When I realized my grandparents were in line to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary about 14 years ago, I immediately began thinking of just the right gift. It had to be something special and ideally sentimental. I put a lot of thought into gifts, making sure the recipient knows how much care and love is inside the package, so it definitely needed to be a bit extraordinary for this golden occasion.
A friend of mine had begun scrapbooking, creating some really cool things that included not only photos but keepsakes and other special, personalized aspects. *Light bulb* — “This would be perfect!”
Thus began Operation: Stealthily Get Photos and Keepsakes and Mementos From Grandparents’ House.
That stealth mission turned out not to be so difficult. I’ve always been very close to them, so it wasn’t out of the ordinary for me to spend an afternoon there. So, after a nice Sunday dinner, I started asking questions, which also was not out of the ordinary — for several years I’d been documenting my Grandfather’s many, interesting stories to create a book. I did, as a gift, and his reaction was priceless… tears, smiles, the whole nine yards.
Armed with notes, copies of photos and some keepsakes (including a copy of their original marriage license that I swiped from the hutch in the dining room), I went to work on a scrapbook.
There are so many more resources and stores that can help than I ever imagined. Craft stores, including Michael’s, Joanne Fabrics and a few small ones around western Mass., are hot beds of supplies. From stickers, glue and paper to embellishments, photo borders and the actual albums, they have it all. You can even find DIY and how-to books complete with tips and tricks. A lot of online resources exist now, too, including example scrapbook pages and other ideas to jump off from. As a newbie scrapper, these can really help.
But while these resources are helpful, I discovered there’s more to the whole thing. Creativity is key. You get to determine what papers and stickers to use, which embellishments work best, what the layout should look like. Honestly, there’s not a lot of science to it; I guess that’s what makes it a nice part-time hobby. For me, anyway. I can peacefully dive into my imagination and relax, take my time, within it while deciding how to execute my vision.
It was in there that I was able to create the album for my grandparents. After several re-dos and revisions to certain pages and page orders, it took almost an entire year to get it done. I had to fit 50 years of memories into one album, so I took my time.
Their party came… gifts began opening. I patiently waited for them to get to the one marked, “Love, Teeny” (my family/childhood nickname). They opened it, looked through a few pages and stopped. Their reactions were priceless… tears, smiles, the whole nine yards.
A few years later I made one for my parents’ 25th anniversary — again invoking priceless reactions. Then I crafted a “blank” one for my brother and sister-in-law upon the birth of my nephew, their first child; it consisted of embellished, decorated pages with open spots in which to include their own photos as he grows up. Yet again… those priceless reactions.
Scrapbooking can be therapeutic… quietly creating something cool and pleasant to look at. At the same time, unleashing your imagination can be invigorating. My advice for someone interested in this hobby… hit up a craft store and simply jump into the world of imagination.