Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tomorrow She Is Off

...and leaving on a jet plane bound for Europe. My 16 year old niece that is. The trip itself will last 19 days and cover 6 countries. She is going as an ambassador with People to People and was invited based on her excellent academics and leadership qualities. We are ALL so very proud of her.
It is a bittersweet time for her.
For us.
Her beloved momma (my sister Linda) now an angel to us all for not quite three months.
Taken so suddenly.
Taken too soon.
She is watching over Shelby.
I just know she is.
And I know that she'll be right there with Shelby in spirit.
She'll be cheering her on and she'll be clapping the loudest. Just like she always did. Except now she's doing it from Heaven.

I wanted to make something special for Shelby to document this once in a lifetime trip of hers. Shelby is quite the prolific and talented author and so I wanted to be sure she had something to jot things down in. So, I made a little travel album for her and I'm pleased to report that she received it today (just in time). She also received a brand new Instax 7s camera and two packs of film from our family. The album was just screaming to have little Instax pics thrown in it. :)
Here are some of the pages below:

{I actually had added a blue bling to the "o" in "world Traveler" on the cover but forgot to put it back on after I had "Yes" glued the cover and laminated it (with contact paper).}
(I'll apologize now for the poor lighting in these pics-they were taken at night).
Front cover: Made from chipboard + collage of travel stickers + transparency and book rings. I covered the sticker portion with "Yes" glue for added durability. But it felt a bit tacky, so I decided to cover just the sticker portion of the cover with contact paper. Ahhh...much better and more durable. See the "O" in world? That's where the big blue bling rhinestone goes. It will have to be added back on later. :)
Here's the inside front cover and her itinerary on the right. I just found a piece of kraft paper that I had been tinkering with spray mists on and put it to good use.
 Here is the back of the itinerary. I decided to add several pics of Shelby's loved ones to her album. Not to make her feel homesick but to have her be able to look at the smiling faces of her loved ones and remind her that we are all with her in spirit and in her heart. Beneath the pics I wrote and stamped: "Our HEARTS are with you, wherever you may roam." xoxo The Fam

The top pic is Shelby with her Momma (my big sis, Linda) and two of my nieces with my eldest sister and myself, taken over the past Christmas holiday, before any of us knew Linda had leukemia. When she was seemingly full-throttle healthy. It was a beautiful and magical time for all of us. Great memories. Lasting ones.

I gathered a half dozen manilla envelopes and started stamping "hello"on each of them as well as some 7Gypsies stamps and the "" stamp from an Ali Edwards travel kit I purchased a few years back. On a few of the envelopes I cut patterned paper to cover the flaps of the envelopes. I kept the running theme of "hello (then the country's name) throughout the album. On the back cover it reads..."Nice to finally meet you."

 Here is a small handwritten note from me-wishing Shelby well,  telling her how proud we are of her, and telling her the purpose of the album and how to put it to good use. I have to confess, I got a bit emotional writing that little note down. Cry me like a, actually a flood of tears...and so it goes...

More pics of family and friends throughout:

 I loosely drew in an outline for her to adhere an Instax picture taken from each country visited. In my handwriting I scrolled out the words "I heart Holland, I heart England," etc.

 Here's a closer view of what I mean:

 The back of the last envelope and the inside back cover: Around the pics of my sister I wrote " I am with you always."
 I love that I have the circle stamp that reads "My love for you is like a circle-there is no beginning and there is no end." Totally what my sis would say. I love that it is just across from her beautiful face.

 The outside back cover.
I stamped on several shipping tags "Quote" "record" etc and tucked several into each envelope for Shelby to jot things down on. I also told her to place receipts, memorabilia, flyers, brochures, etc into each pocket as she went about her travels. I placed the whole album in a larger manilla envelope in case she had larger brochures that wouldn't fit into the album (& as another layer of protection against the elements) AND then put it in a large Ziplock bag to triple protect it from damage. :)

Despite this being an emotionally fatiguing creation, it was therapeutic for me and warmed my heart at the same time. Truly bittersweet I guess.
Can't wait to see and hear about Shelby's travels. The stories she'll tell. The memories she'll document. The journey she'll take.
Bon voyage Shelby!
Remember, we are never further than your heart away.

Aunt Suz


  1. Suz this is just gorgeous. Shelby will love it now and in years to come. I know she will love all the places she is visiting as I have been to many of the places myself. Happy travels!

  2. awesome mini Suz, and your blog background is one of the coolest that I have seen in a while!

  3. This is such a beautiful gift, I am sure she will have a lot of fun filling it with memories! I hope she has fun here in Europe!

  4. What a wonderful job, I love that you mentioned what the process meant to you. Making our creations can help us organize are thoughts, analyze are feelings and give our hearts a rest even if sometimes the project makes us feel like are heart is breaking but at the same time so joyful. Thanks for reminding and inspiring me with how important memory art is!


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