Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Tip for Journaling on Your Layouts

When I think about the most important aspects of a scrapbook layout I think of the photos, the memories, and the stories behind those photos and memories, AKA journaling. 

Years from now when my kids look at their albums the pictures will be exciting for them to browse...but they will probably be just as intrigued by the stories behind the pictures...they might want to know more details about the event than the pictures can ever depict.  They might want to know things like my feelings, the description of the smell of a holiday dinner cooking, reactions and conversations between people in the photos...things that they will not be able to see.  This is where journaling becomes an integral part of my scrapbooks and layouts. 

I probably journal on 95% of my layouts.  Sometimes I scrapbook a layout months, or even years, after I take the pictures...there is no way I can remember details from a funny day at the park 18 months ago, or the lyrics to a song my daughter "made up" in a long car ride last June, or the menu at Mother's Day 3 years ago...UNLESS I write them down when the memories are fresh! 

I have tried a few various methods for recording these memories...I tried keeping a calendar next to my bed and jotting down a little important information every day, this method proved to not have enough "space" to record the information I needed.  Keeping a traditional "journal" is too time consuming for me.  I would have to first write the entry, then later read and re-read it to pull out the important information that "might or might not" relate to my pictures.  This was becoming a waste of valuable scrapbook time!  I finally found a system that works wonders for me.  If you think it might work for you, give it a try.  At the very least, you will not be at a "loss" when it comes to journaling your layouts because you will have some information about the events to journal about.  This is what I do...

Every 2-3 weeks I grab my camera and a stack of 3"x5" index cards.  As I go through and "review" the photos on my memory card, I write notes about each event on an index card.  Each index card contains the information for a single topic or event.  At the top left hand side I write the topic/event/description of the pictures I have taken.  On the top right hand side I make a note of how many pictures I took of the event.  Sometimes I only take 2-3 pictures (of an "everyday" event)...sometimes I take 100 pictures (of a birthday party or Christmas morning). 

If I take a large amount of photos, I'll write a list of specific layouts I want to create for the event.  For example a birthday party list might have the following...

  • decorations

  • cake and food

  • guests

  • birthday girl/boy

  • blowing out candles

  • opening gifts

  • playing games
...In this case I make a separate index card for each of these "sub-categories"--not only am I organizing my journaling with these index cards, but I am also managing my overall layouts in my albums!!!

After I have described the event and noted the amount of photos I took of the event, I write down the date and day of the week of the event.  If I have any memorabilia (ticket stubs, programs, etc.), I also jot a note down about what I have so I don't forget to include these things when I scrapbook the layout.  I am now able to start taking "journaling" notes.  I write down my thoughts, feelings, notes, and other information that isn't "visible" in the photographs.  There are many books and website available for tips on "how to" journal better and more creatively in your scrapbooks.  My main concern right now is to get the memories down so when it comes time to do the actual journaling on a page I can remember what happened.  I can go back later and elaborate, correct spelling errors, and fix grammatical errors.  If I have these notes to help me remember what happened, I can utilize the "how to journal" articles at a later time...such as how to make my journaling more interesting, more vivid, and more cohesive.  If I cannot remember the basics, I will never be able to elaborate on the journaling and make it more interesting. 

Sometimes I choose not to elaborate on my original notes, I will simply re-write them "as is" on my layout.  The point is, I am able to include the important aspects of the event, as if it were fresh in my mind.  Whether I decide to elaborate on the journaling from my notes, or pare it down to a few quick sentences, it is right there in "black and white" and I do not have to try to remember the details.  If I have an idea for a Page Title I will also include it on the index card so I won't forget that either!

This is an example of one of my journaling index cards...

These are the pictures that go with this journaling...

Have fun getting those memories on paper while they are still fresh!!!


  1. Great idea. You have also inspired me to check out my local yard sales for treasures. I will be following your blog for more great ideas.

  2. Welcome to the world of blogging! Great start and great idea!

  3. Yeah for you for starting your blog. I just started mine the 1st of the year.

  4. Good tips there - I think I may give that a go - part of a monthly tidy up of photos. TFS :D

  5. What an AMAZING idea! As I started to read your post and you described how a calendar didn't give you enough room, and a journal was too overwhelming...I thought...what about an index card?...and low and behold, that was your idea! I can't believe the way your posts inspire me...I have to admit I've had a few "duh, why didn't I think of that" movments...for now I'm just feelin' blessed to have found such "me" type inspiration!