Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Express Yourself--Why I Scrapbook

This week's Express Yourself Weekly Meme asks about our creative hobbies.  I have never been a very artsy crafty kind of girl, unlike my 2 sisters, one who could draw well, while the other was (and is) good at all sorts of creative endeavors. 

When I was in the 8th grade I made a little ceramic bunny that actually turned out well.  In a house full of my siblings' artistic accomplishment, my mother treasured that bunny rabbit.  Whenever guests praised (deservedly) my sisters' artworks, my mother would get the bunny out. "And Peggy (they called me Peggy then) made this bunny."

But even when I was young, there was one art form I was good at, and that was photography. Only cost kept me from delving more seriously into the hobby than I did, but the work I produced was often praised and when the digital revolution arrived and digital cameras became affordable my hobby really took off.

To this day, if you come in my house, once you got past the books, the next thing you would notice is all the framed pictures on display.

Shortly after my son was born I started scrapbooking.  Scrapbooking is a wonderful hobby because it adapts well to the individual.  Within a few basic guidelines (don't just paste the pictures in but write about them, use acid free papers, glue and pens, and so forth) it is a hobby adaptable to any budget and creativity level.  For example, although some of my albums are of the fancy custom variety, like the kids' scout books, others are plain ones I simply made covers for, and even more are simply loose leaf notebooks decorated with appropriate stickers.  (One advantage of loose leaf notebooks, besides the fact that its easy to re-arrange your photos, is that you can bulk buy page protectors at the local office warehouse. I stock up on the notebooks during back to school sales.)

Most of the kids books are organized by topic. There are scouting books and dance books and ballet books and books for grade school, middle school and high school.  I also have genealogy scrapbooks (thus merging 2 hobbies) that are sorted down by the branches of the family trees.

I am careful about archival quality paper and stickers because i want things to last. But I'm not into spending hours on a single page...getting a lot done in short periods of time is more important than getting it perfect. 

Over the years I have found several good reasons to scrapbook.

If I didn't scrapbook, everything would be in shoe boxes (or sitting on the computer) It motivates me to print and display at least the best of my photos.

Scrapbooking motivates me to organize my photos, at least on computer. All you have to do is compare my photo files, where everything is in a labeled folder by event or date, to my documents folder where everything is more randomly saved.

It was really cool when the Boy graduated from high school and I was able to display his grade school, middle school, high school and baseball albums, none of which needed last minute updating except the high school book.

You don't always have to have pictures, by the way. I have done pages for places and events that the camera wasn't permitted at, or that a brochure and post cards told the story so I saved my pictures for other sites (especially in the film era).

Except for the occasional vacation album, most of my scrapbooks are works in progress. I store topic paper and stickers in the proper book, scouting paper in the scout books, ballet paper in the dance book. Another nice thing about loose leaf notebooks is that they usually have pockets in the covers that I can stick school papers and the like in till I have a chance to do the pages.

Scrapbooking led me to a second hobby, card making.  The cool thing about making cards is that except for the blank card stock, all the materials are the same.

I would like someday to get a program that would allow me to do some of my scrapbooking on the computer, and then print whole pages.  It would be especially useful for gift albums, and it would cut down on all the paper slivers scattered around from trimming photos.

I would also like a dedicated scrapbooking corner someday, or at least a drop leaf desk I can hide things in. 

Another nice thing about scrapbooking is that I share the hobby with my mother.  My mom is more into special event scrapbooks for special birthday and weddings and so forth, but she also does an album for every year. She finds that as she gets older scrapbooking is nice because it doesn't require the fine motor skills that other craft hobbies done.

After the pictures are taken though, the most important thing about a scrapbook is what is written in it.  The stories that are told, the captions that are written, combine with the pictures to create memories.

Here is where scrapbooking ties in with blogging, at least for me.  Both are attempts to preserve our thoughts and memories for a larger audience, a little bit of immortality.  And that is well worth doing.

This post is part of  Express Yourself Weekly Meme. If you would like to read about more bloggers and their creative hobbies click here.


  1. I love to scrapbook! Thanks for sharing your photos with us!

    1. Thank you Jackie, glad you enjoyed it...