before you had kids, you had a story
As documenters, we have a myriad of stories that we are recording in albums so our families and generations to come will know and understand who we are, what we love, why our various relationships are important, and how we lived our lives day-to-day. One story that can be easy to overlook is our personal story – the one that was lived before we became adults, spouses, and/or parents. And yet this story is an integral part of how we became who we are today.
We are delighted to have Jennifer Wilson sharing her thoughts + ideas on this very topic with us. We also have an opportunity for you to win a seat in a new class that she will teaching at Big Picture Classes beginning next week! Take it away, Jennifer ….
See that photo at the top? It all started there.
A few years ago my mom had copies made of photos that had been framed. They were horribly faded and I was sad to see images I treasured destroyed by time.
This particular photo was not so much about me but that person sitting next to me (my grandma) and the big yellow glider that now sits on my own porch.
It held so many memories of growing up in southwest Michigan and, until I was 9, living just one town away from my grandparents. I was at their house almost every weekend, and I was a favorite helper in the kitchen and in the garden.
Last year I visited my parents and started digging through photo albums from my growing up years. I turned the page in one album and was stunned. There was the original photo of me in the glider, mostly unaltered after 30+ years.
I knew this image had to be scrapbooked.
Since my daughter’s birth, I had wanted to scrapbook my life before her. I just didn’t know how I could pull it off. My photos (thousands of them) were at my parents’ house and creating an album with dozens of 12×12 layouts felt intimidating.
But I wanted to make this happen, for my daughter and for me. Opening up the albums of my childhood and finding this special photo offered just the momentum I needed to get started.
I figured out that if I scanned a small selection of images that really stood out to me, it would all be doable. And most importantly, I realized that if I used Project Life® products, I could create a meaningful album in a matter of weeks.
In my album I tell dozens of stories that span more than three decades of my life, from birth to adulthood. I used the classic Design A page protectors for most of those stories, using just my photos and journaling cards from the Cut & Paste mini kit.
I included a few 6×12 images and layouts to dress it up, but the heart of this album are those pockets. One by one, I shared pieces of my story that were previously undocumented. I got the breadth of my first thirty-one years down so that when my daughter asks about before, I have a place to start.
I completed this project not only with a richer legacy but also with knowledge of how to scrapbook full decades or more with Project Life. Here are a few key takeaways:
Focus & Prioritize – When you’re scrapbooking large time frames, you can’t possibly cover everything. Concentrate on capturing the memories that matter most and don’t get bogged down in what’s being excluded. You can always do more later.
Use Dividers – Try to compartmentalize your life by categories or distinct periods to make storytelling flow easier and group like-stories together. With this, the Project Life dividers are perfect for visually breaking up the album.
Keep it Simple – I would still be working on this project if I did more than write on the journaling cards. This project reminded me that Becky creates beautiful products that don’t need anything besides your own handwriting.
There’s one more thing I’d like you to know. This passion project formed the basis of a new workshop I’m teaching at Big Picture Classes. Together we’ll use Project Life products to tell your birth-to-adulthood story simply and easily. Check out the trailer video in the link below.
Big Picture Classes is giving away a seat in Before Your Story to two of Becky’s readers. To enter, leave your name + city + state/country in the comments below. We will announce the winners at the bottom of this post on Monday. Be sure to check back.
Congratulations to the following 2 ladies! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your seat.
Janine Finucane in Westlake, Ohio
Tine Bergersen in Vingorm, Norway