tribute albums for the swapp family
A month ago my dear friend Heidi Swapp and her family experienced an unimaginable tragedy. I immediately felt that something could be done. I knew it would never take away the pain, but putting together tribute albums that hold pieces of love and support and memories of Cory? Well, this could very well be a source of strength for the Swapp family. At the very least, these albums are like a group hug from hundreds of friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers.
And let me tell you… you guys showed up. We collected over 850 notes between the viewing and funeral and those that were mailed to our office in Arizona. You guys, thank you SO much for participating. We know how much Heidi means to many of you (and some of you reading this actually knew Cory and have real relationships with the Swapps)… so we wanted to share this experience with you so you can feel even more a part of it.
We recently gathered together as a team and some of the kids even came to help out. Even though they didn’t know Cory personally, these kids are either his age or close enough so there was a connection and devastation that they felt as well. Coming together was super special for all of us involved and a day that none of us will forget. I feel very honored for the opportunity and honestly we had a lot of fun putting these pages and albums together.
Step one: Open ALL the mail.
We loved seeing where all of the mail came from — many, many states and several different countries.
We were there and just as involved as the kids. I was happy to share a little overview / direction / instruction on how we envisioned these albums coming together. There was a little math involved, which helped us to spread things out fairly evenly. There ended up being 850+ notes and about 200 photos, so that meant that each 8×8 page had a ratio of 1 picture : 3 notes.
We are so grateful to Persnickety Prints who provided the 4×4 pictures to include in the album. These are the same pictures Heidi gathered that Persnickety printed to have on display at the viewing and funeral. The quality is beautiful. And the 4×4 size works so well with our divided 8×8 Photo Pocket Pages.
We are documenters, you know, so it comes as no surprise that there was a lot of picture-taking going on that day. I think it’s actually pretty funny that Kara captured two of us snappity-snappy at the same moment.
Selfie stick for the win. Man, I love these girls. And their families.
We were blown away at some of the notes sent in and the time & thought that went into these 4×4 cards. And we were equally touched by some of these notes sent specifically to us. Plus… hello awesome handwriting? Would it surprise you if I mentioned that we actually flagged a few to see about turning some penmanship into fonts that we can make available for everyone? Yeah, win-win.
We have these bowls (from Target) in our break room, which really came in handy when we were pulling all of the cards out of envelopes and dividing them up across the table in our conference room.
You can’t hear it, but music was playing the whole time and as serious and concentrated as everyone looks here, we really just loved what we were doing so much and had the best time.
Every note and photo slipped into the divided 8×8 pages. Easy breezy and so fast (especially because we had a small army; many hands make light work)!
The Holt’s pup, Twix, was even hanging out with us so they didn’t have to leave him home alone the day after having a procedure.
For those of you who emailed us a 4×4 note, Kari sat on her laptop for a good chunk of time and got all of those formatted properly and printed out so they made it into the albums, too.
There were a few photos and cards that weren’t quite 4×4, so our solution for those was washi tape! Again — super easy and fast.
We did receive some notes and cards and letters that were too big for the 4×4 pockets, but that was no problem at all to incorporate those.
The solution? We used our 8×8 Envelope Pages, which are just like our other Envelope Pages. They’re sturdy, have an easy closure, and are excellent for holding greeting cards, memorabilia, and anything else. They also have 3 holes in the spine which line up perfectly with our page protectors and the album rings of course.
A very special thank you to the Holt, Chase, and Howe families for carving out some time in their day to come join us for this project. It was only a couple hours with this many helpers and honestly so much more fun than me sitting at home watching movies and doing it by myself. ; )
These albums are now complete and ready to ship to the Swapp family. As cards continue to trickle in, please know that they will absolutely be added to the albums.
We (Kari) made the labels by printing low-opacity pictures of Cory (from Heidi’s collection) and adding numbers digitally, then we simply printed them on cardstock and slipped them into the label holders. These 8×8 Faux Leather Albums are available in Cherry and Black, as well.
Part of cultivating a good life is doing our part to lighten the burden of others however we can. Honestly, I don’t know that these albums will be easy for the Swapps to look at immediately, as the loss is so new and the feelings are so raw. When they’re ready to flip through these pages where so much love is being showered on their family, my prayer is that they will FEEL that support and that this will help them to keep Cory close in some small way.