I wasn't, but she rarely asks this sort of thing, so I replied: "I'm not, but I can be -- what's up?"
The Girl wanted to make her boyfriend a scrapbook for Valentine's Day. She had asked her mom for help. Now, her mom (my BFF) knows pretty much everything, and could have easily helped her. But my BFF is a great friend and not possessive as a mother.
So she said: "Oh no, Auntie Mishie is the scrapbooking expert! If you want help, you have to ask HER." Hence the very welcome text I got, out of the blue.
So, I was excited. I rearranged what I could of my schedule and we made plans. I sent The Girl many texts with suggestions. Have your photos printed out already. Pull together or collect some memorabilia to add to it. Make a list of topics or themes you want to include. Song lyrics and movie quotes make great journaling additions. I went through my own supplies, many of which had not even been unpacked from my move. I pulled anything red, anything love related (I have very little since "romantic" projects are not my norm), a lot of sticker letters, and a pack of quote stickers. I even had the remnants of a red and pale blue kit I got from CKU-A convention that I attended here in Chicago in about 2006 (scrapbooks and scrapbooking supplies just last forever). I put together a kit of tools for her to use, including my new paper trimmer, a supply of adhesives, some letter stamp sets.
We only had one afternoon to shop, figure out what to do, and get her started. The Girl had a couple of hours every day to work on it, for a week. I picked her up from church on Sunday and we zoomed to Michael's. In the car, she looked through the kit I'd brought, the red papers, and the accents. She had made a list on her phone of the various "themes".
I get really "bossy" when there is a lot to do and not a lot of time. I don't mean to be! But coming from a production background, I want to go-go-go! She was cool with that, did not take offense, and listened carefully to everything I said. I loved that.
We got to the store and I started zooming down the scrapbooking aisles, looking for kits we might buy, looking for the smaller albums, talking a mile-a-minute, telling her everything I knew, everything she might need to know. I left The Girl alone to look at the kits and see if there was one that would work for her (there wasn't). We checked out the clearance section and there she decided to buy an 8 x 11 black album that had 2 "frames" on the cover, one for a photo and one for a family name. It only had 5 sleeves and they didn't have more for sale, but I told her that usually regular office page protectors will work in that size album.
Then we looked at the papers and the stickers, ribbons, and other accents. She took my advice and bought a $3.99 pack of black cardstock to use as her page backs. We looked for 3-D stickers and smaller paper in her various themes. It's hard to find scrapbook items for things a teenage boy might be interested in! We looked for: wrestling, volleyball, country music, trucks, the park, picnics, and other themes. She loved and bought several rolls of themed and printed ribbon. Many items were on sale, but not all, and the store clerk kindly found us a coupon. She paid for her stash (I was not pitching in, since this was a gift from her to him) and off we went to pick up her photos.
At home, we cleared a space and got going. She listened to all my advice and suggestions -- except for one. I personally never start a gift album with the cover or the title page. It takes me a while to "warm up" and I don't like my design mistakes to be the first impression. I always start with a middle page. There is nothing wrong with my first pages, they are just not my very best.
The Girl preferred to start with her first page, so we did that first. We looked through her photos. I talked about focal points and title pages. She had many cute photos of the 2 of them together -- but she had one really great photo of just their boots. They had been laying on the grass in the park and she took a photo of their feet. I loved that photo, and it was "different" from a regular photo of them smiling. I sketched some ideas on how to frame it. I showed her how to eyeball a mat, how to use the paper trimmer arm as a ruler. She got to work.
|working hard to make it happen|
She loved the idea of wrapping some of her ribbon around a frame and tying a bow. The ribbon was gold glitter ribbon, so tying it was not an option. Never fear, Auntie Mishie used to work in a gift shop with free gift wrap and has handmade many bows in her day. The Girl moved on to another page idea while I fiddled with the ribbon and glue dots, getting gold glitter all over the place.
While I messed with the bow (always making sure to check with her and make sure it was exactly as she liked it) she completed two more pages.
She kept stopping and saying, "This is so cute!" and "I love this! I want to keep it!"
The joys of scrapbooking.
And the surreal nature of it. This darling girl is the closest to my own daughter I will ever come, but we are not genetically related. Yet there she was doing exactly what I did and acting exactly as I do when I scrapbook, even when I hadn't demonstrated the behavior. "Where is the x-acto knife?" she would say to herself, holding paper in place with one hand, picking up piles of stickers and other accents with the other, patting piles and feeling for tools. She would hold accents up to other items, and I, sitting across the table from her, could watch the wheels turn in her mind as she made choices and decisions.
It was just adorable. You know that feeling?
|so pleased with her work|
I got to see her so pleased when a page came out exactly as she wanted. I LOVE that feeling! And I love that she got to have it.
We worked for a few hours and then I had to go. All week, I checked on her and kept showing her my interest and concern. I texted her often to see how it was going, to make sure she had found some page protectors that fit to add in. I told her she could come by during the week if she needed more of anything, and "shop my stash". She and her mom came by on Thursday evening because she needed paper in more colors, and had run out of glue. I raced around before they arrived, organizing what was still in bins and baskets, pulling more things she might like to take.
Going through my supplies pumped up my creative juices. I found myself wanting to urgently get back into this hobby that's been mostly on hold for 5 years. I have made numerous gift albums and enjoyed it, but there are so many of my own stories I still want to tell.
On Saturday The Girl and her boy were celebrating Valentine's Day. She took pictures of all her pages and texted them to me. I ooohed and aaaaaaahed. I loved what she did. Even though the book was about "him" -- a scrapbook is really about the creator. It's your vision, your eye. You choose the photos and decide where to put them. She hand wrote details and stories that I had suggested, she included song lyrics and wrote up the menu for their park picnics, she included memorabilia, and made a lot of pages. I told her I really wanted to hear the story of how he reacted.
On Sunday I got another text from her. Oh, he loved it. A teenage boy got a scrapbook about him, and he was so pleased. She said he had a big smile on his face. He kept saying things like: "Oh I remember this!" and "This was a fun day" and "Hey babe, I love that song!"
On the last page, she put a picture of herself wearing her already-purchased prom dress (she is a thrifty shopper and looks for dresses right after New Years), holding a sign and asking him to her Senior Prom.
I'm pretty sure he said yes.