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 booboos and scribble them out--you don't have to redo the whole page. Booboos 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?