Make it really free

I’ve been visiting a lot of scrapbook designers’ sites, browsing around, seeing what’s available, trying to formulate what I like and don’t like. And quite a few of them have freebies to play with. And every single time they require that you “register” before you can download. In other words, it is not really free.

I find this irritating.

I know that they are trying to get you to buy, but you know, I am attempting to try you out before I buy. Why am I going to give you all this personal information, including my phone number (why my phone number? It’s not really necessary if I buy from you online) before I’ve even decided that I want to buy from you?

So, just so that all of you out there realize…when you ask me to register in order to download a freebie, you lose me. I’m not going through that hassle for something I just casually want to try.

Then and now

A lot of people are doing decade posts, but I don’t think I will try to summarize (especially since I have this ongoing question as to when the end of a decade really is — I always think the decade really ENDS with 2010, not 2009, but I can see why people might think that way) the 0X decade. Instead I would compare the differences for me between 1999 and 2009. And even though I DO think the decade actually ends on Dec. 31, 2010, for me it works better to compare the X9 years, because, wow! how some things have changed.


In 1999, I was finishing library school in August and started the lovely fun of looking for a job. Ironically, the job that I ended up getting was one that I applied for almost immediately in August, yet didn’t actually interview for until December.

In 2009, I am close to finishing my tenth year of that very job, and doing very well with it. I am in good shape financially as a result of that remarkably well-paying job.


1999: My computer is a hand-me-down from my parents, and only has about 4 GB of storage on the hard disk drive. I mostly use the computers at school, and then at my sister’s, for complex stuff, since my own is not able for much, and I don’t have anything beyond the bare minimum of software or Internet service at home. Which doesn’t mean I don’t wish for more, but I can’t afford it.

2009: I am enjoying my own laptop. It has 320 GB on the HDD, plus an external drive for backup. (And I want another one, because I believe in double backups.) I have a good bit of powerful software, and I truly enjoy using it. I’m getting more and more gadgetty as I grow older and more options appear. I have also bought the pieces to be able to rebuild myself a new desktop but using Linux as the OS. I mostly built my own once before, and I don’t want to lose the skills. Also, I’d really like to have a backup computer for when this laptop starts to suffer, plus I’d like a place to experiment with all open source software. And I do a lot of my stuff on the Internet.


1999: I had lived out the lease on my apartment, put a whole bunch in storage, and moved in to my sister’s house while I hunted for a job.

2009: I am living in my own house since June 2002. I’m spending quite a bit on it these days. I yearn to renovate the kitchen, but all things in their own time.


1999: At this point, I mostly did crossstitch, some sewing, and was struggling to learn knitting. I hadn’t yet learned how truly powerful my fiber crafts could be.

2009: I have expanded my hobbies considerably beyond what I was doing in 1999. I have now expanded my sewing, started in on quilting, moved past simple crossstitch to add in some embroidery, moved further back in the process from knitting to add in spinning, and then took a detour into weaving, which winds back into the sewing as well.


1999: I am single and content. The youngest niece was born this year, and both siblings have declared themselves finished. Both parents are in good shape.

2009: I am still single and content. All the nieces and nephews are getting big — one’s in college! — and I try to visit regularly to keep up with what is going on in their lives, as well as my siblings and in-laws. We all have a summer vacation together every year, mostly a week at the beach and I am really looking forward to this coming year. Both parents are still in excellent shape, both retired and loving it.


1999: I am still living in NC and worshiping with Brooks Ave. church. It’s a good place to be. I know that I will probably be leaving soon, as I apply for jobs, and leaving my church family will be one of the hard things.

2009: I’ve been at my church here in VA for a while, but there’s trouble in the air. During the course of the year, I finally decide that I have to leave my current congregation and move to another. I visit around a bit, but even as I consider a new one, I hold off on actually making a decision in order to give myself time to heal. I maintain connections with some dear friends at my old congregation, however, because I didn’t leave in anger, more a difference of opinion, and I refuse to cut all connections.


1999: Books are vital to my life. I read mostly fiction, and have been trying to expand my horizons a bit with a book club, but I still read mostly genre fiction.

2009: Books continue to be vital to my life, and genre fiction is definitely still up there, but my horizons have expanded quite a bit more. I read a lot more nonfiction than before, especially in the area of fiber crafts, but also a lot more history as well.

Lots of changes in the last ten years, and more to come.

Roundup post for April 2010

What special or unusual event occurred?

CIL 2010, trip to my sister’s, work teaching trip to Chicago area

What were my accomplishments this month?

Teaching trip. I don’t have anything that I think of as an accomplishment

What were my disappointments this month?

Too much to do, too little time. I had hoped to get the gutter done in April, but … I did get the quotes done and made a decision. Actually getting it done will be next month.

What books/music/shows did I enjoy this month?

Nothing inspired me at all

What fun things did I do with my family and/or friends?

Haircut done, went shopping with my sister and got her started on her first sweater knitting project.

What gifts did I give and/or receive?

Gave the mini-scrapbook from last year’s trip to Europe to my sister and her husband. They never do anything with their pictures, so I hope they like having it.

What special or unusual purchases did I make?

Several planned, but none happening. Next month

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?

Continued worry about allergies, but nothing significant there. My left knee is occasionally bothering me when I do squats and certain weight-lifting moves, but fortunately it is fine when I run. If this continues, I may have to go to the doctor about it.

Anything else noteworthy to include?

Sheep to Shawl experiment by my guild that went very well. We had fun.

Ironies are in my face

It is so funny to watch an episode from the first season of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. where William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy are both playing characters. Shatner is a good guy and Nimoy is the “incompetent” assistant of the bad guy, who, just to cap the interesting irony, is “Colonel Klink” from Hogan’s Heroes. This is a hoot to watch! They are actually good actors, which is a fact that gets blurred by the over-identification with their most famous characters.

How I approach scrapbooking

I’m no longer sure that I can call it scrapbooking. It doesn’t seem quite right. Because really, it is a form of journaling.

So, just to be obsessive about it, what is the definition of a scrapbook? Merriam Webster says: a blank book in which various items (as newspaper clippings or pictures) are collected and preserved. Journal is:
b : an account of day-to-day events c
: a record of experiences, ideas, or reflections kept regularly for private use. And what we do nowadays is a combination of journal and scrapbook, combined with an artistic approach to paper and other mixed media. And a historical focus for our descendants (assuming we have them).

Anyway, since I have no descendants, and that is not likely to change, who am I doing it for? Well, myself, obviously! That is just as valid a reason as any other.

My journal – I’m going to call it that now – is a combination of picture and writing, with minimal decoration for attractiveness. I use decorative papers, colored and shaped pens, a limited number of embellishments, and regular crop dates to keep it moving and more or less up-to-date with the basic events that I want to cover. This is what works for me. All those extras, such as brads, paints, inks, stamps, etc. just make me twitchy. On the other hand, there are some products out there that I DO think might be useful to me. The last time I looked I was overwhelmed by the decorative stuff to the point I couldn’t see what I really might find useful.

Listening to the Paperclipping Roundtable has helped me to refocus my thoughts about my process, and encouraged me to attempt some new things. Such as: need to purge the paper and some of the tools that I really don’t use, do more digital pages, do more self-reflective pages, reaffirm my thoughts about the importance of my own handwriting as part of the process, even though I will undoubtedly use more typed text in some places, figuring out ways to include Mom’s help on the pages about my sister (gift in the works), exploring the possibilities of minibooks (quick idea snacks!), and look into some products that I have mostly avoided up to now.

So, just some ideas for those scrapbookers who are not paper creative and do want to approach things chronologically:

  1. Do not feel that you must decorate pages. The only true requirements are the stuff (pictures and memorabilia) and the writing.
  2. You do not have to write something for every item.
  3. Writing does not have to be paragraph after paragraph. As long as you include the basics of who, what, when, where, and occasionally why and how, you are good. Bullet point writing is fine, if that is all you want to include. On the other hand, if you like to write, remember that you can have pages that are just writing.
  4. If you like decorating pages, don’t feel that it is necessary for every page. Pick and choose some for decorating, leave the rest plain.
  5. Inspiration is not necessary. Consistency is helpful.
  6. Remember that you can go back to make some pretty pages later if you feel so inclined. Done is better than perfect.
  7. It doesn’t have to be just you. Get the rest of the family and friends involved (if that is relevant).
  8. You can scrapbook with a combination of theme and time.

Some theme ideas I’ve been having:

  1. Minibook of books I have read
  2. A Week in the Life at several different points in the year
  3. Return to the work on my finished objects in knitting, etc.
  4. Idea journaling
  5. Vacation book
  6. Travels book
  7. About me book

I need to visit my local scrapbook store. And local big box store. Clearly. And then I need to find some time via a miracle. Too much to do, so little time. Sigh.