Friday, February 26, 2010

My scrapbooking process

I have started following a podcast available at The Paperclipping Roundtable. I was drawn to it because of the guests and the show themes – Ali Edwards on story, Aby Garvey talking about how to deal with all that stuff, and why people don’t scrapbook. I have enjoyed the news and product picks as well. The linguist in me also loves hearing the different styles of speaking from various parts of the country. This week, they are running a contest where listeners write in as if they are contributing to a past episode of a show. One person will be selected to be on the show based on their entry, so I figured I would give it a shot. I have chosen to chime in on Episode 7, The Process of Scrapbooking. [And no I did not pick this episode because it talks about Olympic scrapbookers, although that was a highlight!]

Stacy Julian (on her process): “The other kind of page that I love right now more than anything and has become something that I enjoy the longer I scrapbook… is this page that I stew about for days. I get some random idea and then I literally just think about it fifteen times a day. You know, it just keeps popping up. It’s just very much on the surface of my brain.”

Stacy! That is how I scrapbook all.the.time! I take forever with my pages and I stew about them for several days, usually as I’m trying to fall asleep.

Like Angie, I too start with a topic, but I’m not necessarily trying to scrapbook a story. I’m more trying to figure out a way to document events that are meaningful, like my honeymoon, a recent trip we took for our anniversary, or a special day with family. I frequently use multiple photos in each layout – I think because I want to capture a montage of memories in one glance, kind of like a flashback that helps us remember everything else. I always write my journaling last, and even though I tend to write a lot, it is not the focal point of my page.

No one has talked about color! This is a key part of my process. Once I have my photos picked out I decide on a color that I want to highlight, usually a color that is in the photo somewhere, and then I go through all of my paper with that color in mind and pick out anything that is remotely close (patterned or plain). Then I lay it all out with my photos and see which colors best capture what I am imagining. Sometimes I have the perfect match and then I go on to my next step. Sometimes I surprise myself and pick something that wasn’t at all what I was imagining. But if I don’t have what I’m looking for, or I don’t feel inspired by my choices, I go shopping! (This is why some people don’t scrapbook, they are commitment-phobes like me!) Once I have the right color paper I arrange my photos and embellishments. I tend to include a lot of ephemera on my pages as well (e.g. ticket stubs, parts of brochures, business cards) so I figure out where that will go at the same time. I make it sound like my pages are really crowded – they’re not usually– but it takes me a long time to figure out what stays and what doesn’t, hence the stewing.

I make a spot for journaling either right on my background paper or with a journaling box, and then I do something that I think would horrify most people – I stick everything down and handwrite my journaling after everything is in place. So far (knock on wood) this has worked out okay for me and I haven’t messed up and had to redo anything. There are always moments where I feel like I don’t like it, but I try to remind myself that “perfect isn’t done” and to “just do it”. I have found that these mantras help me outside of scrapbooking too – I am currently writing a dissertation and the process of scrapbooking has helped me to translate “perfect isn’t done” into my writing process and push forward with my chapters.

I also do layouts about everyday, ordinary things, but then I usually think about the layout first, either by looking at magazines or online for ideas or by deciding I want to use a certain tool or color scheme. My everyday layouts are where I play around outside of the box, and do things that aren’t in my “typical” style. But don’t worry, I stew about these layouts too!


  1. Nice to hear about your process and how color is important! :P

  2. Good point about leaving out how we choose color. That could be an entire episode. I think we got so hung up on how we get started that we didn't dig very deep into the other areas.

    I'm really interested in your view of having lots of photos. You said, "I think because I want to capture a montage of memories in one glance, kind of like a flashback that helps us remember everything else."

    That is a great insight to share with others and a good thing to know about yourself and one of your goals in scrapbooking.

  3. Love reading about your process with color. I hope that Paperclipping Rountable will do a program on the subject. I love to read articles on the subject of color. There are wonderful websites devoted to color. A favorite:
    Thanks for your comments about my blog post. I had illustrated that process in Sept 2008 but did not link it to my post as it may not fit with terms of use rules. My past post was just for my own personal use and referenced properly.