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.


Why do I scrapbook ?

The summer of fourth grade, my mother had me scrapbook our road trip through New England.. Scrapbooking the Nixon-Humphrey campaign was a school project. I scrapbooked Apollo 11 all on my own. Then no more scrapbooks. My children's baby books were cute fill in the blanks styles.

Then in 2000 I visited my cousin Lynn who had plunged into scrapbooking. I was hooked, despite my stressful and chaotic life and job, I love my scrapbooks, my scrapbook paper, my supplies, and my tools. I love my scrapbook magazines. I love font websites. Why ??

  • Scrapbook pages are more meaningful to me than the stored boxes of photos and bits and pieces of paper I collect

  • Shifting through the boxes for material for my pages triggers memories I had forgotten.

  • Compared to my day jobs, creating attractive pages gives me a challenge without real risks of pain, danger, death, or lawsuit.

  • Applying design concepts learned in my past lives working in my father's typography studio and working in Dr. Cooley's college media production labs link my past and current lives.

  • My interest in historical research can provide captions, embellishments, and style elements that are uniquely mine.

  • My life requires a hobby that I can do anytime, with little travel, timetable, and relatively little cost for supplies (at least per purchase).

  • Swapping scrapbook pages with my mom lets us collaborate despite our distance

  • Scrapbooking has given me an identity in my family -- the photographer of photos for the scrapbook.

  • Looking at the albums on the shelf reminds me that my life has been full of happy times.

  • Occassionally my children actually look at them.

  • Rarely my children actually show them to friends.

  • When I am old, I will enjoy looking at them and forcing young people in my life to look at them with me.


My Scrapbooks and Covers

This weekend I moved all of my 8 1/2 by 11 scrapbook pages into three-ring binders (from Staples, Home Depot, and Walmart) and out of the traditional "post and screw" style scrapbook albums (from the scrapbook stores). All those traditional scrapbook albums and all never used 12 x 12 scrapbook albums went to the thrift store.

Three ring binders open easily. Because I scrapbook based on my current mood and interest, not chronologically, with binders I can add pages in their protectors to the middle, the end. I can rearrange pages easily. Traditional post style albums require a screw driver and almost require an engineering degree to open and add more pages, and they do not open and lay flat like my binders while I rearrange my pages.

I start a scrapbook in a 1 inch or 1 1/2 wide binder, when it's full I move the pages into a 2 inch wide binder, and when it's full, then Volume II starts.

My oldest daughter has a 2 inch binder that includes her "younger" and "older" years and a 1 inch binder for her high school years. My middle daughter has a 2 inch binder. My youngest daughter has two 2 inch binders, and she just started high school and her volume III. I have been scrapbooking almost her whole life, and I have been catching up for her sisters.

I have one 2 inch binder full of Disney pages and one of Christmas pages, one 1 inch binder for DC trips, one for Canada trips, one for my step-dad's WWII memorabilia, and a 3/4 inch binder for our Ireland trip. Most of my single event scrapbooks are 8x8 albums, but Ireland was a great trip that needed larger pages to tell the story.

In 3/4 inch binders I just started a scrapbook of my life before daughters and a scrapbook of my college years, sprinkled with pages from whatever college events my daughter let me document. We both attended the same college, so "then and later" comparison pages are irresistible (to me, not my daughter who is very indulgent).

I buy binders with a clear "see through" cover and spine, so I can create a cover scrapbook page and spine design. I use a 12x 12 piece of scrapbook paper that I trim into the two pieces because the cover is about 9 1/2 by 11 1/2. When I "move up" to a wider binder, I can move the cover. Traditional scrapbook albums have solid or pre-printed covers and spines that cannot be personalized as much.

My one scrapbooker daughter crated on 12 x 12 scrapbook album, and I have not made a single one. Larger pages need artistic filling that is not my style.

I use 8 x 8 scrapbook albums as glorified photo albums for recent single events and trips with one or two photos per page, not as much cropping or techniques. It is easy to find pre-decorated theme scrapbooks in this size. My 8 x 8 trip scrapbooks are: trips to California, Costa Rica, China, and Discovery Cove. My event scrapbooks are Graduation Party, Fifth Grade projects, my Informal Wedding, and Vow Renewal five years later. I also have one album of "duckie" photos and one album of "cake" photos. More about them later !