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Journaling Tips and Ideas

As a professional scrapbook artist, paper crafter, and author, I have taught people how to turn family memories into legacies for 20 years.


Getting Started Journaling

Journaling tells the story of both our pictures and our lives.

Of course the biggest place that you probably will journal is on your scrapbook pages. It can be as simple as identifying the people in your pictures. But more than that you can tell a simple story about your pictures in a few simple sentences.

There are so many ways to tell the story of our lives and how we lived it ! The first thing that comes to mind is scrapbook journaling. This is where we tell the story of a picture or set of pictures, an event, or tell the story of people in our family.

Art journals describe how we feel and our story through the varied mediums of paper art. These can be in journals and can be specific or a wide panorama of our feelings and thoughts.

Bullet journals and planners tell the story of our everyday lives, our thoughts, ideas, accomplishments and goals.

Bible journals are the stories of our faith journey. They talk about how our Faith journey feels and impacts our everyday lives.

Each of these mediums tell a story and each has it's own unique way of journaling.

There are several easy and quick ways that you can journal to give each of your pages that special touch of your own creativity and imagination

Take a cue from what reporters think about when they write a newspaper article. Think about the who, what ,when , where and how. That's what your journaling tells. You are telling the story of your pictures.

But your journaling should be your story in your own words. Think about what you would be telling someone if you were verbally telling your story and then write it down.

The Joy Of Journaling

Whatever and how you journal is sure to add joy to your life. You will discover what you are all about as you take your personal journal journey. You will find out what makes you tick. You will find both your weak and strong points. You will see what makes you happy. You will see a new picture of yourself ! Writing down how you feel will give you a new found freedom.

Give yourself permission to express your feelings. Be creative and search for the inner you. Embrace that person and learn to love the person behind the words.


Using Your Own Penmanship In Your Journaling

An Important Legacy For Your Family

You may not think that your handwriting isn't worthy of your scrapbook page, but it truly is important to your family and the generations to yet come ! While I do use other journaling techniques I often use my own hand to write notes and stories on my pages. It might not be very pretty or perfect at time, but it is mine. I have one scrapbook page of a 5oth anniversary party that I organized for my then in-laws. My mother in law at the time wrote us a thank you note and I included that on my page. It is in her hand and is precious to my family. Take some time to write your story and I promise it will be treasured

If you don't take time to journal your scrapbook pages and photos, your family history starts getting very hazy. Time and memory play tricks on us. Those critical details about a place or an event become fuzzy with time. And we start losing the importance to ourselves and the generations to follow.

My daughter inherited a very old family album with some pictures in the 1800s. While some of these pictures are identified, many are not. So while the pictures are precious, it would be far more meaningful if she knew the history behind the pictures. That is what making scrapbooks and journaling is about. Telling your family story. If you don't, the story will never be told.

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Scrapbook Journaling

Making scrapbooks has always been my passion. When I started out, My journal efforts on my pages was limited to a title. As with anything else, I have grown alomng with my hobby and journaling has become one of my favorite parts.

Always remember to tell who the people are on your scrapbook pages. My daughter inherited a very old scrapbook from her grandmother that went several generations back. Unfortunately, the people were not identified and she may never know who they were. Either tell in your journaling about the people and who they were, or make captions about them. Your kids and grandkids will appreciate your efforts long after you are gone.

Getting Started On Your Scrapbook Journaling

You layout is finished and now, you want to tell the story about the event or pictures on your page. And there you sit. Your mind is blank and you are groping in your brain for the right words.

Have some scrap paper by your side if you are writing the words yourself. Just think about a few descriptions about your layout and jot them down. Just remember, this is your story ! There is no right or wrong way to do this.

  • Think of yourself as a news paper reporter. Consider the who, what, where or when of your layout. Jot some things down answering those questions and you will start to build your description.
  • Write a letter as if you are describing the scene to someone else
  • Use quotes, poems or sayings instead of journaling.
  • Use bullet points instead of actual sentences
  • If it does not come to you right away, leave space and tackle it another day

Tell The Whole Story

Rather than just noting the names of those in the picture, or the date of the picture, why not tell the whole story? Talk about the who, where and why of your pictures. Include all the interesting details. Talk about anything unusual or funny. Make it personal and make it interesting. Your version of the picture will be treasured.

The more information that you document, the more valuable each page becomes. Always include the full names of the people in the picture at least once. All those little details will be important to future generations.

If you don't know how to tell the story about a particular place, use brochures and postcards to journal about where you were

If you are art journaling, include your thoughts on a page that you created, Give it a title, write all over the page , make it personal !

You Bible journal is very personal to be sure, and your journaling should include ideas about how you feel about a passage. If you are using a Creative Bible then there are plenty of pages where you can express your feelings with artwork too.

Perfect Journal Pens


Journaling Supplies-Must Haves

There are only a few things that you will need to journal on your scrapbook pages.

The first thing I always recommend is some fine lined pens or markers. They come in different sizes and last for a long time. There are some Bic pens called Pen Joy that come in colors that are fun to use also. They come in about 15 colors and last for awhile. Remember, that whatever pens you use, they must be acid free. Otherwise over time, your page will turn color.

You will need some journal cards. You can make them up yourself on your printer, you can use tags, or you can use a stencil that makes lines on paper, Index cards can be used, I love the colored index cards that you can get in the local office card stores.

Tips On Getting Started Journaling

  • Don't overthink it. Your journaling should be about your thoughts. Don't try to write as a professional would. Write as you would speak to another person.
  • Think about what your favorite things are about the topic
  • When you can't think of a single word to write, use magazines, quotes and poems
  • Use bullet points instead of long written pieces. This is especially good when you have only a small space
  • Journal about your dreams and how they make you feel.
  • Write About Your fears. Explore your feelings about them and how they affect your life.
  • Write about all your accomplishments. It does not matter if they are big or small, you can build your confidence by acknowledging each of them.

Free Journaling Resouces For Scrapbook Pages - Get Inspiration And Quotes For Scrapbook Pages

You don't have to say it yourself, there are so many quality quotes and places to get resources for journaling. Here are a few of my personal favorites

  • Quote Garden
    One of the best ! Categories are well listed and it's easy to use
  • Denny's Poems And Quotes
    One of my personal all time favorites. These are written and collected strictly for scrapbooks
  • Heart Quotes
    Huge category list ! It is well organized and a clean easy to use site
  • The Perfect Title
    This site has a huge reference for free titles. It has a lot of titles you might not find anywhere else

You can journal with a Sharpie Gel Pen. Just cut down the tip to a fine point ! They add some depth to your journaling

Mini Album Journaling

Although mini albums are much smaller than scrapbook pages, they can still provide an opportunity to journal. Think about tags tat can be inserted in envelopes. Or journal one whole page that tells the story of your album.

Gratitude Journal

This is a special journal where you record the blessings that you have received. It is a very personal daily journal where you record your thoughts and ideas

Bible Journals

These are Bibles that have wide margins. You record your thoughts and prayers on the pages of the bible.

More Journaling Ideas And Thoughts

Journaling shouldn't have to be just a story that you feel you have to tell in your own words. Sometimes it can be told in a lot of different and unique ways. Here are a few of my thoughts and ideas to help you be creative in your journaling on your scrapbook pages

  1. Use a quote I have a book where I keep really nest quotes that I run into on Facebook and other pages, There are so many free locations to get quotes ! I love using them when words fail me. There are some pages that just call for special quotes that say the right thing at the right time. If it's not your quote, please make sure to give the author credit.
  2. Look For meaningful artsy quotes and poems in magazines- I love magazines that inspire me with artsy quotes and poems. I find a lot of inspiration in magazine like Oprah. Look for all kinds of artwork to use on your pages
  3. Journal on tags Tags are easy to use for journaling- They come in all kinds of colors and sizes. You can write on them , decorate them to suit any theme, and add quotes and poems to them
  4. Use lists to journal Use bullet points and lists to journal- They can be very effective ! Use things like lists of favorites, do's and don't ect
  5. Save invitations, programs, postcards and booklets from places you have been -These are great journaling tools
  6. Always journal From your heart- Speak from your heart whenever you journal. Express your true and heartfelt feeling rather than what you think people want to hear
  7. Journal on a mat if you make a photo mat large enough, you can actually journal on the mat itself
  8. Journal on a photo- Another unique way to get your journaling done, is to journal on the photo itself with a photo pen
  9. Journal In strips rather than one big journal section- Do it in strips and adhere to your page
  10. Journal around a border- Write your words around the edge of your scrapbook page

Art Journals

Art journals are a perfect platform to express your thoughts and ideas, both in art and word. You can use snippets from magazines that can added to your pages. You can write as little or as much as you want in all kinds of mediums.

Journal in both works and picture how you were feeling at that particular time.

Write down your thoughts and feelings at that moment

Use a quote that inspired you and include it as part of your layout

Project Life or Journal Cards

Buying Journal Cards In Packs

If I am buying journal cards, I always buy in packs. This is one of my personal favorites. 72 cards for under $7.00 means that I always have them ready to go. Since they are also project life cards, that means that I can use them as block titles or as journal cards. Very handy

Store your quotes, poems and song lyrics on index cards in a file box or on a rolodex system. This is a really neat way to keep an index of ideas

Use An Envelope To Journal On Your Scrapbook Page

Add extra Journaling to your pages

When you have a lot more to say than a small area or card will allow, any envelope can be glued on your page to add that extra story you want to tell. Glue the envelope on your page and decorate to match your colors and designs

Journaling Basics

You can journal on shapes like a heart, star or whatever comes to mind. Don't limit yourself to a single shape. Design your journaling to fit your page design

More Journal Tips

  • Add a bit of text printed from your computer on a tag
  • Use journaling strips. Printed single sentences on your computer and layer them into a stack
  • Print your journaling directly on the background page. If you have a large formatted printer, you can print your journaling directly onto the page
  • Add text directly on your photos. use a label maker to add snips of text on your pictures

Where Can You Put Journaling If Page Is Full?

Sometimes we have so many pictures or design on our pages, there does not seem any place to add journaling. Here is where you can get really creative. When you look at your page, there is really more room than you think, if you look at your page differently.

  • Think about a lengthwise strip along a side where there might be some "white" space"
  • Use shorter text to fill in a space- think of snipets of information
  • Break it up by putting it in multiple spots on your layout
  • Put your journaling on your photo itself. Think about adding journaling in the sky or grass area of a photo

Journal Tags From Index Cards

Chalk around the edges of your journaling to give it softness and dimension

How Can You Journal On Scrapbook Pages?

I love telling the story on a scrapbook page. There are always stories behind every picture that you adhere to a piece of paper. Journaling will let people know in future generations who, wHt where, and why. You don't have to be an accomplished author to tell your story. You just have to tell it from your heart.

Start by telling your story in your title. Just say what the pictures are about. You can say whatever you feel about a group of pictures. It can as simple as the name or where the pictures were taken and a date. You can use a quote as a title. There are as many options, just make it say what you feel.

Journal cards are small bits of information that can add a lot to your page. You can add all sorts of bits of information on a journal card. Write what you want to say and adhere it to your page.

Journal Lists add information in a list format. I like to use lists either vertically or horizontally on a page. You can use one whole list, or make individual strips. It's up to you.

Stamping Journal Pieces is another way to go. Easy way to get information on your page iis to use a stamp. You stamp the journal section on the page and fill it in

Give dimension to your journaling ! Add some foam dots or tape to raise your journaling from the page ! This will call attention to your thoughts

How Do You Journal On Your Scrapbook Pages?

Heidi Vincent from GRENADA on February 23, 2014:

I don't journal, LindaWhite, but you have made journaling exciting in this lens. Like you, however, I keep a notebook of quotes. I usually use in my writings and as personal self-development reminders.

Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on February 14, 2014:

@Elsie Hagley: I know how you feel about time. But you know what, even though your family is grown, your story, the story of your life will be important to them and the generations to come. Even a page a week, would be a good thing...even if it's simple. I scrapbook pages of my children and great grandchildren to give them when they get married. I also scrap about my life and the hubby, for us to share later on with each other and for the generations to come to know who we were. that way they can connect to their roots. Give ot some thought

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on February 13, 2014:

I like this ideas, but i don't do any scrapbooks these day, used to when my family were younger.

Maybe I should start again, but there doesn't seem to be enough hour in a day. Thanks for sharing.

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