Next month I will celebrate my one year scrapping digiversary, something I didnâ€™t even know existed until recently. A year ago I would have said, â€œHuh? A digi-what?â€ And scrapbooking? Donâ€™t even get me started. Scrapbooking was something for those women with perfect lives and perfect children. They scrapped in their beautifully decorated craft rooms in their picture perfect houses.
I had met some of these women-at church, at PTA or while doing volunteer work. For fun, these chicks took pictures of every move their families made. Then they went to a hotel for the weekend, leaving their children with their husbands, while they would cut, paste and crop until the wee hours.
When they came back, they would go on and on about crops and scrapping with an almost religious zeal. Weird, I thought, and so totally NOT me.
My husband was away on a business trip that September day and our only son had just left for college. I was cleaning out desk drawers when I happened upon a â€œLearn Digital Scrapbookingâ€ CD by Linda Sattgast. It had come free in the box with PSE 8 when I purchased it at Costco a year earlier. Given my disdain for paper scrapping, I donâ€™t even know why this would interest me.
I have never been sentimental about the past. I have a great memory and just figured that I would remember all the important stuff in life.
As for passing it along to my son and any future generationsâ€”please! My life is just not that interesting or important. I am a lousy photographer but I would take the obligatory snapshots on vacations or special occasions. I know this sounds strange, but I didnâ€™t even OWN any photo albums! Other than our wedding album and my sonâ€™s baby book, all my pictures were in shoe boxes (not sorted or organized) or living on the hard drive of my computer.
I still donâ€™t know what kept me from tossing that disk into the trash. I must have REALLY been looking for an excuse to escape the boredom of cleaning out the office! But something spoke to me that day and I popped the CD into the tray and hit play.
I was fascinated from the very start. I have always been good on the computer and had edited the employee newsletter at my old job. This looked like so much fun! I liked the idea of limitless creative options and the fact that I could always fix mistakes by clicking undo. Best of all there was NO MESS! And if I hated my original (lousy) photo, I could crop, change to black & white or zoom in to emphasize something other than the main subject.
Digi-scrapping seemed like a much less expensive hobby than regular scrapping but as someone with two sets of golf clubs gathering dust in the garage, a like-new sewing machine that I sold at a yard sale a year ago and drawers full of fabric, notions and yarn-I KNEW my tendency to go whole hog on a new hobby only to abandon it later could end up costing me big bucks in the end.
As I began researching digiscrapping on the internet, Simple Scrapper was the first site I found. I loved that it was so straightforward and well, simple! I was so hooked on this new hobby that I needed advice-and Simple Scrapper was great in directing me to invaluable resources and inspiration from some of the best folks in the business.
Determined that I could do this new hobby almost entirely free, I began by using freebies and printing on my home printer. I quickly found that trolling for freebies on a daily basis was eating up huge chunks of time and I had begun to subscribe to the mindset of â€œif itâ€™s free, I must need it!â€ As soon as I realized how much time I was wasting when I could be scrapping, my addiction to freebie-hunting was cured.
My Lessons Learned
I learned that a couple of subscriptions were my best investment. I currently subscribe to The Digi Files and Scrapperâ€™s Guide. Both provide tons of digital product as well as fantastic training videos and articles every month.
A Seagate 1TB external hard drive was also money well spent. Kind of an unglamorous purchase but one I am glad I made. All my scrap stuff is in one place and accessible on my home network and if one of our computers were to crash, I am safe. Of course if my house burns down or a tornado strikes, the EHD is gone along with the computers so my next investment will be an on line backup service.
The idea of home printing was a bust. My printer is not large format and the cost of the HP ink alone is a deal breaker. There are many great printing services available but I tried Persnickety Prints first and see no reason to switch.
I am proud to report that I did finish a year in review album for 2010. I sent it off to Persnickety Prints and got the pages back in just 3 days. I was so excited that my hands were shaking as I opened the package. My handiwork was all there in gorgeous living colorâ€”with staples the size of a small country and journaling fonts that could double as the top line on an eye chart! OK, so I still had a lot to learn about perspective and how some things may look fine on the screen but not so much on the 12×12 printed page.
Yet something strange happened as I gazed at those first printed pages. I realized that I loved scrapping the everyday moments. Yes, we had a family reunion and a vacation and Thanksgiving and Christmas to scrap. But those were not my favorite pages.
The turtle we found on our dog walk one day is one of my faves.
A page about my in-laws first house is another.
Cute Shoes and a Good Hair Day sums up my feelings after a long Chicago winter.
My perception of scrapping being for sappy sentimentalists was quickly changing. I realized that I love doing this FOR ME. Yes, I am documenting our family history, but mostly I am expressing myself through a hobby that I truly love. Is that really any different than the woman who golfs, plays tennis, paints or sews as a hobby?
I assembled that 2010 album using archival quality sleeves and taking great care to put the whole year in chronological order. After dinner, I brought it out and showed it proudly to my husband and son, who both said, â€œOh thatâ€™s niceâ€ and quickly turned their attention back to whatever sporting event was on ESPN at that moment.
The old me would have cried and quit. The new me took it in stride and kept right on scrapping her imperfect life.
I am a wife, mother and daughter who VERY occasionally blogs at http://travelinggazette.blogspot.com. When I emailed Simple Scrapper about doing a guest post from a newbieâ€™s perspective, my intent was to write a review of essential products for the new scrapper. As I began to write, I realized that while those things were important, what was more important was finally finding a hobby I totally love and how my perceptions of scrapbooking and memory keeping had dramatically changed.