November, the Month of Thanksgiving

1008-famphotos-s2-110The fall months are so full of activities and celebrations. October is nearly over and we will be ending the month with the final Halloween party or trick-or-treat outing.  This is the month of fun, parties and costumes – being whoever we can imagine!

ranch2012-43-1November has a different feel – it ends with a wonderful celebration of Thanksgiving – taking time to stop and be thankful for all the blessings we have. A time to soak in the good in our lives and the one who provided it before we start the hectic Holiday season where we concentrate on giving to others and being thankful for our salvation and again, the one who gave it to us.


Many designers and scrappers have suggested ways to make a journal or scrapbook of the month of November, writing each day of something that makes us grateful – from the air we breathe, to the successful elimination of cancer in ourself or someone we love; from loved ones who have passed and left tremendous legacies to babies born that bring such joy.  We need this time of reflection and renewal.

day-1-and-2_edited-1This will be my first year to officially journal thankfulness for the month of November.  I have chosen to take the class offered by Cathy Zielske, 30 Days of Thankful.  I will use a section of my Heidi Swapp planner for my thanksgiving album.  It would work equally well in whatever album you wish to use.  In the past, I have written 12 x 12 pages of thanksgiving as well as 4×4 and 6×8 -let your style determine your format.  And as I said, in the past, mine have been just pages inserted randomly in my albums, not a concentrated effort like this.

10486351My Heidi Swapp planner comes with a pocket page that has a place for two  (four, counting both sides) 3×3 inserts with each month – so I have 12 of these, holding 48 photos. I pulled these from each month and inserted them all into November and created a template so all entries would be uniform and easy to complete.  Each day, I will write something that I am thankful for – not necessarily in any order – and find an appropriate photo.  The photo just needs to represent the thought, it does not have to be literal.  Don’t omit a reason to be thankful just because you can’t think of a good photo.  Go to google and look at images representing that feeling of thankfulness.

Click to enlarge

I started a little early so I could design my template and make sure I was ready to complete a thought each day.  I will definitely do the journaling each day but may wait to add the photos. I can see myself going back while using my planner and viewing these pages and remembering how blessed I am!


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The Unexpected Photo


Photobombs are the rage and can be a lot of fun when you look at the photo and realize an uninvited guest shows up in your perfect shot.  As you can see, Thomas peeks out the window just in time to get into the photo.


How to get Papa to share his orange.
How to get Papa to share his orange. Click to enlarge.

There are other ways to get the unexpected photo.  I had the grandkids in the back yard playing one afternoon and noticed Leea was wandering away from us.  I was snapping photos, so would turn her direction and snap one as I would check out what she was doing.  Later, after they went home, I was going through the photos and found a wonderful story.  She really knows how to work her Papa: “How to get Papa to share his orange”    1. Act like you don’t care 2. Ask “What ya’ got, Papa?” 3. Use those “Puppy Dog” eyes 4. Enjoy the fruits of your labor 5. Thanks, Papa. Gotta Run!  Those puppy dog eyes would have been a great unexpected photo alone, but when grouped with the others, it tells so much more!

So, my advice?  Look through your photos slowly and at full screen on your tv or computer and look at the details.  Once in a while, you will get a great surprise!


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Who Are You? – A Book About You!

Learning to Drive – Digi kit: Spread the Happiness by Dawn Inskip – Click to enlrge

I read a book that has stayed with me – Second Glance by Jodi Picout, The main character’s mother had died during her birth.  The character was lamenting the fact that she knew nothing of her mother – her personality, what she thought was funny, what she did and did not enjoy – not even what she looked like.  She didn’t know anything!   This obviously is not our circumstance, but it got me to thinking of what my children and grandchildren will remember of me and how nice it would be if they had reminders or pages that I had written telling them about me. This is especially true of my childhood years to let them know their heritage.

click to enlarge
Quirks! – Digi kit – unknown – Click to Enlarge

Several websites offer “About Me” classes and suggestions.  I used Linda Sattgast’s  guidelines in her class on the Digital Scrapper website – Your Story Brilliant – 2013.  She offered some unique suggestions like this one about “quirks”.  Sometimes we need to ask others their opinion to see ourselves as others see us.


Attitude - unknown digi kit. Click to Enlarge
Attitude – unknown digi kit. Click to Enlarge

I have several pages, but keep adding throughout the years as I get inspiration. I have printed these as 12×12 sheets and slip them into page protectors for a traditional 12×12 album.  This makes the journaling much easier to read and as you can see the journaling is the main emphasis of these pages.


So take a minute and read these scrapped pages and see if you can come up with some ideas of your own.  Or take a class that will give you an assignment each week.  It will be fun creating the pages and then sharing them.


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Scrapping Photos without People

What do you do with those photos taken without people included in the shot?  When you travel alone, you want to document the trip, but don’t want all selfies and it’s a little scary to hand your phone to a perfect stranger to take the photo when you are alone.  Even when you are on a trip, there is that fascinating view of the mountains or cute little gift shop or interesting sculpture that you want a photo reminder.

Grand Canyon
This picture of the Grand Canyon is beautiful on it’s own, but it means so much more to me that my niece is included in the shot!

Some of these photos will be scrapped right along with the photos of the vacation or event, but others will not.  What will you do with those?  Will you remember what they are 2, 5 or 10 years from now? When I have chosen and scrapped the favorite few, I toss the rest.  I have already received the intended pleasure of the photo.

This page tells the story of our hike on one of the Rocky Mountain Park Trails. I did include some of my favorite scenic shots but included people and information on the page. This is a two page layout and the other page will be all photos that include people and activities.


If I am not alone, I try to get someone in the photo with the scene I am trying to capture.  If alone, I really want to enjoy the moment and the scene so I will take maybe one or two photos and a selfie or two and then put the camera away.  Or if I just can’t quit taking photos, I pick out the favorite 4-6 and make a spread with one selfie and the scenic photos.


Being a part of the scene.
Being a part of the scene.

This photo is one of my favorites that puts the person in a wonderful scene.  It shows my grandson holding his flying kite, but his dad was so creative to include the herd of horses in the shot.


So, unless I am taking the photo as a beautiful scenic photo to use as decor, I try to always include someone in the shot.  It seems to ground it for me; gives me an occasion, a time-frame and a location.

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Heritage Cookbook

Mother serving her famous sweet tea to her grandsons.
Mother serving her famous sweet tea to her grandsons.

As I began going through my Mother’s recipe box, so many memories flooded over me.  She used cooking to show her love.  Acts of service was her love language and cooking was a major act of service from her.  Birthday celebrations included a meal of choice by the honoree -even if it was hot dogs and mashed potatoes!  We also got our favorite cake, even if it was pie with a candle on it!  Such wonderful memories.

Crusty Beef and Noodle
One of Mother’s handwritten recipes. Crusty Beef and Noodle

In fact, these are such wonderful memories that I want to document this in a special project of her recipes.  I don’t really consider this an official cookbook, so I’m not going to use indexes and categories – I will place them in alphabetical order with a table of contents.  Most of the recipes are written in her handwriting and I want to display these.  These recipes are the ones she used over and over and had special meaning to each of us.

family and food – She used food to bring the family together The recipes of Goldie ****** Lovingly gathered, created, perfected and shared with her family. Can you take the love in it?

I want to make copies of this book for all the children and grandchildren so I have chosen an office view binder by Wilson Jones – 6 x 8.  These are very reasonably priced when buying in bulk.  I also printed on white card stock and will insert into a 5.5 x 8.5 sheet protector.  The binders purchased are  the ones that allow inserts on both the front and back.  You can use a 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper and cut it in half, use a three-hole punch and it fits the binder perfectly.

5.5" x 11.5 pages
5.5″ x 11.5 pages

Another option is to use a 6×8 album with pocket pages and insert the recipe cards.  This works out nicely because you can remove the recipe card when using it and replace it in the pocket when finished. I will do this for my book and use the original cards for a keepsake album.


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What is your language of love?

I have attended various seminars about expressing your love, but I believe Gary Chapman has about the best explanation on how we express our love to others and how we want love demonstrated to us.  If you don’t know your love language, he has a short quiz to discover which language you use to express love and how you want love shown to you.

Five Love Languages.

  • Gifts
  • Quality Time
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch
What I learned from my parents.
Digi Kit -Cherish by JustSoScrappy Click to enlarge.

What I want to talk about, however, is appreciating the love language of others.   My parents both had the love language of “Acts of Service”.  After we reached a certain age, physical hugs and verbal statements of love were rare, but I never doubted that I was loved!  As I grew older, I realized they did things to show their love – they showed their love through “Acts of Service”.



My Mother’s act of service was often in the form of cooking.  I inherited her box of recipes and cookbooks.  I scanned all of the handwritten recipes and the ones in the cookbooks that were favorites and had her notes in the margins.  She also sewed for others, especially her grandchildren and great grandchildren – dresses, t-shirts and doll clothes when they were younger and special occasion dresses for the teen girls and pajamas and t-shirts for the boys.  She even made my wedding dress, her dress, and all of the attendants’ dresses.


My Dad’s acts of service were pretty varied – he would do what needed to be done -repair our cars, remodel our kitchens, build unique furniture or rescue us whenever we got in a jam.


So, why am I talking about Languages of Love on a scrapbooking blog?  As I have mentioned before, I want to record our family, not just events.  I want to capture our heritage.  These are not only my parents’ expression of love, it is their character – our inheritance.  I want to document this.

We will explore ways to document our heritage as we go, starting with the project on Saturday – Mother’s Recipes of Love.

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Project – School Book

Our project this week will be a book of school activities.  You can do it as a single year or maybe 5 books:  preschool, elementary school, middle school, junior high and high school,  depending on how involved your student is and how detailed you want to be. This is a great place for the certificates earned, the programs and the artwork.

I am using the 6×8 format for this as there are so many options.  There are four different page configurations for the pockets, plus zipper pages and tabbed dividers.  These samples are from Becky Higgins, but others make them and they are available at craft stores.  I will use both photos and cards.

first-day-of-schoolMy first sample page is the first day of school.  I used the four pocket page and 3 3×6 photos and 1 journaling card.  I want the photos to tell the story, but journaling is also needed occasionally.  I purchase most of my supplies are by Becky Higgins.




Another page is of a musical my grandson was in.  I have lots of pictures of this event and have done several pages in the family album, but wanted to feature here, too, so he knows it was during this school year. Here I used a page with four 3x6s and a page that has a 4×6 and two 3x6s to make a two-page spread.

byebyebirdieMore page examples would be for the extra activities, like music and sports. Also art shows, open house, meeting the teacher, teacher conferences.  You could cover anything!

leea-song_edited-1Also when you are scrapping concerts or speeches or anything that you would like to include a video, you can insert a QR code on your layout and then anyone with a QR reader can scan it and watch the video.  I did this page on my phone of my granddaughter’s performance in the talent show.  I blurred it here for her privacy, but you see how that would work. Now I will just slip it into a single 6×8 page protector.


last-day-of-schoolAnd, of course, you need a “last day of school” page for the ending of your book. I make this one and the first day of school pages single so they can be the first and last page of the album.  However, another good first day cover would be a picture of the actual school building with the years on it.



The 6×8 size albums have zipper pockets available.  If there are mementoes from these special events that you want to keep and not just photograph, this would be a perfect way to do that.  They also have tabbed dividers that would be perfect to divide up the years or have different sections for academic, sports and activities.

This album is super easy to keep up as you can print full 4×6 photos, or trim the 4×6 to a 3×4 and insert into the pockets.  Add a journaling card if you wish and you have completed that event!



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Why do I scrapbook?

A Birth Certificate shows that we were born.
A Death Certificate shows that we died.
Pictures show that we live!  -author unknown

I scrapbook to tell a story, record a history, share memories and document a life.  I put pictures together with journaling and put into easily accessible scrapbooks.

Sample of Digital Scrapbooking
Made with digi kit – “Elegant Christmas” by Touched by a Butterfly

A couple of years ago, I was so proud of a page I had created with my digital scrapbooking supplies and Photoshop Elements that I used it as a screen saver on my computer at work.  My brother walked by (yes, I worked for my brother) and I had him come look at it.  He said, “Yes, that’s nice, but why do you do it? Why do all that work for one photo?”  Thankfully, he didn’t wait for an answer because I didn’t have my usual quick comeback. Why do I do it?  I did it for the art and creativity, definitely not for efficiency and getting my photos in albums.

This layout took almost two hours to complete.  I enjoyed every minute – placing each element and choosing the perfect background papers. However, at the end of the two hours, I had scrapbooked one photo!  One photo that was almost 10 years old!  At this rate, 99% of my photos will remain on my computer and not where I could enjoy them or share with others.

Using Digital Pocket Style Scrapbooking
Using Digital Pocket Style Scrapbooking.

So, about two years ago, I went with the pocket style scrapbooking – not the physical placing of photos into pockets, although that would have been a tremendous improvement, but the digital version of pocket scraping.  This template is from Becky Higgins Project Life, but many different styles and sizes are available.  It took about 30 minutes, but I told the complete story and used all 7 photos.

Project Life App Sample
Created using the Project Life App

That was still time consuming and it was still difficult to keep up – scrapping current photos. Then Becky Higgins came out with an App version of Project Life.  I can scrap the photos on my camera while waiting for an appointment, in the passenger seat on a trip, or anywhere I have my phone and each page takes about 5 minutes. You don’t even need Wi-Fi. There are numerous apps that allow you to write on photos, add stickers, etc if you don’t like the “Plain Jane” look of the page. I personally am about the photos and journaling in these pages, so the lack of decoration doesn’t bother me.

page1This shows a digital page on the left, and an app pocket page on the right. As you can see, I mix my pages and I even used the same photo in both pages.  The first page is for fun and art.  The second is to record the event.

At this point, they may be organized, journaled and scrapped, but they are still not out where anyone else can enjoy or where I can share.  They are not physical!

page3My next step is to print.  I prefer the 12×12 size because they are gorgeous and seem to come alive. However, I print at home first as an 8×8 because I cannot for some reason really see it on the screen.  I want to physically hold it in my hand, read it, arrange in an album. Then I check for errors before I print 12×12 for my permanent albums. When I am confident it is as good as it gets, I print 12×12.  I only print with Persnickety Prints or through the Project Life app because I know their quality is above average, but several places are printing 12×12 now.

Check out my projects to find great ways to scrap and organize your photos to tell the story you want to tell, or to compare celebrations over the years.

Please comment below and let me know why you scrap.

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Project – Halloween / Pumpkin Patch


Project:  October Happenings – Pumpkin Patch, Carving Jack-o-Lanterns, and Wearing Costumes

For the 4×4 cover, I chose one of my favorite fall photos and used Photoshop (you can also use many apps on your phone) to add the title and the names.  For the 4 2×2 slots left at the very end of the book, I used additional generic shots of fall.

Cover Page
Cover Page Photo by S. Beeker

For this project, I will be using the 4×4-ringed binder/album. I love this size and format for special projects using photos already included in family albums. I pick these little albums and pages up everywhere I see them, especially if I have a coupon or they are on sale. They are so easily put on a shelf and so fun to grab and flip through. The pages come in two formats: a single 4 x 4 protector sleeve and a sleeve with four 2 x 2 pockets. We will use both for this project.  Make sure your first set of pages has the 4×4 on the left side.  The back side of it will be your cover.

We will take three annual October events and follow them from birth to present and add each year as it happens.

For each event, pick out your favorite photo to put in the 4×4 slot and three or four others to tell the story.  If you wish to journal, save one of the 2×2 slots to put in a journaling card.  In this case I am going to let the photos tell the story and only put the year on the 4×4 photos of each set of pages.  To do this, I chose a small pumpkin sticker and wrote the date on it for the corner of the larger 4×4 photo.

Pumpkin Patch:  If you have an annual trip to a pumpkin patch, I’m sure you take lots of photos.  Since the pumpkin patch is a part of our traditional October celebrations each year, I originally made a special section for pumpkin patch visits.  However, as the children got older, the Pumpkin Patch trips were either forgotten or they lost interest, so I decided to include everything by year. Choose what’s best for you.


Carving the Jack-o-Lantern:  This is another activity that happens most years but can be missed occasionally, so I include with the year.  Again, you favorite photo goes in the 4×4 slot and fill the other 2×2 slots to tell the story.  I am making this for the kids, so I only include photos of them unless they are receiving help or people are in the background.  These books are for them and about them. The family books and other albums have all the adventure of these events with photos of all participants.


Costume:  The Halloween costume is so special. Such planning goes into the costume each year. The costume itself tells us what the child is thinking, loving and following.  This section shows how my grandchildren have evolved in their costumes – first what the parents love, then as they develop their own minds, what they love.  This one is the first year for my grandson:


Sometimes it actually shows different costumes as they grow older and had more than one party or occasion that year. My grandson is now 12 and it is so fun to see him as a bumble bee his first Halloween and then as a Vampire last year. If the family dresses up together, I make sure the family portrait is included.  And, of course, there are two of them now as his sister joined him in 2006.


I only have two grandchildren and since they are brother and sister, I decided to make one book, 2 copies.  You could easily make a book for each child of just their pictures, but all of the activities, especially when they were younger were together so I went with one book.

Side note:  The pumpkin patch page group shows the square corners and you may have noticed the others are rounded.  I wanted you to see the difference. I will go back and use the punch to round these corners for this album, but as you can see the photo from behind doesn’t show, so I may do future albums with the square corners.  Personal preference.

Supplies needed:  For a more detailed description of tools and supplies, click here: tools

  • 4 x 4 album
  • 1 4×4 Protective sleeve and 1 pocket page with four 2×2 pockets for each year you plan to scrap, plus 1 (will explain later). So if you are documenting 10 years, you will need 11 pages. 6 one pocket, and 5 four pocket.
  • Punch or paper cutter will make it easier, but you can complete using only scissors.
  • Printed photos
  • An app or program that allows you to make a collage for the 4×6 photo.

Step 1:

Pull the photos you want to use and move to your camera roll or other method for making them available to your app. I use the mini-iPad or my iPhone to make my collages. I use Project Life app if I want photos without borders and Pic Collage if I want a white border around each photo.

Photos:  Choose a main photo that you will print 4×4 then 3 or 4 of the same year for the pocket page.  I take a lot of photos, so I use 4 photos. If three is plenty, use the other spot to mark your year or journal.  Choose a cute card that already has the year on it or create one.  You will see samples in my book.  For this book, I purchased small pumpkin stickers to print the year on and just stick on the corner of my 4×4 photo.


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