Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Speakout Advanced p 58. Writing: Christmas Scrapbook.

I am so happy you've decided to learn how to make a scrapbook! I know you must be thinking, "Where do I start?" Trust me, most of us have been there at one point or another.

What is a scrapbook?
An album where you can stick pictures, newspaper articles, memorabilia, journaling...

Step One
Organize your photos, theatre tickets, lottery tickets,cards,shopping lists, ...

Descriptions, narratives, lists, poems, quotes, songs, letters...

1. Treat your journaling as you would write a letter to somebody. Write down what you would say to somebody if they asked you what was happening in your photos.
2. Write page titles
3. Capture special holiday memories: cutting down the tree, trimming the tree, cooking, family dinners. Parties with friends.
4. Traditions: we all have our own Christmas traditions such as baking cookies, going caroling, or hosting the neighborhood party. Make sure to capture these special traditions with photos. Keep in mind that journaling is especially important when it comes to traditions. For example, include your family’s favourite recipe, some of the words from a favorite Christmas carol and write something personal.



Sample pages:

Another sample scrapbook page:

Jamie Keddie's contribution (adapted):

On this scrapbook page, I would like to let you in on a little secret... Any predictions?

let sb in on a secret: to allow someone to know something that you have not told anyone else. E.g. Can I let you in on a little secret? 


First and foremost, I made a very special Christmas card for you. I hope you like it because I went the extra mile to make it. 

go the extra mile (for somebody/something): to make a special effort to achieve something, help somebody, etc.

bend/lean over backwards (to do something) to make a great effort, especially in order to be helpful or fair. E.g. I've bent over backwards to help him. 

go to great, extraordinary, etc. lengths (to do something) to put a lot of effort into doing something, especially when this seems extreme. E.g. She goes to extraordinary lengths to keep her private life private.

I wonder if it will be given pride of place on your mantelpiece.

pride of place: the position in which something is most easily seen, that is given to the most important thing in a particular group. E.g. The photo was given pride of place on the mantelpiece. 

mantelpiece: a shelf above a fireplace. E.g. There was a clock on the mantelpiece. 

Where do you put your Christmas cards? Do you write any?  Do you do the drawings yourself?

What do you think Jamie drew on his Christmas card?



Do you think it is true? or do you think this is a hoax?

hoax: /həʊks/ an act intended to make somebody believe something that is not true, especially something unpleasant. Sp. engaño. E.g. a bomb hoax. Hoax calls. The emergency call turned out to be a hoax.


OK, that was a fib

fib: a statement that is not true; a lie about something that is not important. E.g. Stop telling fibs.


I didn't make the card especially for you. I actually made it in 1981. It was my entry for the annual school Christmas card contest.
At my primary school, this was a big deal. There were no age categories – it was every child for him/herself regardless of what year he/she was in.

every man for himself: (saying) people must take care of themselves and not give or expect any help. E.g. In business, it's every man for himself.

Competition was incredibly fierce and everyone got involved, driven by the prestige of winning and, of course, the stupendous prizes.

fierce: (especially of actions or emotions) showing strong feelings or a lot of activity, often in a way that is violent. E.g. fierce loyalty. The scene of fierce fighting. He launched a fierce attack on the Democrats. Competition from abroad became fiercer in the 1990s. His wife is his fiercest critic. The bill was passed despite fierce opposition.

stupendous: /stjuːˈpendəs/ extremely large or impressive, especially greater or better than you expect. E.g. stupendous achievements. Stupendous costs

What do you think the prizes were?


 And the prizes were:

  • First prize: The winner would receive 150 prints of his/her winning Christmas card
What do you think the second prize was?

  • Second prize: 100 prints

What do you think the third prize was?

  • Third prize: 50 prints
Do you think these were tip-top prizes? Would children nowadays be thrilled to bits with these prizes? With what prizes would children be over the moon nowadays?

tip-top: excellent. E.g. The house is in tip-top condition.
thrilled to bits: extremely pleased. E.g. She was thrilled to bits  that he'd been offered the job.

Over the moon: extremely happy and excited. E.g. They’re over the moon about their trip to Japan. 

Prints were special back in those daysmuch more memorable than modern photocopies. Fresh off the press, they were warm and had a sweet chemical smell that will bring back nostalgic childhood memories to many of us. Rather than black and white, everything was dark purple on light pink. I've just spent a wee while researching this and apparently, they were produced by a process called spirit duplication. 

wee: small. E.g. Have a wee drink. You may have to wait a wee while (=a short time). A wee child.

Let's recap!

recap: to repeat or give a summary of what has already been said, decided, etc. E.g. Let me just recap on what we've decided so far.

So, imagine that – 150 warm and smelly spirit duplicates to take home and enjoy in the comfort of your own home!


So, perhaps you are wondering if I won. 

What's your guess?

Well, I am elated to report that I did. The "Santa's Here" illustration that you see above beat over 250 other entries. It featured in the school magazine and for a whole week before Christmas, I was the golden boy of the school.

feature (in something) to have an important part in something. E.g. Olive oil and garlic feature prominently in his recipes.

golden: special; wonderful. E.g. golden memories. Businesses have a golden opportunity to expand into new markets. Hollywood’s golden boy 

I remember the praise from my teacher and wowing my architect father: "Wow! Such a simple design. But what an incredible technicality for a 9-year-old boy. What an eye for form. Perhaps he too will grow up to be an architect one day."

praise: (N) words that show approval of or admiration for somebody/something. E.g. His teachers are full of praise for the progress he's making.

praise: (V) to express your approval or admiration for somebody/something. E.g. He praised his team for their performance. 

wow somebody (with something): (v) to impress somebody very much, especially with a performance. E.g. He wowed audiences around the country with his new show.

What do teachers say to praise their students?

I took the praise and I enjoyed my moment of glory. I genuinely felt that I had earned it.


I wonder if you can see where this is going...

Any predictions?


Well, it's time to come clean about a dirty secret that I have lived with for the last 35 years. 

What can it be?

It involves my favourite children's Christmas book – a picture book called Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs who is probably best known for The Snowman.
I loved Raymond Briggs's Father Christmas. Rather than being a jolly Christmas lover, he is a reclusive and overworked, grumpy old man who hates everything about the festive season, except perhaps the brandy.

jolly: happy and cheerful

reclusive: living alone and avoiding other people. E.g. a reclusive millionaire

grumpy: bad-tempered. E.g. Pay no attention to his moods—he’s just a grumpy old man.

So, what do you think Jamie did?

And here is the Christmas confession: Raymond Briggs's book was the inspiration for my winning Christmas card. 

If you look very carefully at the following image, you might just see the similarity.

 So what do you reckon? Can you see any similarities or differences?

You can see that I struggled with the face. I seem to have given my Father Christmas an overgrown black beard in order to conceal my lack of artistry here.

overgrown: that has grown too large. E.g. an overgrown village

conceal: hide sth. E.g. Tim could barely conceal his disappointment.

artistry: /ˈɑːtɪstri/ the skill of an artist. E.g. He played the piece with effortless artistry. An appreciation of the beauty and artistry of the painting.

I was not a dab hand at drawing but you can't say I was cack-handed either. I hope you don't think I did a botched job or that I made a real dog's breakfast of it anyway.

dab hand: a person who is very good at doing something or using something. E.g. He's a dab hand at cooking spaghetti. She's a dab hand with a paintbrush.

a cack-handed person often drops or breaks things or does things badly. E.g. That's a cack-handed way of going about it!

botch something (up) (informal) to spoil something by doing it badly. E.g. He completely botched up the interview. The work they did on the house was a botched job. 

a dog’s breakfast/dinner a thing that has been done badly. Mess. E.g. He's made a real dog's breakfast of these accounts. 

What is your opinion? Do you think Jamie excelled at it? Was he hopeless at it? Or just middling? Is this drawing a curate's egg?

middling: of average size, quality, status, etc. Medium or average; neither very good nor very bad. E.g. a golfer of middling talent ‘Do you like your coffee weak or strong?’ ‘Oh, middling, please.’ A man of about middling height. A middling performance. He was middling at school, and put his energies elsewhere. He was middling at studying, but a voracious reader who devoured whatever books he came across.  He was middling in all the games he played.

a curate's egg: a thing that is partly good and partly bad. E.g. this book is a bit of a curate's egg. Origin: early 20th century: from a cartoon in Punch (1895) depicting a meek (= quiet, gentle, and always ready to do what other people want) curate who, given a stale (= no longer fresh and therefore unpleasant to eat) egg at the bishop's table, assures his host that ‘parts of it are excellent’.

There are two ways to look at this. As a matter of fact, I am in a quandary. I really can't decide which is the correct way. 

quandary: /ˈkwɒndəri/ the state of not being able to decide what to do in a difficult situation. Dilemma. E.g.  George was in a quandary—should he go or shouldn't he? This placed the government in something of a quandary.

First of all, was this dishonest? Was I a rogue

rogue: /rəʊɡ/ a man who is dishonest.

Would you say Jamie lifted the drawing from Raymond Briggs's book? 

lift something (from something) to use somebody’s ideas or words without asking permission or without saying where they come from. Plagiarize. E.g. She lifted most of the ideas from a book she had been reading.

I am really not sure. I'm in a predicament. 

predicament /prɪˈdɪkəmənt/ a difficult or an unpleasant situation, especially one where it is difficult to know what to do. Quandary. E.g. the club’s financial predicament. I'm in a terrible predicament.

On the one hand, I remember having no feelings of guilt whatsoever.  

whatsoever: not at all. Not of any kind. E.g. ‘Is there any doubt about it?’ ‘None whatsoever.’
But on the other hand, I remember that I didn't divulge the secret about copying the image to anyone. I took the praise in full knowledge that the truth would probably have invalidated it.

divulge: /daɪˈvʌldʒ/ to give somebody information that is supposed to be secret. E.g. She refused to divulge the information. The plans must not be divulged to anyone.

But I also think that copy, remix and mashup are essential for any individual to develop drawing skills or indeed, to develop any creative process. So perhaps there was something honest, or at least necessary and natural going here.

remix: a new version of a recorded piece of music made by using a machine to arrange the separate parts of the recording in a different way, add new parts, etc. E.g. a remix of their first single. An Elton John remix.

mashup: /ˈmæʃʌp/ a combination of elements from different sources used to create a new song, video, computer file, program, etc. E.g. a video mashup. Most mashups are simple remixes that DJs have been doing for decades. It’s a new web service that allows people to create mashups of movies, combining scenes from various films.

necessary: /ˈnesəsəri/ /ˈnesəseri/ 

Who am I trying to fool?

Do you consider remixes and mashups  acts of stealing, of unoriginal thought, of plagiarism, of laziness,...?

Or, do you consider them creative and original cultural acts? Do you think most things are mashups? Can you think of examples where multiple ideas, products, music, literature, you name it, were mashed-up, remixed and recontextualized to create something completely new and original?

Happy holidays
Jamie :)

Another idea for your scrapbook:


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