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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Scrapbooking: Cautionary advice from a scrapbook addict

By Linda Fantin

September is an exciting time for scrapbookers. Autumn-themed paper beckons us back to the craft store after a long summer away, as do the Halloween and, yes, Christmas designs. Of course, school has started or soon will, so many of us have kids to embarrass with homemade pencil boxes and college survival kits.

But before we dive back into our hobby (and debt), I thought it would be a good time for a gut check. If you could start over, go "back to school" if you will, what would you do differently?

A version of this question was posed on a popular scrapbook message board -- what would you go and buy? Not surprisingly, most people responded by saying what they wouldn't buy. The thread is a cautionary tale of overconsumption.

So what made the "I could do without" list? Embossing powder, glitter, die-cuts, stickers, so much patterned paper, fibers, ribbon, paint, chipboard, eyelets, stickers, page titles, premade kits, prepackaged stacks of paper, rubber stamps, acrylic stamps, foam stamps, wood stamps, stickers, metal mesh, metal sheets, buttons, rub-ons, markers, watercolor crayons, glitter pens, texture paste, chalks, clay, beads, "all those dang stickers" and much more.

Several women said they would stick with 8-by-11 paper, the rationale being that everything would be less expensive, and the narrower paper and albums take up less space. One woman said she never should have created her own scrapbook room, and another said she
would not scrap at all. (As if !)She would just put her photos in albums.

If I'm honest, I could purge my stash of everything above and still be a happy scrapper. But my to-do-over list is more pragmatic:

Five things I would do if I could start over:

1. Invest in a good camera and learn how to use it

2. Why do I feel the need to stock up on crap no one else is buying? Seriously. Getting supplies at a discount is not reason enough to buy them. (neither is buying them cause they are cute)

3. Learn Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator

4. I buy scrapbooking products because I fancy them. Then I think of how to use them. Same goes for reporting. I gather as much information as I can and then decide what to make of it. It's just not in my DNA to do it in reverse order. The upshot is I'm usually very happy with what I make, but it takes me a long time to finish it. So I get bored. I start looking for distractions. I have so many half-finished pages that they need their own album, not including the kits that just need photos and journaling. This is why I love making cards. Small, simple and I can get one done in a day. If I had it to do over, I would take a more disciplined approach. (wouldnt we all? I have a friend who only buys stuff that goes with pictures already in her hot little stash, she envisions the page right there in the store and buys nothing more than she needs.... How does she do that?)

5. Stay off the Internet!!!! » OK. I borrowed that from another scrapbooker. But it's sound advice. It's easy to get swept up in the latest fad when people post sneak peeks of all the cool new products coming out. And it's hard not to feel inadequate when you compare your wimpy collection of finished pages to the prolific designs in online galleries. (isnt this the truth, if we didnt have the internet, at least we would only garner new ideas when the monthly magazines arrived in our mailbox, and then we had to go out to the store to buy what we wanted. The internet has made it all too easy, dont you think? Although, take me into an AC Moore, Michaels, Hobby Lobby or any scrapbooking or papercrafting store, I can do enough damage, with out the internet.)

I love this article and how true it is, these five things are probably things I would do all over again too. Maybe I would use up all my paper before I purchased anymore. Maybe wear out one technique before buying all the supplies needed for another....

I cant imagine the ladies that said they would never have started, or built their own room, my creativity is my outlet, my room, my mess, its my space and I need its refuge! What would you do differently next time?