I once a graduation gift album that had a few photos from each year of the child's life, in chronological order with mats, captions and stickers here and there. I decided to make them for my granddaughters when they graduated. A year before my oldest granddaughter graduated I was scanning some photos and decided to make a file for the ones I might use in her album. It is good I did because I soon realized I would be making a different kind of album that would take much longer. She would have been happy with an album made using my original idea but it would not have been as meaningful. It was time-consuming but I enjoyed it. I later made albums for her younger sisters. They all turned out different but a few ideas I used over again.
I used 7x7 albums with forty pages and multiple photos on most pages. I printed most photos to get the size I wanted. I used mostly simple layouts. I hand-printed most of the journaling - even though it was not nearly as neat as typing and printing - because my daughter said the album would mean more that way.
Below are notes and some pages from the albums. I included a few quotes but mostly linked to the pages I got the quotes or poems from so you can select the ones you like. These are not meant to be instructions but you are welcome to use the ideas. I just wanted to share the process I went through to give you a starting place.


Notes about Staci’s album

Staci likes black and white photography so I printed the photos that way. In PaintShop Pro you click a couple of times and a photo changes to black and white. However, there were some photos that didn't look good so I started playing with the options settings. The pictures came out great but if you are a perfectionist I wouldn't recommend doing an entire album this way unless you have a lot of time.
I wanted a classic look so used cranberry, evergreen and deep blue solid and gingham papers and coordinating pens and sticker letters throughout the album. I used both serious and amusing quotes.
Staci was excited about turning 18, graduating, going to college, etc. She has sisters but no brothers and is closer to female relatives than male ones. I decided to combine those ideas and let the book be about her becoming a woman and the women who are a part of her life. I didn't like leaving out her father but she has other albums with photos of him.
Here is how I put the album together (example scans below).
Page 1: her senior picture with her name and graduation year in stickers, the poem Words to a Graduate
Pages 2 - 5: title 'Moms are Marvelous', photos of Staci with her mother, poems and quotes about mothers
Pages 6 - 7: title 'Like Mother Like Daughter', photos of Staci and her mother at the same age showing how much they look alike
Pages 8 - 15: titles 'Grandmas are Grand' and 'Grandmas are Great', photos of Staci with her grandmothers and great grandmother, quotes about grandmothers
Pages 16 - 23: title 'Sisters are Special', photos of Staci with her sisters, quotes and poems about sisters
Pages 24 - 27: the title 'Aunts are Amazing', photos of Staci with her aunts, poems and quotes about aunts
Pages 28 - 31: titles 'Cousins are Charming' and 'Cousins are Cool', photos of Staci with cousins, quotes and poems about cousins
Pages 32 - 33: title 'Friends are Fantastic', photos of Staci with her friend, quotes about best friends
Pages 34 - 37: title 'Time is fleeting'...'Years rush past'...'And little girls'...'Grow up so fast', photos of Staci from babyhood to eighteen
Page 38 and 40: titles 'Random Thought for the Graduate' and 'More Random Thoughts', quotes like - The highest reward for a person's toil is not what she gets for it, but rather what she becomes by it.; and There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few that will catch your heart...pursue those. The quotes are from various files, including: Adulthood, Life, and Be Yourself
Page 39: the quote "I happen to feel that the degree of a person's intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting attitudes she holds in her mind on the same topic.", a favorite photo of Staci in four versions using various effects in Paintshop Pro
Page 41: senior pictures
Page 42: I used the title 'Final Thoughts'. I wrote how I felt about being a grandmother and how she was a link to my future like my grandparents were a link to my past. I said how wonderful it had been to watch her grow up how glad I was she was going to continue her education. I ended with the poem: Only as high as you reach can you grow, Only as far as you seek can you go, Only as deep as you look can you see, Only as much as you dream can you be. (That was 6 years ago and Staci is now an RN.)

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pages 6 and 7

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pages 10 and 17

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pages 24 and 31


Notes about Kelsey’s album

Kelsey's albums wasn't a surprise so she had some input. I used smaller photos so I could include more. With a variety of colors, photos, layouts, etc. the album shows off her eclectic personality.
Here is how I put the album together (example scans below).
Page 1: her senior picture with her name and the year of graduation in sticker, the poem As You Graduate
Pages 2 - 3: title 'Generation to Generation', photos of Kelsey with grandparents, quotes about grandparents
Pages 4 - 5: title Families are Forever, family photos, quotes about families
Pages 6 - 7: title 'Me and My Dad', photos of Kelsey with her dad, quotes about fathers
Pages 8 - 9: title 'Mother is Another Word for Love', photos of Kelsey with her mom, quotes about mothers
Pages 10 - 11: title 'Aunts are Amazing', photos of Kelsey with her aunt (including photos of Kelsey and her aunt at age three showing they reacted the same way when a photographer touched their hand), quotes about aunts
Pages 12 - 15: title 'Sisters are Special', photos of Kelsey with her sisters, quotes about sisters
Pages 16 - 17: title 'How I spent my summer vacation', photos of Kelsey and her sisters on a cruise
Pages 18 - 21: title 'Time is fleeting'...'Years rush past'...'And little girls'...'Grow up so fast', photos of Kelsey from babyhood to eighteen
Pages 22 - 23: miscellaneous photos and quotes
Pages 24 - 25: girl scout law, photos of Kelsey in scout activities
Pages 26 - 27: title 'The Games People Play', photos of Kelsey involved in various sports
Pages 28 - 19: title 'Cats are Purrfect', photos of Kelsey with family cats and volunteering at Humane Society, this note: You have always had an affinity for cats and I hope they will always be a part of your life.
Page 30: title 'Trick or Treat', photos of Kelsey in Halloween costumes
Page 31: title 'But Mom, Everyone is Wearing Them', photos of Kelsey in various funny attire
Page 32: title 'Thinking Inside the Box', photos of Kelsey as a toddler in a toy box, dog crate, file drawer, etc. (She was an explorer!)
Page 33: title 'Thursday's Child Has Far to Go', photos of Kelsey in toy cars and in her first real car
Page 34: miscellaneous photos and quotes
Page 35: title 'Practice Makes Perfect', photos of Kelsey with her piano and flute and in dance class.
Page 36: title 'Friends are Fantastic', photos of Kelsey with various friends
Page 37: quote that starts 'Dance like there's nobody watching...', photos of Kelsey and her boyfriend. (I debated about including photos of a boyfriend but have other photos I can replace them with or I can add the caption 'you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince'.)
Page 38: photos of Kelsey with her best friend, quotes about best friends.
Page 39: quote "I happen to feel that the degree of a person's intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting attitudes she holds in her mind on the same topic.", a favorite photo of Kelsey in four versions using various effects in Paintshop Pro
Page 40: miscellaneous photos and quotes, including "We're not meant to fit in, we're meant to stand out" and "On the other hand it is better not to do anything you wouldn't want to explain to the paramedics."
Page 41: senior pictures
Page 42: another senior picture, the poem Have a Good Day, this note from me:
When you were six, McDonalds was having a contest to win college scholarships. You asked me what a scholarship was. I told you it meant if I won you could go to college for free.
You said "Oh, no!"
I said "What's wrong, don't you want to go to college?"
You replied "no!"
I asked why not and you said "Because I'm too little!"
Now, just twelve short years later, you are going off to college and I am the one who wants to say "No, you're too little!" But I know you're not too little, it's just me wanting to hold back time. I am glad you decided to continue your education. With your intelligence and determination you will do well at whatever you do. (That was 4 years ago, Kelsey is now working on her Masters in clinical psychology.)

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pages 1 and 11

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pages 18 and 19

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pages 20 and 21

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pages 28 and 29

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pages 33 and 39


Notes about Megan’s album

Megan wanted lots of pink and purple in her album along with quotes from Oh, The Places You'll Go and other Dr. Seuss books. I adapted some quotes to match photos and used other quotes when nothing from Seuss fit.
Here is how I put the album together (example scans below).
Page 1: her senior picture with her name and the year of graduation in sticker, three verses from Oh, The Places You'll Go - the ones that start "Congratulations", "You'll be on your way up", "You're on your own".
Pages 2 - 3: title 'A person's a person no matter how small' (from Horton Hears a Who), photos of Megan as a baby and toddler
Pages 4 - 5: title 'oh, my goodness how time as flewn! How did it get so late so soon?' (from a Dr. Seuss poem), photos of Megan over the years
Pages 6 - 7: quote 'I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny but we can still have lots of fun that is funny' (from The Cat in the Hat), photos of a rainy day and having fun inside
Pages 7 - 8: title 'Grandparents are Great', photos of Megan with grandparents, quotes about grandparents
Pages 10 - 11: photos of Megan with her dad, quotes about fathers
Pages 12 - 13: photos of Megan with her mom, quotes about mothers
Pages 14 - 15: photos of Megan with her family, quotes about families
Pages 16 - 17: quote 'BIG A, little a, what begins with A? An awesome amazing Aunt ...A...A...A (adapted from Dr. Seuss's ABC), photos of Megan with her aunt
Pages 18 - 19: quote 'Look at me! Look at me! Look at me NOW! It is fun to have fun. But you have to know how. (from The Cat in the Hat), cute photos of Megan.
Pages 20 - 21: quote 'If you never did, you should. These things are fun. And fun is good.' (from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish), photos of Megan riding a trike and bike, skating, fishing, shooting, and parasailing
Pages 22 - 23: first verse of 'All things bright and beautiful', photos of Megan at the zoo
Page 24: photos of Megan with family cats with quotes about cats, photos of Megan volunteering at Humane Society with the quote 'Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.' (from The Lorax).
Page 25: photos of Megan with her dog, quotes about dogs
Page 26: quotes 'You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.' (Dr. Seuss) and 'The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.' (from I Can Read With My Eyes Shut), photos of Megan reading and being read to
Page 27: quote 'If you keep your eyes wide open enough, The stuff you will learn! The most wonderful stuff! (I Can Read With My Eyes Shut) with photos of significant events in Megan's life.
Pages 28 - 29: photos of Megan with her sisters, quotes about sisters.
Pages 30 - 33: photos of Megan and her best friend, quotes about best friends
Pages 34 - 35: senior pictures
Pages 36 - 39: photos of vacations over the years (to emphasize the theme "the places you'll go). Page 40: my favorite senior picture of Megan, three more verses from Oh, The Places You'll Go - the ones that start "You have brains in your head...", "On and on you will hike...", and "You're off to great places". It includes a personal note from me along with a verse I wrote:
My apology to Dr. Seuss for the alterations
I made to some of his great quotations.
I only changed if needed to fit a situation
In this book for my granddaughter’s graduation.
(That was 3 years ago and Megan is on her way to being a teacher).

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pages 1 and 3

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pages 16 and 17

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pages 36 and 40


I later gave them pre-decorated matching albums to use as Bucket List Books.