Scrapbooking: Hobby or Mental Illness?

Due to my lack of finding full-time work, I recently took up a hobby.



It all started with my purchase of a Canon MP560 with print, scan and copy capabilities. Just as a goof, I printed out some digital photos on good photo paper and to my astonishment, really liked the results. The printer even had some easy software already installed for printing the photos in different sizes, filters and in black and white. That’s when I decided to dive into the wonderful world of scrapbooking where I can display my photos and pepper the pages with my personal thoughts and comments.

I went, on recommendation by a friend, to a popular craft and hobby shop. At first, I was a little overwhelmed with the many options I had regarding papers, albums and various accessories. Scrapbooking, according to my research is a billion-dollar industry; there are enough books, websites and even a couple of tv shows on public television on scrapbooking to blow one’s mind. Typically as a novice, I went a little overboard on the purchases; I got ribbons, picture corners, cutters, stick adhesives and tapes, templates of shapes, scissors and a self-healing cutting mat. Basically, about two shoeboxes full of crap, and yet I lamented as to where these products were 15 years ago when I was an graphic art student and needed a certain blade to cut out a decent circle. Worse yet, as far as papers go, all I remember available at the time was that stupid 18 x 24 color pastel paper that wasn’t good for anything and now, I can get beautifully colored textured papers, tissues, sheer vellums and 12 x 12 sheets of papers that looked to me like wallpaper rejects, but otherwise papers that may make interesting backgrounds. I paid for my purchases and justified the cost as more of an investment for the future and for my sanity, if anything. I was enthusiastic to start.

I went online for some inspiration. The problem I found with most scrapbookers online was that their work seemed a little too silly, even cutesy-looking for my taste. These hausfraus seem to prefer a lot of those fey and expensive embellishments sold at the store to use in their layouts. Half of the time, most of these embellishments were use out of context with the subject matter (why are there bumblebees pasted around someone’s cousin’s wedding photos or daisies floating around some sleeping cat’s head? Do cats really dream about flowers?) Yet, I did find a nice website of a woman who cleverly combined her painting, digital artwork and photography and created what I thought were some very sophisticated magazine-quality layouts.



Here, is my earnest, but flawed attempt of a page memorializing a tart I created and was very proud of at the time. Here are the first indications where I realized that I am losing my sanity. I thought it was an act of brilliance to use the parchment paper I baked on as part of the composition. I used images of myself rolling out the dough that I shot using the automatic timer on my camera. For background interest, photos of the apples were converted to halftone in Photoshop and printed out on colored paper. In retrospect, the layout could have been toyed around with more before committing myself completely with tape adhesive. I like the tart’s before and after shots and observing how the neat little rows of apple just collapsed flat in the oven like pushed-over dominoes. Why I thought this was worthy of scrapbooking, I will never know, however, the tart did taste great. Now, generations to come can peruse around in my scrapbook and marvel at my half-assed execution of a French favorite and wonder why a person with such natural talents couldn’t find a full-time job?

In the end, I’m not sure whether it’s scrapbooking or chronic unemployment that is slowly rotting my mind, but at least I’m not hanging on a noose in the backyard. Scrapbooking has given me a reason to just hang on for now.

Comments

In a world of evites and emails and texting and stationary stores tanking out of business, scrapbooking is paper's last stand. I fully support and endorse the scrapbooking industry. Preverving memories and photos in beautiful paper and gathering with others to create well designed layouts is always a good thing. Yay for you!!!!!
 
PS. Not exactly related but sort of. Several weeks ago a friend emailed me and asked me for my address to send me an invitation for her baby shower. It turned out it was decided they were going to do paperless invitations instead and I got an evite. I love invitations. Having the address in your hand as you drive there, pinning it to your corkboard as the day nears, admiring the graphic design. Love that stuff. So yesterday was the shower and I was waffling back and forth about going because I was feeling crummy but I had said I would be there but I never officially resoonded to the evite. The final determining factor of why I decided not to go? They never sent me a real invitation. :D
 
Thanks, CrystalGeezer. Despite the insanity, I hope to have inspired others to keep a scrapbook journal as well.

I'm happy to add that I just completed my first album.
 

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