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Lisa D’AnnunzioMagazine Article: “Put This In Your Scrapbook”

Hey Lisa, why don’t you put this in your scrapbook,” says my fourteen-year-old brother sarcastically, holding up a Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream bar as we stroll around EPCOT Center, Disney World. “It won’t fit,” I reply, dismissing his sarcasm and turning his yarn into a possible page layout entitled, “That’s a Wrap.” “Give me the wrapper though. I could use that.” “Oh God,” he says, knowing I will find some way to incorporate another random artifact into my fourth volume entitled Our Disney Vacation, 2004. My extreme documentation of what to me are significant aspects of daily life has no doubt become the brunt of family jokes. I confess that I too find my scrapbooking habits somewhat humorous. Excessive use of film, eagerly awaiting one-hour-photo pick-ups, and frequent excursions to A.C. Moore Arts and Crafts are enough to keep subtle ridicule and humor within the family going. Yet, however humorous my craft may seem, I know that this process of memory preservation will be treasured for generations. Piles of newspaper clippings, ticket stubs, admission bracelets, playbills and photographs fringe my bedroom revealing my passion for preserving daily life. Little did I know two years ago when I purchased my first 12×12 book, paper cutter and cropping utensils that I would embark on a creative journey and establish myself as a Scrapbooker. Upon being introduced to memory building as an art form my mind came alive as I submerged myself in everything scrapbook – isles of stickers, background papers and detailed page layout ideas. Sauntering through craft stores, my mind traveled back to childhood when I thrived on arts and crafts, and made gifts with such dexterity, precision, and love that they proved suitable for kings. An empty day, a great impulse, a paycheck in hand. My heart warm, excited, ready, alive. I felt unrelenting joy in the surplus of ideas, all coming alive as I looked at the mélange of supplies. The stretches of the store rolled on, filled with possibilities, into the abyss of scrapbooking dreams and uncharted territory. Realizing that college years, filled with football games, homecomings, and sailing club parties, student theater productions, formals, retreats and team building adventures are some of the most exciting years of life, and that the plethora of events taking place over four short years to get mixed up or forgotten, I decided to begin documenting events as they occurred. My developing chronicle lead to a favorite pastime, the most creative, enjoyable way for me to organize and preserve photos, details, and emotions in a unique personal fashion that enhances memories past and in the making. After the completion of my first scrapbook, A Year in Detail, I decided to organize eight year’s worth of student theater photographs into one scrapbook. The goal was a great, and the thought of chronicling 6th grade through sophomore year of college theater experiences in one complete album proved thrilling. I took on my personal challenge, and during last year’s fall break I cropped, designed page layouts, journaled beloved lyrics and recollections, inserted playbills, and memories onto fifty-two pages, creating my favorite anthology of memories. Through the construction of All The World’s A Stage I learned that the space between my ideas is always wide and lingers in my mind. These ideas become reality of life. The wider the idea, the deeper its depth, the lighter and brighter its essence. My graphic innovations begin without connections, and as they are created, they rapidly become linked with intuition or desire or creativity or love – sometimes all of these things, sometimes some of these things, sometimes only one of these things. But they become linked and the ideas flow into pages, into sections, into an entire album of memories. The sections of my theater anthology are organized according to production. Each theater production has a color scheme, a standard layout, font with which I write, as well as a unique sticker assortment. Although each section, devoted to a single show, is exclusive, bound together they comprise the enchantment, excitement, craftsmanship, and adoration I have for the performing arts. Looking at my work, people say I must have a lot of time on my hands. That is hardly the case. To create wonderful collections of memories, one must get out there and live, grow and experience the world. I tell them that I make time – that I reward myself after a hectic day with a quiet evening of cropping or journaling For a few hours I am in my element, among organized chaos of die-cuts, idea sheets, photographs, markers, beads and ribbon. I focus on the creative aspects of life and when I begin thinking of the project as a task that must be completed, I shelf it, knowing my best effort comes only when I am at peace with myself and full of enthusiasm when time is no longer of the essence. Capturing memories during our busy lives is as simple as the click of a snapshot. The idea of preserving and documenting these memories, the most valuable aspect exhausts many ad prevents them from keeping up their photography hodgepodge. We must think of the joy we find when going through such collections and use these positive feeling as incentive to maintain them. Watching each other grow and develop as individuals, teams and families, via identifying the significant and classic moments of life through photographs and the written word, preserves memories that we may come back to when we need a smile, miss loved ones or wish to escape stress and remember times when we were feeling our best. I have found that separating the construction into a seven step process allows one to efficiently organize and create an album without getting stressed out or intimidated:

1. Organize photographs chronologically according to event. 2. Crop photographs, concentrating on making the focus of the photograph centered.3. Create a background that will compliment the color scheme, shaping and mood of the photos. 4. Fasten photographs and other memorabilia to the page.5. Include journal entries on paragraph form, bordering photos, or sporadically throughout page.6. Accessorize the page with complimenting stickers, rubber stamps, ribbons, beads etc.7. Have fun.Characterizing memories of people, places, names, dates, and events allows us to preserve our experiences so future generations may hear our voices and experience our experiences. I find that by taking time in the present to document major events -graduations, formals, and theater productions, multicultural festivals, birthdays and playing outside with my dog – I may leave my legacy. I will always remember how I felt dancing with him for the first time, the way the St. Lawrence River laughs beneath the docks, the warmth with which my heart swelled when holding my newborn Godson for the first time; and when my children ask questions like, “Who’s the guy with the wild hair and the guitar,” I will be able to tell them, “That’s Uncle Vincent when he was in pit orchestra, the same year he was superman in the homecoming parade. Look, here’s that photo.” Although fun is often poked at me for my copious task of crafting memories, I take it lightly knowing that my craft is enjoyed by all and that we will treasure the preservation of our memories, look back at them, smile, and relive them years from now.