Why Do you Scrapbook?

I’ve been scrapbooking since my oldest daughter was 12 years old. That’s 23 years of scrapbooking. When I first started, I had 13 years’ worth of pictures in plastic shoe boxes.

Before I started scrapbooking, I dabbled in stamping. I made all sorts of beautiful cards, although I sent very few of them out. And other people always made much more beautiful cards than I did. I was a mediocre card maker.

I am pretty mediocre at nearly every craft I have taken up. I have remained at beginner status in several of them. Quilting, crocheting, canning, knitting, fishing, stamping, among others. I am not a good finisher, either. I have many incomplete projects in my closet.

In fact, I am a fairly mediocre scrapbooker, and that’s with the help of pretty papers, stickers, and fancy cutting tools.

Why even start if I am probably never going to reach a high level of proficiency? My efforts pale in comparison to the work of my scrapbooking friends.

A few months ago, I asked an online scrapbooking group: “Why do you scrapbook?”

Some answers:

  • I like being creative
  • So family stories won’t be forgotten
  • It’s an activity to do with my friends and family
  • To help my loved ones know I loved them
  • I scrapbook so when we have memory battles I can prove I’m right (or wrong)
  • So my loved one with dementia can look at them and feel the connection

I sometimes say I scrapbook so that when I’m a little old lady, I’ll remember my life. That is, I’ll remember who I am, maybe.

If you scrapbook, what’s your why?


To Print or Not to Print – that is the Question

I scrapbook with real printed pictures. Why do I do such things? Why do I bother? After all, I have thousands of pictures in my google account, Facebook account, on my phone, at Shutterfly, Amazon, etc. My scrapbooks/photos could burn up in a fire, be damaged in a flood, etc. My children, gasp, may throw them away after I die. I may lose them because I have to move and can’t take them with me.

On the other hand, I have lost pictures and written work when a website malfunctioned or went out of business. Or my computer started “smoking” and pictures not backed up were gone forever.

I’ve recently come across pictures shared by my relatives from my maternal grandmother’s family. I copied/downloaded pictures from our family group. I have printed some of the pictures. They are part of the physical realm now, at least at my house. Someone in the family has the original pictures. When I look at those pictures, I think about how I really did not know any of my grandmother’s sisters and brothers. Most of them met me as a very young child. My grandmother and 14 siblings have passed away, the last one in 2020. All their stories have slipped away or are slipping away now.

What do we have left? Some pictures. Names written on the back of a picture. Dates.

On my Dad’s side I have a letter written by my grandmother to her daughter. I have pictures, too, but I’m not sure which are pictures of her. My grandmother died when my Dad was fifteen. I never met her or heard many stories about her. But I have this handwritten letter, which tells me a lot about her. I have a picture of this letter.

Do you print your pictures?

Scrapbooks and the Truth

Do photos ever tell the truth?

Or is it that they don’t tell the whole story?

We know that photos can be used to deceive, especially in our digital age.

Two people can tell a different story about the same picture. Which story is true? Could they both be true?

Recently, I’ve come across some pictures from my grandmother’s birth family. I know so little about this picture. I believe this is my Aunt Mary in a highchair. This was taken up north in Presque Isle County, Michigan. I think. I don’t know the name of the dog. But I’m guessing the dog is waiting for food to drop. But what are the emotions? Did they think it was funny that the dog was waiting for the inevitable manna from heaven. Were they at a picnic. A picture is so much more than just a snapshot in time.

If you know about a picture, but you don’t write the story no one will know your version.