Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Why scrapbook?

There are those out there who may be able to look at boxes upon boxes of photos each day, letting them sit there untouched, deteriorating with each passing year. Others are good at placing them in a photo album, even creating new albums for each theme, and here of course I'm speaking of the plastic sleeve-filled albums that only hold pictures, nothing more.

I choose the route of the scrapbooker, or as I also call it, family historian. It's genetic, trust me. How do I know this? Well, the answer lies in the envelopes, boxes, and albums piled up in my craft room. Everything contained within is destined to be in an album one day.

I'm speaking of the family photos and memorabilia from my great-grandmother, which I obtained when my grandmother passed away 6 years ago. I recall being told to go to her house and have whatever my mother didn't already take, and gasped when I found the treasure trove of images, bits, and pieces from the lives of the people I missed greatly. From time to time I will turn to this pile of history (usually when I run out of printer ink and can't print pics of the kids for their albums) and choose one to preserve in the ongoing Mills family album. In finding a picture to use a week or so ago, I came across this:

See? It is genetic! Not only do they have a ridiculous amount of photos from the early 1900's and a few from the late 1800's, they saved magazines and newspaper clippings from important events throughout their time in our nation's history. This scrapbook you see right here is full of clippings from WWII. I love flipping through it and reading the articles, seeing the images, and imagining what life must have been like. It's interesting to read the writing style of this time period, and the perspective of the people actually living through it all rather than a history book. Here are some further images (the album is FULL of them.)

I have numerous albums like this one, full of postcards from trips to Europe, napkins from cruise ships, and even handwritten travel journals from my great grandmother herself. It's so incredibly amazing to have this all here to document, but even more amazing that the documenting is pretty much done for me. I just have to salvage it all from these acid-laden pages!

I've been documenting my own life (with the help of my grandmother, of course, who bought me my first scrapbook) since second grade. She would sit with me and show me what to do, gathering the programs from the school plays or the clippings from the newspaper when I happened to be mentioned or my photo was featured, and we would scotch tape them into the yellow paged album. When that one was full, there was another right behind it.

Flash forward to my first pregnancy, and for the first time, I wanted to do something different. I discovered the scrapbook aisle at Michael's (which at the time was only one aisle!) and was amazed at all of the things you could now do to preserve your memories. Flash even further forward, and look where we are today! It is wonderful today to look back on those first albums. Yes, they are pretty horrible, but as I flip through each chronologically, I can watch my evolution as a scrapbook artist.

I hear others talk about "redoing" albums, but I never will. Why? It's a history thing for me. Not only is it telling me all about my children and what they were up to at certain ages, it also tells me where I was in my scrapbooking career. It shows me how much I've grown. Let me tell you, on one of those days you have no mojo or are feeling incompetent artistically, go through an old album. You might not be inspired to create at all, but you will be able to put a smile on your face and tell yourself "Ok, I am pretty awesome." It will also reintroduce you to old techniques you can breathe new life into.

I scrapbook to tell the story of my family for my family when I am gone and unable to answer questions about our daily lives. I'm hoping to incorporate more stories of the "little things" that you wouldn't typically find in an album before I am gone and the stories die with me, and hope to inspire future generations within my family to follow in my footsteps as I followed in those of my great grandmother and grandmother.

Why do you scrapbook?


Stacy H-W said...

I scrapbook for pretty much the same reason you do. I want to record our family history and I love to be creative a little bit each day.
Thanks for the great post!! LOVED IT. It was so cool to see the old album. You are so lucky that you have those pieces of your history. Hugs!

WillieburgScrapper said...

WOW! This is a GREAT post Khristen!!! How much do I envy you right now??? That scrap album is FABULOUS! Look at those fabulously browned edges! A paper lovers DREAM that is!
In fact I would be surprised if your local library or historical society didn't express extreme interest in displaying it- those are so rare these days!
I'm definitely in the "redo" category but the pages I redo stay intact- I just add a new version to the box (most of the pages are too 3d to keep in an album) and the dates tell me when they were made.
Thank you for your visit today- it totally made my day- it was a digi hug so I'm hugging you back girl! Keep on keeping on!