Story Tag Journal Mini | Using Old Family Photos



My father passed away in late August of this last year and it was hands down the most difficult thing that I have ever gone through. All of it was so.dang.hard. He was my person in this life. When they talk about fathers and daughters and how special that relationship is...take that and times it a hundred thousand bazillion and you might get close to being accurate. Anyways, when I was working at my dad's house cleaning and going through his things, I happened upon lots of letters and photos which to a scrapbooker, is like finding a literal goldmine. In addition to old, old, old, photos, I was tickled to discover some photos from my childhood that I don't recall ever seeing. I printed some of my favorites and used them in this little tag mini so I can easily flip through and look at them whenever I want. I have it on display in my craft room as well, so I can be reminded of all the goodness that was my childhood.

I used papers from the Storyteller collection from Vicki Boutin as well as lots of bits and pieces from the tag mini journaling book from the same collection and lots from her different ephemera packs. 

I started working on this mini yesterday afternoon, took a break to make dinner, and finished it shortly thereafter. I LOVE this mini! I flip through it's pages and find myself smiling. My heart also hurts a bit each time when going through it...but it's a hurt that's caused by loving and of having been loved. This is just so precious to me. 

I started off with a picture of my mom, dad, and I peeking out of the library card pocket (I'm a part-time perfect is this?!). My parents divorced right after I went off to college and I had no idea (no inkling whatsoever) that it was coming. According to childhood was golden. Pure and simple. My parents loved me, I loved them, they loved each other. I know this. My mom still tells me this. For this I am thankful. My mom re-married and my dad developed Parkinson's. He was the most amazing artist and the most authentic, honest, interesting, and down to earth individual you could ever meet. And he was my dad. I used to feel slighted and bitter about my parents divorce, as though I was a victim and hurt immeasurably, and while this is true (I was hurt incredibly by their parting ways) I have since realized now that my dad has passed away that I have been given an incredible gift in this life. Something some people don't even know they are missing. I experienced life with my family, with them both until I was 19...and that life was so very good. So filled with love, laughter, experience...all the good stuff sprinkled in with just enough of the nitty gritty stuff. Blessed. 

My second page is just a simple picture of me as a little girl. I had never seen this picture before. I'm in front of the local barber shop (where my parents got my bangs cut - for awhile they lived in the apartment upstairs). I'm all dressed up and wonder if I had just gotten my bangs cut in this picture...they do look pretty short. One thing I do remember is that the barber, Charlie Kieffer, would always give me a piece of Juicy Fruit gum after a cut. I also remember sitting in the big red swivel chair. He would put a board across the arms of the chair for me and set me up there so I could see myself in the big mirror that spanned the length of the room. 

The next page is my mom and I. We're both pictured here in front of Charlie's barber shop. My dad used to tell me every day on my birthday that my mom thought I was a real live angel when I was born. He would say over and over that she was convinced that I was an angel. He told me this even when I was an adult. He would tell me all about the day of my birth and end with my mom's thoughts about me being a true live angel. I love that.

My dad was an artist by trade. He painted large three dimensional pieces of canvas that he stretched over steel (that he welded into interestingly shaped frames). In every house that we lived in we had a room that was a studio. It was a normal thing for me to have a room in the house that had paint all over the floor and to routinely hear loud music thumping. It was amazing and I really didn't even know it until much later on in life. 

My dad also told me stories. Every night before bed I would ask for a Creepy Mouse story and like magic, he would pull one out for me to listen to. Creepy Mouse wasn't at all creepy. He lived in Mr. Kunaforda's (couldn't afford) toy store which was right next door to the theater, that had the alley cats (that lived in the alley next to the theater). They were the best stories and always had some sort of little lesson tucked within without being glaringly obvious. 

He encouraged me to be who I was when I was little, all the way up to the moment that he died. He genuinely loved me just as I was. That is actually something that is really difficult to do. To not try to encourage someone to change or bend to fit your will. He did that...always. 

I love how the stickers on this page really sum up what I want to say about him. So cool. 

For a few years when I was younger my dad managed an old opera house in the town that we were living in. Movies were shown on weekends and he would run the concession stand out front and then run upstairs to man the projector in the projection booth. This was back when things were old school and nothing was digital...he had huge reels of film that he would have to thread into the projector. For some of the really long movies he would have multiple reels for one movie and would have to race to get the second one ready to go and try to make the split as seamless as possible. That was always a high stress moment! I would sometimes sit up there with him (it was so loud in that room!) and watch the movie out of a little square window. Mostly though I would sit right outside the room on the upper balcony where I could actually hear the movie. Sometimes the film strip would break and the movie screen would go blank and people would dad would scramble to get the film back in place and then people would clap and hoot and holler.

Another thing about my mom and dad both was that they encouraged feelings of contentment and joy over life's little things. My dad would read me a poem and we would simply think about it. He would never suggest how I "should" feel about it. We would go on walks together as a family. Being alone with one's thoughts was encouraged and respected always. Figuring out creative ways to solve problems was just a given. Gratitude had it's place at the small worn wooden kitchen table that we sat at, always. 


The typewriter is a tag that opens and holds special journaling inside. My dad had a typewriter in the gallery that we had for business letters and gallery work, etc. and I remember typing at it and feeling so important! This was before computers were a thing. I would actually have friends over and ask my parents if we could go in the gallery at night to type! So funny!

I backed a little piece of ephemera with a black and white photo of me sitting under one of my dad's big easels. If you look closely you can see numerous bottles of Liquitex paints on the easel's ledge. I have so many memories of spending time with my dad in his studio.  

Another photo that I love is this one of me sitting in my dad's wooden canoe that he attached a sail to. It's sitting on the concrete drive in front of our house and you can see our orange karmann ghia in the picture as well. We drove that car to Florida once. It actually had a hole rusted in the floor so I could look down and see the road moving in a blur. I also recall one time my parents having to turn around the car to pick up the small triangle part of the window that you could crank open in the back because it fell out. When I was a teenager my dad actually got a real sailboat and it had a slip for it in the marina. He loved that boat. He would take me out sailing. My mom wasn't a huge fan. As a teen I had fun sleeping out in it with friends on the weekends for something fun and different to do.  

These next pictures I know nothing about. I sure do love them though. 

I've got another little tag here for that I can "hide" it a bit with those pretty butterfly die-cuts. 

I do recall the picture of me having a lemonade stand in front of my dad's studio. I remember my dad making the sign and my mom and I making the lemonade. After finding this photo I found a letter that my dad had written to his mom about me having this lemonade stand. I couldn't believe it! Reading the words that he wrote about me and this little moment just made me cry. He was so proud. Apparently a small bus of elderly adults stopped and bought lemonade, lots of customers that were going into my dad's gallery asked for glasses with refills, and neighbors as well as people from the church that was up the hill from us. I apparently was a success! :) 

I thought the fun little photo frame strip was perfect for some of the random pictures that I found. Normal life was just so good. 

And the end of my mini are two pictures (again, that I had never seen) of the three of us. One is of us at Hardee's (which is so funny because it was a RARE event that that happened growing up!) and then the other is of us in the concession stand at a local park that my mom and dad worked at when I was really young. My mom told me that they kept a cot inside of the stand so I could nap, and in this picture I had just woken up from one.

I love creating but it's magic when I create something that touches my heart in such a way as this does. I truly love this and am so thankful for this beautiful way of storytelling and documenting memories. It's really what it's all about. 

Thanks for visiting and if you made it this far, for following along!