ScrapMoir How To #28: Scraps of Life for Scrapbooking and Writing Memoir

by Bettyann Schmidt on April 7, 2011

catnav-scrapmoir-active-3Post #80 – Women’s Memoir Writing, ScrapMoir – Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Scraps of Life for Scrapbooking and Writing Memoir

by Bettyann Schmidt

Scrapbooking isn’t about scraps of paper and photos. Scrapbooking is about scraps of life – yours and those special to you. ~Rebecca Sower

More True Today Than Ever

Have you seen any of the old scrapbooks bound by cord with black pages, where the pictures are captured with the photo corners on the page? Where the owner used a silver pen to document the who, where, and when?

I have one of those from my deceased mother-in-law.

I also have my own version which actually holds my husband’s family photos. I lifted them from my mother-in-law’s old scrapbook and placed them in my black leather album and wrote some stories she told me before she died, and some from my husband’s memory.

Scrapbooking is a big business these days. And just when I think it’s time has come and gone once more, another generation of young girls (and possibly some guys) pops up and reminds me that treasuring your memories never goes out of style.

Some of my favorite album layouts have been created on those classic black pages with little more decoration than a narrow border down one side and a story penned with silver or white ink. Those simple pages whisper elegance to my soul and forever memories. Like the old ones from yesteryear, I know this sleek, leather-bound book will withstand whatever life has in store.

However, deep as I am currently in the work of my family memoir, I’ve opted for a more streamlined approach to page creation.

Digital Life Scraps

A person is neither whole nor healthy without the memories of photo albums. They are the storybook of our lives. They provide a nostalgic escape from the tormented days of the present. ~Patrick Garry

Grandma and Aunt Dot-clifton

These layouts of today I’m creating with my vintage photos will be bound and self-published into a book that will stand in line with my scrapbook albums. In this way, I’m still doing the work of scrapbooking, just in a different way.  I’m combining memoir and scrapbooking.

Yes, which equals a ScrapMoir.

This week I listed on my blog some of the resources I’m using to write my book. My digital scrapbook software, some free downloads from the web—along with some purchased products—and a few handy-dandy add-ons like family trees and charts.  Click below on my blog link to see the entire post. You’ll also see a rather not-so-simple layout of my Grandma in the yard of one of the first homes I remember. I do like to “play” a little with all of the available products at hand.

new year's eve

This layout, featuring a picture taken on New Year’s Eve 1950, was fun to create. I think the “party” aspect called my right-sided brain out to play. Still, there’s a story there, and I know my cousins will love this page in the book.

Your World History

Not every page in the family memoir, of course, will be a scrapbook layout. I’m using them interspersed throughout to highlight the memorable stories. Some pages will simply contain text. Some will have photos without a layout. Some will bear pictures of documents. On Ancestry, and other genealogical sites, you have the ability to download these important elements of your family history. Census records, birth and death certificates, marriage license reports.

Recently, on Ancestry, I clicked on another member’s “Tree” that came up on my page as possibly relating to my family. Turns out she is a third removed relative of mine. She had posted a picture on her page of one of my grandmother’s sisters and the house she died in. This was a huge bonus for my book.  And a new member of my family!

Another asset to your family history is providing historical world and local events that take place during the era of which you’re writing. I’ve found vintage photos from Cincinnati in various archives that I can use with images of my ancestors to show what the city looked like then, or events that were taking place at that time. For instance, the 1839 Flood that my mother witnessed, while living on the banks of the Ohio River.

Some photographs need to be purchased, but the prices of these are not a hindrance in most cases, especially considering the importance they add to your work.

In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are and where we came from.~Alex Haley Author

Give some thought to using a few selected scrapbook techniques to create family history pages, either for an album or maybe your own family memoir. I consider this project my life’s work. This will be the best gift you can give anyone.

Download a free copy of my e-book here on Women’s Memoirs: ScrapMoir: 7 Steps to Combining Your Photos, Your Memories, Your Stories. You can sign up for this informative e-book near the top of the right column on this page, or, click here.

Bettyann Schmidt

Be sure to join me on my blog, CraftWriter’s Journal




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