by Tami Taylor
The 5th installment of a project in which Tami embarks upon a year-long quest (inspired by the Julie/Julia Project) to use the Get It Scrapped! book and website to Get It Scrapped!
What’s your point?
It’s probably the biggest “Debbie-ism” that goes through my brain. I found myself seeing my pages differently after reading Get It Scrapped. When I browsed my earlier layouts, I saw random images and realized that without the title many pages would be without a point. Thankfully I put creative titles on my pages like “Toledo Zoo” and “Science Fair.” I found when I looked through Debbie’s layouts many of them didn’t need a title. You could tell the event without reading the title or journaling.
Looking at Debbie’s image above you see it’s about Kayaking. You may not know the river or why the event is taking place but you know what’s going on at the event. My layouts lacked this focus. I went to extremes with all the shots being of the people or all the shots being of the event. My “Toledo Zoo” layout was pages of the kids’ faces and not one animal. I scrapped all the animals together on the following pages. That’s how I chose to group the photos; people – animals. Doing so left me with disconnected pages.
Now when I approach event photos I think of the two questions at the beginning of this chapter.
- What story do I want to tell on this layout? Is it the story of the entire event, or one activity or moment from the event, or is it somewhere between the two?
- Who is this layout really for? Is it my own record of what went on? Is it to show friends what my experience was? Is it for family now? Family later?
In short, what’s the point of your layout? I imagine Debbie would not have pages and pages of gorilla photos to prove she was at the zoo. She is selective about photos, the way she tells her story, even the way she arranges her photos.
While writing this article, I tried to think of how I can show you what an impact Debbie has had on my scrapbooking. (Heck, on my life for that matter, even in my parenting I am now often asking my kids “what’s the point?” but that’s a post for an entirely different site). In the end, I thought the best way to illustrate Debbie’s impact on my scrapbooking would be to show you my process Before Debbie (BD) and After Debbie (AD).
The Facts: Zach’s first soccer game. May 8, 2010. I took 33 photos (Rookie mistake, I accidently took a full SD card and had to keep deleting photos to make room for more). Zach kept getting distracted from the game.
My layout process before BD:
1. Look at all the photos. (think: OMG I have 33 photos?)
2. Find a sketch that fits a lot of photos. (think: I’ll just use it 4 times to scrap all 33 photos)
3. Throw photos on layout. (think: I am brilliant scrapbooker, look at me go)
4. Write about event. (think: two sentences will do, don’t have more room than that because of all these great photos I got)
5. Title the layout. (think: genius idea, I’ll call it soccer)
And the result would be this, followed by 3 more 2 page spreads of similar soccer photos from the same game.
AD is a more detailed process; however it becomes very fluid after just a few times. Debbie makes it easy by breaking it down. The main elements to think about are photos, story and arrangement. For me, and a few dear friends I know, the biggest problem is winnowing photos. Many people (hoarders like me) have a problem with understanding you don’t need to scrapbook every photo or keep every photo from an event. You can put duplicates in sleeves after the layout, stick them behind the page in the page protector, or keep them in a box for use in another layout type. Even more shocking, you can delete them. (Trust me, you don’t need 50 photos of the gorilla, and, if because of some shocking cosmic event, you find yourself in need of 50 gorilla photos you can email me and I’ll send you mine.)
I start by selecting photos. I follow Debbie’s guide:
- keep people key to the event (Zach, his team & coach)
- relevant items (the soccer ball)
- key activities (for this layout the key activity is to include a shot of Zach not playing the game)
- a sense of place (the field)
- lose duplicates
- discard photos of poor quality
- chuck photos that don’t contribute to the story
This step took my photos from 33 down to 6. Will i miss the other 27 photos? No. Poor quality photos will just be deleted and forgotten. Others I will save for different layouts like a compilation of Zach in soccer uniforms over the years or on a ‘brother’ page with a photo of Keagan at his first soccer game if he chooses to plays. Some I may just put in a sleeve behind the page I’m making.
The story is a fine balance. You want to tell what’s important. You want to convey the feeling of how the event was, but you don’t want to write a novel. When I think of any journaling for a page, I think of what I want to remember. (That’s the point right?) I imagine in 50 years when my mental faculties are less than par, what will I think of this page? I don’t want it to be another boring soccer page. If Zach sticks with soccer I’ll have plenty of those. What was special about this game is that it was his first foray into organized sports.
By thinking of what point I want to make, I saw my journaling change. I went from 3rd grade short sentences (Zach played soccer. It was fun.) to involved scene setting journaling. I realized I want the person viewing the layout to realize what Zach was like during this game.
Before my rudimentary journaling stated a few facts; it was short and to the point but missed out on the details that made the game so funny to witness.
“Zach’s first soccer game May 8th 2010. He loved being one of the ‘boys’ but soon lost interest in the game.”
After Debbie’s book, my journaling evolved to storytelling.
“Zach’s first soccer game was a lesson in patience and child development. At 4, Zach is the youngest child on his team and it seemed the most distracted. He started the game with excitement and complete confusion on what he was actually supposed to be doing. We were the first parents yelling to our child “follow the ball!” It worked the first few times, Zach would run for the ball and try to kick it in whatever direction he thought it should go (not necessarily towards the goal). However, Zach soon became more interested in watching what other sports were being played on the city field; talking to friends or finding rocks. At the point, he ran off the field to chase a bird that landed near the fence. We stopped trying to get him ‘in the game’ after that. It was at that point we started noticing the other kids were also walking off the field for various reasons (water breaks, sit next to mom, ask when lunch was). By the end of the game, most of the kids had lost interest in the game at one point or another and just about every parent had said “follow the ball” at least once. Maybe Zach’s future as the next David Beckham isn’t as hopeless as it first seemed.”
Choosing how to arrange my layout comes last in my process. I choose the arrangement to fit what I want on the layout. I keep in mind that I want a focal photo. I was very lucky and managed to get this great shot of Zach at the beginning of the game. I knew I wanted to show that excitement he felt when the game first started and I knew it was my focal photo.
In the end, the layout I did using Debbie’s wise ways is much more focused. It feels less crowded and more visually appealing to me. It also tells the story, not just simple facts. My journaling is more true to who I am and how I would relay this to someone in a conversation. This inspired me to create a title that would make someone curious enough to read the journaling.
Do you know what’s even more amazing? All of this was just what I learned on the first 4 pages of the chapter. There are many more little tidbits throughout the chapter. It includes ideas that inspire me to scrap events in new and exciting ways to avoid page after page of the same formula. Spice up your event pages by creating focal photos without enlarging them, using motifs on your layouts to enhance the event theme, use coordinated supplies to tie multiple event layouts together.
This month I’d like to challenge you to scrapbook three events. Before you scrap them, think to yourself; “What’s the point?” I will be doing this challenge as well. I will scrapbook three events that Debbie has in this chapter:
· a celebration layout
· a holiday layout
· a travel/outing layout
Join us in the forum to chat about this chapter, share your work or ask any questions on Scrapping Events. I’ll share the other three layouts I scrap, and the tips I got from Debbie’s book in the forums. So come join us as we Get It Scrapped!
Tami Taylor writes for Get It Scrapped!, teaches at Masterful Scrapbook Design and previously owned Creative Passion Classes.com. To learn more about Tami check out her blog, The Taylor Life.