Confessions of a Sometimes Scrapbooker

I have a new post up over at 5 Minutes for Parenting today. It begins with me finishing Connor's baby scrapbook(s), which makes me want to clarify that, the scrapbooking? It's a love-hate thing with me.

Ten years ago, I had multiple close friends who were Creative Memories consultants. They were full of scrapbooking zeal, and they were desperate to convert me. I resisted their attempts.

It wasn't that I didn't enjoy photography or "memory capturing." It's just that, at that point in my life, I rarely took pictures. I didn't have kids, I worked full-time, I rarely traveled. Plus, 80% of the pictures I did take were photographs of trees and leaves and other green things I would swoon over on our annual trek back to the Midwest each summer. (California is wonderful, but it is not green.)

Eventually, I had a baby, and drunk on new mommy love, I joined the throngs of scrapbookers. "Look! Another picture of her smiling!" "Look! She's taking a bath in this picture! Isn't she amazing?" "Oh my word. Look at those cheeks!"

But by the time Connor came along, two years later, the passion was starting to wane. Not only was scrapbooking expensive (conservative estimate: $300 per book), but my mental boat was being swamped by the enormity of the task. I had just finished Natalie's baby book, and now I had Connor's to tackle. I had little time and little space and little patience.

Then, the final blow: I got a digital camera for Christmas, and I started to take 200 pictures a week. Being an OCD sort who previously scrapbooked every picture I ever took (unless it was extremely blurry or dark, but those were the only acceptable excuses), I almost wept the first time I realized I would have to scrapbook all those photos.

So, five years later, here's where I stand. I've invested a lot of money into scrapbooking supplies, so I'll continue to real-paper-and-stickers scrapbook the first year of my children's lives. (Natalie, done. Connor, done. Teyla, in the works.) They change so fast that first year, and the pictures are so precious. I don't mind pouring over them continually as I marvel over the miracle of them.

But after that, the pictures are going to end up in digital scrapbooks, which are far less expensive and time-consuming. (Example: It takes me about a month to make a photo book at Shutterfly, and the finished product costs about $60.)

And they might not even end up there. They may just stay on my computer. I haven't ordered prints of any of my photos since July 2005, unless you count the photos printed in books.

And truthfully? I look at my pictures far more on my computer than I look at my scrapbooks -- especially since my screensaver is set to the My Pictures Slideshow. Everyday, I'm treated to a scrolling display of the last seven years. It almost hurts to watch my screen sometimes. The memories are so sweet, and time seems to be moving so fast.

So I'm looking at my pictures and treasuring the memories and giving thanks for the people I love. Isn't that the whole point of scrapbooking anyway?


  1. It seems like I'm always sitting here catching up on blogs at nap-time right when you post. Like a stalker, I then immediately comment. I promise it's just been a fluke...

    This post spoke my brain (again). Wow, how'd you get in there?

    I stop and watch my screen-saver photos all the time. And get all weepy. I too never print pics anymore. I also am only doing the first year of each child in real scrap-booking. AND, I too am now totally into doing the rest of the books on-line.
    And I'm NOT going to feel guilty about it...

  2. Good for you. I've resisted the scrapbooking disease as well. I used to be really good about putting the pictures in plain albums. But I think a lot of people are going to be surprised 30-40 years down the road how meaningless and space-consuming those scrapbooks really are.

  3. Thanks for visiting and for telling me about Megan's link to me at 5 Minutes for Parenting! I've been on vacation and hadn't realized.

    I'm a total non-scrapbooker--the kids have come too fast, and homeschooling takes much time! Thank heavens for that slideshow. :)



  4. i never look at the two scrapbooks i made because i made them 7 years ago and now they look stupid. but i look at my photo albums all the time. i always get pictures printed, the best ones and put them in an album labeled by year. they get a lot of use from my whole family.

  5. I have the same love-hate relationship with scrapbooking. Someone gave me my first supplies after my first child was born. Shame on them! Once that first book got to the two year mark, I had had enough. While pregnant with my 3rd child, I knew I had to get my 2nd child's done or I'd never work on it once the baby was born. It was a marathon, but I felt I owed it to her. Who knows when I'll get to my youngest's.

    Oh and I do the screen saver too, with occasionally printing out favorite shots to put in regular albums, to show the grandkids someday :)

  6. P.S.
    An FYI:
    Here's a cool site that relates. I'm not sure that you can get the books you make printed? But it's a fun way to share photos on-line and to store on your comptuer.
    Thought I'd share. Just for kicks.

  7. I agree on the costs, etc. But I have noticed that the children love to hold a real scrapbook (or photo album) (or digital photobook) in their hands. It is much better for them than looking at the pictures on the computer for some reason. So don't give up on making those photobooks!

  8. I am not a scrapbooker. I do love photo albums. Like you most of my pictures are on the computer and I so enjoy the slideshow. My husband finds the slideshow to be far superior to actual albums, but I think there is something special about holding the pictures in your hands.

    I loved looking through my mom's albums and grandmas' albums when I was growing up. I want to have that for my children and their children. I'm sure our digital files will be completely archaic by then.

    Thanks to your encouragement and others, I'm going to try out the photobook route. Wish me luck.

  9. It most definitely is the point of scrapbooking.

    I think blogging has been the final blow to scrapbooking for me.

  10. So can you give me permission to do digital instead of my 12x12 C.M. albums? I'm SOOOO behind.

  11. I've bought some scrapbooking stuff at Hobbly Lobby when it was 50% off. But them my friend showed me her photo books she does online and they look so much easier. I am not crafty or creative, so like you said, my mental boat is being swamped by the enormity of the task. My kids are 5 and almost 3, so I have a lot to catch up on. It's kinda stressing me out. Aaahhh!

  12. I need to print this post and read it when I start feeling guilty that my supplies sit unused and life stopped being documented just after Easter 2004.

  13. I make my daughter's photo books online. I'm not a scrapbooker! I can't handle all the creativity...

  14. Well, I LOVE to scrapbook... the old fashioned way! I'm only finished with the first 18 months of my sons life (he just turned 26 months... not to mention I'll be 37 wks pregnant tomorrow with boy #2) but I love to do it. I don't feel guilty that it's not caught up.. I just work on it when I can. I love to do the shutterfly books too and have done them as gifts before.
    Maybe I'm weird?

  15. Hi! I've just stumbled upon your blog and LOVE it! I've been reading past posts for about an hour and am really enjoying them.

    I'm with you on the scrapbooking thing. I just can't do it. I would snatch myself bald before the second page out of sheer frustration! Hopefully, our little boy will be satisfied with a combination of photo albums and slideshows, because Mama simply isn't a scrapbooker.

    Looking forward to reading more!
    Tater Mama

  16. Howdy! I am your friendly lurker. I generally dont't comment but I love reading your blog! I love scrapbooking so thought I would "de-lurk" to comment today.

    I love scrapbooking. I could be all wonderful and talk about preserving my memories or making wonderful keepsakes for my kids to pass down etc...

    The truth is that I love the creativity of it. I don't think it is considered an art but I treat it as such. I spend lots of time deciding colors and textures and accents. It's the same reason I play on Polyvore. I just love doing that kind of stuff. I have thought about digital but I have so many supplies that I need to use that I haven't really focused on "going digital".

    So my reason is completely selfish.

    Oh! And I too have the photo parade on my screensaver and I also sometimes get all teary-eyed over the "remember-whens".

    Have a great one!


  17. This post sounds like my scrapbooking-autobiography.

    I don't know if this will apply to you (I'm a Mac geek), but have you tried Photoshop & the Apple books? I've started cropping digitally with Photoshop and the pages look even better than when I did them with paper and scissors. Then I just upload the JPEGs to Apple and I can print the whole book for between $30-50 depending on how many pages I've put in there. It's really great for me.

  18. No surprise, but I could've written this post myself. From being hopelessly behind in my scrapbooking, to taking hundreds, nay, TENS OF THOUSANDS of pictures (this is no joke, thanks to my digital camera), to hoarding scrapbooking supplies only to get whisked away to bygone years watching pictures rotate on my computer screen.

    I think I'd scrap the whole hobby if Gary hadn't gone and built me my very own scrapbooking room. Yikes. I keep trying to subtly drop the hint that scrapbooking has taken a backseat to, oh, I don't know... three kids, laundry, dishes, cleaning...

    I still love scrapbooking, I just don't have the time. I think that's why I started blogging. Besides, I'm so much of a perfectionist (you say OCD, I say perfectionist) that a single page takes me HOURS to complete. Times that by the aforementioned TENS OF THOUSANDS of pictures I feel compelled take, and I'll be approximately 32,431 years old before these scrapbooks are done.

    Wow. That's such a long comment that I probably could've finished a page or two in the time it took to type it. And I just reread it and it makes no sense. Awesome.