Edna's group 026We had been invited to teach a scrapbooking class at Friends and Neighbors. What is that you ask? It’s a local group of senior ladies who meet for coffee twice a month and invite speakers to talk about interesting topics. This time the topic was scrapbooking. But we did not want just onlookers only, we wanted workshop participants – it’s so much more fun that way.

We decided to speak on heritage scrapbooking, mainly because we wanted to encourage the ladies to tell their story. It’s not uncommon for older people to be dismissed as of no value in our current society, when in fact they have a wealth of experience and knowledge if we would just take time to listen and learn from them.

It also meant that black and white photographs would be the order of the day, so no need to carry all our scrapbooking papers to class. With black and white photos you don’t have to worry about colors in the photographs clashing with the colors of your papers.


Edna's group 033The morning of the event, the ladies were very welcoming and listened attentively as we explained a little about scrapbooking. No one in the group had done any ‘modern’ scrapbooking.

Everyone sympathized when I told how I’d always intended to write down the various stages, words and successes of my children when they were little but never got around to doing it. Somehow I think I’m not the only one!

“I won’t be able to do this,” one lady said. But she found it so interesting she did! And wants to continue :o)

“Scrapbooking is not my style,” said another. “I just came along to keep my friend company.” She loved the scrapbook layout she made.

Edna's group 028

“I’m not artistic,” said another, “but this is easier than I expected!”

“I can’t draw and I don’t know what things go together, but when I pulled colors and shapes onto my paper I knew what I liked and what worked.”

It was great to see their enthusiasm once they got going.

One lady’s sight is poor and another has Parkinson’s disease so they did not join in, except to advise and encourage their neighbors! lol!


Edna's group 037We wanted to encourage the ladies to capture their stories on scrapbook pages, so when one said she could no longer write because she trembled too much for it to be legible, we suggested she record her story on a tape recorder and get her daughter to write it up for her. Why do we so often feel we have nothing to give? We are made for relationship. People are looking for connection and we find that in our family and our family history – even if we don’t actually know our family.

“This is great.” “Do you run classes?” “No, but we will; here’s our card … Maybe it would be better if we call you once it’s arranged so can we have your phone number.” We ended up with a list of names and the task of organizing the classes soon before the enthusiasm wears off and they forget how much they enjoyed it!

When you start out you do not need to buy all the equipment. Until you are totally hooked you can get by with the simple tools of fingers – torn edges are very effective – scissors, pencil, ruler and eraser for marking and placing if you like things to be straight. Add some photos, paper and adhesive and what’s stopping you? You’ve got everything you need to make your first scrapbook pages.

Edna's group 028aWe’d given invitations to the group organizer a couple of weeks earlier. In these we asked the ladies to look out one or two black and white photographs of when they were young, their own or their parents wedding, family group photos, etc., and to prepare a story that went with the photograph. We gave dimensions in the form of the invitation itself: a quarter folded sheet of 8½” x 11″ paper, suggesting the photo be that size or smaller and that the story should occupy no more than that.

A4 landscape for Friends & Neighbours

We made up some sample layouts with the template we would use – based on one by Becky Higgins in her book Creative Sketches Vol 2 – to show how you can vary the result according to your preferences and style.



Edna's group 039It was great to see the variety of photos they brought. One lady brought a newspaper clipping in which she was wearing an elaborate Easter bonnet, speaking of the joy of the event; another, her nursing class group photo, all in their starched white uniforms and caps; one of a father who inspired his daughter; another of siblings in a group photo at a Sunday school picnic. Unfortunately I didn’t hear all the stories – that’s the bit I love best on a scrapbook page.

One lady was delighted when she saw the box of buttons in our scrapbooking stash. She’d brought a photo of her daughter as a child and said her daughter absolutely loved buttons, so she would put plenty on her layout.

Because we did not know the dexterity of the ladies in the group, we’d taken as much prepared beforehand as possible.

We’d also taken along some extra black and white photographs in case anyone had forgotten their own.

And so, at our Seniors scrapbooking class, we were thrilled the ladies enjoyed themselves so much and with such success. Everyone was delighted with the result of their hour’s work.

[tags]scrapbooking, start scrapbooking, scrapbooking classes, heritage scrapbooking, tell your story, memories, scrapbooking workshop[/tags]