Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Scrapbooking got too complex

When I was in high school, an aunt got me a scrapbook for my birthday. I had been saving things and wanting a scrapbook for a while because I had been going through old scrapbooks a relative had (the same aunt? I can't remember) and I thought they were neat.

So I started with this scrapbook, just gluing whatever random things struck my fancy at the time. If an event happened, I would pick something to put in the book to remember it by and write a little note next to it saying what it was. I saved really random stuff, the handle off a plastic fork comes to mind. Confetti streamers from party decorations, a bingo card, and of course pictures, tons of pictures.

I finished up the scrapbook around the end of high school, which was appropriate. And my sister gave me a new one with a custom cover for my college years. I kept up with it decently, but not too well, I was busy.

But I never stopped saving things. Receipts from dinners where I had a lot of fun with friends, metro cards from trips to other cities, articles clipped from newspapers that mentioned me or my friends or something I thought was interesting.

When I went to London, I saved so much stuff and took so many pictures that I ended up with a three volume scrapbook.

But the last time I really took the time to put anything into a book was about five or six years ago. So recently as I've been going through all my stuff trying to get more organized and put things where they go, I found a lot of stuff that I saved for my scrapbook. Only, all my scrapbooks are full, so I needed a new one.

My method of scrapbooking has always been really simple. I glue stuff on a page. Or tape it, or photo corners, whatever. But I didn't design templates or create themes or anything like that. I had a book, and I had a box. I would put things in the box until once every few weeks I would go through and glue it in the book. I would make it pretty, sure, but not through any kind of fancy layouts or patterned paper or photo frames or any of that. I just wanted to remember things so I glued them in a book.

So I decided that I needed a new scrapbook and I went to Michael's to get one. Which is when I discovered that scrapbooking, now that it's a hobby, has been completely taken over and there's no room for people like me. If you're not into cutting out little shaped designs and picking out the perfect paper for each page and making your book have specific themes and spending three hours designing every page (not to mention the money) then they don't really care that you exist. It was horribly frustrating, I just wanted a book to glue things into, and that was apparently too much to ask.

I also collect post cards, so I wanted a smaller book to put my postcards in. But that's not allowed either, because you either pick a photo album (which would only work if they were all the same size, they're not) or you have to put them on pages that then go in sheet protectors, which makes it too hard to take them out of the book to look at the back, half the point of having them.

After scouring several stores, I ended up making two purchases. I got a spiral bound sketchbook for my post cards, and I'm going to remove half the pages (what a waste) so that once I add the cards it doesn't bow the covers. Then I picked up a pack of cheap solid colored papers and a scrapbook with sheet protectors, because what else am I going to do?

I can be a bit picky about my scrapbooks, I want a particular type of cover and I want a design on the cover that I'll really like, but that doesn't lend itself to only one kind of theme. I'd like to go to a store and pick one out, so even if I could figure out what to look for online, I wouldn't want to just buy something without seeing it.

How completely lame is it that when something became a popular hobby they edged out all the people who don't want to spend a fortune and all of their time on it? Why in the world is there a division between hardcore and casual scrapbookers?