Backstory: I first heard about scrapbooking back in 1995 — oh, my gosh, I just realized it’s been almost 20 years! Anyway, I loved the idea and slowly got started. “Slowly” means v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y, in my case. To be fair, our house at the time was small, and the only place I had to scrapbook was the dining room table, so between work, meals, 2 children, and a very tight budget, I didn’t have the time, space, or money to spare. By the time I had both a scrapbooking room, I had a high school student involved in several sports and a middle-schooler in various activities. I had the room, but not the time or money. Then we sold our home and put everything in storage for 3 years while we built (ourselves) our new home. Just a month after I retrieved all of my scrapbooking supplies from my in-laws’ basement, my husband was diagnosed with cancer and then passed away; for the next five years, I couldn’t face looking at all of the pictures, reliving memories, and journaling about them. 

In my recent efforts to downsize even further, I was reminded over and over again that if I could somehow get caught up on scrapbooking, I’d eliminate tons of stuff. Boxes and bins and cabinets filled with photos, memorabilia, paper, embellishments, and scrapbooking tools to document 28+ years of my son’s life and almost 26 years of my daughter’s would be gone.

As I contemplated the quantity of pictures and memorabilia I would want to include, I considered that both my son and daughter would eventually have quite a stack of scrapbooks because traditional scrapbooking creates quite thick albums.

On the other hand, digital scrapbooking and bound books would create thinner volumes.

When I first began scrapbooking, I loved the idea of playing with paper and embellishments; I still do. That, plus my lack of technical skills and the fact that 15 years worth of photos are not digital, kept me from doing anything more than flirting with the concept of digital scrapbooking.

Recently, though, I’ve stopped to think of why I want to scrapbook. The main reason is so my son and daughter will have a record of their lives as babies, children, and young adults. I will be creating the albums for them, not for me, and so I began to think more seriously about what kind of scrapbooks — traditional or digitally-created — would best suit them. I also discussed the issue with both of them, and I showed them samples of digitally-prepared pages.

The decision has been made — I will be creating scrapbooks digitally and then having the pages bound into books by a reputable company.

Truthfully, I’m feeling a bit intimidated by the prospect of scrapbooking digitally. Oh heck, let’s be honest here. I’m feeling very intimidated by the idea.

Although I use a computer extensively in my job and have for years, and even though I’ve learned (on my own, actually) 2 publishing programs and used them to create newsletters and have learned other digital skills, I’m not technologically savvy.

I’ve joined a few online (naturally) digital scrapbooking groups and have been reading the discussion boards. I thought that would help. It didn’t. Even on the “newbies” thread, the words that are tossed around with wild abandon mean nothing to me. Instead of abating my apprehension, the discussion board threads have actually made it worse.

I’ve also signed up for 2 free online seminars, and I was given (long story) a 7-lesson podcast on . . . well, I’m not sure what it covers even after reading the lesson titles and descriptions. But I’m ready to find out, and I’m planning to watch the 1st podcast this evening after supper.

All the experts on aging well stress the importance of challenging the brain and keeping it sharp. I’ve been doing other things on a regular basis — the daily New York Times crossword puzzle, for example — but digital scrapbooking really ups the ante.

Yes, I’m intimidated by the prospect of learning to scrapbook digitally and by creating hundreds and hundreds of pages, but I’m also excited at the idea of converting boxes and bins and cabinets and drawers of stuff into (hopefully) beautiful albums that my son and daughter can appreciate. I’m excited, too, at the prospect of the challenge itself.

I’ll keep you posted and look forward to sharing a page or two with you before long.

If you’re a digital scrapbooker, I hope you’ll share your thoughts and any great tips or hints you might have. And if you live anywhere nearby and wouldn’t mind scrapping with me from time to time, let me know!