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Creating Grandma's Books for Your Grandchildren
Grandma's Book Photos
Guidles for Building Grandma's Books
Building A Grandma's Book
By: Joan Whetzel
When my first granddaughter came into the world, I began toying with the idea of creating a memory book that told her stories, that showed in words and pictures what I found so great about her. What I wanted this book to be took a few years to gel in my mind. I finally, started it when she was about 5 years old. It contains a few stories and photos from others, but mostly photos, drawings and stories I have collected from time I have spent with her. After assembling these pieces of my granddaughter's life in one place, I then started creating her very own book. Now that my second granddaughter has made her appearance, I didn't waiting so long to get started on her "Grandma's Book" and will conitinue to do so with each new grandchild. It's easier starting the book at the beginning, especially since I have a pretty good idea of what I want to put in it.
What Goes Into a Grandma's Book?
Begin with, anecdotes about things the child has done. Type up these little nuggets - about 1 to 3 paragraphs - telling what they did. Describe how excited you were by their accomplishment, or why you found an incident amusing, or how impressive their new talent or skill is.
Add photos, taken by you or by others, showing the child performing certain actions that you find cute (e.g. Cidney at 4 months playing guitar with her daddy) or doing something that illustrates the anecdotes (Haleigh riding a two-wheeler without training wheels). Also add some drawings or crafts that they have made for you. In the Grandma's Book of Haleigh, I included an abstract drawing she created on my computer's paint program, a lunch sack "grandma" puppet she made for grandparents day, and a "business card" she drew for me one day after she made repairs around the house with her tools. (She even included her phone number.) You could also add a growth chart, jotting down her height and weight every time she comes for a visit and photos that show her growth, ideally shot in front of the same backdrop.
Grandma's Book Materials
Grandma's Books can take on any number of forms. The two easiest are the binder method and the scrapbook method. Purchase either an expandable scrapbook or a wide, three-ring binder (3 to 4 inches) so that the book has plenty of room to expand as the child's story fills the book. A three-hole punch adds holes at the right spacing for adding the child's drawings and laminated items to the binder. Either purchase a home laminating machine or locate a business that has laminating services, like FedEx / Kinko's, so that you can laminate drawings or creations made from paper that will easily become damaged.
Clear photo holders are helpful for the binders and come in a range of photo sizes:
4 x 6 inch, 5 x 7 inch and 8 x 10 inch. For scrapbooking adhesive photo album corners work as do any of the scrapbooking alternatives for mounting photos. Scrapbooking supply stores carry numerous artistic decorations - paints, stamps, glue on shapes - that can be used to personalize each book to the child.
Finally, use your computer to write up the anecdotes as well as create borders and other artistic designs for the pages you add. Photos can be scanned in or digitally uploaded. Print the photos on photo paper or cut and paste them into any of the anecdotal pieces you write. When printing photos paper, be aware that photo paper for printers can get pricey and printing photos uses a lot of ink, so keep this cost in mind when creating your Grandma's Books.
Organizint Grandma's Books
Organizing your Grandma's Books can take one of three basic forms. The first involves following the child's life chronologically - the method I personally find the easiest. Intersperse anecdotes, photos, and drawings or artistic creations, inserting them as they occur during the child's life.
The other two methods are arranged categorically. One categorical method of organization involves putting all the photos in one section, artwork in another section and anecdotes in yet another area of the book. The other categorical method accenting the child's accomplishments and milestones - skill sets (academics or physical), talents (athletic, artistic, musical), or anything else that makes the child special (leadership and diplomacy, how observant they are, their decisiveness).
Grandma's Books tell a child's stories in an artistic manner. They can be fancy or simple, colorful or plain. It doesn't matter. The final product is limited only by your imagination and the individuality of each child. And once you start the first book, you'll get a feel for the best ways to organize them. You'll also figure out which scrapbooking accessories to use interchangeably between your grandchildren, which helps with the cost issue.
The only thing left to decide is when to present your Grandma's Books to each grandchild. You may decide to give one book to an adolescent grandchild who seems to be struggling and could use a morale booster from a grandma who sees their potential. On the other hand you may wait until each grandchild turns 18 and graduates high school, then present their book to them as the head off to college or make their way in the job world. Lastly, you may decide to let each child help you construct their book, so that they see their life being written as it happens and let them decide when it's time to take it with them.
There is no wrong way to do a Grandma's Book. Each book should turn out differently because each child is different. The only thing that matters is that their Grandma's Book makes them feel special, wanted, loved, that their uniqueness is what makes them who they are.