I think one of the neatest things about scrapbooking...well, after the shopping, buying, organizing and general fawning over products, is the wonderful sense of community that this hobby brings. There's a sense of camaraderie when you meet a fellow scrapbooker. That moment of "Oh, you're crazy too! We should get along just fine."
I find myself, for the first time in nine years, NOT working in a scrapbooking environment. This, for sure, has it's pluses, but I do miss (ever so slightly) the daily elbow-bumping of my fellow crazies.
Which makes me glad that prior to leaving the scrapbook store I set up a "circle journal" with my coworkers. This project is giving me that sense of community, the feeling of inclusion, and fills me with excitement.
If you're scratching your head and wondering what a circle journal is, relax, you're not alone. I only know about it because I was lucky enough to see journals being passed around, and I thought the idea was so intriguing it really stuck with me. A circle journal (or CJ) is an album that you create that has a theme. You create a page based on your theme, and then you pass the album onto the next person, who then creates her page addressing the same theme. Meanwhile, you've taken an album from someone else and you complete a layout based on that person's theme. Once you're finished you're going to pass it along to the same person you passed your first album to, and receive a new album from the same person who handed off to you before. Thus, the journals pass from person to person, making a circle once it gets handed back to its creator.
The albums are usually a smaller format, and generally have enough room for each participant to make a one or two page layout. The group of people involved can be people you know ahead of time, or may be people that you meet online through a message board, or if you're lucky you may be asked to round out someone else's CJ. It's best if you have 8 to 14 people. Too small a group will give you a book that's on the wimpy side, with probably not enough diversity. Too many, and you won't see your book returned to you for a year or more! Oh, that's another point, you have to decide upfront how long you have to create your entry before passing on to the next person. Our group chose a month, but everyone seems to leave it to the very last minute, so you could easily make the time frame shorter.
Themes for CJ can be anything your heart desires. Some themes in the CJ I'm in now are Sweet treats (a recipe album with a focus on sweets), Your favorite book, What makes your heart happy, spontaneous trips, holiday traditions, getting to know you... I've seen CJs with Pet Peeves, Hometowns, Shoes (thank God I don't have to create a layout based on my pathetic shoe "collection"), Music, Bucket List, etc., etc., etc. And it is always so fascinating to me to see these books. Not just the scrapbooking aspect - it's so fun to see every one's different styles, but I love seeing every one's responses to the themes. I find myself really wanting to read about someone else's hometown, and what drives everyone else crazy and what every hopes to accomplish before they die. Fascinating!
Whew. That was a long explanation! And yet, that's just the bare bones basics. We could talk for hours. Okay, maybe a half hour, but it would be a jam-packed half hour.
My little group of ladies started our journals in October, and I just completed my second one, not including my own. I'll share the one I just completed, but today I wanted to show the album I created.
This is my album. I used a Theresa Collins board book as my base. The book, as you buy it, is three tabbed pages, and I have a feeling these are meant to be kind of chapter separators, but I decided to make them my pages, and purchased several books. Because of the tremendous thickness of the book, I decided to limit my CJ to just one page per person. My theme is "Random Childhood Memories" and the title is cut from vinyl using my Silhouette. I love that the Silhouette software allows me to design in relationship - meaning I can create each word and position and size them independently so that they "go" perfectly with the other elements.
There are lots of ways to set up a CJ, and certainly there are no hard and fast rules. I wanted to create a place for each participant to sign in, answer a couple of questions pertaining to the topic, and (hopefully) add a picture of themselves. Space was an issue, so I decided to make these library pockets, also cut using the Silhouette (it's one of their designs). "Roll Call", the dots and every one's names are also cut on the Silhouette.
Just a close up of the pocket. You get a better look at the little questionnaire, which was created in Word. Nothing fancy. I'm not Word guru, so fancy isn't on the menu.
And lastly, this shot shows my intro/welcome page. It tells how I came to chose the topic, it asks them to fill out the card in the pocket and lets them know what I'm hoping they'll do.
Somehow I managed to send my book off into the wild without a picture of my page about my random childhood memories. You'll have to take my word for it: it was way cute, right down to the picture of me in one of my smocked Sunday dresses with the family's VW Bug in the background. It did not, however, follow the black, white and red theme I had for the intro section. I wanted to have a clear delineation of the business part of the book and the fun part of the book.
Okay, so that's today's monster post. I will grab some pictures of the layout I just did and post again soon. I would strongly encourage anyone even remotely interested in the idea of a circle journal to find a group that's forming and join in, or take the bull by the horns and start one yourself. Additional information such as theme suggestions and samples can be found here, here and here.