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I don’t <3 scrapbooking

April 5, 2010


I recently had a confessional conversation with another mommy friend about how we mutually despise scrapbooking.  This has been one of the defining points of resistance for me in embracing my Beckiness.

When my husband and I first got married, I went to a Creative Memories party.  It wasn’t really a party.  There was no music, very little food, and a major sales pitch that borderlined on a cult initiation.  They have you make scrapbooks at these things, and having no scrapbook to make, I was compelled to buy one.  The other women whipped out glue guns like Wild West lawmen while I struggled to get the teeny triangles off the sticky backs of some kind of adhesive-tabbed, picture-corner thingies.  (They’re actually called that on the box and the name creates major packaging issues.  I think that’s why the stuff is so expensive to buy.)  Two hours later, I had one pretty page featuring our dating selves at an Atlanta Braves game.  Ten years later, that one page remains sandwiched between endless layers of empty acid-free paper.

In this area, I feel decidedly un-Becky.  No matter what kind of gumption I muster to engage in scrapbooking, the creative impulse never makes it out of the gate.  This is something I secretly hate most about attending MOPS meetings. Most of the women at my table and around the room are exceedingly more craftsy than me.  I look at them when we get our little craft bags and it’s  like they can see the finished recipe-card holder before they ever pick up their glue sticks.  It’s not that I can’t see it, and it’s not that I don’t like it when it is finished.  It’s just that all my projects, even the ones I enjoy in the privacy of my own home, still have that hint of 8th-grade science fair project quality to them.  Like my mom doesn’t have to do all the letters for me anymore because my writing is legible and the letters are in a straight row, but there’s still that pencil-drawn tracing of the ruler’s edge that can’t fully be erased without losing all the color of the paper underneath.

I know I should be more responsible about collecting and chronicling our lives at this point in time.  Everything is happening so fast, if I don’t get it down, I know I’ll forget.  I can’t go to the kitchen without my daughter growing two inches.  And I put all our pictures on Facebook with clever captions and sarcastic tags.  I just can’t bring that effort to hours of cropping and layering paper circles and “journaling” in permanent ink.

I have lately taken to putting together online photobooks (through photo-sharing sites) and having them mailed to me whenever there’s a crazy-cheap sale going on. I’ve built two of them so far and they are composed entirely of images I already uploaded to other places. I worry sometimes that by the time my kids are grown, Facebook will have crashed and burned and I’ll have nothing to show for their childhoods.

My husband and I are looking down the barrel of our 10th anniversary in May and our wedding album is still just a book with a stack of loose pictures housed inside. I could head to another scrapbooking “party” and remedy the situation, I suppose.  It’s not like I’m short on opportunities.  There would be some accountability there, perhaps.  For me, it’d be like going to an AA meeting. “Hi, my name is Becky, and I’ve never finished a scrapbook.” I could probably get on that wagon in a social setting, but I’m not ready to admit I this is a real problem. I guess my collection of pictures (print and digital) will just remain art that imitates my messy, unfinished, “where-did-I-put-that?” life.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Ashleigh permalink
    April 6, 2010 2:20 pm

    YYEESSS!! I share your sentiments.

    I can’t do it – scrapbooking. Last time I even bought a photo album I got it home and realized it said “Baby” on the side. Now all my college pictures are in a baby album. Sigh.

  2. Kate permalink
    April 8, 2010 7:42 pm

    I went to a Creative Memories party. It wasn’t really a party. There was no music, very little food, and a major sales pitch that borderlined on a cult initiation.

    This reminds me of Dave Barry’s story about throwing a Tupperware party. I recommend that everyone go to the library right now, check out Dave Barry’s Greatest Hits, and read “The Plastic, Fantastic Cover” and “Bang the Tupperware Slowly.”

    I share your Facebook fears. Most photos of my niece are there, rather than in albums.

    When it comes to photo albums, I tend to buy the scrapbooking-proof variety. Just photo sleeves and nothing more.

  3. nikki permalink
    April 23, 2010 11:36 pm

    How did I miss this post? gah! Allow me to suggest Flickr — you can upload photos quickly, and it works as an archive, not just a viewing portal. I’ve stored most of our family photos there high-res (as well as on our external hard drive, but I always forget to back up there). Plus, if you sign up, then we can be Flickr friends as well as real-life, Facebook, blog, and Twitter friends. 😉

    http://flickr.com/photos/nicolemarie

    A lot of people use Picasa, too, which I might have done if I hadn’t discovered Flickr several years ago and liked it so much.

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