Just a Little Scrapbook Therapy

Layout a Day is like therapy. Scrapbook therapy. Lain Ehmann is my therapist (she doesn't even know it) and the LOAD Flickr gallery is like group therapy, always full of support.

This is my fifth round of LOAD and I've never cried so much. Actually, I've shed more tears during my February scrapbooking than all my years of scrapbooking combined. Who says that scrapbooking is not therapeutic? I know it's good for the soul.

During a recent scrapbook therapy session, I cried balled my eyes out as I wrote a letter to my deceased grandparents:

"Goodbye" 12x12 Scrapbook Layout

Supplies: cardstock (Prima, DCWV), Jillibean Soup corrugated alphas, Pink Paislee twine.

At the times of their passings, I was fine. I mourned the loss of both of them as they were at the end of their lives. However, I never mourned the loss of how I remember them when I was a child.

Then, I was moody during the week I made these next pages:

"In Memory" 12x12 Scrapbook Layout

Supplies: cardstock (DCWV, Me & My Big Ideas), Jillibean Soup diecuts, Creative Imaginations brads, Petaloo flowers.

That one is celebrating the memory of my Aunt Linda who passed in 2009 and this next layout is about the place I spent plenty of summers hanging out with family during our annual reunions.

"Steubenville Ohio" 12x24 Scrapbook Layout

I added numbers to specific places on this aerial map of the Pottery Addition.

Only one photo was an actual Polaroid.

Supplies: cardstock (My Mind's Eye, DCWV), American Crafts fabric paper, Google Map, My Mind's Eye rub-ons.

The last reunion I went to took place ten years ago. Since then, family moved out-of-state and I had to say goodbye to Steubenville all over again.

And the peak of the crying happened after I finished those layouts. Still in a bad mood and trying to figure out why, I sat alone in my room and glanced over toward a container of old photos. I moved closer, sat cross-legged on the floor and opened it up. There were photos I had looked at over and over again, but one stood out.

Supplies: DCWV cardstock, Making Memories & Cosmo Cricket stickers, Colorbox chipboard, bubble wrap (under the journaling to add dimension). Note: I took a flame to the journaling paper and burned the edges.

The photo was nothing special (top of page), just another one of me coloring Easter eggs (I have dozens of these), but there I was, standing in my old house...before the fire.

And here I go again...tearing up just because I wrote "before the fire."

It's no wonder why I've been moody. I've been reliving sad memories from the past.

Two weeks before I was to leave for my first year of college, my childhood home caught fire with my mother and I inside...and the plumber who was working in our furnace room. I remember him yelling "FIRE!"

All of us got out safely. The fire departments came. We watched our home go up in flames. Smoke billowing. My mom dropped to her knees in our neighbor's front yard when the Red Cross arrived.

Fast forward to the day I was allowed to go inside to gather my belongings. I can't really remember walking through the house. I remember standing at the entrance of my bedroom.

The fan dangled from what was left of the ceiling. Everything was damaged from smoke and water. I attempted to gather a little bit of stuffing from my pillow that came from the original pillow my grandmother gave me. I couldn't.

There was a book of CDs I recovered, but the stack of cases next to it was melted together. I looked toward my closet and was excited to see my favorite pair of jeans. I was soon disappointed to find out that the hanger was melted to them.

I was able to grab clothes that were in my dresser drawers, mostly t-shirts and pajamas. Everything else was left for the clean-up crew.

I stayed at my brother's house until I left for college. Luckily, most of my college supplies were stored in a back room and untouched by the fire. Friends and family helped me start a new wardrobe. Moving to Toledo was easy without a place to call home.

As the months passed, the house was rebuilt and boxes of our belongings were returned to us. I remember smelling the fire all over again when I went through my stuff.

Looking back, I could care less about losing clothes and many of my belongings. I'm obviously happy that no one was hurt. But what puts me in awe to this very day are the photos that survived the fire. Our family photos were saved. I'm able to scrapbook them. I'm able to tell my story. ~Danielle


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