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Family & Kid Crafts
Scrapbooking: Staying Connected Across the Miles
By Susan Whitehead 
Apr 15, 2005, 13:13

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As a mother of three small children, one of my biggest struggles when my husband deploys is helping my children cope with their daddy being gone. My 6 year old is able to understand a bit more than her younger siblings, but it is still hard to explain a deployment in terms she can understand. This next deployment, I am going to try something that will hopefully help my girls deal better with the separation: scrapbooking.

Scrapbooking is a fairly old craft, dating back hundreds of years, and was especially popular during the Victorian era. The basic idea is to preserve photos and mementos for present and future generations to enjoy. The craft of scrapbooking has come a long way recently. There are now thousands of products on the market that can safely preserve these treasures without causing damage to them.

There are a few things you should look for in any product that comes into contact with your photos. Look for acid free, lignin free and PVC free labels. The acid, lignin or PVC in products can permanently damage your photos. I have often found scrapbooks and stickers that look great, but without seeing any information on acid, lignin, or PVC, I put them back. After you put time and effort into making a scrapbook page, you want to be sure that all the products used are scrapbook safe.

Now, what supplies do you need to begin? While I personally have made a big investment in my collection, it can be a very economical hobby.

Begin with an album, remembering that not all photo or scrapbook albums are photo safe. They come in many sizes, so choose a size appropriate for your project. I plan to use a small accordion album for my husband s deployment. You ll also need some patterned papers and/or colored cardstock, adhesive to stick your photos to the page, a pen, and anything else that suits your fancy!

Once you have safe supplies and an album, the fun can begin. Involve you children in selecting the photos they like best. You ll be surprised how different their tastes are compared to yours! Help them trim or crop the photos to focus in on the main subject. Once cut, decide on any papers, stickers, ribbons or other embellishments that you d like to use with the photo. Remember, the photo should be the main focus on any page! Now, use some scrapbook safe adhesive (tape runners, glue stick, tabs, etc) and start scrapping! Let your children have free reign! Encourage them to write down their thoughts and favorite memories surrounding the photo. The written portions of scrapbooks are the most valuable they tell the stories behind the photos.

Once you re all done, you ll be amazed at how proud your children will be of their project. Their scrapbook pages will give them a way to talk about and remember their parent who is serving overseas. You can even send the deployed member overseas with an empty album and send your children s completed pages with your regular care packages. I can guarantee the scrapbook pages will be the most treasured item in the care package!

Susan Whitehead is the wife of Capt. Michael Whitehead,USAF. She has been a scrapbooker for over 6 years and recently launched her own business, Barefoot Memories, selling scrapbook supplies and teaching others how to scrapbook. Her website is Her scrapbooks have traveled all across the nation and NEVER get packed by the movers!

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