I’ve always been a documenter — I’m the photo taker, the memory keeper, the holder of dates and times and places — both in my circle of friends and in my family. I have photos stored in boxes (some prettier than others) and on hard drives. I have stacks of old journals stored in boxed in the garage. I have backlogs of information from digital planners and calendars stored in virtual clouds (and sometimes on paper too).
I didn’t consider starting a scrapbooking hobby for a long time because 1) I didn’t really know anyone else (in real life, anyway) who scrapbooked and 2) it always seemed really overwhelming and involved. My internal dialogue used to go something like, “I’m living this incredibly busy life — and you want me to print out my photos, put them in albums with pretty paper, write about the photos, and then decorate the page? Like I might’ve done in art club, circa 1997? No. Noooo! I don’t have time for that!”
But then, about six years ago, I felt a very distinct tug on my heartstrings to try it. I had discovered projects (Project Life, December Daily, Week in the Life) and some amazing female entrepreneurs (Becky Higgins and Ali Edwards) that made scrapbooking fun and approachable — and that not only highlighted the big, happy occasions and achievements, but also focused on the everyday, routines, normal life. I think that’s what I was the most drawn to — the reality, not the fantasy. I fell head-over-heels in love with scrapbooking — the catharsis of writing the stories, as well as the creative practice of creating layouts, pocket pages, and layouts.
When I first started scrapbooking, I was a new wife and stepmom. Taking those photos and writing those stories became a beautiful way I could connect with my new family. And the fact that I’ve always been a much more methodical writer than speaker? That helped a bit too. It helped me write the words that I couldn’t find when we were having the everyday conversations. It helped me express the emotions that didn’t always fit in the mundane moments.
Last week I participated in a yearly scrapbooking project called Week in the Life. I took photos all week long, focusing on life right now, just as it is. And life right now? It’s messy, which isn’t unusual. But all of us can agree that so many elements of life right now are very unusual. Capturing it all is such a gift.
While it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and “behind” (like, “I haven’t finished my child’s baby book and they’re about to graduate high school!”), just remember: there’s no such thing as behind! Give yourself lots of grace. Just start where you are, jump right in, and have fun! Scrapbooking is seriously so much fun! There will always be more stories to tell than we have time for, but telling our stories is important. Do what you can, when you can. All of the little bits will add up. My scrapbooking guru Ali Edwards says it best: your story matters.
While I still consider myself to be a scrapbooking novice in many ways, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have! Feel free to leave a comment below or DM me on Instagram. Have a great rest of the week, friend!
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