Welcome to my world of the practical scrapbooker

Here is ten years of scrapbooking my photos and memorabilia onto actual paper .....without major art projects or (too) complicated techniques.

I blend traditional paper and "new" digital techniques to tell the stories of my family's fun, travels, and history.

Here are my thoughts as I sort, shop, crop, organize, arrange, journal, and decorate my scrapbook pages.


What to scrapbook ?

Deciding "what to do" can be a hurdle when starting a scrapbook. One approach is to pick a topic, then search for the photos and mementos or other material that fit the topic. Another approach is to select a stack of photos and then scrapbook them. Broad topics such as "everything my child has ever done" or "all my world travels" easily become overwhelming. It's possible that several albums will eventually accomplish such a big goal, but it is easier to think simple: one event: a grade, party, holiday, service, or trip.

It is tempting to try to organize ALL the photos and then scrapbook. That's a decision to never scrapbook, because all the photos will never be organized. Scrapbooking a pile of photos is one less pile to file away. While looking through photos, I collect all photos of a topic in its own stack: cat or car or beach house or boat or Halloween photos. Collecting photos for a topical scrapbook album is rarely an afternoon or weekend activity.

I started my first scrapbook in 2001. So far I have (in no particular order) scrapbooks of :
  • our trips to Disney World in one scrapbook, starting with my first trip to WDW in high school in 1974. Mickey Mouse evolves and my kids grow through this scrapbook.
  • our trip to Washington DC with our parents for the opening of the World War II Memorial includes photos, programs, articles about the opening, and some of my step-dad's WWII photos.
  • trips to Washington DC including our 2003 family trip, some 20 year ago day trips, a 1995 Girl Scout trip, and some historic postcards I collected along the way.
  • our 2004 family trip to Montreal with my parents that includes photos from my childhood there for comparison.
  • our 2005 family trip to Ireland
  • trips to California in 2005 and before.
  • my college daughter's trip to Costa Rica and her trip to China. She's an artistic soul and a writer, but she cannot get herself interested in scrapbooking. She gave me her photos with post-it notes on the back and miscellaneous ticket stubs and pamphlets. I printed her e-mails on colored paper to use as her travelogue.
  • birth to high school scrapbook and and then high school scrapbook for each of my daughters. These scrapbooks expand as I find photos and "stuff" and get bright ideas.

My "theme" scrapsbooks are always expanding:

  • all the cat photos I find, starting with my mother's cat "Duffy" in 1950, and including all the (sarcastic) greeting cards that our house cats cats have sent me.
  • decades of "cute animal" photos taken at parks, zoos, forests, beaches, backyards, and fairs. It's popular when kids visit.
  • decades of "cake" photos from birthday parties, weddings, showers, and graduations along with photos of many people blowing out candles. My step-dad has never seen a cake that did not deserve its own photo, usually taken from above while standing on a chair.
  • Santa, Christmas tree, and Christmas morning photos starting with my parent's childhood with a smattering of Christmas cards over the years.
  • "then-and-now" photos of different generations doing the same activity.