Autism Awareness Day: Finding Your Voice in Journaling
Autism spectrum disorders affect approximately 1 out of 88 children, according to statistics from the Center for Disease Control. They are more likely to affect boys (1 out of 54) than girls (1 out of 252), and these disorders are found in all racial and ethnic groups. Our son, David, has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction.
Since Autism Awareness Day is April 2, I've been thinking about how important our scrapbooks are to David. He has always enjoyed looking at the photos, but it's the journaling that he comments on the most. I think it's because of the way I journal in our books. I find journaling about my photos to be easy, but that isn't the case for many scrapbookers. In fact, there are many scrapbookers who don't do journaling at all, because it's too difficult. I hope this article will help you to "find your voice."
I'm not talking about being more outspoken or finding the right words. What I mean by "finding your voice" is determining who will be reading your journaling. For whom are you creating the layout? Is it the people in your layout? Is it for grandparents? Is it for you? (That's okay, you know!) When you know your audience, then you can determine your voice.
For example, in my children's scrapbooks, I address them in my writing. I use first-person narration, such as "We went to our favorite park," and "You looked so cute in your Halloween costume." If I'm creating a layout for my own personal scrapbook, I might use these words: "My children are growing up right before my eyes," or "I married my first love." It's still first-person, but I'm speaking about them, rather than to them.
Scrapbook companies have made it very easy for us to include journaling on our layouts. Most scrapbook lines include journaling boxes or lined papers that can be cut up into any shape you like. Here is a list of some of my favorites:
That's all there is to it. The key is consistency. If you begin speaking TO the subject of your layout, continue to do that throughout the entire journaling section. Try to do it throughout the entire scrapbook. The result will be something everyone who looks at your scrapbook will want to read, because it will sound natural and genuine. Give it a try, and let me know if it works for you.
As I wrote in my previous Project Life Article, I've been doing Project Life on a monthly basis. This has been working very well for me, especially during months in which we don't have a lot of "big" events. Although September is back-to-school month and mybirthday month, I don't usually make an entire layout about each occasion. However, I still take photos and want to document them in my scrapbooks. Project Life to the rescue!
Since I wanted to have an "everyday" theme for this month's layout, I decided to use the Note to Self collection by Echo Park. Not only does this collection contain designs that are basic enough to use with everyday photos, but there are also cards that can be cut apart and used for journaling and embellishments.
To maintain continuity in my album, I have decided to use the months' names as my titles, and I will place them in one of the top sections of the divided page protectors. For this layout, I've used Echo Park's 4" x 6" horizontal and vertical page protectors in their Photo Freedom line. I cut the letters out on my Cricut machine, and I layered them on top of punched circles from the leftover patterned paper scraps from the paper collection.
As I mentioned in my previous article, I'm trying to go the simple route with this project. In keeping with that theme, I'm using simple embellishments on my layouts. On these pages, I've used some stickers from the Note to Self collection, and I've also cut out some of the images from the patterned paper.
Another embellishment I've used is a punched flower that I had in my collection. This punch by E.K. Success (see image below) is a nice standard flower punch to keep on hand. (Here's a tip. When you have small scraps of cardstock or patterned paper, use your flower and basic shaped punches to make some embellishments that you can keep in your stash to use on your scrapbook pages and cards.)
Because it worked so well for my August layout, I typed my journaling and printed it out for this month's layout as well. I don't know if I'm going to do the journaling this way every month, but I'll try to keep it as a unifying element in my Project Life album. I won't worry about it, though, if I change my mind.
My Project Life album is coming along very nicely, and I'm really enjoying the monthly reflection on my family's (and my) life. Be on the look-out for more articles about my project, and I'd love to see your layouts in the Scrapjazz Gallery. If you'd like to discuss this article, you can find the forum here. I look forward to reading your comments and answering your questions.