Saturday, May 16, 2020

Scrapbooking | The Beaches of Normandy Short Story Album

I never dreamed I'd have the opportunity to visit the beaches of Normandy in northern France; however, a couple of years ago, I traveled with Robbie on a week-long business trip to Paris. We booked an all-day private tour of the beaches of Normandy for the following Saturday. Robbie had an exhausting week and was not feeling well, but we decided to make the best of it and go ahead with the prepaid tour. It was an amazing excursion!

When Stacy Julian encouraged us to choose a group of photos for a "short story album" project in the 20in20 Class, I decided it was time to get some of the photos from our day trip off the computer and into a scrapbook! Fortunately, I was able to get a batch of photos printed at our local Walgreens.

I found a white 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 3-ring binder album in my craft closet (where it's been for a very long time), so I was able to cut some 8 1/2 x 11 brown cardstock from my stash in half to create the page bases. I then chose a variety of patterned papers and embellishments in blues, red, greens and browns. Stacy actually recommended pulling all black & white embellishments, but I knew I would be happier with more colorful items. I pulled quite a bit more than I used, but this made it easy to keep working on the album and not get sidetracked looking for something to complete a page.

The idea is to complete this entire project in a short period of time. There were two 2-hour Facebook live sessions where Stacy shared her process and put together her own album while those of us in the class worked along. (I actually completed my project in one 4-hour session ... because once I got going, I was having too much FUN to stop!)

The genius of the process Stacy shared is that it allows pages to be assembled quickly by adding photos (which were cropped and piled by size first) and patterned papers to the bases. Here's a look at my pile of pages with photos and patterned papers.

I ended up with twice the number of pages of Stacy's typical 20-page short story album. The 42 pages in my album are roughly divided into three sections. The main color scheme is browns/tans, and I included small red stars and embellishments throughout.

The first section showcases photos from Arromanches and Gold Beach. When our tour guide discovered that Robbie is a collector, he took us down a few side roads to a military store with lots of relics from the war. These pages include blue accent papers and embellishments.

The second section showcases photos from the American Cemetery and features green embellishments. I learned that this section of land was actually ceded to the United States after the war and is now a U.S. territory within France. The cemetery contains the graves of nearly 9,400 war dead (including both of President Roosevelt's sons), most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landing and ensuing operations.

The third section showcases photos from Pointe du Hoc and features brown accents and embellishments. This is where the US Army Rangers landed on Omaha Beach, and the ground is pockmarked with holes from the Allied Forces naval cannon fire. We were able to enter some of the German bunkers and view the gun emplacements. We also discovered that the Battleship Texas (which we toured in Houston a couple of years ago) was part of the armada on D-Day.

I created the title page with one of my favorite photos from Gold Beach, where I was amazed to discover the abundance of large abandoned military artifacts in the water and on the beach. This page features all the colors used throughout the album, effectively tying it together!

Have you noticed the lack of journaling on these pages? The "short story" journaling was the next step in this process. I typed up my story and added it behind my title page.

And, finally, I covered my album and added a title block. I am so thrilled to have this project complete and in a small format that will be easy to take with us to share with family (when we're able to travel and visit again!).

Here's a really quick video I shot to share the project in our class Facebook group. Enjoy!


  1. What a great project! I love that we have been to the same places (including the USS Texas in Houston) and scrapbooked them. On a side note, I love Arromanches.

  2. Great process; great scrapbook!

  3. A wonderful process & completed album. Stacy Julian has been a rock star for the Simple Scrapbooks.


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