Saturday, February 16, 2013

My Scrapbooking... Random Thoughts in 2013

I have read so very often that what people love about scrapbooking is the 'creativity' it affords them.  I understand this explicitly... it does allow a person to use anything and everything in conjunction with photos and/or journaling to create items of which they are proud.  But, apparently people feel that they must strive to produce uniqueness in their layouts to ensure that they are truly 'personal creations'. 
So, after 13+ years of scrapbooking, I have finally decided what I love most about scrapbooking.  And yes, it is the creative outlet that I really need to survive!  But I don't feel that each and every layout must be an absolute phenomenal creation from the depths of my heart or right-brain.  In fact, that entire thought just made me have a sharp pain in my head.  So here's a few random thoughts on how I feel about scrapbooking:
  • Total uniqueness is not an option.  I think that it has been this belief that each layout must be different and exclusive that has led me to totally abandon the process (but not the buying!) for long stretches at a time.  It is totally overwhelming and stressful to me to have to produce distinction in each creation. The best of my originality comes in the papers I choose, the embellishment I use and, most, the stories I tell through my layouts.  But there's only so much you can do with a 12x12 background. In fact, I have created things to only see an almost exact sketch a year or so later (not a scraplift because who could have seen something I made when no one ever saw anything I made).   And that's okay.
  • Scrapbooker and artist is not a synonym in my mind.  I am a crafter.  This is a craft.  Whether I use paint or found objects or just stickers on paper or canvas, I am still crafting. I appreciate that some people may feel they are artists; but I am more proud of being a craftsman than I can say.  In fact, my brother is an artist - he was born with this innate talent to create amazing artwork from nothingness; I was born a crafter as I can create artistry within a given framework.  Einstein was a genius, Renoir was an artist, Jesus was a craftsman.  And that's seriously okay.
  • I need motivation.  I need someone or something to say 'get er done'.  Classes, forums, photographs, this blog and a sense of achievement all give me the inspiration to accomplish something.  But not someone telling me I should scrap this or that... that makes me crazy!  Nor the fact that there are 1,000s of photos or 100s of stories that need scrapped - that's just pressure.  But accountability and pride drive me.  And that's okay.
  • I love a good sketch.  And what may be great to you, is not good for me. Scraplifting is my new favorite way to scrap.  It totally takes the pressure off.  I spent most of my scraplife ignoring sketches; not entirely true... I collected printed sketches, but only used one in all the time I can remember. And even though I had this collection and looked through them monthly, I just didn't find anything I felt comfortable recreating.  Obviously, I was collecting the wrong sketches and felt that each must be recreated exactly... exactly the wrong attitude.  There is no way to rectify the amount of time and money I have spent on this hobby to the few layouts I have actually produced.  But with my new scraplift epiphany, there is no way that I can't get through these 1,000s of photos in time.  And that deserves a great big, WOOHOO!!!
  • I don't have to journal on my layouts to tell a story.  For the longest time, I did very little, if any, journaling on my layouts... afterall a picture is worth a 1,000 words.  But then, I started to journal - sometimes a little, sometimes a lot - and it started to feel that it should be a part of every.single.layout.  But sometimes, every once in a while, it's not necessary.  The photo(s) can tell the story - the whole story - because of the subject or a look on a face.  I have layouts like that... the entire story is wrapped up in an expression, in a dress, in a mirror and in the title -nothing more necessary. And that's okay.
  • It's okay that I'm hoarding the things I love the best.  Let's face it, I've always had a little stash issue.  But then it came in so handy when going through the worst of times.  So it's probably only natural that I'm gathering a little right now.  Of course, I'm using a LOT.  But then, it's not just that.  I really do believe that it's perfectly okay that I have 4 sheets of Ring Around the Rosie paper and 3 sheets of teal/black Mini-Market letters because I love them so much.  On the other hand, I don't have to have in my stash and I don't have to be 'on-trend' in order to make absolutely lovely layouts that I can be proud of.  And that's okay.
  • I cannot! randomly cut up a stack of 12x12 papers.  It's an exercise of creativity about kits and starting points and freedom that I just don't get.  I have a stack of randomly cut-up papers... it's called a 'scrap basket' and it's the first place I go once I decide on a 'theme' for a layout.  Also, I've only been on one 'crop' in 13+ years and don't see that changing anytime soon.  So the fact that I'm just not a kit person is totally okay.  I choose a set of supplies for each layout and pull those out, but I don't like to make a stack of premade kits and then put photos with them.  It doesn't work for me.  And that's okay.
  • I am not a photographer! In no way, in no how.  I take photos of events.  I occasionally take photos at other times if the moment comes along.  But being a scrapbooker has in no way made me a photographer.  Taking photos has come with the love of scrapbooking... and with the fact that I want to make my grandchildrens' lives remembered as opposed to the lack of pictures in my brother and my lives.  And about 50% of the time, my photos are not very good regardless of how much I've read on the subject.  Don't get me wrong, there are times that I love taking photos - but because I scrapbook does not in any way make me a photographer.  It's simply a means to an end.  And that's okay.
  • I don't understand that whole Project Life thing.  Honestly, maybe it's just because my life is so utterly boring.  Here I am day-after-day doing the same thing - or nothing.  And really I don't think this is so extraordinary.  I don't think this is just a matter of my circumstance.  Even when I worked or when I was single or when the kids were young, most of the days were fairly much SSDD.  Of course, not, but most were fairly much the same.  I know that so many people love it... and that's okay.
  • I wish I was a professional scrapbooker... not.  Okay, this a 'right-on'/'hell-no' thing.  I love scrapbooking and what a great way to make a living.  But then, if I had to do it all the time I'd probably become totally overwhelmed and/or bored.  But then would I get phenomenal travel opportunity?  But then would I be able to go?  And really, do I want to have to tell arbitrary stories about the kids just for the sake of scrapping?  (Okay, let's face it, I'm pretty good at that!).  No, I think I'm happy it's a hobby.  I think that this blog is as 'professional' as I'll ever get.  And that's okay.
Now a look at my final Pretty Paper Party layouts: 

A whole bunch of MME with a little American Crafts and a smidge of October Afternoon with random brads.
Just cardstock, Echo Park and AC Thickers,
Oh so much American Crafts with a dash of Nestabilities & Martha Stewart Dies/Punches and a touch of Love My Tapes.
October Afternoon everywhere with Martha Stewart & EK Success punches; and AC Thickers of course.

Now, I am very interested in knowing your scrapbooking epiphanies - whether you figured them out today or 5 years ago.  We each have our own - whether it's that you love making cards more than layouts because of the paper or that you prefer Smash Books & mini-books to 12x12 or that you prefer the artistry only using photographs as another medium or that you only use scrapbooking as an aesthetically pleasing platform for photographs - it's all very much okay.


"It's refreshing to see a woman who can artfully weave her individuality into an otherwise safe ensemble." - Nina Garcia


  1. I am glad you asked! I think I have learned a thing or two since coming back to this hobby after a 4-5 year hiatus.

    1. It really isn't a is a HOBBY therefore it is taken up when the interest peaks again. I love this hobby and got overwhelmed in the "masterpiece" thinking.

    2. "Masterpiece" thinking got me to quit scrapping and to reading more blogs and hanging out at 2 Peas and buying stuff but not scrapping. I figured if I couldn't produce a "masterpiece" each and every time then why bother. I was being influenced by what I was seeing on the internet and was stymied in my own creativity.

    3. I had a whole lot of product and was not happy.....crazy!

    4. I didn't use sketches until the last 6 months before the hiatus, I felt like that was cheating and I never scraplifted....refer back to #2.

    Now I am relaxed about my hobby, I am a CRAFTER and not an "artiste" and proud of it. I am not out to reinvent the wheel and if someone has done it already and I love the results then I will use all or part of their creation as a jumping off point. No matter whether I try to re-create what they have done or whether I pay homage to them in my rendition, then I am happy. I have found myself getting lost in the process again and that to me is bliss! Love that feeling of hours going by and not realizing it when I come up for air (or a potty break). Love that! In Remix I have learned a lot and wish that I had had the time to expend on Pretty Paper Party. I will revisit it to expand on what I have been learning.

    I love classes and would take them all of the time if budget permitted.

    Here is to wonderful days of happy scrapping and thanks Tammy for being an inspiration to me in your beautiful work!

  2. I really enjoyed reading through your post and the comment above. Lots of points resonated with me. For some reason I thought about the parallel between how I scrap and how I cook! Sme days I follow a recipe carefully and measure the ingredients, other days I throw stuff in a pan. I made my first Christmas cake last Christmas and swapped out dry, chopped apricots for lemon peel. I tripled the amount of glace cherries and used sultans instead of currants. But basically I followed a recipe, just made it more 'us' and what we like. Not sure where I'm going with this... Very thought provoking post which got me musing and thinking (thanks for that). Hugs,

  3. I agree with Mandy--this is a very thought provoking post. And I've really been thinking about what you've said. I think my three biggest epiphanies are: 1) You don't have to buy everything just because it's new. 2) Fads pass. Don't get caught up in them. 3) The only people telling you that you *need* to find Your Style are the same people trying to sell you stuff that's Their Style.

    Oh wait. I just thought of another one. 4) My creations are good enough for me and that is good enough.

    Thanks for a really good post. And I love your pages! =D

  4. Thank you for this post it sure has me thinking. My Epiphanies are the following:
    1. I scrapbook for my son and frankly he is not going to care weather the picture is glued to Dear Lizzy paper or paper from the Dollar tree the boy is only going to (hopefully) someday read the story.
    2. I scrapbook because it keeps me sane. I like to create but not necessarily create from scratch so following a sketch or scraplift makes me happy; it's okay to copy in the scrappin world.
    3. I have accepted the scrappin means i am also a collector, I collect punches and stamps and paper; but i have also accepted that i can't afford every punch out there so if i have twenty pages with the same scallop punch border is ok because i don't get paid to do this and my 3 blog readers might not even notice, lol.
    4. I am (still) learning that every style out there does not need to be "MY" style. I am learning that though i like to try new things I don't need to try every little thing.
    I'm sure the more i read your post and the more i think about more will come to mind. Thank you for such a wonderful post!

  5. Excellent post! It IS all Okay. Scrapbooking keeps me sane. It is the creative crafting process. Like knitting is therapeutic for some, creating a scrapbook layout is for me. tfs And thanks for stopping by my blog!