Tips for Special Event Scrapbooking with Kristin Rutten

We are thrilled to have Kristin of Log Your Memory here with a guest post today! Kristin is a real pro at finding creative ways to scrapbook the everyday memories of life and make them into something wonderful and worth sharing! Here’s a little more about Kristin:


Kristin Rutten

Kristin Rutten is the creator of the Memory Logbook and accompanying website, Log Your Memory, an online community focused on capturing everyday, real life memories. She and her husband, Jacques, live in the heart of Montana where they attempt to keep up with four kids ranging from 2 to 15 years old. Candid photos and tales of everyday happenings make up the bulk of their memory-keeping efforts.



When people think of scrapbooking or memory-keeping, the first things that come to mind tend to be the “big” stuff … birthdays, celebrations, important milestones … and of course, holidays. Those are the times when we tend to have friends and family together, cameras on hand and activities that seem special or beyond our everyday, sometimes dull, routines. We want to remember those moments because they don’t happen every day.

But when you ask a scrapbooker what is the hardest thing for them to scrap, very often the answer is … birthdays, celebrations, milestones, and holidays.

This stems from a lot of different reasons, but the ones I tend to hear most often go along the lines of…  too many photos, too overwhelming, too many expectations attached and sometimes … too boring. Why too boring? While we may only celebrate events like birthdays or holidays once a year, many of us tend to do the same thing year after year. Once we’ve scrapped those a couple times, it becomes harder to get excited about doing it again.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

How about approaching your holiday and special event memory-keeping from a new angle this year? How about capturing some memories and stories that you’ll really be excited to scrap about? It may sound daunting, but really all that is needed is a shift in the way you think about and capture your experiences.



Here are 10 ideas to help you get started …

  • Get in the habit of asking, “Why?” We often do a great job of asking who, what, when & where when scrapping special events, but we tend to forget all about documenting the reasons why we do what we do. When you figure out your answer, you will also have identified a great topic for your scrapbook page.
  • Find that special something. Identify the person, place or thing that really makes the event special for you or your loved ones … that element that is essential to the event’s success.  Is it having a particular person with you? Is it the way everyone seems to focus on the good? Is it the presence of a treasured family heirloom or tradition? If you can’t imagine the event without it, you know you’ve picked the right thing. Now, make that the central focus of a scrapbook page or journal entry.
  • Capture a conversation. Make a point of really listening to what’s happening around you, during the big events as well as during the days that lead up to and follow. Jot down the comments or exchanges that really tell the story of the day … or if you’re in the habit of carrying a video camera, use that and then transcribe later. These tidbits provide great journaling material for your pages.
  • Limit yourself. Choose just one photo or story to capture the entire event. Not only will this help make the memory-keeping less overwhelming, it will force you to really focus on what is most important to you. If this just doesn’t do the job for you, consider limiting yourself to one photo or memory per week or day.
  • Highlight the contrast between “everyday” and “special occasion.” Pull together images or descriptions that show how life changes because of a special event. Do you stay up later at night? Trade your favorite TV shows for holiday videos? Cut back on your daily latte in order to buy that special gift? Rearrange furniture to make room for the tree?
  • Tell the story behind the story. You know why you have lefse every Thanksgiving or refuse to replace that old worn-out star on the top of your tree but will future generations know the full story? It is often our traditions, family recipes, special rituals and other little touches that make our own holiday or special occasion stories unique and interesting for future remembering.
  • Save your calendar. If you are someone who relies on a calendar to get you through the holiday season, you already have a great source of information for future scrapbooking. Make a point of jotting down little details about each gathering, shopping trip or appointment right there on the page as soon as you return.
  • Pretend you’re a reporter. Get the whole story by interviewing family members and finding out what they feel is important, special or memorable about what’s happening. Better yet, hand them a piece of paper and ask them to jot down a few favorite memories or answer a couple of specific questions. This can be especially revealing with children, plus it’s a great way to capture handwriting samples at the same time.
  • Look in your mailbox. Christmas cards, family newsletters, holiday catalogs, even sales flyers all tell a piece of your holiday story. Find a way to incorporate them into your pages for a look beyond the “here’s who came to our house and what we had for dinner” standby.
  • Wrap it up. Sometimes the most interesting stories come from summaries – capturing the season or event as a whole all on one page. Perhaps this is through a collection of photos that span an entire month. Maybe it’s pulling out photos from years past and showcasing them next to the new ones. You might even share a series of photos or stories that capture the same event, situation or scenario over several years. Time passes quickly … you’ll be amazed at the little things you notice by doing this.



I’m willing to bet that if you give at least a few of these ideas a try, you’ll not only find it more enjoyable to scrap the “big” stuff, but the pages you produce will become some of your favorites to look back on and treasure down the road.

And isn’t that why we scrap them in the first place?