Is Journaling Important?

As I look over my blog, I realize it has been ten months since I last posted.  All of the material is still accurate and relevant, but I have changed.  I took that time pursuing another venture and although it did not work out as I had hoped, it has led me to a more focused direction.  Before, I would let the photos tell the story.  That is a quick, wonderful way to get those photos printed and in albums so those who know the photos and were there can truly enjoy.  However, what about those who weren’t there?

  •      You are placing heritage photos in the album and you remember a story your mother told you about the aunt in the photo and smile.
  •      You are scrapping your photos and as you look at them while you place them in the pockets, you enjoy remembering a lesson learned or an example of love from that occasion.
  •      You are telling your granddaughter a great story about when you were in middle school, as she is now.

These stories and memories need to be shared.  Don’t wait until they are with you some evening to tell the stories of their heritage, write them in the albums so they can read them again and again and know these people in a new and unique way.

I have decided to share these memories as well as the photos.  Now, as I place a photo in the album, I write about it.  I include that special memory or that adventure that led up to the photo.  I introduce the reader to the person in the photo.  I am keeping memories, not just sharing photos.

Here I have journaled not only that I helped a girl with her gown, but the stories and memories it triggered:

Journal the story behind the photo.

Journaling: When I think of the many skills my Mother taught me, my favorite is the ability to sew. As a very young child I would sit behind the sewing machine and clip the squares apart that she was sewing for quilts and neatly stack them for the next run. I remember playing under the quilting frames watching the ladies with one hand under the quilt and one on top making their rows of stitches. She made clothes for our baby dolls and then fashions for our Barbies. She made most of our clothes growing up. We were never teased about “homemade” clothes, but were admired for our stylish fashions and cute outfits. She made all the dresses for my wedding, including my gown, the maid of honor and the flower girl dresses. After we left home, she got her first electronic machine with all the fancy stitches and took a tailoring class. She never enjoyed sewing as much after that. She loved her machine but having her work critiqued and criticized to perfection, took the joy out of sewing. She made dad a suit that was amazing, but after that, she didn’t make much clothing, but still enjoyed her quilts and crafts. She did make my girls some amazing matching Easter outfits and we never bought pajamas. 

I received mother’s original Singer when she got her new machine and it is such a treasure. Dad said they spent nearly a month’s wages on it during the depression but it has paid for itself so many times over. It still sews a beautiful straight stitch and I have made clothes, quilts and Halloween costumes for my kids and grandkids using it. When Mother died five years ago, my Dad gave me her fancy machine, but he never would let me actually take it. He just couldn’t break up her sewing room. Now, that we are getting the house ready for my nephew and his family to move in, the sewing machine has taken a place of honor in my home. 

It amazes me how many girls today do not even know how to replace a button, or hem a skirt. I have the confidence to try anything – after all, as Mother taught, it is just construction. I was recently approached by xxxxxx having her Quincenaera, her turning sixteen celebration. She had purchased a fantastic dress for almost nothing because the zipper down the side was broken. She asked if I could do anything. Unfortunately it was a very fancy formal and too snug to just replace the zipper. I told her I would try. I decided to remove the zipper and insert ribbon lacings on each side. She loved it! I would never have had the confidence to even think I could do something like that if it hadn’t been for Mother’s amazing talent and her willingness to teach me.

Take the extra few minutes to tell the story!


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People Who Love You

My daughter had special little books for her children with a picture of the family members.  They loved going through their special books and naming the individuals and remembering special times with them.  When they got a gift, they would go to the book and look at the picture of the person who sent it.  They lived away from most of the family while the grandkids were little, and these books were so special as it was before any type of Facetime.

I decided to make a book like this for my Great Granddaughter.  I began gathering photos.   I have lots of photos of our side of the family, but want to include all of her family.  I downloaded what I could from Facebook, but also have added many blank pages with a card insert that can be replaced with additional photos.

I have chosen my favorite sized two ring binder – 4″ x 4″.  To print the photos, you can print at home or order locally as a 4″ x 6″.  Just make sure you have ample space on each side to trim to 4″ x 4″.  I prefer to crop the photos to 4″ x 4′ before I print and then center on the 4″ x 6″.  This gives a nice white border and fills the pocket nicely.



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Making your Facebook Cover Photo Special

I wanted to change my blog header to fit the season, so I uploaded a few of my favorite photos from March 2009 and made a collage.  I love the way it turned out:

If you look closely at my logo, you will see that the center right photo is the one in my logo.  My grandson is pulling a splinter from my granddaughter’s hand – and yes, I took a picture before I helped.  I promise if she would have been crying, I would have gone to her immediately. 🙂  This was such a great age when they loved to explore the back portion of our acreage.

In fact, I so enjoyed it, that I wanted to make it my cover photo on my Facebook page.  However, there are a few things to remember about Facebook.  It is viewed with our profile photo layered on it and you have two views – desktop and mobile.

Just keep this in mind what will actually show when you use the option to reposition. When I uploaded to my Facebook page, this is how it appears on my phone.  As you can see, the photo of my grandson sitting on a log is completely cut off in the desktop and only one photo is complete (besides the one as the background) on the mobile.

This is how it looks on my desktop version of Facebook, still missing the photo on the left.


I could have repositioned it the other direction, depending on which photo I wanted to show.

However, when someone clicks on the photo, or when it is posted that you changed the cover photo, the entire photo shows – a good reason not to crop before you upload.

I love photo on photo as a collage and use it quite often.

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Scrapping Favorite Quotes

Left: You have Brains in your Head, You have Feet in your Shoes. You can Steer yourself any Direction you Choose. Right: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

I love Dr. Seuss and have many favorite quotes.  I decided I wanted a small album of the ones I consider special.  I chose my favorite little 4×4 book with page protectors instead of pockets.

I made these using the Project Life App, but you could use any collage app or make it in Photoshop Elements using templates or a digi kit.

Left: To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world. Right: Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.

Make each layout as a 12×12, save.  Take each 12×12 and place into a template or collage of four 6×6 photos.  Save this as a 12×12.  I printed at home as a 8×8 and cut into four 4x4s.  You could have them printed as 12×12 and place in a 6×6 album or you could always print each square as an 8×8 if you prefer a larger album.

I even used one of the collages as a birthday card, using Pic Collage App:



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That Special Event


How can you celebrate that special event with those who are out of town?




Your first solo bike ride is one of those moments you never forget – When, where, who was there, and who cheered me on are all part of the memory.  When Leea took her first ride, her grandparents were visiting, but we all wanted to mark the occasion. We each sent photos of our best “thumbs up” pose to tell her how proud we were – even Dexter, a puppy at the time.

Click to enlarge. Digi kit “Playing outside” by SHOLT and the thumbs up by Cloud9

Those that were present added their photo and I gathered copies and made her this special page.  It was fun for her to receive each photo that day and then to have this page to refer back to the day and the way she felt.

This would work well for birthdays, winning game, or any accomplishment or special occasion.

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Scrapping from a Video

How do you get that perfect shot in the middle of all the action?  You can use a great camera and capture the action, like these from my son-in-law or you can select frames from your video.

I love scrapbooking events, but a lot of time I have a video instead of a photo and I want scrap what happened, but I have no still shots.  You can include the QR code to watch the video, but those don’t work so well in the traditional scrapbooking page.  I want to “see” some of the action in my still shots.

You Did It – click to enlarge, click again to make it large enough to read the journaling.

A good example of this is when my grandson was learning to ride a bike.  We kept the camera rolling at each attempt just in case he took off – and he did!  We had his first bike ride on film!  But how do I scrap that?  I want a page in his album stating who was there and when and how it happened. That’s when I discovered the app “Video 2 Photo”.  I’m sure there are many, but this one worked great for me.  You pull in the video to the app and you can pick and choose the individual frames you want to use.  I was able to scrap this great page with actual photos from the film instead of having him pose on his bike afterwards.

Click to enlarge, click again to enlarge large enough to read the journaling.

Another occasion when I really wanted to capture the moment was when my granddaughter wanted to record a song for me.  She got so involved in watching herself sing, it was priceless.  I wish I could get photos from the actual recording of the song, but it was a Flip camera and I have no idea how to do it. For the camera, I just placed a photo from the time on the camera, but you could take an actual photo of the camera with the action paused or use the app if I had taken with my phone.  This was in 2010 and I wasn’t quite as tech savvy then.


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Christmas Card – Toss or Keep?

Christmas and New Year is over and celebrated.  It is time to clear away all things holiday and go back to a normal life enjoying our resolutions for a new year.  Most items are packed away to use next year, but what about your Christmas Cards?

Although Christmas card giving and receiving seems to have dwindled in this time of emails and Facebook, it feels like the cards I do get are even more special than before.  A physical greeting can be held and memories enjoyed.  I am especially fond of those that include family pictures and/or letters of the events of the past year.  Another favorite are those that are beautifully handmade.

These cards show thought and required more than a signature to produce and I can’t let myself just toss them.  So what do I do?  I personally make a scrapbook page including those special cards and include it in my weekly album, but not everyone scrapbooks.  So what else can we do?



So, here are the choices I have used.

  1.  Toss
  2.  Put in a box to review next year as you send out your cards.
  3.  Cut up and use as gift tags next year.
  4.  Cut out the main item on the front of the card and mount to a plain card to make new and unique cards to send.
  5.  Scan and date to have a special digital file or to make a special scrap book page.
  6.  Save in pocket pages in an album that grows each year.
  7.  Buy one large envelope page and put in the back of your album for that year.
  8.  Cut to shape and use as a bookmark, coaster or index card.
  9.  Take one photo showing all and include in your weekly project life album.

Choose whatever is right for you.  They brought you joy at the time of receiving so if you decide to toss, they have fulfilled their purpose.  No guilt!   Happy New Year!

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Create your December Daily with just Project Life App, Instagrams and Chatbooks

When you love the idea of a December Daily but just don’t have the time or space to do it justice – think of that phone or tablet and sitting in your favorite chair watching TV.  Seriously!

unadjustednonraw_thumb_3cccI am doing my December Daily this way this year.  Open the Becky Higgins Project Life App available for both Android and Apple and choose the top, right template selection (Aqua).  Choose the template with four equal boxes. Fill each square with a journaling card.  Save to your library.  Then go the the orange quarter of the circle and choose the square.  Put the layout you just completed and in there but enlarge until you see just one square and save.  Do this for each of the squares.



Journal on each square:






Make each square a 12×12 in the collage and save.





If you prefer to print your 4×4 photos and put in the little 4×4 albums like that one in the photo, you can put each photo into the same 4 section template and print as an 8×8.  You would also print the journal cards as an 8×8 page and then cut them apart and put in a 4×4 album.

To do everything on your phone with apps, as you finish each of the squares, save and upload to your Instagram account and have your Chatbooks set up to automatically add your Instagram photos to print a book at 60 photos.  To have a cover you will have to add one page to your book, or combine two pages.  There is usually a code to get your first book free.

Of course, I am assuming you are familiar with the Project Life App, Instagram and Chatbooks but this gives you a way to do everything on your phone with apps.  These little 4×4 Chatbooks are only $8.00 each for 60 pages and there is almost always a coupon to get your first one free.

Have a great December!

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Creating a December Daily or Countdown to Christmas


The December daily albums have become quite popular.   As you think about your December, what do you remember? The first week, it will be hard to remember to take that special photo every day and may seem boring and routine, but include it!  As the month progresses, you will have a more difficult time deciding which activity to include and may decide to have a collage.  I think it is better with one photo and short journaling so you can enjoy the whole album at one sitting.  You don’t need to go into much detail and include every activity or you will become exhausted just remembering it!

img_2242Last year I chose the 4×4 album with the 4×4 page protectors.  I love this size and have several on my shelf.  The first thing I did was to create a little template to use for each day.  There are several pocket cards in various sizes that you can use instead, but I like this idea and it only cost me the price of printing a 4×6 photo, that I did at home.   I set my printer to 4×6 regular (not borderless) so I can trim to 4×4 with a neat white border.   I print all my photos and daily cards the same way.

titleDon’t forget you will need a title page and a closing page as each date is a double page.

Supply List for this album:4×4 album, 30 4×4 page protectors, and a trimmer for sizing your photos (if you don’t trust a perfect line with scissors.  There are lots of album choices and the other needed supplies on Amazon.


Here are a few examples from my album:

I used the kit “Christmas Buddies” by Jeanne Moore to create my title pages.


img_2246 img_2243

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Adding Quotes, Poems or Special Sentiments to Pages

You may have a favorite quote, poem or narrative that you want to remember or you may have a favorite photo that you want to make a special place in your album or to frame. Here are a few samples of how I accomplished this.

Hero click to enlarge
Hero Click to enlarge

My daughter wrote this for her discussion board for one of her college classes. Her professor was so impressed, he posted on the course page.  I had to make a page so that we would always have that writing in our albums.

Journaling: “When you strip all of the details away from people, i.e. appearance, talents, tools, toys, money, education, gender, age, society, race, etc., you are left with the core, the soul, the inner being. Our inner beings are the same, we have the same needs, desires and strengths. I believe these needs, desires and strengths are what myths speak to and that is why they are “beyond time” and can be considered part of the “collective conscious”.

The hero in the myth gets to be, feel and embody those needs, desires and strengths for us and therefore is the reason the myth is appealing and fulfilling. And while I hope that every individual gets to experience the life of a hero more than once in his/her own life, we cannot sustain those feelings on a regular basis. So, we look to heroes to remind us, inspire us and satiate us until we can experience them again for ourselves. Without living vicariously through the hero, the myth does not come alive for us and therefore, yes, the hero is myth in action.

Sunflowers -Click to enlarge
Sunflowers -Click to enlarge

This one is because of the photo.  I was driving on Hwy 75 and at the Nebraska/Iowa border, this amazing field of sunflowers filled both sides of the highway.  It was also amazing because the time of day made it perfect as the flowers followed the setting sun.  I wrote the sentiment to capture what I was thinking a the time. I wanted to remember this moment! Journaling: “If I were a flower.. I would be a sunflower.
To always follow the sun, Turn my back to darkness,
Stand proud, tall and straight even with my head full of seeds.”

Mother in daisy field
Mother -Click to enlarge


This was a tribute page to my mother after her passing.  She loved her daisies so she and my dad, scattered seeds each year in a section of their property.  I searched for just the right sentiment to complete the page. Journaling: “Flowers look up to the sun; Children look up to their Mothers.”

I have also captured Children’s quotes and Headlines.  It’s a great way to be able to recall those special writings.

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