View Full Version : Thoughts on Scrapbooking

06-03-2001, 01:54 AM
I'm mostly a lurker/infrequent poster on this board. Although, I do try and read it everyday. I've been a CM consultant for eight years and scrapbooker for longer. I've seen this "scrapbooking thing" ballon into a major industry. All of this makes me very happy because I think scrapbooking is a wonderful hobby/habit. In my case, it helps me concentrate on the positives in my life. As I'm working on my albums, I'm constantly amazed at how fast my DS is growing up, and because of that appreciate him all that muchmore. I think there are only good things associated with developing this habit.

However, I'm a little dismayed at what I see happening to so many scrapbookers. The layout, stickers, diecut, paper, computer fonts are all becoming more important than the pictures and story being told. Please, please, please don't anyone take this wrong. Scrapbooking is a very personal thing. Each album is as unique as the person who created it. I'm just writing this to get people to think about what's really important. I've had customers sit through an entire workshop because they couldn't decide on the right layout, stickers, colors, etc. I've found myself in the same position and it's crazy.

I was looking through some old CM brochures and I found a layout from one of our founder's albums. It was full of straight cropped pictures, one of two stickers and tons of writing. Not all of the pictures were of the same event, they weren't color coordinated, they were taken at several different locales, but I loved it! It was perfect, didn't need a thing.

I saw a scrapbook that Jackie Kennedy did after a trip to Europe in 1950. It was full of pictures and her own drawings. It was so charming and personal. Unfortunately, I can't draw and well as she could, but she wasn't a great artist either.

I guess what I'm trying to say, without being preachy, is to give some thought to what's really important. It's OK to split a layout, putting one event on the bottom, one on the top. It's OK to make ****oos and scribble them out--you don't have to redo the whole page. ****oos give your pages character, like wrinkles and scars. Please don't use those computer font programs for your journaling. Your handwriting, however awful it is, will be so much more appealing and precious to your family years from now, than "perfect" computer generated text.

One of my favorite scrapbookers, another CM Consultant, never cuts her pictures into shapes, she mostly staight crops and silhouettes. She uses the big books and fills her pages, I mean fills them, with pictures and journaling. Her albums have a very distinctive cool look.

I fall in the "artsy fartsy" trap too. The challenge is to recognize it when it happens and just slap those pictures down and fill the page with your memories.

I hope I haven't offended anyone, it wasn't my intent. I just finished my new scrapbooking magazine and it kind of depressed me. Anyone out there feel the same?

06-03-2001, 11:57 AM
Well, I am very new to scrapbooking - I've only been at it since I returned from Florida a few weeks ago, and I have to say that the 'fancy fancy' style in magazines, and also posted on lot's of sites puts me off posting my attempts.
I am quite pleased with my scrapbook so far, considerig that the last 15 years of photo's are languishing in the bottom drawer I think anything I produce will be a bonus!
Scrapbooking is virtually unheard of in the UK, so fortunatly I don't have to worry about people over here being unimpressed when they see my album, but I do feel a bit 'hopeless' when I post the layouts to a forum.
And even with my fairly simple style, I still sit for hours, staring at my photos', sifting through paper and stickers, just trying to get inspiration to get started.

(I have a lot of supplies, mostly paper and card, but some stickers and die-cuts, but I bought them all in the USA on vacation. I can order from the internet, but have only done so once, and have ended up with some paper that I doubt I will ever use, so I am reluctant to do it again)

I would love the luxury of taking my photo's to a store and matching pictures, looking for that perfect sticker or die-cut, but then, I would never get anything actually stuck on the page!

BevMy scrapbook pages (http://www.wdwinfo.com/sites/bevs97a/index.html)

06-03-2001, 02:04 PM
Steph, thanks for your advise. I have done very little scrapbooking and I'm still afraid to journal because my handwriting is so bad. I do have a few that need some notes and I will try it, I may cheat and do it with the computer but I havent' decided yet.

Mark your calendar for next June and maybe you can join us in Arlington for the convention. We had a great time and are hoping for more next year. It was great to see everyone's ideas and it helps to have someone you can give hints and advise. I don't think I've yet completed a page on my own without having to ask someone if it looks okay before I finish. :rolleyes:

06-03-2001, 03:25 PM

You made some wonderful observations! I've been suffering severe "scrapper's block" and what you wrote was just what I needed to read. In fact, I'm going to print it out and keep it in my "idea notebook", just in case I start to lose my perspective again! Thanks! :)

06-03-2001, 04:22 PM
I find I rarely use stickers, and have never used a die cut -- Sometimes though, I have a whole page of journaling, and sometimes only captions. Sometimes, I use computer journaling if I have a long story and not much space.

There's a story in one of the recent scrapbook magazines about over coming scrappers block. I tried some of their suggestions and they worked for me.

(Don't give up, BevS97)! You can always paper piece or pen draw your own embellishments. I decided I wasn't going to turn this into a shopping hobby, lol, although I still seem to "need" rather much stuff!

06-03-2001, 07:56 PM
My favorite scrapbook has to be one where my mother and I did. Under each picture I wrote (at 7 years old) my own captions and below that is a typed one. It was great to go back and see my writing and drawings even though some of it was very messy I was able to read the typed part and know what it said.

06-03-2001, 10:38 PM

I agree with you. It is so easy to get caught up in making a page pretty that you forget the pictures should be the focus. I'm pretty good at making room for journaling on each page. But even with decent printing - I get caught up with the worry of "ruining" my page by putting writing on there.

going2wdw - It is better to "cheat" with the computer and get your words on the paper than to not journal at all. Some tips I've used to help me out -
1. I keep a spiral notebook for my albums. Each page in the album gets a page in the book. I mark how much space I have to journal and practice writing in the book before putting it on paper. I'll also use the page sometimes to sketch a quick idea or make notice of colors I want to use. Yes it takes more time, but I'm usually happy with how it turns out. I try to keep this notebook with me at all times, so that when an idea pops up or I have a few extra minutes I can journal.
2. I often write my journaling on a separate piece of white paper, then mat that in a coordinating color before putting it on the paper. This way, if I screw up :D I just start on a new piece of paper and I haven't ruined the whole page.
3. Leave some space on your page for journaling then come back to it when you have the time and are in the mood to journal. I have about 30 pages right now where I need to go back and add the journaling - but at least the pictures are in the album.

Good luck and happy scrapping!

06-04-2001, 07:52 AM
Just wanted to add a thought or two on journalling.

I have already discovered that even if you journal right on the page, you can always rearrange things, or rejournal on a block of paper if you mess things up.

On my 'meeting the stars' page I posted above, I had a different photo in, where Barney and a little yellow matted one are now. I didn't really like the other photo, and so when I found these one's, I changed the layout - the mat, and the yellow photo are positioned exactly where they are to hide some inappropriate journalling! I think the Barney one looks fine, but I would have probably moved the yellow one a bit to the left - but it looks ok, and my 'disaster' has been fixed.


06-04-2001, 09:40 AM
Amen! I completely agree, Steph. The pictures and the journaling are the most important part of scrapbooking. My pages are about as plain as you can get. I'm a big fan of the personal trimmer and corner rounder. I rarely cut my photos into shapes and when I do, it's either one circle or one oval on a double page spread. The only stickers I seem to use these days are ones to create borders. I use photo mounting paper for borders and to mat a photo or two. I think the fancy pages are nice, but they're just not for me. Scrapbooking can be an expensive habit and I just can't justify using a ton of paper and stickers on one page and then only put one or two photos on that page. It just seems wasteful to me. I put as many photos on a page as I can, but I always leave room for journaling. I'm not especially fond of my handwriting, but it's my writing and in 100 years, my family will be able to recognize it as me.

However, I can totally see how some scrappers aren't in it to preserve the memories and stories for future generations. For some people it's a "craft" and they enjoy doing the fancy frou-frou pages. I can totally respect that. It's not my style, but at least their heirs will have memories preserved. And for me, that's the important thing.

Respectfully, Lisa

06-04-2001, 10:30 AM
I've been stressing journaling in my CM classes. My husband is great in describing certain events in our lives and many times he just types something up on the computer for me. My last class had at least 4 women complain about their handwriting and personnally I thought the pages they made looked great! I absolutely do not like the way my writing looks yet everyone else does.

Like Lisaschu, I have started using small stickers for borders and really like the effect. The only shapes I use for pictures are ovals and circles but my personnal trimmer and corner rounder are used all the time.


06-04-2001, 12:43 PM
I've always been concerned about the page taking away from the pictures. My journaling has been suffering lately. I've been working on my 14 year old son's baby album. It is hard to remember the happenings of those days and what we were thinking when the pictures were taken. So here is what I'm going to do. I am going to write down the precious stories and moments of his babyhood that really stick out in my mind. If it is 4 pages long, I will make 4 scrapbook pages dedicated specifically to that. The pages I write on can go right in the middle of the 12 x 12 page. What do you think?

06-04-2001, 02:03 PM

I think that is a *great* idea! :) A very creative way to tackle pages from "long-ago"!

06-09-2001, 12:42 PM
I've been doing scrapbooks for six years and it's amazing how it has exploded. I can see how looking in the magazines could intimidate a novice. Everyone needs to find their own style, but ultimately the memories and stories are what make the books so special. I call myself the queen of the matts because I often use two to three matts for pictures as a quick and easy way to give my pages a rich look. When looking at magazines, especially the Hall of Fame annual editions, I recommend marking those that strike your fancy and ask yourself why. You can gain insights into what you like and how you want your pages to look. Embellishments should be just that; they shouldn't take the focus off of the pictures. Journaling isn't my strongest suit and I realize I should do more. I like to come back a little later when I'm in the writing mood to complete the journaling. For some of my pages, I like to write my kids' perspectives. They can have great memories for my books.


06-09-2001, 12:52 PM
I'm glad I didn't tick anyone off with this topic, that wasn't my intention, but sometimes it happens.

This whole subject was crystalized for me by something my son said to me the other day. I'd pulled his albums out and we were looking at all the pictures and remembering the good times, and he kept telling me "Read me what you wrote Mommy." He didn't give a hoot about my fancy layouts, nor did he care about my misspellings. Remember that when you can't decide between the pink or purple paper.

Enuf said.


06-09-2001, 01:20 PM
My pages were very simple several years ago, when I first started scrapbooking. As I have grown, so has my style. I hear some people saying they are taking apart their first albums to "re-do" and I think that is sad. I don't mean just replacing a picture with a better one, but really tearing up and starting over. I feel it is fun to look back at where we have been. Besides, I am so far behind that I'll never catch up as it is. The last thing I would need to do would be to go back and do the pages again.

I agree that the pictures and journaling are most important. I try to look at my photos carefully before I crop. What is important? What would I be sorry I cut away years from now? I also look at what I want to accentuate and the colors that might frame the photo most pleasingly.

I do all these things BEFORE I plan the layout. I then try to go with something that is not too busy and brings out the theme. I don't think there is anything wrong with being artsy if you want to be. You just need to remember that the photos and journaling should be the highlight of the page. Nothing should detract from them.

By the way, I also don't see anything wrong with plainer pages. Simplicity is often beautiful. You shouldn't be discouraged if time consuming artsy pages are not your style. Your family will love it just the same. Your album should be a reflection of you, not someone else!

I also want to mention the fact that my grandmother's handwriting is very precious to me. It is hard to read, kind of messy and words are spelled incorrectly. I don't care! I cherish it since it was a part of her that I can keep. Don't worry too much about your handwriting. Expressing your thoughts and feelings finish any scrapbook. It makes me sad when I see a scrapbook without words. I always wonder what the story is behind the pictures. If you want your albums to be cherished for years to come (and they should after all the hours you put into them!) you need to tell your story.