you can add photos of in your planner:
- A great new recipe that you tried
- Cleaning and reorganization successes
- Fitness goal progress
- A stack of books you read off your list in a month
- Favourite family outings
- Growth of your kids over time
- Acts of kindness you performed
- Skills you’ve learned such as using power tools
- Certificates you’ve earned for completing training or courses
- Before and Afters of Room Makeovers
- A new haircut you love
- Beautiful views from a hike you went on
- A photo of an event or concert you attended
Share photos with family and friends
Another simple way to use the printed photos from the HP Sprocket is to use them to keep in touch with loved ones. I have a set of grandparents who do not use the internet. And therefore I can’t simply email them photos of my projects. I like to write newsy letters to them for special occasions. Lately, I’ve tried to include a few sprocket photos of some of the projects I’m most proud of. Since they’re smaller than normal 4×6 photos, I can usually include a couple with my letter before having to pay for extra postage. Sending them a few small photos helps me share my life with them.
Tips to Remember:
If you decide to begin documenting your craft projects or other goals in some way, remember these key ideas: It’s not about the pace of your completions/goals reached, or your individual skill level. Rather, it’s about your growth along the journey and being brave enough to try new things. Celebrate your skills and accomplishments and keep this record for yourself.
Do you document your craft and DIY projects? Or other goals?
Do you document your creative or other successes? If so, do you prefer digital or physical records? What type of goals and achievements would you document with Sprocket photos? Let me know in the comments below!
All the best,