Sunday, April 1, 2012

A paper bag album "how to" in memory of my Grandma.

I've been contemplating today's post for awhile. I've been trying to figure out what I was going to say or do. How much is too much, don't be wordy. Is it enough. All foolish questions, but questions (and many others) that crossed my mind, none the less.

April 1st 2008, a day I remember all too well.  There are things, moments, conversations, actions, that I can remember pretty much word for word. I can see it all, like it was yesterday, but in fact, it has been 4 years. (Good thing you can't see me because I'm crying already.../biting lip)

Four years ago today my Grandma passed away. I was the first one in the family to find out. My poor Grandfather was probably one of the last to find out since he was on his way to the hospital at the time. Anyway. She had been in the hospital, but that doesn't really make it any easier.

I was the first one to find out. That meant I was now the one that had phone calls to make. Awkward phone calls. How do those words come out in the "right way?" I'm still pretty sure they didn't, but that is how the conversation went and I believe I apologized to the recipient of my first phone call. Things you aren't prepared for...

My Grandma was an amazing lady with plenty of style and class. Me in my jeans and hoodie is no reflection on my Grandma's style. She always looked nice, dressed down to her, was dressed up to most of today's young people. I know better, I just choose to be lazy.

Grandma had been in the nursing home due to a wound that wouldn't heal and lack of strength, and who knows what else. There were many things Grandma and Granddad kept from us, we shouldn't have to worry about things like that and besides "Grandma always gets better." A fighter she was. She fought against one medical issue after another for most of her life. She proved the doctors wrong time and time and again.  She was told she wouldn't get to watch her own kids grow up. Guess what! She sure proved those doctors wrong because her oldest Granddaughter was in her 30's. (Yep! I'm a 30 something)

For Christmas 2007 I made a paperbag album for my Grandma. It seemed like the perfect thing for her to be able to look at over and over (at least it was my hope she would, and she did. Anytime I stopped to visit it was either in her hands or within arms reach)

I have this book now. It sits on my shelf that I got for Christmas (hmm, did I ever share that picture with you? I kept telling you I would and now I don't think I did. hmm...) Before that it sat in the bag that my Grandfather had it in when he gave it back to me. I took it down off the shelf earlier and it seems that adhesive doesn't last forever either. I will be re-adhering some of the pages.

Have you made a paperbag album before? It was fun and they seem perfect for so many things. I am going to share mine with you and I wanted to show you how to make one, seems this post is getting lengthy. I looked around to see if I could find some tutorials for you. I found two I was happy with sharing. There are lots of pictures out there and plenty that would show you how to get it done, but they didn't seem 'worthy'. Is that horrible? I hope not, I only want to share the best.
The first is my blog friend Gen at Cabin Fevered Gem. That link will take you to a paper bag album she made. Her post also has a video link for a how to. Wander around her blog she has lots of great ideas.
Can you believe that is a paper bag? Hop over to Gen's and check it out. I think it is lovely!

I am also sharing Dirt Cheap Decor's link. They have a non-video how to. We aren't bloggy friends yet, but I can tell you they are sitting here waiting for me to wander around their blog and I'm most certain we'll be friends before I walk away from the computer!!!

Here is the one I made for my Grandma. Who knew that something made to help comfort her would turn around and help comfort me.

There a number of ways to bind them together. I used a hole punch and ribbon

One of my high school graduation parties was at this Grandma's house.
I included pictures that she had put on the poster board of pics for the party.

My love of travel had to come from my Grandparents.
We would travel to South Carolina each summer to see my Aunt.
Road trips with the the memories.

The bags get placed together in opposite directions.
It leaves the open end the opportunity to be used as a place to tuck things in... the post card below
and a note you can't see in the pic.
The note is about our road trips! this post card. She was a funny one!
I promise you if I were to have taken a picture of the other side you 
would see my Grandmother's cursive writing.
My Aunt moved to Florida (right before I moved to SC).
The post card was sent from Grandma visiting in FL to me living in SC.

This pic was taken at a plantation in SC.
This particular visit, I met them at Aunt Kaye's.

With both of my Grandma's for my college Graduation
a one of my all time and Grandma at the beach!

Another pocket. This one has a note about Christmas memories in it.

It was the early 90's don't judge that hair!!!

It was super fun to do and I can't believe I haven't done more.
Perhaps I should, and take pics each step of the way...
I think they would be great for so many things.

***tissue alert***

This one was perfect for Grandma and is now perfect for me.
I am off to give it some love with some stronger adhesive.
One thing I did do was make copies of the pictures.
Lunch bags are not archival safe so if you are wanting to preserve your pictures this isn't the best way.

I wish she could be here to meet Jim. She always said she liked looking up to tall good looking guys!
I wish she could be here to see what we have done to this house and the gardens when they are in bloom.
She is here in my heart every day!
It is supposed to rain today. Her tears from missing all of us will help the garden grow!
I love you and miss you Grandma!!!!

linking up here:

Sunday's Best Linky Party!


  1. What a treasure you have! Love the pockets and ability to "hide" things! I wish my Gram would have met my kids too ... think of it everyday. How awesome that you're keeping her memory alive : )

  2. Hugs to you Jen..It's wonderful that you were so close to your Grandma and that you made that cute little book for her that is now a treasure for you..Sorry I haven't written lately..Having some health problems..visits to Doctors and have the first part of a stress test at the hospital tomorrow..

  3. Just beautiful Jen. Thanks so much for sharing your story. Linking up to my paper bag album was just a bonus! You did an amazing job! Be sure to hold on to this one forever. Cheers my dear,

  4. This is great! I love how you can use the pockets!

  5. Love the fact that you were so close to your Grandma, and I loved the beach photo. This is a cute idea and really love all those pockets. So many great things you can put inside. Your Grandma has met Jim, just from away, put she sees you every day! Thanks for sharing your creative inspiration at Sunday's Best.

  6. This is such a beautiful and creative idea. I would love for you to link up at my Linky Party via:

    PS: I am your newest Linky Follower!

    Mrs. Delightful



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