Wednesday, July 21, 2010


The preservation of photos and memorabilia has been around for a while. Possibly forever. Heck, ever heard of a little thing called cave drawings? Is it possible that these scribbles and stick figures were not simply an opportunity for the species to document their ways of survival, but merely the earliest way for Ugg to illustrate that the mammoth that he and his wife had downed for the family meal was bigger than their neighbors in the adjacent cave? Perhaps that saber-toothed tiger was the earliest example of a "pinata" in the birthday world? Tools, smools. Those little pictographs are just the world's earliest scrapbooks.

I mentioned before that I was looking for a project to keep me busy while the boys are away frolicking in the New England summer. You know - idle hands = devil's workshop and all. I thought I would go through some bazillion electronic photos and put on my organization hat. I did. I went through those bazillion images and then got another great idea - let's put them in to scrapbooks. Let me say this - scrapbooking is not for the faint of heart - or the cheap of wallet.

First, creativity - - at least as it relates to putting images on 12 x 12 pages and embellishing them with cute paper, ribbons, stickers and more little pieces and types of bling and cute - - appears not to be my long suit. I bought a book to help me. I looked at 7,322 possible "page layouts" and I still don't get it. I got the photos. I got the motivation. I don't got the "scrapbook gene."

How do you decide what embellishments to buy? Do you just wander around the aisles at Michael's until inspiration hits? Cause I'll say this much - if that's the case - I'm just gonna have to move in there permanently. It is no mystery to me any more why some of the folks I know who scrapbook for fun have bins and bins filled with tiny little bits of ornamentation, stickers, rub-on or stick-on or paste-on alphabets, ribbon, colored paper and a whole lotta more whatnot. It's because you need it. Or you think you need it.

I mean there you are with your cute little photos of your darling little boy celebrating his 3rd birthday at his choo-choo themed party - and it strikes you that what you NEED is a wee tiny little cardboard who-zi-what-zi of a steam engine to make your frickin page complete. At least that's what the book says. You can't just put pictures on a page - you need to EMBELLISH. You need to NARRATE. You need to use 7 types of paper, a razor blade and some blood to make it the most AMAZING page ever. Shit.

I've been to Michael's twice over the past two days. Thought I had gotten enough bits and bobs to make a decent showing of a couple of pages. I was wrong. Dreadfully, completely, entirely wrong. I will go back again today. I should have leafed through my new "how to" book a little more carefully when I was there before. Since then I have reviewed some of the suggested page payouts. There's not a single one where the list of "supplies" is less than 4 items. Many have an entire paragraph devoted to the myriad of patterned paper, letter stamps, loop brads, letter stickers, chipboard cutouts, ribbon, hole punches, curvy scissors and calligraphy pens necessary to achieve the "look" - dang -

In the end, I am either going to have to revise my plans for my CMR so that I can go WILD in the scrapbook store - or I'm going to have to embrace my inner scrapbook minimalist. The minimalist falls somewhere between the person that either throws all their photos in to a cardboard box for future rifling or puts them in those photo albums with the sticky film that never really sticks back after you've unstuck it - and the person blessed with the trifecta of world class memory making 1) the creativity, 2) the space, 3) the money to buy a whole bunch 'o chipboardy stuff and glitter.

I have also considered the electronic method - yes, Virginia - you can "scrapbook" electronically. All those little delectable morsels of patterned papers, buttons and vellum inspirational quotes are there for the cyber-world of scrapbooking. But, for now I'm thinking that that's a little bit of a cop out. And, I can hardly get my way in and out of Adobe Photoshop - so maybe that's not the best alternative.

Maybe I'm just being unrealistic given my current skill set. I have assembled a total of about 10 pages in all of my scrapbooking career. And while that pursuit has spanned more than a decade - I haven't logged too awfully many hours on my memorabilia time card. Could it be that you have to sort of do it for a while and get some experience? Could it be that once you have amassed bins and bins of stuff - your imagination will be sparked? Or is it that once you have aggregated a heap of stuff you gotta use it so you put loads of stuff on a single page which ultimately achieves the eye-popping-beyond-remarkable page?

Whatever. At some point in the next four weeks I am gonna get me some pages done. I am going to be inspired. I am going to learn "new techniques that will help me create my own illustrative biography" (yes, that's from my book). I am going to get a credit card at Michaels. The scrapbooking glass is half-full. I can do this. Or not.


Jana said...

First of all, LOVE the family picture! So fun to see your parents ...

My suggestion on the scrapbook thing? If it's overwhelming you? Take the stress out of it and embrace your inner minimalist! Some of the nicest books pick a neutral color scheme to use throughout and simply do a title and a journaling block with the photos. The focus is on the photos and story. You can make progress quickly, without the anxiety and preserve those memories. Just my two cents...

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