Monday, January 21, 2013

Making Memories for Kids and Grandkids

For the past two years, I have talked about making unique scrapbook pages for my kids. I'm not talking about traditional scrap booking here.  My idea would be to use a single picture and maybe one embellishment and write out a "memory". This book would be separate from the traditional photo pages and frames that I make. 

Truth be told, the original idea came not from something for my kids, but for something for my in laws.  I married my husband when my daughter was five.  It was a small wedding (my husband was home from Japan for thirty days and my parents were visiting from their home in Brussels).  My in laws were unable to attend (actually, they could attend, or they could give us money and invite us to live with them while my husband went back overseas-which they did, poor souls). Without going into it here, I have a beautiful photo of a scowling five year old trying to cut a wedding cake with a hilarious story behind it-and one that they had never heard, as we lived so far away for many years.

I have absolutely no interest in writing my "life story".  That works for some people, but it would not work for me.  My mother was, as they say, "seriously" into genealogy.  The piles of books and binders in a corner in my brother's office attest to that, and some day I am going to make a copy of a couple of the charts at minimum.   On the other hand, we often lived far from family, and my daughter was thirteen when my mother died (my father died a few years later). Add that to the fact that my husband has now passed away and there are many events or experiences that might have come upin casual conversation that my kids may have missed.  In younger years I was also not a great photographer-never a mom to follow her kids around and picture every moment.  I am still honestly not one to take many photos unless it has to do with travel or work to sell.

I've decided to revisit my "write a memory idea", and as such, I've been doing that in no particular order (in other words, I've not begun with their grandparents or their births, necessarily).  I've chosen memorable and or.humorous moments in time that I figure they either may not remember or may want to make sure they do remember later in life. My goal is to get each event on a single eight and one half by eleven inch piece of card stock (I thought about going large-to twelve inches). Some pages have no photos, but most have a single photo to the side, and a few have mementos in the page. These pages are not embellished with markets or fibers or whatever the scrapbook fad of the moment happens to be.  The photo described above is titled "The Unexpected Wedding",  and includes nothing but the picture.  The next picture I chose happens to be of me and my siblings and parents in what are obviously awkward positions on camels in Giza.  If nothing else the photos will have them chortling.

In the past year, I've  picked up a few books to help with my writing in general, and two I have held onto  specifically to give me some "prompts" on this project.  The first is called To Our Children's Children and is written by Bob Greene. I just realized it's written by Bob Greene (the exercise Guru for Oprah) and not Bob Greene (the humorous author and columnist). This book has a variety of writing prompts divided into major categories -from "the house you raised your family in" to "foods". One question is simply "was there ever a tornado, big snowstorm or flood where you lived?".   Another is "What was Halloween like for you grown up?"  Many questions go into more depth.  While I'm starting my journey from old pictures, these questions are still helpful.

My other book is entitled How to Write Your Life Story: A Complete Guide to Creating a Personal Memoir.  Again, one can easily use this book for small or large sale scrapbooking or other smaller writing opportunities. I especially like the section on so called memory triggers that suggest choosing one type of ideas and working from their, be it turning points, regrets, people in your get the idea.

I am not on a time frame, and will work on these memories as time permits and as the mood strikes (and when I don't get distracted looking for one photograph and end up looking through  boxes of mementos).  As far as I am concerned, as with anything else, the journey and the doing are as important as the end result!  As often happens in my life, this idea came to me as a frugal and yet wonderful gift, and has developed into another passion/project.  While this idea may not work for you, have you ever considered solidifying memories, be it in picture or written form?

Meanwhile, I had a lovely weekend and Monday.  The weather has turned here in Texas again (but will become seventy later in the week).  Where else but in retirement can you climb back into bed with your jammies and aptop on a Monday morning and stay there until you decide to come out!  My weekend was spent at church, watching football, getting my home ready to show, sewing and getting things ready to make alterned Easter and Valentine birdhouses (no, I did not have enough to do!). 

The quilt is made up of 42 four inch blocks. In order to make it large enough to be a throw, I added lots of white!  Now I need to add at least two borders and cannot decide on the colors.  My brother and his wife have changed their bedroom colors to one of those mainly greens with a touch of blue in it shades, so a greeny aqua will probably be one of the shades. I normally don't do "old timey" quilts, but he loves em, so here we go!

I also managed to make a set of six lined fabric mini treat bags and  a quick patriotic table runner (to which I will add picnic napkins and coasters to make a set).

And now, I'm off to be one of those "lie in front of the TV" folks for the evening.   I have a roasted chicken from the deli department, biscuits and salad and strawberries and I plan to watch the two hour premier of the new Kevin Bacon drama- in all its profileyness.


  1. Barb, I love the idea of making memories for children.

    The quilt is lovely as well as everything else you have made.

    God bless.

  2. I like your idea of using a photo to prompt writing about a memory -- makes it easier to write, and brings the memory more alive for the person who eventually reads it. Think I'll try it.

  3. You seem to have a comfortable and happy retirement life. I just hope that when I reach retirement age, I would also be making memories for the people I love instead of worrying about my retirement income.

  4. I love this idea! It would be a wonderful keepsake for future generations! I think I'm going to see if I can track down this book. :) Love the quilt! Lovely work!!

  5. Thanks Jackie. I love the idea as well. Now to put it into action

  6. Tom, my only problem is that I am too verbose and I expect that many of them will require two pages or twelve inch square pages. I've never been accused of brevity.

  7. Barb,

    I am doing something similar, but will use recipes instead of pictures to prompt memories. I plan to give it to my daughter (who only cooks about 3 things). She will probably view it as more as a keepsake than something useful - which is also good. I have started and stopped the project more than a few times.

    Thanks for the reminder to get back to it.

  8. Barb..I just recently started reading your blog and cant get enough. I am turning the bit 50 this year and have decided that i am retiring at 57.. i can do so and collecte my pension from where i have worked for 30 years. so it is truly an inspiration to me that you live off of your pension. i am inspired to do it. Love seeing your quiliting projects as i have a passion for that.. Keep blogging!!

  9. Well, yes Suzanne, I also have this goal to make a book of family recipes (and or Christmas cookie recipes) for my family who do cook-just too many goals and no time to do them. LOL


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