They say scrapbooking is a great way to cherish your favorite memories and organize photos that are lying around your home.
When I asked my friend Andrea why she scrapbooks she answered, “Because it’s cheaper than therapy.” Scrapping, she says, is a stress release. “I love starting with a blank page and spending hours creating an entire story by mounting clippings, pictures and mementos. It transports me to another place.”
It sounded to me like a lot of hard work. If I wanted to capture memories and transport myself to another place, I’d meet an old friend at a bar. But I knew there was a good reason why scrapbooking has grown from a homegrown pastime into a thriving multi-billion dollar industry. To enthusiasts like Andrea, scrapbooking is more than just a hobby. It’s a religion. Scrapbookers (or “scrappers” as they’re known in inner circles) are a devout group.
There are lots of products on the market to tempt the faithful, including paper, cardstock, embellishments, stickers, stamps and stamp pads. Andrea recently used a colorful ensemble of paper, ribbon, and fabric flowers to make a beautiful mini-scrapbook of her daughter’s 6th birthday party that rivaled my wedding album.
To me, the sheer number of available supplies seems overwhelming. Andrea assured me that a beginner like me could buy a kit containing step-by-step instructions on how to get started. Then she rattled off enough kit companies to make my head spin. That’s when I noticed the bandage on her middle finger and discovered that scrappers get to use tools like X-Acto knives, rotary cutters, and tape guns (Andrea had intended to use the X-Acto knife to crop a photo, not her cuticle). Suddenly, scrapping sounded dangerously fun.
Scrappers use cool terms such as “cropping” (to trim your photos to improve composition) and phrases such as, “I was gone overnight for a crop.” (A crop is a gathering of women to enjoy the company of friends and work on their scrapbooks). Some scrappers attend conferences, retreats, and even cruises with all-you-can scrap buffets.
Tools such as cutters, corers, scissors and punches have become big business in the scrapbooking industry. Andrea scrapes and saves for high-end, state-of-the-art equipment. She recently splurged on a $500 high-quality color printer that has more innovative features than a NASA Space Shuttle. She said it has brilliant colors, sharp edges, and great skin tones and provides everything you need short of Aqua Net hairspray to create a perfect portrait.
I used to think Andrea was full of scrap. But seeing her beautiful scrapbooks has inspired me to take time this winter to unearth my photographs of family and friends that are stuffed in drawers, in shoe boxes and under the bed and organize them into a memory-book to preserve my personal and family history.
I might even find myself transported to another place—that’s not my therapist’s couch.