Monday, August 18, 2008


Here is part of what I have to show for 3 nights and 2 days in Charlotte. Signe went with me and we both had 1 class Thursday evening, 6 on Friday, and 5 or 6 on Saturday. Plus two or three trips to the vendor fair.

I lost count on Saturday because I was so tired - using your left brain when you normally coast with your right brain is fatiguing. But fun. And very much the reason I go.

The way this works is you pick the classes you want to attend, either because you will learn something new or you like the product line used in/sponsoring the class or you like the instructor. I had classes that fit in one or more of these categories. This time there was only 1 dud. That instructor was more focused on telling her own stories than in guiding the class through the project.

The vendor fair is great because you get product before it's on retail store shelves, and in many cases you can save money.

Coming away with mostly but not quite completed projects is okay too. After all some classes are pretty ambitious for 1 hour. The most ambitious one I took had a pretty hard driving instructor too, so I got out of there with a fully completed album (see the brown one below) in the time span plus about 10 minutes.

Below are some of the things I brought home. I really brought home a box full of projects I worked on, most just don't translate well for a photo, mostly because they need pictures added or have some assembly to happen. Stuff like that.

I get kidded about going to a scrapbook convention. I thought about that some while I was there. I looked at the cross section of America who were there - all income, education and age levels were there. Stay-at-home-moms, homeschoolers, teachers, lawyers, accountants and HR directors were there. There was even 1 guy I saw taking classes. So I think this pastime that people sometimes treat as a step child to real hobbies really has much more substance than it first appears.

How many of us inherited a box of photos, most of which feature people we don't recognize? Doesn't that make you sad? At some point, those folks were vital and vibrant and special enough to someone to be memorialized in a photo. And that someone saved the photo. And now all that is lost. Who were they? What did they care about? Where did they end up? What did they dream about?

Most times these classes show you alternative methods, new products, basic skills, the next greatest tool...but always they say to "journal"...for those of you not involved in scrapbooking, journaling is about what you would expect. It's capturing enough of the context in words to help you, your kids, your grandkids, and maybe their kids know who the people in the photo are, and what was important to them. Or how they lived. Or what they did for fun or work.

One class pointed out that very soon the ordinary, normal day would be as precious as any big event because time marches on.

And it's not new. Thomas Jefferson kept a "scrapbook" of his newspaper clippings.

Today, I think the blog is a form of scrapbooking: it has photography, journaling and design.

And today's scrapbooking is a far cry from the Victorian's pasting things into a book with manila color pages that crumble with time. There are classes on color theory, layouts, good design and writing. There are tools to master and other skills such as painting, photography and computer skills to incorporate. Classes teach looking at what you already have and thinking about it in a new way. Improvisation and innovation. How many of us buy self help books to teach us how to do that?

I guess I'd sum it up this way: scrapbooking helps us reflect on the life we are living as well as recording our lives.


  1. I'm glad you had a good time. I totally get the scrapbooking thing, I just don't have the patience to do it myself. Maybe in about 15 years you can teach me.

  2. Well, I never said I do it consistenly. Or periodically. or even once in a while. Today I'm uploading pictures to have printed to go with the pages. Totally backwards. I think you're supposed to have the pictures first...

  3. I read the poem "Normal Day" to husband and daughters last night - started choking up before I got through the first stanza. So completely what this is about for me.

    I think I'm going to make a scrapbook of all those old photos of people I don't know and make up stories for them. Yep. I'm going to do that right after I finish up the projects we brought home, my mom's books, Rick's campaign album, Lionel's Marine Corps journey album, Olivia and TJ (and Lionel's) baby books, my wedding album, clean out the storage room, deal with the mildew problem in the basement, and get out of debt.... :-)



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