Saturday, June 30, 2012

Magazines and Memory books

I'm the first to admit that i'm a magazine junkie. Interiors and Travel are my thing. I pile them up around the house and re-read and page through and then eventually I sit down and go through all of them and tear out the pages I want to keep.

Recipes. Inspiration pages for art and paintings. Inspiration ideas for interiors. Articles on places I want to travel to.

When I was a little girl my grandfather used to pass on all his old magazines to me and I spent hours cutting out pictures of movie stars and Royalty to glue into my special scrapbook. Not much has changed - I am still cutting and gluing but it's a way of relaxing, being recharged and inspired by images and something new. I like being organized about what I keep and where it goes so it's there when I need it.

There is the huge yellow recipe book with rough handmade paper full of handwritten family and inherited recipes but also all the pages I tear from magazines, so everything is to hand - a collage of food written and glued in and anything goes.

I have had flip files for years with pages of interiors - images of Spanish tiles and dappled entrance halls. Adobe walls and aloe gardens. Over the years some pages have stayed, others have been replaced when they got outdated. The files are ever evolving but always full. I love paging through them on a quiet evening, glass of wine in hand ... they take me to faraway places in my head and remind me that my dream house can take many forms.

I have a folder for travel too - one day when I get to go to Bali or Italy or Morocco, or to the out-of-the-way hidden gems I have been collecting, I'll have all the info I need to hand. Not to take away from the adventure of discovering for myself but just to know which way to head.

And then there are my sketchbooks where I draw and stick and keep all the little gems I find along the way - ideas for colors and faces and the work of other artists i aspire to.

I love Pinterest because it's the same idea - just online - a wonderful way to collect and be inspired and share. I don't get enough time online but maybe it's just as well otherwise I'd be on there all day !

With all this paper collecting and keeping, how could I not do the same with our family photos. Nowadays it's all online - we have our photos in iphoto or somewhere on our computers or maybe we upload them to Facebook or Flickr but it's not quite the same as sitting with a photo album on your lap. When we were small my mom made us each our own album - just one - with photos from when we were babies all the way through school. Sometimes our class photo from school was the only photo for a year, or maybe some from a birthday party, but it's a wonderful way to preserve time passing. I loved that we each had our own, all 5 children of us. 

I started a memory book for both my kids when they were born. I have a small cardboard box for each child and throughout the year I throw in bits and pieces to use for the memory book when the time comes. A year's worth of anecdotes and birthday cards, scraps of drawings or tickets from the zoo. I just throw them in as I get them and throw out the ones I don't end up using. 

I buy a 12 x 12" scrapbook but don't do conventional scrapbooking inside. I print out my favorite photos from the year, usually by month as that's the easiest and make sense for the kids when they go through them later. I print them out (yes, the old fashioned way) - usually in a batch of folders for the whole year, on a CD and at my local pharmacy. Then the fun begins. I allocate pages for the year, some months where lots happened get two or three, others just one. I have fun choosing background papers and stickers and really just make collages with all of it. It's a messy fun collage format which takes a lot of pressure off making perfect pages, and also allows me to add all the bits and pieces which hold memories too. I like the fact that it's one book for a whole year - it makes me choose only the best images and stops me keeping too much. It's also really quick and easy, I can do a whole memory book in a few hours. So for once a year, that's not bad going and the memories will hopefully last them a lifetime.

My kids love them. LOVE them. I cannot tell you how many times they have pulled out one of their books and begged us to sit with them and talk through the photos and memories with them. Or the times I come into the room and find them paging through together. When my son is sad he sometimes sits for an hour and remembers friends and good times we have had, and then it's all OK again. 

I said all along that the scrapbook format books were only till after the first year of Kindergarten, after that it's online books, which is what I use for our family albums as well - again, just one a year. Shutterfly has some fantastic formats to choose from - you can use their templates or make your own. I love that you can work on an album online for weeks at a time, at your own pace, and only have to order it for print when you're ready. It can take a month or six, no matter. They have some really great ways to customize books for your own layouts and design ideas. 

And one of the best ideas I have seen on their site is a large scrapbook layout for kids artwork (Photo books, kids section, Mini Masterpieces). It's hard keeping all those gorgeous masterpieces in a big folder, or having to throw them all out over time. Even if you take photos of all the drawings and craft projects and paintings, what do you do with those ? This is a great idea - you can upload all those images and make them into one beautiful book with none of the clutter and bits of glitter falling off (although of course there's something to be said for the originals too.) I have been keeping a huge folder of artwork but now with the move I think I am going to make an online book and will just choose a few of my favorite pieces to frame for their rooms, or create a kids art gallery down a passage somewhere.

Right ... off to start choosing the photos for my 2011 memory books just in case my computer gets a wobbly on the long road to Texas and something gets erased or lost ...

Happy memory making and have a lovely weekend.


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