Sunday, May 4, 2008

lazy girl's travel journal

...OR ...
how to come home from vacation with a minibook that's practically finished...and practically *FREE*!

the completed article...not too shabby!

ok, i’m assuming that, like me, on at least one recent vacation you’ve taken along a very cool, very fancy, blank journal with the intent of filling it in whilst on your trip. my question is this: did you COME HOME with the same very cool, very fancy, very blank journal??! yeah, me too. so this time i had a plan: my idea was that by taking a trip-specific book…one on which i’d already spent a bit of time and effort...i'd fare better. and ya know what? i was right!

ready to where's that compass gone??

part one: BEFORE YOU GO

time: less than an hour

supplies: 2 pieces 4.5 x 9" heavy chipboard; 9 sheets 8.5 x 11” kraft cardstock; 2 business sized envelopes; 1 large book ring

process: i made a simple template in broderbund print shop, with a page for each day of our trip, and one for each prospective activity/sight/feature we planned to visit. i left a few blank pages for doodles, extra stories or unplanned events. i cut chipboard to cover-size but did not decorate it, hoping to collect interesting stuff on the trip. i added a few business sized envelopes in which to collect receipts and other little pieces of paper that might otherwise be lost or damaged, punched a hole in the top left hand corner of each piece and i was all set!

one page template...not too plain...not too fancy

do you notice anything about the size and shape of this particular minibook? i’ll give you a hint: what’s 4 x 8” and ubiquitous on vacation? YEPPER: brochures!!! they’re in the airport, the hotel, the chamber of commerce, and we collect them like crazy everywhere we go. then we come home and put them all in a box, whilst struggling to make enough artistic pages about our vacation to fill a minibook. so it occurred to me: wouldn’t it be EASIER to do this the other way around?? let’s make the brochures the backbone of the project, and fill in around them with journaling and photos! and why limit ourselves to just brochures? we collect tons of cool memorabilia on vacation: postcards, ticket stubs, take-out menus, bookmarks, business cards, labels, receipts, tags…the list goes on and on. and if we like it enough to collect it, why not include it in our project? (if this seems a little too loosey-goosey to be a “real” scrapbook… remember, when this is done, you’ll have EVERYTHING from your trip all together, along with a record of your adventures and your immediate reactions to them. you can still make those artistic pages! in fact, it’ll be a bit easier, won’t it?! )

(essential travel tool kit, fits in an 8 x 5" plastic case: hole punch, mni dymo labeler & tape, selection of pens (including one that works well on slick surfaces), date stamp, ink pad, dry adhesive, glue stick)

part two: ON THE ROAD

time: about 15 minutes per night

supplies: items collected during the day; travel tool kit

process: i spent a few minutes each evening briefly noting what we did during the day. sometimes i used full sentences, others just simple lists. i didn’t worry about filling in all the details of each adventure, i saved that for the “activity” pages. i punched holes in the brochures and other memorabilia from the day’s activities and placed them in the book, using the dymo labeler to add amusing comments. i wrote out postcards from our favorite sights and added those in. a few nights, when i had extra time and energy, i filled in the activity pages while they were fresh in my mind; but i found that in the cases where i didn't, my notes…and a few days’ perspective…were enough to get them done on the plane, or after we got home.

the book, midway through...not finished...but starting to look preeeeeeeeeeetty cool!

part three: BACK AT HOME

time: 1 evening

supplies: photo paper; larger ephemera collected during trip (newspaper pages, real estate booklets, maps); diamond glaze; chipboard frame embellishment; letter stickers;cardinal picture from an old book; flower photos from the trip; picture of biltmore house from a brochure; inks

process: i decided early on that while i wanted to include *some* photos…i definitely did not want them to be the focus of the project, so i was extremely selective. to maximize the cool shape of the book, i chose to only use pics which could be attractively cropped into a ‘panoramic” shape (roughly 4 x 8” with a thin white border around them). i printed out our favorites, punched holes, and used them as additional pages. i used classified ads from the asheville citizen-times on my chipboard cover and adorned the front and back with pieces of the local maps we got free at AAA. i brushed on a coat of diamond glaze for extra strength and protection. a few inked edges and a little collage action later, and MY BOOK IS FINISHED!

by far the longest part of the process was waiting for the glaze to dry!!!

truly this is the quickest mini-book i've ever’s definitely the most satisfying...and i would estimate that the entire project used maybe $5 worth of supplies! jeff enjoyed searching each of our destinations for interesting “stuff” we could add, and often found better items than i did! (i imagine kids would enjoy helping with this part of the process, also!) watching the book fill up with cool stuff was more than enough motivation for me to sit down and work on it each night, and there was so little “finishing” needed that i was excited to get it done. i can definitely see a collection of these amassing, to document our future travels!

everything you could POSSIBLY want to save from a vacation...and then some!


  1. Oh you jolly clever thing, you! Perhaps next time I go on holiday I shall collect said brochures and send them to you to turn into a work of art!

  2. ONLY YOU!

    What a KILLER idea & COOL album!

    GREAT job Lauren!!!

  3. this is theeeeeee best kind of scrapbook - tons of bits and pieces :-) and all accomplished while everything is fresh in your mind - cos the stuff you didnt do along the way you could do right away when you got home cos you were so clever to have it all ready to go. so much is put off (and off) cos you've got to get stuff together - not so here. i love this. And ya know what i love too? that you got to do some "makin stuff" while you were away... no withdrawal ha! wonderful missy just wonderful

  4. Lauren, what a perfect way to capture your vacation! it looks amazing, you made very clever use of the bits you gathered, and you have a keepsake to treasure for years to come:) BRAVO!!!

  5. wowzers! I love it. Great idea.
    I am definitely trying it on my next outing! I always love your work.

  6. Wow that is so awesome-I am just in love with the cover and that cardinal on it!

  7. How long was I gone? You have been a busy girl.
    I bow to you, Master Scrapbooking Diva! You ROCK!
    I'm with you 100%. I have only made a couple of mini scrapbooks of vacations we have taken. Those were only accomplished because I journaled for ~15 minutes each night during the trip and made the scrapbook immediately upon returning home.
    This 4x8 book is gorgeous, wonderful, and a real treasure.

  8. Wish I would have read this BEFORE we left for our grand road trip (which is truly grand thus far). I may have to try something similar when I return. Absolutely fabulous my dear!


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