Welcome to Scrapbook! Saturday. What a wonderful week we have just had with Amy. I have laughed, cried, shuddered with fear, and breathed sighs of relief. All in one week. I love how scrapbooking is not just about the pages, but the sisterhood and bonds we develop as we read each others' pages. Thank you, Amy, for opening dialogues for me with myself, my son, and my friends. Thank you, too, for helping me feel normal as I enter this new territory. I love watching and learning from other mothers that I respect.
This week, we are loaded with goodies. A sketch by Donna, a design challenge, and a printable! Scrapbook Saturdays are the best!
Donna has created a sketch for us based upon her layout in the gallery. Here is it.
And for those who prefer, we have again created a layered digital template for you to download and enjoy! You may download here.
Did you notice how many layouts this month contained linear photo elements? Aly, Celeste, Erin, and Lisa have layouts that rock the vertical stacks of photos! Celeste, Marie, and I all have horizontal photo rows. Linear stacks are a clean and tidy way of incorporating several photos without causing visual clutter. We hope that you will try it for yourself.
We, as a team, had so much fun creating layouts around the today theme that we really want you to do one, too. To help you out, we have created a page of journaling tidbits and embellies for you. We hope you enjoy them!
I changed it up a little, squaring off the overlapping elements and making the title all on the top. It was a terrific starting point, which is how I usually use a sketch.
2. Design Challenge
Linear sings to my soul. Ah! The sound of harmony!
3. "Today" Printable
Here is my layout using one of the elements from the printable.
Thanks for stopping by!! Please don't forget to stop by and visit Ali and Renee, our dear sponsors! And maybe leave Crystal a thank you, too, for providing the elements used to make the printable! We hope you enjoy the sketch and printable; please remember they are for personal use only!
That's it! Three more challenges to help get your ideas moving and those pages finished!
I’m going to start today—the fourth and final day of teen scrapping week—with a hope. I really, really hope the ideas have been helpful to you, because, you know? All this thinking about teenagers has made me realize something: I’m thoroughly enjoying this phase of my life. That’s a huge realization for me, because I love babies. Love them. And I used to dread this day, when I’d be on the other side of motherhood, the side without any babies. But this side isn’t so bad. Sure, there are no delicious baby snuggles—but there are tradeoffs. I get to sleep all night, I can go anywhere I want without packing a diaper bag, and when the stomach flu makes its yearly visit to our house, everyone can throw up in the toilet. (Trust me, with four kids, that’s huge.) But what’s truly great about this phase of life is this: you know how, when you have babies, you look at them and you wonder “who will this child be when he grows up?”
Being a mom to teenagers means I get to see who they are becoming. I get to interact with them on a far more adult level. They might make me a little bit crazy sometimes, but they also make me deeply happy. What else can a mom want?
So, thanks. Thanks for taking this trip with me into teenageland. Care for four more ideas?
1. Document the small, everyday details
Think about the things that happen every day—are you getting those details down? They are priceless. Take the weekly drama of the bedroom cleaning. Really. When else in life are people such endearing slobs as when they’re teenagers? Perhaps instead of getting annoyed, take some photos. Document the stuff that’s hanging on the walls. Ask your teen how she or he feels about the bedroom mess. (Haley calls her room a “floordrobe” when it’s particularly messy.) What do your teens keep on their nightstand or dresser? What music plays when their alarm clock go off? What’s under the bed?
And that’s just one little corner of their world. Maybe you could document the unfathomable depths of your son’s backpack. What is a typical weekend like, or Friday night? What is your teen’s morning or after-school routine? How does he get to and from school, what TV show does she make sure never to miss?
There really are countless small details to scrap about!
In this layout, Lisa O. journals about the daily experience of having a teenager in the house:
Her journaling reads: "Life with an almost teenager is: full of joy, emotions and is a bit loud. One or two ‘awkward’ questions and sleepy mornings also occur."
I love that—the awkward questions themselves are priceless!
Idea Take Away Actually, there are two for this layout! First. Notice the big pennant Lisa uses as an anchor for her journaling space? I love that and am totally going to steal her idea. I’m a firm believer that journaling spaces are too often overlooked as a design element. We slap down the journaling and get it over with! But if you add some embellishment, shape, detail, color, or texture, your journaling becomes more visually important—and more likely to be read!
The second idea take away is Lisa’s photo choice. Teenager’s lives now are so dominated by easy accessibility to technology! (I don’t know about you, but I didn’t own my own camera until my twenties.) Raid your teen’s memory card or cell phone pics for some images. Their perspective on the world is so unique and revealing.
Do you have any daily rituals you share with your teen? My daughter, for example, asks me almost every day which shoes she should wear with her outfit. She almost never wears the ones I suggest, which always makes me laugh!
I’m glad I have this on a layout because it’s such a fun part of our relationship.
Idea Take Away The botanical square in the bottom left corner is actually a dingbat font that I cut out with my Silhouette. It’s called Melany Lane Patterns and I got it here, at myfonts.com. This is a recent find for me, but I can’t tell you how much I love it! There are lines, dots, zigzags, swirls. . . and endless possibilities.
Daily schedules are also fun to get down on a layout:
When you are writing about the things that happen during the day, let yourself use a casual voice. In this journaling I was trying to sound lighthearted and straightforward; I wanted to get down the more unusual details (like Nathan’s habit of sleeping in a hat because he thinks it will make his cowlicks go away), as well as the more common ones (favorite dinner). Also—it’s ok to write about the non-favorite parts of the day. Remember: real is good!
Idea Take Away Don’t let yourself be controlled by the thematic stylings of your scrapping supplies. The alphabet stickers I used on this (very fallish) layout came from Basic Grey’s Kissing Booth line, which is designed with Valentine’s Day in mind. Try to look at your supplies from a color or a style perspective and you’ll stretch their application.
2. Document the Big Moments
I loved reading all the comments yesterday about your favorite teenage memories. There were lots of small, intimate experiences (I am always impressed by the fact that some of you married your high school sweethearts!), but the big moments are pretty memorable too. Dances and football games and choir tours and getting your driver’s license. They’re big and so they deserve some big documentation, too.
Think about the important things in your teen’s life, the things he or she looks forward to for weeks. The sports they compete in, or the awards they win. What about the day the report card arrives in the mail? or the day of the ACT? Scrapping about the things they love will help them remember them better.
Of course, this begs the question: what if you aren’t there for the big events? I know that, for me, I try to be at everything. But sometimes I have to work, or another kid is sick, or life intervenes in the myriad ways it does. Here’s where it pays off to talk to your kids! You can ask them face to face, of course. I’ve found, though, that the answers to questions like “what happened at the dance?” tend to be of the one-word variety, three or four at most. “Nothing,” or “just the usual stuff,” or “we danced a lot” or there’s my perennial favorite, “fine”: none of these make for very good journaling. (Although it would be sort of funny to make a layout with just the word “fine” in the journaling space. Hmmmm.)
This is where you have to push a little bit. Look at their Facebook pages. Look at their friends’ and date’s Facebook pages. Send them an email asking for details, or even a series of texts. I’ve often just been straightforward with what I need; I simply say “I want to make a layout with these photos, can you tell me some details?” Or, ask one of the adults who was at the event. Even though you really have to dig to get the story, it will be worth it.
And! if your teen is particularly reticent, journal about your perspective on the big event. Maybe you stayed up until 1:35 in the morning doing laundry so his football uniform would be clean? Think about what your involvement in the event is, and journal about that if that is all you can do.
One of the highlight’s of Jake’s eighth grade year was the day he won the state track meet in high jump. (It was the highlight of my year, too, to be honest!) Documenting successes is particularly important because it lets them know you haven’t forgotten and that you still value it. Here’s the layout I made about Jake’s big win:
I tried to tell the entire story, from his discouragement about always coming in second all the way to the winning jump.
Idea Take Away I’ve always thought that layouts for boys are harder than those for girls, partly because of the embellishment issue. You can always stick a flower down for a girly layout. . . but it’s more complicated for boyish ones. (Note: I am not afraid to use flowers on boy layouts. But it still has to have the right “feel,” you know?) My solution: lots of words. I love using long titles with big letters. They grab your eye and give a powerful feel to the layout that makes it easier to leave the white space alone.
Confession: I haven’t scrapped Haley’s first prom yet. I might never scrap it, because she didn’t have a great time and I haven’t decided, yet, what to do with that. But her next big date dance, this fall’s homecoming, was an entirely different story and I couldn’t wait to make a layout!
Notice how the details about the actual dance are kind of sparse? That’s because her details were sketchy. “We had fun” and “it was great!” was about all I could get out of her. So the bulk of the story is about buying her dress. I can only tell a story I know, so that’s what I did!
Idea Take Away Lately, I am in love with 3.5”x5” photos. They might be the best size ever, big enough to not get lost amid embellishments, small enough that you can fit more than a handful. My photo printer will add the black Keyline borders I used on this layout for no extra charge, and I find myself clicking that “add borders” button with any photos that feel more formal. The border adds an elegance—and it makes assembling your layout much faster because nothing needs a mat.
3. Look to the Future
“I can’t wait until…” are words that teens say often. Until they’re sixteen, until they can start dating, until they can drive—or even until Friday or the end of math class. Anticipating the future is a huge thing for teens, because let’s face it, the future is knocking on their door.
When my kids go off to college, I’m keeping their scrapbooks. But I am sending them each with two things (well, and all the knowledge, love, learning, and skill I can teach them): the first is a denim quilt made from their old jeans (which I have been saving since they first wore jeans). The second is a scrapbook made up of highlights of their childhood. I’ve been planning this album for years now by keeping track of the photos I want to include, so that when I’m ready to make it I’ve already got most of the photos printed and waiting.
But I do look to the future in different ways, too. In this layout:
I used some pictures that came from a photo shoot Haley did for our local university’s concurrent enrollment program. In the journaling, I wrote about the intersection of present with future and what I hope hers brings her. Think about how your teen's current efforts will affect her future. What do you hope her future holds for her? How are you helping him develop his future right now?
Idea Take Away To make the journaling space on this layout, I had to improvise a little bit. I wanted to print it all on that pink patterned paper, but after my Silhouette ate a big chunk of it (I used a too-narrow font for my first attempt at the word “go” in the title) my plan was foiled. My compromise: I printed just part of the journaling on the paper and the rest on cardstock. To do this I: 1. print a test page after formatting the journaling space. 2. Layer the cardstock on top of the test page with a light source underneath it. (I used my light box, but a sunny window works just as well!) 3. Adhere the patterned paper scraps on top of the cardstock in the exact position I want them. 4. Run this doctored piece of patterned paper through my printer.
If you try this, make sure you know which direction your printer feeds the paper!
Emily and I are wearing fairly similar shoes these days. I’ve had the same worry about my kids' future that she expresses in this layout:
The worry is over the possibility of her daughter feeling like she’s being shoved out of the nest. It is good to let her know: it’s not that we want you to leave, just that we want to make sure your leaving is as successful as possible. I am going to make a similar page soon!
Idea Take Away Journaling spots are one of my favorite scrapbooking products—to buy! I have a hard time using them for actual journaling, though because (as this week has no doubt made obvious) I tend to write a lot of journaling. So I love the way Emily used the kraft journaling card as an impromptu photo mat. Sometimes it’s good to push yourself with a supply—instead of thinking “this won’t work” try asking “how could I make this work?”
4. Document Yourself!
I said this up there somewhere: the only story we can ever really tell is the story we know. You know your story, so what about making a layout that details your experiences as the mom of teenagers? I think that whatever happens to one family member happens to the entire family because we all experience it, one way or the other. Your kids becoming teenagers isn’t only their story—it’s yours, too.
In my layout:
I journaled about how my kids’ teenage experiences have helped me put to rest some of my own. During my days of dreading having teenagers, I had no idea that would happen. Peace comes from strange places sometimes! What have you learned from having teenagers? How has it changed you?
Idea Take Away Every once in awhile I like to format my journaling spaces like this one, with the paragraphs indented in random places and the widths inconsistent. I like how it loosens up the feel of the space and gives the layout a more unstructured feel.
And, one more plug for this: Get yourself in front of the camera with your kids! I detest having my picture taken. But somehow, I started a tradition of asking someone at every birthday party to take a photo of me and my birthday kid. I did this as a way of reconnecting myself to the day each child was born (delivery days? totally one of my life’s favorites!), reminding myself of that first moment of seeing those newborn faces. (All of the photos on this layout came from the most recent birthdays.) Like cake and balloons and presents, the photo-with-mom thing has become second nature, which makes it easier to turn the camera over.
Okay then—here’s the end of Teen Scrapping Week. I hope you’ve found some new things to document and new joy in your teenagers. Happy scrapping!
It is Thursday, and we have been enjoying a splendid week with Amy. Teenagers. Every day (or sometimes every hour) is a new adventure. Will happiness abound today? or will it be an eggshell day? Sometimes you just never know. They are a mysterious lot.
In keeping with the theme, ouris a mystery box. Filled with papers, and extras, this mystery box is sure to please, if you are patient enough to unwrap it and open it up. Much like our teens.
If you would like to be considered for this mysterious giveaway, please leave us a comment telling us of one of your teenage memories. And then be sure to take a minute to scrapbook it!
Comments will remain open through this evening. One lucky number will be selected at random and posted tomorrow morning. Please be sure to check back as it is your responsibility to claim your lucky number before midnight Saturday! Thank you!
When your house is full of teenagers, it’s also full of drama. Sometimes it’s a severe sort of conflict (which, I feel seriously blessed and lucky and fortunate to report, has been pretty rare so far for us). Sometimes it's just silliness. But it’s always around. Last night, for example, when I got home from work, Nathan was melting down because the laptop where he’d saved his Nanowrimo novel had crashed and he couldn’t get it back. (I emailed his teacher to explain and then had to talk him out of being too anxious about it to sleep.) Haley needed new notebooks for English and biotech, couldn’t find her cell phone, and was mediating a fight between two of her friends. (After said phone was located in the bathroom drawer, we ran to Target really quickly, talking about the friend thing during the drive.) Jake was suffering from conjunctivitis that he caught from Kaleb (our six year old) and he really wanted to watch TV even though he is banished until his eyes feel better. (I was compassionate but firm and suggested he take a shower.)
Teens have drama. Moms of teens have perpetual exhaustion.
Hopefully the next four scrapbooking layout ideas will rev up your creative energy!
1. Don’t Neglect the Trends
I love those emails/Facebook posts that pop up every once in awhile, the ones about “you know you were a teen in the _____ if” (insert your teenage decade in that space). It always cracks me up to think about the trends I’ve forgotten I used to love. (Jelly shoes and Units outfits and side ponytails, for example. Oh, and Swatches! And Atari. I could totally kick anyone’s butt on Atari Asteroids!)
In fact, I’m certain that the concept of “trends” was invented just for teens. This goes back to their passionate natures—“passionate” and “obsessive” are sort of synonyms after all! Each of my teens has had his or her own way of defining which trends to obsess over, but they’ve found them and then spent large amounts of time living with them.
(I’m just really, really grateful that parachute pants are no longer a trend!)
Get some of those trends down in your layouts. You’re certain to already be documenting your teens clothing trends just by taking photos of them. Other trends will take some advanced planning on your part. Start by making a list: which trends have influenced your child? My list includes things like cell phones (an obvious one!), downloaded music (remember CD’s? no, wait—remember cassette tapes?), fancy pants (which is my name for any jeans that have anything more than your basic jean details), v-neck T’s (for the boys; Haley won’t be caught dead in a T shirt), Facebook, colored hair streaks (Haley had a blue one for about a year), and novels about dystopias.
In this layout:
I wrote about the Twilight series of books. The vampires, love triangles, and fairy-tale endings in these books (as well as the movies) have created trends in young adult literature and in movies, and while I decidedly don’t love these books, Haley has read them. We’ve talked about them quite a bit, too, and they’ve led us to conversations I am 100% certain we wouldn’t have had otherwise. When you write about your teen’s trendy obsessions, think not just about the trend itself, but what it means and how it has influenced your kids.
Since I never took any photos of Haley reading any of these books, I had to think about how to portray them in a photo. This snapshot of her bookshelf, with arrows pointing to the titles in question, works. I realized after I finished the layout that it also captures a little snapshot of who she is right now. Hair supplies and lots of jewelry, inspirational quotes and fingernail polish in—hey!—trendy colors: each of those little visual tidbits say something I’m pretty sure would have gotten lost in the everyday busy-ness of life. (Although…I’m really not sure what is up with that Ken doll!)
Idea Take AwayIf you want to add textual elements to a photo before you print it (like the arrows I used here), crop your photo first and then add the text. That way, the proportions in your print will be correct.
2. Use What They’ve Already Written
Sometimes it is hard to know exactly how to journal on teen-focused layouts. Lots of things happen when we parents aren’t around. Or putting your thoughts into words gets complicated. You might just not know what to say.
But sometimes you really don’t have to know—you just have to dig a little bit. Use what your teenager has written in other places as the journaling for some of your layouts to add a not-so-inconsequential layer of meaning. I’ve already mentioned my penchant for sending my kids writing assignments via email, and honestly: those layouts are some of my favorites because I know they are authentic. But asking isn’t the only way to get a hold of your teen’s thoughts. Facebook and Twitter updates are a good source, as are the texts they’ve sent to you or the ones they might share with you. (When my kids got cell phones, it was with the understanding that texts aren’t journals and I, as the person paying for the phone, can read them whenever I want. This didn’t happen because of scrapbooking, of course. But it does make journaling easier!) If your teen has a blog, read it for ideas. You can even use stuff they write for school assignments.
Is this snooping? I don’t think so. For one, my kids know I do this. Two, I would never, ever, ever snoop in secret. Their journals? Completely off limits to me, which they know and (I hope) trust. Everything else? Fair game.
Here’s a layout that uses something that my daughter Haley wrote on her blog just this week:
The words that came from her blog are the ones in the script font (it’s called Sweetly Broken). I love that she is having her own epiphanies and that she is learning about life—and that she isn’t afraid to put it out there for other people to see.
Idea Take Away This is such a simple layout—so simple it nearly makes me feel guilty. I think, though, that sometimes we make it too complicated. Simple is good. Simple means we are getting more of our supplies out of our boxes and drawers and into our albums. So if you need permission, here it is: it’s OK to be simple!
And, a little bonus Idea Take Away: here’s a PDF with the “never run away” quotation, in case you’d like to use it on one of your layouts: Download Junot diaz quote
3. Use your past
If you could go back in time and take some photos of your teenage years, what would you document? Now, document that for your teen. Honestly, I learned this the hard way, from my mom’s decisions when I was a teenager. A rebellious and angry and always-wearing-black gothy sort of teenager. (Yes, I know. No one who didn’t know me then believes it now.) There are precious few photos of me during that phase of my life because it bothered her so much. I wish I had more photos of me with my friends, my car, and my hobbies. I wish I had a picture of my stereo and of all my tapes lined up underneath it. Or one of my bedroom. Or my steel-toed boots. Photos of me with boyfriends? Nonexistent.
The real point is this: try to not let how you feel about your teenagers’ choices stop you from documenting them anyway. It will add to their feelings of self worth if you take time to photograph and scrap about their blue hair or too-heavy eyeliner or too-short skirt. In your gut, you know this because you were once a teenager, too. Let yourself remember that time and learn from it.
I took this idea in a slightly different way:
In this layout, I journaled about a few of the things I wish I had known when I was a teenager. It grew out of an experience I had just last weekend, when I watched her walk up to the door of her Preference date’s house. How did I—socially awkward, utterly shy, and totally angry teenager—create a confident, outgoing, friendly daughter? It hit me, watching her, how much her teenage experiences—my sons’, too, but in a different way—have caused me to revisit my own. And have helped me to put to bed old issues, too. I’m still not certain if this layout is for Haley or if it is for me! (But, hello. Can I just say how much I love this photo of her?)
Idea Take Away If you want to use a border punch on journaling strips as I did here, pay attention to how thick you cut your strips. Depending on the punch, you’ll need to leave about one-half inch of empty space below (or above, if you want, or even both!) the words. (Pay attention to descenders like y, z, and p.)
4. Write What you Feel
I think I have a pretty good relationship with my teenagers. I try to keep our conversations open, to help them trust me, and to avoid judging them. But I’d be foolish if I believed they talk to me about everything. It just simply sometimes is hard work, communicating.
And this is what I love about scrapbook journaling.
It is the perfect space for you to put into words what you have a hard time saying out loud. Or what your teen would, quite simply, not want to listen to. There is always so much emotion involved in the issues we have with our teens, both on their part and on ours. Writing what you feel helps you to figure out what you feel. Strange but true.
So here’s a challenge. The next time you’re feeling strongly about something related to your teen—and this “something” can be a negative or a positive—take ten minutes or so to write down your thoughts. You might not ever use that exact writing on a layout. But the act of writing will help you process what you know, think, fear, hope, and/or feel. This parenting of teens is a complicated experience. Writing will help you make it a little bit more simple.
Here’s a layout I love from Emily:
In her journaling she writes about that moment we each eventually experience. I think of it as the grocery-store moment. It happens when you see someone else’s small child in a grocery store and you realize: my teenager will never be that small again. (Finding yourself weeping in Target, Walmart, or your local grocery store? Totally one of the hazards of being a mom!) This is the bitter sweetness of motherhood, I believe: that they grow up. What other way would you have it? But it still stings. It might be decades before Emily’s daughter truly understands this emotion her mom was feeling. But when she does? This layout will mean even more.
Idea Take Away Embrace the white space! No matter if it’s a single-photo layout or one with 29 pictures on it, every layout needs a little bit of breathing room, some space with nothing in it. The white space Emily incorporated here makes the layout feel expansive and open-hearted.
I’ve made more than few layouts where I’ve written about how I feel. Here’s one I did about Jake:
where I write about the core emotions that go along with raising him specifically. See, I grew up with three sisters—no brothers—and so every day Jake teaches me something about boys that I never knew before. This teenage boy thing is faintly terrifying to me, and writing down my fears, as well as my hopes and the things I know, helped me to feel more brave.
Idea Take Away You won’t find the word “Teenageboyness” in any dictionary I know. But I am totally OK with that anyway. Titles are a great place to play with language; try to not let The Official Grammar and Spelling Rules overcome your creativity. Stay within the basic guidelines, of course. (There’s a huge difference, for example, between a layout that’s about “My Heroine” (detailing this scrapper’s hero, who happens to be a girl) and one that really means to be about the same thing but is stuck with the title “My Heroin.” And, yes: I am not making that up!) But it’s also OK to let yourself play. More than just OK, in fact. Fun!
In this layout I did for Haley, I journaled some of my feelings about her entering high school and how it changed her. She had a tough sophomore year, and this layout
speaks to how I felt about her challenges and how she handled them.
Idea Take Away Don’t be afraid to mix your old scrapbooking supplies with your new ones. The “bird” letters here are some really old Basic Grey ones—five or six years. The pink background (which I just realized I also used on my Twilight layout!) is less than a year old. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the must-use-new-stuff mania. No one who matters in your life will ever care which products you used. Just that you went to the effort to use them!
Don’t forget to check back in tomorrow, when we’ll be having some drama of our own, but of the best sort: give away day! Until then!
Hello! And welcome to day two of teen scrapping week. You know what I loved about yesterday? All of your comments! It is so good to know I am not alone in my adolescent-parenting gig. I think all of us are up against the same troubles and joys!
Since yesterday was Human Rights Day, all of my kids were home, which meant I eventually found myself walking through Costco with the four of them. I nearly always leave Costco with something I didn’t intend to buy, but somehow this trip was even worse. I ended up taking home blueberry muffins, a package of already-diced butternut squash (my Bigs love almost any vegetable ever invented, Brussels sprouts notwithstanding), a box of gum, and a cheesecake.
I (along with my checkbook) am grateful they are back in school today. Hopefully you are in a good, peaceful, quite place so you can read the next four ideas without anyone asking you to drive them to the mall.
1. Focus on Personality Traits
My grandma used to say that adolescence is an illness that doesn’t go away until your twenties. If that’s true (and part of me is convinced it is!) then one of the symptoms? Brilliant, expansive, and noticeable personalities. Since teens are all about trying to figure out who they are, their personality traits seem way more intense—the shy kids are much shyer, the outgoing ones even more outgoing.
Try to get some of that personality down in a layout or two. Sometimes you will manage that with the snap of your camera’s shutter. I’ve gotten a few fortunate photos that have captured personality in an instant. But more often than not, I do this by writing about my kids’ personality.
In this layout, I tried to write about that thing my son Nathan has. It’s hard to put into words, though—there isn’t one, in fact, that encapsulates everything that goes into making up his thing. It’s just…Nathan. I’ve tried to write about this thing before, and I’m sure I’ll do it again, especially as his personality changes as he moves deeper into teenagehood.
Idea Take Away Lately I’ve been enamored with creating monochromatic layouts. I like using slightly different shades of the same color to create different layers of embellishments. One thing I love about this is how freeing it is—it lets me eliminate that worry over whether or not the shade of blue I’ve picked is exactly the right one. Instead I just choose a handful and use them all.
Try to think about what traits define your teen right now. I did that in this layout about Jake:
I wanted to document the never-satiated hunger that teenage boys have but do it without seeming to criticize, so I tried to make it lighthearted and a little bit funny. Humor, like honesty, is one of the personality traits you, as a parent to teenagers, can never have too much of!
Idea Take Away I grunged up my rub-on letters by sanding them. The flexibility of rub on letters is one reason they are a favorite supply in my scrapping room.
2. Focus on Physical Traits
Is there a time in our lives when our bodies change so much (and we’re completely aware of it) than during adolescence? I’m not sure! But it’s a fun thing to document those changes. Well, at least the ones that don’t feel too private, of course. The writer Dave Barry says that “to an adolescent, there’s nothing more embarrassing than a parent.” Even acne! Along that line, I’ve set myself the goal of being the least amount of embarrassing possible. I can’t avoid it altogether, of course, as my very “parent” nature is humiliating. But I do try to keep the humiliation to a minimum. Which means only scrapbooking the non-embarrassing physical things.
And which also brings us to the question I posed yesterday: to Photoshop or not to Photoshop the acne? Here’s how I judge it: the quality of the photo. If the acne in question is going on in a casual snapshot, I generally leave it. If it’s a photo from an important event, or one that captures a lot of emotion, I take it out.
Some physical traits you can scrapbook: hair, braces, height, the acquisition of glasses and/or contacts, injuries, scars, or physical talents. You can think of it from different angles as well, like the argument you have with your daughter over the length of that skirt, or maybe the way your son’s football practices leave him sore. Why you don’t want them to get a tattoo. Or a simple comparison—what about a full-body shot from each birthday combined into one layout?
In this layout
Emily documents one of those pesky adolescent characteristics: the squeaky male voice. Oh, my. This makes me laugh! This exact same thing has happened in our house. In fact, most people these days who call me just ask straight out: is this Nathan or is it Amy? (Jake has passed this point.) Emily gets this topic—which holds the potential for embarrassment—down sweetly and succinctly with not even a hint of mockery. Plus, what a great memory to get down on paper.
Idea Take Away I’m certain you have some alphas similar to the ones on Emily’s layout in your stash, those small rectangle letter stickers. These have become some of my favorite layout staples and honestly, I think the concept will stick around for awhile. So don’t be afraid to use them! Follow Emily’s lead and spell out something long. I think you’ll be surprised at just how much you can say with those tiny little letter stickers.
A couple of ways I’ve documented physical traits:
When Haley was about ten, we started the tradition of taking a photo on the day she gets a haircut. On the day I took these photos, I’d taken what felt like a big step to both of us: left her at the salon with just her friend so she could make the decisions on her own. (Oh, how hard it is! Letting them choose! Relinquishing our influence over them!) So the resulting journaling is less about hair than it is about experience and process and emotion—but it also says something about her hair.
Idea Take Away The next time you feel scrappily stumped, try this exercise. Flip to a random page in your dictionary or thesaurus. Let your eye roam down the page until a word grabs your attention. Now, thinking about the qualities, connotations, and meaning of the word, find some photos that will work with it. Then write your journaling. That is how this layout came to be, and it is one of my favorites because it’s sort of random and associative, but it works anyway.
I’ve actually made several layouts about my son Jake’s recent altitude expansion. In this one:
I focused on how I hope he can be metaphorically tall. One of my goals as a parent is to teach my kids that appearance is not as important as actions, but I’m certain it sometimes comes across as nagging. Putting my thoughts onto a layout (one that he’ll see, conveniently, just sitting out on my scrapping table) helps me feel like I’m expressing that ideal without harping on it.
Idea Take Away I have fallen in love with this font, called Emmy 3D. I found it here. I simply filled in the empty spaces using a handful of markers in colors that went with the patterned paper. I imagine it will pop up on quite a few layouts of mine in the near future! What font do you love right now?
3. Work in Some School Details
I think we adults forget how all-encompassing school is for our teenagers. Remember how hard it was to balance all the assignments for seven or eight classes? The locker combinations and student ID numbers and the intricate schedules! That daily complicated experience of lunch! They go through a lot. Try to work in some layouts that focus on their school experiences. What is their daily or A/B schedule? Who is their favorite teacher or subject and why? What school do they go to and what is their mascot? Where is their locker and what do they have in it? What is their favorite lunchroom meal and who do they eat with?
Like some of the other ideas, this one requires you to mine some details out of your teenager. You can ask them, of course, and sometimes they’ll tell you. But usually it really is like mining: hard work for a few rare and valuable gems. Pay attention to the conversations they have when they forget you’re listening: with their siblings at the dinner table, for example, or with a friend while you’re all in the car together. Even the one-sided conversations you might overhear when they’re talking on their cell phones will give you details to flesh out their stories.
For this layout I asked my son Nathan for a little bit of help:
He told me the details in the long strip of journaling on the bottom, while I wrote some of my own thoughts in the other journaling space. He’s twelve, an age I consider to be just on the very edge of teenagedom. At twelve, they’ve definitely got those adolescent prickles—but they’ve also got quite a bit of kid left in them, too. He was willing to answer my questions, but only for a few quick minutes!
Idea Take Away I know that some scrappers don’t like stamping because of its unpredictability. Sometimes a stamped image just doesn’t turn out perfectly. Often, in fact! My perspective is to embrace the messiness. The first time I stamped this image (it’s one of Studio Calico’s and is one of my all-time favorites) I totally smudged it. But I’d already printed the journaling. So I just went with it: I drew imperfect, slightly-shaky squares as outlines around the books and then I purposefully stamped it a little bit sloppily in other spots.
4. Use Their Own Words
Remember how, when your kids were small and still learning about words and language, they’d say the cutest, sweetest things? That sort of tapers off in the grade-school years. But it picks right back up about the time they hit junior high. And, yeah, ok: there’s less cute and sweet. But there is a lot of funny. I the preponderance of funny statements happens because teens are learning new things about language—like sarcasm, and slang, and timing. Mix that with their budding independence and confidence and seriously: a house that’s full of teens is one that’s full of words used in unusual ways.
Jake is always making me laugh, but the night he said this?
Oh, my. It’s been two months since he said it and I am still giggling. I kept meaning to take a photo specifically to document this conversation, but Jake? Jake is my kid who hates to have his picture taken. He hates it! I feel guilty about the fact that his face shows up the least in my photos, but honestly: it is not for the lack of trying. Keeping in mind his photography reticence, I warn him beforehand if we’re going somewhere that will require pictures so he knows that he needs to cooperate even if he doesn’t want to. But I still get quite a few photos of him like this one! I decided not to fight it. This is him right now. It’s ok that it’s not perfectly posed and his expression is a little goofy. It’s real and I am OK with real.
Idea Take AwayKeep track of which fonts coordinate well with your alphabet stamps. That way, you don’t have to waste time scrolling through your font list. When I discover a font that works well with a specific stamp (in this layout, the pairing of the Trinity Alphabet from Close to my Heart and the font called Merge), I simply write its name with a Sharpie right on the envelope or box I keep the stamp set in.
Emily also has a great idea for using teens’ own words:
In this layout, she includes words that are straight from the horse’s mouth. This is a great reminder: sometimes you just have to ask them to play along. Ethan’s responses tell so much about not just his answers to the questions but his personality. All of which is totally worth the stress of asking in the first place.
Idea Take AwayNotice the patterned paper that Emily used for her background? I bought ten sheets of that same paper one day at a clearance sale at my local scrapbooking store. Her layout reminded me that I still have a little bit left! It’s one of my favorite types of patterned paper, something I think of as a neutral patterns. By “neutral” I don’t necessarily only mean beige and off white. You can find neutral patterns in light shades of any color; they have a subtle print to them, but it is light enough not to distract if you print journaling right on top of it. I find neutral patterns incredibly useful because they add a little oomph to the background of your journaling space or title treatment without overpowering the words. Next time you’re shopping for scrapping supplies, watch for neutral patterns. Try looking at the back sides of patterned paper for them.
One more way to think about using your teen’s own words is to think about unique ways that they use language. Consider slang, for example. I know that for me, the slang I picked up as a teenager in the 1980’s has stuck with me—I still say “cool” and “totally awesome” and “what’s your damage, Heather?” (props to you if you know the movie I’m quoting!) even though my kids point out that no one says those words anymore. (And, yes, if you’re curious? The song “1985” by Bowling for Soup could, like, totally be one of my theme songs. Except my tastes ran more towards The Cure, not White Snake. But, still.)
Just one more layout today, this one about a little piece of slang that Jake uses a lot:
“’Sup” must always be accompanied by a sort of head lift. It’s said casually and is meant to portray are sort of studied casualness and, in extreme cases, even apathy. And it was the perfect title for this layout both because Jake uses it a lot and because in the layout’s journaling I made a stab at writing about what was up during that particular time.
Idea Take AwayWhen you have more than a little bit of journaling, try putting it into columns. (You’ll find a “columns” option in whatever word processor you write your journaling in.) It’s a visually comfortable way to present a large amount of text within a confined space. That’s why newspapers use columns.
And with that, I am off—we have one orthodontist appointment today, a visit with the councilor about next year’s schedule, a stop at Nathan’s school to drop off some science fair materials…life with teens is busy!
On nearly any given day, if you were to walk into my house when my kids are home from school, you’d find music blaring. Someone would be playing video games and someone would be doing homework (sometimes the same kid). If it’s morning, you’re certain to hear someone say something about gym clothes, lunch money, the possibility of being checked out during the assembly that afternoon, and where did I put my ______ book? (The name of the book changes depending on if it’s an A day or a B day.) We’ve got MP3 players and laptops and an iPad and cell phones and the house phone and quite likely someone’s best friend’s phone.
That’s because, dear readers, my name is Amy Sorensen and my house is overrun with teenagers. And honestly, I’m not 100% certain how I got here. I swear: six weeks ago I was overrun with babies and toddlers, and my house was crowded with mega packs of Huggies, sixteen different types of wipes, eight different brands of pacifiers, and at least three different kinds of sippy cups. But somehow it happened: three out of four of my kids have entered adolescence.
Which means my scrapbooking has also entered a new phase.
This week here at Write. Click. Scrapbook., we’ll be exploring scrapbooking for your teens. Each day the WCS team and I will give you some concepts to get you excited about scrapping for your teenagers. What do you scrap about once those sweet baby days are behind you? How do you journal about the things your teen is experiencing that you’re not there for? How do you put a relationship that’s growing more complicated by the day down onto a layout?
Should you Photoshop the acne?
But! If you’ve not quite reached the teen phase of parenthood, you should still read on. Plenty of these ideas can be translated into any topic, and for each layout I’m including a scrapbooking layout idea take away—some design element or clever embellishment or use of a supply that could be used on any layout, whatever its theme.
Plus, trust me on this. Even if you’re drowning in babies, you’ve only got about six weeks left. Eight at most before you, too, are inundated with teens! Ready? Let’s go!
1. Be Honest
The first thing I learned about mothering teenagers is this: honesty really is the best policy. Talking frankly and getting issues out in the open is the best way I’ve found to get things to run smoothly. (Well, as smoothly as possible!)
And as in life, so as in scrapbooking: it’s OK to be honest. More than OK—it’s the thing to be. In fact, all of the suggestions I’m offering hinge on this first one: say what is true. That doesn’t mean you have to wallow in all the hard stuff. It just means you can say what is happening, what you feel about it, how things have changed. What you miss about this teenager’s childhood. And it also means you can say what makes you joyful, too. Teenagers will rarely let you get mushy with them in real life. But on a scrapbook layout? Well. Who’s going to stop you!
Here’s a layout to give you an idea:
In this layout, I tried to capture The Look. If you have teenagers, you know exactly which look I mean! The photo captures it perfectly, and in the journaling I wrote about my reaction to The Look—how it makes me miss the Look-free relationship we used to have, but also the fact that I understand The Look and am pretty sure we’ll eventually move past it.
Idea Take Away See how the pink strip of patterned paper at the bottom of the layout has some of its edges cut away? That’s because it’s a scrap I’d saved after punching some curvy squares. I just trimmed the scrap to the size I needed and left the negative shapes from the punching as they were—sort of random and a little bit messy. (Sort of like teenagers, honestly!)
Or you can be honest in a different way:
Here, I wanted to get down some of the topics my son Jake and I are dealing with right now. (If you have a teenage son I’d guess you, too, wish he’d play fewer video games!) I made this as a way of documenting something about him right now. But of course, I included a turn—I included the conflict-free topics, too. I imagine that in, say, five years, I’ll look back on this list with a completely different perspective—because things will either get worse or get better!—and if I wasn’t willing to be honest, I wouldn’t have that future chuckle (or groan of longing for how easy it used to be).
Idea Take Away A quick way to leave a big gap like this in your computer-printed journaling is to insert an empty text box that’s sized exactly the shape of the gap you want. Change the line of the text box to white before you print though!
2. Scrap Stuff as it Happens
Another thing I’ve learned about teenagers: their lives change in an instant. Best friends can become enemies, crushes can become boyfriends can become old flings; classes and schedules and dreams and opinions and hair color all are open to nearly-daily reinterpretation. If you try to stay on top of what’s happening right now, you’ll capture it in its authenticity. This doesn’t mean you should freak out about staying caught up. (We all know “being caught up” with scrapbooks is like Bigfoot and savings accounts: they are all myths, right? Right.) It does mean you should try to set a goal to do some life right now style layouts. My goal is two a quarter per teen. In the grand scheme of scrapbooking, twelve layouts in a year to keep current is not much. (If you want more Life Right Now layouts, checkouttheseposts.)
Here’s one example
Here, I jotted down some of the things that had happened during the first six weeks of my daughter Haley’s junior year. Since I made this in October, she’s had some fairly significant changes in her life and I’m so glad I got these details down.
Idea Take AwayEven if you don’t organize your scrapping supplies by color, you might try organizing your left-over scraps that way. Even though I used a ton of different supplies on this layout, it came together really quickly because I just picked my color scheme and then grabbed the corresponding (color-coordinated) bits and pieces.
Another Haley-centered layout: You can also capture the way life currently feels by writing down a lot of stuff. How you feel, how she feels, what is going on in your daily concerns. And, again, the payoff is worth it: she’s since abandoned the hair extensions that seemed so important to her almost a year ago and is an official fan of the writer Amy Tan.
Idea Take AwayWhen you want your alphabet-stickered titles to stand out, try outlining the letters after you stick them down, using your thinnest black or grey pen and a steady hand. It really makes them pop!
3. Document their Favorites
Teenagers are passionate people. They find things they love and then they love them without restraint. Some of these favorites are lasting, some fade with time. Document them so the memories themselves don’t fade, too.
That IS a cute favorite outfit, don’t you think? Getting the details of favorite outfits is both good memory keeping and incredibly fun. If you work it right, even a teenage boy will let you snap a few photos of their clothes—you might have to bribe him with cookies, but it’ll be worth it. You’ll have photos and cookies, and what more do you need?
Idea Take AwayNotice the placement of Emily’s title right on top of the photos. I love this technique! I am of the opinion that vellum is one of the scrapbooking world’s least-utilized products. Once you use it a few times, though, you’ll start loving it too for how it adds an extra semi-opaque layer of space to your layouts. Stitch it on like Emily did here, or stick it down with washi tape, or snap it into place with a brad.
Clothes aren’t the only favorites that stand in need of documenting. Think about the things that give meaning to your teen’s life: music, books, teachers, classes, friends, TV shows, movies. Whatever they are passionate about is worth documenting. Some layouts I’m planning on making during the next few months include one about Jake’s favorite video games (and his favorite place to hang out while he plays), Nathan’s favorite hat (and why he sleeps in it), and Haley’s favorite pop star (Justin Bieber).
In this layout:
I combined ideas #2 and #3: I documented some stuff-right-now by asking Haley what her favorite things about December were. I do this quite often, in fact. I’ll send a quick email to one (or all) of my teenagers, asking them a question. This is one way you can get their thoughts and perspectives onto their albums. Asking via email (or text, I’ve done that too) lets you eliminate that pesky need for them to actually talk, which let’s face it: sometimes they don’t want to do!
Idea Take Away The 6x6 photo has become one of my favorite sizes recently. Most professional photo printers do this size. There’s something so useful about a 6x6. It’s big enough to carry the entire layout but not so large that you don’t have room for some words, too.
4. Think about Connections
When you’re in the throes of raising teens, it’s easy to feel like you don’t have anything in common. But, those connections are there, I promise. Actually, if you set yourself the goal of looking for them, even just for a scrapbooking layout, you’ll find them everywhere. Connections remind you of what you love about your teenager. They help you see relationships in new light.
Lisa O. created a layout with journaling (in the pocket) that talks about things she has in common with her daughter. (Isn’t that photo gorgeous?)
Idea Take Away Get in the photos with your teenagers. I know. This is hard! You feel self conscious and you wish you weighed less or your hair looked better or your teeth were whiter. But, trust me. It doesn’t matter. Even if you feel silly—ask someone else to take the photos. (If you have more than one teen? Hand over your camera. Their perspective on you will surprise you!) Think about it: do you have any photos of yourself as a teen with your mom? I have precious few, and I wish I had more, and if you don’t do this, your teen will one day be an adult with the same impossible wish.
Of course, you are not the only person your teenager has connections with. Siblings, friends, co-workers, romantic entanglements: anyone they have relationships with they have connections to. What about your son’s best friend’s mom? Or the neighbor down the block your daughter babysits for? Those connections are good to document, too.
Emily got the siblings involved in this layout:
I listened to an NPR interview a few months ago about how, if we manage to stay close to our siblings, that relationship is the one that affects our lives the longest. Friends change, parents die, people get divorced, but your brother is your brother forever. Emily captures that here brilliantly!
Idea Take Away Take a deep breath. Gather up your courage. Talk yourself into it. Write on your layout using your very own handwriting. Love it or hate it, your handwriting is personal, a little piece of you left right there for generations. You can do it!
In this layout:
I used this random, not-super-good snapshot of Jake and Haley to capture their sibling relationship. I made a venn diagram—remember those from your high school English class? The tidbits in the yellow journaling space are about Haley’s quirks, those in the blue are Jake’s, and in the green are the quirks they share (get it? yellow + blue = green?).
Idea Take AwayEvery once in awhile, spend some time with your fonts. I’m pretty sure there’s a rule somewhere about good typesetting not using more than two fonts, and keeping the sizes similar, and the line spacing uniform. I broke all those rules here, but I think it works, simply by the adolescent nature of the topic. Teens aren’t always very good at keeping the rules, either.
One more layout to show you connections:
I wrote the journaling for this layout on a day I was feeling particularly ground down and a little bit discouraged by unrelenting teenage attitude. It made me feel so much more hopeful to remind myself: this too shall pass! I used the idea that we have this one thing we both love to do (running, and really, despite my malaise during the writing of this journaling, we do have much more in common than just that) and mixed it in with the things we don’t see eye-to-eye about.
Idea Take Away Mixing your title media is one of the most playful title treatments you can make. Use alphabet stamps and stickers, like I did here, or chipboard letters and printed words, or handwritten alphas mixed with die cut ones. Unify them with font, size, color, or emotional “feel” and you’ll make a title you love!
Okay, then. Until tomorrow, when I’ll be back with four more ideas, I’ll leave you to your teenage documenting processes!
Hi and welcome to another edition of click. Saturday! I am going to talk a bit about capturing today in your photos. As you already might know, the January gallery is themed Today. There are alot of great ideas in there photowise. Let me show you!
Aly Dosdall and Erin Sweeney are two of the members that snapped photos from their day continually. Bits and pieces from where they were and what they did the day they documented.
Celeste Smith took photos of some of the things that sums up a typical Sunday.