Journaling – Scrapbooking 101 + Freebie

I’m starting a new series of posts on the blog today; they will focus on tips for taking your scrapbook pages to the next level. Each post I will discuss one subject area with some of the things I do to make my pages stand out more or to make them more meaningful to me and my family.  I’ll also be sharing some tips and tricks from my girls along the way! So lets get started with the first subject – Journaling!

When I create layouts I get more questions and comments about journaling than anything else. Frequent comments are: How do you remember that / do you write everything in a journal while you are there / how do you know what to write/ how do you add so much detail? So I thought this would be the perfect place to start, hopefully by the end of this post, I’ll have answered all those questions and more.
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To me, journaling is the best way to make a scrapbook more meaningful. The journaling is the part where you get to connect with your audience, where they learn your plans, your thoughts, your feelings. We create these books with hope they will be preserved through generations, wouldn’t you love to know what your mom/dad grandma/grandpa were up to when they were younger?  While I agree that some pictures stand alone and no words can do them justice, for the large part journaling helps tell the story behind the photos. This is especially important with something like a Disney vacation. So here are my tips to pump up your journaling and to make sure your scrapbook is telling YOUR story:

Note//. Most of these tips are based around journaling a Disney vacation (because that’s my main scrapbooking passion) but they can be utilised in any situation.

1.     Do take notes – but keep them brief

I like to spend my vacation time actually BEING on vacation, coming home with a full journal of what happened on our trip just isn’t my thing, I’d wind up spending more time writing than enjoying myself. However I do take notes, I take five minutes out each night before bed to keep a small concise log of the day’s activities, usually in a book that I buy specifically for the trip. I typically buy a small, pocket sized book (you can see the one I chose for this year in the title graphic, alongside a post-post it note so you can get an idea of size).

Everything I write, about the entire day, would fit on one page of the book. I keep things brief and use shorthand, that way everything fits on one page. I typically include:

  1. Day/Date
  2. Park(s) we visited
  3. Everyone’s favourite moment from the day
  4. Any memorable quotes from characters/ kids etc.
  5. What we ate
  6. Misc info, such as souvenirs we bought, weather, rating of our day, etc.

These little reminders really help jog my memory when it comes to journaling on pages. Here’s a small example of the types of things I write (excuse my crummy writing, I was pretty sleepily jotting things down late at night):

Journalling_Scrapbooking101_MelidyDesgns

See – simple & messy but oh, so useful. It seems I’m not the only one to do this either, several of my CT members mentioned writing memorable moments in a journal. However, Sheryl takes it a step further,  as well as writing notes about the trip Sheryl has another little tip:

Sheryl|

If the picture is of scenery, I add the picture number alongside what it is. That was especially helpful when we went to Yellowstone, where all of the mountains and hot springs kind of look the same. But I had all of the names recorded next to the photo number in my notebook.

This is a great way to make sure your journalling matches up with your photos. How many times have you found a photo of scenery that you weren’t sure what it went with? I know I do that a lot!

2. Use what you have to hand

I don’t take my notebook out to the parks, it stays on my bedside table in the resort… So while in the parks, I make use of what I have. Phill ALWAYS has a pen on him, so when he’s grabbing our lunch or we have a quick break, I scribble away on the maps. I tend to circle all the rides we’ve been on, shows we’ve seen and circle or write down any character’s we’ve met – all straight onto the map.  I then typically keep the map in my Smash Book and refer to it if and when needed. That way I have a log of what we’ve done… even if I forget to take pictures of a ride/show I can add it to journalling. I also tend to keep receipts for the day so I know what we purchased/ate. So even if you aren’t the type of person to keep a notebook/journal you can easily add some quick notes on the go! And I mean, everyone keeps the maps… Right? Or is that just me?

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3. Plugged In

This one is a little bittersweet for me if I’m honest. It upsets me when I see parents *so* attached to their phones in the parks, but there’s a big difference between nipping on your phone and being so attached to it that you miss out on what’s happening in the moment! Travelling to  Walt Disney World now, pretty much guarantees you’ll be taking a smart phone with you, the best thing about that being, that you can note any cute things your child says then and there without any need for a paper and a pen. A quick little note on your phone can be great, especially since there is little chance of you losing it and forgetting the moment.

Brandy|

I used the app Day Journal last year to keep track of our trip.  During the day if my daughter or someone said/did anything funny or memorable I jotted it down on my phone.  Then at the end of each day I would recap in my journal.

Journaling _ Scrapbooking101_Melidy Designs

4. Ask around

If you travel solo, this tip might only be semi-useful to you. While we are the main narrator of our scrapbooks it never hurts to ask your travelling companions about stuff they want to remember from the trip.  I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve come to the journalling and asked Phill “Is there anything in particular you remember or want to remember from x place?” A lot of the time he comes up with something I wouldn’t have even considered important, but clearly it was important enough for him to remember… And I’m creating this book to reflect BOTH of us, so why shouldn’t his memories go in there too! This tip is kind of a no-brainer but you’d be surprised at the amount of people I’ve mentioned this to that wouldn’t consider that. I love having his voice in there as well as mine. And don’t forget the internet is a wonderful tool for things you might’ve forgotten, scrapping a page about a ride/attraction you don’t remember much? Asking wikipedia or google might jog your memory better than your family! Jlynn has a great way of getting her family involved in her memory keeping:

Jlynn|

Before a vacation I interview my family on what they hope to experience.  Then when the trip’s over, I reflect on them and create a layout based on those expectations.

This is a great tip and a great way to make your scrapbook more meaningful. I haven’t done this previously but I’m 100% doing this for our upcoming trip.

5. Keep in Mind – Things that are obvious now, may not be in years to come

You might remember exactly what Flynn Rider said to your daughter when she was 4, but will you in ten years? Will she remember at all? Will your sons favourite ride even exist in ten years? Disney (a lot like children’s tastes) is constantly changing. If you want to remember specific details make sure you journal about them.  Something that seems obvious to you right now, probably won’t in the future… As you are journaling try and imagine you talking to a friend or relative who has never been there. Would you just say “We loved Toy Story Mania” or would you go into more detail about what the ride is about? Or maybe you’d say why you enjoyed it? Rather than “We met Cinderella, she was lovely” maybe go into a little about why she was lovely, what was said or why you/your child loved meeting them so much. Just adding a little something extra, will make your scrapbook more personal and meaningful.

Sheryl|

I think Journalling is the most important part of the page, even if it’s just a few lines. People can look at my scrapbooks and not have to ask questions – which is how it should be because, let’s face it, one day I won’t be here to tell the story.

And I’m going to leave it on that rather powerful note. Because I believe THAT is the most important reason for putting more effort into your journalling. I know that one day I won’t be here, but at least a small part of me will live on between the pages of my scrapbooks.

Before we get on to the freebie here are a couple of examples of pages with great journalling from my team, I hope it inspired you to focus on journalling for your next layout:

Disney’s Hollywood Studios by Brandy
Using one focal photo along with a block of journalling really helps focus this layout on Brandy's story! It's a great way to document her family's love for Hollywood Studios!

Using one focal photo along with a block of journalling really helps focus this layout on Brandy’s story! It’s a great way to document her family’s love for Hollywood Studios!

Haunted Mansion by Jlynn
I love the journalling on this page by Jlynn.  In our scrapbooks we tend to focus on the good and skirt over the bad, but Jlynn dedicated a whole page to the fact that her and her family aren't Haunted Mansion fans. It's a great reminder to scrap actual memories -good or bad, rather than just a highlight reel.

I love the journalling on this page by Jlynn. In our scrapbooks we tend to focus on the good and skirt over the bad, but Jlynn dedicated a whole page to the fact that her and her family aren’t Haunted Mansion fans. It’s a great reminder to scrap actual memories -good or bad, rather than just a highlight reel.

Amrerican Dream by Sheryl
Journaling is a great way to document favourites.  Like Sheryls layout of her husband's favourite Epcot attraction.  Journalling about favourites is a great fallback if you are struggling with what to write on a page.

Journaling is a great way to document favourites. Like Sheryls layout of her husband’s favourite Epcot attraction. Journalling about favourites is a great fallback if you are struggling with what to write on a page.

Magical Moment by Melissa
Don't feel restricted by journal cards, even if you are using a "pocket template" you can push the boundaries to fit on more journaling like I did here. A long strip of journaling helps focus the layout on the story - in this case walking down an empty Main Street USA.

Don’t feel restricted by journal cards, even if you are using a “pocket template” you can push the boundaries to fit on more journaling like I did here. A long strip of journaling helps focus the layout on the story – in this case walking down an empty Main Street USA.

Before I go here’s the freebie I mentioned, a journal card focused around park highlights, my small way of trying to help you on your new path to more detailed journaling:

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(CLICK IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD)

So, those are my top five tips for making your journaling more memorable. What do you think? What are your top journalling tips? Tell me in the comments. Or suggest what you’d like to see me cover in the next Scrapbooking 101 installment…

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