Many people begin scrapbooking to document life changing events in their life (e.g., marriage, birth of a child, retirement, death of a loved one, wedding anniversary, an important trip). Some of these people become scrapbookers and some of these people never scrapbook again. Eventually they run out of life changing events to scrapbook. We are caught up. This works well for many people. They want to document the big events in their life. This is why they scrapbook. There are other scrapbookers, however, that scrapbook simply because they enjoy scrapbooking. Don’t get me wrong, they want to document their life and the lives of their loved ones, too, but they derive great joy out of the craft. I fall into this group of scrapbookers.
I created my first scrapbook in 2001. I was the secretary for student group on my college campus and was in charge of preserving the history of the group. Each year the secretary included photographs in a scrapbook of sorts for the group. After I completed this task, I went to Europe for the first time as part of a study-abroad trip. I created a scrapbook of this trip. As luck would have it, I managed to go Europe for a second time in one year (unfortunately, I have not been back since 2002). I created a scrapbook about that trip, too. When I went to buy a scrapbook album from the craft superstore near my home, I saw a sign for as scrapbook store. I ended up buying an album at that store and joined their mailing list. A couple of months later they had an advertisement for a job. I applied. I was in graduate school at the time and the advertised hours would fit into my schedule perfectly. I was hired to work at this store in 2003. I didn’t really consider myself a scrapbooker at the time. I made scrapbooks for trips but that was it. Well with this job came a sweet employee discount. Perfect! I set about putting a lifetime’s worth of photographs and memorabilia into scrapbooks. I was hooked!
The longer I worked in the industry the more my scrapbooking changed. I became an everyday scrapbooker. I scrapbook the special occasions but now I also scrapbook the everyday. I am just as likely to take a photograph of my garden as I am a wedding. This brings me to a post by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project (and blog of the same name). In May, she wrote a post about how routines in her life contributed to her and her family’s happiness. This reminded me a lot of everyday scrapbooking. Taking photographs, collecting memorabilia, buying scrapbook supplies, and using all three elements to create scrapbooks makes me happy. Some scrapbookers have given everyday scrapbooking a whole new meaning. Becky Higgins has Project Life, where the goal is to take a photograph every single day and compile them into one scrapbook. Each year Ali Edwards leads readers of her blog on her journey of creating a scrapbook documenting one week in her life. At this point in my life I don’t quite take photographs everyday or make any attempts to document everyday in a week, month, or year, but I do strive to document the everyday and ordinary aspects of my life and the life of my family. Now if I combine the two practices (photograph/scrapbook page a day and recognizing what makes one happy), it provides me with new perspective on what I might consider to be scrapworthy. I have made two albums for my daughter that are “day in the life” albums (I did these digitally). Perhaps I should occasionally do this for myself or at least focus on the whole family.
Regardless, I think it is important as a scrapbooker to sit back and think about why you are scrapbooking. What do you get out scrapbook? Please share in the comments section why you scrapbook. Or, why you don’t scrapbook. I find it funny to hear other people who scrapbook talk about how they “are so far behind” or “are all caught up in their scrapbooking.” I encourage scrapbookers to banish this kind of thinking from their life. You are not behind just like you are not fat or you are not a bad mother. To me it is just another way that women in particular denigrate themselves and compete with one another. We have to stop doing that! I may have a couple of years worth of photographs to still scrapbook before I could be considered “caught up” but what would I do then?