Our life living off the land in our log cabin, breathing fresh mountain air, and getting back to basics.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Photographs & Memories

Every year, since Liam's (my grandson) first birthday, I've put together a book of photographs and memories of activities we shared together during his previous year.  It seemed to me to be one of those birthday gifts that would be meaningful to both him and I, and his mom.  Funny thing is, I've never been interested in scrap booking, and the only reason my photographs are organized now is that they are digital.  I still have 2 drawers full of printed photographs...one of these days I will have to tackle the project of converting them to digital format...hey, maybe a good winter project!  But this is not a scrap book, it's a Liam book.  Like a scrap book, it's hand made with love.  And he can have it forever.  A Liam book for every year until he turns 18 or 16 or 13 or when it becomes clear to me that the tradition can come to a close or morph into a more adult Liam book.  I thought I'd share how I go about creating it, especially since I've spent the last several days doing nothing but creating this year's book!

This is a picture of the first page.  Every first page has a new photo and his updated age...

...and this is the last page...it's the first time I put a picture of the two of us on this page, but I will continue the tradition from now on.  The words are pretty much the same.  I also decided that this year, I will write a little something to him and sign it. 
Mémère is French for grandmother, which is what I called my grandmothers...when he says it, it sounds like "Meh-May".


The beginning of the process is to review all the photographs I have of time we spent together, and collect them into a word document.  This goes on through hundreds of photographs (in fact, since I've been writing my blog the process is much easier because I've already reviewed photos for posts so my favorites have already been selected and cropped...for the most part).

Once all the photographs are compiled, I begin sorting and organizing the pictures again and I begin the narrative, which is in first person (Liam's words). This years book is 38 pages, much larger than previous books, mostly because of their vacation to the cabin (no worries, I'm not taking you through each page, just enough get the concept across)

There are always several pages describing his creativity, intelligence, helpfulness, kindness, etc...

There are also always several pages about his interests and hobbies...

There are always pages about the previous year's birthday party (it's always the first page after the cover) and events, and whatever other special events occurred during that year...

Then there are pages about things unique to the year...

This year has several pages about their vacation to the cabin...



And there is always a page about the special relationship he and his mother have...


Once the writing is complete and I've edited through the entire book, I print the pages on 8x10 paper, though the actual book is only about 5x5 (every year it's slightly different because of the nature of making things by hand).  Once printed, the pages are cut and then laminated.  Because this years book is so long, I will actually be putting pages back-to-back, doubling them in the laminate (except for the first and last page...thank goodness I ended up with an even number of pages to make this work!).  Once laminated, those sheets are again cut to size.  The final step is using a spiral book binding machine to create the actual book (Jessi says the good part about that is it can easily be put back together...bad part is it can also easily be taken apart by a young child).  The whole process takes a total of about 20 hours.

The first year I gave Liam this book, it brought Jessi to tears.  Last year, Liam actually stopped opening our gifts and looked through the entire book.  Jessi says he often will pull one off his bookshelf (she keeps them all together on top for easy access) and he looks/reads through it.  Sometimes, they do that together.  It's a great way to remember good times together, and I especially like it because we don't live close and he doesn't see me every day...this makes me feel like he can always have me there.

Do you scrap book or make memory books?

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,
Lise

4 comments:

Judi Morris said...

This is fantastic Lise and no doubt he will enjoy looking through it all and have such a great appreciation when he is more mature! I've been doing a bit of picture sorting myself and you realize how many memories you have due to photos that may otherwise be forgotten! My grandchildren call me Babci ~ It's Polish :) Judi

Betty Luckhurst said...

What a wonderful way to remember the little moments of life! I know your grandson will appreciate your efforts some day.

Dad/Pepere said...

Congratulations on your personal reflections book with Liam. I love you and wish I had done the same for you. Hugs!

Lise said...

Thanks Judi, I really enjoy putting the whole thing together, it does remind me of all our good times together!

Thanks Betty and thanks for visiting.

I do enjoy creating them dad...I guess you and I will just have to continue the verbal tradition...I can hear you asking me now "did I ever tell you the story about...?". Hugs back!