Preserving Memories: Legacy Books, Budget Scrapbooking, Non-Permanent Mounting

By Anne Wilbur Premium

For the Record

Finding an ancestor’s journal is a genealogist’s dream come true. But what are you doing to leave your own legacy? No need to write a lengthy autobiography — question-and-answer workbooks such as these make it easy to pass on your family history:

Legacy Snapshot (Goldberg Law Center): Douglas Goldberg created this book to capture memories and family stories before they fade. Sections such as the Serious Side, Just for Fun and Memories/Traditions offer prompts that cover biographical information, values (“If I had three wishes…”), stories (“How I met my spouse…”) and your reaction to historic events such as President Kennedy’s assassination. There’s also space for photos and lined pages for writing. (Order from <>.)

Memories for My Grandchild by Annie Decker and Nicole Stephenson (Chronicle Books): This pretty journal helps grandparents share memories with grandchildren. It begins with a foldout family tree and questions about ancestors, such as “What stories have you heard about your grandparents when they were young?” Then it’s arranged chronologically with sections for reflecting on your childhood, teenage and young adult years, as well as your life today. An expandable envelope lets you include memorabilia, and a covered spiral binding makes the book open flat for easy writing.

Scrapbook Savings

Q. I’d love to start scrapbooking, but everything seems so expensive. How can I keep it affordable?

A. With all the fun and fabulous scrapping products out there, this hobby easily can bust your budget. According to Simply Scrapbooking <>, scrappers spend more than $25 a month on their habit, and a typical album has $1,500 worth of supplies. But you don’t have to cash out your 401(k) to preserve your family’s memories. Here’s how to reign in your scrapbook spending:

Focus on what’s really important — safely preserving your photos, memorabilia and the stories that go with them. You need only a few basics: an archival-quality album, a black pigment-ink pen, photo-safe adhesive and photo corners. Embellishing your pages is fun, but it’s secondary.

• Cultivate a simple, elegant scrapbooking style. For inspiration, see the streamlined layouts in Budget Scrapbooking (Memory Makers Books, $19.99), available from <>. You’ll also get great ideas for decorating your pages on a shoestring.

• If your creative impulses compel you to embellish, keep careful track of your purchases. Then prioritize: If you love rubber stamps, put most of your money there and buy fewer papers and stickers.

Download free fonts from Web sites such as <> and <>. Find clip art by typing free clip art plus a theme (fishing, baseball, vintage) into an Internet search engine such as Google <>.

• Instead of buying pre-made page titles or letter stickers, check out a book such as The Best of Memory Makers Scrapbook Lettering (Memory Makers Books) and make your own titles. If your printer has fade-resistant, waterproof ink, create titles using a word processing program. (In Microsoft Word, go to Insert>Picture>Word Art).

Add pizazz with waterproof, fade-resistant colored pens — a good investment you can use over and over again. Use fine-tip pens for journaling and decorative pen work, and larger tips for titles.


A unified layout looks whole and complete; a page that lacks unity resembles a collection of separate elements. Achieve unity with repeated shapes, colors and patterns; and photos and embellishments that fit a theme. The ball glove photo corners, green-and-brown color scheme, and similar title and journaling fonts tie together the Ball Game layout on the opposite page.

Temporary Fixes

Photo-preservation experts agree that nonpermanent is the way to go when mounting photos and memorabilia on your scrapbook pages. These two options will let you safely show off your family photos:

Clear photo sleeves, available in various sizes, are made of chemically stable plastic such as polypropylene or polyester. Slide your item inside the sleeve and mount it using photo corners or photo-safe tape (or if the sleeve is self-adhesive, just peel and stick). Some sleeves come with a built-in hinge — affix the hinge to your page so you can flip the photo to see what’s on the back. Look for sleeves at scrapbook and photo stores, as well as archival suppliers such as Light Impressions <>.

Make your own photo frame by cutting diagonal slits in the corners of a mat that’s slightly larger (about ¼ inch all around) than your photo. Then slip the corners of your photo or document into the slits and glue the mat to your page. You also can punch the mat with one of Family Treasures’ corner slot punches ($6.99 from <>), shown above. Conceal the slits in the mat with acid-free embellishments, as Cherie Ward did on the baseball layout here.