Why do I scrapbook

Why do I scrapbook?
It all started years ago with the death of my Grandmother and my mother and I finding boxes of photos and albums in her closet.  I saw a totally different side of her I never knew.  In many of the pictures I saw myself as her.  Cook outs with friends and family, dressed up for special occasions, cooking, gardening, sewing… but nothing of her words to tell me what she was thinking at the time… no accounting of feelings or thoughts, just TONS of pictures.  
Hansen Family Heritage Book
My Grandfather had a dark room in the basement, and as a little girl I remember watching him perform his ‘Magic’ by making a picture appear on the paper.  I remember the care my grandmother took in hand coloring and tinting the photos and being in awe of her talent.  I remember her carefully laying out each photo set in a hardbound leather book of black paper and using a white pen to make the dates or names and LOVED going through these books over and over reliving our family good times and gatherings.  Too bad I thought now looking through them, that she didn’t write the stories behind the photos.  They had so many stories I remembered them telling me.  I felt this almost obsessive need to write down what I could remember today and started to journal furiously.   
I also found an album of family heritage… but most without names and dates.  Some pictures had writing on the back of them, but most didn’t.  The pictures in these albums were becoming worn and the inks were bleeding though on some where she didn’t use pencil.  The pencil writing was barely legible.  The faces in the photos were so eerily familiar… I could see my own portrait in a distant relative’s face… the same eyes, nose, smile… who was this woman who was literally almost a twin of me but from a hundred years earlier?   And so it began.
This brought me to my first quest… to create a Heritage album.  To know where I came from, how I got here and who the people were that helped mold me into the person I am today.  

My Heritage Book outside Covers
My mother and I carefully scanned all the photos to preserve them before it was too late.  I started to teach myself digital graphics in an old version of Paint Shop and make a feeble attempt to restore their beauty.  We asked every surviving family member we could to tell us ANYTHING about the people and who was who and what was happening.  We had ship receipts and passes from America to the old country back in Europe.  We had Elis Island records of when our family first came to America.  We had elementary pictures of our Grand-parents from a school boomed during the war.   We had it all in photos… just no words.  

Over the past 8 years, we have put together many pieces of our family heritage puzzle, not the passion, not the stories from their hearts, but at least some facts of who is who and the when’s.  

My Heritage Book Facts Page
My Heritage Book Title Page

I was not going to let this happen to my children or grand-children.  I want them to know the stories behind the pictures.  I want them to know how proud I was of them or how loved they are.  I want them to know the love shared between us and our trials and tribulations we faced.  I want them to know their heritage, the family recipes, the accomplishments, the lessons.  

THIS is why I scrapbook today.  

For the stories behind our eyes.  Not just the pictures of Christmas, but the everyday blessings we were thankful for.  Not just a child standing on a mountain side, but to know what an accomplishment it was they climbed to it and the fun time we shared hiking to it together.  

One of my hidden secrets
My Obsession with Fabric
The stories of my own secrets and feelings... why I had an obsession with fabrics and all the projects that were always there. It was partly for practical things like clothes, and partly because I loved to make hand-made gifts… but mostly, it was my Art!

Think about it… Maybe you have a quilt your Great-Grandmother made right?  Wouldn't it be awesome if you had the photos of her making it?  The thoughts she had behind the whys, who it was for, and in my case, how many times I tore out stitching because I wanted it perfect! lol

Then there are the quiet melancholy moments that I never shared with anyone in my family that I needed to get out of me.  One day they will know, they will realize I did things not because I wanted to, but did some of them for the better of the family… even when it hurt me, not just them.

I scrap for my children's daily lives also, because I know, one day, they will look back and wish they had those photos, wish they had the stories to tell their own children… and we all know how youth can be.  I don't want them to loose those precious moments lost to only thoughts left in their memories. 

Casey's Daily Commute to work in the Grand Canyon

I write it down.  ALL of it!  They had a bad day and felt lost, or they had a good day and stood in awe of their world around them and thanked the Mother Earth and Father Sky for bringing them such beauty.

Casey's Life - Learning from the Native American tribe he lived and worked with
to appreciate life and everything we have been given that so many take for granted. 

Not that their mother chooses to ride a motorcycle and looks like some hellion, but the love of my brothers and my extended family and how we would protect and would die for each other.    

Teaching Bailey to Sew
and passing on the passion
I want to share the pride I felt on the day I taught my daughters and grand-daughter to sew and watched their eyes light up with the joy of creating their own masterpiece in fabric.  The words spoken along with the secret thoughts inside…
Remembering Mom's nurturing

Why? So they remember… and know they are loved and cherish Family.  

So that one day when I am gone, they will remember the joys we had and even though life had its ups and downs, we remained together and there was nothing we couldn’t overcome or conquer as a family.  So they remember the day how proud we were when WE finally got our new home and could only do it because we pulled together as a family.

So they too can draw upon the magic of family and love to overcome their own trials, and know about the celebrations to be had after.  

So, one day, they will know all my inner thoughts and emotions... 

So one day, they will know how and why my whole life changed with chance meeting of soul mates who taught me valuable lessons in life.

Messages to my Children
And remember the advise I gave them. 
The lessons of my own life…
To remember… 
To pass on…
To learn from my mistakes and accomplishments.  

THIS is why I scrapbook.  
To preserve our Legacy… 
To preserve our family… 
To preserve our stories of passion… 
To remember Life's ups and downs of lessons so our future generations will know where they came from and who we were and why our lives took the paths they took… 
But mostly... to preserve the love.


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