To Each, Their Own

A few months back, I read a really interesting post on Two Peas. The topic of the thread was, in essence, "traditional vs. digital scrapbooking." Here is the link to the actual thread if you would like to read through it. For the most part, I thought a lot of those who replied to the original post were polite and had constructive things to say. There were some snarky remarks about digital scrapbooking, but some wise rebuttals were posted concerning the unkind things that were said. Here are two of my favorite replies:

"It's just disappointing when, as hobbyists who all enjoy the same hobby, we have this "us against them" mentality...Even if creating a certain style of page isn't for me - I can find something to like in every layout, if only the heart behind it (posted by WriterMom1)."

"From what I can see from hanging out both on this board as well as the digi board, strict paper scrappers tend to be a lot more hostile toward the concept of digi than vice versa. I say just go with what you like (posted by StreetScrapper)!"

All I can say to that is amen, girls! It seems like when I first started scrapbooking, those who were into it were mostly thrilled by idea of creating pages and having a more creative way to showcase their pictures. Most hobbyists focused on their own work and didn't care how different their stuff was from someone else's. Currently, in some circles inside the scrapbooking world, it seems that there's not much room for personal preference or diversity.

It's not just digital scrapbooking that comes under fire; page size, paper and product lines, your style (or a defined lack thereof), etc. are also subjects that are debated hotly from time to time.

We live in a world that offers us a myriad of choices everyday, and we all have our preferences, so I think it's perfectly logical to choose the things we like and that work for us. I mean honestly, most people aren't going to hotly debate the paper, plastic, or bring your own" grocery bags issue with their neighbors. It seems just as silly to insist that your friend take up a hobby like knitting because you enjoy it. The friend might prefer woodcrafts to making things with yarn, and as long as both of you are happy, the two don't have to enjoy the same things. It's fine to have our own way of doing things, while respecting others and their right to do the same.

I see scrapbooking in the same way. All of us don't have to like the same method for getting it done (whether traditional or digital), use the same embellishments, or use the same page size. A few years back, I used to get caught up in discussing page size with other scrappers. I am an 8.5 x 11 scrapper in a sea of 12 inch page fans. In some ways, I felt a bit like I had to defend my position. I finally realizedthat debating page size is silly, since I like what I like and other scrappers like what they like. It counterproductive to talk someone out of something they like and makes the most sense for them. A more valid discussion might be to talk about the advantages of different page sizes, products and so on.

Last fall, I took Cathy Zielske's "Design Your Life" class over at Big Picture Scrapbooking. Throughout the course, we did pages in a variety of page sizes: 12 x 12, 8.5 x 11, 8 x 8, and 6 x 6. Here is sampling of the layouts I did (all of these are lifts of Cathy Zielske's class samples, and Melissa Gaston created the digital templates I used to create these pages, so the design ideas belong to them). The only thing I take credit for are the paper and embellishment choices:

In the above pages, there are two of the square pages that are 8 x 8, and the others are 12 inch, but I did more of each size; these are few examples. I was pleasantly surprised to find as I did each page that it was fun switching things up. It also taught me that size is just a number, and there was not a huge difference in the pages unless I went from one of the larger sizes down to 6 x 6.

One of the most helpful discoveries I made while I took the class was that if I really, really wanted to do a 12 inch page, but didn't want to invest in a 12 inch album, I could make my page that size and then print it out as an 8 x 8 page. Photoshop Elements allows me to print it in the smaller size so that I can still fit it in my 8.5 x 11 album with my rectangular pages.

I also wanted to comment on the whole "digi vs. traditional" pages. Here's where I am on the spectrum right now. I will always love paper scrapping and the "hands on" aspect of it. The dimension and texture of traditional scrapping will always be superior in the "tactile" sense. I don't think I'll ever completely abandon my paper stash.

Honestly, speaking, though, paper scrapping doesn't fit into my life right now. Since I've become a mom, I have a hard time digging through my traditional supplies. I get interrupted too much, forget what I was looking for after my kids needed me for something, and the mess created from it gets to overwhelming and a real hassle to deal with. The kids create enough messes (even though I make them help clean up), and I don't want to deal with any more clutter than I have to.

Additionally, while I used to view my trips to the scrapbook store as a release and stress reliever, there are just days when I'm too tired to drag myself down there. Trying to concentrate on how many pieces of cardstock I need or what colors I should be getting currently doesn't seem very palatable, and I loathe running out of adhesive.

With digital scrapping, I can buy a kit once, and reuse the papers and embellishments as many times as I need. If I need to go shopping, I can go online and shop for anything I want, pretty much 24/7. I can stay in my PJs and buy things while I sit at the kitchen table. Since there's no gluing, I never run out of adhesive, and if I accidentally put something in the wrong place, I don't have to pry it off.

I would also go crazy trying to figure out what to do if I ran out of a letter I wanted for my title or captions. It always felt like such a waste to buy a whole sheet of letter stickers, have half of them leftover, but yet unusable unless I bought another full sheet to make up for the vowels or consonants I've already used up. This is one issue that virtually disappears when I create digital pages.

I like having everything (i.e. photos, digital kits, etc.) on my laptop. I don't have to get out/and put away so much anymore because I can leave a project half finished on the computer without worrying that someone will get into it. Because of this, I whip through pages much faster than I used to.

I don't find that I miss real texture created on traditional pages so much anymore. Using drop shadows, textures, filters and effects in Photoshop Elements are all things that help me create implied texture on my digi pages. According to principles I've learned in art classes, texture is texture whether it's real or implied, so that's good enough for me personally.

I think most people who read over my reasons can see why they are compelling enough for me to be doing my scrapping this way for now. It may not be what suits them, but I think most could see my point of view. I think that's the key here --- we can at least appreciate another person's point of view.

Am I telling you that I will never again use my paper supplies? Nope. Someday I will return to it --- although I will probably be more of a hybrid scrapper instead of a strictly paper one. I plan to use the stash I've got so far, partly because I love the stuff I've got and party because I want to be frugal and make the best use of it that I can. My return to consistenly paper scrapping won't occur for a few years, until all of my kids hit elementary school. By that time, they will be less needy and I will have time during the day to get into my stash without so many interruptions. I'm sure my preferences for scrapping at that time will be different than they are now.

So until then, I'm going to enjoy my digital scrapbooking, dabble in paper occasionally, and be respectful of other scrappers and their preferences. To each, their own.


  1. I can't believe the things people find to fuss about.

    I personally don't choose to do digital scrapping because my butt looks like my office chair anyhow. I sit here 8+ hours a day at the keyboard, so more time here doesn't qualify as a break, a hobby to me.

    But why would I impose that on someone else? Geez, make beautiful pages and keep sharing, Lorell!

  2. Those pictures are great! I need to get into digital scrapbooking. I'm tired of having all the paper around and making such a mess every time I want to make a page.

  3. Julie, you are too darn funny! I remember when I worked at a clerical job, and you couldn't get me anywhere near a computer after hours...LOL!

  4. Great layouts Lorell. I love it all!