Scrapbooking for Cheaters

I overheard some advice one time (not intended for me) that has really stuck with me. One busy lady was saying to another that she needed to pick one or two things to be really awesome at, and to settle for “good” in the rest of her responsibilities. In other words, since it’s impossible to do a million things with perfect excellence, you should be intentional about which projects get your best time and energy. In a similar spirit, one of my monthly magazines has a regular column called “Good (enough) Housekeeping,” that is full of shortcut tips for jobs that just don’t need to be done at 100%.

There are several things that I do that I love enough to do really well. Keeping up with my photos is not one of them, which is kind of surprising because I’m incredibly sentimental about my memories. I’ve got a few traditional photo albums, and I have basic captions written for most of the pictures. Every picture I’ve taken since getting married is still stored on my hard drive, neatly filed in digital folders.

Wisdom tells me that this should be good enough, but I’ve suffered from scrapbooking guilt. I love the idea of personalized books, printed paper, decoratively trimmed edges, and lengthy, reflective captions for each page. But I haven’t been able to bring myself to actually devote the money, time, and energy into starting scrapbooking as a hobby. The idea is overwhelming, and I know that I won’t follow through even if I do ever start.

Well, I think I’ve found a solution: Good (enough) scrapbooking through online photo books. One of my fourth grade moms made one of these for my end-of-the-year gift, and it’s a beautiful and sweet collection of photos as well as the students’ favorite memories and moments from the year, which this mom had them write while I was in Phoenix. I looked online and discovered that these books look pretty easy to make and , even including printing and shipping costs, are relatively inexpensive.

These books seem to include what I like about scrapbooks- lots of room to personalize with written reflections and multiple photos all decoratively arranged on each page- while avoiding some of the inconveniences- font is neater than my actual handwriting, it can be assembled on the computer without any expensive software, and the final product is a perfect size to store neatly on a bookshelf or out on a coffee table.

I do realize that most things that seem too good to be true usually are, but this seems to be a great compromise for me. If you’ve had a different experience with this sort of thing, please let me know!

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8 responses to “Scrapbooking for Cheaters

  1. Lindsey,

    I bear part of the responsibility for your guilt. I’m one of the earliest scrapbook authors–my book Scrapbook Storytelling was published in 1998. Yeah, I enjoy the fact I spread the word about scrapping, but I’m sorry that the “bar” has also risen so high that many of us (myself included) find we stress over whether we’re doing this “right.” In fact, I was in England chatting with one of their top designers, and she told me she’s quit scrapping at crops because people examine her work and make comments like, “Gee, you’re a design team member and that’s the best you can do?”

    So…we need to dump the guilt. I hope to to do online scrapping. A friend is sending me a new digital scrapbook program today as a matter of fact, but meanwhile…scrapbooking should be a joy. It should be a chance to revisit our fondest memories, to play with paper and texture and color, and to share the good times–all over again–with our families and friends.

    I hope you’ll find that sense of enjoyment whether it’s virtually (digital) or physically.

  2. I’ve played around with online scrapbooking, but I haven’t ordered anything yet. I’ll probably start those when I have a little one to chase around because they’re so much easier!

    My last scrapbook-in-waiting in from our Cancun trip last summer. I haven’t even started on it yet. So I say, go for it!

  3. So what is the site you’re looking at? I’ve used blurb.com to make photo books–they don’t really look like scrapbooks, and can be pretty frustrating, I’ve heard, but I had pretty good success with it. And it doesn’t cost anything until you actually order the book.

  4. Wow, famous people on Lindsey’s blog. šŸ™‚

  5. @ Lydia- I am using picaboo.com. The prices for the books themselves seem comparable to what I saw on Shutterfly and a couple of other places. You download software, create your book, and then upload your final product for printing.

    @ Jill- My first experimental book is with my honeymoon pictures, if that tells you how good I am with photo projects.

  6. Carolyn Dickinson

    I love scrapping. I started around 7 years ago (around the time I became an empty nester?) and, while my time has waxed and waned over the years, my enthusiasm has not. Just walking into a great scrapbooking store makes my adrenalin rush! Some of my albums are pretty crude, and I tend to like quickie one-day projects. However, I have done some I’m pretty proud of and treasure. As with any hobby, there’s too much “stuff” to store, but even on a limited basis (paper, embellishments, photos) I find scrapbooking to be a restful hobby.

  7. Carolyn Dickinson

    PS: I went to picaboo.com to look around. Their software is for PC’s only, not available for macs. šŸ˜¦

  8. I use PhotoMix software does an excellant job with collages and other keepsake pages.

    I just don’t have the time right now for regular scrapbooking but love the idea of keeping it all together. This is just a simple way for me to get my photos of my camera and in it’s place with a little flare.

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