PRT091 – Scrapbooking the Military

SPECIAL OFFER FOR PRT LISTENERS!! – 10% off Stacy Julian’s new workshop: Twelve.

***UPDATE*** The coupon code is now working! If you tried to use the coupon code and got an “expired” notice, please try again! It’s all fixed!

Important: Please support the show when you use your discount by using this link to head over to Big Picture Classes. You can find Stacy’s class description and register by clicking: Online Classes > Workshops. Thank you!

Promo code: prttwelve
Expires January 5th, 2012 at 10pm PT. Can not be combined with any other offer. Discount only valid for the Twelve workshop. Not valid on previous purchases. One time use per-person.

How do you scrapbook when you or someone you love is in the military? That’s what we’re talking about this week. Come listen!

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  • Helen Howell

    Thanks so much for the special promo for Stacy’s class, but prttwelve shows as Expired Code.

  • It seems BPC may have forgotten to activate the code. I’ve emailed Kayce about it and I’m waiting to hear back. I’ll let you know once when I get word that it’s working!

    I’m hearing from LOTS of people who are trying to sign up with it, so hopefully they’ll get back to me on this soon! So sorry!!!

  • It’s working now, Helen! So sorry about the troubles!

  • HelenH

    All set – these things happen. Thanks for the prompt reply.

  • Thanks for reading my comment a couple of episodes ago…I’ve been meaning to respond to it and thanks to another listener’s question in this episode I was reminded of this item on my to-do list. 

    First, Izzy is right, Lincoln was perfect (I’m a native Illiniosan). Second point, I think genealogy has a place and can be really interesting, but if I have to prioritize, I’d rather focus on recording the social connections of my family instead of the biological connections. Sometimes these relationships overlap and sometimes they don’t. Maybe one day I’ll be more interested in the biological ties, but that’s just not as important to me right now. As always, thanks for having such great conversations about scrapbooking.

  • I loved this show! My husband isn’t military but he is currently deployed in the middle east as a civilian contractor. I have been making a mini album in the project life style to document his deployment. I call it 120 Days: Our Life While Daddy is Away. As far as letters/emails/facebook I have been including them as my journaling when it applies to the activities of the week. I try to mix it up, some weeks I just handwrite about the things going on and other weeks I use emails or facebook comments. I adore how things have turned out, and how much fun it’s been to document everyday life. With as much fun as I’ve had with this project I am strongly considering Project Life for this next year.

    Love the different perspectives you had on this show for how to document life while a loved one is away! Wonderful show!


  • Awesome episode! (And not just because you read my comment; thank you!) I started scrapbooking because I am an Army wife. Shortly after our first child was born I started scrapping–not a baby album as you might expect, but an album all about my husband, his childhood, and his life right now. I was paranoid that something might happen to him and I wouldn’t have his stories to share with our children.

    I think there is something inherent about military spouses (perhaps the frequent moves, perhaps the fact that our husbands deploy for years at a time and might not come back) that makes us especially eager to capture moments and memories before they slip away. Stephanie and Elizabeth talked about this so beautifully. I, too, have made pages about our various homes, about what it feels like to finally have him home, and about the idea of putting on my big-girl pants and learning to do everything myself. One of my favorite mini-albums is a tribute to the women who lived in my neighborhood in Germany who became my best friends. Together we endured a 15-month deployment fraught with many challenges and, unfortunately, casualties. Several years later, I made the mini album remembering each good friend: a simple page for each friend with a picture of her and a list of 5 adjectives describing her strengths and personality. Looking at this album reminds me of how strong we all were. It is a way to focus on the positives of a deployment.Switching gears, I’d love to recommend a project I learned about from Stacy Julian. (I hope it is alright to share here.) It is the idea of a perpetual memory file for the family. We keep on our kitchen table a simple recipe box with 366 cards in it.  One for each day of the year.  (Dates stamped on the top.) Almost every day at dinner time, we pull out that day’s card, write the year, and then write down something special that happened that day. Just a one-liner, such as “went to the zoo with the Smiths” or “Madelyn took three steps for the first time.” As we cycle back through the cards year after year, we can remember these tiny things that would otherwise go forgotten. This is AWESOME for deployment years or times apart. The year after my husband gets back from a deployment we stumble upon all sorts of little family factoids, things he missed out on, that I’ve forgotten to tell him about.  In this way, he, too, can remember the year even though he wasn’t here. (This is a project you can start any day, any year. It just gets better and better with time.)Finally — I have had success getting punches to work more smoothly by rubbing the cutting edges with waxed paper.

    Thanks for this great episode!


    PS: I, too, move my scrap supplies in ziplock bags. I also bubble wrap my albums and pack them into plastic bins before the movers get their hands on them. Most military wives might spend their time in the kitchen telling the movers which pieces of china are the ones to wrap specially.  I, on the other hand, hang out in the scrap room (or nook, depending on house) asking them to wrap punches individually, discussing ways to pack cardstock and patterned paper to reduce wrinkles, and so forth.

  • What a beautiful story about your military experience, including with the other wives. Thank you for sharing that, along with your other ideas!

  • Cathie

    Love the idea of the recipe box of memories.  I’m going to have to start that right away.  Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Cathie

    Thanks for another great episode.  I’m a Canadian
    but my dad is a veteran of the American military and he served in Vietnam.   He met my mom while serving on a base here in Canada and
    when he left the military, he immigrated to Canada; they got married and raised
    a family. He doesn’t talk about his military days very much but it does
    affect my life because if he had never signed up my parents never would have met and
    there would be no ME! How can I let that go unscrapped? 

    So, I’ve decided to start with a page about how I
    always have to spell my surname for people because it’s spelled the American
    way (Reed) and not the more common Canadian way (Reid/Read) and I’m looking at
    childhood pictures to see if the blankets from his military days are in the
    background – we used to snuggle under them when watched TV. 

    Thank you so much for the inspiration.  I know I never would have thought to include
    my dad’s military service in my scrapbooking if you had not recorded this

  • Cathie

    sorry about the funky formatting not sure what happened… :(

  • LOL — must be because you’re Canadian. ;)

    Just kidding. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Cathie

    ha!ha! – must be. ;)

  • Loved this episode. I myself was in the military and though my experience as the military member is a little different, it was interesting to hear Elizabeth and Stephanie’s perspectives. Listening to this episode has motivated me to go back and tell more of the story of when I was in the Army (14 years total).

    I also wanted to share a cool new product/company … Paper Coterie has Memory Keepers, cool memory boxes that could be used to store all the letters Steph and Elizabeth were talking about. I have a bunch of letters written to me when I was stationed in the Balkans for Operation Joint Endeavor. Right now, those letters live in a Ziploc bag. I recently ordered a Memory Keeper from Paper Coterie as a Christmas present for my 7-year-old as a place to keep her import “kid” stuff. I think it’s time I ordered a box for my letters and gave them a better home.

    You can find them here:

    Anyway, thanks for another great episode. Love listening and love all the inspiration I find in each episode.

  • BeckyLinn

    Loved this episode! I was active duty myself and then left when I had kids. My husband still is military and it does flavor your life a little differently. I do organize my scrapbooks by duty station in a style similar to Stacy Julian’s. I make it a point during the tour to photograph some of our favorite places to go or eat at, unique events, etc. Then I organize the album by Places We Go, People We Love, Things We Do and Work. It is non-chronological but helps organize a chunk of photos/layouts from those years and also gives a good overview of what life was like there. We’ve lived overseas and those houses, etc. are fun to document since it’s different than what I had grown up with. My kids like to look at those albums since it was before their time and it’s a nice walk down memory lane for me. Thanks for highlighting this topic. As Stephanie said (I think it was her), gone is gone whether a weekend, a month or a year and many civilians I know are traveling for work so I think this topic has broader appeal. And yes, ziplocs are a life-saver during a move! No better packing advice than that :)

  • Thank you for linking these! I think Ali blogged about these once and I had some ideas for them but forgot about it!

  • Alison

    What a great episode!  I have no involvement in the military but I have to say it really made me want to thank all of you that are invovled in some way.  I truly appreciate our freedom and the sacrifices that you and your families make for us (I’m Canadian but this is to all the American’s too). 
    From a family who’s parents took few photos of my childhood, I would recommend taking photos of your house, the kids rooms and favourite places you go to.  So quickly those memories and details fade and for me the photos would have been priceless.  I haven’t moved in years but I couldn’t imagine having to rememer all of the different places that you all have been to!  Thank goodness for digital cameras!  Also, I might add that a great tool to remember events, details of your life etc is to follow Katie the Scrapbook lady’s monthly habit of doing a round-up.  I have been doing something similar for years and it has helped my memory tremendously.  She is actually doing a class at BPC in January about them. 
    Again, thanks paperclipping and military!