Now that I have my Week in the Life album completed, I’m going to begin sharing the layouts I’ve created using Ali Edward’s Story Kits (and then later – adding in the Story Stamps).
When I subscribed to the Story Kit program, I had something very specific in mind that I wanted to use the kits for. We had just enrolled my oldest son at a college preparatory military academy. He would board there – and he was only 16. Big scary step for all of us. And – he really didn’t want to go. Which made things all the more difficult. But, months later – even after having received a number of awesome Story Kits in the mail – I just couldn’t get start on this album. In my heart, I knew what I want to end up with, and in my head, I knew I wanted (and needed) to do this project, but I just couldn’t figure out how to start. It was going to be a very personal project, not one that was created at arm’s length, and was going to include stories that were not so pretty.
So, I posted in one of the Story Kit message boards – which one I don’t even remember now – and received back 2 awesome responses. One from Ali (thank you!) and one from ScrapNSplash (I’m not sure who you are, but thank you so much!). In these message board responses, the following was shared:
- Who is this album for? Is this therapy for you or is it a record for him? If it’s just for you and more of a memoir of what happened from your perspective, that’s different from you telling his story. Get clear about your intentions and your reason why before you begin.
- Start with a timeline of events. This will give you a structure with a beginning and an end.
- Focus on the stories before even thinking about the design of the album. As you go about getting the stories onto paper, the bigger picture will emerge.
- Sit down with a piece of paper and pen, and just write. Write everything down you can remember about the events. Include dates, feelings, reactions from you, your son and family. Just keep writing.
- Don’t worry about pictures. They will come later.
- Think about using a simple 8.5×11 template that has room for longer texts.
Wow! What a jump start these little pieces of advice provided. The next week, I started creating my album. And now, I want to share the layouts that resulted. The first page was created in 2015, but it’s important for me to start from the beginning. In fact, I’m working on part 2 (which involves a second album and a whole bunch more stories), and a decision to document my other two sons’ junior and senior years in high school. With the ultimate goal of compiling all the layouts into a photo book for them to keep (and show their boys someday – LOL)!
I did go with an 8.5×11 album. I’ve always used 12x12s, and swore I’d never change, but in this case 8.5×11 did just seem more manageable. And, I have all these 12×12 albums (22 to be exact!) that I need to find a place for in our home. I am thinking about converting all of these albums to photo books too, but that’s another blog post.
As I said, beginning at the beginning is important to me. And my first Story Kit was “Firsts”. How appropriate right? (While the First Story kit isn’t currently available, the digital version of the Story Stamps is). The first few layouts I did were simple. I used several chipboard embellishments, 3×4 cards and the plastic word “First” from the Firsts Story Kit, and a template from Cathy Zielske for my very first page.
And – just to set the stage – this album and the next are my stories about T’s stories. I can’t tell “his” stories. Totally different perspective I’m sure. But I’ve tried to keep it real. These are my thoughts and memories, and a record of events as I saw (and felt) them occur. Here’s another set of pages.
For the first 30 days, we couldn’t visit or call. We could, however, email. So, I kept ALL of the emails we received from T. Some were good – some were heartbreaking. And as you can see, there were lots of them.
I continued using the Firsts Story Kit for the next few pages. Very simple – not over embellished. Pretty much a simplified Project Life type of layout. Most of the photos came from RMA’s SmugMug website. The school had a photographer on site and a few older students taking pictures which they would post on SmugMug. When your son is away from home for the first time, you can’t imagine how many times a day you check to see if there are any photos of him. Just a glimpse gives you loads of comfort!
So that’s it for my stories and layouts using the Firsts Story Kit. More posts and more photos using additional Story Kits will follow. I just have to say that without these kits, I’m not sure I’d have been able to do these layouts and this album (or even start them). And as you’ll see in future posts, not only was I able to start the album, the story is continuing. With an awesome end . . . which you’ll just have to wait for. LOL