The "s" word. I try not to say it out loud. Do I dare even type it? I guess I'm going to have to, since that's what this post is about. So here goes:
(I'm still alive, are you?)
In the last decade or so, scrapbooking has become a hundred-headed hydra of terror and intimidation for those of us who don't have the skill/time/money/love of custom die cuts and itty-bitty 3D replicas of whatever instrument your kid plays in the school band. I know I'm not alone in feeling a mix of both wonder and panic when I accidentally turn down the scrapbooking aisle at the craft store and see the number and breadth of products that has turned this seemingly innocuous hobby into a multimillion-dollar industry.
The thing is, I don't hate scrapbooks themselves, I actually love them. I love looking at my own, I love looking at yours, I even love looking at the samples in the craft store, including the ones that use criminal amounts of glitter embossing. As the mom of aaaalmost two kids, though, I just know I'll never have the time to make anything as involved and elaborate as the Scrapbooking Gods suggest I should, and that's why one of my goals this summer is to learn to be okay with that.
Last month I embarked on Operation Simple Scrapbook, and here's what I do: I order a bunch of photos online, I glue (or even tape!) them onto a piece of plain, neutral paper, I muster up my best penmanship to write out the basic details of the photos (where, when, who), and then I slide the page into the sleeve of a photo album I bought on sale for $2. DONE.
Left: Baby's first craft.
Right: A trip to the science museum with Grandma and Grandpa.
Middle: My pregnant belly.
That's right, I don't cut anything, I don't triple-mount anything, I don't use ribbons or buttons or stamps or pop-ups or borders or archival acid-free glow-in-the-dark paper. I don't journal a novella onto each page. If I'm feeling ambitious, I might use some supplies I already have (stickers, fancy-edge scissors, colored pens), but most of the time even that minimal indulgence is the first step toward a spiral of madness that means working on a single page for four hours and probably gluing my thumbs together in the process, so I really make an effort not to go in that direction at all.
I'm not even meticulous about what I scrapbook. So far I've just done pages for some of the random artifacts I've collected during my son's first three years: his first concert ticket, his membership card to the science museum, a trail map from a family hike, last year's Christmas card (which I put on a page filled with outtake photos).
Isn't this what scrapbooking was in the good old days? An album of ticket stubs, postcards, playbills, notes written on hotel stationary, pictures drawn on restaurant napkins? All the photo stuff-you probably have it all digitized and available onscreen, on disk, and online anyway, right? So why not make your scrapbooks the old-fashioned way, with the flotsam and jetsam of your life, i.e., with actual scraps?
Bonus: Scrapbooking the simple way also makes it easier for your kids
to help make their own pages. Why should you have all the
responsibility fun? This way you can turn the process into not just a
way to preserve family memories but a chance to make a memory in and of
itself. If you take photos of your kids making their own scrapbooks, and
then you make a scrapbook page out of those photos, will the world turn inside out? Let's see!
Have you given scrapbooking a try? Any hints about making it simple?