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Create a Friendship Journal

What Is a Circle Journal?

Designs by Carrie Colbert, Kim Haynes, and Gillian Nelson

Celebrate friendship -- and a shared love of scrapbooking -- by creating a group album, one that includes the creative efforts of each person. Called a "circle journal," a group album is simply an album with a specific topic composed of entries from different people. The result is a book that reveals insights from the contributors and features diverse scrapbooking styles, color choices, and journaling thoughts.

Choose Your Participants

This is an important step, as the relationships among the participants affect other decisions, such as topic selection and etiquette guidelines. Most circle journals are started for one of two reasons: to celebrate an already-existing set of friends or to become better acquainted with a group of scrappers.

In this album designed to honor a tight-knit crowd of scrapbooking girlfriends, one participant's entry includes a collection of casual snapshots and gives her perspective on the album theme.

Decide on a Topic

The topic should echo the nature of the journal -- to reflect your close relationships or to get to know each other better. If the purpose is to celebrate a group of intimate friends, you can be more open-ended with the topic. Your crew of chums has an existing bank of shared memories to draw from.

This circle journal included a template for each participant to fill out that included name, age, and location. If the objective is to get to know people better, picking a specific topic may be a better option.

Pick a Format

Once you've selected a topic, choose an album size and style. In general, small albums work best. The prospect of completing large, elaborate entries can be daunting for some.

You also should decide upon a format. Options range from simple fill-in-the-blank template pages to leaving the pages as blank canvases. The decision depends on the time and effort your group can devote to the project.

Communicate the Guidelines

The originator of the album needs to clearly communicate the guidelines to the participants. If you are involving people you don't know well, it is even more important to be specific in your instructions. Being up front about your expectations regarding content and time lines can help avoid problems.

With this circle journal, providing clear templates made it easy for participants to understand their role in the creation of each page.

Start Routing the Album

With plans in hand, begin circulating the journal. Create a checklist with the names and addresses of each participant to be sent with the album. (This journal includes a contents page with the name of each participant.) Make sure your name is the last on the list so the album is returned to you at the end. Start by completing your page and then mail the journal to the first person on the list. Each participant should continue to route it once she has completed her own entry.

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