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Years ago I scrapbooked every Christmas because that’s just what you do as a scrapbooker, right? Well, not necessarily. Later, I only scrapbooked what I really felt like scrapbooking.
It turns out that I always want to scrapbook about Christmas whenever holiday season comes around! But even my holiday scrapbooking inspiration has been evolving. Lately, it’s been more about capturing certain stories — deep rooted stories, funny stories, important stories, revealing stories. I find myself wanting to scrapbook more than just one Christmas layout per year because I’m digging deeper now than I used to.
Do you feel you scrapbook the same thing over and over again every year for the holidays? Or do you avoid scrapbooking Christmas for that very reason? What if there are rich stories revolving around your winter holidays that you haven’t even noticed?
Guess what? There are!
Our winter holidays are all about family traditions. Think about the way our personalities cause us as adults to either embrace some of our parents’ ways of doing things, or to toss them away, or to allow them to evolve to accommodate the needs of our own children. Much of what we do we don’t even realize is a “tradition” because it’s all we know. It’s all we’ve seen. There are lots of rich stories to reveal from this time of year. If you don’t think you have them, you just haven’t identified them yet.
For the rest of the December newsletter articles, I will share some of my own stories, mostly as I’ve recently been discovering them while poring over my parents’ photo albums from 1967 to 1975. I had no idea that by looking through these old photos I would learn things about myself — why I do much of what I do during the holidays. Here’s the first story. I hope it makes you think of something from your own life . . .
I searched the picture on the left quite a while for a clue as to who all these presents could be for. My parents’ first child was still months away.
I had to ask her.
“Were these presents from you and Dad to each other?”
She looked at the picture, laughed, and said, “Yeah, I think so. Dad and I have always gone overboard for Christmas.”
I still couldn’t believe it, but then I took a good look at the other pictures.
- Dad trying on a bullet belt, holding a polaroid camera box in his left hand and a suitcase under his arm. He looks like he’s wading in a shin-high river of tissue, packaging, and wrapping paper.
- In another photo Mom is holding a dress (or robe?) to herself. At her feet, empty boxes are scattered around the floor, along with what looks like a rolled up sleeping bag. On the sofa the suitcase in the first photo has a mate. Above the pair is some clothing, and on a chair in the foreground is another stack of opened gifts — probably a set of stemware and more clothes. There are yet more items in the other pictures
The undeniable proof, though, is in the final picture of this set which you see in the top right photo. Mom relaxes on a chair, overlooking the aftermath of Christmas morning, eating an apple in the same relaxed and pensive way I’ve seen her eat apples my whole life.
The trash is all over the floor. There is nowhere to walk. It looks like they tore into their gifts without the slightest thought for cleanup. It’s a disaster.
This was how Christmases were for us when I was a kid but I never would have thought the mayhem to have also happened when it was only the two of them.
Even when we had a low income, my parents threw us huge Christmases! The stacks of wrapped gifts under the tree were tall and beautiful, though most gifts were not expensive and some of them were just practical — the stuff they would have bought us over the next few months out of necessity.
My parents wanted the promising beauty of a tree with mounds of presents. They wanted to draw out the main event of the holiday — exchanging and unwrapping gifts.
How do I know this? I didn’t actually ask my mom. I know because she passed this desire on to me. I remember my first Christmas with Israel. We didn’t get ourselves quite as many presents as my parents did, but we weren’t quite as practical with our gifts either. I remember how happy I was to have so many gifts under our tree. I also remember the wide eyes and comments from other couples — friends of ours — who were only exchanging one or two modest gifts with each other.
I remember being embarrassed about it, too.
Over the years Israel and I have shrunk Christmas down to a modest amount of gift exchanging that is more in line with our deeper values. Despite those values — the value of a certain level of simplicity and minimalism — these pictures of my mom and dad’s extravagant pre-children Christmas make me smile. Because I relate. And I remember.
What’s Your Story?
Thanks for letting me share my story with you! Did you relate? Or was it the very opposite from your own Christmases? Did my dad’s bullet belt remind you of your dad? Or did that blue fridge take you back to an earlier time (if you clicked on my photo and took a good look at it!)?
If you thought of one single thing from your own life while reading my story, then you have one of your own to share. In my kids’ school they call that seed writing. I tell you a story which, without fail, will always trigger a memory of some kind in your own mind. If you tell me you didn’t think of one I won’t believe you! So what’s your story? Write it down, quick. It may seem too small, but if you start writing it, you’ll begin remembering more. There’s always more to a story than you initially think.
Photos From the Paperclipping Members’ Holiday Photography Tips Course
For the holidays I’m giving our members a course in photography. I wanted to share a few that really caught my attention . . .
Shannon Van Sluytman
Melissa Stinson (scrappyjedi)
- Paperclipping Video Tutorial – Train Station Flexible Template
My Flexible Templates are some of the most favorite of the Paperclipping episodes because they give you an idea boost but still allow for a lot of creativity and flexibility in a way that sketches do not. Get this episode, plus 158 tutorials in the archives and two more every month, by becoming a member! Click here to see how it works.
- The Paperclipping Roundtable – If My Husband’s Listening
- The Paperclipping Digi Show – Extracting a Banana
Isn’t it great when you can get an artistic look without much time, work, or effort? Just wait until you see the backgrounds you can make from today’s episode. They take only a couple of minutes. And they’re gorgeous!
Below are the layout and papers featured in this week’s episodes…
Double The Grape
Journaling reads: Because one grape-flavored drink just isn’t enough. A kid’s gotta have variety. :) (Aiden, age 4; summer 2007 Russell’s house).
Supplies that I used for the various backgrounds:
- Fancy Bird
- Fancy Feathers
- Fancy Leaves (note: Scrapbook.com posted the wrong image. Here is the real one, except in a different color: Fancy Leaves in Lemon Lime
- Glimmer Mis:t Lavender Fields
- Glimmer Mist: Blue Skies
- Distress Ink: Fired Brick
- Ink Blending Tool
- (affiliate links)
Unfortunately, I can’t find the Chalkboard Glimmer Mists available online. I had to purchase mine at my local store. I used Banana Pudding and Evergreen.
May 3rd ETA:
Thanks to all who participated. The following three entries were chosen randomly. Congratulations! Please email me at email@example.com and give me your mailing addresses.
My Mind’s Eye Feeling Groovy Kit:
rosann – http://people.paperclipping.com/photo/embellish…
Here’s my entry. My symbol is the owl and my color scheme is purple and pale yellow.
My Mind’s Eye Freebird Kit:
mllwyllw – My papers are from a mod-retro stack I’ve been saving for something fun and THIS IS IT! They are really fun papers. My main embellishment is my initials. Inspired by Ali Edwards using her initials on her pages. I am doing a mini board book that will have one question answered on each of the 6 pages.
Paperclipping Altered Books DVD:
luvblklab – http://people.paperclipping.com/photo/albums/ch…
My symbols I chose Is the letter S (first letter of my name) When I was a child I would always write S’s the doodle around them and since my altered book is about my childhood I thought it would be appropriate. My other symbol is a tree for a personal reason that I have come to realize lately in my life.
I used nature colors blues, greens, oranges and blues and have many other nature symbols throughout my collection birds owls etc.
* * *
(Must be at least 18 and a U.S. resident)
My Mind’s Eye
One winner will receive the Feeling Groovy Kit by My Mind’s Eye. Another will win the Freebird kit. Both kits are worth more than $30 and come with 14 sheets of double-sided, textured, 12×12 card-stock papers plus over 45 mix & match accessory pieces.
Altered Books Tutorial DVD
One winner will receive this special edition Paperclipping DVD tutorial where Dedra Long and Noell Hyman show you how to alter unwanted old hardcover books to make them your own beautiful works of art and another avenue for telling your own stories. In this video which is more than 1 hour long, you will learn:
* Three different ways to alter the cover of your book.
* How to bind and cover the pages inside the book.
* Techniques for making your pages interactive and fun.
Choose a color scheme and a main embellishment symbol that represents you in some way. You will use these for our project(s) on Saturday. Lay your papers and embellishment choice on your table and photograph them together (one picture). Post your picture somewhere on the internet. For an example of how I photographed mine, see the photo on this post.
To participate in the challenge, please leave a short comment on this post that explains your choice, plus a link to your picture. You have between now and Sunday at midnight to complete post your entry. If you are on facebook, please come to Paperclipping.com to enter.
For more information on our iNSD event and the projects we will be doing, please click here. Be sure to join us from 1-3pm PST at http://www.paperclipping.com/live
You can download the video trailer here.
To see the full version of this video, you need to become a member.
Here are the projects from this episode…
It’s All About The Details
Journaling reads: Trinity – You have great attention to details. You’re afraid of making mistakes. You’re a perfectionist. You’re also extremely independent, so it makes for some interesting situations when I find you trying to do something on your own but you have to come over to me again and again with detail-oriented questions. Today it happened with you making P.B.+J. sandwiches, which you’ve done a hundred times before…
Trinity: Mom! I want to make peanut butter and jelly but this says “jam!” I can’t find any jelly in the fridge.
Mom: That’s what we use because jelly has too much sugar. Sometimes what I buy says “spreadable fruit.” It’s all just used the same way as jelly.
Trinity (you ran out of jam and went to the closet for more but then came back to me, distraught): Mom! This has a totally different word on it that I can’t read and there are CHUNKS in it!
Mom: Yep, honey. This one is the same kind of thing. It’s called, “Preserves.” But it’s all the same. Now relax and go make your sandwich! :)
12×12 pocketed page protector
Journaling reads: It wasn’t until Blake told me how his friends act disgusted by the way we eat (last month) that I realized it could be hard on you kids socially. It’s been over two years now since I decided to eliminate animal-related foods from my diet and cooking and became vegan. Last Auguest Dad decided (on his own, without pressure from me) that he couldn’t eat animals and their by-products anymore, either, which meant your diets became even more vegan than they already were.
Since we don’t force you to be totally vegan and you like my cooking, it didn’t occur to me it could be hard until Blake’s friends acted that way, no matter how good it looked or how often they admit to loving it when they try it. I’m sorry if you get embarrassed and I appreciate that you give us few complaints. I hope you understand that I have to live with integrity. I make this choice for health and love, for the environment, the animals, and for peace.
My 2nd Office
MiniBook I made from coffee cup warmers
Here are most of the pages:
This is a members-only edition of Paperclipping.
You can watch the video by using the player above, or you can right-click here to save the video to your computer.
The Tinkering Ink Peekaboo Album I used doesn’t seem to be in stock anymore. Hopefully you’ll use something you already have anyway but if you’re looking for a mini with shapes punched out like mine, the closest thing I can find to it is this one, which is on clearance right now.
By experimenting, I got a lovely mottled yellow on my pages that reminds me of colored Easter eggs. You know how colored eggs never come out smooth and perfect like they do on the cover of magazines?. I love the uneven colored-eggs look on my pages. Here’s how I got it:
- Painted 2 layers of Golden’s Gesso. (You could try white acrylic paint if you don’t have gesso).
- Sprayed a layer of Lemon Meringue Glimmer Mist and blended it in.
- Spritzed some uneven splotches of Lemon Grass Glimmer Mist. I rubbed the Lemon Grass with my blending tool. The foam applicator left a lot of “bubbling” in the mist, I think because of the gesso, and then set the bubbles and splotches with a heat tool.
It turns out that the gesso was not holding the Patina dye color, so it came out light, although very beautifully glimmery. Liz Hicks from Tattered Angels suggested using Making Memories Spotlight acrylic paint on chipboard or grunge board if you want the dye color to show more vibrantly.
The tiny paper flowers and the large flower were inspired by the artist, Alisa Burke. The orange paperclipped flower is from Paperclipping Episode #118, which is now archived, but available to our Members.
Note: Links go to my affiliate stores.
Many of you have been waiting (and waiting…) for the DVD version of the Altered Books Tutorial to release. In case you didn’t read about it in my newsletter, I wanted to announce here on the blog that the DVD is finally available for purchase. You can order your DVD by clicking here.
If you want more information on this tutorial and how to get the download-able version instead, please follow this link.
Today’s episode, for the Paperclipping Members, is a fun way to use up your extra three-dimensional flowers to make some really cool ornaments (or embellishments if you choose to scrap with them instead!).
This is part of a four-part series. Part 1 and Part 3 are free and don’t require membership to watch. If you’re not a member, you can click on the window above to get a preview of this tutorial. You could also watch the Quicktime version of the trailer here. And of course, there are several free videos which we have available in the left-hand column. If you like what you see and you want more, please click here to see how you can get access to 125 tutorials plus on-going members-only episodes as we continue to release them.
The rest of the posts in this series…
Note: Thanks to Nancy Horkey, designer of the Tree Of Life featured in this episode, who gave me my own tree. You can find these trees at www.my-treeoflife.com or in many local craft and scrapbook stores.
Congrats to our two prize winners in celebration of Paperclipping’s three year anniversary:
Winner of the Altered Books Tutorial
#2 wearetheworld 1 day ago
“The topic of my altered book project would be crafts. I do so many crafts that capturing my favorites in a book would be a great item to pass along to future generations.”
Wearetheworld: please email me so I can get you set up.
If you’ve been waiting to purchase this until after the drawing, you can get your download of the Altered Books Tutorial (or find out more) if you click here. (Note to members: you get a discount.)
Winner of the American Crafts Package
#128 Stephi D. 1 day ago
“I think my first altered book would have to be a journal of books I’ve read, and how they’ve impacted my life if any. Looking forward to the new and improved “Newsbreak”. Thanks ladies and American Craft for the giveaways!”
Stephi, please email me your address. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
A huge thank you to American Crafts who came to me and offered us the big prize package! What a cool company. For lots of brilliant topics for altered books, just check out everybody’s comments in the giveaway post. There are so many excellent ones. Or, find out more about the concepts of Dedra’s and my books by watching the tutorial.
Be sure to look for the extra episode of Paperclipping that goes out this week to the Paperclipping Members. It should be out later today. For more info on membership, please visit the Membership Information Page.
Want some ideas? This is the first of a series of 4 tutorials on handmade Halloween decorations.
This video is available to members only.
For instructions on the other decorations you saw on my tree and garland, please click on the following links…