January 8th, 2013



I don't seem to ever come up with new ideas; I always come up with ideas that other people have had before. The first example of this that I can distinctly recalled involved my first digital watch, a swingset, and my 7 years older sister grilling me about whether I really had figured that out on my own, or if someone had told me about it before. Really, the law of the pendulum is pretty damn exciting even if you aren't the first person to figure it out and it would have been more fun if she could have entered into the spirit of the thing.

But never mind that now, I'm here about a completely different re-invention of the, er, scrapbook. After I got over my never-leave-town-lest-it-be-destroyed-in-my-absence issues, but before I left permanently to marry R., I took a series of long-ish road trips (about 3 weeks -- I never got the hang of keeping the condo, bills, etc. running for longer periods of time than that). I collected all the bits of papers -- tickets, receipts, brochures, etc. -- that passed through my hands on these trips and collected them in page protectors and a 3 ring binder. I used to joke that if I ever took up scrapbooking, that's how I would do it.

Little did I know, that's kinda how current scrapbooking got started a few decades ago.


But I never had the energy to mount the items on something before dumping them in the pockets; I figured if I ever got that bored, I could do it later, but I would at least have the souvenirs all in one place either way.

As part of the decluttering project, I started collecting all the photos in the house into an empty file drawer. I also started collecting frames, but there were more photos I wanted framed than frames and, honestly, some of the frames were not very attractive, so I took to buying minimalist, black painted wood frames and using those (except I did buy 10 Disney frames because of the mickey ears in the corner and using those for WDW souvenir photos. I figured I'd have them in a drawer for years to come, but they are actually all up on the wall or easel-style on top of book cases already). After getting through school photos, Picture People, Yuen Lui and Jane McDonogh photos, I realized I had an enormous number of photos still in envelopes that people had mailed me over the years: good friends from college who had gotten married and had kids, cousins, friends of R. and family on his side, etc. So I started collecting files of those (usually labeled "Cards & Fotos", or similar). I found about four such files, and was really impressed with myself for getting a whole ton of these into sheet protectors (or 8x10 pockets), at least as a place holder for a better arrangement, when I realized there was a gallon zippy bag and a stack of those photos sitting on top of a filing cabinet right in front of my face.


Oh, and I found another file down in my hutch.

It's an open question how many photos there are lying around, but I will say this much. The genealogy project had the unexpected benefit of creating a knowledge system that contains my entire family's birth dates (ditto for R.'s). The scrap booking project is going to have the related benefit of putting within quick access the birth information for virtually all of our close friends' children.

Will this result in me actually sending people birthday greetings/cards? Unlikely. But you never know. I never would have expected to have gone this far down the path to photo albums.

Oh, in case you are curious, here's what I am currently using:

Ultra Pro Platinum 5x7, 4x6 and 8x10 Hologram Pages

The 5x7 have 2 slots; the 4x6 have 3 (1 horizontal; two vertical). All three styles are letter size. I'm using Pioneer Fabric Frame Memory Binders with D-rings. You cannot overstuff these because there's no locking mechanism on the D-rings, so if you put too much weight in the binder, the rings will start to open up and the pages will slide out.

T. Wants Pictures

I took 4 5x7 pictures of A.: 2 pix of her from school, and 2 group pictures of her preschool classes. I framed them (simple, black wood frames, no mattes). R. put them on the wall above her bed. Now every day, T. (and often A.) climbs up and wants to talk about them (I've now committed to asking S. at the school for the names of all the kids so that I can tell T. who they are).

Today, I casually asked T. if he wanted pictures of his classes in his room. Shockingly, he said yes. So we went up to get the framed one of this year's class (with his friend J.!) and put it on a bookshelf in his room. Then we got pages out of the binder/scrapbook/albums of his previous years in school. Then he asked for pictures of his cousins (my sister's kids). He wanted them on the wall "now", but did not want to go to the frame store, so we agreed I'd go get the frames when R. came home.

R. ran a bit late, but the frame shop was open until 6, so I got down the framed copy of our wedding invitation with the broken glass, figuring I might as well get that taken care of, too. Then I took all the pages and put them in a thin binder. When R. got home, I took the frame and the binder to the frame shop, got the glass cut (thank you, Acton Framers!), two mattes cut on the spot so the 3x5 or thereabouts prints could be framed as 8x10, and pre-made frames all around.

We got the price stickers and remaining adhesive off, pictures into the frames, and frames on the wall -- under two hours elapsed time from departure to the frame shop to project completion. Oh, and T. was standing on one of his beds looking at the pictures.

Daily Activities Include: Taking apart a photo album

I had _a_ photo album. As in one. When my crazy grandmother died, my mother went through her stuff and figured out what to do with it. I got a bottle of brandy and an unused photo album. Because I was so young (too young to have a learners permit, even), I did not understand about paper acidity. I did know that sticky paged photo albums sucked, so I was happy to have a nice, leather-bound album that I could use photo corners in. By the time I was in my 20s, I'd gotten suspicious enough to stop using it. I had some other albums, but eventually dismantled all of them except this one, in favor of a, as in one, photo box (part of this involved the move across country).

After R. and I got married, I took a photo album we were given as a wedding gift and filled it with the lovely pictures A. took of us. But some of the photos were too big to fit into the album, and in any event, we did fill it. Over the ensuing years, we had piles of photographs in boxes, files, baggies and just stacked up on shelves and so forth. Recently, I've been collecting photos -- and cards that have significant contents (that is, they are really letters) -- in one place to try to figure out where we should keep them. I've been having things framed, and I finally decided to give in and set up a photo album. Maybe two.

It has already morphed into a crateful, and I haven't meaningfully touched the photo box yet. I'm pretty sure this is exactly why I gave up on albums before. On the other hand, it is almost a decade worth of material and not only do we have small children, so do all of our friends. My kids are at the beginning of the age range of being-interested-in-pictures-of-people, so I'm going to pursue this at least a little ways.

The good news is that we have a spare table to work on. The bad news is that I don't dare leave things out overnight, because the kids might get into it in a damaging way in the morning. The solution is to re-crate things each night, altho I'm storing supplies on a high bookshelf, and may rearrange some more bookshelves to make room for the completed (sort of) albums.