I flipped it and I flapped it….

Have you ever tried to cram what realistically would be more photos than you can fit on one page?

Have you had a dozen or more photos, all of similar moments, all part of an important story and you just cannot bare to leave any out yet they will not all fit on a double page spread without making it all look awful?

Well that was me this week. I had 17 photos, all taken of me from the beginning through to the end of the night of my 50th dancing. It was an awesome night for me and my live musician was playing some great songs. I just had to put my dancing shoes to use. The snaps are fabulous – from me standing with hands on hips waiting for it all to begin to me dancing the night away ( and gradually looking more disheveled as the night wore on!)

So I had a problem.  How do you fit 17 photos on one page?

Remember little Peter Rabbit who had that annoying little problem of a ‘fly upon his nose’? He flipped it and he flapped and the fly flew away. (I hope you are singing this now! I was when I went to bed after doing this page)

Ok. So 17 photos is a problem.  Flip flaps are the answer! What do you think of this?

a stack of photos all connected thanks to Flip Flaps

a stack of photos all connected thanks to Flip Flaps

There are 17 photos on this double page spread!  You cannot ‘see’ them but there are two stacks of photos using flip flaps on the right hand page. The photos are ordered  so they illustrate my changing mood from cheeky, to show off, to totally absorbed in a song and singing it, swinging it, and looking rather disorderly by the end of it all.

You can flip through and see all my moves!

You can flip through and see all my moves!

The pages completed are now slid into the protectors. A careully performed surgical slit allows the flip flaps to sit on the outside.

The pages completed are now slid into the protectors.

A carefully performed surgical slit allows the flip flaps to sit on the outside. I am so pleased with how this turned out and I love that Close To My Heart not only have flip flaps, but they also have even more ideas for including extra photos and journaling on a page in the book Magic by Jeanette Lynton. I followed the page layout ‘Out of the hat’ (appropriate title given the red hat theme) from this book on page 83. The instructions for cutting slits into page protectors are in the book and while I did hold my breath doing this the outcome is awesome.

Flip Flaps come in many sizes, and allow us to make much more of a page and just a 12 x 12 space.

I decided to work on another example. There was a whole lot of singing and dancing going on. In the second example flaps go 3 ways on two pages which extends the whole story of the reveling of the crowd and the awesome performance of my brother as primary dance partner for everyone.

These two pages are the dabce pages. What you see here is the beginning. They need more decoration. I am waiting on a new stamp with music nots on it do the striking white will all get stamped and will not stand out so much.

These two pages are the dance pages. What you see here is the beginning. They need more decoration. I am waiting on a new stamp with music notes on it do the striking white will all get stamped and will not stand out so much.

Ta Da!!! Check out all these photos and journaling once you open it up.

Ta Da!!! Check out all these photos and journaling once you open it up.

Not only was it a fun night, it has also been fun to scrap those photos flipping and a flapping to get them all looking great over a few pages of my album.

Products used in this layout

For Always Workshop on the Go (WOTG) Kit and extras For Always paper.

*Host Only stamp set – The party is on. (Page 4 of our Product Launch Guide)

Happy Birthday stamps are from the Art Philosophy Cricut collection.

Titling is done with Your Are My Happy alphabet – this month’s exclusive National Stamping Month’s reward set.

Embellishments Black and Grey assortment ; Sparkles flourishes, black shimmer trim and still waiting on a few more from the For Always Assortment.

Cardstock – Black White, Cranberry

Exclusive Inks – Cranberry, Desert Sand, Black

The title ‘Oh What a night’ was cut using the Art Philosphy alphabet on my Cricut machine

Flips flaps assortment (for the 3 x 4 photos);  Flip Flaps 6 x 4 for the main stack; Flip Flaps Large assortment for the other dance pages enabling additions to the left right top and bottom as fold outs.

The spare white space is yet to be stamped with Universal Background Music stamp. (This stamp is not in the print version of the catalogue but you can see it online.)

Head on over to the online shop, join a gathering or just login for yourself and have fun ordering these great products. To ensure you get my newsletter please sign up using the sign up form in the right hand column. These pages will be on display at all  my workshops through October, November and December.

Thanks for stopping by!

Jen

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Held together by a common cause.

Today sadly Creative Memories closes its doors in Australia. They are still madly packing orders in the warehouse but for consultants we have no CM branding after today. My website will close, my customer list is now safely on my computer and that could have been that. The end point is here – and it is not black, it is a little warm and fuzzy.

You can shut the doors on a business. You cannot shut the doors on a mission.

I found this among the many shared memes on Facebook - it is what our mission is all about.

I found this among the many shared memes on Facebook – it is what our mission is all about.

When Diane Lampert and Brian O’Laughlan started the Australian Creative Memories family they were full of hope that Australians would love both the mission and the product. I have heard Diane’s story. She is a very courageous business woman whose belief in the product and the mission was so profound she agreed to take the risk and come to Australia to test it out in our market. Brian was the support for building the company here and it did not take long before they had a team of consultants spreading the message and mission throughout the country. Australians came to love scrapbooking and this resulted in  a successful direct selling company giving many of us the opportunity to work for ourselves while promoting a priceless concept – to ensure the photos came out of boxes and into albums along with the story that goes with them.

In those days we still printed film from cameras and we were just starting to use digital photography. In a little more than a decade things have rapidly changed! The economy has been up and down, the were boom periods and downturns. And now every hand held devise appears to be capable of capturing a moment. We can also share them freely on the internet and include the story in many ways. Albums on shelves were rapidly being replaced by pictures on disks.

Combining digital and traditional

Combining digital and traditional

Creative Memories remained competitive during the period of a scrapping shop on every corner – and came through the other side thanks to the staying power of leaders, good business management and consultants who could handle the competition. We still had albums and workshops for ‘traditional’ scrapbooking. In an era when it seems everything is done by computer we still love to sit and do hand-craft and our albums are an expression of that.

Some consultants had to let go during this period. I was one of them. This though, I have learned, is normal in direct selling. If you want to get to the top you need to put in a few good years of hard work and sponsoring to get there. I could not do this and balance all the other pressures in my life. I stopped consulting but continued scrapping. I believed in the mission and still do.

Then Creative Memories invested in digital solutions…I was hooked again well and truly. I love my Storybook Creator software, Memory Manager and the beautiful books I can produce, Sure there are competitors here too but top of the list for quality and accessibility with creative flexibility is this product. This is my preferred way to scrap even though I have many clients who still like to do the hands on. I became a consultant again because of the digital options enabled me to have another crack at direct selling.

Scarpbooking pinsHowever I do not consult just to make money. I scrap and consult because

  • I want to make sure the story goes with the photos
  • I want to remember the best parts of my life
  • I want my children and their children to know their story
  • I love the time out of a busy life doing something for me
  • I love taking photos just so I can scrap them
  • I am a teacher and love teaching others that they too CAN do this
  • I am still and always will be creative and this is just one way of expressing that
  • and I love to challenge those who say they are not creative to kill that negative self belief and discover that they are – it just got lost somewhere in their busy lives.
  • And, I am not alone in any of this. we are a family of consultants and customers sharing the one mission.
Making paper flowers is fun!

Making paper flowers is fun!

CM Sisters all over the country will say similar to me. For some the company provided income, for others it funds a hobby, but for all of us the mission matters. We want to see photos scrapped and shared, preserved for lifetimes to come. And some…we can do all kinds of paper crafts and make anything you can think of that can be either printed or shared digitally! We run workshops and classes and teach others. For us this business is not just about selling a product – it is about the customer, the you,  your photos, your story, your way. We help people to do this – and that for me is far more rewarding than any fiscal benefit from being a consultant.

So…we are not going to turn our heads and sadly walk away from today’s closed door.

I need a new car, I am about to engage with a new business,,,.I was toying with ideas about what sort of car I can get as I travel throughout my country region helping people preserve their photos and stories.

I need a new car, I am about to engage with a new business,,,.I was toying with ideas about what sort of car I can get as I travel throughout my country region helping people preserve their photos and stories.

Those magnificent entrepreneurs Diane and Brian, and others, have been spending this month working on Plan B. Tomorrow just what that is we will find out. It is the new door. The CM family has stuck together with campaigns to scrap the stash and virtual crop all month long so we are still going to be here – but with a new brand. The one constant is the Mission.

So right now the mood is warm and fuzzy. The anticipation for tomorrow’s announcement is mounting – we will have the opportunity to continue the mission with a whole new look and I can’t wait.

Thank you Diane for making it all possible and keeping it all possble, and thank you Sarah for encouraging me to have another crack and more recently wait for tomorrow to come!

thankyou 2

Stash Scrapping brings Startling Revelations

I have already posted about the pending closure of Creative Memories Australia due to the  economic issues the parent company in America is facing. Our business manager and leading consultants have been busy keeping the CM family together through Facebook groups, the Virtual Crop, and emails. The final closure of the company we have loved and served is to close it’s doors on Monday June 9th. (Plan B will be announced Tuesday the 10th  and the excitement is mounting as we anticipate bigger and better)

The therapy for all of us who are consultants has come via the ‘Keep Calm and Scrap On’ campaign with the encouragement to ‘scrap your stash’. Engaging in  this has led me to a really interesting place, one I have not visited for a very long time and one that has helped me to look back on my past and laugh, and cry, and see a significant period of my life in a new light. Essentially, this is why I Scrapbook – it does enable me to celebrate and reflect on significant moments of my story – and more.

It is finally on the table again

It is finally on the table again

So in living memory, without delving into anything that is drawn from primary sources, I remember my Rotary Exchange year to Mexico with a great deal of fondness. I have happy memories of families – Comacho Junco, De La Pen~a, and Zavala who were my hosts and a particlarly emotional connection with the Lima Rizado family. In fact I communicate with the latter now on Facebook thanks to one of them looking for me. I had looked for them several times too! Who would have thought in 1980 that in 2012 we could communicate so easily all these years later!

 

 

hopefully still in date order....Yep pretty much!

hopefully still in date order….Yep pretty much!

Digging into my stash I came across my unfinished album of this fabulous year of my life. I have pondered why it was unfinished. Perhaps some of the memories were just too painful to bare, as I reconnect emotionally with so much. Perhaps it was the huge wad of letters and documents that both my mother and myself saved from that year. I have every letter written to me – and every letter I wrote home.  If I am to do do a good job of this photo album – traditional or digital –  I would need to dig into dates, times and places – and these are recorded in the letters. I knew I would have to read them. maybe that is why it has taken so long.

I also got a bit stuck considering layouts for pages. Mexico is not a country well reflected by our traditional scrapping supplies here and finding just the right paper or sticker has been an issue for me. However I have learned to make do – and have been focussed more on colour than sticker to this point in time. I had stopped at the folkloric dancing I saw in Fortin De las Flores. These pages had followed scrapped pages of 2 of the 3 homes I lived in. I clearly had reached an emotional point and packed it into a box. I have since been doing other things while the project sat in a cupboard and got carted through to or three house moves before it saw the light of day again on my craft table – years after it had been started.

What page and photos to do next?

What page and photos to do next?

In the last few nights I have pulled it out. I recently ordered prints of the slides I had digitised, and now I have kind of sorted photos. It was such a long time ago I could not necessarily place all photos in a specific place or timeline. Not that for this project timeline matters – but I got stumped after doing the pages on my dear third host family and the family of my Mexican Muchacho. I told myself to ‘Feel the pain and do

My 4th Family and the one I grew closest to.

My 4th Family and the one I grew closest to.

it anyway’. Once I got past the emotional response, I did those pages and came to another halt.

 

 

 

I ran out of pages, I had no memorabilia pockets and I had no idea what kind of order to put the photos into. With CM Australia about to close its doors getting this project finished would depend on the support of the CM family for the pages and pockets and encouragement to finish a traditional project. All I had to do was ask and magic happened!

I found the perfect paper - and upcycled a page from my old demonstration and teaching album

I found the perfect paper – and upcycled a page from my old demonstration and teaching album

My girlfriend and fellow consultant visited tonight with 3 memorabilia pages, and 3 sheets of scrapbook paper she thought might be good. One was simply perfect. In Cordoba Veracruz, La Jarocha is a traditional dance form and has with it a specific style of costume. A couple of my most favourite photos are of me wearing this costume and performing in a dance troupe with the dance school I attended. When in Mexico I needed something outside of school to do, I loved the dancing and I needed to exercise. Learning this kind of dancing was the answer – and my cultural life in Mexico benefited greatly from this. I really wanted to scrap this one particular photo. Armed with that perfect paper from old creative memories stock, and additional old size pages I found buried in a box that were from my Scrapbook techniques album in 2002, I was set…but I got stuck again. When was it taken? Where was I? Which performance was it?

Tonight I am very glad I kept every letter written. I have been reading them and can now place the photo on a timeline of events and use the letters to help create the necessary journalling. Photos alone cannot tell this story – I needed the information. While doing so I came across a lot of information I had quite clearly forgotton – the names of people, the importance of places, and was able to observe – as no doubt my parents did – some changes in my behaviour that may have raised an eyebrow or two! My poor mum and dad! My letters also had some very common phrases…’Sorry this letter is short but I am too busy…just a quick note to say,.. I really have now news….I am studying hard for exams (I hated zoo-ology!),  thanks for your cheque…can I have some money for… I love you muchisisimo xoxoxox’ .

My letters remind me of my own daughter who went to Japan on exchange, who was frantically was studying to pass basic Japanese, and had little time to write, who struggled emotionally at times, had some basic observations of the country and culture to report and such. She might well have been me…our letters and notes are so similar…..so sixteen!

Well…I got one page done…the rest of the time was spent reading through many of the letters and I was startled by the revelations the 16 year old me left for the 50 year old one!

Scrapping the stash not only makes use of what I have to make room for the new to come, it also gave me an opportunity to get back to work on a project that I think should be done.

Try stash scrapping – you will be surprised what you find!

 

PS I have already started the digital version and now realise I will have more text than photos when I am done! Plan B will hopefully provide me the opportunity to have the same lovely page prints I am accustomed to!

Digital MEXICO page that will end up in my traditional album!

Digital MEXICO page that will end up in my traditional album!

The Sisterhood

We have travelled awkwardly from Freaky Friday to Terrific Tuesday and we now can really hope for more!

I must admit, having faith in ‘administrators’ of a company I love and that (as far as I knew) was doing well economically was an extremely tough call. Especially when it was so sudden, so without warning, so devastating to 100’s of consultants and customers who had plans for their photos, parties and workshops.

What does it mean to be a scrapbooker?

What does it mean to be a scrapbooker?

My hesitation to stay rigidly hopeful came down to basic economic reasoning. A looming election and increased living costs aside, a business operates on demand and supply of a product or service. Until Freaky Friday we had a superb product and service to deliver to many who love and enjoy what we do. Our service as consultants, our lovely albums and embellishments, our signature tools, our software (my personal favourite) and our opportunities are the core ‘things’ we supply. The less tangible also matters (perhaps even more)  – our mission to ensure photos get out of boxes, off jump drives, phones, camera disks and computers and into beautiful albums to share. The Creative Memories brand is top of the range and our customers know and respect this.

With the parent company in America moving into Chapter 11 ( a course of action to deal with potential bankruptcy in America) and not being able to supply us here in Australia, in spite of ‘hope’ I was doing a mental battle over supply not meeting demand and what that would mean for us. This got worse when it became apparent the administrators in place had little care for the people that make Creative Memories Australia and New Zealand real, not just a cast of characters in a poorly performing play that can be closed down. Our top leaders were forced into a state of powerlessness and the administrator was (to me at least) not doing what they should – to work with us and help a company move forward and avoid the worst case scenarios. (I refuse to even label those)

BeliefStatement0712_20x30

To read the statements, click on the image and you will see a more readable view.

In spite of all this economic logic I could still hang on to one very intangible element of this business. We are committed to our mission. We are Independent Consultants (aka sole traders) so this IS our business. We believe what we do is extremely important and have a set of belief statements that reflect this. We believe it so much all we could do was stay positive, have faith that those who could would and meanwhile adopt a whole new strategy. Keep Calm and Scrap.

So…I did, sometimes with tears of sadness, sometimes with gratitude for the opportunities no matter the future, and sometimes with the determination that has been clearly evident in others to not let this be taken away from us!

Virtual Crop has become a regular daily feature of my life as the numbers of the Facebook group grow and scrappers all over Downunder take up the challenges and share their work and their praise for others. Regular emails from CM directors kept us up to date with what they knew, and advice on how to proceed. Consultants, including myself revised our calendars, contacted customers, spread the word of hope that our mission still mattered most and we would find a way.

I stayed strong on the outside, consoled the consultants in my team, and only really broke down once myself, grieving selfishly over the loss of long term outcomes from all the travelling I had done. Many in our CM family could potentially lose much much more as their hard work and success in the business has become their family income. Bang..like that…taken away. No notice for them – no opportunity to find alternate income sources or take a redundancy – just nothing but hope that the administrator will be fair to the customers and consultants as well as other stakeholders. This wasn’t happening.

today

Today I…a reminder to be grateful and have hope

Clearly the power of sisterhood has prevailed. Communications have been rife since Freaky Friday and the outcome of that is astounding. Consultants share stories of supportive customers, consultants supporting each other, reminding each other to stay calm, and hope things will stabilise, and dare we even – yes we will – hope that at the end of it all we will come out better at the other end.

24 hours before Tremendous Tuesday a flurry of emails, faxes, and original documents passed through the internet and Australia post. The power of a vote was at hand. Our leading directors and business manager were arming themselves to do battle with the administrators and remind them this was OUR business they were dealing with. Armed with the right information, and the required votes Leading sisters and support crew were able to vote the administrator out and send them packing. You could pretty well hear the cheers and congratulations that went around in electronic form after the announcement was made. Our sisterhood had rallied, our leaders went in on our behalf and took control back.

Similar but different. You may remember Shepparton SPC workers rallying to save the company that had employed them for so long – taking cuts in pay, leave and personally investing in what for them was their life blood. I recall how adamant they and the town were that the company had to be saved. So…it is with extreme gratitude and humility I say a resounding Thank You to all those who told me to hold tight, believe in the mission, believe in our leadership team, and trust that we are in good hands and will still have a business to be a part of . Thank you CM sisters! Keep networked, stay informed, use suggested strategies and above all else tell yourself and everyone else to just Keep Calm and scrap.

scrapbooking is

Another scrapbooking is page…it is so much I cannot say it all on just one page!

 

Our future is still foggy, but ironically and in spite of this it is very clear that the waters are calm, the compass has been correctly positioned towards a positive outcome for all of us and we still have the demand for our products and service. Plan B to supply his exists, it now has the opportunity to become a reality and we have absolutely no reason to think that it won’t happen. So go ahead – scrap your stash while we wait the future to arrive.

 

The power of the voice of the sisters in CM AU and NZ has regained control of the management of the company. At the other end of all this we may not look the same, we may not feel the same, but the mission will be just as it is now. WE believe that photos and memories need to be safely preserved, stories need to be told and we want to be the ones to help others achieves this.

Scrapbooking is...

Scrapbooking is…

Terrific Tuesday heralds a new chapter – or perhaps a new book in the CM story in Australia and New Zealand.  I want to be there – will you? If you do then stay in touch – consultant or customer. Read your emails, go to your consultant’s events and show them your support, go to team meetings if you are a consultant -we gather strength and unity- and join appropriate groups on social media such as the Summer Virtual crop group (open to everyone) and above all else ENJOY your photos and memories as you scrap your stash in the short interlude between what was and what is to be.

Go scrap sisters and say a cheer or three for our leadership team in control of our ship!

stay-calm-stay-scrappy

Stay Scrappy!

 

ANZAC Day

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, We shall remember them.

In the morning, we shall remember them

This morning I wake to the vivid sounds from memories of the haunting The last Post played on a Lone Bugle at the funerals of my grandfather and great Uncle, and at ceremonies every school year. ANZAC day services have taken place all around the country and in schools this week. It brings to mind all that have been lost in war, not just those tragically lost at ANZAC cove.

I live in the ‘lucky country’. But we have not been so lucky that we have not been affected by the impact of War and the need for soldiers to defend our country. In fact anyone who argues Australia is lucky because it has never been subject to war is clearly forgetting the fact that Darwin was in fact Bombed by the Japanese during World War II

Bombing of Darwin

as the Japanese Emperor attempted to build his own empire throughout Asia and the Pacific; and the fact many Australian men and women have given their lives to war in support of our allies, ultimately protecting our own country. They also forget the many bloody massacres and battles that have been hidden from us now being told as we acknowledge Indigenous people in our History books (at last).

Sometimes it is difficult the remember we have bee to and at war. The bombing of Darwin is as close as this country has ever been suffering the bloody chaos of a long drawn out war. The Japanese break through and take over our shores. I sometimes wonder what would our life be like if they had. (If you child has read Tomorrow when the War Began they will see how author John Marsden has answered this question)

If you have not been to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra,

Australain War Memorial, Canberra

you should, and be sure to take your children along with you. If not, jump online and do some research right here. Try to teach them about the ANZACS and what happened at Gallipoli. Teach them about the tenacity of the Australian Soldier. Educate them about ANZAC cove, about POW camps, about the Burma Railway, about Edward Weary Dunlop, about The Somme and the trenches of  World War One. Teach your children about conscription, and the white feather, the subbing or returned soldiers from Vietnam, and why we currently have had debate about our soldiers in Afghanistan.

 

Be sure your scrapbooks include the history of your family in times of war.  I have included those of my family who have been engaged in war in my scrapbooks – they are fondly remembered.

My Great Uncles in Uniform during World War II

My Great Uncles in Uniform during World War II

Australian children need to understand why this country needs its allies, why we engage in war that is not of our doing, and invite them to see that Australian soldiers, and supporting nurses and their reputations are part of the folklore of this land. They are the ultimate representatives of tenacity, of mateship, of being ‘Aussie’.

There is nothing nice about blood, guts, mud, sweat, death, killing enemy soldiers and dying in the process. There is plenty that is heroic about a man or woman called to serve doing their duty, following orders, attempting to save themselves, his or her fellow soldier, and from afar protect Australia from invasion by another country.

There are many films, novels and biographies about war and the more of these that our children become familiar with the more they will be able to discover and discuss man’s inhumanity to man, the causes of war, the impact or war, the way in which war today is so different from what it was on this day at ANZAC cove and question what the act of war achieves. They may well struggle with the moral question of how we justify war, why some returned soldiers have been treated as heroes and others have not, and why the role of women has in the past been neglected by the history books.

Above all, do not let them grow up thinking this country is lucky to have not experienced war. This is factually inaccurate. It has.  Australia has been at war numerous times because of our alliances which are essential given the size of this land and the coastline we need to protect from invaders. In our history we have been close to being invaded as submarines  got close to Sydney Harbour, and Darwin was bombed. It can happen again. And it will not be the so called ‘boat people’ we are warring with.

In teaching texts as an English teacher I have sadly often had to include the history of the war experience covered in the text. It saddens me that Australian pupils do not have a general knowledge about their own country history that includes our engagement in Wars that ultimately protect the ‘lucky country’ from invasion and persecution. I urge all Australians to watch or read suggested texts to educate the young about the Australian war heroes who we remember both today and on Remembrance day.

To participate in stopping the advance of an army representing a country hungry for power is heroic. Today we especially remember those who lost their lives fighting at ANZAC Cove, arguably the bloodiest of battles Australians have endured.

ANZAC Trenches

Lest We Forget.

Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget

War films and books you can watch, read and share with your children to raise their awareness of Australian War experiences:

The best films according to the Australian War Memorial

Some Texts that come to mind for consideration:

      • Gallipoli
      • Braker morant
      • The Rats of Tobruk
      • The Odd Angry Shot
      • Blood Oath
      • Changi
      • Kokoda
      • My Brother Jack
      • Beneath Hill 60
      • Paradise Road ( A must for any consideration of Women in war)

There are so many books, I will not list any, but the better ones are the biographical – the life stories of individuals, collections of letters and journals by veterans themselves.

One last thing…have a world map handy for the student…it does help them visualise thw where along with the what, when, how and why 🙂

‘Ave a Great Day

 

 

 

Relaying for life

I have always wanted to pull an all nighter doing scrapbooking but never have. My desire to sleep is strong (whose isn’t when you get to my age?) and it really does save me being miserable the next day. However, in the words of the MC at the recent Mildura Relay for Life Event – Cancer patients cannot ‘take a break’ so to be supportive our teams had to be sure there was someone on the track  at all times. And so we did.

Being up all night, staying focussed on the task

Being up all night, staying focussed on the task

Team leader Sandra scraps while not walking by torchlight

Team leader Sandra scraps while not walking by torchlight

Darkness brought a whole new look to displaying how we remember.

Darkness brought a whole new look to displaying how we remember.

There was life in our tent all night for anyone who cared to to stop and say hello and chat about how we preserve and share our photos and stories.

Physically I am a partial wreck with an arthritic knee and degenerating spine so walking lots of track laps is beyond me.  I am glad no-one was comparing lap times! Steady and slow got me around plenty of times.  There was a short nap in there as we also relayed through our sleeping tent but I put in my share of laps for the team and spent most of the rest of my time encouraging relayers to come to our tent and see what we do.

One of our customers is a survivor, proudly completing the laps she could, enjoying the scrapbooking and showing us the courage and hope needed.

One of our customers is a survivor, proudly completing the laps she could, enjoying the scrapbooking and showing us the courage and hope needed.

People who suffer cancer are everyday heroes  They show the rest of us the meaning of the phrase ‘fight back’ and for there families ‘Remember’ is significant. The keyword for our Mildura event was ‘celebrate’.

Display

Relay for life - Celebrate

Relay for life – Celebrate

Celebrate your life, your story, your way adorned our home

Celebrate your life, your story, your way adorned our home

As a scrapbooker I completely relate to remember and celebrate. I am grateful fightback has (touch wood) not been necessary for any of my family. However, we all have something worth remembering and celebrating and being hopeful about Storybooks (traditional or digital) allow us to do that through sharing the story of a patient, survivor or carer.

Cancer patients, their carers, and those who have been lost to the disease all deserve the recognition that comes with hope for recovery, remembering the fight back and celebrating what we love about the individual. Emotionally it may be difficult to remember, to take photos, but journalling helps to celebrate the heroes and creates an outlet for personal emotional wellbeing when cancer becomes part of your life.

Our team was made up of  consultants and scrapbookers.

Customers joined us to both walk and scrap. We are grateful for their contribution.

Even consultants and their babies joined us to both walk and scrap. We are grateful for everyone’s contribution.

A customer is over the moon with the place and punch tool!

A customer is over the moon with the place and punch tool!

I would love to be celebrating meeting  our fund raising goal. In that area we lagged – but I hope we are forgiven having been first timers.We all sought sponsorship and attempted to raise funds through a raffle and hope bag decorating.

A central message of the event - Hope and remember via the candle lit track

A central message of the event – Hope and remember via the candle lit track

Visitors came to our tent to use out tools and embellishments to decorate their hope bags

Visitors came to our tent to use out tools and embellishments to decorate their hope bags

We also offered 10% of income on sales from the event. Our approach needs a little rethinking as we didn’t raise as much money as we would have liked and we discovered we do need to start earlier on this important task.

Most people at the event were walking, remembering, honoring, or sleeping. Purchasing the materials with which to remember or exploring the healing value of recording and celebrating the stories through scrapbooking was not on their mind. I get that 🙂

We did perhaps go about it in not quite the right way. However, now we have done this event the first time we learned a lot. Our core message – to celebrate your life, your story, your way has a great deal of meaning for those dealing with cancer in their lives, be they sufferer, carer or family and friends. I still believe we have something to offer this event.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the event not because of the walking or scrapbooking by gaslight (which by the way was fun!)  but because the act of celebrating, remembering, and being hopeful are central to the reason for doing what I do. It was very humbling to be among those whose lives have been seriously affected by cancer.

I believe in the healing powers of story and journal, in hoping for recovery or dealing with grief and sincerely hope all those affected by cancer take the time to record the stories of the heroes in their lives.  I hope that at least for some the idea of scrapping the story of the journey will be remembered and they know they can turn to us for help with this task as it can be quite emotional.

The team carry our team banner for the final laps of the event

The team carry our team banner for the final laps of the event

I would like to finish with resounding applause for the organisers of the Mildura event. It was hugely successful and we had a wonderful time doing some good for the community.

No matter the story, tell it anyway.

I came across this article ‘When family Stories Are Difficult’  shared on Facebook and feel the need to confess that telling the difficult stories is one of those things I have avoided. I love to journal as truthfully as I can not just what happened but how I felt, so leaving out the bad stuff enables me to celebrate good times and ignore the bad. The problem with that will be my world will appear to have been completely joyful and there won’t be an explanation for my life as a single woman about to turn 50.

I am now divorced from the father of my children. Since then I have had another relationship that I thought would be my happy ever after one that turned into a bitter battle caused by alcohol and lies that I struggled more than twelve months to recover from and even now wistfully at times wonder if it could or would be worth trying again I loved him so much. (But I do know better – it is he that needs to come to terms with his behaviour and lies, not me). Then there are a few months of one or another boyfriend or date that has not quite worked out. What should I do with these photos?

As a scrapbooking mum I find these and other stories hard to tell. I don’t struggle with reflecting on them, and some of them I do not have a problem talking about, but when it comes to including photos AND journalling the truth from my world view I do come to a striking halt. I have no problem including photos of my ex husband with images of our grandson – he does belong to both of us. The ex partner on the other hand is cropped out or left out of any event we attended in our brief 3 years together. I am not sure that it is my pain, or my shame that causes me to do this. I feel I was hoodwinked. But the bottom line is we did have many good moments too and he was an important part of my own growth journey. So…should I include my alcoholic ex partner, and if I do, what do I write?

This article talks about another kind of family issue – an adopted child. The excerpt suggests we need to journal all our stories, the good and the bad. In reference to adopted children Dr. Jane Aronson says:

Tell them with as much humor and openness as you can, she said. “Children deserve to be playful about who they are,” she said, “and to be proud, and to interpret their own stories into their own ideas.” And if a story brings up strong emotions for a child, let it. “Ask yourself if you’re the one who is uncomfortable,” she told me, and if I am, I need to either address it, or hide it, and let the children tell their stories.

KJ DELL’ANTONIA continues

I want my children to know that a story can be happy and sad at the same time, and maybe that’s exactly what the best stories are. We don’t even always have to feel the same way about our stories. One night, my younger daughter might be thrilled to talk about her foster family at dinner, and might even want to describe, again, the moment when she was handed over to strangers. At another time the introduction of the same topic by a sibling telling some other version of that time might bother her (and “bother” doesn’t fully encompass the available range of emotional reactions).

http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/24/when-family-stories-are-hard-to-tell/

I know both my daughters will have different feelings about stories to do with their dad, and stories to do with my ex partner. But maybe I should scrap them anyway, with humour and honesty so they in turn can share these family stories with their own children.  I can do pages on people that had an impact on my life – good or bad. After all  scrapbooking is all about recording our story and we are perfectly imperfect in an imperfect world.

If I do not include the good with the bad or uncomfortable, what message about resilience and recovery am I leaving my Grandchildren? I want them to know that depression can be managed, and resilience is an important life skill. I guess I better illustrate that in my scrapbooks too!