Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ten Years of Scrapbooking

Ten years ago today, I started scrapbooking. Sounds strange that I know exactly what day it is? Only if you don't know me. I tend to remember random things like that. Plus, I scrapbooked about the day (of course).

I had recently moved to Kentucky, and started a new job as an event coordinator at a bookstore (a chain, which made me oh-so-welcome to the locals). My previous job was as an (assistant) archivist at a historical society where we regularly received scrapbooks from the Junior League or that year's debutante season. These scrapbooks were made with the crumbly construction-paper book that many people think of as scrapbooking. These books are a nightmare for preservation, though. Because they were donated to the historical society as scrapbooks (and not as a collection of photos and memories), we were required to preserve them as as scrapbooks. The paper this kind of scrapbook is made of is acidic and unstable - they were constantly coming apart, coming unglued, pictures falling out, and the paper was deteriorating regardless of what we did to it. I learned to hate scrapbooks.

One day I casually mentioned during lunch at my new job at the bookstore that someday I wanted to teach people about scrapbooks and how to make them so they didn't fall apart. One of my friends looked at me and said "You plan events for a living. Plan an event about scrapbooking." She told me about a scrapbook store down the street from us and suggested I go talk to the owners.

I told the owners that I wanted to have a workshop/presentation at the store about scrapbooking and how to do it properly. She asked if I had ever scrapbooked before, and I said no. She said that the store would work with me on the project but under one condition - I had to take their beginner scrapbooking class that was being held that Saturday.

I went to the class expecting to waste a couple of hours and a few dollars (I was trying to figure out how to convince my boss to let me comp it, actually). I brought some photos of a weekend trip that my boyfriend (now husband) had gone on when we lived 500 miles apart and only saw each other every six weeks or so. I left with a completed two page layout that I loved (still one of my favorites) that documented a special time in our lives, and an assortment of scrapbook supplies so I could do home and make more.

I still did the presentation at the store, and we still talked about the proper way to preserve photos, but I no longer had the air of superiority or condescension that I'd started with. I realized that putting my photos on pretty paper and giving them context was an enjoyable way to spend my time.

Ten years is a long time. Here's a few changes that have occurred for me since that day (in no particular order):
  • that boyfriend and I got engaged
  • then we got married
  • I got laid off from my job
  • I found a new job I loved
  • we moved - twice
  • we had a baby
  • I quit my job
  • one brother got married
  • one brother graduated from high school
  • my grandparents had their 50th wedding anniversary
  • our nephew was born
  • our niece was born
  • we've traveled to Chicago (3 times)
  • we went to St. Augustine
  • we've also been to Ohio, Florida and Georgia many times
  • I was a bridesmaid in two weddings, and we attended many others
  • I turned 30
  • my granddaddy passed away
Since I've been scrapbooking all this time, you'd think I would have scrapbooked all of these events and more, right? Especially considering the number of mostly completed scrapbooks that are sitting on my shelf. Would you be surprised to learn what I haven't scrapbooked in the last ten years?

Things I Haven't Scrapbooked
  • my baby's first year - Nope, haven't done it. I have done pages about her, and I have notes and (of course) lots of photos. But there is no completed scrapbook of her first year yet.
  • my wedding - I didn't have a photographer's studio book of my wedding, so the only scrapbooking I've done is putting my favorite photos from our photographer into an album with our wedding colors. As far as journaling and doing an elaborate scrapbook, it hasn't happened. I really want to do it, but it just feels too huge.
  • our vacations - I've started scrapbooks for our honeymoon, our trips to Chicago, and our trips to Ohio. I purchased supplies for our trip to St. Augustine. I haven't finished any of these albums.
  • our engagement - I haven't scrapbooked our proposal. It's really a very sweet story. I'm still kicking myself for not taking my camera that day, though.
  • holidays - I haven't scrapbooked about Christmas in two years at least, and I haven't done a single page about our daughter's birthdays.
So what am I scrapbooking about? Whatever strikes my fancy at the time. I have pages about our personalities, our quirks, members of our families, places we like to go, an average day around our house. I've never felt behind, and I'll never be "caught up." I don't have a 2009 album or a 2000 album. When I first started, I did have the idea that I had to scrapbook everything we did and it all had to be in order, but now I love turning pages and seeing a layout about yesterday next to one from eight or nine years ago.

I hope that my story will help someone else realize that it's ok if you haven't finished your five year old's scrapbook about her first year. You can still scrapbook the cute thing she said this afternoon.

1 comment:

Sian said...

That is such a great story. Wow, ten years..I don't know if scrapbooking had even arrived here ten years ago. I've been scrapbooking for two years and I totally agree with your way of looking at it: I don't think about getting "caught up"