About five years ago, my sister-in-law got me hooked on scrapbooking. Before that, I was one of those people who made fun of things like scrapbooking, and yes, all of my pics were in shoe boxes in no particular order. But the more I looked at her albums, the more I was inspired. I had recently returned from two years in the Peace Corps, and I had stacks of pictures from my time in Africa, but they were all in – of course – a slightly squashed shoebox. So I decided to make a Peace Corps scrapbook. It ended up being tons of fun, and also somewhat therapeutic, as I was feeling sad about leaving Africa, and ambivalent about my next move. Since then, I’ve made a scrapbook each year, with all of Jay’s and my adventures. I’ve also made scrapbooks for friends and my mother. I love my scrapbooks, and so does J (or so he says as he glances at the pages during a commercial break in the Monday night game. Maybe if I picked a better time to show him the newest creation…) Everyone who sees my scrapbooks likes them, although I tend to only show them to people who like me, so the sample might be slightly biased.
But I digress. The point of this post is that I have managed to combine my love of scrabooking with my aversion to spending money. I’ve heard people say that scrapbooking is the art of turning a $0.20 picture into a $20 page, and I don’t doubt that is true for a lot of scrapbookers. I live near a HUGE scrapbook store that sells thousands of doodads (for thousands of dollars), all very tempting. Which is why I only let myself go to that store about twice a year.
There are magazines that highlight the current ‘trends’ in scrapbooking. What, is there a scrapbook fashion show that I’m missing? The interesting thing about the trends is that they usually involve more and more complex techniques that include expensive equipment and supplies. Since I use scrapbooking as my creative outlet, I’d rather sit and create a page from what I have combined with my imagination, instead of buying the latest and greatest equipment. Plus, since my home office is also our guest bedroom and my scrabook area, I don’t have a lot of extra room for more stuff.
My favorite scrabook supplies – the ones I come back to over and over:
- embroidery floss (I buy tons of it when the local hobby store has a 10/$1 sale)
- colored and patterned paper – I rip it, cut it, stitch it, layer it, crinkle it, sand it…
- black pens with good ink that doesn’t gunk up
- my flower punch ($5, much cheaper than buying precut flowers, since I put flowers on lots and lots of pages)
- sheets of felt (also purchased 10/$1 at hobby store sales)
- brads (scrabook stores sell literally hundreds of these, but I tend to stick to the original small ones, which are usually about $3 for 100)
- a hole punch
- colored pens
- a few – few is the key here – rubber stamps that I use a lot (otherwise rubber stamps are pretty pricey)
- my imagination
All of the supplies that I keep coming back to are basic and cheap. I still end up with tons of different pages and have a great time making them. And the glossy magazines with the current trends? I check them out of the library, get lots of ideas, and then spend a happy evening using my tried and true supplies to turn my new ideas into pretty pages.