I have a paper problem. I hoard reams of it. Magazine clippings, little admissions tickets, maps, brochures, quotes I’ve scribbled on the backs of envelopes. . .I like to keep all this junk because I am always intending to include it in our photo albums, memory books, boxes, journals, etc.
I like me some memories. . .
Preferably with copious amounts of glue or modge podge. . .
And lots of interesting details.
But what I’m coming to realize, as I stare at the various piles of (s)crap I have hidden all over the house, is if I don’t address the mementos quickly, they will be hanging out gathering dust for quite some time.
I wanted to make a memory book of Chris’ 38th birthday weekend. And I wanted to make it fast. The truth is we didn’t really do anything over-the-top special but that doesn’t mean there were some cute photos and cards and gifts to remember.
A while ago, Mac was gifted a board book version of the children’s classic Olivia. I happen to LOVE Olivia, but Mac, well, seems he hates her. Or at least he couldn’t care one bit about her. In fact, there is hardly another book in the house, he ignores more except maybe the dictionary.
Our copy of Olivia wasn’t in horrible shape. But it wasn’t in stellar shape either. . .I have tried to read it to him multiple times. . .and mostly he enjoys throwing it off the bed. I considered trying to donate Olivia, but I knew that meant it would be sitting in a corner of our basement waiting to go to The Book Thing or Goodwill. . .
So I put her to use: I used it as the starting point for Chris’ memory album. It’s a super fast and easy project you could do too with any bored err board books you have lying around:
1. Gather supplies: board book, various paper, mementos, photos, cards, scissors, pens, markers, modge podge and gesso (optional).
2. Examine the book and decide roughly how you will arrange the contents, cover design, etc.
3. You’ll want to use background paper and possibly gesso to cover at least some of the original illustrations and text in the book. For some of our background and the cover, I had Mac scribble on craft paper with washable markers, which I used as the gift wrap for Daddy’s gifts before adding it to the memory book.
4. Begin glueing, and arranging. Once the pages dry (sometimes I work in front of a fan to speed up the drying times), you can journal or make notes in the book. Continue until you have the pages filled and you are “done.”
5. I also glued a length of ribbon on the back cover of the book, which wraps around the book and ties to help keep it closed more tightly. All the extra papers and so forth in the book kinda’ makes the covers “splay” open a bit more than normal.
That’s it. Doesn’t it feel nice to have at least one special occasion fully documented? Whew!
For this particular book, since we seem to be currently loving the soundtrack from The Big Year (even Mac), I used lyrics from those songs for some of the notes in the journal. And added a few birding references – since that seems to be what we are doing a lot as a family this year. There are a million different options. . .Or you can simply journal the day’s happenings.
And don’t worry about messy hand-writing or anything. It looks best if you just relax and write as you normally would. If you make a mistake, you could use some gesso or more scrap paper to correct it.
I also incorporated some of the original text from the book. . .Things like “supposed to take a nap.”
Also, if you have some less than prime photos – say maybe from a smartphone, try altering their color to black and white prior to printing. It can really make a difference. Plus, the contrast looks nice against textured, colored, or printed paper backgrounds.