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Why it Took Three Years to Complete My First Scrapbook and Why I Haven't Scrapbooked Since

Updated on June 21, 2013
Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean resides in North Dakota where she works as a freelance writer and blogs at Faith's Mom's Blog.

I spent most of my 4th of July weekend and the proceeding week catching up on scrapbooking. While I tediously layed out pages, cut photos into circle shapes and tried to remember the dates of photos taken, I honestly couldn't decide if I was in scrapbooking heaven or hell. A part of me was asking 'why did I get into this' and another part of me was saying 'oh this looks so pretty, I'm glad I'm doing this.'

I couldn't wait to begin putting this scrapbook together for my daughter's first year
I couldn't wait to begin putting this scrapbook together for my daughter's first year

The Gathering

About three years ago, a friend of mine invited me to her scrapbooking party. I had heard about this phenomenon that was sweeping the country so I thought I'd check it out for myself. I found that I was ill-prepared for all the pretty colors, the beautiful paper, the way you could cut your pictures into different shapes, the assortment of stickers and stamps - I was drawn to it like a bird finding a new shiny object. And for someone who thought of herself as being creative, this was far better than just sticking photos into a photo album and writing a few captions underneath. This was going to be a perfect way to capture my daughter's first year, which was very eventful with her premature birth and all we had gone through with her.

I walked out of my friend's house with $200 worth of scrapbooking supplies. I couldn't wait to get started.

In the Beginning

In the next few days, a reality I hadn't considered hit me smack in the face. How was I going to find the time to put this thing together? I worked full time, had a special needs daughter, and was exhausted from lack of sleep.

My opportunity finally came in October when we traveled to Canada for their Thanksgiving. My husband and daughter extended their stay to have more time to visit family. I was home alone and had all the time in the world do get this scrapbook put together.

The first thing I did was get organized, sorting all of my photos chronologically. Next, I had to decide a layout including which kind and color of paper to use and if I was going to use borders or not? It took about an hour to do my first page. Then it was onto the next page and making the same decisions all over again. It was painstaking. My determination to do this whole scrapbook while I was home by myself began to fade. I began to think I should also be using this time to catch up with friends and family and also to catch up on some much needed sleep. Needless to say, I only got four pages done during that time.

The first pages I put together were of my daughter in the NICU
The first pages I put together were of my daughter in the NICU

The Great Standstill

Initially, I wanted to get my daughter's scrapbook done in time for her first birthday. October 25th came and went with no progress made on the scrapbook so I decided to shoot for Christmas.

My scrapbook lied dormant for much longer than I intended. As the photos accumulated, so did my guilt for not getting this scrapbook done. Since first beginning the scrapbook we had moved twice. The scrapbook, all of my supplies, and photos made the moves along with us and each time after we got settled everything would be shoved away in boxes and drawers not seeing the light of day. Until the 4th of July weekend, which is about three years since I first began.

I'm halfways done!
I'm halfways done!

It is Finished

It wasn't my intention to get it together and finally finish my daughter's first year scrapbook (my daughter by the way who was 5 1/2 years old.) It just sort of happened. While my daughter occupied herself by pretending to wash dishes, I took over the kitchen table and got out my all of my supplies. Each time I got an opportunity to put a page or two together, I took it. As I cut out photos, turning some into ovals and circles, tried to come up with different borders and backgrounds for each page, I honestly didn't know if I was enjoying myself or not. I was constantly looking at the never-ending pile of pictures waiting to be pasted in. Was I ever going to see the light at the end of the tunnel?

With fierce determination, I worked on my project every moment I could. Panic set in as I realized I was running out of pages and I still had about five months of photos to go. I frantically rushed to my drawer of extra supplies and found extra pages and page protectors. Thank goodness!

Finally, I was down to Christmas 2004 which included our trip to Niagra Falls. This was it, down to the end. I began to think how nice it would be if I included a little poem at the end that would wrap up Faith's first year. After struggling for hours, I finally came up with a little four-liner. That would have to do because I needed to end this before I went crazy.

The next day, I looked over the final project and was very satisfied, if not a little proud of myself. It turned out great. And now the question remains, do I continue to do a scrapbook for each year of photos I have lying around or do I go back to the good old standby of shoving them into a photo album? Thank goodness a few years ago my husband bought me a digital camera - and by the time I get to those digital photos, I might just pay Shutterfly to do them for me.

Finally! We're in Canada for Christmas 2004.
Finally! We're in Canada for Christmas 2004.


WOW! Where has the time gone? Since completing this scrapbook four years ago, I have not put another one together since! My photos from my pre-digital camera days are still lying in boxes in drawers tucked away in my closet. I also have hundreds, maybe even thousands of photos organized into folders by month and year on my computer.

I have every intention of getting all of my photos organized into scrapbooks someday and will most likely use MIxbook for my digital photos. My daughter is now 9 1/2 years old and I would love to get all of this accomplished someday - maybe before she graduates from high school!


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    • Cari Jean profile imageAUTHOR

      Cari Jean 

      12 months ago from Bismarck, ND

      Thanks so much for your comment - glad I'm not the only one who feels this way about scrapbooking. I'm sure blankets were so much easier!

    • mireland19 profile image

      Meagan Ireland 

      12 months ago from Maine

      I bought hundreds of dollars worth of scrapbook supplies around Halloween one year. My intention was to make scrapbooks for family members to give them on Christmas. Hahahahaha!

      I totally related to everything you said! It looks so simple when you look at one someone else has done, but when you try it yourself you quickly realize how much work it actually is.

      I don't think I ever finished even one book. Everyone got blankets instead that year!

    • Cari Jean profile imageAUTHOR

      Cari Jean 

      7 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      megni - thanks so much for your comment. I can't imagine having more than one child and doing scrapbooks for each of them! When Faith first started school I saved everything but soon discovered it was just too much. Now I mainly save her artwork - esp. the holiday artwork.

    • megni profile image


      7 years ago

      Your site is interesting. I never really scrapbooked, had too many children to actually keep up with their art, but now wish I had. But they do have lots of pictures but it's their school art work that I wished I'd saved.

    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 

      8 years ago

      hey cari. just take one photo at a time. don't look at EVERYTHING. one at a time. lol!!!

    • Cari Jean profile imageAUTHOR

      Cari Jean 

      8 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      Lynn - thanks so much for your comment. I really do want to keep going with her scrapbooks but everytime I look at the drawers of photos I have, not to mention all the digital ones on my hard drive, I get totally overwhelmed! But I totally know what you mean about picking up a photo and not knowing anything about it. Thanks for your encouragement!

    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 

      8 years ago

      If you enjoy doing it, you should continue scrapbooking. Scrapbooking is my way of being creative since I can't draw or play an instrument. I also enjoy putting a layout that tells a story of what's happening. Nothing worse than picking up a photo and not knowing a thing about it.

      Wonderful only gets better!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      You should keep up with the scrapbooking. IF nothing else, Faith will love looking at them. I have made them for Hunter since he was born, he is turning 8 next week. He LOVES looking at his albums. You will never regret the time you've spent on them. If you ever need supplies/stamps or whatever, let me know. I have more than I can ever use!!!!!



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