As many of you know, my twin boys are serving Missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Their service has brought many blessings to our family AND many amazing experiences!
I am often asked how I am preserving the memories of their two years of service. What "method" of Scrapbooking am I using. I decided it is finally time for me to create a bit of a tutorial and walk you through my system. Keep in mind that this is what I have found has worked for me. There are several options!
1. A key factor in this entire process is organizing your photos! Your missionaries will be sending home memory cards, adding them to online storage sites, emailing them, etc. It is important to create a system. It is very easy to end up with photos in several places and even more easy to loose track of the dates of the photos, places, etc. Here is a screen shot of my computer. You can see that I have created a file folder for each of my boys. To the left you see a folder named Elder Teagan Rose and one named Elder Michael Rose. Then if you open up each of the folders you will see they both look similar to what you see on the right of the screen. I have created folders for each event. For example, I have a folder for their farewell, for their MTC experience. I have then created folders for each area they have served in. It is very important to discipline yourself to separate the photos into folders. It will make the process much easier when you are ready to print. Trust me!
2. The next key factor is to actually PRINT your photos. We live in a digital world and it is very easy to keep photos on phones, within emails and on our computers. Once you have organized your photos within files (see other photo) come up with a system for printing them. I print each time I receive a memory card. It is easy for me to remember what I have from that card and it also breaks up the expense of printing so many photos. I personally print through Shutterfly.
3. Once you receive the printed photos, again take time to organize them! I have used the box the photos come in. I would not use this for long time storage of loose photos, but I know I will be adding them to my book soon so I am not worried about it. I take each photo and organzie them in order the best I can. You might need to write your Missionary to clarify on order, etc.
4. Another quick tip is that most photo processing companies have apps. As I mentioned, I use Shutterfly to print my photos. I created my account online. I can upload to my account photos from my computer OR my app connects to my account and I can upload and order prints stored on my smartphone. Pretty easy! (Note: I do not work for Shutterfly. I am just a happy customer that finds their service easy to use. I am sure there are other great companies!)
5. I save each hand written letter, along with the envelope. I print each "main" email sent. When my boys email each week, I am able to respond to them several times. They give me more details and answer Mom questions. I do not print those messages. I only print their main email that they write for me to forward to friends and family. Sometimes these end up being two pages.
6. I then add each email and each hand written letter to sheet protectors. You can order sheet protectors online through me or most office supply stores have them. If an email is two pages, I do not flip the second side so that it is showing. I simply slide both pages into the protector then on the back side is a new letter. I keep these organized by date. If it is a handwritten letter, the envelope is kept towards the back of the letter. Save the envelopes! Missionaries are not always good about dating their letters. This will help you in the future with a time line!
7. I store the letters and emails is this black leather 8.5 x 11 album by We R Memory Keepers. Note: I purchase the black since we have Elders serving, however other color choices are available for Sisters. These albums are high quality and have reinforced metal edges. I will add the their name and dates on the side label. I have found that I can fit an entire years worth of email and letters in one book. I project having two of these albums per Missionary upon their return.
8. The next step in my process was choosing a 12x12 album to store their photos. I chose this black one by Project Life for my Son serving in Iowa, and a red leather one by We R Memory Keepers for my son serving in Canada. Note: Project Life does have a pink version for Sisters. There are many album choices!
10. The next step in my process is I am using divided sheet protectors. There are several options available. I personally use Project Life and We R Memory Keepers protectors. I find they have the most options and are of the quality I want. Prices vary on the size pkgs you purchase.
11. In addition to divided sheet protectors, you can also purchase 12x12 pocket pages. I use these to store such things as their initial mission booklet, the sacrament program from their farewell, plane tickets, etc.
12.I don't have time to create a traditional 12x12 layout for every photo my boys send home. I have chosen to use journal cards by Project Life and by We R Memory Keepers. Both of these sets come in both Elder and Sister themes. There are 4x6 card and 3x4 cards. These journal cards are the exact sizes that match the divided sheet protector sizes.
13. The next step is the fun part. ( I will also post pics of how I organize my photos, print, etc) Taking your divided sheet protectors and journal cards, I simply add my photos to the pages and insert a card. You will find there is a bit a trick to this as you realize what size photos you have, how many you have of one certain "event" and then what cards you decided to use.
14. Here is another example of a completed page. These photos are from the MTC. You can see the divided sheet protector I used. I ended up cutting down two of the photos to fit in the 3x4 opening then filled in the other openings with journal cards. My Son will then hand journal on these cards filing in the details of the photos. (Note: he doesn't know he is doing this yet, but he will!)
NOW... here is the fun part!
ETM is excited to announce that we now offer CUSTOMIZED Elder/Sister Album packages. We want to help YOU tell your Missionaries story! We will personally contact you for a consultation OR if you are local we can meet at our Warehouse here in Idaho Falls. We will personally explain all options for albums, divided sheet protectors, journal cards, date stamps, pens and more!
PLUS! ETM will offer exclusive discounts on each package!
Click HERE to find out more!