PRT227 – The Secret Life of Me

This week we’re talking about using scrapbooking to help us through the hard times…

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  • Hannah Lemieux

    I absolutely Love this podcast!! even in my short experience in the scrapbook world I have really felt a need to talk about this talk topic. SO I am gonna put in my two sense. I started scrapbooking in Febraury to document my daugher’s make a wish trip after being diagnosed with Luekemia in May 2013. This process of memory keeping has really help me heal and move forward, in a way I never expected. I just thought hey i want us to remember this trip, and it turned into something that helped me gain a better and bigger perspective on our life as a family on my life as a Mom. I recently started doing process videos on Youtube and a big thing on my heart was to actually share how I document the hard stuff. not every layout is the crazy hard life changing stuff, because through scrapbooking I realized most of our life was just like everyone’s elses too. But I recently shared a layout I did for when my daughter was actually diangosed with cancer, I felt like I was ready to put that moment behind me and move forward in her treatment. I think so many scrapbookers have stories in their lives to tell that are hard to get on paper but they want to, just don’t know how. Where as Tracy and Gwen have chosen not to share many of these layouts, I really felt like someone needed too. There is a balance when sharing these hard moments though, as a person you have to be ready to talk about it not just write it out, scrap it out. I think some people can and want to share and some can’t there is no wrong answer, but if scrappers need help letting go of these momemts how can they if we don’t talk about it. I think that’s why I love this podcast, thanks to Gwen and Tracy opening up about how they go about putting on to paper the things in their lives, in their hearts, maybe others will be brave to share how they do this too.

  • Haley

    Noell asked for comments from younger scrapbookers and I had to chime in because it is a topic that really interests me. I am in my early 20s (22) and really started scrapbooking in my 20s. I made scrapbooks in middle school and one at the end of high school but didn’t really keep up with it and didn’t consider myself a scrapbooker at all. I think my first exposure to scrapbooking was a babysitter when I was 10 who made a scrapbook for our family.

    When I started again when I was older it was blogs that got me involved. I have been reading blogs on many different topics since I was a tween and in college I stumbled across blogs with papercrafting and scrapbooking. I sort of fell down the rabbit hole and read more and more. Around this same time I studied abroad in Europe and knew I wanted to make a minibook about the experience. That was all the memory keeping I did for a while but I continued to read. Eventually, the idea of Project Life took hold in my brain for a few reasons. First, because of the emphasis on documenting the everyday. It helped me realize that my story, accomplishments, and relationships are worth documenting even if I don’t have children and am not married or traveling the world. Also, it seemed like a simple entry point into scrapbooking and didn’t require tons of materials to get started. The summer after I graduated from college I started Project Life, starting with my first day of my senior year (which was also my 21st birthday). I turned 22 a few months ago and have started my second album and have started doing 12 x 12 layouts as well.

    In relation to this topic, I think that being a scrapbooker has helped me through a lot at this time in my life. I haven’t scrapbooked anything as difficult as was discussed in the episode, but graduating college and starting a new chapter in life is hard for a lot of us. Scrapbooking has given me a tangible representation of my life and how I am spending my time to look at when I am feeling lost and has helped me to think about who I am and what I want in life. I am very happy to have found this hobby and I would love to see more young people in the scrapbooking world, and maybe on an episode of PRT!

  • cindi

    I just finished listening to SRT and I was encouraged by the helpful discussion on scrapping loss. I lost my husband at the age of 56 almost 3 years ago and have just started to scrapbook again. I find that seeing his pictures is so painful, I don’t know where to start. I will be looking forward to Tracy’s class when it becomes available!
    I also want to say that both Noelle and Izzy have had a huge part in picking up my double sided tape again! I recently became a member and am enjoying all the videos. Thank you both!

  • I really enjoyed listening to this episode. I find it hard to scrapbook the hard parts. I did a layout about my grandfather, that has dementia, and it just made me sad. Maybe that has to do with me being in the middle of this struggle, maybe many years from now dealing with that will help. My point? Not sure:) Maybe that it could be more helpful to some people to scrapbook these events in retrospect and not in the midst of it.

    What also echoed with me in this episode was my desire to make my scrapbooks more meaningful, not just the who and when. I love documenting our everyday life and travel, and as a mother to a 5 year old I see how fast things change, but I do wish I could bring more of myself, my experiences and what I learned from them into my pages. Thanks for a great episode, great guests. Thanks!

  • Great episode! New follower of both guests. I have been in and am a BIG advocate of therapy especially when it relates to grief and loss. Though scrapbooking the hard stuff remains HARD for me. I lost my younger brother and my mother within 7 years of each other and I am not close with my dad. I have yet to scrap any pages about any of them. I appreciate this podcast for the openness in talking about the not so cheery subjects and for the tips on how to use your process in a cathartic way. I am also a “younger” scrapbooker (32) I started dabbling about 6 years ago when my daughter was born but was really spurred to document my own family on a regular basis after my Mom passed suddenly 4 years ago. Thank you to Paperclipping for continuing to bring out different points of view on scrapbooking. =)

  • Courtney

    I haven’t listened to the episode yet, LOL. But the younger vs older scrapping: Do you think it might be a paper vs. digital thing? I mean, a lot of the kids I know are so techy, that maybe they are drawn to digital, not paper? Not necessarily in a digital scrapbooking way with elements and embellishments, but in the “sharing photos naturally with apps and such”? Technically, we’ve always said that scrapbooking is photos and words. Instead of a piece of cardstock, they are using the internet.
    I started at 16, and scrapped for almost 14 years before I scrapped as a mom. I started because I wanted to a place for my photos and stories. But I know that my sister (10 years younger) is a Facebook-Instagram-Blogger who has an outlet for her photos that she adds words to, and doesn’t feel the need for a scrapbook.

  • Marie-Pierre Capistran

    That’s funny how I never thought of documenting my brother until I heard the comment at the beginning of the show from this young girl documenting her brothers. My brother is now 38 ;) and I do have a layout or two were my brother comes up, as we were kids, but I think it would be about time I do at least one page about looking back on the friendship we had and the relation we have now and the evolution of it. Either Tracy or Gwynn mentioned that our vision of an event or relationship change over time and it’s so true. :) Thanks Noell and Izzy for a show that gives us so many small ideas that develop in bigger concepts every time! :)

  • Karen Cross

    This podcast is very fascinating to me. I’ve never scrapbooked hard times, though I have journaled about them. I guess I want my scrapbooks to make me happy when I look at them and to make everyone who looks at them happy. If you look closely you will see the hard times but I don’t focus on them. This is what works for me.

    The podcast though has me thinking about journaling hard times with a photo. I don’t think I’d put it in a scrapbook but as I think about it, I wonder if the photo might bring more depth to the journaling. I’m going to give it a try because I definitely find that journaling hard times is a huge help to me.

    Thank you for another great podcast!

  • lynne moore

    One of my favorite BPC classed was by Darci Dowdle. (I think it was when it was still BPS.) It was called A Baker’s Dozen. There were a couple others too, but I don’t think since 2010.

  • That is a great takeaway from this episode! When I was younger and wrote regularly in a journal I sometimes added photos, too.

  • Cara

    Just clarifying from last week – I absolutely agree with the guests that if you’re scrapping boys, you need endless supplies of stars and enamel dots. They are the absolutely go to supplies.

  • Yes, I thought that is what you meant. :)

  • Hannah Brown

    OH. MY. GOODNESS. I still can’t believe you guys read my comment!!! I freaked out when I heard my name. You guys have no idea how much that meant to me. It was like a big celebrity mentioning my name on national television. I am doing Ali Edwards Week in the Life this week, and having my comment read on PRT is DEFINITELY going in there!

    In response to Noell’s asking how younger scrapbookers got started…I made my first scrapbook when I was 9 years old. I had taken a trip with my granparents, and for either my birthday or Christmas (I don’t remember which), my Mom bought me an album, supplies, and printed all my photos from the trip. My Mom scrapbooked when I was little…eg. she made a huge book of my first year. But once my brothers came along and we started getting older, she didn’t have much time to scrapbook anymore. But in the process, she got my aunt started and she is very active in scrapbooking. So my Mom got me started, but I guess my aunt was the one who kept me going by buying me supplies and introducing me to the world of scrapbooking websites online.

    I scrapbooked on and off with old photos for a couple of years, until I had the money to buy my own products and print my photos. I am trying different methods/approaches, such as Project Life. I’ve been frustrated with the fact that I can’t figure out which system to use because there are so many. I’m just feeling my way around scrapbooking right now and figuring out what works best for me. It may take a while to develop a customized system, but I’m ok with that. As long as I’m still having fun in the process, right? :)

    I am a very sentimental person, a photographer, and a writer…so scrapbooking brings everything I love into one place. I love spending time with my memories, and putting them in a place where I can look back over them and re-live those moments. :)

    Now to the episode! Gwynn and Tracy had so many wonderful insights. I haven’t scrapbooked the hard things in my life directly, yet, but I have scrapbooked happier times with difficult family members. I have found that scrapping the happier times puts me in a more positive mindset when it comes to interacting them.

    This sounds silly, but the only other time I’ve scrapbooked in this way was when Robin Williams died. I was very upset when I found out about his death, and had all these emotions of sadness and anger built up inside me for a couple days afterwards. I knew that his death would be a big cultural marker for me later in life, so I decided to scrap my feelings. I printed a picture of him off the internet, slapped it down on a piece of patterned paper, and just sat down and wrote out all my thoughts and feelings about his death. I added some stickles around the edges of the photos, added a title, and was done. It’s a very simple page, but one that I know I will treasure in the future. It will be interesting for my kids to read it too, I’m sure.

  • Melissa LaFavers

    I’m so sorry about your daughter. I’ve been through leukemia with my nephew, who was diagnosed at 20, and it was really hard. I hope you find peace and joy, and big hugs to you.

  • Melissa LaFavers

    Irit, I’m so sorry to hear about your grandfather. Dementia is terribly sad, as I’ve learned through my mother’s struggle with it. To quote Ali Edwards, “Sorrow is not the end.” I cling to that, and it helps.

  • Melissa LaFavers

    Thank you for one of my favorite PRT episodes ever. The subject matter really resonated with me because, as I’ve shared in the Paperclipping forums, the past few years have been really difficult for me and my husband as we’ve weathered the storms of my mother’s Alzheimer’s disease, then our nephew’s journey through leukemia and bone marrow transplant.

    Really, “difficult” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about how to document our participation in our nephew’s experience with cancer, from diagnosis through treatment, and ultimately throughout the process of transplant and recovery. Fortunately, I’m a writer, and I journal frequently, so the story is already told in words, but I also took photos and kept certain memorabilia. I’d like to put it all together on scrapbook pages, and while I thought about creating a separate album, I decided to include it with the rest of 2013 because it was the dominating theme of our year.

    I also really appreciate Gwynn’s candor in talking about her difficult relationship with her brother because I have a similar situations, which my mother’s condition has only made much worse. Adversity tends to bring out the worst in people, I suppose. For some reason, it never dawned on me to work through the reality of these broken relationships on a scrapbook page, but I think it could really help me in cultivating resolution within myself.

    Once again, I’m so thankful for Paperclipping and the community Noell and Izzy have created, deepening my experience of scrapbooking and how it shapes my life.

  • Lianne Leek

    Thank you so much for this podcast. It really struck a chord with me as I have been struggling with how to scrapbook about my family. My siblings and I lived through an abusive and neglectful childhood. I have no contact with my parents and only contact with one sibling. I especially connected with what Gwynn was saying about her relationship with her brother as I had no relationship with one of my brothers for about 10 years. He unexpectedly died in July this year and I have struggled with a lot of mixed emotions since his death. I have had a real desire to tell the story of my family and how my childhood impacted my relationship with my siblings, the parenting of my children, and how my daughter’s current struggles with some mental health issues has kind of given me some insight about my parents behaviors. I thought this was important to document not just to be therapeutic for me but that future generations would have the family history and information. Before this episode I was really at a loss as how to begin this journey but now I have some ideas. Thank you again!

  • Teri Hartman

    This is what I do as well. I call it “artful journaling”.

  • Pepper

    I really enjoyed myself listening to this episode! Since young I have been very interested in the Psychology aspect of things. I’m also a Teacher, so i’m studying Educational psychology too :) SO i’m especially excited about this topic! This episode listening to Gwynn and Tracy sparks many thoughts in me.

    I think one of the panelist mention about making sense of the world, yourselves and also things that happen around you. Sometimes something bad happen , or just any change (positive or negative) and then you try to make sense of it. I think it’s called Assimilation or something along the line, it’s like working new things into our current schema, and how we currently view things as. It’s totally something scrapbooking can help us. I think the journaling aspect is very important. But like what was mention, journaling seems to be one way, and adding the artistic aspect makes it seems more wholesome and I truly appreciate it :)

    Then i have a thought. How about the idea of recognising the positive and not focus on the negative , or the not so good changes. I think the psychological aspect of scrapbooking can also help us to make sense of the neutral/positive changes. Recognising them and making them part of you. It also leads me to think about gratitude journal. Noell might know this that I mention before in the Romantic Scrapbook course, I’m having a hard time in my relationship now. I use a project life + gratitude journal approach to help me through those hard times. I just take some pretty journaling cards and stickers and pens and start writing as and when I want.

    Sometimes I wrote down how I feel grateful of having this person in my life. Sometimes I wrote down the negative thoughts that I have in this relationship. And like Gwynn says, write down even the why, why do you even arrive at the negative thoughts, why do you argue. Sometimes when we argue, I wish to remember how we did solve the previous argument , but I just couldn’t remember. It’s as thought I want to have a formula to these type of issues in life. (as a mathematically trained person, i’m much more logical then he is) But because we only photograph the good, recognise the happy times, I often forget or neglect those promises that we made after each argument. Writing them down helps me make sense of it :) (still in the process of getting comfortable with this. and speaking of which, I have not written anything for a long time. I should :)

    Finally, I have a friend who was diagnosed with bipolar and depression , who then turns really active on facebook. I recalled she mention her counsellor asked her to use facebook as her diary. and she find it ok to be sharing and having people to comment . but not that She actually unfriend almost everyone , leaving only her closest friends in her account. Hence this restricts her post to only her close friends , like about 10-20 of us . I’m quite happy to see how it helps her to get better. She shares pictures of food she cooks and outing with her mum. It works for some people i guess :) But we always need to be careful with what we post online. It might backfire. hence the need to regulate.

  • Emily Parsons

    I enjoy listening to each of your podcasts! This week I particularly liked the discussion about the use of scrapbooking as an art therapy of sorts for the scrapbooker. However, I wanted to respond to one comment made during the podcast about the use of art therapy. As a Master’s level, board certified art therapist and licensed mental health counselor, I felt it was important to clarify some info about my field. It is a myth that art therapy cannot be used as a primary mode of treatment for mental health issues. Actually when conducted by a trained art therapist it can be quite successful in the assessment and treatment of these issues, particularly trauma. I’d like to encourage anyone looking for more info about the field of art therapy to look at Thanks again for another thought provoking podcast!

  • artjournallife

    Hi! Love your podcast – this week and every week. I was a cardmaker for many years, then I shifted to Art Journals which is now primary. I’m not sure if it’s technically scrapbooking the hard, but my art journal work has helped me get through the hard. I am different than the ladies on the panel, however. I will do work in my journal and let the page be finished when it seems to be done. I don’t wait for the positive to feel done, the art work is part of the journey- it is where it is. I’ll often journal on the same thing as I progress. When I look back in my journals, I can see the journey through the hard- and seeing how the was a through before is hope. The now is not the forever. Sometimes I take my journals to my counseling appointments. It helps me say thing to my counselor when there are not quite words! When I share my journals, and there are things I don’t want others to see, I simply use binder clips to close those pages. I call those my “privacy settings”.

  • Maggie Hall

    When I first started scrapbooking, I was 18 years old, unmarried, living at home and childless. I would scrap pictures of my cats and my boyfriend, my nieces & nephews, and my friends. Like Gwyn mentioned, I had no friends my age who shared my passion so I reached out to online forums for interaction. I met some awesome ladies through an AOL newsgroup, Two Peas, and a not-so-local scrapbooking store that I’d drive over 45 minutes to get to.
    Unfortunately, my experiences with other scrappers wasn’t always unicorns and rainbows. There were several times I was excluded because I wasn’t a “typical” scrapbooker. Whatever the heck that meant. I fell prey to some “mean girls” who once flat out asked my why I scrapbook if I don’t have a “family.” I was purposely excluded from events because of this and eventually this caused me to crawl back inside my shell and eventually quit scrapping all together.
    It wasn’t until several years, one wedding, and three kids later that I started recording my memories again.
    I guess the point of this is that we should really boost the younger generation of scrapbookers. They are the future of our craft. They take the same time and effort and care into scrapping photos of college days or proms as I do scrapping baby’s first steps and family vacations. Just because our subjects differ, doesn’t mean our passion does.
    You asked in the show for younger scrappers to share how they got started – I thought I’d share what pushed me away. Maybe, just maybe, it’ll change one person’s mind and they’ll think twice about excluding a younger scrapper just because your personal lives differ. Your creative lives crossover in more ways than you can imagine.

  • I might be wrong, but in my memory, they said only that it should be done with the guidance of a therapist — that if you have mental health issues, that you shouldn’t try to do the art therapy on your own with no therapist. I don’t think they meant to say that what you do with your clients is not adequate. That’s awesome to hear about what you do, Emily!

  • Uggh, thanks for sharing, Maggie. That makes me really mad that anyone would act like that!!!!! :(

  • Emily Parsons

    Thanks for responding! After re listening I agree…just wanted to clarify and put the info out there for anyone who might want to seek out some professional support using techniques that those who enjoy creative outlets might find very helpful. I appreciate your response and clarification:)

  • Ari Choquette

    Just started listening to this episode and I had to come comment real quick… I’m so thrilled that you have a twenty-something scrapbooker as a guest! I’m 25 and the only person I know in person who scrapbooks. While PRT is inspiring to me every single week, it’s great to occasionally hear from people who are in a similar life stage as I am. Thanks for the great variety in the panelists and topics!

  • I can’t imagine how difficult that must be. I’m glad we’ve helped you pick it up again. Thank you for your membership!

  • When did you start scrapbooking, Ari? And what got you started?

  • Ari Choquette

    I started when I was 16 and my mom brought me along to a Creative Memories party… she never really got into scrapbooking much after that, but I kept going with it. I made an album of my whole senior year of high school, then stopped for a while in college (no space or budget for scrapping then) and picked it back up a few years ago. No kids or plans for them, I just like documenting everyday stuff and looking back on it later. I’ve been moving around a lot, and with recently finishing grad school and changing jobs there’s been a lot about my day-to-day that feels like it’s in flux.

  • It’s too bad we didn’t have you on as a third panelist!!

  • Thank you, Melissa. Wow, you’ve been dealing with a lot!!

  • Thanks for coming back to share. I’m sentimental that way, too, and found that scrapbooking brought together my love of photos and writing/journaling, just like you said.

  • I’m sorry about your losses — and in such a short period of time, especially when you don’t feel close to your dad. That sounds very difficult.

  • Question about the blogs that motivated you to become a scrapbooker — were the bloggers younger, single, etc? Or were they moms? I’m curious to know who and what you identified with that got you into it.

  • Have you shared your scrapbooking with friends? What do they say about the hobby?

  • Ari Choquette

    They all know I scrapbook because I’m constantly taking pictures! We don’t have many people over to the house, so they haven’t looked at my albums, so I feel like they probably don’t really know what I mean when I say “I’m taking a picture for my scrapbooks.” I’ve tried to get my younger sister into it with me, too, but she’s in college right now and doesn’t really have much leisure time–she prefers Facebook and Instagram to quickly capture her memories. Maybe I’ll go on another recruiting mission when she isn’t drowning in homework :)

    I find that many people in my circle of friends aren’t really concerned with capturing their experience like I am… some of my scrapbooking comes from a perennial fear of forgetting that I don’t really see in many young people.

  • Yeah, that’s interesting. Thank you for sharing! :)

  • Emily Parsons

    Wish I could have:)

  • Thx Melissa, that’s life I guess:) All the best!

  • Lani

    So I’m horrible at figuring out the forums…. I wanted to offer you a pick of the week suggestion and i figured I could do it here. This is great for our fellow “perfectionists” and people who don’t like to break from the norm. Its called “WRECK THIS JOURNAL” by Keri Smith and its awesome and FUN!!! You literally RUIN THE BOOK! Tear out pages crumple them! Throw paint of it, smear it! Spill coffee on it! Staple the pages together! Draw using your mouth…. I find this book has me looking at paper and supplies with new eyes and with an energetic burst of creativity! Love it! And less than $10 on Amazon! Hope you pick it! Its SOOOOO MUCH FUN and i really think might be able to rectify a creative block. I smile every time i look at my wrecked journal….and I’ve only just begun! Even my coworkers want to see what I’ve done to it! Heres the link

  • Thx Melissa, so sweet of you to respond :)

  • Thank you Melissa, so sweet of you to respond :)