Journaling Mini-Course: Heart Songs

The Art & Practice of Journaling free mini-course from Simple Scrapper offers a guided path to better scrapbook journaling.

The Art & Practice of Journaling mini-course at Simple Scrapper

Lesson

I like to think of this technique as one that translates the little things in our life into ones that are oh-so-big, of elevating the sweet moments into life-long memories. When we tap into our feelings and celebrate all that we have, the words tend to flow easier.

You can recognize there is a story to tell when your eyes well up with tears, especially those bittersweet ones, or your heart swells with love when you see a specific photo. You know there is much more than just the moment captured by the image.

In some ways these stories are more abundant, but because they often are so much part of living we can overlook their significance. It is these stories though, that will most develop your ability to journal with more meaning as you explore the how and why of what matters most.

The easiest way to start brainstorming what to write is with an “I feel” or “This makes me feel” statement. You may not include these exact words in your scrapbooking, but they will get your words pointed towards revealing what you think, feel and believe about a memory.

Assignment

Choose something in your life to celebrate, like a fresh cool breeze or the tickle of your spouse’s whiskers. Spend 10 minutes writing about this topic in your journal, casually musing on how this fills your heart. Then see if you have any photos to pair with this story and scrapbook it, if you like.

  • Did your writing help you see the significance of this “little” thing in your life?
  • Does beginning with “I feel” help you get started defining the meaning behind a story?

Further Discovery

Jellybean Toes, Cheerios and Scrappin’ Hullabaloo – CD Muckosky’s life passion is sharing her heart through words, photos and art.
Journaling from the Heart – A collection of workshop material to help guide you through life with journaling.

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Journaling Mini-Course: Life is a Highway

The Art & Practice of Journaling free mini-course from Simple Scrapper offers a guided path to better scrapbook journaling.

The Art & Practice of Journaling mini-course at Simple Scrapper

Lesson

Life is full of change, of growth, of development and evolution. It is also full of physical journeys, from one place to another, towards a new home or a new adventure. These experiences often represent some of the most defining moments of our lives. The journey documents where we came from and who we are becoming today.

This is one of my favorite techniques to journal and scrapbooking, because the stories that celebrate the journey can be some of the most powerful you will ever tell. They reveal the most why and how, showcasing the backstory of why something is (or is not).

Sometimes these stories are obvious, like a trip or how your baby grows into a toddler. There are many more, though, that require a little thought and investigation. Just as you can draw connections between seemingly unrelated images (see Day 6 – Revelations), you can also reveal the journey through superficially similar photographs.

To uncover a hidden journey, thing about the emotional or psychological impact of a change in your life, even if slight. For example, you may show images of yourself at work over the years. On one hand you are grateful to have steady employment, perhaps even at the same place, but on the other perhaps you long for more excitement or to have tried different things.

Assignment

If you’ve not scrapbooked a journey before, start with something easy to get the hang of selecting photos and telling the story. The easiest way to try this approach is documenting how a person has changed (inside and out) over a specific period of time. Start with two photos or (if you can) choose a few more. After selecting photos, practice writing in your journal first before creating your page.

  • Off the top of your head, what journeys could you scrapbook that you’ve not yet documented? Is there a journey you’re nervous to share in a scrapbook?

Further Discovery

Scrapbooking Your “Then & Now” – A past blog post at Simple Scrapper on connecting past and present through words and photos.
The Scrapbooking Journey – An older print book focused on documenting emotional journeys with your scrapbook pages.

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Journaling Mini-Course: Revelations

The Art & Practice of Journaling free mini-course from Simple Scrapper offers a guided path to better scrapbook journaling.

The Art & Practice of Journaling mini-course at Simple Scrapper

Lesson

How many times in a week do you see or hear something and think “Oh, that reminds me of…”? This happens all the time for me and I do my best to be conscious of the opportunity that thought represents. I call these memory keeping revelations, those a-ha moments where your mind identifies a fantastic story that weaves time together.

Everything in our life is about connection – between people, places and things, between past and present, or between our inside and outside selves. Every moment is an opportunity to recognize those connections. With every scrapbook page, you can choose to document them.

Traditional chronological scrapbooking doesn’t necessarily support this concept. When you are caught up in the right now, you may not be able to draw those connections and see the deeper meaning (let alone journal about it).

While many scrapbookers have embraced non-chronological, scrap-what-you-want it is often easier to scrap an event or a beautiful photo. Taking this next step does require a little extra work, but as you practice, you won’t be able to stop your own flood of revelations.

Assignment

Select one recent photo you really love. Print it out or just have it open on the side of your computer screen. Browse through your photo archive to look for various others photos, from a different time period, that you can connect to this one. Choose one example to write a paragraph in your journal about. Finally, consider incorporating these revelations into your journal-keeping.

  • Have you ever scrapbooked a story not related to the time or place of the photo?
  • Have you ever paired two seemingly unrelated photos to tell a story?

Further Discovery

Vintage Photos: Making Connections – This blog post shares examples of how scrapbookers have told richer stories by uncovering the connections between images.
Scrapping Real Life (Or Is It?) – A discussion on how some scrapbooks portray a glossier image/story on their pages than what is reality.

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Simple Tip Saturday with Kelly Sroka

Simple Tip Saturday series this year, I’m inviting fresh voices into the mix. Today we’re hearing from Simple Scrapper team member Kelly Sroka with her simple tip.

Simple Tip Saturday with Kelly Sroka

What is one way you simplify scrapbooking?

When I first started Project Life, I could never remember what our family did from day to day. I would sit down to journal on my cards and draw a complete blank! What did we do on Tuesday? What movie did we watch on Friday night? To simplify this process, I started using Oh Life. Every evening I receive an e-mail that asks me what I did that day. I write a few short sentences about our daily events and hit send. When I am ready to journal about that day, I can go to the website and read my notes.

What problem does it solve for you?

Now that I am using Oh Life, I always have a record of what our family has been doing. I can quickly and easily document our activities in my Project Life album. I can write about events even when I do not have a specific photo to use. My journaling is now much more interesting and full of detail.

Why do you think it works so well?

The Oh Life program works well for me because I am usually at my computer in the evening. An e-mail pops up, I record the details for the day, and then send the reply on its way. (The e-mail always notes what I wrote a year ago. It is really interesting to see what our family was doing on the same day last year!) Later on, when I am ready to work on my Project Life album, I just go to the website and read what I have written.

How can others get started with it?

Signing up for Oh Life is simple—just go the the website at www.ohlife.com. The program is free and extremely easy to use. Oh Life does not, however, have a mobile app. There are a number of other programs (some free, some for a fee) that do work with smartphones and tablets. Day One (dayoneapp.com) is one I highly recommend for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Others include Everday Timeline for Mac and Diaro for Android.

Simple Tip Saturdays are for sharing easy ideas to grab and run.

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Journaling Mini-Course: Paths to Deeper Meaning

The Art & Practice of Journaling free mini-course from Simple Scrapper offers a guided path to better scrapbook journaling.

The Art & Practice of Journaling mini-course at Simple Scrapper

Lesson

There are many ways to slice and dice the scrapbook community. One method divides scrapbookers between those who emphasize the creative process and those who emphasize telling the important stories of life. Of course there are some that regard either aspect equally as well, but I believe they are the minority. Most of us lean one way or another, and I suspect those of you here at Simple Scrapper prefer to focus on the stories.

The reason I point this out is because there are just so many stories to tell and just so little time in our lives. To me, this means that each layout should really count – should do its best to celebrate the small slice or big chunk of life it represents. You need words to do that though, and more than just a few.

That said, it isn’t just about writing more. Adding more meaning to your journaling is about uncovering more of the story than the photo’s simple facts. This is where your journal-keeping practice comes in. As you spend a little more time writing outside of your scrapbook pages, you will naturally discover the key paths to deeper meaning, the how and why of the story:

  • relationships – why the subjects and their history matter
  • changes – how the subject has developed over time
  • traditions – why the subject is meaningful to your family
  • journeys – how the subject has traveled (emotionally or physically)

Assignment

Look at 10 of your most recent scrapbook pages and answer the following questions:

  • Is there journaling on each page?
  • Does the journaling go beyond who, what, when and where?
  • If you already write a lot, does the journaling hit on the why and how?

Now choose one scrapbook page and use your journal to explore more of the story. Compare what you originally wrote on the page with what could have been. Don’t have any regrets – instead use this wisdom to inform how you create your next page.

Further Discovery

Meaningful Journaling – A blog post with simple guidance on going deeper in your scrapbook storytelling.
Your Words, Your Story – A print book dedicated to helping you improve your scrapbook page journaling.

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