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.

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1 Comment

  1. noell said,

    May 17, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Hello! I’ve been thinking about your questions to the PRT and I wanted you to know I’ve been mulling it over. Before you made your topic request, someone else had requested that we talk about why we DON’T scrapbook chronologically and how we make that work. I’m going to try and wrap your own request into the discussion as well, so hopefully we’ll have time to cover both. And hopefully our thoughts will be helpful!


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