Alice in Freakin’ Scrap Book Land


I have a confession to make.


I’m prejudiced.


Not against a race, religion, political group, economic class, hair color, or gender.


Those who are subject to my narrow-mindedness?




Those women who posses drawers of stickers and glitter, always ready to festoon a page of memories. “This page commemorates little Billy’s 13th trip to the grocery store!”, or “I made this page to remember our stop at the beautiful road side toilets on Interstate 27!” Women who will deny themselves sleep, just so that their kids will have well-organized monuments to their childhoods.


I have always looked down my nose, dismissing them with a haughty, “I’d rather be living my life than engineering it to fit in a scrapbook!”


But then, my son’s preschool teacher retired.


She’s been at it for 20 years. I wouldn’t last 20 minutes (I’m serious). And one of the super-organized moms is planning a surprise party. She’s also, quite ambitiously, planned a gift for the teacher.


A big ‘ol scrapbook, with a page from nearly every kid the teacher ever taught.


I hate scrap booking. I love the teacher. (Gulp.) Time to go to the dark side.


I stood in the stationery department of a store, nearly crying. What did I need? How much would I have to spend? What the hell was the double-sided tape for? How could people make a hobby out of something so ungodly stressful?


But then I remembered a life-long friend of mine, C, who used to scrapbook. I say used to, because once she finally had a subject to scrapbook about (her gorgeous little daughter), she realized she didn’t have the time to actually do it. But she still had the supplies, and the know-how. C would know what to do!


She graciously invited me over, supplied me with all sorts of crap, and guided me through the process. At first, I just tried to get through it. Cut here, tape there, good enough. But I’ll be damned if that paper cutter wasn’t a nifty little bit of fun. And there were all these little stamps, to make shapes I couldn’t possibly freehand. I did the bare minimum. But even then, I could feel the slightest edge of pride creeping in. Uh oh.


My page still looked a little bare, so I went back to the stationery department. “I’m just going to buy a pack of stickers. That’s all I need, just some filler.” But there were all these little puffy foam things. And borders, and pretty letters. There were corners to make the photos lay flat, and buttons, and adorable little frog stickers. And if I just put that lettering together with those stripes, added some glitter, maybe some clear stamps…


The display swam in front of my eyes, and I got dizzy. A voice inside my head screamed “OH JESUS TAP-DANCING CHRIST!! WE’RE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS HERE!!” Some last vestige of my former self commanded my feet to move. I robotically paid for my one pack of stickers, willed myself not to gaze longingly at the scrapbook supplies left behind, and got the hell out of there.


The ride home was torture. My god, if I was wrong about scrap booking, what else did I need to reexamine? Should I be reading Oprah’s book club picks? Should I get a sensible wash and wear haircut? Did I need to start listening to “Lite” rock? Would I need to have earnest discussions about the return of high-waisted jeans?


Turns out I needn’t have worried.


I am horribly, undeniably, perpetually uncoordinated.


C, the friend who helped me out, would be the first one to regale you with tales of my klutziness. She would gleefully recount birthday parties where everyone had to stop playing because I had wounded myself, and dramatically insisted on being carried back to the house. Or how my clownishly large feet managed to wrap themselves in the back tire of her family’s quad every time she was nice enough to take me for a ride on it. Don’t even get her started on my flailing attempts to play organized sports.


While I posses the vision necessary to scrapbook, I completely lack the motor skills.  I finally had to stop, before my “improvements” resulted in a crumpled mess of glue, glitter and desperation.


I still don’t fully understand the scrap booking mentality. And I sure as hell can’t be bothered to glue pieces of paper to other pieces of paper while I could be sleeping. But I got a brief and shining glimpse into their world.

And I kind of liked it.


17 responses to “Alice in Freakin’ Scrap Book Land

  1. Well… isn’t a blog a kind of a scrapbook?

    As I recently remarked to some friends of mine when I rode my horse by their place the other night.

    “Don’t shoot it’s just me!”

  2. Ha, I’d love to see that tricked out scrapbook page you made.

    I used to do lots of crafts with the kids and the house was always full of Playdough and glitter. I miss those craft days now that they’re too big for that.

  3. GINNY!! How in the world can you write such a post and not show us all what your scrapbook page looked like when you were done?!

    I’m almost offended. (But you did get me to laugh my butt off. I’ve got a box full of scrapbook supplies in a closet somewhere too, just like your friend C.)

    Thanks for the laugh. I really needed it today.

  4. Allen: If my blog was a scrapbook, it would be the ghetto kind; a grammar school exercise book with newspaper clippings, random leaves and feathers and a shitload of glue holding it all together. But you’re right…

    Kitty: A non-crafty mother begets non-crafty children. Every single day of preschool, for 2 years, started with the teacher describing the day’s craft, and my son loudly announcing “I’m not doing that!”

    FashionParamedic: Welcome! Um, I thought about that….AFTER I dropped the page off with a more organized mother. The whole thing was definitely an eye-opener; I will write 100 lines of “I will not pre-judge those who are craftier than me.” 😉


    This is so going to be my new curse when I get another memo about the new way I’m supposed to hand a file to my admin assistant: where to put it, which way the label should face, what time of day to leave it there, … Jezzuz tap-dancing kuh-rist! I love it.


  6. I love scrap booking. I have little stamps and scraps of paper I have purchased in specialty scrap booking shops or saved, left over from fancy cards or wrappers or papers I have.

    What I do not have are, um, scrap books. I mean to do it. I really do. I just never do. But I think it is wonderful. The really good ones are like art collage books.

    You need to post your scrapbook page.

  7. Michael: Glad to be of service! Once upon a time, someone gave me the career advice: “Do something you love”. But I couldn’t figure out a way to get paid to swear.

    Max: YOU? A scrapbooker? Hmmm… like I said, the whole thing has been an eye opener.

  8. I have some friends who ‘scrapbook’, meaning they get together once a month to drink a bottle of wine each, brag about their kids and complain about their husbands. Not my thing, but they always give the most kick ass cards.

    It looks like fun but it’s a really expensive hobby. Writing is free.

  9. Yeh, well, I’ve been to scrapbook parties. It’s true. But I draw the line at going to one of those all-weekend craft extravaganzas at the local Holiday Inn. Eeghads.

    So, yeh, I used to scrapbook. Then I got a job. Case closed. My son will just have to remember for himself what happened to him after he turned two. He was cuter when he was a baby anyway. What would scrapbook about now…?

  10. FormerlyFun: I just want the results (i.e. the cards). I don’t want to do the work. This, really, is the story of my life.

    writinggb: Well, hey, if I got to stay at a hotel all weekend, maybe…
    “He was cuter when he was a baby anyway.” No one wants to say it. Everyone thinks it. The little buggers have a best before date of 5. Something about that second set of teeth coming in just changes them.

  11. Well, I have scraps, just no book. It is one of those “things it might be cool to do” things that never seem to happen.

  12. Dude. I totally scrap book. But mine are full of pictures of people passed out on my couch covered in flour and duct tape with, “I suck dick for coke” written on their foreheads. Then, you know, I make it look like a comic book. I’m the villain, and this is what happens when people trespass into my lair. And then my roommate comes home, and see, she’s the superhero, because she always wakes them up and cleans them off while I sit on the lazy boy prank calling people’s ex-boyfriends.

    So scrapbooking can definitely be fun.

  13. Rassles, you amuse me.


  14. My wife has been a scrapper for nearly 15 years. Even consulted with Creative Memories for a time. It suits her.

    I’m passing this along to her. Perhaps she’ll have more insights and encouragements to pass on. However, I’m glad you came over to the dark side, even if for a brief visit.

    Hope things are well with you . . .


  15. actually, Ginny, if a scrapbook captures the memories a person wants to keep for posterity – then a blog is sort of a scrapbook. In fact the August edition of Creating Keepsakes (a crazy magazine for those of us addicted to this obsession that is scrapbooking) lists blogging as the number one way to preserve memories and photos. It’s the easiest way to keep those memories and you don’t even need any special scissors or huge amounts of paper or adhesives! Digital scrapbooking is also big now. Another paperless version!


    aka wife of tysdaddy

  16. Tysdaddy, arynsmom: Howdy! Good to see you about, Brian! Arynsmom, I actually saw some digital pages in the scrapbook they made for the teacher. Awe. Some.

  17. I am prejudiced. I do not get scrap-bookers. I do not get the enjoyment out of sticking things on a page and then “artistically” surrounding them with glittery swirls. To me it seems like it would take a lot of time. Time I devoted to such a task in year 5 when I did a project about France. I will hold on to that as my shiny glimpse.

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