why to scrapbook

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Hey Archiver’s fans….Scrapfest weekend is sadly over, but what a BLAST!     It was a weekend filled with awesome workshops, great make and takes, remarkable product and a multitude of rockin’ scrappers.  I personally was “stationed” in the registration area which allowed me to meet/assist/and get to know about a million new creative friends from literally all over the world.   I heard stories of families and friends, trips and experiences and the many reasons for preserving it all. I witnessed creative minds meeting for the first time, friends who have been crafting together forever and people who I would have sworn were sisters and then found out that they had only just met!  There is no denying it….it’s  a special bond we have.  Thanks to everyone that attended Scrapfest along with all those that shop in our stores, reads our newsletters emails and blog, follow us on Facebook and “freak out” over our cool stuff! You faithfully confirm our belief that this is much more than just a hobby.

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Last time I visited my parents, I brought home a large bin full of old school papers, yearbooks, various event programs, report cards, and pictures. Back when I graduated high school, not a lot of people scrapbooked, or at least they didn’t in my hometown. My mom did, however, make me a simple album to hold my various awards, each year’s school photo, and a few photos here and there, but everything else just got packed away in a bin.

It was really fun to go back and look at everything. I realized that even though it’s only been 11 years since I graduated high school,  some of my memories–especially those of my elementary school days–are already starting to get fuzzy. It took me a minute to remember my 1st grade teacher’s name.  While some of my school projects I vividly remember, others I don’t really remember doing. Even class photos–some of my elementary school classmates I have a hard time remembering their names!

It was then that I decided to make my own school scrapbook. There’s no rule that says you can only make school albums for your children. Your own school days memories are worth remembering, too. It doesn’t matter how many years it’s been since you were a student!

Here’s what I’m going to do:

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I am in mid-planning for a family trip to Disney World this summer.  My husband and I took our eldest son Will, when he was four.  Will was in awe of the place.  My husband and I smiled just watching him.  We have great memories and photos from that trip.  When we got back – I had every intention of an elaborate scrapbook to commemorate our trip (which is still not done – trip was in 2007!).  I also wanted to make Will a quick little album that he could enjoy.  I did finish that album and it has turned into the most beloved memory book in our house.

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My grandfather and I were very close, and anyone who knew him knew he was a HUGE sports fan. He attended all the local high school football, hockey, and baseball games, and watched sports all the time on tv–especially the Minnesota Twins. In talking one day, I was surprised to learn he had NEVER been to a Twins game in all of his 85 years! My grandpa was born, raised, and lived in northern Minnesota and rarely made the 3+ hour drive to Minneapolis (where the Twins play), so the opportunity had never presented itself. I decided right then and there that that had to change!

We got tickets for us and two friends for a game in June, 2001. He was excited, and even went out and bought a new Twins hat especially for the occasion (he always wore a baseball hat and had lots of them). During the long car ride, the four of us chatted about everything under the sun. It was so nice having all that time alone with him. As we approached Minneapolis and my grandpa got a glimpse of the Metrodome, I could feel his anticipation building. We went inside and I will never forget the look on his face and how his eyes lit up when he saw the field for the first time from the concourse–he said something like, “It’s so much more green than on tv!” The entire game he sat glued to the action. We had great seats–second row, just beyond third base–that made it easy for him to see what was happening and to follow along, play-by-play. We enjoyed snacks and drinks, cheered lots (and loud!), and of course, being a scrapbooker, I insisted on taking photos. He had an absolute blast, and to top it off, the Twins even won the game! It was a day that I will never, ever forget.

Afterward, he talked about the game for weeks to everyone he ran into. You could tell that he really enjoyed himself, and I was so happy that we made the time to do it (and kicking myself that we didn’t do it sooner!).

Sadly, that would be our one and only Twins game together, as he passed away the following summer.

Although this photo from that day isn’t great and my eyes are closed, it is one of my favorite and most cherished photos. Every time I look at it, I’m reminded of the memories of that day–truly one of the best days of my life–and it makes me smile!

Sometimes, I think we scrapbookers get hung up on getting the “perfect” photo. But you know what? Sometimes those imperfect photos are the ones that matter most. This photo of my grandpa and me is worth much more to me than a million more “perfect” photos.

If there’s a story behind a photo that you want to remember, it deserves to go into your scrapbook, whether it’s “perfect” or not!

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This is one of my favorite pictures.  The quality isn’t that great – you can’t even see the faces of the subjects, but the memory attached to it is priceless to me.  My grandpa was an avid golfer.  He spent literally half of his life on the golf course.  This was taken the last time Grandpa was able to go out to a course.  He was dying of leukemia that summer and got this one last chance to go out while my mom, aunts and uncles (who played in this golf  tournament with him every year) were playing.  Read the rest of this entry »

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I have always enjoyed crafting.  My mom painted, quilted, sewed…you name it.  So, my sister and I grew up collecting pamphlets and postcards when we were on vacation and cutting and rubber cementing them into spiral bound albums to make our first scrapbooks.

While times have changed, I still look back on those albums and love to go through them.  Sometimes I laugh (New Kids on the Block fanatic in Jr. High), sometimes I get misty (trips with Grandparents not here anymore) but I love to look at them.  I mention this because essentially, it is why I make time to scrapbook now.  I want my kids and grandchildren to look back someday and remember loved ones, fun times and know a little more about their lives.  It would be easy for me to say that I don’t have time (because with two little ones, I don’t) but I really feel that there are few things more important for me to do for them…and me….so I make the time.

Mainly I try to go to mania with friends every now and then or go to an overnight scrapbook weekend to keep up.  Since my “creative sessions” are few and far between I keep organized in a few simple ways that I can keep up with – and am ready to rock when I can.

  1. Keep notes– I would say journal, but that seems to be a dirty word most of the time and difficult to keep up with.  Kids say the darndest things and I keep notes on the funniest or sweetest little things they say – then later, I pick a favorite photo and add the story to the page.  Write them in a notebook by your bed, on a calendar or on Post It notes by the phone.  I actually enjoy reading the stories that I have forgotten from when they were young more than the photos.  It is easy to forget the stories behind life’s little moments.  These notes are among my most precious belongings now.
  2. Print Photos – You can’t scrapbook what you don’t have.  Develop a system you can follow to download your photos and get them printed, so they are waiting for you when you can carve out some time, not the other way around.
  3. Focus on the Memories – It is overwhelming (even in the age of “delete the digital photos that don’t look good”) to scrapbook everything.  However, I find I can’t throw photos of my kids no matter how poor they are.  Thinking about the memory, rather than the photo helps me prioritize what I am trying to put on a page.  Do I want all 12 photos I took at soccer – or just the one of him scoring the goal and the big smile when he looked over at the sidelines?  That is the story I want to remember.
  4. Enjoy the Process –I am a taskmaster – so sometimes I forget to sit back and enjoy being creative.  I am so focused on the end product that I don’t make time to enjoy my social time with girlfriends (or still with my mom and my sister).  I also have to remind myself that I am not getting a grade on my scrapbooks.  They will be treasures to my kids regardless of my creative ability.  Just like life, scrapbooking is about enjoying the ride as much as getting to the end….make sure you make time to do this, and that you are enjoying the ride in the process.

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