Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hang the scrapbooking rules

Do you have any rules for scrap booking? If so what are they? I know some scrapbookers who have rules or at least very strong opinions on how to scrap.
  1. If there are no pictures of something it didn't happen, and therefore it can't be scraped.
  2. You must scrap things in chronologically order.
  3. You must always make a 2-page spread.
  4. Your children are the only acceptable scrapbooking subjects.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with following these rules or any others for that matter. Whatever works for you is perfect for you. However, I cannot operate with these rules I find them too restricting, and they make little sense to me. Let's take them one by one.

You can't scrap an event without photos.
I scrapped going to a play with my son without using any photos because, well, they were prohibited. I scrapped skating in the basement as a kid for Effer Dare 168 (shown here) but there were no pictures of me on skates. There just aren't that many photos of daily life when I was a kid because my dad didn't think about taking them. I kind of have the same feeling now. I don't always think to document life - I just live it.

Scrapbooks have been around longer than photography so obviously it's possible to scrap without photos. I found this interesting tidbit on the history of scrapbooking over at Everything About Scrapbooking:
The first scrapbooks in early 1800s were hardly about preserving photos as cameras weren't created yet during those days. So what sort of scraps did the people collect in their albums? Mainly mementos such as quotes, poems, calling cards (decorated cards left behind at a friend's home), religious cards, paper cuts, and other ephemera.

It's not so much about acid-free supplies or archival-quality then but more about collecting whatever scraps the scrapbooker deemed as "scrap worthy". You can find newspaper clippings, engraved pictures, advertisements, personal notes and love letters in those scrapbooks.

The reasons for scrapbooking then still hold today. It's about expressing one's thoughts, feelings and sentiments. It's about preserving memories, special moments and recording family stories. Scrapbooks were cherished and kept by families for many years.
I have found some of these scrapbooks in among the books I inherited from my family. They included items cut from newspapers, scripture verses and religious cards. They offer a glimpse into who my ancestors were and what was important to them. Who I am and what is important to me isn't always able to be photographed so I will scrap without photos if I feel the need.

You must scrap things in chronologically order. I don't scrap in chronological order. If I did I would have given up years ago - and almost did. We are beginning to plan my son's 8th birthday party (and if you have any suggestions for a Mad Scientist party I'd love to hear them) and I haven't finished his baby book. I've been told by many people that an unfinished baby book is quite normal because you're busy being a mom instead of being a reporter.

I try to keep up with what is going on today and create pages for older events when I can. This past week I scrapped a scout event from last month (below) and one from 6 years ago (the garbage man page posted Wednesday). It's the difference between keeping up and catching up. Because we continue living our lives we continue to have things to scrap about. I will NEVER be caught up and I am sort of at peace with that idea. Sort of.

I've read that you shouldn't start scrapbooking in a chronological order because you get overwhelmed with all the pages and events you need to do. Getting something DONE feels great and if you scrap last weekend's trip or yesterday's party then you feel like you've accomplished something. Then you can tackle your 7-year-old's first steps and feel even better about getting stuff done.

I know a woman who has only scrapped her daughter's life because she is doing everything chronologically. She is using books that can't be rearranged easily so she has to put things in in order. Sadly this means there is no scrapbook record of her younger child's life. My son's baby book isn't finished partly because I was using a book that I couldn't change the pages around and I wanted to be sure it was in chronological order. One way to avoid this problem is to use books with page protectors that allow you to move pages around easily.

You must always make a 2-page spread.
I often scrap single pages because I don't have enough material for a spread. If I were to follow the rules listed above I would have to find stuff to fill or would have to forget about scrapping these events. I know I have to find another single page to put next to it if I am going to have singles and 2-page spreads in the same book and it doesn't bother me a bit.

When my son and I went apple picking with the scouts we arrived late and weren't there long enough to get many pictures so we had 4 decent shots for the event. Perfect for a single page (shown here).

When I put together a single page at a crop with scrappers who follow the rules listed above I see their eyes roll and can almost hear the screaming in their heads, "NOooooo....." Single pages have no place in their world. I just shrug and say, "To each his own."

The last rule, your children are the only acceptable scrapbooking subjects, is one I am particularly puzzled by. Is what you do, love or believe less important than a kid's soccer game or a class trip to a pumpkin patch? When your grand kids and great grand kids look back at these books, and God willing they will, will they know anything about who YOU were?

I heard a guest on the Paperclipping podcast (and my apologies for not remembering who it was) said that all her pages were love letters to her kids or whoever they were about. The journaling was addressed to her son or daughter. I love that idea but I also feel there are things about you that you can scrapbook.

There are a couple of challenge sites I visit that really help me focus on what I am up to right now and what I believe. Effer Dares and Salt help me think about who I am on paper and in life, the me my descendants will meet through my scrapbooks. Some of the pages I create for and about myself will not be public until after I am dead and gone. But I create them anyway because as the saying goes, "It's cheaper than therapy."

Again there is absolutely nothing wrong with following these rules or any others for that matter. If these work for you — great. I am just offering alternatives. When I gave up the rules I was freed up to create a lot more with a lot less stressed. Modern life offers enough ways to feel stressed without adding arbitrary rules to our hobby/leisure time. My wish for you is that you enjoy scrapbooking without stressing about rules. Hang the rules and just create.

Happy Crafting,


Polly said...

I would NEVER scrap in chronological order! At least not ONLY. That would involve sorting through thousands of photos first, at which point I quit. Or have died of old age. When I find a packet of photos I like, I separate them by whose book they should go in. If I need duplicates, I scan and print extras, or I did when the scanner part of my printer was working.
I also refuse to do only "double trucks". I would lose a lot of good memories that way. As long as the two opposing pages don't actually CLASH, I am find with it.
And I also don't only scrap my niecephews (no kids of my own) for the same reason as yours: how I WISH my grandparents and aunts and uncles now gone had done scrapbooks for me about their childhoods!

Renée said...

nah, I've got NO rules when it comes to scrapbooking! oh wait ... I do -- "just get it done"!

Kathy said...

Well, I rarely scrap at all so my opinion probably won't count for much - but I reckon rules are there to be broken - or at least stretched a bit! Otherwise we'd be still making scrapbooks from clipped out bits of paper and using flour and water paste. Anyway, if it's supposed to be fun then why get bogged down with cans and can nots?