Project | Random Memories

I’ve scrapbooked a lot of pages in 11 years, but I’ve never tackled my childhood. I have a good stack of orginal photos (mostly in the 3.5×3.5 vintage size!) and I have scanned a lot of photos from my parents’ albums, but I haven’t done anything with them. Creating 12×12 layouts with these photos never felt like the right solution.

Then — a couple of months ago — I saw a project (see it here) in the September 2010 issue of Creating Keepsakes Magazine called “Remember When…Family Stories” created by Autumn Baldwin. Her idea is that while our stories need to be documented, perhaps they don’t need an entire layout. Autumn used 4×6 cards, a few sentances of journaling and wallet sized photos to document some of these memories.

At long last, I had my solution. A memory box full of random stories paired with random photos. Since all of these photos have been scanned and can be duplicated later if need be, I’m going to use the original photos in all their discolored, imperfect glory.

The project

I am all about using products from my stash. Other than buying the box that will house my memory cards, I didn’t buy anything new.

Here are the supplies I gathered to create this project:

  • Alterable box (I got mine at Hobby Lobby)
  • Mod Podge and a sponge brush
  • A variety of punches and punched shapes
  • A variety of shapes and borders cut from my Silhouette (like Branch_1009, tags_essentials_C00034-27205 and Tab_0095)
  • Several paper pads from K & Co —  GreenhousePink Posey and Lemon Drop
  • An assortment of cardstock
  • An assortment of buttons
  • An assortment of crochet thread
  • An assortment of die cut flowers, sayings, and words
  • A variety of word stickers like these Making Memories Word Fetti, K & Co’s embossed stickers, and these Fresh Verse stickers from Little Yellow Bicycle.
  • A selection of ribbon in several colors

I’m also using an Iris Storage Box to keep all the odds and ends while I work on this project. I find that if I keep everything together, it’s easier to pull out and work on when time permits.

The box

I found a plain, paper mache type box at Hobby Lobby. Michael’s and JoAnn’s also carry these kinds of boxes. They are easy to alter, as I have done with Mod Podge and paper. My plan is to keep the box open  so that the cards can be flipped through often. The lid will be kept on the bottom of the box, so I altered the lid as well.

The section dividers

I do have section dividers in my box. The sections are pretty general – Everyday, Play, Celebrations, Family, Spokane (my hometown). I made a few extras in case I want to add any as I create more memory cards. The heading tabs were cut with my Silhouette.

The memory cards

I sized my memory cards to easily slide in and out of my box. All boxes are different sizes so dimensions are going to vary from box to box.  My cards stick up about an inch an a half from the top of the box (another reason why the box will stay open). I have created several different designs that will probably repeat as I continue to create these cards.

My journaling is on the back side of each card. I created this journaling block in my computer’s spreadsheet program. I tend to eyeball everything so it took a few tries to get the size just right. I printed drafts of the journaling blocks on plain paper and adjusted the margins until this journaling block fit on the back of my cards exactly as I wanted. Then I printed them on high quality cardstock. You could also create them in a word processing program and type your journaling instead of handwriting it as I did.

A few more thoughts:

  • Creating a random framework allows me to pair a photo with a memory, even if the two have nothing to do with each other.
  • I don’t have photos that document every month and every year of my life. Many of my photos don’t have dates and I don’t have details about what was going on. Rather than get bogged down by that, I don’t worry about it.
  • If I have a story for a photo, I’ll tell it. If I don’t know what’s going on in the photo but it triggers other memories, I’ll share them. No stress, no worries, just memories.
  • This project isn’t as much about documenting my life, it’s more about remembering little details from my childhood that I don’t want to forget.
  • This project is adaptable to any theme or subject, it doesn’t just have to be childhood photos! It might be an interesting way to capture heritage photos or the journey through high shcool or college.

I love how my memory box turned out. I have a lot of memory cards to make, but I am off to a good start. Have you documented your childhood? What worked (or didn’t work) for you?

Thanks so much for stopping by today!


  1. Tammy, this is a wonderful idea and the cards you’ve completed so far look great. I too like the idea of recording the little moments and memories and the pairing them with a photo. I’ve scrapped a few of my childhood photos over the past year. I’m creating layouts and putting them all in a 12×12 American Crafts D-ring binder, however the layouts are varying sizes. I have a few 12×12, some 81/2 x 11, one 6×12 (I really enjoyed making that size and will try it again for sure). Thanks for sharing this idea. I’ll be watching for more of your cards as you continue working on this project.

    • I love mixing up the sizes in my albums too. What did we do before D-ring albums? 🙂

  2. Tammy, this is fabulous! Love the box, love the dividers, love your memory cards!!!! Awesome job!

    • Thanks Becky!

  3. I love this idea. Definitely going to think through how this can work for me. thanks for sharing.

    • You are welcome! It’s a fun one. 🙂

  4. I love this idea. What a great way to “sneak in” some scrapping when you have just a few minutes! I am going to have to do this!

    • Oh, that’s totally true! It only takes a few minutes to put together one card. The perfect project for nights when you want to scrapbook but don’t feel creative. 🙂

  5. This is a great project! I do get hung up on trying to match the story with the photo, but I’ve got to get over that and get those stories told!

    • I totally get that – it’s partly why doing layouts just never worked for me. When I look through the photos my mind wanders to so many other things…the kitchen in the background, the clock on the wall, our artwork on the fridge, that green carpeting we had for so many years…etc… That’s when I figured out it’s not about what’s going on in the photos. Big light bulb moment!

  6. I think this is really an intriguing idea. I don’t have any idea how to tackle pictures from my childhood, and this is a great option! Kind of takes the pressure off. 🙂

    • Oh, that’s so true! It’s a really good no stress project.

  7. I love what you’ve done with this! I truly believe there’s a big benefit of hindsight when scrapbooking/cataloging things that didn’t JUST happen. It allows you to take a step back and realize what really matters (or maybe I’m just making myself feel better for being so behind). I scrapbooked a lot of high school when I was in high school and every bit of minutiae was so important to me back then. I have two monster scrapbooks to show for it.

    • Oh that’s funny. My journals are like that – when you are in the moment all you see and feel is the minutiae. I agree that you have a very different perspective years later.

  8. Ohhh I really love this idea. Your memory box is perfect.
    I really only have a handful of photo’s but so many memories. I keep meaning to write them down, this would be perfect.
    I love to hear stories of when my parents or anyone acutally were young. I want my children to share in some of mine.
    One day they will enjoy it I am sure.

    • Thanks Tracy! I have enough photos and memories to fill up the box but you could take the idea to a mini-chipboard album or some cards on a binder ring. It’s so versatile. We can’t forget our stories! 😀

  9. Love this idea! Only thing I’d probably change would be to put those 4x6s into 12×12″ divided pages in a scrapbook (easier for me to keep up with and access). But love how no-stress these mini layouts are!

    Also, thanks for visiting my blog!

    • Sure! That’s a great idea. Change it up and make it work for you! 🙂 My cards are bigger than that though – 4.5 by 7.25 so they don’t fit in the page protectors.

  10. Oh I love, love, love this idea!! I am looking at getting my childhood photos scanned and this is a fab idea!



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