Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Past, Presently.

Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now.

-William Wordsworth, "To a Butterfly"

No time for cameras,
We'll use our eyes instead. 

-- Matt and Kim, "Cameras" 

I am, alas, at a kind of disadvantage 
when it comes to childhood photos.
My parents weren't exactly shutterbugs,
so there aren't many photos to help me tell the stories
of my childhood.
I don't blame my parents for this, though -- 
there are even less photos of them as children.  
Still, what I do have is precious: 
there is the memory of my childhood days, 
the images that my mind's eye has collected,
and the few photos that did emerge from that time.  
I am making the best of those that I do have,
some of which are hair-larious.  

Yes, that tow-headed blondinka is me. 
My hair is sort of the focal point of this layout, isn't it? Ha. 
It could be anywhere on this layout and still be the focal point, actually. 

Photos like this are the subject of my layouts 
for this month's JBS Mercantile kit,
which juxtaposes vivid and energetic colors and accents 
with soft, nuanced, and nostalgic textures and patterns --
perfect for those yesteryear photos.  

As I was going through my stash of old photos,
I found this one

and emailed it immediately to my mother. 
She wrote back: 
 "Just the other morning when I went walking, I was reflecting on how quickly my babies grew up. In this photo, I could feel your warm, loving little bodies and I cried."
So, of course, I started bawling,
and I also started this page: 

It is funny how I once looked at this photo
and saw myself in that little blond baby,
and now, when I look at this photo,
I see myself in my mother, as a mother. 

I am not sure how Jenni does it, 
but she always chooses her kits 
to match my moods and preoccupations each month. 
It's uncanny.
For instance, I've been thinking a lot lately about my old teachers.
In a sense, I've been thinking through them.  
When I saw these 7gypsies book covers in the kit,
I knew what their fate would be: 
a mini-book about what I have learned 
(and unlearned) from my teachers. 

I feel good about these layouts,
not just because they were made with love, out of love,
but because they indicate 
that the past is alive, the past is present.
Something more than a camera clicks 
in order to create a memory. 


  1. Just so gorgeous, and thanks for making me cry this morning. It does go by so fast, and I just love what you said about seeing yourself as a mother in your mother. Seriously--if you need me I'll be crying, LOL!

  2. I first saw your layouts on Jenni Bowlin's site. I was so impressed by your work that I then found a link to your blog. After seeing your layouts today, I followed your link to twopeas. All I can say is "wow". How have I missed you all this time? I love your style and will continue to follow you wherever you go.

  3. Of course you know I adore your layout style and how you tell stories, but I am esp moved about the photo and talking with your mom. Even more so after I took my camera in to be repaired and talked with the guy about the importance of printing photos.

  4. Wow. What beautiful layouts, and sentiments. That conversation with your mom made me cry. And so true that memories can exist in pictures and in words. Love what you did here. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Jill these are such heartfelt and amazing layouts! I bet they mean so much to you too! These are just gorgeous and awesome layouts!

  6. Oh, I love the layout and the story behind the one with your mom. It is one of the things I love about scrapbooking. It makes the past so much more relevant, touchable.

  7. Gorgeous pages! I can so relate to your words.

  8. stop it.. you're making me cry too. your work is gorgeous as always, Jill.. but your words are something else. they get to me and stay in my heart. for a long time.

  9. am in love with these!
    ps- we'll be in oahu this weekend and i am SO excited!