Stories Of Summer : Pen To Paper With May Flaum

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Can capturing the magic of summer truly be as simple as putting pen to paper? If I make sure to jot down the details and happenings will I have all kinds of treasures to scrapbook later on?

My answer, is yes. I can’t believe I haven’t done this sooner, but you can believe this will be a tradition, one I may even take outside of summer. What I’m talking about is preparing paper to write on. To jot down details and memories and stories so that later on when I have time to sit and savor some scrapbooking I have a treasure trove of journaling all ready to go.

So, how can you do this? Well the first thing to decide is what you want.

Keeping a journal and writing in it with a ball point pen is fine, but with a little more preparation you can have READY-TO-SCRAP JOURNALING. First decide what you want from this. I am doing it because I want different perspectives and will encourage family and guests to jot notes when over. I want quick journaling to add to pages, and I want to document more of summer from outside my creative space.


Mostly I see myself using plain, untextured cardstock in white, cream, or kraft. I will keep a proper journaling pen with the paper so that if I like the exact wording and handwriting I can just place the item on a layout.
I do think it will be fun to print out some simple digital journaling products as well as relying on plain paper. Ali has several photo overlays and journaling overlays that I love for this kind of a project. My favorite is this one:


As I work on sharing this with you, I keep trying to find a way to fancy it up, make it more exciting... guess what? I can’t! It’s just a very simple idea that will generate journaling for future pages. That makes me smile – often simple is the best!


Some I hope to use directly as journaling on my pages, some I will display in divided page protectors, while others may end up being inspiration for future journaling.


Above you can see one example I made quickly with some scraps on hand. I tucked it into a page protector and now one funny little 2 year old’s conversation is now captured.


I’m really getting more into divided page protectors that hold twelve 4 x 6 photos, or for that matter anything else small enough to fit inside them. I use them to eliminate pressure and stress to get pages scrapbooked, as a place to store the treasures and photos that did not fit onto the page, and also as a temporary holding spot for pages I want to create someday.

By making sure my journaling cards are either 4 x 6 or smaller, I am ensuring that they will fit into the page protectors if I want them to. Whether it’s the permanent home or a temporary holder, this lets me keep my story with my photos. Birthday invites, ticket stubs, and all kinds of other wonderful treasure can be tucked into them as well – or if that’s not your style feel free to use envelopes or pouches (either on a d-ring binder or simply saved within a box or container)



Well then, awesome! This is something I’m doing myself. I am gathering all kinds of journaling bits and pieces and keeping them in a little container in the front hallway. I will jot down journaling as inspired, and encourage others to pick up a piece of paper and write down a thought, story, conversation, or other memory.


I do not see any wrong way to do this, however I think that using simpler pieces, or at least journaling papers that you are not especially attached to and that aren’t irreplaceable are best. That way if somebody messes it up, or it doesn’t become a part of a scrapbook page it’s ok.


Another version – and a great one for on-the-go - is to either keep a coin purse type zippered pouch to hold cards to come along with you, or to punch holes in the corners and bring stuff along with you on a binder ring. These rings are available at most any office supply store. I really love that this will keep them bound together and prevent loss. This could be especially fun on a vacation!


I’ll be spending more time focusing on capturing the details of my ordinary life, and camera in hand I feel more prepared for summer memory keeping than ever. I think this would be a really fun idea for the holiday season, or just in general too.

Before I end, I’d like to share a list of a few items I see myself looking to capture:

  • Conversations

  • Inside jokes

  • Favorites (foods, rituals, things we do)

  • Silly moments

  • Special highlights and accomplishments

Happy Crafting!



ABOUT MAY : May Flaum is a long time instructor, the co-author of Paper + Pixels: Scrapbook Layouts, she has been published in various books and magazines, and can be found most days blogging at

She's just getting ready to begin a new 5-week layout class at Big Picture called Scrap Camp. Class begins on June 24th but registration is open until July 1.

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