Sunday, April 26, 2015

Journals and Scrapbooks and Planners...Oh, My!


As mentioned in a previous post, I started keeping a diary as a tween. I have written sporadically all these years. My first diary was ruined when stored in a dirt-floored cellar. Spring rains seeped into the basement, and it mildewed, along with some other memories of childhood. 

Me, age 15, lunch recess
Photo credit: Nancy de Garcia
I noticed once that I tended to journal when things were not going well in my life. When my second wedding was canceled, I turned what was going to be a guest book/wedding journal into the story of the wedding cancellation and my feelings around that. The wedding did take place 13.5 months later, but by then, my oldest son had scribbled on some of the pages of the wedding journal, and I did not want people reading the early pages. I still have that journal, of course, and it is still not full. It is from a part of my life that has long since passed.

During the first 18 months after the marriage failed, I poured my feelings into journals. Three of them just filled with pain - sometimes "stream of consciousness," sometimes full of thought, but all pain. When the elephant moved off my chest, I realized I never wanted to revisit that pain or have anyone else read the words I had written. I burned that in the fire pit in my backyard. Once in a great while, I wish I had not done so, but I am glad I did, overall.

I have written a couple more since then, but I realized I was turning them into a scrapbook, of sorts. I would print out stories written for a college class, cartoons and horoscopes that struck me, especially "Zits" - was the writer/artist in my house when I had teens? And positive fortunes. And, of course, fortune cookie fortunes.


In addition to the journals, I started keeping traditional photo album scrapbooks. I had always been good about labeling my photos in the self-adhesive albums, because I would ask my mother about pictures in hers, and she did not always remember who was in them. In November 1996, I picked up a new magazine, "Creating Keepsakes." It was the first magazine devoted to crafted scrapbooks.
The best piece of advice was to get photos out of the self-adhesive albums because the glue sometimes let loose, resulting in lost photos. Worse than that, the adhesive could eat into the photos, eventually destroying them. The fumes let off could also ruin Polaroid-type pictures. Many hours were spent removing all the photos from those self-adhesive albums making sure to keep them in order and copying the captions for future scrapbooks.

I opened a store soon after reading the magazine, and I sold them and scrapbook supplies in the shop, as well as the handcrafted items I was consigning. The store had two problems, 1) I did not feel I could advertise the scrapbook items with my limited media budget, because I felt I should advertise my consignors’ items, and 2) the store was in a town that rolled up the sidewalks from Columbus Day to when school let out in June. It is hard to make a profit without customers, and 18 months after first opening, the store closed. Like 95% of other entrepreneurs, my business failed.

I took all of my mother's scrapbooks and boxes of photographs and made scrapbooks out of them. It was easy to divide them into categories, and I filled seven binders with her memories. My mother had a terminal illness, so I knew time was of the essence, and the last book was finished about six months before she passed. My sister-in-law was with her during her last hours and read to her from the scrapbook, describing the photos she could no longer see.
At the funeral parlor, the albums were placed around the viewing room. It was interesting to see how little clusters formed based on when people new my mom - schoolmates, co-workers, lifelong friends, and people there to support my siblings and me. I had created one album with my sister's family knowing that I would pass it on to her when the funeral was over. Another album was my family and memories from my mother's visits with us.


Since I was in junior high, I started keeping an assignment book. Thinking about it, an assignment book is a planner of sorts - the assignment is written down with a due date. The same information could have been written into a planner rather than an assignment book.
In college, I started keeping a calendar, putting due dates, holidays, semester information, etc. As my life changed, I started keeping calendars that were color-coded - son #1 - black ink, son #2 - red ink, son #3 - green ink, me - purple ink. Between sports, scouting, and drama, those calendars filled up quickly. The colors helped me know who needed to be where when.

HOWEVER, the wall calendar was too large to take with me when I was out-and-about, so I began keeping a planner. Of course, all the calendar appointments had to be in there so that I would not double-book. And then adding new appointments to the wall calendar.

Fast forward to about eight months ago. While on Facebook, I noticed one of the suggested groups was a planner group. That is when I found people who turn their planners into pieces of art that includes journaling.

A to-do list - journaling; a daily chore list - journaling, Washi tape and stickers added - scrapbook; drawings - an art book; adding appointments - a planner. All in one - perfect.

Over the next few days, I am presenting guest bloggers who will share their planner process. Jenise Spears will go through her process of decorating her pages, Dawn Paoletta will show how she uses her planner as a journal, and Faustine Vaughn will demonstrate how she uses her planner as an art book.

I am very grateful to the women who have donated their time and talents to this blog. It is truly a privilege and an honor.