Thursday, January 2, 2014

Making It Matter

Among the last few projects that I worked on as the year came to a close were two layouts and a mini-album, which I created using the January JBS Mercantile kits. Each is a reminder of why, next to summer vacation, I love this time of year.

Winter in Hawaii isn't exactly snowy and blustery, so it shouldn't be a surprise that oranges would be ripening here in December, but I live in a rather rainy area of the island, where the oranges on our tree have traditionally "ripened" to a greenish brown, and not the bright orange color that they surprised me with this year. I had to document it.
Yes, I scrapbooked fruit -- that is, on the surface. Ultimately it comes back to that word I wrote about in my last post: wonder. Anything that delights or thrills or amazes earns its own layout.

That is exactly what was behind my second layout as well.
That's right -- I saw the President of the United States golfing right over the hedges in my mother's yard. He even waved.

The oddest thing is that he looked lonely to me, even surrounded by a large group of Secret Service agents -- or maybe it was because of that.

In any case, the experience was surreal.

The third project that I created documents the year in review, in the form of a mini-album.
(The full album can be viewed in the gallery at JBS Mercantile. The date stamp I used can be found at Two Peas.)
Each page in the album recalls the events and details that defined 2013. The album isn't just meaningful because I helped to put the kit together; it is truly meaningful because of what I invested in these pages. In creating the album -- in looking back at my photos and choosing just one --  I was looking back at each month of a year that shaped me, that shaped my family.  In adding the journaling, line by line, I found myself reflecting on all that happened in the course of a single year, and how, because of that year, none of us will ever be the same people that we were at the beginning of the year. This is not just an album, but an artifact -- evidence that we were here and that we lived and loved. This album is important to me.

And you may have noticed that it is not necessarily a showstopper of a project, a brilliant feat in design;  on the contrary, it is simple, and purposefully so. One photo block. One accent block. One title block. One block of (packed) journaling. The focus here is on telling the story, on recounting a year, and the simple design helped me to get that done. I love it not for its ability to "dazzle," but for its ability to evoke that which mattered most to me over the course of 365 precious days.

As I look ahead to another year, that is something I want to keep in perspective: the story is the most important aspect of scrapbooking. Tonight I gave a stack of layouts a home in a fresh new album, and as I sat with my daughter looking through the pages, it became clear rather quickly how these albums are "read." The eye looks at the photos first, and then moves to the journaling, and then back to the photos.  I might notice some cool technique in the process, but not everyone will look at the pages with a scrapper's eye. My daughter just kept pulling the album closer and asking, "What does it say?"

This is exactly what I was trying to get at when I wrote a post a few days ago about this on the Two Peas blog: the words matter. The story matters.  The heart of a project is not found in the design; the heart is found somewhere between word and image, and the meaning that emerges from the interplay between the two.

While some have been asking lately whether scrapbooking is "dying," the best way that I can answer that question is to think about what keeps it alive for me.  I will continue to insist on telling stories, and on being as genuine as I possibly can in my creative process as well as on the finished page.  As long as there are stories to tell, there is a need to document them, meaningfully.


  1. Wonderful projects Jill! Thank you for the constant reminder of including meaningful journaling on projects. You've really inspired me lately to make it a more prominent place on my layouts and not just an after thought.

  2. Your work is beautiful! And I love that you stickin to your guns!! My word is "challenge" this year and journaling is at the heart of it... Thank you for sharing your beautiful family!! xx

  3. Your layouts are so fabulous. I don't know if scrapbooking is dying out, I hope not. I really love that mini album you created. So deceptively simple and awesome to have created from one kit!

  4. beautiful pages. beautiful words. beautiful soul. :)

  5. Beautiful work! I love the stitched title letters!

  6. I aLways love your projects, always the best! SoOo happy you'll be at Two Peas again this year, I LOVE your videos!

  7. I love all your projects. and your writing is that...writing, not quick journaling. Very nice.

    Oh and seeing the President how cool! Loved your poem.

  8. Love these--especially the golfing layout. The colors are beautiful!

  9. I believe in the stories as well. No one later will remember whether or not it was a perfect design; but they will remember that you recorded that memory.
    loved your page on Shimelle's blog, too!

  10. Love your layouts, Jill! And the mini is AMAZING. Our styles are so different, but I always love your work! ^_^

  11. That orange tree is beautiful! Love the colours you used there and the stacks of patterns. Lovely, as always.