If you’re not a writer, you might prefer to document recent events by scrapbooking about your pandemic experience.
Last month we looked at Why You Should Start a COVID-19 Journal and What to Include. This month we’ll look at how you can accomplish this through scrapbooking.
However you decide to document your experience, keep the following in mind:
- We’re sharing the same pandemic. However, individuals have wildly varying pandemic experiences. Depending on their family situation, severity of the outbreak in their area, their circumstances might include:
- A job switching to remote working, with no interruption of income but other homebound “coworkers” driving them up a wall
- Working over-time from home while also home-schooling three children
- Fear brought on by pre-existing health conditions or caring for vulnerable loved ones.
- A “great pause” of staying home and having adventures with the kids.
- Essential workers who had to choose between their health and feeding their family
- On the other hand, this is your individual experience. Chances are you’re documenting your own or your family’s story, not the world’s.
Note: This post contains no affiliate links.
Of course, the first step is taking photos. I turned to my friend Sandy Wirth of Your Memories Matter for advice. She has decades of experience in media digitation, scrapbooking, and creating memorabilia for homes and is a Creative Memories advisor as well as a lead ambassador for Forever.
Sandy’s recommendations (with a couple of my own thrown in for good measure) follow.
Take photos of everyday activities such as
- Family members working puzzles
- Making masks
- Screenshot of zoom get-togethers
- School work at the kitchen table
- The dog who got many, many daily walks
- Alternative celebrations, such as signs in yards or vehicle parades
- Experimental cooking
- Projects to cheer up neighbors and loved ones
- Chairs by the window
- Visiting through a window or dropping things off on the front porch
Take photos of benchmark events such as your senior graduating, a major change in the household. For instance, for me, it would be my son moving out-of-state in mid-March!
She also recommends using humor and candid shots. This is not the time to look perfect! (Goofiness for the win!)
Scrapbooking your Pandemic Experience
Whether you do paper scrapbooking or digital media, this is the point at which you explain or demonstrate how the photos express your experience.
There are lots of kits online, though you don’t necessarily need a Coronavirus specific one. (For the headline graphic, I used elements from Digital Scrapbook Ingredients’ COVID-19 kits.)
I admit I had a hard time looking through online kits. As of March 21, 2020, over 900 people in my county have died. As I look at many of the COVID-19 scrapbooking kits, my stomach seizes at some of the cutesier designs. How will people looking back at these in fifty years interpret the frivolity?
When I mentioned this to Sandy Wirth, she stressed that scrapbooking is about the storytelling, not the embellishments. Find the kit that works best for your experience.
She suggests adding a timeline to your scrapbook album. What happened in your family’s life at each important juncture?
If you want to put your story in context of the larger American Coronavirus experience, Persnickety Prints has compiled timelines you can download and add to your scrapbook.
Scrapbook Journaling Ideas
Most of us will have experiences we can’t document in photos. Currently, we can’t visit older loved ones in nursing homes. A lot of Zoom screenshots have people looking down at the monitors, so they don’t appear engaged. Perhaps your wedding celebration looked nothing like you imagine it to.
This is when scrapbook journaling can be especially poignant. You can write about who you miss, using a pre-pandemic photo. You can describe what happened. How you felt. What you could and couldn’t do.
In my case, I only had a couple of lousy phone photos of my most significant pandemic event–sending my son off to live in Oregon. My page below (I’m not a pro by any means!) uses a layout from Marisa Lerin which I re-colored with elements from elements from Digital Scrapbook Ingredients’ COVID-19 kits. I used a photo of my son disappearing into the TSA checkpoint as a faded background.
Scrapbook Journaling Ideas for kids
In years to come, people will want to know how the youngest among us felt.
FirstThingsFirst.org has a list of journaling prompts for young people. But you don’t have to stop there. After-the-fact decorating is encouraged—digitally or with glue, decorations, pens, and markers!
Kids who are graduating feel a sense of loss for missing prom, honors day, skip day, and commencement ceremonies. They might write (or answer interview questions) about how they have marked their transition, who they miss, how they hope to celebrate when things return to (somewhat) normal.
Younger children might prefer to express themselves through art. In addition to the timelines mentioned above, Persnickety Prints has free printable interview sheets for kids to fill in. (Obviously, the more colorful the better!)
Last but not least
A big thank-you to my grad-school buddy Sandy Wirth for sharing her expertise!