the gift of memories
We’ve invited our friend and former Creative Team member (and forever a part of our Project Life® family) Autumn Nguyen to share with us today. Autumn is one of my favorites to follow on Instagram. She is a self-proclaimed photo addict, science nerd, mother, runner, and while I haven’t actually sat in her classroom myself, I’d be willing to bet she’s one of the coolest teachers around. We adore Autumn, and one of the things we love so much about her is that not only is she a Project Lifer and so, so, so good at documenting her family’s story, but she SHARES scrapbooks as gifts – a lot. She has blessed the lives of many, and we invited her to share some inspiration with you today.
Growing up, my mom always gave the gift of handmade items. She up-cycled clothes from moo-moos for me and my sister, made clothes for our dolls, and knitted the most beautiful garments. My sister, who takes after my mom, makes the most finely-detailed hand-knits I’ve ever seen. I’m often the lucky recipient of her fine work.
Naturally, I’m a huge fan of handmade gifts. I find great joy in giving to others. And because I’m obsessed with photos and stories, I enjoy giving the gift of memories. In this digital age, I find that it is even more important to get those memories into print.
Gifting memories has always been my thing. I love traditional scrapbooking, but it took me hours to create a layout for a family member or friend. Project Life changed all of that for me. Yep. It is simple and fast and the kits are absolutely gorgeous!
Last December, I had this grand idea of making albums for those I love. December was a busy month — I was juggling December Daily (a project created by Ali Edwards), working full time as a middle-school science teacher, and making the holiday season magical for a then three year old — but Project Life made it possible for me to make seven (you read that right, SEVEN) gift albums.
Here’s a look at some of the books I made:
My brother, Hung, proposed to his fiancé, Simone, back in November, so I created a book to document their story. The album includes photos from both families (with notes to Simone from her mom) and stories of their life in their favorite cities leading up to their engagement. I left some of the journaling cards blank for Simone and Hung to do some of their own journaling.
Simone loved the book (and spent hours looking at it, recalling her favorite memories with my brother). She was pleasantly surprised to see that her parents had contributed to the album. (Once the wedding takes place, I’ll ask for the book back to add to their story — or maybe she will be inspired to do it herself since Project Life is so easy and doable for everybody.)
For My Family
I made a book for each family member to document the evolution of their relationship with Samuel over a period of time. I picked photos from 4-6 stories per year and used 6”x8” albums to record the stories. Each book is specific to a person in my family and their time with Samuel. Currently, the albums hold photos and stories of the last four years — and it is pretty awesome to see how the relationship and play and interaction has changed in that time.
Below is a sampling of a few of the pages from the books — I did not get a chance to take many photos of these projects because I finished them just in time to give them away.
Everybody in my family loved the idea of documenting little snapshots of their time with Samuel and having these stories gathered in one book. Our home was filled with so much joy and giggles and laughter as they gathered around to share their books.
From here on out, I plan to add 4-6 stories a year to their albums at the end of each year (love the idea of making it a Christmas tradition). I’m hoping to cover a period of 10 years in an album.
For Ashlyn (and her mama)
Samuel met Ashlyn on his own one afternoon at a local park. They played beautifully together for over an hour that afternoon. As their friendship unfolded, they learned that, among other things, they are both passionate about horses. This album captures the innocence, magic, and joyfulness of being three. (And the Playful Edition is the perfect kit to document this budding friendship!)
For the Love of Horses
Samuel has been in love with horses since he was 15 months. He rode his first horse at 20 months. He is now 4 years old and his obsession with horses takes us all over the place. I initially made this album for him in December of 2013 and updated it again this past year. This album includes photos and stories from each horse riding lesson and horse encounter from 2012-2014.
Friends come and go, but they always hold a special place in our hearts. I recently started this album for my son to document special friends in his life from year to year.
This is Becky again. Isn’t she so inspiring!? Thank you, Autumn! What a gift you have, and how blessed are your friends and family for sharing that gift!
Everyone: Consider the smaller size (a 6×8 album, which has 2 rings and you would insert pages) or a Mini Album (which is 9×8 and the pages are already stitched in) for a smaller-scale project. For someone else, or even for YOU! Autumn used a variety of Project Life products, all of which can be found in our online shop and some of which can be found at your local craft / scrapbook store.