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A Year with an Exchange Student: 2012-2013

2012 - 2013: Exchange Student Album Title Pages

2012 – 2013: Exchange Student Album Title Pages

Over the last year our family has embarked on a journey. We have hosted a wonderful exchange student from Sweden whose name is Jonathan. As my going away present to him I presented him with three albums of scrapbook memories from our year together.  The next several weeks will showcase all of the pages from this exciting journey together.

Since I didn’t want to leave out my son during this year – I duplicated almost all of these pages for the two boys.  From time to time I may showcase how I did two different pages for the events, but for the most part I tried to make the pages the same.  I was amazed at how quickly I could create the second set after I had done the initial set.

Usually when I make multiple albums for a trip or a year I make the opening title pages all look the same to help bring the albums together.  For these three albums I chose an American theme which I thought was appropriate for an exchange student visiting the United States.

I used a star background paper and then layered it with two torn layers – one is am American flag layer and the second is a handmade red paper. Next I placed a material banner flag on the page and affixed the right corner with a brad using my Crop-A-Dile Big Bite Punch to cut the hole through the paper and the material.    I then layered a burlap printed ribbon to top of that. The “USA” in each of the pages are actually wood cutouts that I bought at my local craft store.  At the top of each ribbon are three brads with the letters USA on them that were also placed using my Crop-A-Dile Big Bite Punch.

The 2012/2013/Vol titles were cut using my Cricut machine.  I cut the first layer from a red and white striped page to look like the flag, and then created a second tan layer for a shadow effect to help them stand out on the page.  For added effect I added brass bookmarkers to each page as well.

At this point each title page has a little uniqueness.  Volume 1 has a laser cut “United States” with flags.  Volume 2 received a cork “USA” and a flag sticker, and volume 3 got a star sticker.

Hosting a Foreign Exchange Student

I just want to put a little plug here for serving as a host family for a Foreign Exchange student.  We had a wonderful time doing it – this was our first year – so much so, that we are going to do it again next year.  My son loved having a brother and learning about new places, and it makes our home a little more active 🙂

We used International Student Exchange for our agency and we had a great experience.  I encourage you to go to their website ( and consider serving in this way.


2007: Memorial Day – Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

On Memorial Day 2007 we headed out to the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. My son is fascinated by guns and “sharp and pointy things”, so he had a great time with the reenactors.  It was a very sobering day though, as we wandered through the thousands of graves, all marked with a small American flag.  It made us so thankful for the millions of lives that have been given over the centuries in the fight for freedom.  I am hoping that all Americans will use Memorial Day to remember and be thankful.

The main thing that I want to highlight on this page is the wide copper staples that I used to hold down the pictures on the right hand page.  These are put in place with a special stapler called a fastenater.  The marine uniform is a Jolee’s product.  I selected a blue border for the pictures to compliment the patriotic paper that is on the left hand page.

Washington DC 2012: National Archives

Washington DC 2012: National Archives

Washington DC 2012: National Archives

Washington DC Tours

After visiting the Smithsonian Museums we decided to take a quick walk by the National Archives and we realized that the line to get in was not too long, so we decided to go in.  The National Archives most famously houses the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights, and a one of the original copies of the Magna Carta.  While this was a a solemn and powerful experience, I will admit that many of the documents are so faded now, that they are almost impossible to read in the light provided.  While this was a little disappointing, it did highlight the fragility of man and man made documents and ideals.

Understandably, they do not allow any pictures to be taken inside to protect the integrity of these very old documents.  I was only able to take a couple of pictures of the outside of the building.  So I made the ephemera from the Archives gift shop the main focus of the page.

The left hand page has part of a facsimile of the Constitution.  I then overlaid the clear plastic bag from the National Archives gift shop over the top of it to act as the Title for the page.  I used a punch to cut holes in the four corners of the page, and used brads to hold the plastic in place over the Constitution.  I really like the way that this turned out.  It is difficult to tell in this picture – but the words on the plastic really appear to float over the facsimile.

On the right hand page I put the pictures that I took of the Archives along with a Thomas Jefferson cutout (he is holding the Declaration of Independence), a patch from the Archives gift shop, and the brochure to the National Archives Experience (which is affixed to the outside of the plastic sheet protector so that the reader can open it to view).

Washington DC 2012: Korean War Memorial

Washington DC 2012: Korean War Memorial

Washington DC 2012: Korean War Memorial

Washington DC ToursThe next stop on our tour was the Korean War Memorial.  This memorial is striking as it has multiple haunting statues and a marble walls with photographs from the war etched into it.  Part of the memorial included the phrase “Freedom is not Free”, but the picture of it that I took did not turn out.

My son had picked up bark off of the ground near this memorial that he wanted me to put in the scrapbook.  And to appease him I packed it, but wasn’t planning on using it.  When I realized that my picture had not turned out I decided to use the bark and write the phrase on some pieces of it.  I mounted the bark by using thick sticky tabs to pull them off of the page a bit.  This was necessary so that they would not crack it we tried to glue them down flat.

Also notice the pinwheel placement of the photographs on the left hand page.  This is a new design that I used and I think that I will use it in some future pages as well.  On this page I chose not to add too much special detail, cropping, or embellishments because I wanted the page to reflect the solemnity of the memorial.

Washington DC 2012: Lincoln Memorial

Washington DC 2012: Lincoln Memorial

Washington DC 2012: Lincoln Memorial

Washington DC Tours
The next stop on our tour was the Lincoln Memorial.  Again, this was another site where we were thankful to have a tour guide.  He explained the history of the building, explained the statue, and showed us some mistakes in the building, which I found very interesting.

On this page I used several pictures of the same item (the statue) and then placed them on the page in order so that you get a sense of movement around the statue on the page.  The left bottom picture on the right hand page is a little hard to read in this photograph, but it is a picture of the marker where Martin Luther King, Jr gave the “I have a Dream” speech.

You will also notice that I included a patch from the location, as well as another stamp from the collection.  I also did not corner cut any of the photos as I wanted the stark bleak lines to mimic the architecture of the Memorial.

Canada Cruise 2010: Statue of Liberty

Canada Cruise 2010: Statue of Liberty

Canada Cruise 2010: Statue of Liberty

As our cruise started out, we passed by the Statue of Liberty – this was the first time that I had ever seen it this close.  We took a ton of pictures as I wasn’t sure how they were going to turn out.  When I had them developed I realized that most of them had turned out wonderful so I wanted to dedicate a page in the album to this landmark.

I had a scrapbook page that had the Statue of Liberty on it as well as the Empire State Building, but I just could not get the pictures to work on the page.  So I decided to cut out the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty and place them on new background pages so that I could fit the pictures in where I wanted.  If you look carefully at the flame in the torch you can see some of the wording that was on the original page.

If you look carefully you can also see that I used the trimming from each page as a border accent on the other page.  This is a great technique for tying two pages in a spread together.


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