digital memories: not necessarily a bad thing after all.

I used to have more time and energy.  Some work girls and I would get together on a regular basis at least monthly to spend time doing what we love - scrapbooking.  We'd typically spend 6-8 hours at a crack pouring over our photos and putting them together to make beautiful books to preserve our most cherished moments.  But over the last couple years, our lives have gotten more hectic, and we just don't meet up anymore.

I've really tried to get some scrapbooking done at home, but for many reasons it just doesn't happen here.  Scrapbooking is messy.  It requires clean up immediately afterward if one expects to keep their supplies protected from the curiosity of the kiddos.  It is time-consuming.  It is expensive.  It requires a LOT of planning and preparation...selecting photos and sizes, printing photos, making page layouts, selecting embellishments and themes...the list goes on.  Scrapbooking is hard to focus on when there is an enormous pile of laundry and dishes awaiting your attention in the next room.

When I first heard of digital scrapbooking, I was appalled.  I thought instantly and for a very long time that I would never even think of doing anything but paper scrapbooking.  However...in the last few months I've really started to reconsider these thoughts.  I've felt so sad about not scrapbooking.  Not because I feel like I "should" document my children's lives, but because I want to document their lives.  Making these memory books is a wonderful creative outlet for me.  It allows me to escape daily troubles and worries, and just reflect on really great moments in time.  And ultimately, my children will have my work as keepsakes for years to come.

I've thought a LONG time about this.  One of the blogs I read, Enjoying The Small Things, is written by a photographer who makes digital memory books for her children.  A couple months ago, she posted a link to one of her completed books, and I think that was the final convincing factor.  I looked at the book and realized it was very well made, and certainly more valuable than my dust collecting tote filled with loads of papers and embellishments and loose photos waiting for a day that might never come.  So...I thought, which would make me more sad:  Not scrapbooking at ALL?  Or scrapbooking digitally, so at least I have something to show for all of the fantastic photos I've taken of the kids?

So yeah, the answer is I want something.  And once I started to consider it and research it, I discovered some great benefits about scrapping digitally rather than by hand.  Digital scrapbooking is always ready to go in my laptop.  I can work on it for 30 minutes and have ZERO cleanup.  I can work on it for 10 hours and still have ZERO cleanup.  If I don't have the right background/paper, I can shop online and have it ready to use within a minute.  Not only do I have all of this at my fingertips, but everything I use digitally is RE-usable.  That's pretty cool.  It's definitely less expensive and more efficient.  I can use pre-made templates, or I can make pages from scratch.  If I choose a photo to use but later find a better shot, all I do is cut and paste and the changes are made.  In a nutshell...oh my gosh I should have done this SO long ago!

I think there will be a learning curve and some skills to develop.  And I suppose down the line I'll look at it and realize how little I knew when I first started this, but I'm more than proud to share my first completed digital scrapbook.  This book was completed in less than one month's time.  That is quite honestly light years faster than anything I've ever made by hand.  Enjoy the book.  I just ordered my hardcover copy and I can't wait for it to get here!

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