the cult of scrapbooking

I had a conversation with some Twitter friends last night, who mentioned that they thought scrapbooking was scary and that they couldn’t understand the “cult” of scrapbooking.

This got me thinking about what scrapbooking really is, and why I do it. If you’d told me ten years ago that I would have a house with a craft room* full of scrapbooking supplies, I’d have laughed and said there’d be no way I’d ever be involved with the cult of scrapbooking.

I wrote this post a while back, which explains how (and why) I started out.

It occurred to me that it’s really something I’ve been doing in one form or another, on and off, for a lot of my life, before I took it up as an actual hobby. As a child I used to make scrapbooks of things I collected, like pressed leaves and flowers. I used to stick photos in albums and write about them. And I made a 3-volume set about our one and only family overseas holiday.

As I grew older I used to keep journals that I’d stick things that I picked up during the day into, and I suppose the closest thing to my scrapbooks would be the book I made about Slabs’ and my wedding and honeymoon.

I also like to put my favourite photos in albums and would often stick a note in there about whetever or whoever the photo was of.

I’d class all of that as scrapbooking in the sense that I was recording events in my life and presenting them in a visual way that I liked to look at.

I’m not sure how I got into scrapbooking the cult hobby. I remember getting interested when my sister-in-law visited and I took her to a couple of the local shops – the first time I had ever set foot into such places (the post I linked to tells that story). I eventually bought some materials, did a couple of pages, took a class and it developed a life of its own after that.

I guess I thought it would be something that would make my photos a bit more interesting, rather than just keeping them in a shoe box putting them in a plain album. It also allowed me to be creative without having to actually draw/paint/be in any way artistic. (It also revealed a very pedantic side of me, that insisted things be lined up millimetre-perfect and that the colours be perfectly matched – this is not good for me.)

I never went much for fancy pages with lots of embellishments. A lot of my layouts are simple, usually with lots of photos and often with a grid layout and minimal other stuff. The focus for me is the photos – and, much as I dislike doing it – the journalling on the layout that tells the story of the photos.

I think that’s why Project Life in its original form was so appealing to me. Because I’ve been using Project Life as a way to display most of my photos over the past four years, I haven’t been doing a lot of paper scrapbooking. So I’m not sure if I’m a proper cult member or just a hanger-on.

I have two three “work in progress” files that I put partially finished layouts into, usually either because I can’t work out how to finish them or because I’m missing a product that either I don’t have at home and/or the shop doesn’t have. They tend to stay in there a long time.

Last night I decided I was going to finish some of them. In the end I completed three unfinished layouts and did two new ones from scratch. I think this is some kind of record for me.

So here they are:

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One from the unfinished pile. I ended up just drawing a border around the photos to give it a more defined look. Then I  punched the right hand side border to make that page a bit more interesting. I resisted the urge to fill in the white space.

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This is one I started ages ago, and hadn’t got around to printing out the text. It’s supposed to be about all the mistakes I made when trying to take baby photos.

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This one has been in and out of the “in progress file” many times.

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I started and finished this one last night. After I’d done it I realised I had already done a layout with similar photos from a few weeks earlier. And used exactly the same title.

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This is a 6×12 layout, which will fit into one side of a divided page/photo protector in my Project Life album.

*AKA my office, my study and the bunker, depending on what I’m doing at the time.

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