When I first heard the word scrapbook as a verb, it was 1993 and I was living with a family in Walla Walla, Washington (say that 5 times fast!) while student teaching. The husband was a Master Photographer and would host these very progressive Creative Memories "Shoebox to Showcase" workshops in their home. He offered me a free spot in one, and so as not to seem ungrateful, I accepted.
I was more impressed than I expected to be. The woman who conducted the workshop was very creative and did some layouts that would be considered amazing for the early part of the scrapbooking era. I'll never forget one that included a paper-pieced quilt with alternating photos and cardstock, stickers used to create fabric patterns, hand-drawn stitching, etc.
I bought an album (minus the spine, since that attractive feature would have consumed my lunch money for the week), a pack of cardstock, a couple of Pigma pens, and an assortment of stickers. That summer after student teaching, I dove in.
This was the second page I made. Do I even need to mention how proud I was of that life preserver or how long it took to meticulously cut out the rope?
By the way, that was the second of only seven pages I made before I decided this hobby took way too much time and was going to cost way too much money. (Ha! If only it were still that cheap.)
Four years later, I got married. Guess what I received as a shower gift? Yep, a Creative Memories wedding album. Great. Now I was obligated to make an entire scrapbook. Well, at least the pages were pre-designed with titles, journaling lines and decorative elements so that I wasn't facing a blank canvas each time.
Guess what, though? I actually enjoyed it. By that time, Michaels had a few scrapbooking items, and I even found some wedding-themed ones. Who knew?
Here's a spread of our time in Hawaii. Mrs. Grossman would have clapped her hands with glee.
Something struck me last night while looking back at that album. It's filled with tons of handwritten journaling. I am so very thankful that the instructor at that CM workshop was a heavy journaler and so I assumed that's what was expected. I may laugh at my design choices, but I sigh contentedly when I see my newlywed thoughts captured while they were fresh.
Shortly after I finished our wedding album, the first LSS in Spokane opened. I'm pretty sure I browsed with my mouth hanging open. I purchased a Cropper Hopper cart to hold my burgeoning supplies and continued to make pages here and there to document our second year of marriage. Events only, of course.
I was so proud of this one. Such stunning title work, don't you think? And my use of stencils to shape the photo into a bear and create the tree border? So clever. Don't overlook the cut-out photo that shows my husband's foot perched on... the air? Apparently that was before I had learned about grounding my elements.
Then in 2001, I had a baby. A few months later, I discovered a brand new magazine called Simple Scrapbooks. I believe it was the second issue that had an article about albums documenting baby's first year, and I excitedly chose my favorite "formula" and adapted it. I went out and bought all the supplies at once, choosing different coordinating cardstock and patterned paper for each two-page spread. It was the first time I had used something other than white filler cardstock to make pages. I printed my journaling on vellum and attached each block with eyelets. Thrilling!
The last page in the album is of my son's first birthday. Did you go beyond tearing edges and actually rip paper into shapes, too?
At this point, I was pretty much hooked. I continued to make pages, and then when I discovered Two Peas in a Bucket in 2003, even more of the scrapbooking world opened up to me. Later that year, I read something somewhere about sending in pages to get published, so I thought I'd try it. The very first page I submitted got picked up by Ivy Cottage Creations (now Scrapbook Trends).
Goodness, that was so easy! I needed someone to tell me that it really wasn't, and that after picking up the first two projects I ever had published, that magazine would never request my work again! ;)
I went through a period of thinking I needed to fill up all 144 square inches of my pages. That, my friends, was time consuming.
When it came down to it, my favorite pages were usually the simplest ones. Pages that actually left a bit of white space.
I finally reached a point about two years ago when I decided to stop asking the question, "How would [insert name of well-known scrapbooker] handle this element/photo/journaling/title/etc." I was finally at peace with the fact that it didn't matter. Amazingly enough, scrapbooking started to feel a lot more fun and a lot less like work.
I scrapbook a variety of sizes and orientations, and I'm even back to frequently using white as my background. I may use the words "caught up" when paying bills, but never in reference to my scrapbook pages. I enjoy the process as much as the finished page, even if it takes me three hours to do a "simple" layout. And while there are exceptions, journaling the stories—usually in my own hand—is still central to what I create.
I've often thought I need to look up the Huie family in Walla Walla and say thank you for inviting me to get my photos out of the shoebox. I'm sure they'd be surprised to see they went from there to here. I know I am.