5 Strategies for Scrapbooking Adversity

I would be lying if I said that all of my scrapbooking layouts are full of happy times and celebration and fun. I’ve always been one to scrapbook reality and we all know real life is not all happiness and sunshine.

On the Christmas that my oldest nephew was three years old, he spent most of the day in time out and crying because he didn’t get to do exactly what he wanted to do all day. I took a picture of his tearful face and scrapbooked the details.

I was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma at the age of 26. I still need to scrapbook about the experience and how the words “you have cancer” changed me, but I have documented what it’s like waiting for biopsy results in my post-cancer care.

Not fun pages, but definitely real life.

5 strategies to help you

Scrapbooking adversity isn’t something we work on every day. Just in case you need a push, here are some ideas that might help you scrapbook the trying times:

  • Document with Photos – capturing the moment on camera is half the battle. Even if you don’t do anything with the photos, at least you have them.
  • Give it time – If the moment is too painful and you are not ready to document the memory, take your time. Write down some thoughts initially and then let it go until you are ready.
  • Get out the negative – sometimes the negative emotions are the first to surface. Allow yourself the time to write down every negative thought you have and then discard the notes or set them aside. You can then focus on the events and the any positives of your story.
  • Tell it like it is – if the emotions are too painful, sometimes it’s best to just add the facts and the photos. Let your photos tell the story.
  • Forget perfection – if you are waiting to tell a story because you want the page to be perfect, you’ll probably never do it. Rather than be perfect, maybe you should make it messy and grungy and imperfect – just like real life.

You’ll know when the time is right

I’ve needed to scrapbook these photos for six months. Thanksgiving seemed like the perfect time to get it done. I live in the Nashville area and we had a little bit of rain over first weekend of May. Oh, like 19 inches or so.

Supplies: Paper – American Crafts Happy Happy Joy Joy, Die Cuts With A View Cardstock, Bazzill White cardstock. Embellishments – miscellaneous buttons, crochet thread, Distress Ink – Peeled Paint, Quickutz dies, EK Success medium flower punch, We R Memory Keepers stamp,  American Crafts Daiquiri thickers. Other – sketch from Sketches for Scrapbooking Volume 6 by Scrapbook Generation.

My yard backs up to a river.  Normally that river flows about 25 feet down a ravine. Lucky for me, there is a school yard and park on the other side of the river. That’s where the water went. If my yard had been 6 inches lower, the river would have overflowed into my yard and very likely, right through my house.

Living through it, you just feel the stress. Looking back six months later, I realize just how lucky I really was. Not only does this layout document an event, but it was therapeutic for me to get it out there and give thanks that my house is safe and sound.

Do you include the good and the bad in your scrapbooks?


  1. These are great tips, thanks for posting! I love your layout, I think those flowers are just the cutest. All than rain must have just been crazy and what better time than Thanksgiving to work on this? You must be so grateful to have come through it all!

    • Thanks Becky – you are welcome. Thanksgiving was pretty appropriate, right? It was fun to work in a few hours of scrapbooking on Turkey day. 🙂

  2. Your layout is awesome. This would be very scary.
    I have been meaning to make a page on my health issues. I just haven’t dont it yet. I agree, I like to scrapbook our live, the good, the bad and the ugly. Well maybe not the ugly if I’m the ugly one in the photo, teehee.

    • Thanks Tracy! You, ugly??? Never! 🙂 So glad that others put the real in their pages too.

  3. I really like these ideas for scrapping adversity. I have a few stories that I’m not quite ready to scrap, but I have photos and some of my thoughts written down, so when some time has passed I can create a layout.



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