Monday, February 17, 2014

Reconstructing Lost Memories

In 2007, I went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN for a 2 week internship.  During the intermediate weekend,  I rented a car and took a road trip to explore the state. I was all by myself and I stopped and explored exactly as I pleased.

I knew at the time that I had a great time on the trip, but over the years I've realized that it really marked a turning point in how I look at travel, and how I plan (or more likely don't plan) a trip.  At the time, I was really working on my photography, and not quite as much on my scrapbooking. I made one layout with my favorite pictures from the trip and hardly any journaling.  While working on MOC for The Lilypad, I found some of the post cards that I bought during the trip and realized that I had forgotten tons of the details.  Not wanting to loose any more, I set out to reconstruct the trip with my good friend Google.

Everybody knows that Google is a great tool for everyday research, but it can also be an excellent memory keeping (or recovery) tool. I started a Google Map for the trip, and started by marking the stops that could remember.

  • Rochester, MN
  • International Falls
  • Voyageur National Park
  • Duluth, MN
  •  Mall of America
All you have to do is type in the name of the place into the search bar in the map, and it will come up with a geotag.  If you click on the geotag, you'll get a menu that has save to map as one of the options.  You can save it to a map you already have started, or make a new one. In this case, I made a map that I named Minnesota.

Next, I added the locations from the post cards I found.  I learned a lot about the Voyageurs from two tours that I took: one at Voyageur National Park and another at a Trading Post I stumbled upon along the way.  I found the location of the trading post from the post card I bought there.  I also had a post card from Soudan Mine which is an old coal mine and museum that they give tours of.  As I added each of those to the map, I also bookmarked their websites (in a Minnesota bookmarks folder) so that I could pull some information from them for my journaling.

That was all the information that I had right in front of me, so it was time for a little bit of detective work.  I knew that I stopped at a restaurant for breakfast near a photo op of a Walleye with a cowboy hat you can sit on.  I googled Walleye photo op and clicked on images, and found my fish, and it's location, which allowed me to find my restaurant.

Looking at the map now, it was easy to trace the route that I drove, which helped to narrow things down.  I had a strong memory of driving over a large hill to and seeing Lake Superior come into view.  I knew that it was late in the day at that point, and I had to find a campground nearby.  I knew that the site I found was quite a ways down several dirt roads, and that I had a hike in spot.

I googled hike in camping sites on the Minnesota map zoomed in to where my route intersected with Lake Superior, and I found my camp ground (and even the specific site that I stayed in).

In the morning, after I packed up my tent, I started driving and found a pie restaurant, which was completely irresistible, so that was breakfast (and some left overs for lunch).  I knew the next city I headed for was Duluth, so I googled pie restaurant on the main highway between my campground and Duluth and hit images again, and there was a picture of my pie restaurant.  Apparently it's more well known than I realized.

I really didn't stay very long in Duluth because it was early on a Sunday morning, and nothing was open.  If I stayed late enough for the city to start coming to life I would have to forego the Mall of America...nothin' doin'.

I drove pretty much straight to MOA from Duluth, but I didn't have very much time there. I can't remember why, though.  Wait! It's coming to me now. Archiver's.  Before that day, I'd never been to an LSS before, much less the scrapbooking Mecca that was Archiver's.  I spent a lot of time in there.  I'm not sure how much, but I know that I had to practically run to see much of anything else, and I didn't go on any of the rides. MOA is a major tourist attraction, so it's pretty easy to find out information about it. I know I went to the Lake Wobegon store to get a mug for my Grandma and a post card for myself. I love buying post cards for myself when I'm on a trip.  They often have photos of views I've seen but don't have the skill to capture and they're inexpensive, but what's better than either of those is all the information on the back of the card.  The only reason I was able to track down Soudan Mine as part of this trip's itinerary was because of the information from a post card I bought. It would also have been pretty difficult to find my route without the post cards I'd picked up along the way.

One last tip, that I didn't have a place to fit in anywhere else, is that you can also use historical events as a guide to figure out the dates. Just a couple of days after this trip was when the horrible bridge collapse took place right along my route.  Sometimes it can be a big event that can help: I know that I was in Rome the day after the subway bombing in London in 2005 because I read about it in a newspaper I saw near St. Peter's square. Other times it's something ridiculously small: I was in Wells, Maine eating at the counter at the Maine Diner the day the news broke about a major scandal in Kennebunk involving a Zumba instructor. Each of these things are in the public sphere, and so they are easy to look up to find out the dates and locations.  More information will often trigger forgotten memories: like the name of the Maine Diner, which I had forgotten until I put this post together.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Prepping for Disney

I'm sure many of you can sympathize with me when I say that I am DONE with this weather.  Luckily for me, I'm a stay at home mom with relatives in Orlando.  You know what that means?...Disney, baby! I don't know what I'm more excited about, me and the girls at Disney World meeting all the characters I can find or the temperatures...Who am I kidding?  It's the temperatures...hands down.

I am pretty excited about Disney, though, and since it's still LOAD 214, I needed to pull together some things to make sure I stay on track (though I suspect that I'll be off-prompt for a week).  Since, my scrappy friends often ask me how I scrap on the road, I thought I'd show you what I'm taking with me.

First, I made an autograph book for Lilah to get all her character's signature's in.  It's 5x7 and made with the backing of a 12x12 in paper pad as the foundation of the cover.  I scored it so that the front and back were 5x7 with a 1 in spine.  I covered the chipboard with paper from the Dear Lizzy "Lucky Charm" collection and used black cardstock to make the Mickey head for the cover.  I cut 4 colors of cardstock for the pages and bound it with my Bind-it-All.

When I heard that Becky Higgins was starting to make 6x8 binders for the Project Life system, I knew I was going to need them in my life.  This is my first one, and I think it's just perfect for a Disney Minnie (please pardon the pun). It contains everything I need.  Let's take a peek inside.

I bought two packs of page protectors, the ones with 2 3x4's and a 4x6 and the ones with 4 3x4's. I considered later that I might like the full 6x8's as well, but this will do for now.  I pulled a set of cards from my Project Life Honey core kit.  That's the only core kit that I have.  I've worked with it a ton and I still have a massive amount of it left.  I don't know how often that I will buy a core kit in the future, I find the volume of stuff in them a bit overwhelming, but I do love the colors and patterns in this kit, so I think it was a good investment (especially since I got it at Michael's one of the times all the Project Life stuff went on sale for 60% off).

I knew I was going to need some larger pockets, so I made two 6x8 envelopes using my envelope punch board that I reinforced with more chipboard from packaging that I had in my stash. I reinforced the flat side of the envelope as well as the flap so that I could use photo tabs and brads to hold the flap down and keep my supplies secure. That polka dot patterned paper on my envelope is from the scrap I had left over from making the inside of the cover of the autograph book.

I tried to anticipate all the supplies that I would need to be able to call my project finished while I was on the road...or at least with minimal work when I got home.  This is what I came up with:

  • Jillybean Soup Alphabet Stickers (I packed 3 colors from one of their multi colored 12x12 sheets of alphas that I got in my January box from 3 Scrappy Boys)
  • Studio Calico vellum star stickers
  • Simple Stories journal cards from a cut apart sheet I received in the January Gossamer Blue kit I won from Lain Ehmann
  • A selection of die cuts from a Simple Stories Daily Grind die cut pack (also from Gossamer Blue)
  • Recollections puffy stickers and enamel dots
  • Die Cuts With a View quote stickers from a vacation quote pad
  • Brass paperclips
  • About 18in each of 4 different washi tapes wrapped around paperclips
  • Blue embroidery floss
  • a hand full of 3x4 and 4x6 cards from my Honey Core Kit
  • and a pair of school sissors
  • I'm going to have to add some type of adhesive and I'm torn between bringing my Elmer's Dot runner (which won't fit in the book) or buying a smash pen (that I would clip to the rings in the binder, I see mixed reviews of the glue stick on the smash pen, though)
All of this stuff fits very nicely in the two envelopes that I made, and I'm thinking that I'm going to make one more for the ephemera that I'll no doubt collect.

As far as pictures on the go, I'll be using my Polaroid Z2300 camera to print 2x3 photos to add to the book. I've said before that the camera is horrible, but it's a pretty good little printer.  The pictures are ok in bright sunlight though, so I might use it to take pictures for Lilah's autograph book at outdoor meet and greets.

So that's it, the whole plan.  I'm so excited, I can't wait to get in the car and go, although I do feel just a little bad for leaving my husband behind...I guess we'll just have to go back again!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

January 2014 Roundup

I've been following Katie the Scrapbook Lady for about 3 years now.  I love her systematic approach to memory keeping.  Every month, she does a round up of what she did to serve as a reminder for the journaling when it comes time to scrap those memories (or if she never gets around to it, those memories are at least recorded on her blog).

I've liked the idea for a while, but I wasn't ready to try it until now.  I think what got me on board is that she has simplified her prompts for 2014, so it seems like a less overwhelming project.

Here's my January 2014 Round Up, it's a little late in the month, but I kept thinking that I was going to add more to it...but that didn't happen, so it's time to move on to the next thing before it's March.

  • List what you watched, read, and/or listened to in the past month?
    • This month I've been catching up on my podcasts since I've been really sick.  

    • We found out this month that it was less expensive to get faster internet and cable than to continue on with our internet only plan, so we have cable again, but since the ceiling came down in the dining room, it wasn't convenient to watch it much.  The last day of the month I did catch up on season 4 of Downton Abby, though.  I love that show! Other than that, I've mostly just had Netflix on for background noise when I wasn't listening to podcasts.  The shows on my Netflix list for January were
      • Murder, She Wrote is back, which makes me very happy
      • Star Trek, The Next Generation
      • Alfred found Bo On the Go for Lilah (it's not my favorite: too repetitive)
      • She's also watched Secret Agent Oso and Strawberry Shortcake.
    • I started teaching an online course in genetics this month, so I've been doing lots of reading for that class.  It's been fun to be teaching again and engaging that part of my brain.
  • What fun things did you do with friends and/or family?
    • Alfred took the girls to Chuck E Cheese twice during the month,  they love having alone time with their Daddy.
    • Lilah and Alfred went to see Frozen for a Daddy-Daughter Date night.  Lilah hasn't stopped talking about Elsa since!
  • What milestones occurred? Any holidays or celebrations? How about special events?
    • We had a sleep over with the twins for New Year's Eve.  We watched movies, made minibooks, and painted our nails.
    • Alfred and I went to Table 21 at Volt for our 4th wedding anniversary.  
  • Talk about the everyday and routine bits of life in the past month
    • This month, I completed the month of challenges at The Lilypad, so every morning, I checked the prompt and made a digi page
    • It was really cold during this month, and everybody was sick at some point during the month (me most of all), so we spent most of our time at home 
  • What good stuff happened? What were the hard things? Anything unusual?
    • Lilah read her name
    • Michaela learned to go down stairs
    • We had a leak from the upstairs bathroom that meant that our whole dining room ceiling is going to have to come down.
      • but the good thing about that is that it has made us speed up the timetable for putting in a master bathroom, since the ceiling is already down, which gives us access to put in the plumbing for the new bathroom.
  • Report on the progress you’ve made toward your goals or list any new goals you have set
    • I completed the MOC at The Lilypad as well as all of their other challenges (44 layouts total)
    • Lilah is doing really well with potty training
    • We're working on getting Michaela to hit less
    • I got into the gym on the last day of the month, I really want to make exercise a bigger part of my life