This article originally appeared in the autumn 2012 issue of Somerset Memories.
Motherhood Timecard Journal
I was browsing in an office supply store last summer while my son napped in the stroller. I love to look at office products because they can be wonderful supplements to traditional paper crafting supplies. I found a stack of old fashioned paper timecards sitting on the shelf and immediately began thinking of all the creative ways they could be used. I was excited to see real timecards because so many people track their hours at work electronically now, some even clocking in with their thumbprint. My mind was already full of possibilities for baby books and so the connection between motherhood, babies, and work quickly sprang to mind. I initially planned to document the tasks and hours of each day for a week or so on the timecards, but soon realized that there was absolutely no way to measure the actual hours spent ‘working’ as I cared for my baby. Our days may have been filled with the physical tasks of nursing, rocking, changing, bathing, feeding, playing, walking, cuddling, and more, but the ‘work’ itself was so much more meaningful than it might appear on paper. These tasks also had fuzzy boundaries, and as a mom, I was often too tired to even remember what time I started something in order to be able to record it! And so, the timecards became more symbolic of the work of motherhood than an actual recording of physical work.
Transparencies are wonderful to use in handmade books. I trimmed transparencies to the same size as the timecards and interspersed several as pages throughout the journal. I love the way they add interest to the journal. I used Ranger alcohol inks to draw hearts and make random colorful backgrounds on some of the transparencies. Drawing hearts with the alcohol ink was tricky; I had to practice several times to get the feel of how much ink to squeeze out and how quickly I needed to work with the ink. To make the hearts, I squeezed out one or two drops of ink and then spread it with the tip of the bottle. Half of the fun was the process of experimentation with the materials!
I decided to use one timecard for each month of my son’s first year of life. Rather than making the journal chronological, I kept it more open ended and recorded broader experiences and reflections from the first year. I sprayed the blank timecards with walnut inks before doing anything else in order to soften the background. I put my name on each time card because that is what we do with timecards. Trees, clocks, hearts, and birds were very appropriate images to use in this journal; they speak of family history, the passing of time, love, and nesting. I used rubber stamps and stencils to add these images to the book, as well as drawing some by hand. I made reverse stencils with heart punches and pre-made stencils in the book, spraying over them with walnut inks. Some images were put on smaller pages of scrapbooking paper and placed as small pages within the book.
No baby book is complete without photos, so I took photographs of baby paraphernalia around the house and put those black and white images in the book. Jars of baby food and spoons, favorite board books, toys, and more were included.
I located quotations about motherhood that reflected my own experiences during this first year and hand wrote them in the journal. I’ve written long letters to my son each month documenting his growth and our activities, but I wanted to keep this journal sweet and concise. I was aiming for a general overview of my first year of motherhood, so quotes seemed appropriate. I found myself appreciating even well-known quotations about motherhood much more now that I have a child.
Finally, I used a hole punch to put holes for binding in the sides of the pages, and used binder rings to hold them together. I tend to have a light hand with embellishments, but I loved the transparent Tim Holtz photo negative strips and the way they suggested more memories to be made. I also put ribbons on the binder rings and on the front page. Being a mom is the hardest, but most wonderful, job I’ve ever had. I look forward to documenting more of my experiences!
Tools and Materials:
Inks: Ranger Walnut, Ranger alcohol
Inkpads: Ranger, Close to my Heart
Stamps: Technique Tuesday, Close to my Heart, other
Transparencies: office products store
Stencils: Ed Roth birds, handmade
Markers: Zig, Sharpie
Gluesticks and gluetape: Tombo and Zyron
Ribbon: Making Memories
Binder rings: office products store
Punches: Hobby Lobby brand
Tim Holtz photo negative strips
Scrapbooking paper and card stock