Scrapbooking season is upon us

It’s that time of year when it’s no longer just cool or chilly outside, but plain old friggin’ cold. I love the continuous desire to drink hot cups of delicious concoctions (cider, coffee, hot chocolate, hot toddies) . . . but there’s also a component of letdown: it’s now officially too cold to take walks along the lakeshore–the wind gives me an earache and my nose starts to detach itself from my face. It’s dark by the time I get home from work. I have no idea what to wear since I have temporarily forgotten how to layer my clothing.

Sometimes you need a little positive thinking to get through these dark evenings: this is why I like to scrapbook as the fall turns into winter. In fact, isn’t today the first official day of winter? Or something?

Please note the bewildered expression on my husband’s face: What has happened to our living room??? Should I make a run for it?

In this digital age, a lot of people use the internet to post their pictures. I have joined the ranks—I love posting pictures on my blog and on facebook. I love being able to look at other peoples’ pictures and follow things like the growth of their children from a State or sometimes a continent away with a simple click of the mouse. However, I also find incredible pleasure in having a book that I can pull off the shelf to look at many of these same pictures. I love making it, and I love having it available for the family to flip through when they’re visiting. Plus, it’s fun to look at the photo albums on a couch piled high with family members—you just don’t get that same cozy feeling from a computer screen.

Once a year, when September rolls around, I look through my gazillion pictures from the previous 12 months and pick which ones I want to print. This year, I uploaded my selections to, and about a week later they were delivered to my door.

Then about a month went by. Don’t ask me what happened during that month, because all of a sudden October seems like a big blank.

I know I scrapbooked twice in November, and then got hit by the Thanksgiving truck and haven’t yet recovered. I still have a lot of scrapbooking ground to cover, but that will give me something to do in January and February to avoid the post-holiday blues.

Some scrapbookers like to buy stickers, fun backgrounds, ribbons, stamps, and the like. I applaud these people—they create beautiful scrapbooks! But it can cost a lot of money when you add it all up—a couple bucks for each sheet of stickers, a couple more bucks for some pretty background paper, etc. My solution is simple: I like to use all the paraphenalia I’ve saved through the year such as menus, fortunes from cookies, programs, tickets, brochures, thank you notes, invitations and the like, to decorate my pages. It’s cheaper, it gives you a place to store that wedding invitation you just can’t bear to throw away, and ultimately it creates a very meaningful album.

On this page I used a cut-up Christmas card with little squares representing the 12 days of Christmas.

Once the prints arrive, I bring out all the above-mentioned paraphernalia and begin the master sorting: it’s time to put everything (pictures and paraphenalia) in chronological order. I like to do a pile for each month. This is a big task—but a fun one! I forcibly involved my husband because he’s the only one who can remember when the heck things happened.

Once everything is chronologically organized into neat piles, I get my tools:

  1. 12×12’’ Memory book pages
  2. Scissors
  3. Paper cutter (after years of pasting in crooked pictures that I had hand-cut, it was time)

4. Two-sided stickers such as these:

5. Colored construction paper and a sharpie marker for writing explanations/captions

Now it’s time for the creative part—assembling the pictures and stuff into pages! I love adding funny explanations, cutting pictures up to fit a sequence in together, color-coordinating everything, and even adding a Santa Hat to a hideous picture of Erica:

In case Erica isn’t pleased with this image of her, here is a link to a series of pictures more reflective of her beauty.

I recommend using a space that you don’t have to pick up at the end of the evening. It can take a while to put everything away while conserving the chronology, and for me, taking everything back out can seem so unappealing that I will procrastinate. So set yourself up—if possible—in a space that you can take over for a week or two, or however long it takes you. It saves a lot of time!

And that’s why my project is still dragging on. Because the two times I scrapbooked in November, I picked up after myself. Bad Jenna! I should know myself well enough by now to say that starting is always the hardest. Unless I’ve already started, in which case stopping is the hardest.

I also conned my friend Carrie into working on her scrapbook, which chronicles her trip to Ireland with her husband over the summer. Nothing like having a friend over to get your butt in gear.

As winter is upon us, this activity helps me look back thoughtfully on the previous year: what I’ve done, the friends I’ve spent time with, and all the fun things that I would have forgotten had they not been recorded. For me, it’s a time of thankfulness to God for all the blessings of the year, and a time to reflect on what’s truly important: loving and being with people!

Carrie, when can you come over to get my butt in gear again?

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21 Responses to Scrapbooking season is upon us

  1. Cindy says:

    Scrapbooking was an addiction that hit me for a while, now I do it sporadically: it just seems to much effort to get my big box of goodies from the storeroom.

  2. Circe says:

    I did something similar when I finished high school. I was the yearbook editor/photographer, so I could have all the left over pictures, which meant that I had a huge collection. I ended up putting togther a photobook for each year. It was great, and so much fun to look back on now.

    Your pictures are gorgeous, I’ll be your books are a big favourite when you have company over.

  3. Sarah says:

    awww fun! i used to be really into scrapbooking but fell off the bandwagon. i have made a digital scrapbook & paid to have it printed out in book form. that might be my new method. :)

  4. Weighting For 50 says:

    That is so fun. I scrapbooked for a while, but it kinda tapered off. This post inspired me to get out some of my supplies and do a few pages!! (your husband’s look in the photo is priceless)

  5. norma says:

    I have no time for this, but how I wish I did. One day, maybe when I retire and I still have all my grey cells I will sit around and remember all the good times through my pictures.

    Merry Merry to you and yours.

    • Jenna says:

      Yeah, it’s pretty time consuming, there’s no denying it. But it’s so relaxing to cut stuff out and paste stuff and assemble collages–there’s something about doing crafts with your hands that just lets your brain kind of tune out the stresses of the world.
      Merry Christmas to you too! =)

  6. Jen says:

    Wow. Your scrapbooking is intense. But so inspiring! I’ve never really gotten into because it takes…so much. But the thought of having a book you can take off the shelf and browse through is quite fun!

  7. Sherri says:

    Totally dig the whole scrapbooking thing….. just never have time (maybe when the kids are older, I always say)…… Nice job with yours, btw!

  8. So the only time I have ever made a scrapbook was in my senior year of high school for English. My teacher was a crazy, 75-year-old school marm who petrified all of us (seriously–my boyfriend, the class clown, only said one word in her class: Northumbria). We had to compile our journal collection and make them into a project. And I have no idea why I chose to scrapbook, but I did.

    Very traumatic things happened while I scrapbooked: my parents got into a pretty heated argument in front of me, my parents got into a pretty heated argument with me, my cat kept stealing all of my glue sticks, and I got second degree burns from spilling coffee on my leg because I procrastinated and had to pull an all-nighter to finish the dumb thing the day before it was due.

    I have scrapbooking PTSD. I don’t think I will ever try to make one again.

    But yours are lovely. :)

    • Jenna says:

      That is a hilarious story. I totally understand why scrapbooking is off limits for you. And what was that cat doing with the glue sticks it stole?? Sounds like a sniffing problem to me . . .

  9. I love scrapbooks and would probably make them if our son was younger. Yours are just gorgeous – I love the fact that you use things you saved to jazz up your pages.

  10. What fun and what a great project. You make it look easy. Ha! It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth the trouble! Such beautiful memories you have stored up to cherish for years to come! Blessings to you…

  11. denise says:

    Such a lovely keepsake that will reward you in spades in years to come. (I thought I was a dead-ringer for scrap b00king. Well, ummmm, turns out I wasn’t. So I have drawers and boxes full of things for when the mood hits me.)

  12. skippymom says:

    They are wonderful pages.

    I had to laugh at your friend’s PTSD [laugh with her, not at her mind you] THAT is funny and I totally feel her pain. I am completely incapable of putting together one page, let alone a whole book of memories.

    I can cook anything and assemble a quilt -but give me papers, pictures and glue and I am a hopeless ninny.


    [That last sheet with your friend – red hair – looks like it came from a magazine. She is stunning. :D]

    • Jenna says:

      Thanks Skippymom! The last page with the ‘redhead’ is my blond sister Erica (with some funky red highlights from the light she was standing under). And she has been a model and actress, incidentally. =) She’s pretty much one of the most beautiful people I know. Thanks for the compliment to her–I’ll have to pass it on.

  13. Colleen says:

    Hi Jenna,
    Thanks for stopping by! I’m a scrapbooker too although I am extremely behind! I am hoping to get back into it over the Christmas vacation. Happy Holidays!!

  14. sonali says:

    Hi Jenna,

    I came across your blog, luckily. You have a good creativity and scrapbooking is fun! :)

  15. Carrie says:

    Next weekend??? :)

  16. lifesincethen says:

    Please forgive me, i was just having a nose around your blog :P hehe
    i came acrross this page and couldnt agree more.
    I love love love scrapbooking. Ive been doing it a few years now but i mostly make scrapbooks for other people. I only in the last year started doing it for me! I shall post a post about scrapbooking one day :)
    I’m a half and half. I love the pretty pages you can buy and backgrounds and stickers and papers and add ons lol, but like you say, it is very expensive. But i also love to use memorabilia from the events that i am scapping about. It adds personality to the page instead of being pics on nice backgrounds. And its sooo much more fun than looking at pics on facebook!!!

    Anyway keep up the scrapping :) There needs to be more of us in the world :) B xx

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