Archive for the ‘China album’ Category

It’s finished, it’s finished, it’s finished!!!  I am so excited and proud to say that my China album is complete.  I added all of the memorabilia, all of the journaling, all of the titles, and even a few stickers!

Just a reminder, you can see all the posts about my 2002 China album project by clicking THIS LINK.  I started this album in 2002 but never added the journaling.  It’s been on my mind (and my scrapbook shelf) ever since, and a Finish-it-February thread in the Scrap Gals Facebook community inspired me to try and finish it during February (and March!!) 2017.  My intention was to stay as true to the 2002 style as possible, even though my aesthetic has changed dramatically in the intervening 15 years!    

At the end of February, I had all but four pages finished.  Throughout March (which has been quite a month), I managed to finish those last remaining bits of the album:

Two pages that started with just photos (and a bit of memorabilia) in place:

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Dirt Market – before

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Dirt Market – after

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the Last Evening – before

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Last Evening – after

And the two (which became three) pages that started with just memorabilia+photos:

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Trip Home (in my original plan, this was to be a single, left-hand page, ending the album.  However, I had so many photos, memorabilia items, and journaling to include that I needed to make a two-page spread.  The back of the right hand page became the final page of the album…)

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the final page of the album (shows a group photo of the “parallel tour” group with whom I traveled, as well as a sticker sheet that was given to me by one of the women on the trip)

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Title Page (this page includes the badge that we all wore the entire time we were in China.  The reverse has the name and contact information for each hotel where we stayed– both in English and Chinese characters, in case we got lost– we could just find a taxi and point at the appropriate information and get back…)

In a previous post, I mentioned that I had added all of the city titles to the pages, too.  I cut the lettering using my Silhouette SD and the font “akaDora.” Here they all are, together.



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Great Wall

Even though I am a little disappointed that it took 15 years to finish this project, I do think that the delay had some benefits.  This album was the very first “archival” scrapbook I’d ever made.  When I put it together right after my trip, I did start to add some writing.  But the writing I added was mostly basic captions.  In the intervening years, I’ve learned a lot about memory-keeping and doing more storytelling in my albums.  I think that because I waited this long to complete the album, the story of our trip is more fully present in the album pages themselves than it may have been if I’d just captioned everything right away.  I am so, so thankful that I kept such a detailed journal.  My story was taken almost directly from its pages, and it brought back so many memories.

I’d like to share a flip-through video that I made of the album.  The still photos in all of these posts don’t quite capture the volume of photos and journaling that I did end up including in this album.  Almost every page is interactive, with flaps and accordians and pockets.  In almost every case, business cards, tickets, and brochures are attached in such a way that they can be removed.  Enjoy!


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I’m a little late posting my progress for week 4 of Finish-it-February, and I must admit, this album didn’t (YET) get completely finished  (wop wop).  BUT BUT BUT!!!  I am almost finished!  I have two pages that need journaling.  I have one page to do from scratch (the plane journey home), and the title page to put together.  And THEN!  It will be DONE!  A 15-year project.  Ha!  I’d say I made a pretty good showing for February, considering I started out with 62 pages in this album!

This week, I also added die-cut titles to the pages that begin each city section (we traveled to four main cities, and took day trips to two others, plus the Great Wall).  You’ll see a sneak peek with the city title on my Shanghai page, but I’m going to share them all in a final post when I finish the album.  Because this time, I really am going to finish it.  I can taste it now.  …even though it might be a while–a few weeks?– because I have some high-priority stuff going on in the background these days, and so this project is put into the “only if there is extra spare time” category…

Just a reminder, you can see all the posts about my 2002 China album project by clicking THIS LINK.  I started this album in 2002 but never added the journaling.  It’s been on my mind (and my scrapbook shelf) ever since, and a Finish-it-February thread in the Scrap Gals Facebook community inspired me to try and finish it during February 2017.  My intention was to stay as true to the 2002 style as possible, even though my aesthetic has changed dramatically in the intervening 15 years!    

Here are the pages I finished in the fourth week of February:


Summer Palace – before


Summer Palace – after (There is additional journaling under the flap made by the photo on the bottom left.)


Beijing Concert – before


Beijing concert – after

It was at this point that I decided that instead of finishing the end of the album, I would go to the beginning and work up to the point where I started in the first week of February.


the plane journey to China – before


the plane journey to China – after (I haven’t yet printed-and-cut the title tag for this page… it will be added soon!)


Shanghai hotel – before


Shanghai hotel – after (I don’t think I needed to add anything except another key card holder that I had in my stash of extra ephemera)


Shanghai bus tour – before


Shanghai bus tour – after (This became the introductory page for this first city that we visited.  You get a sneak peek of the way I’m going to cut out my titles from cardstock to add to the beginning of each city section. The top left and bottom two photos lift to reveal photos underneath; the caption tags line up when they are closed.)


Scenes in Shanghai – before


Scenes in Shanghai – after (The original page had a photo flap (see the dark red diamond?) that lifted to reveal another photo and more journaling.  There were two problems– the journaling in black pen was hard to read on the darker cardstocks, and the flap itself was getting bent every time I closed the album.  I took it apart, redid the captions on white strips, and now the only interactive elements on this page are the pockets for the city maps.)


Currency – before

I don’t have an “after” photo of the currency page because it’s quite simple and still needs the title tag.  I’ll show it when I share the die cut titles.


Jade Buddha Temple – before


Jade Buddha Temple – after


Yu Gardens – before


Yu Gardens – after (This was one of the very few nearly-completed pages in the whole album, the other being the Oriental Pearl TV tower page that I started with in week 1)


Acrobatic show – before


Acrobatic Show – after (In contrast to its facing page, this one started with nothing but a program/brochure for the show– no photos!  

After this Acrobatic Show page was finished, I had caught up to where I’d begun in week 1, so I went back to the end of the album and our time in Beijing…


Temple of Heaven (left) – before


Temple of Heaven (right) – before


Temple of Heaven (spread) – after

Like I said, I don’t have much left to finish before the whole album is completed! I will share more when it’s done– hopefully by the end of March! We shall see…

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I’m closing in on the finish line!  Wooo hooo!  In the third week of February, I was only able to complete five and a half spreads of my 2002 China album (four of them were in one day!), because other obligations needed to be prioritized over scrapbooking.  However, I think I’m still on track for actually finishing the album during Finish-it February!  Wish me luck, haha!

Even though the pages below don’t look like they have a lot of changes in terms of journaling– they really do.  I think as I got closer to the end of assembling this album back in 2002, I was getting tired, and I started combining multiple sites onto single pages (or splitting a spread into three secions!).  This means that most of the journaling that I’ve added is hidden behind photo flaps.  I have a LOT of interactive elements in this album.  I’m actually contemplating doing a little video overview of the album when it’s finished just to show all of the moving parts and reveal where I’ve hidden SO MUCH writing!

I finally got smart this week (I have no idea how it took me so long to do this  ::palm smack to forehead::) and started drawing in pencil lines to keep my writing straight on the page.  Most of it is hidden, but it still makes me much happier to have it tidily straight(er) rather than have drooping lines.

Because I think it’s interesting, here again are the before-and-after comparisons of the pages I worked on in this third week of February:


Forbidden City – before


Forbidden City – after (this page faces the Tiananmen Square page in my previous post)


Tea Ceremony/Peking Duck Dinner – after (I forgot to take a “before” photo of this page)


Panda Zoo – before


Panda Zoo – after


Traditional Medicine/Lamasery – before


Traditional Medicine/Lamasery – after (The top two photos on the right lift to reveal a second photo each and a lot of journaling.)


Confucian Temple/McDonalds – before


Confucian Temple/McDonald’s – after (this page and the previous page – Traditional Medicine/Lamasery – are facing each other.  We did all of these things in one day and the story is connected across the two pages.)


Great Wall – before


Great Wall – after (This photo makes it look like I didn’t do much, but every one of those dark red squares is actually a flap (or a couple) that lifts to reveal more photos– and under every one of them is A LOT of journaling.  The Great Wall was one of my absolute favorite sites that we saw, and it was so beautiful that I didn’t want to distract from the beautiful vistas in the photos with tons of text.  When I add die-cut city titles, I will also be adding “Great Wall” to this page in the top left corner, where I will also adhere the label with “Badaling Section.”)


Ming Tombs (left) – before


Ming Tombs (left) – after


Ming Tombs (right)/Peking Opera – before (not much!  Just some ephemera and some loose photos of the Ming Tombs)


Ming Tombs (right)/Peking Opera – after


Ming Tombs/Peking Opera spread – after (This was a strange spread.  I’m not sure exactly what I was thinking back in 2002, but the Ming Tombs section spans the break in the spread.  Again, these events all happened in one day– the far left is lunch after the Great Wall, then we went to the Ming Tombs, and that night we saw the Peking Opera performance.  Man, we did a LOT each day.)


Et Cetera – before


Et Cetera – after (This page (and the bottled water page, shown next) is nearly at the end of the album; it contains miscellaneous ephemera and photos that don’t necessarily need to be in the timeline of the story of the trip.  I skipped to this spread because a story came up in my journal that pertained to one of the labels on this page, and I wanted to get it recorded in the scrapbook while I was on that journal page!)


Bottled Water – before


Bottled Water – after



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I’m so happy to say that I’m keeping up with a better-than-one-spread-per-day rate of finishing up my China album!  I added journaling and title tags to 8.5 spreads in the second week of February.

It’s an interesting project to work on.  Since I’ve committed to just keeping my 2002 style in the album, it means that I’m basically just writing on the pages and doing minimal design work.  The biggest decisions I make are usually where to put that writing!  Occasionally, there are repairs to be made, and in a few cases, I’ve reorganized the photos.  There are a few pages I’ve had to make from scratch, but because of those sketches I made back in 2002, it hasn’t been too hard to put them together.

For these reasons, finishing a spread is actually pretty quick.  I decide where the writing goes and copy it down onto my page.  It’s been surprisingly relaxing!  It has been a bit of a gift: This month so far, I have been feeling quite uncreative this month due to seemingly unrelenting sickness, weather, general busyness…) and it’s great to feel like I’m being productive on a project nonetheless.  That being said, it’s not at all pretty, and so I’m also looking forward to finishing it up and moving on to more aesthetically pleasing projects!

Here are the before-and-afters for the pages I finished this week (because you know they are so thrilling):


Tianjin hotel – before


Tianjin hotel – after (not much different! just a few captions)


Tianjin- before


Tianjin – after (I have no idea what I originally thought that I would write on this page to leave so much space!  I’ll try and make it look less blank with a die cut city title, but otherwise, I just had a few captions to add.)


Orchestra banquet – before


Orchestra banquet – after


Rug factory – before


Rug factory  – after


Food Street – before


Food Street – after


Dumpling banquet – before


Dumpling banquet – after


Water park – before


Water park – after (note that I added a photo, which was given to me later by another member of the tour group, to the bottom right hand corner. The photo that was there previously is now under the top left photo, which now flips up)


Tianjin concert – before


Tianjin concert – after


Yangliuqing Gallery (left) – after (I forgot to take before photos of this spread).  I had a lot to write for this one!  


Yangliuqin Gallery (right) + Children’s Palace – after (I forgot to take a before photo of this page, too).  As I was photographing it, I also realized that I forgot to print-and-cut the label for the Children’s Palace section, so I used another label (upside-down on purpose!) as a placeholder. 


Old Culture Street+Drive to Beijing – before


Old Culture Street + Drive to Beijing – after


Beijing hotel – before


Beijing hotel – after (I will probably add the Beijing city title to this page, because I don’t have a better page for it!)


Beihai Park (left) – before


Beihai Park – after (this was one of my favorite places we visited)


Beihai Park (right) – before


Beihai Park (right) – after


scenes around Beijing – before


Scenes around Beijing – after (clearly this one started with just a few loose photos, and I didn’t have a sketch pre-drawn!  I did my best to remember what I’d been thinking for this one…)


Antique Street – before


Antique Street – after


Tiananmen Square – before


Tiananmen Square – after

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I managed to get 9 spreads of my 2002 China album done in the first seven days of February!  I am so excited about this (and I’m hoping that the momentum of my excitement propels me onward to complete more of the album!  This is by no means a “pretty” album, but it tells a great story!

I am so thankful for the detailed notes that I took during the trip.  I decided that aside from general captioning, I would just copy sections out of my journal onto the scrapbook pages– that really is why I took the time to write a journal in the first place! I was also delighted to discover that I had actually sketched out layouts for almost every page in the album!  This was my first ever “organized” scrapbook, and I still do the same kind of planning to this day.

Those layout sketches were really helpful, because I hadn’t actually put all of the photos and memorabilia into the album.  I was a bit stymied at first, because like I said in my first post about this Finish-it project, I want to remain true to my 2002 style.  When I found those pages of sketches, I practically jumped up and down!

I am using my Silhouette software to make print-and-cut title labels for each page using the font “akaDora” for the text.  I will be using that same font to cut titles to highlight each of the cities that we visited on our trip, though I am going to wait to add those titles until the end, since I don’t know how much of the colored cardstock I will have left, and I want to use it efficiently.

Here are some “before and after” shots of the pages I’ve done.  I started a few pages into the album– I can’t explain exactly why, but I think I was intimidated by the incompleteness of the first few spreads and wanted to hit the ground running.  I’ll go back to those spreads later, of course!



Oriental Pearl TV Tower – before


Oriental Pearl TV Tower – after


Silk Factory in Shanghai – before


Silk Demonstration in Shanghai – after


Shanghai Museum – before


Shanghai Museum – after


pearl shop in Shanghai + Bund in evening — before (just loose ephemera and photos)


pearl store in Shanghai + Bund in evening – after


Zhouzhuang – before


Zhouzhuang – after (I will be adding a large city title to this page)


Zhouzhuang tours – before


Zhouzhuang tours – after


Zhouzhuang canal boat ride – before


Zhouzhuang canal boat tour – after


Suzhou – before


Suzhou – after (I will be adding a large city title to this page)


more about the Shanghai hotel – before


more about the Shanghai hotel – after


market and Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall – before


market and Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall – after


Shanghai concert – before


Shanghai concert – after


Drive to Nanjing – before



Drive to Nanjing – after


Nanjing hotel – before


Nanjing hotel – after (not much changed!)


Nanjing concert – before (starting with loose ephemera and photos– I found the photos tucked inside this program! I’m so glad that I looked…)


Nanjing concert (insert in pocket with program) + post-concert dinner – after


Nanjing – after (forgot to take a “before” shot; I just added captions.  I will also be adding a large city title to this page)


Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Mausoleum – after (forgot to take a “before” shot; I fixed some of the booklets of photos and added captions and a title label)


flight to Tianjin (left) – before


flight to Tianjin (left) – after


flight to Tianjin (right) -before


flight to Tianjin (right) – after

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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 was really diligent about taking notes on each and every photo I took with my film camera on this trip!

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.



A (rare) example of a page with “finished” captions.

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.


More typically, there are photos and ephemera glued to pages, but no journaling!  Ack!


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…




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