The past couple of months have been hard on our family. I have been stuck in bed in pain from a ruptured disk since last October. The tissue that leaked out of the ruptured disk hardened and was pressing on my sciatic nerve, causing it to feel like my leg was constantly on fire. Last week, I had surgery to repair the disk and am finally on the road to recovery. It has been such a stressful time for our family.
After a lot of thought, I decided to include my back injury and surgery in our family Project Life scrapbook, because it is part of our story. The pages I make regarding this time will include a lot of journaling as well as things I have saved along the way – my surgeon’s business card, my hospital bracelet, the pager card they gave my husband while I was in surgery, etc.
In the past, I have scrapbooked other unpleasant events - such as the F-5 tornado that devastated our town and leveled the house across the street from us, September 11th, pregnancy complications, and the death of my grandfather. Life is made up of both the good and the bad. Scrapbooking only the good parts is only telling part of our story, so my personal choice is to include the not-so-happy times along with the good.
Deciding whether or not to include the hard times in your scrapbook is a deeply personal decision. For some people it is therapeutic to document it. Other people will find it too painful, and that’s ok! If you do decide to scrapbook the rough times in life, here are some tips for getting started.
Tips for Scrapbooking The Hard Times in Life
Journal about it first. When bad things happen, you will probably need some time and perspective before you can even begin to think about including it in your scrapbook. However, I recommend you journal about it right away to get your thoughts down. You can get a cheap journal at the Dollar Store. When you do get around to making a scrapbook page about the event, the journaling you already did will make the process easier.
I have been keeping a detailed journal of my recovery from back surgery. So when I get around to starting our 2014 family album, all I will have to do is copy the journaling onto journal cards.
Give it some time. When my grandfather passed away unexpectedly in 2012 right before Christmas, the family was devastated. It was months before I could even think of doing a memorial page for him. Don’t feel the need to document it right away. Give yourself some time for the pain to lessen and the stress to subside. Then do the page.
Save memorabilia. For this memorial page I made, I cut up the funeral card to fit in the 3×4 slots of the Project Life page protector.
Use neutral colors and subtle patterns for your papers. You don’t want your paper choices to detract from the focus of the page. Stampin Up’s Neutrals Designer Series Paper Stack is a great choice.
You don’t need to include pictures. For my back surgery, I have no pictures of me at the hospital (and didn’t want any taken). That’s ok. I can still tell the story with journaling cards and memorabilia.
You don’t need to make a whole page. If you are doing Project Life style scrapbooking, maybe just include a journaling card or two. You can give the event as much or as little emphasis as you want. There is no right or wrong when you are preserving your memories.
Use hidden journaling. Maybe you don’t want everyone who looks through your scrapbook to read the story. You can creatively hide the journaling by making use of pockets and pull-out tabs. In Project Life, you can make use of the bi-fold 4×6 cards.
Keep it simple. Most times when you are documenting the bad times in life, the focus is going to be on the journaling. A simple page lets the focus be on the story. For my grandfather’s memorial page, I used two die cuts and just a small amount of stamping. I wanted the focus to be my grandpa – not the embellishments.
If you are looking to keep your embellishments simple, here are some lovely stamp choices that can help enhance these types of scrapbook pages.
Trees can be a simple and meaningful addition to memorial pages. The Lovely As A Tree Stamp Set is just perfect for pages honoring loved ones who have passed.
The Serene Silhouettes Stamp Set would look beautiful stamped in black on neutral paper with a subtle background.
I just love the comforting quote on the Love and Sympathy Stamp Set. It would make a gorgeous journal card with the flower stamped in the background.
If you are looking for more comforting quotes, then I highly recommend the Trust God Stamp Set. There are two quotes on there that talk of needing to trust God when we don’t understand why bad things happen to us. These would also make great journal cards or sentiments for traditional scrapbook pages.
Flower stamps are my go-to stamp when I really am not sure how I want to decorate the page. They can add a little touch of beauty to your page. I really like the Petite Petals stamp set for adding a scattering of flowers around the page. I also love that you can get this set in the Petite Petals Bundle Set that comes with a coordinating paper punch. This bundle makes it quick and easy to add the stamped flowers to your pages. Plus you save 15% over buying the punch and stamp set separately!
I have discovered that documenting the hard times in life can definitely be part of the healing process. So tell me… Do you scrapbook the bad along with the good?