Hi, I’m Rachel. Louise asked me to write a post about scrapbooking… like a week ago. Ironically enough, I’m down to the wire here, because I’ve been too busy… you guessed it, scrapbooking! Right now I’m working on my family album for 2009. I recently finished 2010, and I’m simultaneously working on my ongoing project for 2011 – Project Life. But more on that later.
I am NOT a scrapbooking expert. Far from it. There is a lot I don’t know about, know how to do, or even care to know about. But I love it. Partly I love it, because I like to stick stuff on paper. Yup, it’s as basic as that. I also love it because I like to take pictures of my kids, and my pets, and the flowers growing in my yard, and the bees on the flowers in my yard, and weird signs I see walking down the road. (I’m the one walking down the road… not the signs… that sounded weird.) At any rate, you get the idea. I like to take pictures. Is there a mom out there who doesn’t?
I discovered scrapbooking when my first child was born, 11 years ago. A friend gave me an old-school Creative Memories album (8×10, if you can believe that!), and a ‘baby boy’ kit of papers and die-cuts and the like. I totally didn’t get it. I had no idea what that stuff was for. And what the heck are ‘photo splits’? It all made no sense to me, until I saw some albums my cousin had made. Ahhh… light was dawning. Then I was bit. I had the bug. I had one kid and a camera. Holy cow, did I ever do a lot of scrapbooking! I did so much scrapbooking that I decided to become a Creative Memories consultant! When I would try to convince other mothers that they needed to take up scrapbooking, they would tell me crazy stuff like, “I don’t have time” or “I’m not that organized” or something equally bogus in my mind. My eldest has 3 albums of just HIM and his first 4 years!
And then I had more kids.
It was around the time my daughter (2nd child) was a year old that I realized that all those other moms were right! I didn’t have the time. I wasn’t that organized! I didn’t have the space, or the presence of mind, or the ability to keep my sticker/paper/scissor loving toddler out of my stuff!
And so it sat. And my guilt began to grow, along with my files and files of pictures… This child has 1 partially done album that only takes her to about 1 month old! My youngest has ZERO albums. Count ‘em! ZERO. But still it sat.
Until this year. Finally. I feel like I have the ability and the desire to start to attack my boxes and files. What finally broke me through was my SIL introducing me to Project Life. This is the most brilliant system for busy moms with not a lot of time, space, money, sanity, etc. There are so many ways to use Project Life, but I am doing mine chronologically throughout the year, a photo a day (give or take). I try to update it weekly, so I can do it quickly, memories are fresh, and I don’t get bogged down in trying to sort out several months’ worth of pictures and stories. I look through my pictures weekly and send the ones I want printed out to Costco. I go there pretty much every week anyway, so I may as well pick them up there. If you are unfamiliar with Project Life, browse around a little. Watch the video clips. Read some blogs on the subject. I love it.
Since I’ve been working on 2011, I decided to start working backward through my family’s pictures. I pulled out some unused Creative Memories albums I had, some adhesives, some scrapbooking paper, and my pens. I ordered ALL of the pictures from 2010 that I wanted to include, and got to work.
I used to be a much more creative/artsy-fartsy scrapbooker. I would use stickers and make fancy borders and do whole spreads for certain events. NO LONGER. My experience using Project Life has changed my approach. It is purely chronological, industrial, and economical. The goal is to get the pictures in the book; make it look decent; document what is going on in the picture. END OF STORY. Seriously, nothing fancy. I finished 2010 in about a week. I’m now close to being done with 2009.
So I guess my point is this: You can be a fancy, creative scrapbooker if you want. If that’s your thing, your albums will be a lot prettier than mine. Awesome. Go for it. Love what you’re doing. But, if you’re not inclined that way, don’t let it stop you from doing something with your pictures. Seriously do something with them. I wish I’d had my camera with me this morning when I was at my mom’s house. I could have taken a picture of WHY you should do something with your pictures. She has 3 or so crates stacked up with bags and envelopes of pictures in them. Some are old, some are newer. A few have dates on them. A few have labels on them. Some are in old, yellowed, sticky photo albums that have faded and yellowed the pictures in them. It’s overwhelming and sad.
You take these pictures of your family. Wouldn’t it be great if your kids and grandkids and great-grandkids could see these pictures and read about the people in them and the stories behind them? I think so. Maybe that sounds self-absorbed or something. But think of it like this: How cool would it be to have a wealth of that sort of information about the life of YOUR great-grandmother? It makes you think about it a little differently.
So, my mission is simple: Do something with your pictures. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to be creative or elaborate. BUT, protect your pictures. Label them. Display them. And tell the stories behind them. Future generations will thank you.
Rachel is also a MOMS club member. She is thankful for the blessing of staying home to raise her three crazy, wonderful kids. In addition to scrapbooking, she likes knitting, gardening, reading, blogging and otherwise avoiding the housework she should be doing. You can read about her adventures and disasters at rachel’s ramblings.