I don’t usually do two memory-keeping posts one after another, but for some reason, I felt a strong urge to share this with you today. It’s a special post – one that I’ve been wanting to do for ages. It’s about a scrapbook that’s particularly precious to me. It’s one that records the story of us: Rick and Ronnie. I call this our ‘R&R Memoir Book.’ Even though Rick and I got together back in 2003, it wasn’t until a year and half ago that I finally put this together. I’d started other ‘versions’ of it in the past but none of them felt right. I was so happy with the way this one came together, and so far, it’s continued to work well.
Basically, this scrapbook – or series of scrapbooks to be more accurate – is a way for me to record our journey together as a couple. From the time we began ‘courting’ (don’t you just love that term) through to our engagement through to our wedding through to our early years of marriage through to falling pregnant with Cameron through to losing Cameron through to the arrival of our other boys and hopefully through to the next sixty or seventy years together. At the end of the day, our relationship – our marriage – comes first even before our family, and it is a relationship that is worth documenting and celebrating.
First up, I had to choose an album to use. This was before I knew about Project Life, so I mainly looked at my favourite stationery brands here in Australia: Kikki K, Coral Coast, Corban & Blair and Boheme. In the end, I settled on Kikki K’s cloth dry mount album because it was simple and classic, and I liked the idea of black pages. It came in both red and black, and I ended up getting the black version for our family scrapbooks (again, this was before I discovered Project Life) and the red version for us. I chose the extra large size so that I could include more photos on each page if I wanted, and yet the albums were still able to fit into the A3 memory boxes that I’d planned to use.
Also, I knew that I would be able to customise the cover with some simple white numeric stickers (also from Kikki K) to specify the years that each individual album spanned. The one shown in this post is the second album in the series and obviously covers the years from 2008 to 2011. The first album spans the first five years of our relationship and has ’03-08′ on the cover. It’s a simple system that I can easily add to over time.
It was difficult at first trying to work out what to include in these ‘R&R memoir books.’ After all, I was already putting together scrapbooks for our families and our children, so how would this be different? Obviously it was simple and straightforward up to the point of having kids, but where would I draw the line after we’d started a family? Eventually, I decided that this would be a record of our personal journey as a couple, and also of all the milestones and important events that we celebrate and continue to celebrate together.
Based on that, I drafted a list of specific items to include in the album:
- our notes and letters to each other
- head shots of us which we like to take ourselves
- photos from our dates and weekend aways by ourselves as a couple
- photos of my pregnancies
- photos from important events in our life together, including our birthdays, the birth of our children, their subsequent birthdays, Cameron’s anniversaries and our family holidays
This list has been extremely helpful in terms of keeping me on track by not letting me lose sight of what these scrapbooks are about.
Whilst all my other ongoing memory-keeping projects are updated on a weekly or monthly basis, I update these R&R memoir books yearly, and the process is very simple:
- Using the above list as a reference, I go through the photos from the previous year and I select the photos I want to include by dragging them into a new album in Aperture. It doesn’t matter to me whether the photos are taking on our phone cameras or our DSLRs. Locating our head shots amongst the thousands of other photos is easy because I always tag the photos of just the two of us with the tag ‘R&R.’
- I narrow down the photos even further because I know I only want to include a handful of photos for each event or occasion.
- I print the final photos 8 to an A4 page using Kodak glossy premium photo paper.
- I trim each photo down leaving a thin white border around each image, so that they stand out even better from the black pages.
- I then stick the photos into the album in chronological order, using simple grid layouts and where possible, keeping it to one event per page. Head shots, on the other hand, are often grouped together.
- If there are notes and letters to stick in as well, I will group them together onto a page of their own (see above, for example).
- Once all the photos are stuck in, I use a white pencil to write a simple caption for each page, as well as the relevant date(s). Where space allows and depending on how I feel about the photos on the page, I might sometimes add a paragraph.
For me, the key to this entire project is to keep it as simple as possible so that it gets done. The important thing is to have this record for us to look back on, not whether or not I’ve used embellishments to make it look pretty. I also think that the simplicity of these memoir books keep them looking classic and not too girly, so that Rick can enjoy looking through them in years to come as well.
(Now that I think about it, something like this would make a great Valentine’s gift!)
How do you choose to document your relationship with your significant other?
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