How To Make A Vacation Scrapbook: Step 1

Here’s a scenario: You’ve come back from vacation and you’re thrilled at the pictures you got from your exciting adventure. You can’t wait to scrapbook them, but when you pull out those photos, confusion and overwhelm take over. What should be a pleasurable visit with your memories is becoming a dreaded “obligation.”

Do you feel this way? I’m working on an album right now for our Disney vacation and I have a method for assembling this type of project that coincides with my philosophy of scrapbookers as story-tellers, and scrapbooks as visual memoirs. It will also simplify the process and keep your mind clear.

Over the next week and a half I’ll share my step-by-step process with you using my Disney vacation as the example. If you have a stack of photos and memories from a vacation that you need to scrap, I hope you’ll pull them out and follow along with each step. You can even give us a report of your progress by leaving a comment.

Step 1: Begin with Two Fundamental Questions In Mind

1. What are the stories I want to remember from my vacation?
The funny things someone said * The thoughts and feelings you had at various times * The way a relationship developed * The things you did, saw, or experienced.

2. What is the overall story — or underlying theme — that encapsulates all of the smaller individual stories?
This is a deeper question that requires some thought. Each vacation has its own meaning. If you take some time to identify this early in the process, you’ll be able to create a complete and cohesive story out of the many pages, pictures, and smaller stories.

You don’t have to answer all of these questions now before moving onto step number two. Having the questions on your mind while you proceed to the next step is just fine. Have a pencil and some note cards next to you on the table so you can jot down each thought, story, or theme idea as they come. Having each story on its own note card will allow you to place them with their coinciding photos.

The Theme Of My Disney Vacation

While I’ve been working on the next steps, I’ve been thinking about the word, “present,” in all of its senses, for my Disney album. Here is what I mean:

1. One of our days at Disneyland was a present from my parents. The other day and the rest of the trip was Izzy’s and my own Christmas present to our kids.

2. It was an awesome experience to be present with my parents and the two siblings closest to me in age, at a place that holds so many childhood memories with them. I had such pleasurable moments, enjoying my sister and brother as if we were kids again.

3. Together we relived some wonderful times from our past, while mixing them with the present. It is such a joy to give to my children the happy experiences that my parents gave to me.

How Will Step One Benefit you?

1. Sometimes having a theme will provide you some visual images, icons, embellishment ideas, or colors. The story of Disney as a part of my childhood that I am gifting to my children gave me the idea to capitalize on a classic Disney icon that identifies Disney from any time period: the Mickey Mouse ears silhouette. I decided to use that icon as the major embellishment throughout my album, rather than buy new Disney products.

I may also use some clock and time images, and possibly classic gift images.

2. Sometimes having a theme will provide you with title ideas. Titles of different pages in my album could be…

A present to us.
A present to you.
Present And In The Moment.
Present Again With You.

Step number one isn’t a step you can easily do when you’re cropping with friends. For most every project, I like to take some quiet time to dig deep and relive moments–to gain from those times all over again. I do it best with a pencil in my hand so I can solidify my thoughts and give them some life. My notes tend to be organic and unstructured, just like my thoughts.

Prepare For The Next Step

Tomorrow we’ll cover the next couple of steps, having to do with sorting the photos. You’ll want to print up your photos if you’re following along and you haven’t done so already.

Don’t worry about whether you’ll want enlargements unless you already know which ones you’ll enlarge and in what size. I printed all my photos to 4×6, knowing that I will later want to enlarge some of them. Since I don’t know which ones I want larger yet, it’s easier to just print them all up front so I have something physical to work with in my hands while I plan the structure and size of my album.

Your assignments:

1. Get some note cards, a pencil, and write down the following questions:

*What are the stories I want to remember from my vacation?
*What is the overall story or underlying theme that encapsulates all of the smaller individual stories?

2. Print up all of the photos you might put in your vacation scrapbook. Don’t worry about sizes or whether you have an album or not. That’ll come later.

I’m looking forward to following these steps with you.

* * *

This is part one of a series, Stories From Our Vacations. You can follow the rest of the steps here…

Steps 2&3
Step 4
Step 5

  • Wow. You're so detailed in your process Noell….
    I wish I could take the processes I go through on different projects and explain
    them the way you do….
    Fabulous!

    Hugs…
    Dedra

  • Karin

    Dear Noell
    Another interesting theme!
    Wonderful start for it.
    I'm really looking forward to your next tips. And i'm sure, to find lot of inspirations for my coming vacation and Scrapbook over it.
    Yours
    (Germany)

  • Pat N

    I love your videos, ideas, tips, and tutorials. I especially like when you give an assignment. It usually helps me over whatever hump that stopped me from getting my memories into my scrapbooks.

    We went on a family vacation to Disney World several years ago and I have never scraped the memories. I look at the pics, think of what I want to do and say, and it becomes too overwhelming. Your assignment is just the thing I need to finally get this vacation into my scrapbooks and out of my minds eye. I'm looking forward to the remaining steps.

    Thanks so much
    Pat N

  • You can do it, Dedra. You've already started sharing your thought processes on your blog. Just keep paying attention to what you're doing, while you're doing it and take notes. Then think about how to make sense of it to other people.

  • Thanks, Karin. =)

  • Great, Pat. I'm pretty sure the next post will get you moving along if you've already got all those thoughts swimming around in your head. Please update us on your process as you work on yours!

    BTW, thank you for the feedback about me giving out assignments. That's helpful for me to know how I can better help you tell your stories.

  • Amy Coon

    OK you secretly know my pictures and all my stuff from Disney world this past March are sitting in a box don't you!!!!!!! LOL Thanx for the kick in the southern hemisphere! I think I have a hard time with these sort of albums because I think other people expect to see a wonderful and exceptional finished project from me on this and I know it will ask to be seen because everyone knows we went! How crazy and issue and filled is that! So instead its easier to say no its still not finished and leave it. ahhhhhh I know, Iknow just do it for yourself and the kids and quit worrying about what others will think. Maybe I need to see a counselor just to get the disney album finished or maybe theres …………Noell!

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  • I'm definitely interested in seeing how you scrap vacations. As I've shared before, I find vacations and common events (birthdays, holidays) quite boring to scrap. But I know I've focused too much on the event in the past and not on the emotions or life experiences wrapped up in them.

    When we were young, my parents often took us to AZ for vacations. All the pictures are requisite “here's the fam in front of a cactus” or “here's the fam at the canyon.” But honestly, what I treasure is NOT the landscape or thaving visited he state (albeit beautiful). Rather, it's the seemingly insignifcant stories. Dad pretending his “south side” was on fire because hot sauce dripped down onto the car seat while he was driving. Younger brother (about 5 yo at the time) drinking boat loads of water because he found it funny that a young boy (family owned restaurant) would fill it back up as quick as he drank it. THAT is what is special about my memories of AZ. Okay, so the Grand Canyon is beyond spectacular too. ;)

    As you can see, I don't want to just scrap historical landmarks, pretty scenery and tourist traps. Sure, they'll be in most of the photos. But it's definitely the memories I connect with that I want to get down on the page. Kudos, Noell, for bringing us a fresh look at what often seems to be a mundane task.
    Blessings,
    ~Toni~

  • I'm definitely interested in seeing how you scrap vacations. As I've shared before, I find vacations and common events (birthdays, holidays) quite boring to scrap. But I know I've focused too much on the event in the past and not on the emotions or life experiences wrapped up in them.

    When we were young, my parents often took us to AZ for vacations. All the pictures are requisite “here's the fam in front of a cactus” or “here's the fam at the canyon.” But honestly, what I treasure is NOT the landscape or thaving visited he state (albeit beautiful). Rather, it's the seemingly insignifcant stories. Dad pretending his “south side” was on fire because hot sauce dripped down onto the car seat while he was driving. Younger brother (about 5 yo at the time) drinking boat loads of water because he found it funny that a young boy (family owned restaurant) would fill it back up as quick as he drank it. THAT is what is special about my memories of AZ. Okay, so the Grand Canyon is beyond spectacular too. ;)

    As you can see, I don't want to just scrap historical landmarks, pretty scenery and tourist traps. Sure, they'll be in most of the photos. But it's definitely the memories I connect with that I want to get down on the page. Kudos, Noell, for bringing us a fresh look at what often seems to be a mundane task.
    Blessings,
    ~Toni~

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  • Nelle

    What a helpful post! Thanks.

  • Keatingdeirdre

    Great starting point, I'm really looking forward to following the rest of your steps. Thank you for reposting this!