Warning: Long post ahead!
Scrapbooking has been on my mind lately. Like a lot. Like it’s literally keeping me up at night. Have I mentioned I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder when I was 19? With obsessive-compulsive features. And a strong dose of perfectionism. That all comes into play when I think about scrapbooking.
My mom started scrapbooking when it was the highest art form of suburban moms. She made a really awesome baby book using photos that had been stored in boxes or plain albums for years. Eventually, scrapbooking’s popularity faded and my mom got tired of it and all the photos and supplies were put away. It’s no wonder she got tired of it and overwhelmed by it. Scrapbooking then was LEGIT. Here are some pages from my baby book:
DO YOU SEE HOW TIME CONSUMING THAT WAS? Not only did each page have to be CUTE, it had to be different. She had to come up with the ideas for each page, cut pictures into various shapes, carefully cut paper, meticulously place stickers, etc. Do you see the second page there? She had to braid the paper basically! Insanity! So obviously, this was a tiring and overwhelming task. This book goes until I was two, so when she quit doing this, she was probably thinking “how can I do this for 16 more years of photos???”.
Well now I am 27 so it’s even worse. We have SO MANY PHOTOS to organize and get into books. Clearly, this traditional style of scrapbooking is not sustainable.
Then when I was in my last year of college I heard about digital memory books. I got a free book through a company called Inkubook, which no longer exists. I used this book to document the trip I went on with a band I was friends with. The book was fun and easy to make and I was pretty pleased with the quality. Here are some pictures:
Not great, but not bad, either! I became pretty convinced that digital scrapbooking was the way to go and decided to make a book for every year. Unfortunately, I ran into some problems. First, even though digital scrapbooking is inexpensive compared to printing photos and buying materials for other memory keeping options, books still run about $50 at the least when you factor in shipping and stuff. Now that is a good price and I know it, but I still get nervous when it gets to check-out time. I haven’t actually purchased a single “yearbook” I’ve made.
The second problem is that I actually became a yearbook adviser when I was teaching! We went through Jostens and used their yearbook creation software. And it is awesome. You can make the photos and text boxes the exact size you want them to be. I mean down to the pixel! It is so easy to make your own layouts, or use pre-existing layouts and edit those to be exactly what you need. Digital scrapbooking sites such as Shutterfly or My Publisher are easy to use, for sure, but more often than not their layouts don’t exactly match what photos I have, and editing their layouts has just never worked out for me. They lack the precision of the Jostens software and I end up with misaligned photos or awkwardly placed text boxes. Having used such great software, it’s been frustrating to use something that’s just not as good.
My next effort was very different. I did not consider this to be a real or official scrapbook, just a place to store important and important-ish things. Like cards, photos I used to have framed and then replaced, letters of recommendation, etc. I went into this with the attitude that nothing had to be perfect or even chronological. Just add in things as I find them. I bought an album at Hobby Lobby when they were 50% off, pulled out my box of cards and photos, and got to work. I tried to group things by event or by person for the most part.
I like how this is going for me and I will probably keep up with it randomly. Like right now I have a bunch of cards floating around so I should probably just go ahead and put them in. Because it’s okay if they are out of order. It’s okay.
So why is this on my mind so much now? Because about a week ago my mom pulled out a ton of her old supplies and some boxes of photos. Then she took me with her to what may be the last remaining scrapbooking store Katy. I showed her “pocket scrapbooking,” known to most by the brand Project Life. She loved it. I loved it. We decided once we get all the photos organized, this is how we would move forward. Just crop the photos to fit in the pockets, write on some journaling cards, call it a day. Or if we come across a group of photos that just doesn’t work in one of the pockets, they have full 12×12 page protectors too. So we could make some pages in the traditional way if we wanted to. Flexibility. Yes. Perfect for the boxes and boxes of photos we have in our spare room.
But what about the digital photos? I’m not sure if I want to put them in a Project Life style album or stick with digital. My obsessive-compulsive tendencies kick in and I want all the albums to match. So Project Life. Then I think about how much more compact the digital albums are. Digital. Then I think about how you can’t include things like ticket stubs in digital albums. Project Life. But then I get an idea to put a craft paper folder in the back of the digital album to put ticket stubs in. Digital. But then I think of how annoyed I get with the digital software. Project Life. But then I think about how with Project Life I’d have to choose photos, whereas with digital I could include more! Digital.
Regardless of all this over thinking, my choice has been made easy for me. I tried to order a digital album I’d made from My Publisher. With their “free extra pages” promotion, I was set to get two years worth of photos for only $50. BUT every time I tried to purchase, I got an error message. FOUR TIMES. So I gave up. I went and bought some Project Life page protectors and started printing photos from this year and slipping them into the pockets.
AND I LOVE IT.
I am waiting for my core kit to come in the mail so that I can use the journaling and filler cards, but I’ve already got photos in place for January through March, and it only took a couple of hours.
Seriously y’all… go get Project Life. It’s on Amazon or at Hobby Lobby or at Archivers. It’s not very expensive, it’s easy, it’s quick, and it’s fun.
I’ll share some pictures once my core kit comes in!