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So This Is Scrapbooking! By Karen Leahy

So This is Scrapbooking

By Karen Leahy 


I bet, like me, you have boxes of photos tucked away from years gone by. How often do you look at them? How often do you get them out and really look? Can you remember who the people are? When they were taken? The story behind the picture? Maybe you are more organised and you put them in those wonderful, big, sticky albums as soon as they were developed. Maybe you even labelled them. How often do you get those albums out and look at them? Are the pictures still as fresh and clear as when you first put them in? Are the memories as clear? Can you remember the little anecdotes from the ordinary events you captured. Can you remember who was in that old photograph from generations passed that you did know once but …. Well it was a long time ago that you were told. 


How often do you share them with other people? And do they really LOOK? We have all been presented with someone’s holiday album with pages of photographs of people we don’t know in places we have never been and made those encouraging ‘mmmmmm’ noises. We have all sat and looked at albums full of other people’s children and oohed and aahed in all the right places but, let’s be honest here, it can be a tad boring can’t it?


Want to know how to resolve all those problems and have great fun? Want to know what to do with all those old pictures, how to keep those memories alive and how to share them with your friends and family without sending them into the realms of eternal boredom. I can tell you! Honest!


It’s scrapbooking.


Now, I bet you are thinking of your scrapbooks from your childhood. Those wonderful huge sugar-paper books filled with newspaper clippings, bits torn out of magazines, postcards and drawings. Well, that is the germ of the idea, but to compare modern day scrapping to that is like comparing my drawing to Leonardo Da Vinci’s (and believe me it is not a welcome comparison)


Modern day scrapbooking is an art form in itself, but you can make it as simple or as complex as you like. It suits everyone, from a person who thinks they have no artistic flair whatsoever, to people who want to create great works of art in their albums. Not only is it a great creative outlet but it brings with it the following benefits ….


  • Your photographs will be stored in an acid free environment, ensuring they last well into the future and don’t fade and discolour
  • You will have a record of your memories, of people, places, dates, events and of those little day to day anecdotes that make our lives into such a rich tapestry
  • You will have albums of photographs that people will WANT to see; will actually enjoy looking through
  • You will ensure that your memories are passed on to future generations – it’s just like having immortality with a flourish!

So – now I have whetted you appetite – let me explain.

Scrapbooking ensures your pictures are stored in a safe acid and lignin free environment. It is the acid and lignin that damages your pictures, that eats away at them, that discolours them.


By mounting your pictures on acid free papers and cards, using acid free glue, and storing them in acid free albums, you are protecting them and guaranteeing their survival for the future.


The papers are available in every colour, style and design imaginable. You can dress your pictures up by placing them on beautiful papers, you can embellish your album pages with beautiful materials, you can record those places, dates and times, you can record your feelings, little daily events, your hopes and dreams. You can make pages as simple or as complex as you like, but they will be pages which will be safe and which people will want to share. 


You could meet with other people who scrapbook. These get togethers are called crops and they are where you share your ideas …… and chat and have great fun. You could even join an on-line community of like-minded people.  Here you can learn your new art, find support and friendship, share ideas about scrapbooking and everything else imaginable too, and I can guarantee it, it will change your life for ever.


All sounding too good to be true? Well of course there are some pitfalls.


To start off with those on-line communities. Addictive! Should carry a government health warning because the more you are on them the more you NEED to be on them.


Then there are supplies. You need to buy the acid free papers and albums to begin with. Not a problem in itself – there are now so many British companies selling all the scrapbooking supplies you will ever need – but it does come with a little warning.


You might THINK you could just buy one album, a few papers and pieces of card, some glue and a trimmer, but you won’t be able to. The amount of material available – we scrappers call it STASH – is so vast and so utterly beautiful and tempting, that I fear you can kiss goodbye to restraint. You might start well, but you will covet more and more.


One piece of paper will not be enough. You will need a second exactly the same so you still have it in your stash once you have used it. You will NEED those new metal charms, that new shade of ribbon and the latest tools. Before long you will find you are addicted. Addicted to logging on to ATDML and filling up that ever expanding wish list, addicted to stroking papers (yes I hear you laugh now, but listen to the voice of experience), addicted to little storage containers full of beads and button, tags and ribbons.


Watching television will be an activity of the past; you’ll be scrapping and loving it so much you will need to take more pictures to fuel you addiction, leading to more scrapping, more stash purchasing, more scrapping and so on. You will be in a never-ending spiral, but oh such a pleasant one. A spiral of pleasure and activity, of creativity and fulfilment that you will be able to share with others both now and in the future.


So, dig out those boxes or old albums, browse one of the on-line communities, look through all the glorious things on here, pick out some basics, some must haves and – of course – some ‘I just have to have that’ items  and start recording and protecting your past and present for the future. Change YOUR life forever.

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