They're somewhere in the house, probably buried out there in the garage -- all those photographs, letters and delicate items that tell tales of memories past that you want to share with your children and grandchildren, not to mention preserve for generations to come. One of the best ways is scrapbooking.
"Scrapbooking is preserving memories on pages," says Becky Hermann, inspiration specialist for Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts. It is done by selecting pages, photos and d?cor and then writing about the memories on each page.
Any memory -- from children's kindergarten years to a 50th anniversary party -- can be transformed into pages for a scrapbook. The possibilities are endless, and the process is easy.
Start by gaining inspiration for your scrapbook by either going online or going to your local library. Hermann says that places like Jo-Ann offer a variety of magazines on the subject of scrapbooking. With these, you'll be able to get a better idea of how to scrapbook, discovering what you like, what size pages you require and how many pictures you need per page. They also will be able to help you determine what embellishments you want to add.
"Every page can be a work of art," she says.
Next it's time to select your photos and pages. Hermann says most people like 12-by-12-inch pages. For older photos, acid-free pages and glues help preserve their beauty. If you don't want to use original photos for your scrapbook, feel free to make copies of them.
Even if you plan to use copies or prefer the originals, Hermann recommends that you scan all the photos you choose to use and save them on a computer in case of an emergency, such as a fire. That way, if anything happens to your scrapbooks, you can preserve your photos.
After you select your pages, you also can select accent pieces. Many craft stores offer a variety of stickers and different embellishments for you to choose from, including gems, glitter and pieces of lace.
"You can make it as ornate or as simple as you like," Hermann says of each page.
But you are not limited to what craft stores offer you. If you're doing a page about a great-grandmother and there is a handkerchief of hers with initials embroidered, feel free to include it in your scrapbook to preserve it for the future. Other things you can keep in scrapbooks include hair from a child's first haircut, dried flowers from a wedding bouquet and different ribbons. For keepsakes that are too big, Hermann suggests making a special papier-m?ch? box where you can store them.
In addition to a collage of photos and precious keepsakes in your scrapbook, you can leave space for journaling, or writing a description or memory of what is on the page. You can either write it by hand or type it on a computer in different fonts. Feel free to write whatever comes to mind; there is no limit.
Hermann adds that there is no right or wrong way to scrapbook. You can have it either glitzy or simple, with many things on the page or focusing on one to two items.
Continue creating each page in a similar fashion. Once you are completed, you can purchase an album and slip in the pages or use grommets, or big metal rings, to bind it together.
Once you have completed your project, Hermann suggests getting the family together and presenting the scrapbook to your children and grandchildren. You are not only presenting a gift but also spending time with your family, which is part of the reason you made the book. It also will spur conversations about what is there, so don't hesitate to jot that down and attach notes to the back of each scrapbook page.
Hermann says that all you need to do is start out with several pages to get the hang of scrapbooking. After that, she says, most people love it so much there is no turning back. "You'll get addicted," she says. "You'll begin scrapbooking all kinds of things."