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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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Shanghai

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Zhouzhuang

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Suzhou

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Nanjing

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Tianjin

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Beijing

 

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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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In my first post about this vacation journal, I showed the blank journal and the little kit of items that I brought with me on our anniversary trip to Grenada.  In this post, I’d like to share a bit about how I actually used it while we were there.

I had hoped to use some of the 12 hours(!) of travel time on our way to Grenada to catch up on my photos (read about my workflow HERE), but when I discovered that my laptop battery had died and that there was no way to charge it on the plane (boo), I pulled out my journal to get started right away.

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in-flight entertainment: my travel journal and kit. snack (including the whole can of Dr Pepper! Score!!). good book.

Obviously there wasn’t a lot to write about yet!  But I think it got me off onto the right foot for documenting the rest of the trip.  (The rest of the traveling time, I read and colored in a grown-up coloring book…)  Before we started the trip, I hadn’t thought much about how I was going to lay out the journal, but as I worked on it on the plane, I was able to do some thinking and make some decisions.  Right away, I realized that I didn’t want to do too much embellishment ahead of time, and I also decided that I would leave a lot of space for photos among the hand-written text I’d add.

Once we were actually at our destination, I ended up writing in my journal every day!

Yes, I worked on my journal at the beach.

Yes, I worked on my journal at the beach.

It turns out that you really do have a lot more time when you don’t have kids with you!  Haha!  While I definitely enjoyed just watching the water, soaking up the silence, walking, reading, and generally just being happy on the beach, there was still plenty of time for pulling out my little journal+kit and recording everything that we’d been up to.  I have no idea how long I spent on it each day, but I did add a little embellished date header for each day, and wrote as many details as I could remember.

I didn’t set out to write prosy entries– I thought it would be more bullet-point type of lists, but it turns out, prose is faster for me to write!

Yes, I worked on my journal at the beach.

Unfortunately, the three colored pens I’d purchased and had hoped to use for this journal were dry!  I knew that one of them was dry before the trip, but I had thought that the other two were working okay. Not so.  Bummer.  I had also brought a black Project Life 0.05** pen with me, intending to use it for doodling or titles or something.  It ended up being my main writing instrument.  It wasn’t a huge deal, but I definitely would have brought a finer-tipped pen if I had known!

It was exciting to have such a complete journal right at the end of the trip!  I had the luxury of an on-plane power outlet for part of the trip home, so I did a lot of photo-processing for much of our travel time (It took away the sting of leaving such a beautiful place and such a relaxing vacation by being able to re-live the memories, haha!).  However one of our planes didn’t have an outlet, so when my laptop battery inevitably died (it’s getting old), I pulled out my journal, finished up the writing for the last day, and started trying to add a few bits of ephemera.

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After my laptop battery died, I worked on finishing up my travel journal entries. GND-MIA.

 

I thought about adding some photos of the journal pages, but there are so many that I thought that maybe a video might show it a bit better.  So, here it is– my very first YouTube video ever.

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**seriously, what are the units on pen tip measurements?  My science-background brain is twitching over not having units after that number right there…

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