Why Journal?

T minus 18 hours and 6 minutes until 2019 marches into our lives.  What better way to spend a few minutes in that time reading about how the past can and should become part of the future.  Journaling is just one way to do that, but it's an important one.

So...until recently, I haven't been too big on journaling in scrapbooks. I figured the pictures could always tell the story much better than I ever could.  But I've noticed something recently, and I don't like to talk about it; but, for all scrapbookers of the world, I'm going to bare my soul, and share what made me change my mind.  So, what's the terrible, awful, no good, very bad thing that I don't like to talk about? Well, lean down...get close to the computer, because I'm going to whisper it just once.  Ready?  I'm getting old. You heard me.  I'M GETTING OLD! Apparently, so are you since I had to shout that to you. 😀 Yes, I'm no longer the young, skinny, athletic supermodel I once was. Don't roll your eyes at me.  Okay, so maybe I was only beautiful, not gorgeous, but at least when I looked at pictures, I could REMEMBER what was going on at the time.  I could close my eyes and go back to that time.  Now...well let's just say my memory is not what it used to be. I need pictures AND snippets of stories to remind of all those beautiful memories.  Plus, generations to come will have no clue what's going on in those pics unless I tell them.

In a previous post, I shared a double page spread from Andrew's prom in 2014 when he was a sophomore.
This is another double page spread from that same prom - this time with the fam.

So here are 5 good reasons to take a few minutes to journal in your scrapbooks - all of your scrapbooks.

1.) Sentimental Value
Seeing the stories and memories in your own handwriting, in your own words will mean the world to those that the albums are passed on to. It doesn't matter if your handwriting isn't the best, if you make a mistake, or *gasp* if you use incorrect grammar (anyone who knows me knows how hard it was to write/type that).  I know that's hard to believe, but it's true. Anyone reading those journaled lines is going to be soaking up every word, not checking your spelling or phrasing (unless they're a grammar Nazi like me, in which case, that would mean it's their problem *deep breath* - really). I see notes from my mom in albums or so many other places, and it means so much more than if she had not written anything. I have several cards from my husband that I have kept through the years.  Guess which ones that I have the most of? Of course, they're the ones that he wrote more than his name inside. Your written notes will increase the sentimental value of your albums tenfold. (And if you become famous, just think how much they'll increase monetarily...ha!)

2.) A New Perspective
There is a TV show that I watch that the kids, both as adults and children, are 3 of the main characters.  They recently did shows for 3 consecutive weeks that showed the exact same memory and time frame but each episode was done from the perspective of a different kid. It was interesting how the facts and words spoken were all exactly the same, but there were little nuances that changed in the mind of each character. Writing, even for a TV show, can do that for the viewers - take you into the mind of another.  Even if the person (viewer) looking at your album was there the day of the pictures, you will offer a new perspective and have different memories to share.

3.) More value to future generations
It is so neat to look at old albums of your family and imagine life during that time, but previous generations didn't write much in those albums, so we feel lucky if the pictures survive in decent condition, and if names and dates are included, that's quite the bonus.  Unfortunately, that leaves a lot of gaps that we have to guess about.  Admit it, how much more would you love and enjoy those memories if more than names and dates were added? You don't have to write a book for every page, but a sentence or two about what was happening and who it was happening to would bring the pics to life in a whole new way, don't you think?  So when your great, great granddaughter picks up the album, she won't just fly through the pages, because now the faces and images mean something.  Now, she's reading about her family.  Tell me that doesn't make that album worth a whole lot more to her!

4.) People get to see all the hats you wear.
We can all claim at least three or four different roles that we carry out in our lives - mother, daughter, sister, grandmother, teacher, nurse, brother, father, son, doctor, plumber, and ditch digger to name just a few possibilities.  The problem is that many of the people in our lives usually only see us as one or two of those roles. Journal a few things about your life and how you felt about it, and suddenly your kids and grandkids will realize that you had a life before you gave birth (hard to believe, I know), that you love what you do - whether that's a full time job, a stay-at-home mom, a part time job, or a hobby you like to get lost in - and that the way you see yourself hasn't changed much over the years despite your grown-up kids, aging face, and deteriorating body. Bring your life to life. Make it more than something the future generations have to imagine or guess about.

5.) Your life becomes a legacy.
No matter what your background, what you have or haven't done, what your family was/is like, your story should be told. And it should be shared. Don't you want that from your own family and friends? To know them more?  To hear or read their story? Through journaling, you have the opportunity to give that gift, to leave that legacy with your kids and family, grandkids, great grandkids, and even friends.

Don't be intimidated.  A sentence or two for most - or even half - of the pages you create will be a blessing - probably more than you realize.  The internet is a fantastic resource if you find yourself at a loss at what to write or how to get started.  I am especially a fan of Pinterest.  I know some who are stubborn saying that that is cheating, and to those people, I simply say ttthhhhbbbbbtt! (That's how you write a raspberry in case you didn't know...!)  So...what are you waiting for?  Go....GO....get started.  Quit reading this, and go!

My First Etsy Sale - Let's Celebrate!

Wow. It has been a LONG time since I've written anything here. Longer than I thought. I looked at my last published post, and....well, like I said...wow.

With that being said, there's no better reason to crack open the blog than the one I have now.  A couple of weeks ago, I made my first Etsy sale!!  Pretty cool, huh? I thought so! The set of cards pictured below is one of the things that I sold.

Of all the cards I've sold recently, these are probably my favorite.  So simple, but beautiful and serene.

The picture below shows cards that I sold to one person - ONE person! She bought some from me last year, and she liked them so much that she asked if she could get some more from me this year.  Obviously, I was happy to oblige.

There are definitely more favorites here, too.

So, what are your favorites?  Let me know in the comments - please. This helps me to understand what people, especially customers, are looking for. 

Also, go check out my Etsy store for more Christmas items as well as a variety of items for all seasons and occasions. The link is on the home page of this blog.

Christmas items will be going on sale soon, and new items are being added regularly, so check back often!

A Stroll Down Memory Lane - Worth the Nostalgia

I just finished this double page spread the other day. I enjoyed making it, plus it was an opportunity to stroll down Memory Lane. This was 2014 when my son was in 10th grade. Only juniors and seniors are invited to the prom, but Andrew had asked a junior to attend with him, so he got to go. This lovely young lady, a friend of Andrew's, was one of the only girls in her class without a date.  At first her best (girl) friend was also dateless, so they were going to go stag together, but of course her friend got a date, so she debated even attending. Andrew stepped up and asked her so she could attend and enjoy herself without feeling self conscious. It was also his sister's senior prom, so it was special that they both got to attend. When their son or daughter is a senior, parents are invited to attend the first half of the evening - the banquet part - so my husband and I got to go, too. It was a crazy but fun day! This group of kids in these photos - my son's group of friends - was a lot more cooperative with some creative photography than my daughter's friends and classmates were.

I enjoyed my kids as teens, and as an empty-nester now, I miss those times. I miss them a lot. The special occasions, the basketball games, the spring musicals...I loved it all! I'm getting used to the empty house, and I'm learning to enjoy many aspects of it, but honestly, I am still adjusting...and missing my babies. Creating pages for their scrapbooks or our family scrapbooks gives me a chance to relive those days in my mind. What a fantastic benefit of scrapbooking!

The background on the left is from an old calendar. I get some gorgeous backgrounds from old calendars! With those types of backgrounds, you want to keep the pictures simple, and the fewer pictures the better. More than one or two, and you'll lose the beauty of the background, and it will just look busy. Two tips that I had given earlier come into play here. First, "Keep It Simple, Sister (KISS)."  Secondly, the cost of this page is minimal due to using an old calendar and just a few low-cost embellishments. Remember, I get at least 90% of my supplies on sale - not just any sales, but major sales and clearances - or free, so all of my embellishments are "low-cost."

The block mosaic look on the right came from several examples I saw on Pinterest. I consider Pinterest research - so if anyone gives you a hard time about spending too much time on Pinterest, just tell them it's NOT a waste of time...it's RESEARCH! 😁

Although all of this nostalgia makes me a bit wistful, I find it SO worth the time and energy it takes to create these time machines. Give it a try, and I bet you will agree.

Happy Scrapping!

Love that Layout

The part of scrapbooking that is probably my favorite is also often the most time consuming.  It's coming up with new ideas for cards and pages - new layouts, embellishments, creative titles and quotes, etc.  I love sitting down and rifling through my 'goods' to rediscover some cool stuff I had forgotten that I had, then figuring out how to use them.  Bur for me, it usually takes a couple of hours or more to come up with a complete new page or page spread that I'm happy with.

If I do that all the time - which is definitely my tendency - I would get an album finished about every 2 years.  So, a trick I have learned is that when I discover or create a layout that I like, I duplicate it -  different embellishments, different pattern of paper, but the same basic layout.  Below are pics of a layout I recently created and instantly loved.  So, I used it again...and again. Notice that they are each for much different types of photos, but the layout works for all of them.

For a new baby girl, or sometime in her first year or two.

Winter fun!
(The solid purple in this is a richer color than what appears here - somewhere between eggplant and plum.)

Perfect for spring or for the gardener in your life.
(These colors are also a little off with the blue being more of a country color/shade.)

Notice that the page opposite of the one with multiple square frames is a little different in each.  And just the difference in embellishments makes the pages appropriate for the right pictures to be attached. All three patterned background papers were similar in color.  I chose solid page colors to bring out a specific color - different for each - which also helps with making them season or topic appropriate.

Once you figure out something that works, you can get an assembly line going and create multiple cards or pages in a short amount of time. Don't do this too much, however, or it becomes tedious and boring.  Unleash your creativity, then reign it in for a few cards and pages and just duplicate for a few more.  Then unleash that creativity again and begin the cycle again.

This helps with stress when your creativity takes a vacation, and you feel blocked.  Just relax and do something that you already know works.  It's also extremely helpful with cost, because you know you already have the paper, tools, and embellishments to make it great yet still make each one different enough to use for a look of variety in your albums.

All of these pages are for sale if you would like to add your pictures and put them into your own album.  $10/ea. double page spread (+ $2 shipping if you live outside of this area). These will be in my Etsy store in the next day or two, but if you want it sooner, send me a personal message, and I'll get it to you.  I also custom make entire albums. (Themes like Baby's First Year, Wedding, High School or Grade School years, etc.) Get in touch with me regarding the possibilities, prices, etc.

Check back later for a video to show you how to create this funky multi-framed page.

KISS me - Keep It Simple, Sister

Some of my favorite pages and layouts are the simplest ones. First, because they are easy to duplicate, and they usually don't take up much of my time - in the creating or duplicating. I also often like the clean, classy, simple look anyway. If every page is a gathering of elements, layers, and embellishments, it starts to feel cluttered and/or complicated - much like eating a seven-course meal every single day. Your taste buds grow impervious to the fancy food, and you soon find yourself longing for a simple hamburger on the grill.
A simple, classic look for Hannah's junior high volleyball
days.  The background paper does most of the work.  I added
a title and a couple layers on the left side, and on the right,
I simply added the arrows to point out Hannah.

Consider this your keynote sentence for today's post:  Not every page in your scrapbook has to be a masterpiece. Now, go back and read that again - out loud. Go ahead; I'll wait.

This can be a tough one for me. I take my time with almost every page, and it's usually a while before I stop saying, "Hmmm,,,it's missing something," or "It needs something else." This is just another way to get bogged down in scrapbooking with no hope of ever catching up, so the reverse perfectionism starts kicking in. You can't do things well and/or fully to your liking, so you start procrastinating, and then that procrastination becomes a sad acceptance that you'll never get to those scrapbooks like you promised yourself you would.
The background on the left is from an old calendar. I find
myself using these a lot. They make gorgeous pages, and all
I have to do is add a picture or two. Then because that page
is getting all of the attention and already has the "wow"
factor, I don't have to add much to the other side/page.

Another important thing to note is that you want the pictures to be the focus of every page. The point of scrapbooking is to show off the pictures, not necessarily the backgrounds and embellishments.

So - for your own sanity, Keep It Simple, Sister. (Not that our fellow brothers don't need this reminder, too, but how many guys do you know who'll be reading this? 😏) So, how do you do that (keep it simple)? Start by finding layouts that you like and sticking with them. Use different colors and embellishments, but  the same basic layout. That way, you don't have to think about how to lay it all out. And for a lot of double page spreads, add nothing except pictures for one of the pages (like the picture below, where I actually added nothing to both sides because I had so many pictures to include. I don't do that often - no title or embellishments for both pages - but I do it often for one side).

It's okay to do that - really. I am giving you permission; now, all you have to do is give yourself permission. And lastly, do a search on Pinterest specifically for something like, "simple scrapbook layouts." Repeat after me: Not every page has to be a masterpiece.

Now, go finish up about 3 double page spreads.  If you keep it simple, you can do that in one sitting, so go...create...scrap...enjoy your pictures.  Why are you still sitting here...go! 😉