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March 15, 2010

Scrapbooking: Crafty trip down memory lane

I was sitting at my mother's kitchen table, poring over shades of blue and trying to figure out which paper matched the graduation cap in the photo of the grinning 5-year-old holding her preschool diploma.

While some take to the slopes or curl up with a good book, my mom and I spend our winter free time scrapbooking. I am relatively new to the hobby, but hooked. I find it to be an odd mix "" an artistic endeavor with a practical purpose. It's a creative outlet, for sure, but at the same time, I am (very slowly) getting something important done "" even if I can never actually cross "archive all of life's most memorable moments" off the to-do list.

Scrapbooking is as much about consuming as producing. There is a seemingly endless array of tools and supplies "" not just paper in various colors, sizes and textures, but all sorts of gluing and cutting implements. "Adhesives" come in sticks, dots, squares and rolling dispensers. Paper can be cut straight, wavy or in zig-zags using fancy scissors and small paper cutters fitted with special blades, or "punched" into stars, hearts, ovals and many other shapes. On the pricier end of the spectrum, there are special machines that custom-cut letters and numbers.

Then there are the "embellishments," which can include everything from stickers and "journaling blocks" (where you add text that tells the story behind the photos) to three-dimensional items such as buttons, ribbon, chipboard letters and metal brads. It's a bit overwhelming at first, and, it doesn't take long to see why some people have giant suitcases, closets and even whole rooms devoted to storing their scrapbooking stuff.

The art of scrapbooking does not come naturally to me. I've been to scrapbooking events with people who seem to have a knack for immediately seeing the color that will make a particular photo "pop." For me, it's a painfully slow, trial-and-error process. It seems a little crazy, when, in the time it takes me to design one page, I could have uploaded 10 times as many images and ordered a 20-page photo book from Snapfish.

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