Nancy Craker-Yahman has always loved scrapbooking. She started her son's military scrapbook a few weeks before he departed for boot camp for the Massachusetts National Guard. But it wasn't until the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that her fire for scrapbooking was reignited while looking through old artifacts with her father, who was in the U.S. Army.
"When things shut down and my workday shortened, I was able to spend additional time with my father. Our time together allowed us to sort through his collection of photographs and family memorabilia," Craker-Yahman said.
"Sifting through his collection, we came across handwritten notes, birth announcements, report cards and school yearbooks. We also located photographs and keepsakes of his time as an officer in the United States Army ... His collection reminded me of the scrapbooks I started for my son."
Many military moms are often searching for ways to support their children during their time in the service. Scrapbooking is just one of the ways Craker-Yahman has done that for her son. It allows her to collect memories and mementos that she knows both of them will cherish for years to come.
"When I tend to my scrapbooking, I can contribute to a set of memory books that our son cherishes," she said.
Scrapbooks are a great way to keep your family's memories alive. For your military son or daughter, keeping a scrapbook of their time in the military, especially the beginning stages, will be something they treasure many years down the road. Here are scrapbook fanatic Craker-Yahman's suggestions for beginning a military scrapbook.
3 Tips for Beginning a Military Scrapbook
Tip #1: Quality matters
Plan to purchase scrapbooks with sturdy covers. These types of scrapbooks make for easy storage. Look for scrapbook pages that allow you to slip in a photograph or news clipping. Album pages should have plastic coverings to protect photos from becoming wet, scratched or damaged. Plan to store your scrapbook collection inside a plastic tub for easy storage and mobility. Michaels and JOANN Fabrics, well-known crafting stores, carry a wide selection of scrapbooking materials as well as military-themed stickers, stamps and patches.
Tip #2: Search for deals
Be on the lookout for scrapbooking merchandise. Sign up to receive online Michaels and JOANN Fabrics weekly circulars to learn the best deals. Locate nearby secondhand military stores because they have a plentiful supply of military stickers and patches that can be incorporated into your scrapbooks.
Tip #3: Must-Haves -- a permanent marker, Scotch Tape and the 5 Ws.
The most important step before placing photographs inside a scrapbook is labeling. Using a permanent marker, plan to incorporate the 5 Ws.
Seal each of the photo notes with clear tape to ensure that the writing doesn't smudge. You can also incorporate sticky labels. One highly recommended website for printing labels is Avery. Avery will take you through the process of creating unique labels that you can adhere to the back of photos or onto the front of your scrapbooking pages. Besides being able to print from the comfort of your own home using Avery, you can choose to incorporate different colors, personalize the style and size of your font and add images.
Craker-Yahman explains that scrapbooking is just as much for her as it is for her son.
"Scrapbooking soothes my soul. It allows my creative side to be further nurtured," she said.
In the end, her time as a military mom has allowed her to take something she loves to do and create special keepsakes for someone she loves to share with their future families.
"Scrapbooking allows me to help tell our soldier's stories to future generations. As a proud military mom, it is of utmost importance that others learn of our son and other military member's dedicated service to their country and its people. A soldier's responsibilities and the personal pride military members feel toward serving should be highlighted, and one clear way to do this is through scrapbooking."
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