You may have noticed, or I may have mentioned, that I’m a bit of a broken record. I tend to circle back to the same thoughts over and over. And one of my themes is “fixing” things that I made in the past, re-doing them based on my current style and tastes.
I’m considering pulling apart more scrapbook albums and re-making them…
as if I need another project…
it’s not like I’m on top of the projects I’m already doing…
but since when has that meant anything?!
Some time ago I heard Lisa Moorefield on a podcast talking about a big change she made in her scrapbooks to convert them to a more manageable size, something she called the Scrapbook Diet. She had made a lot of pages over the years, but she didn’t have complete albums, and they weren’t convenient to store or look at. I think she said she had fallen out of love with the hobby. So she took what a lot of people would consider to be extreme measures. She cut some of her pages down to eliminate the wasted white space. She also realized that a lot of her pages didn’t tell the stories behind the photos, so she re-made some of them with fewer photos and a lot more story. She photographed her original pages so she had a record of them, but she wanted to create smaller storybooks that her kids could read and enjoy.
It got me thinking. I am full of stories. I have a strong interest in memoir and personal storytelling. But I also love photos, and I love storytelling with photos. I have a few older albums which are haphazard and function more as photo albums than scrapbooks. I was working with film photos, so I didn’t take photos often. I would end up with a bunch of photos from one event and then nothing until some other big event happened. The pages don’t have a strong artistic aspect and a lot of the supplies I used now look very dated. I really hate some of the papers. I used a lot of cheap paper packs with designs that I would never have picked out if I was buying paper sheet by sheet. Some of the photos are cut into odd shapes, which is a dated look, but I can live with that. Most of the pages are pretty unattractive, and they’re not necessarily important stories or events either.
But the big problem is that the stories aren’t there on the page. For instance, there are a few pages about buying our house that just say “we bought a house” and the date. There are a couple of small captions, but the story of how long we’d been looking, where we looked, why we chose this town, what that meant, what any of it meant to us, is missing. I remember (for now) but the story feels incomplete. It seems like we bought a house out of the blue, which is only partially true. If I showed someone these pages I would end up talking for several minutes explaining how we came to buy this house – so that story should be on the page!
I’m debating what to do about that. I don’t have to cut down scrapbook pages or remake albums like Lisa Moorefield did. Some of the pages are awful and looking at them makes me want to rip them apart, but others I like and would want to keep as they are. As I am sure I’ve said before (back when I was doing my Japan photo book) I still intend to keep my five 12×12″ albums in the closet. At least for now. (Actually looking back at my post about the Japan photo books I didn’t plan to keep the books intact forever, but now I feel like I will.) So if I keep the albums as is, how can I complete them with the stories?
I could add typed or handwritten pages of story into the album. That would be the least disruptive plan. But typed pages are not very fun and most people aren’t going to take the time to read them. (Not that anyone looks at my albums anyway).
Or I could reprint a few key photos for each story and create a new smaller page that includes the story, and then I would have a smaller album (or photo books) with more stories, more complete, and that album could fit on my shelf with the others. The old albums would still be complete as they are, honoring what they are.
I think I’m leaning towards this latter approach. I have a lot of options for how to handle these storybook albums and I could fill them in with more stories, even the ones I don’t have photos for. I think I will start by writing some of the stories for my existing pages and see how much enthusiasm I have for the project. If I run out of steam, there’s no harm done.
I actually have 3 other scrapbook/journal projects in mind based on things I heard on this same podcast (The Paperclipping Roundtable), so there’s a chance that I’m not going to follow through with this plan! But I hope that in the future I will include more stories in my albums. I don’t know if there’s a good reason why I often leave the stories out – if it’s a resistance to seeing my writing on the page, or not wanting to share stories publicly, or if it has more to do with the extra time or space it takes to write the details. Maybe I will figure that out along the way.
Is it just me, or did I just repeat the word “stories” way too many times?! :)
I better sign off and get to doing these projects instead of just thinking and telling you about them!
Thanks for stopping by.
Gosh, we were just talking about projects yesterday as both Mary and I need one, especially over the winter months. Lynn is working on hers. Glad to see you won’t destroy the old albums as they are time capsules in every way. Sometimes I leave an album on the coffee table so it gets looked at by visitors. I have 10000’s of photos. I bet you have lots more than me. Love froggie. Live ones gone. LOL Dale
I guess what I need is visitors!
Sorry to hear that the frogs have gone awol, but I figured they might. At least you have a little reminder of their visit :)
Wow, thanks for the mention! :) And I totally understand where you’re coming from. It feels great to finally write down those stories, and I love your idea of making a supplemental album with stories and keeping the original albums. Good luck to you!
Thanks, Lisa! And thanks for the inspiration :)