Scrapbooking: Passion on Paper


Birthdays. Holidays. Anniversaries. For years I snapped dozens of family photos–memories to keep forever.

I stashed them in boxes away from the light, intending to share them one day. But I didn’t. I forgot about them.

That changed after a painful event showed me just how precious my photos were. 

A Family Crisis

Back in 1995, our family was devastated by the unexpected death of my younger brother just two weeks after his twenty-fifth birthday. I’m sure you can imagine the terrible pain that gripped us and our seemingly never-ending road to emotional recovery.

During the months that followed, I visited my shoe boxes to look at photos of our family in happier days. Phots that hadn’t seen daylight in months or even years.

As I uncovered photos of my younger brother, I laughed and cried.

Enter, the Little Book

I decided to share those photos with my parents, hoping they’d be able to laugh at the happy memories, too. So I created a little tribute book filled with photos of my younger brother and my own hand-written notes.

Creating the book was therapeutic for me—-and sometimes too painful to continue. But I kept at it until the book was done.

Life in the Key of C (“C” for Chuck), my simple photo book, earned an honored place in my parents’ home, and I “visited” the little book whenever I went home to see them.

A Sour Note!

Before long, though, the book’s pages started fading and growing brittle. Our precious keepsake was starting to fall apart, and I didn’t know why.

So I did a bit of research and learned that the colorful paper I used wasn’t “archival” quality. It was never meant to be colorfast or to last year after year.

It seemed our little book was doomed.

Bringing Back the Melody

Crumbling memories wouldn’t do, and so I educated myself, invested in archival materials and started scrapbooking family memories the right way. That meant that scrapbooks with family photos would have a much better chance of being around for future generations to see.

The hobby that started in tears became one of my favorite hobbies.

And I’m happy to say that as of 2016, Life in the Key of C is still at my mother’s house. It’s still faded and a bit brittle, but it’s as special to me now as it was the day I made it.

Time spent with those we love is precious, and I think scrapbooking is addictive because it reminds us of that fact.

As we work on our scrapbooks, we relive the good times over and over. And we can find healing as we acknowledge those painful times. Most of all, we remember and appreciate the most important things in our lives.

And what’s not to love about that?

What about you? How did you become a scrapbooker? Please share your story in the Comments below.