Can We Talk?
Today I’d like to take a baby step outside my comfort zone and talk about journaling. I struggle with it. I don’t love it. I’m VERY uncomfortable with it. But I know it’s an important part of memory-keeping, so I work at it. I know some of you are shaking your heads, because you’ve read my tutorials and you know how wordy I am. 😉 But somehow, I hate to put all those words onto my layouts.
So let’s deconstruct journaling a little. Why is it important? Well, first of all, the viewer isn’t necessarily going to know who is in the photos, what they’re doing, when it occurred, why they’re together or where it happened. Basic journalism 101. Some of these factors aren’t important every time, but for a scrapbooking layout to be meaningful, at least a couple of them should be included. A date and a location might be all that’s needed. For other layouts, like heritage layouts using very old family photos, more detail isn’t only needed, it’s what makes the layout special. Take this one for example.
I’ve put all the pertinent details in there. Now when others see it, they know a little about this boy. What it doesn’t say is why this layout is important to me, how Kenneth is connected to me… it’s lacking context. But if I tell you it’s part of a family history scrapbook, where I’ll include an extensive, multi-generation family tree, then it might not matter. (Kenneth is currently part of a genealogical mystery my cousin Lynne and I are trying to solve. He’s my first cousin twice removed while Lynne is one generation closer to him; he may have been “born on the wrong side of the blanket”. Now to prove it!)
Another aspect of journaling that matters is format. My personal dislike of narrative journaling is reflected in many of my layouts by its absence. But to other scrappers, narrative works. They’re able to tell a complete story within their page, filled with detail… and my deepest admiration! When I try to do that, it sounds stilted and boring. Here’s a glimpse into Katherine Woodin‘s life; her pages are always filled with day-to-day events and are like a pictorial diary.
Others use narrative journaling to process difficult events, as Biancka did here. That takes GUTS, ladies!!
So how can I inject some context into my layouts without resorting to my brand of stiff, boring, wordy text? Oh there are SO many ways!
Quotes are a good way of both illuminating the layout and grounding the subject matter. If I can find a quote that says what I want to say much more eloquently than I can, I’ll take it! Here’s an example.
Song lyrics are, in my mind, PERFECT for journaling! When I heard this song for the first time, this girl instantly came to mind. Then the perfect photo (by Erin Wallis Photography) came into my hands. Meant to be?
Word art can help tell a story very effectively. This layout is part of my Ireland collection and will be bookended by other layouts related to the Famine to provide more context.
This layout has more detail to flesh out the story.
Let’s not forget journal cards. They’re a combination of word art and sentiment, which can be very useful. Even if they’re just a spot to put your journaling, they can be just what your layout needs. I know I don’t use them as often as I should. For this layout I used a card that had space for me to put my own words, and I used a quote from my daughter. It says it all!
What about word strips? I LOVE them! They can take on the whole job of telling your story; it’s just a matter of finding ones that work. If you have a sense of humour, you can use word strips that actually relate to something else, but communicate your message effectively. In this example, the word strips I used came from a 2014 July Buffet kit from Ponytails, who no longer is a member of the GingerScraps family. They’re Canadian slang terms: Double Double is a shorthand Tim Horton’s coffee order, Beauty is a synonym of fantastic and Eh! is a pure Canadianism. But they made sense with my photo.
What creative journaling methods do you use? Help a girl out here!