In the summer of 2002, I went to China with my family. My brother played with a youth orchestra that was doing a two-week tour through four cities, and there was an opportunity for families to travel with them in a “parallel” tour. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime chances, and so my parents and I went along!
That trip was the catalyst my first “actual” “archival” scrapbook. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but I bought myself a red fabric strap-hinge album, a multi-pack of 8.5″x11″ cardstock, some Elmer’s acid-free adhesive, and a Fiskars trimmer.
That was before I had a digital camera. I had a nice SLR, and I set myself a limit of taking only about one roll of film per day. We saw several tourist sites each day, usually, so it was hard to limit my photo-taking (though now, after so many years of digital, I cannot even imagine limiting myself to so few photos each day at so many sites!). I was super-organized about my photo-taking, too. I kept a notebook with me, and for each shot, I wrote a note of what it was. After I got the rolls of film developed, I went through and labeled every single print with the date and the caption I’d recorded in my notebook.
I also kept a detailed journal. Even then, I knew that there would be so much to remember and that my memory would not hold it all. I can’t remember now when I wrote in that journal, but it is thorough!
When we got home from China and I had all of the film developed and the prints labeled, I put them all into my strap-hinge album– right onto those white pages! (Old-school, baby.) I added cardstock accents, too, and managed to make little fold-outs and booklets to get as many photos into that album as possible.
What I didn’t know then was that it is critical for me to add journaling to a page before I move onto the next one. I thought that I could batch-process it: photos, then journaling, but somewhere along the way, I lost momentum. No wonder, because the album is 62 pages (counting each face of each physical page) long!!! I even remember bringing my supplies to my grandma’s house and working on it, sitting at her couch with a TV tray or two in front of me.
So, I journaled on about five pages and then stopped. ::sigh:: For fifteen years, that album has haunted me. I moved it with me to graduate school, then to our first house, and now to the house in which I currently live. Every January, when I started to think about projects I wanted to complete that year, the China scrapbook would float to mind. But frankly, it seemed like a really boring project, compared to my current scrapbooking (which is a dramatically different style now!).
But a couple things happened at the end of this January that really brought that scrapbook to mind. I caught a little travel video that was “Top 5 Attractions in Shanghai”– and I realized I’d been to at least four of them! It got me remembering more about the trip, seeing the images of those sites, and I pulled my album off the shelf. Then, a post popped up in the Scrap Gals Facebook Community– a member started a “Finish-it February” thread. I cannot resist a challenge like that! Rather than work on one of the (many) other projects I should finish, I decided to work on this China album at last.
So here’s the plan.
I’d like to stick to my 2003 style, even though it is so different from my current scrapbook style. I’d like to add captions to every page, based on my journal and my photo notes. I’d like to finish any pages that still need to be assembled (and of course caption those, too).
There are 62 pages. (Sheesh.) If I do the equivalent of a spread of pages (2 pages) each day in February, I can just about finish the thing. I have no idea if this is sustainable. There may be days that I can complete more than 2 pages, which will help me with those days when I can’t allocate time to this project. For now, I’m going to aim for that pace, and whatever happens, I will still have gotten this album closer to completion!
I started working on it today, and realized that I had to make some design decisions in order to make these pages satisfying while still maintaining that sparse 2003 style. I am using my Project Life 0.01 black pen to write the captions straight onto the pages like in my original style, and I am going to add in print-and-cut labels that I make on my Silhouette to title the pages and perhaps add additional journaling where necessary.
I managed to complete the captioning on two pages (pictured below in their “before” state) today, so I guess I’m off to a good start! Wish me luck…