I first heard about scrapbooking from my mother in the late 1990s, I think. I used to keep scrapbooks filled with newspaper clippings, ticket stubs & programs from events I'd attended. I've always loved taking photos (meticulously labelled & put into photo albums -- although I'm several years behind on that at the moment...!), writing and recording family history, and I've always had a passion for pretty coloured paper & pens, lol. ; )
My mom knew this, & told me that the daughter of a friend of hers was selling supplies through home parties to make these amazing photo albums. She gave me one of her brochures (it was Creative Memories) & I tucked it away, thinking I should really look into this sometime.
In the spring of 2001, I stumbled onto a copy of Scrapbooks Etc. on the newsstand. This took what I'd seen in the brochure my mom had given to a whole new level. I was intrigued. This was something I knew I'd like to do. But where to buy supplies? How to get started? I find I feel most comfortable trying new things when someone shows me what to do. In April 2002, I wound up taking a one-night introductory course at the local community centre, hosted by a local Creative Memories representative.
Around that time, I was at the meeting of our pregnancy loss support group. We were having a "memento sharing" evening, where we talk about how to preserve our memories of our babies & share the keepsakes that we have. I mentioned scrapbooking & that I'd heard there were actually entire stores in the States that were devoted to this hobby. "There's one in [neighbouring town]," one of the other women told me. Really??!
I'll never forget the first time I walked into that store. It was an overwhelming, amazing experience -- like a kid being let loose in a candy store. ; ) I wound up going to a "crop" there a few months later, & although I have been in a bit of a slump recently, I have been scrapbooking ever since then.
On the face of it, scrapbooking may seem like a strange sort of hobby for a childless woman. It's such a mommy-dominated hobby, and if you look at any of the scrapbooking magazines or websites, cute kids predominate in the layouts that are shared. I've definitely felt left out sometiems at crops when the women around me talk nonstop about their kids (& sometimes ignore me after I say I don't have any). I've actually had people ask me why I scrapbook if I don't have kids, & if I don't have kids, then what do I scrapbook? (!)
My original idea was that I was going to make a scrapbook for Katie. But I knew I needed some pratice first (because this, of all albums, must be PERFECT, right??). Katie's album is still untouched, but I have completed several albums of baby & toddler photos for our two nephews, & a big fat album as a graduation gift for Parent's Neighbours' Daughter. (You can always scrapbook other people's kids if you don't have your own, lol.)
But of course, there is so much else you can scrapbook besides kids -- friends, holidays, your wedding, yourself. I know many people who have started a "Book of Me" as a diversion from scrapbooking their kids. Last fall, I started doing a "Book of Us," covering our days at school, our wedding, & then one spread for each year we've been married, including the best photos of us & journalling about the main things that happened to us that year & how we spent our anniversary. The idea was that I would have the album finished in time for our 25th anniversary. Our anniversary was in July, & I'm still finishing the wedding pages. Oh well!
For about two years, I actually got together with a group of friends from our pregnancy loss group one evening a month to scrapbook. We took turns hosting & providing snacks & drinks. I was the only one who didn't have a living child, but we all shared the bond of loss & enjoyed each other's company. Some of us were more into scrapbooking than others, of course, and eventually, a few people moved away, a few had subsequent babies & got busy, & gradually, our group disbanded. We still see each other & connect on Facebook, & I still consider those women some of my dearest friends. : )
Scrapbooking is a great way to capture your memories, preserve your family stories, show off some of your favourite photos, & indulge your creative spirit. Playing with pretty paper and glue makes me feel like I'm back in grade school sometimes. It can sometimes be frustrating when what lands on the page doesn't match the image in my head, but it's also satisfying to finish a spread, or an entire album. : )
The layout above is one of the wedding pages from our anniversary album.