Monday, May 6, 2013

Crappy Scrapping...But I'm Getting Better.

I have gazillions of photographs. They started accumulating from the time my first child was born all the way up until, oh, about 2004, when we finally bought a digital camera.

That's about 14 years worth of printed pictures. ALOT of pictures! I was good with the baby pictures and actually put those into baby books for my three kids. Nothing fancy, just a few as scribbled notes and some glued pictures, but hey, it was something.

I tried keeping up with the oodles of pictures after that - put some into photo albums and even tried scrapbooking years ago when it first became popular. But I just didn't have the time to finish the scrapbooks I started or keep up with it.

Several years back, I actually separated them by date and event and filed them in these accordian style folders, with the intent (again) of putting them into scrapbooks. And there they sat.

Then, about 3 years ago I bought a scrapbook for my youngest daughter and promised we would add pictures to it and work on it together. We did 2 pages and it became another unfinished project.

 I recently decided that its time to get these pictures into books and I'm practicing on starting with my daughter's unfinished scrapbook. I thought it would be a nice project we could do together since we both like creative challenges.

So where's the first place you go when undertaking a crafty endeavor? The nearest grocery store for a bottle of wine to dull the disappointment when it doesn't turn out the way you hoped. Yup, Michael's craft store..

Although I haven't scrapbooked in a really long time, I was well aware of the scrapbook section of the store. I've meandered through there many times, looking for this or that doodad for some craft or school project over the years.

This time I browsed slowly through the section, looking at all the papers, embellishments, flowers, brads, punchers, cutters, scissors, books, and stickers...Oh, the stickers! Tons and tons of stickers. I just wanted a few embellishments that I could mix and match so each page could look a little bit different, but still have a consistent feel, and not look like a pre-schooler's art project.

It was a bit overwhelming and very hard to leave the store without spending a small fortune. Here's what I ended up with:
See the little tiny pink buttons right in the center? Are those too cute or what?!
So I had my supplies, and I had the pictures I wanted to work with...what comes next? A nap. A smarter person probably would have googled a few scrapbooking tips and layout ideas before crazily gluing pictures down. But I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, so my daughter and I (IQ is genetic, don't ya know) just sort of dove in and started putting pictures on pages. I started with some playtime themed pictures, and she started with some beach themed ones, and we finished a few pages. They weren't bad, but they were definately done by rookies.

I wanted to do better, so I got on the internet that night and googled "Scrapbook tips for beginners" and found all kinds of information that I should have read before we started. So I thought I'd share a few do's and don'ts that I either learned from really botching it experience, or read, and then went, "DUH".

1.  That thin, white, plain piece of paper that they put inside each page protector of the album, isn't meant to have pictures glued to it. And they definitely aren't meant to have pictures glued to both sides of it. I'm pretty sure this tip is from Scrapbooking 101, and I should have known that, having seen the rows and rows of scrapbook paper on display at Michael's. This one was a HUGE DUH moment. We ended up going back and peeling the pictures up from the paper and re-doing them on the thicker cardstock type paper. Oh well, live and learn. Which brings me to the next tip.

2. Don't use the liquid glue. Yes, it's in the scrapbook section of Michael's, and yes, it's acid free and all that...but it's just plain a pain in the arse! It's drippy, sticky, and just makes your pictures buckle. Use photo tape, dots, corner sticky things, or even a glue stick. Just don't use the liquid glue.

3.  If you ignore number 2 above, and insist on using the liquid glue, or like me, already bought it and now are stuck with it until it runs out, only use a tiny bit. You only need a dot on each corner and one in the center to make the picture stick. I was layering the shit on like I was frosting a cake! Baaad idea!

4.  Don't go crazy with all the cute shape template things and start cutting your pictures into weird shapes. Pictures really look better with straight edges, I think. At least I think I think far. I'm pretty sure I failed the straight cutting lesson in kindergarten because none of my circles were actually round. If you happen to cut very neat, nice, circles then just ignore this tip. I bought a circle puncher tool for little circles that I can use as embellishments, and absolutely LOVE IT! (OMG, I sound like a scrapbook freak now!)

Even the scalloped edged scissors are best used on mats for your pictures and not so much on the pictures. Really, for the pictures - straight edges, and maybe just rounded corners. Ok, moving on...

5.  Layout your stickers on the page, before actually removing them from the paper, so you can see where they would look best. Those suckers are impossible to move once they're down. For that matter, lay out your page before gluing anything down, to make sure there's room for everything and it looks good. I know, scrapbooking 101 again, but what can I say, I'm still a rookie!

6.  Don't write directly on your page. If it's a title, or journaling (yeah, that's what scrapbookers call the writing on the page - journaling. It's an industry term. Highly technical.), write it on a separate tag (another industry term) or another paper, and glue it onto your page. Of course, if you have great handwriting, and don't make mistakes, then ignore this tip too.

7.  Finally, when searching for scrapbook layout ideas, because you're stuck on stupid and can't think of anything, don't google "Beautiful scrapbook layout ideas" because this is what you'll come up with:

Gorgeous? Hell yes! Could I actually do this? Hell no! I don't even know what half of this stuff is!

Whimsical and beautiful, yes. Doable in reasonable time for a rookie, no.
I changed my google search to "EASY scrapbook layout ideas". I got this:

Ahh, that's better!
Now, this, I can do!
After looking at some layouts and reading some tips, the next day I made a trip to Wal-mart and picked up a few more supplies:

Somebody should really stop me.
I made a few more pages with my newfound knowledge and supplies, and they turned out much better. I realize I should have put plain colored mats behind my pictures, which sat on patterned pages, to show off the pictures more, but that's ok. There's plenty more pages left  to practice on.

Scrapbooking is a fun and creative way to show off your pictures, but I don't see myself taking this on as a lifetime hobby or anything. Really, I just want to show my pictures in a creative way and leave something behind for my kids and grandkids to enjoy. Once I'm done with all my printed pictures, I'm going to make online scrapbooks with Smilebox or slideshows with Smugmug for the digital pictures. And that's a whole lot easier than this scrapbooking stuff.

As I was reading the websites and blogs of scrapbookers (are they scrappers?), I realized how fanatical some women are over this hobby (says the girl who spent over $100 on supplies in 2 days!). One lady had a list of 50 scrapbook theme ideas in case you happen to "run out of ideas". She didn't have pictures on hand that she needed to put in a book either. She would come up with an idea, then print out pictures that were already on digital, just to make a scrapbook page. 

Now, that's just plain crazy. Once all my pictures are in books, then I'm DONE and I'll be thrilled! You won't find me dreaming up ideas and making more work for myself. No way.

At least I don't think so. But then again...who knows. All I do know is that my daughter and I are having fun with this little project, and I'm very happy with that. Actually, that makes it all worth it, no matter how much work it is. Here, she is, being goofy:

The creative process at work
If you want to see how our pages look so far, just google "Scrapbook layouts for lazy, stupid people". You'll see them. Just kidding. Actually, they are getting better and I think by the time this book is done, our pages will be freaking masterpieces. I'll post pictures of them then. about you guys? Anybody into scrapbooking? Hate it? Love it? Any tips? Do tell!

Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

I love perusing the scrapbook aisle in Michaels and all the gorgeous stickers, embellishments and papers. Sadly, I have not taken on any scrapbooking projects since my second child was born. I got 2 pages in and made all the mistakes you mentioned above and gave up.

I was mildly interested in the new digital version of scrapbooking since all my photos are on the computer now. But that is a bit more than I want to tackle now.
You will be glad you did them and your kids and grandkids will be glad you took the time to do them I know. My kiddos will be burning through the flash drive trying to match dates with pictures. :-( Yeah, I'm not up for any mother of the year awards here.
Maybe someday...

Susan said...

I'm a long time scrapbooker. Yep, had a whole room full of supplies, when on "crops" and retreats the whole bit. Not that I scrapped that much, I just liked to play and couldn't relate to the whole "pump out as many pages as you possibly can" crowd. Then I pretty much stopped.

Along came Project Life. I've started scrapbooking again! It's basically pocket pages that you tuck your photo in and some journaling in. Of course, I can't seem to just do the basics...not when I have all these supplies still (even if they are outdated!) I keep ticket stubs, receipts, little all goes in there and I love doing it again. You can get a better idea of it here: Now all I have to do is start blogging again. Sigh...

Lori said...

Yeah, I'm anxious to try the digital ones too. But one project at a time....

Lori said...

Hi Susan! I'll have to check that out. Michael's did have something like that, where there were like 6 clear pockets on a page and you could put photos in 4 of them, journal in one, and put some embellishments in one, and then you're done. It looked pretty simple and I might give that a try after we finish this book. Thanks for the info!

Fred J said...

$100 in 2 days on supplies for a project she has already conceded she isn't likely to finish. A crack habit would only cost HALF as much! And I checked... my insurance won't cover scrapbooking rehab - not even outpatient.

I may have to leave her.

Janet said...

I think 90% of scrapbooking is purchasing supplies. So you're doing a bang up job!