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The Christian Life

Scrapbooking – A Way to Capture Memories

By Carol Harrison

Scrapbooking is a great hobby. Here, Carol Harrison reflects on her scrapbooking experiences. It turns out scrapbooking has been around longer than we thought!

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Hobbies, those fun escapes from everyday obligations, work and chores are some more puzzle pieces that fit into many people’s lives. They take on different forms, depending on our interests, but all are an outlet for creativity, playfulness or fun. Some people love to sew, quilt, take photos, hike, run, cook, or bake. You get the idea – creativity and enjoyment take on many forms. One of my hobbies is scrapbooking because it is a way to capture memories with photos and story journaling.


A Phenomenon

Scrapbooking is a huge phenomenon which can cost a lot of money these days but it really is not something new. It has been around in different forms for longer than many people imagine. The way in which we scrapbook has changed, the types of paper and embellishments have changed and expanded but the basic premise behind this hobby remains the same.

Scrapbooking is just a method of preserving, presenting and arranging personal and family history in whatever form you might choose. Most people use a book of some description but you can use a memory box, a card catalogue style container or a photo album that you add the story in journal form beside the photos.

Looking Into the Scrapbooking Phenomenon

I took some time to look into the history of this phenomenon of scrapbooking and discovered it really isn’t a new thing. Early diaries and journals were a means of keeping a record of events and life history. Early family Bibles documented births, deaths and marriages and were passed from generation to generation. Sometimes other important documents were kept within the pages of the large family Bible.

scrapbookingFifteenth Century Scrapbooking

In the 15th century common place books were popular in England. These books contained all kinds of information the owner wanted to keep track of from favourite quotations, recipes and even formulas for inventing something. They might have little snippets of a story, a scrap of fabric to remember an outfit or a special occasion.

Common place books are less important now with our ability to Google any piece of information we may need to know. We can keep many files on our computer or a flash drive in order to help us remember what we are working on, what we might enjoy rereading and photos give us a glimpse into our lives at a specific period of time. In 1821, the word scrapbook was coined and literally came from using a book to keep scraps of information, papers and things. Early scrapbooks illustrated events before the advent of photos or when photos were still expensive and unaffordable for many people. They helped preserve a person’s experiences.

Holiday Scrapbooks

I remember putting together scrapbooks to remember holidays I took with my family when I was growing up. I recently found several of them when I was sorting through some boxes. One of them was from a trip we took to Montreal when I was in high school. I bought postcards, gathered tourist information brochures, maps and jotted a few notes about where we went and what we saw. I had glued it all in one of those big Kindergarten newsprint scrapbooks. I

n another one of those same style books – what was readily available to me at the time, I had put many pieces of paper that represented different times in my life. I had certificates from Sunday school when I was promoted from one class to another. I had badges from bowling and swimming lessons. It also included cards from finishing grade eight and lots of high school memorabilia including student cards and my graduation certificate. Looking through it was like a snapshot of key times in my life. I wish I would have written more beside each part.


My Mother’s Scrapbook

Another old scrapbook I found in my boxes of things belonged to my mother. It was an old school scribbler which she reused. She was intrigued with the British Royal family and cut out newspaper articles and photos about their visits to Canada or weddings. Then she pasted them over the old schoolwork to preserve them for herself. She also had newsprint photos and stories about the Dionne Quintuplets. She used to show me this scribbler fashioned into a scrapbook occasionally as I was growing up – maybe that is why I wanted to make scrapbooks of my own.

A Great Uncle’s Scrapbooks

My husband’s great uncle kept one of those childhood scrapbooks in which he drew pictures and pasted information he wanted to keep. It now lives at my place. Looking at someone else’s idea of what was important at a particular point in their life fascinates me.


Lucy Maud Montgomery and Scrapbooking

In 2003 we had the opportunity to take a family trip to the Maritimes. During our time on Prince Edward Island, we spent most of it touring the countryside and learning more about Lucy Maud Montgomery. Some of her scrapbooks were displayed in one of the museums we visited. She had notes, pressed flowers and scraps of material with information about the dress she had made from that material and where she wore it. It gave a very personal look into the life of this author, helping us get to know her as a person.

My Scrapbooking Beginning

I began scrapbooking, as many people think of it today, to capture the information, photos and memories of our youngest daughter, Amee, when she competed in Special Olympics track and field. I got the idea from another mom and it worked well. Amee is a visual learner and needed reminders of an event to help her recall the details better. It also came in handy when she went to meets at a provincial or national level and they wanted information about when, where and how well she did at other meets. It saved me digging out a lot of information.

Now she does her own Special Olympic scrapbooks and I do a variety of them about family and trips we take. I love working with the paper and embellishments. It helps me preserve the family memories and works well with my storytelling, writing and speaking for I can combine photos and journaling that stories to go with them.

A Life Long Hobby

For a long time I thought that I had only started scrapbooking after my trip to PEI but the more I learned about my hobby, the more I realize I have enjoyed it most of my life in one form or another. Yes it has changed over the years. There are more types of scrapbooks and memory albums available and paper that won’t yellow your photos and paper pieces you want to keep. But when I look at the history of preserving family memories and information I realize that the important thing for me is to keep the stories, photos, and information in some accessible way that I can enjoy and the next generations can get a glimpse into life in a different time.

An Enjoyable Hobby

What hobby do you enjoy? Have you googled its history to see if it has changed over the years? Do you enjoy scrapbooking, either with physical paper products or digitally? Do you love looking back at someone else’s scrapbooks to see what they found important at a specific time in their life?

Take time to enjoy whatever hobby is one of your puzzle pieces of life. Have some fun. Explore the possibilities and maybe even share with someone else why you enjoy it so much.

Carol HarrisonCarol Harrison

Listen to Carol’s program Puzzle Pieces Of Life.

Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential.

She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren.

Visit Carol’s website

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Images Credits

Diary – DarkWorkX

Family – Victoria_Borodinova

Renaissance Scrapbooking – ractapopulous

Royal Palace – skoddeheimen

Memories – matuska

Photos – Gadini

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Hanniel from ON