Scrapbooking the ephemera of your life

by | Scrapbooking Ideas | 3 comments

When I was growing up (in the 80’s with my puff paint t-shirts), my concept of memory keeping involved keeping  a photo album (for the photos, of course) and a scrapbook (for everything else). The idea of combining the two together was not even on my radar.

For over 100 years, scrapbooking consisted primary of collecting the paper leftovers (notes, cards, tickets, clippings, etc.) of your everyday life, the ephemera. My grandmother, like many of her time, had an odd fascination with the famous Dionne quintuplets and kept a scrapbook of all the news clippings about them.

When I glued (with Elmer’s of course) my first ticket stub to a page in a rainbow colored bound album labeled “scrapbook”, our modern scrapbooking industry was only a twinkle in Marielen Christensen’s eye.

The industry changed things. Our attitudes and perceptions about scrapbooking shifted towards an (perhaps) idealistic concept of coupling photos, stories and art as well as ephemera into one attractive package.

Stacy Julian’s Simple Scrapbooks magazine helped to re-focus the community on our storytelling purpose, but I’m seeing a recent shift towards something even deeper and if you will, more retro. Ephemera is returning in ways that make scrapbooking even more accessible to the masses. For devoted fans, this throw-back brings new inspiration to the routine.

A new approach

In today’s busy and cluttered world, people are finding it harder to find time for scrapbooking. We’re all looking for ways to be more productive and one new option may help us get there. Modern ephemera scrapbooking (or could we call it hybrid documentation?) has these general characteristics:

  • Use of divided page protectors
  • Inclusion of photos, journal cards & scraps of life
  • Optional additions of scrapbooking supplies
  • Typically a chronological organization

What I’m seeing is a new wave of Project 365-style work in a way that can help digital scrapbookers (in addition to paper girls) incorporate ephemera into their albums. This is very much what Ali Edwards is doing with her Project Life album this year. The industry has jumped on this band wagon with some great tangible supplies:

Project Life kit from Becky Higgins

Simple Stories collection from Memory Works

I see this trend as only just the beginning of new ways to make scrapbooking easier for the everyday memory keeper.

Digital ephemera scrapbooking

One of the easiest way to incorporate this approach into your own scrapping is to use brag book templates. Scrapping in smaller dimensions can be a bit awkward at first, so templates will bring great design to your door. Some good options include:

Mini Me Brag Book Templates by ChrissyW

Brag Book Album No. 1 by Connie Prince

5×7 Brag Book Templates by Darcy Baldwin

Couple templates with supplies you already own for a no-fuss approach. Then, print these at 5×7, 4×6 or 3×5 to fit into the divided page protectors of your choice.

For a more minimalist approach, couple printed photos with computer journaling on digital spots. Design House Digital has a couple of offerings that would be easy to print at home:

Design 365 Journal Cards by Jen Allyson

Legible Journal Cards by Meredith Fenwick

I’m really excited about all the possibilities for new spins on hybrid scrapbooking. We’re at a huge point of transition and opportunity, where the paper world is paying attention to digital and the digital evangelists are feeling the need to touch something real.

I’m looking forward to what’s to come. What do you think the future will look like? How will ephemera fit into your scrapbooking this year and beyond?

During the month of March, we’re counting down 21 ways to tell your story.

Photo credits: tulanesally, boboroshi, alannageorge

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  1. Ang

    Awesome article. I’m also an ’80s child and my photo albums are those horrid ones with the pull-back plastic. I did put some of my “ephemera” in there too, the rest getting stuffed into various boxes or drawers. For my freshman year of college instead of an album I did a poster size collage which also had ephemera. I still have it but have no idea how to salvage it from it’s current state.

    My way of saving the extra stuff these days is to photograph it and use it digitally. I haven’t done a lot of that but have saved a number of things to photograph for whenever I decide to scrap those events. Two of my LOs doing this are:

  2. Crystal

    Great article! Wow! I’m going to have to get some of those items above πŸ™‚

  3. Connie Prince

    Fabulous article, I always included my ephmera when paper scrapping and need to make it a priority with my digital as well. Awesome ideas!


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