Family Historian – Become A Scrapbooking Historian!

Hello fellow Crafters and Scrapbook enthusiasts!  Last week I was teaching a class on how to create memorable wedding stationary, scrapbook pages and family fun projects to a very spirited group of women.   As is usual in this format, there were several mother /daughter “teams” in attendance.  One mother-of-the-bride said she felt she had always been the keeper of family memorabilia but now she realized she was actually the family historian. She said she came from a scrapbook family but only she archived the historical elements of her family’s more “ancient” history.

I thought of what an awesome and wonderful opportunity…and responsibility, those words embodied. Family Historian. They signify attentive wisdom, careful documentation, and the willingness to devote your “spare” time to creating an archive of what was meaningful to your family.  That said, remember that even as a family historian, you don’t have to scrapbook every photo you or a family member ever took. As a family historian, you want to scrapbook the most important details and moments…not every moment! A great archival acid-free box like the Iris Scrapbook Case, will store photos safely for later use…or a lifetime!

Learning to properly care for memorabilia is as important as cataloging or scrapbooking techniques.  As a family historian it is your responsibility to archive many types of documents: newspaper clippings, magazines, rosters, brochures, ticket stubs, et cetera, as well as photographs and official documents.

A good practice is to store printed materials  away from photographs and store both in separate acid free cases.  As I have mentioned in earlier posts, these cases are not only acid free, but strong, stackable and large enough to store a 12 x 12 sheet of paper or most magazines.  Remember, a part of being a successful family historian is to keep information  accessible Therefore, every vacation or event should have its own case!

Create a “Who are these people?” box.  I have often found that older relatives or older siblings remember neighbors, family friends, or relatives that I had not known or had forgotten.  Going through this box can be a fun “reunion project” and bring back some interesting moments in time!

If you are going to write names on the back of photographs, be sure to use a photo safe pen.  I like the American Crafts Brand because not only is it made in the USA but it is non-toxic and archival.  Other brands like Zig and EK (a subsidiary of Zig) while they conform to the ASTM D4236 standard for labeling of toxic materials, they are not ideal when working with young children.  Whenever I can, I prefer to buy American and not toxic….I’m not just a family historian, but a family historian who is also an environmentalist and an American citizen.

Okay, so now we should talk about what most Art and Crafts enthusiasts and family historians don’t  like to talk about.  ”How much does all the “necessary” supplies cost?”   Well, the truth is that like any passion or hobby…family historian, golfer or cooking aficionado, you can spend as much or as little as you can afford.  My rule of thumb is to buy the best supplies I can afford, or save until I can buy the best. This is especially true when buying more expensive equipment or supplies. If you buy and maintain good quality supplies and equipment they will last and often be less expensive in the long run than inferior quality tools that must be replaced frequently. I look at tools as an investment.

If I see a great deal on replenishable supplies that meet my standards, I always stock up, but otherwise I buy as my creativity and wallet dictate.  It is never a savings to buy inferior products just because they are cheap. I personally love to shop online for what I know I am looking for.  Amazon has rarely let me down and the prime shipping makes online shopping both affordable and timely.  For only $79.00 you get free two-day shipping for a year!  (Plus a plethora of other benefits!)

Beyond scrapbooking and becoming your family historian, is a whole world of amazing crafts and a family fun project or two. As an example, the CrafternoonDelights Craft Kits for Kids feature craft ideas that teach or reinforce core education skills.  Many were originally developed as integrated learning activities for students.  I have used them in the classroom, with private tutoring and to share with homeschooling families.  Children have fun and create great projects that promote self-confidence and personal pride while they learn….and after all, they will become the next generation of family historians!   It is a win-win situation for all!

Another great skill to polish as a scrapbook family and as the family historian, is journaling .  Learning to tell a great story is not only a good language arts skill but a wonderfully creative and informative thing to do.  When you look at photos or other memorabilia remember how you were feeling, who was there, what else was going on.  Ask friends and family about their recollection of an event.  Write the story and include it in your scrapbook or make a book as an addendum to your project.  It will be a cherished keepsake for generations and will help you accomplish what my Irish Father always said was a life necessity: To be able to tell a good story or sing for your supper!

Keep in mind that as your own family historian skill level grows, as you meet more artsy folks and take more classes, you will start to device family fun projects of your own to create and share.  Get a group of friends or family members together and teach each other what you know.  Developing a “scrapbook family” is fun and can be very informative…and remember, teaching is the best way to learn!   Also remember that two minds are almost always better than one.

I hope as you start your journey as a family historian that you have found this useful.  l also hope that you will keep coming back to CrafternoonDelights and become a part of our scrapbook family. We try to post family fun projects and family historian tips and techniques on a regular basis.

Later this summer, I will once again be offering a crafting seminar at my studio.  A whole lot of fun, new ideas, family fun projects,  great people and the beach…what’s not to love!

Happy Crafting from your new Scrapbook family!

Helen Grace

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