Travel Scrapbooking by Kim Brady
by Kim Brady
Rating: 9 / 10How to Cherish Your Trip of a Lifetime!
Don’t Leave Home Without . . .
. . . your camera! Even a two-day business trip deserves documentation, especially if you’re traveling beyond your everyday boundaries. Fortunately, I come from a long line of shutterbugs, so I have boxes of family photos from trips going back to the 1940’s, plus brochures, newspapers, and other memorabilia. My parents even kept diaries when they traveled, so they always had a record to refer to when they disagreed about “What happened when.” Combine all these elements and you have the makings of a great scrapbook.
What kinds of things should you include in a Travel Scrapbook? Pictures are a key component, of course, but there are plenty of items we don’t usually consider scrapbook material that can add flavor to your layouts. For example, when you check into your hotel, take a few minutes to browse through the “local sites” information rack and pick up brochures from the places you plan to visit. Once you’re in your room, check the drawers for hotel stationery. Jot down thoughts or memories from each day’s adventures and use them as journaling notes in your scrapbook. (Or, carry your own acid-free paper and permanent pens to record the days’ events.)
Saved by Souvenirs
There are literally hundreds of items you may encounter on the road that can find a place on your scrapbook pages. Some may fill in the blanks where the pictures didn’t come out. Others will bring back special memories or provide information that your photographs can’t. Here is a short list of memorabilia you can pick up for little or no money and use for graphic pictures and embellishments in your Travel Scrapbook:
• Postcards: No matter how good your pictures, there are bound to be some scenes you won’t get — like a helicopter view of the city — so don’t forget to browse through the postcard racks.
• Lapel pins: If you trim or bend the stickpin on the back, you can use these pins on tags or as brads to hold embellishments in place. Souvenir magnets and patches also make interesting design elements.
Tickets of all Kinds
• Tickets: All kinds of tickets — from airplanes, trains, boats, Broadway shows, amusement parks, even parking tickets if they have a good story behind them.
• Flyers/Brochures: Check your hotel lobby for flyers from the places you plan to visit. Even the most obscure tourist traps publish informational flyers with photos most visitors can’t access. They’re also invaluable for obtaining the address, phone number, and hours, so you can plan your visit. After the trip, you’ll find they spark special memories, provide facts you can add to your journaling, and add interesting elements to your pages.
• Maps: Here’s another item you can pick up free from most tourist information centers. States often give out maps that are paid for by the local attractions, so they’re full of information about the places you plan to visit. (Highway rest stops are another place to pick up brochures and flyers for just about every attraction in the state.)
• Local Newspapers: These are particularly interesting if they’re from a small town — like “The Beach News” — or a foreign country. You can look back at the news and advertising to remember events that took place locally while you visited.
• Coasters: This may sound like a silly idea, but lots of popular restaurants print their own “collectable” coasters, and the fact that they’re round makes them great design elements. The one below comes from a famous restaurant next to the Dom Cathedral in Cologne, Germany.
Restaurant & Bar Coasters
• Nametags: Wristbands, ID cards, anything with your name, a logo, or information about where you visited and what you did. Government buildings like the FBI, Capital Building, and U.S. Treasury frequently provide you with souvenirs from their tours.
Obviously, there are many more items you could add to this list, but it should inspire readers to come up with their own ideas. I’ll discuss how you can incorporate these materials into your scrapbook over the course of this column.
Celebrate the Good Times
The next travel layout, “Road Trip,” is special because the pictures were taken in the early 1960’s, during one of many trips my family made to my grandparent’s farm near St. Louis. The pictures were snapped from the passenger’s seat of the car, presumably by my Dad who shot lots of Kodachrome slide film. He captured this beautiful image of my mother behind the wheel of her beloved DeSoto sedan. Classic? How many readers remember those little window vents they used to have in the front seats of cars? It’s pictures like these that keep us in touch with memorable eras from the past.
My goal with this layout was to use colors and graphics reminiscent of the 60’s, so I chose a series of products designed with the 60’s in mind, “Pocket Full of Posies,” by Die Cuts With a View. The two paper patterns I chose, “Sunrise Squiggle” and “Vines Yellow,” are relatively subtle compared to other prints in the series (below), which include large bold flowers and lots of glitter. I didn’t want to use a pattern that would overpower the pictures, but I did want the bright, iridescent colors that were popular at the time.
“Road Trip” uses a bright, 60’s-like color scheme that plays off the driver’s hair, skin tones, and lipstick. The products used to create it are from multiple manufacturers: Background papers and ribbon: Die Cuts With a View (DCWV); Small paper swatch with hearts: Basic Grey “SWAK” (www.kandcompany.com); Letter stickers: “Road Trip”, Wisdom Stickers by All My Memories (www.allmymemories.com; Orange card: “together” by Wild Asparagus (www.mymindseyeinc.com). (Close-ups shown below.)
On the second scrapbook page I’ve included a journaling block to go with the pictures. To add a little color and dimension to my journaling, I inserted printed words with the regular copy, a technique that requires a lot of planning and a little imagination. Accent words have been sold in many different forms, including metal strips, colored stickers, and in this case, words printed on chipboard. The process would probably be a lot easier for scrappers who write their journaling by hand, but I feel much more comfortable using a computer, so this paragraph required a lot of trial and error before I got the typeface and spacing just right to insert the chipboard words. For those readers who also prefer computer journaling, try the font settings given in the caption below.
The second page of “Road Trip” starts with DCWV’s Sunrise Squiggle paper for the background and two color-coordinated solids for the photo mats and card stock behind the journaling (see detail below). In the lower right corner, I added a swatch of pink mesh from Magic Mesh (www.magicmesh.com) and applied three chipboard circles on top, spelling out “Are We There Yet!” The chipboard words and circles were from DCWV’s Chipboard Sticker Stacks “Travel” and “Family.”
Chips are up!
Many of the layouts in this article are decorated with chipboard embellishments. This popular new scrapbooking product is showing up in all shapes, colors, and designs. Most manufacturers sell pre-printed chipboard letters and shapes with colors and designs to match their paper products, while others sell chipboard in shapes or sheets that you can cut, paint, and decorate to match your layout. You can even cut your own pieces from chipboard packaging used in many household products.
Several scrapbook designers have suggested using die-cut machines or paper punches to cut shapes from chipboard. I don’t own a die-cut machine, but many scrapbooking stores allow you to rent time on their machines. Make sure the store manager knows how you plan to use the equipment before you start cutting, so you know whether or not the templates can handle the extra depth and strength.
Left: DCWV Chipboard Sticker stack contains four sheets of stickers and one sheet of words that match the new Far East Paper Stack. Right: Lil’ Davis Designs sells packets of chipboard shapes, letters, and numbers that you can cover with paper or paint to fit your layouts (www.lildavisdesigns.com).
Chipboard comes in a variety of thicknesses and surfaces, depending on the purpose for which it’s been manufactured. Lightweight chipboard is used for packaging many food products, like cereal (the box is chipboard), while the heavier sheets are used as the back covers of spiral bound notebooks and pads of paper. I save the chipboard dividers from between miniature cans of cat food. Most of these chipboard products don’t have the glossy white coating found on smooth-finished materials sold specifically for scrapbooking, but you can glue just about any 2-D tag or cutout onto plain chipboard and give your flat embellishments a great 3-D effect (see flower below).
The blue flower in this layout was downloaded from the Internet, printed, and attached to a piece of chipboard to give it dimension. Here, it is framed with the same cardstock used to mat the pictures. A common Thai greeting, “Sawatdee,” (“hello” or “good-bye” in Thai) is added on a piece of torn vellum. Background paper: DCWV “Water”; Mat paper: DCWV “Water Lily” and Prismatic cardstock (www.prismpapers.com); Embellishment: Shabby Cabana digital scrapbooking kit, Shabby Princess (http://www.shabbyprincess.com/).
Beware! When recycling household chipboard for scrapbooking, you should test it with a pH test pen, or at least keep it out of direct contact with your photos. You’ll find that many chipboard products sold for scrapbooking don’t mention whether or not they are acid- or lignin-free on the packaging. Chipboard products aren’t subject to the same scrutiny as scrapbooking paper (at least, not yet), so you shouldn’t take for granted that chipboard embellishments made for your scrapbook pages are photo-safe. If you want to play it safe and prevent color fading, try spraying the chipboard with an art preservative.
Land of Smiles
Planning this column inspired me to start a project I had been putting off for some time — scrapbooking a memorable two-week trip to Thailand. It started Christmas Eve 2002, flying east toward Korea, anticipating my first visit to Asia. My 16-year-old son followed the day after Christmas, traveling west toward Japan, with his Boy Scout troop. We had been looking forward to this World Scout Jamboree for three years: Jon was attending as a participant while I was working as a volunteer for the Jamboree newspaper. It was a great way to get pictures, even though I’ve never really needed an excuse to point my camera at anything or anyone. Along with wonderful photographs, Jon and I brought home every souvenir we could stuff in our duffle bags, so I had to find creative ways to display as many of those great memories as possible.
DCWV Far East Paper Stack contains 48 sheets of textured cardstock in 24 color-coordinated designs.
Another event that inspired me to start the Thailand scrapbook was the recent release of DCWV’s Far East paper stack. With so many pictures to scrapbook, it was impossible to find enough Asian-themed printed papers to scrapbook the entire trip, especially if I wanted to maintain some variety. Fortunately, the 48-page Stack has a nice range of color schemes to match with pictures, including nearly solid accent papers for matting photos. I also used Prismatic textured cardstock — distributed by Karen Foster Designs (www.karenfosterdesign.com — to mat and blend with the printed papers.
The opening page in the scrapbook (below) features an 8x12-inch photo overlooking the Jamboree campsite. I trimmed the sides just enough to leave a small border of background paper on each side of the print. The black, die-cut camera serves as a frame for a round “Souvenirs” sticker, which refers to the clear pocket on the right, into which I’ve inserted two bills of Thai money, a list of common Thai phrases, and a meal ticket from the volunteers’ cafeteria. If you look closely, you’ll see that the clear pocket is actually a CD storage folder that’s been trimmed straight across the top.
This opening page in the Jamboree Scrapbook features an 8x12-inch picture taken from a visitor’s lookout on the side of a mountain. The five-square mile campsite covers all the land visible in the photo—up to the mountains in the background. I used a clear plastic CD holder to display Thai money, Visitor Phrases, and tickets from the Jamboree. The two blue dots on the left are small stickers covering the holes for the CD case rings. Later, I replaced the stickers with brads to hold the packet in place. Background paper: “Water Plain” by DCWV; Camera: DCWV Travel & Vacation Diecuts; Round Souvenir Sticker: 7 gypsies Travel sticker sheet; Flower: cut from “Posies” paper by DCWV; and 3-D Embellishment: Expressions Simple Sentiments 3-D “Discover” sticker (metal and epoxy) from All My Memories.
The CD folder is a simple solution for displaying some of the souvenirs we brought back from Thailand. There are many CD folder designs out there and most can be easily manipulated to fit your page design. For smaller items, like coins, jewelry, or dried flowers you can buy small, clear, self-stick pockets like those shown below. The pocket flap has a clear strip of adhesive allowing you to lock the souvenir item in the folder. Another popular solution is to make your own display pockets out of vellum. You can size the pockets to display single tickets, brochures, or other printed items. I’ll demonstrate several vellum pocket ideas in next month’s column: Vellum Pocket Designs.
The next page, “Thailand,” is from a spread that features maps, photographs, and graphics that give viewers an overview of the country and its people. I downloaded the maps and flag from the Internet and took the photos at various exhibits of Life in Thailand.
The Internet is a valuable resource for adding local flavor to a scrapbook, especially in travel projects. For this book, I made a general search for “Thailand” and scanned several sites for ideas and information, including the caption about elephants being the official animals of Thailand. I also returned to the Jamboree website to access exact dates and locations. My ultimate goal was to find the Thai words and phrases we learned while we were in Thailand, and print them using characters from the Thai alphabet, but all of the samples I found were too small to reproduce. Finally, I found a University of Oregon web site that provides information on 140 languages, plus 40 different fonts that can be used in an English environment (http://babel.uoregon.edu/yamada/guides.html). It was great to be able to spell out the words in official Thai characters.
“Thailand 1” brings together elements that represent Thailand and her people. The rustic texture of the burlap works very well with the bamboo and palm trees in the picture. The burlap is layered with a sheet of Prismatic textured cardstock so the stitched/feathered edges show at the top and bottom of the page. I chose this map of Thailand (from the United Nations web site) because it shows where Thailand is situated on the Asian continent and the globe, as well as its borders with some very political neighbors. The little crown above the Thai flag is for Thailand’s monarchy. Background paper: DCWV Water Text and Prismatic textured cardstock; Metal embellishments: 7 gypsies Whimsy collection and Photo Turns.
While many of today’s scrapbook designers have a real talent for layering lots of paper, ribbon, and tags to create a montage effect, I prefer simple pages that focus on the photos and content. Sara Naumann, marketing director at Hot Off The Press and editor of Creative Paper Crafts, wrote an article several years ago in which she called this style Sophisticated Scrapping (Scrapbooking Ideas & Trends). Her rule of thumb was to limit special extra touches (tags, charms, or stitched frames) to one per page. “A layout with seven ‘special’ things on it loses the specialness!” she wrote. Even if you stretch it to two special things per page, sophisticated scrapping not only produces beautiful layouts, it also takes much less time and effort to come up with great-looking scrapbooks.
The next page is a good example of sophisticated scrapbooking. The background paper is so beautiful I hated to load it up with lots of stuff. As it was, I had to cover one of the most attractive elements — an Asian dragon — in the center of the page. The beautiful paper design was one reason I decided to limit many of the pages in this album to one or two pictures. In planning the layouts, I went through the Far East papers and tried to choose images with colors that matched the background paper. Then I matted the images with papers that picked up the more subtle colors from the background.
In addition to using the Thai font to spell words we learned to speak in Thailand, I wanted to find some English fonts that had a Far East flavor, so I could make my journaling blocks look Asian. I found the sample typefaces below by running a search for “Asian-like fonts” at DaFonts.com and other free font websites. I chose “Sands of Fire” for the body copy and “Samarkan” for headlines.
The next two scrapbook pages are dedicated to a Buddhist monk who came to visit with Jon and his troop at the Jamboree. Phra Neil is a family friend whom we met in Atlanta. He grew up as a British citizen and joined a Buddhist Wat (temple) as young man. He has since devoted his life to teaching boys who enter the Wat for religious training. I was so impressed with the way the Thai people greeted and honored him, that I took pictures of their interactions as we walked through camp. I wanted to represent him as a teacher — both to the Thai people and to the Scouts, who had lots of questions about his life as a monk.
If you look closely at the photomontage on the right page, you’ll see that the picture in the top right corner is an enlargement from the picture in the lower left corner. Repeating a picture, or portion of a picture, on the same page is a popular scrapbooking technique. It’s a way to place extra emphasis on the person, object, or scene. For example, some scrappers take a baby’s picture and enlarge different parts, like fingers, toes, ears, etc. In this case, I wanted to emphasize Phra Neil as the teacher in one picture (top right) and how he talked to the Scouts as equals in the other picture (bottom left). The photo of Buddha, in the lower right corner, is a statue we bought in Thailand to bring back as a gift.
My final layout in the Thailand scrapbook is covered with an 8x10-inch enlargement of a picture I captured out the window of the airplane, as I flew back home from Thailand. (Here’s proof that it’s possible to take great pictures from the air!) Before printing, I added the title and date in Photoshop, matching the font color to the mountain peaks in the photo — a high-tech method of working journaling into your scrapbook. The effect was so dramatic I didn’t want to add any embellishments other than the die-cut airplane.
You can see additional travel layouts, including other pages from the Thailand scrapbook, on my website at www.bastet.us/travel.
Travel Graphics to Go
For those readers who want to make simple, attractive scrapbook pages with a minimum of fuss, you’ll find lots of companies that sell embellishments for popular tourist locations, like Washington D.C., San Francisco, and London. Among the most popular products are Jolee’s Boutique sticker collages from EK Success. The embellishments are all colorful and well made, with amazing detail in individual pieces, like the Capital Building sticker shown below. Paper Pizazz makes a great travel-themed paper in two designs: “Travel West Collage” with European landmarks and “Travel East Collage,” with U.S. landmarks, used in this layout.
You’ll find plenty of websites that specialize in travel scrapbook products on the Internet. Scrap Your Trip (www.scrapyourtrip.com) sells travel and vacation products from most major manufacturers, listing them by topic (i.e. beaches, Disney, camping) to make your search easier. Hello Traveler (www.hellotraveler.com) sells products by country, as well as by theme, and its products include postcards, travel diaries, luggage tags, plus other gifts and mementos that you can buy before the trip to record your adventures or afterward to spice up your scrapbook pages. These are just two of the dozens of links you’ll find if you search for “Travel Scrapbooking” in your web browser.
While these are great resources, the best embellishments are those souvenirs you pick up on the road, because they’ll take you back to the places you visited while you were there. Of course nothing takes the place of your own photographs. Make sure you take lots of pictures!
For more scrapbooking ideas you can use for travel, kids, and other scrapbook themes, read “Personalizing Your Scrapbook,” with step-by-step guides to making “Vellum Pockets” for displaying souvenirs and documents, as well as tips for “Covering an Album.” To see additional travel layouts visit my website at www.bastet.us/travel.