Nate Berkus: How to Make a Memory Book

I found this via Creating Keepsakes Editorial on TWITTER (@CKeditorial). They linked to THIS article on Nate Berkus’ WEBSITE about how to make a “memory book,” or what we Scrapbook Obsessed would call a “scrapbook.” ;)

I have to say, when I go to read something about scrapbooking by a non-scrapbooker, I prepare myself to cringe. On time, there was an article similar to this memory book one in our local paper. They talked about things like using newspaper clippings, paper trimmings, and other random craft supplies on your pages with no mention of Archival Mist, acid-free, or the like. ACK! Scrapper Alert! Must. Say. Something.

Yes, I was so “upset” about it that I wrote a letter to the editor explaining the oh-so-propuh way to scrapbook items like that so that they don’t yellow with age, infect your pages/photos with acid, etc. Yeah, I’m a scrap geek like that. And proud of it! LOL

Anyway, I was fully prepared to cringe at an interior designer’s take on scrapbooking, much as I’ve been shocked at some of the things MARTHA STEWART has suggested in the scrapbook segments on her show. I’m glad to report there was no need to worry … Nate “Cutie Pie” Berkus got it right, as far as I can see.

He talks about scanning your photos and items (although I missed any mention of scanning them onto acid free paper or acid-free in general, right?), and recommends a binder ring over a spiral bound scrapbook, which I also agree with … and he (or whoever wrote the article) articulates the reasons very well. I’m a postbound/SNAPLOAD scrapper for the most part, so I’m not sure why those weren’t mentioned but, hey, it was a concise article with the major points covered, not a doctoral presentation on the matter, so that’s forgiven.

Anyhoo, it was nice as always to see any mention of scrapbooking in the wider media and to have Cutie Pie Berkus – who is one hot tamale right now, if you didn’t know – is a special bonus. Great job, Nate!

October Afternoon: “Santa’s Sack Sale”

What a nice way to start your morning. I sit down at the computer with my cawfee, open up the 2peas scrapping board, and the first post I see is THIS ONE.

My first reaction was, of course, …. YEAH – HOOOOOOEY!

Because I {heart} OCTOBER AFTERNOON. They’re my favorite company lately and I’ve been buying up their lines, new and old. I checked out the LINK to the OA blog where the details of the Santa’s Sack Sale are given. Huh … $39.99 is a GREAT price. They’ll flat rate ship, and even ship internationally which a lot of US scrapbook companies won’t do.

Then comes the internal dialogue: “Should I do it? Should I do it? Huh? Huh? Can I afford it? How much is in Paypal account? Wonder how much of the new lines would come with it?” The enabling voice in my head blathered on like that for quite a bit (could it be the cawfee?).

Well, ultimately, I think I’m going to pass, for these reasons:

– I need another mini album like I need another donut. Which is to say, I don’t.
– I already own most of their papers, excepting the 3 new lines (yeah, I’m a paper ho and I admit it)
– The cards aren’t really my thing. Of the few packs I’ve gotten in kits, I see using only 1 or 2 of them.
– I like their 12×12 alphabet stickers but I really *love* the Mini Market Alphas. They don’t specify which type of alphas you’ll get.

I think the smarter thing for me to do would be to spend that $40 on buying exactly what I want from their 3 new lines, which I haven’t purchased yet. {Okay, you’ve GOT to give me propers for finding a way to justify spending money on new OA by virtue of NOT spending on the OA grab box. I keep telling you people, I’m the Master}.

I have to admit, I’ll miss being included in the “scrapbook frenzy” this sale is sure to cause. I’ll miss getting the box, inhaling it’s lovely scent, and taking pics to share with you bloggy peeps.

But I’ll live vicariously through you, k? I think *you* should order the box. Then show me pics when you get it. Deal?

“No thank you, I don’t want to see your scrapbook.”

That’s the title of a blog post I found today because someone had posted the link on TWITTER. Here is the text of the article, along with two of the comments that have been left so far:



Edited 10/06/11: Article removed per request of the author.

Here are 2 comments from the blog:


Edited 10/06/11: Comments removed.


I’m purposely not sharing the link and hope no one adds it. I don’t want to lead the author to our discussion or give her any blog traffic. I just posted all of this on the 2peas scrapbooking board because I’m so curious what other scrappers think about this article. She may find me anyway, but oh well. I’m not gonna’ just hand it to her on a silver platter, ya know?

Why am I being so catty and cagey, you ask? Because I’m frickin’ offended, that’s why! Since I read this blog earlier today, I’ve been wondering how to write my own post in response. I can’t exactly call the author on the carpet for being mean and offensive … and then be mean and offensive. {I mean, I really can’t, correct? That would be wrong. So wrong. Right?}.

I am gritting my teeth and trying really, really hard to be the bigger person here … when all I want to do is kick that lady in the virtual shins and stomp back to my scrapbook room to (ahem) cut out pictures and write stupid, cutesy things. ‘Cuz that’s how we all usually scrapbook, right?

See? Now there’s my first peeve: People who criticize this hobby when they clearly don’t even understand it. Maybe that’s how yo mama scrapbooked those “SIX heavy, awkward, obnoxious binders full of scrabbookery.” But that ain’t how we roll these days … mmm kay? (So, that was sarcastic but not mean, right? I can be sarcastic and that is fair because the author and her commenters were sarcastic. I’m just playing their game, right? C’mon, stay with me. You got my back?).

So here is where I go through the article and explain – nicely but with MY usual sarcasm – why the author is WRONG. Well, I mean, opinions can’t be “wrong” per se. You know what they say, “Opinions are like addictions … EVERYONE’S GOT ONE.” And she has a perfect right to hers.

Now I’m going to give mine.

Digital scrapbooking is not cooler than paper scrapping. It is not more financially responsible. Digital scrappers spend a lot of money, too. They just spend it buying digital kits online, and at Best Buy and the photo developers instead of the scrapbook store.

A scrapbook cannot be destroyed by something as simple as a spilled glass of juice. They’re called page protectors, sweetie. But let’s be fair and look more closely at the issue …

Okay, scrappers, raise your hand of you’ve ever had a scrapbook destroyed by a spilled anything. Thanks. Now those scrappers who have never had a scrapbook destroyed by a spilled anything, raise your hands. Thanks. I think it’s clearly illustrated by the show of hands that it’s a statistical anomaly to lose an entire scrapbook to a juice spill and, therefore, not something to be factored into whether one should scrapbook or not scrapbook.

A scrapbook is not something that will rarely get looked at. My kids look at our scrapbooks quite often. When we had company for Thanksgiving, someone asked to see my scrapbooks. She is new to the family and enjoyed seeing who all the players are, etc. I mean, she may not have enjoyed that one photo of Dirty Uncle Marty picking his nose, but I truly do think she enjoyed all the rest of it. {And, NO, I did not make Uncle Marty give me the booger so I could scrapbook it! Sheesh. You people!}.

Even if my family and guests never looked at my scrapbooks, I would still make them because you know what, Miss Smarty Pants? I like looking at them. So there. And when my kids are grown and gone and you’re fondling your ornaments, I’ll have eleventy-billion scrapbooks to look through, containing photos of my kids and journaling about things they said and things we did and why they mean so much to me.

Maybe some people have black hearts and won’t miss their kids when they’re gone but I have a smushy, red, puffy heart and I know I’m gonna’ miss those suckers like crazy. Glad I’ll have my scrapbooks, my rocking chair, and my crocheted afghan to keep my company in my old age. Lord knows my husband won’t want to talk to me anymore. He’ll have been listening to my crap for 30 years by then. I predict he’ll be golfing.

She may be right that no one but me gives a crap about 90% of the things I scrapbook. Again, I don’t care. I don’t scrapbook for other people. I scrapbook for me. If 5% of the people get 1.97% enjoyment from 26.666666666% of what I scrapbook, then that’s just bonus, baby! It probably all averages out to about the same amount of people who want to see my Christmas ornament collection.

The author may also be right that “(s)howing someone your scrapbooks is the modern day equivalent of forcing people to sit through your vacation slide show.” Incidentally, I like vacation slide shows. I love to travel, although I don’t get to do it much. Through the photo albums, home movies, scrapbooks, and slide shows of friends and family, I’ve “visited” the Panama Canal, Switzerland, Patagonia, Ireland, the Caribbean, and other places I’ll likely never see in person. Works for me.

Incidentally Number Two, I don’t show/force anyone to look at my scrapbooks. If people ask, I’m happy to show them. If they don’t, I’m not in the least offended (see prior references to “I scrapbook for myself” above).

As for the thoughts that scrapbooking everything makes it all less special, and that each person will remember the events that were worth remembering – surprise! – I have to disagree again. I don’t remember a lot from my childhood. What I do remember is triggered by looking at old photos. “Oh, I remember that dress my mom made me! Oh wait, or was it my aunt? I wonder whose house I’m standing in front of? I think it was booger-picking Uncle Marty’s but I’m not sure. Dang, whose freakin’ house is that?!?! I wonder why we were there? I wonder how old I was then? Oh look, that’s my dad’s old project car in the background. I think it was a Triumph. No, was it an MG? He LOVED that car! It was so fun to ride in. He’s passed away now … I can’t even ask him what kind of car it was … .”

Are you smellin’ what I’m cookin’? You pickin’ up what I’m layin’ down? Yeah, you know it. Scrapbooking our daily lives and our special events does not make them any less special, and as much as you think you’re going to remember the things you want to remember … you won’t. I mean, maybe if you’re like Little Grey on GREY’S ANATOMY with her freaky deaky photographic memory, you will remember.

But most people do not have freaky deaky memory banks. Most people forget things they wish they could remember, memories partially triggered by photos or, say, ornaments. But they just can’t pull those specifics out and make that richer memory. They’re left with questions and maybe a sense of loss or melancholy about it. At least I am, with my smushy, red, puffy heart. Maybe you’re not and that’s fine. But acknowledge that some people (like me) wish their mother had scrapbooked their childhood and don’t be hatin’ on them for it.

If I haven’t already made it clear, ornaments are NOT much cooler than my scrapbook. I think the facts have been established. But nice try, that.

I have ornaments that span my lifetime, too. For some of them, I remember details of where they came from … others I don’t. I have more than one “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament and I can’t tell you which kid received which ornament. They’re all Hallmark and not that distinctive. I wish I would’ve written on the bottom whose they were but I didn’t and now they feel kind of meaningless, and that makes me sad every year when I look at them. I know there are scrappers who’ve scrapbooked about their ornament collection. Now THAT is a fabulous idea!

I do have to agree with her statement that “… memories are wonderful, but you don’t need to spend hours and enormous sums of money on supplies to create elaborate books to remember.” So, so true. Memories ARE wonderful and that’s why we scrapbookers want to preserve them, cherish them, and never forget them.

You DON’T need to spend hours and tons of money on your scrapbooks. Some scrappers see their layouts as works of art and the process of making them a time of artistic expression. They say it’s like therapy to them, down time, alone time, de-stressing time. It’s savoring the walk down memory lane time. It’s spending the extra money on supplies because you like the pretty papers and the bling … looking at them and playing with them bring you joy. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

There are also scrappers like me who prefer to keep it more simple in favor of getting the photos scrapbooked and journaling written down before the moments are forgotten. We may also love the pretty-pretties and have fun shopping for them, or we may only buy cardstock and basic supplies … but when we scrap, we enjoy the same “me time” that artistic scrappers do. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, either.

You don’t NEED to spend hours, lots of money, and create elaborate books … but if you want to, go ahead. It’s a free country. And if someone tells you that is “wrong,” I want you to turn to them and say, “Hey, who pissed in YOUR Wheaties this morning? Gah. Worry about Korea or something and leave me alone.”

I’m kind of torn on the stated idea that “not every single event in life is special. Sometimes Halloween is just Halloween and it doesn’t really need to be documented. Your children will not be scarred if you don’t.” No, my kids won’t be scarred either way … if I document the repetative holidays or I don’t. Again, I’m not scrapbooking for them. If I feel like scrapping those photos, I will. If I don’t, I won’t.

One thing I do know is that if I don’t scrapbook those photos, no one will ever look at them … they will live forever on my computer, never to be seen again. At least if they’re in an album, my kids can flip past and giggle about how funny dad looked after the Silly String Attack or how cool they looked in their monster costume. One idea I like for Halloween photos is, instead of doing a layout each year of Halloween, you create a mini album of just their costumes each year. How fun would that be to look at through the years? And the costumes are what kids want to remember anyway. Well, mine are probably more concerned about what candy they got but whatevs.

And if I do choose to scrapbook each Halloween, I’ll always remember that Grammy decorated her house really cool, made great Halloween night dinners, and had all the grandkids bobbing for apples. Kinda neat. I know whenever my husband reminisces about his Halloweens as a kid, all he remembers are the mini pizzas they had every year. That’s it. Bet he wishes his mom scrapbooked, heh heh.

But I do get the point that if you make every. single. event “special!”, then what is truly special when it’s all special? {Yes, I just used the word “special” three times in one sentence. Deal with it.} But I guess I feel like our life IS special. What we do every day is important and meaningful and fun and interesting and, well, special. I don’t think having a layout of each of our Christmases makes any of them less important or meaningful. They will all be special.

It reminds me of that saying about adding children to your existing family … that a mother’s heart will always have room for more. I don’t think there’s a limit on love in my family, and I don’t think there’s limit on “special” in my life. It’s ALL blessed. It’s ALL important. It’s ALL cherished. If that makes me a bad person or a bad parent … well, crap, them I’m doing this whole thing wrong.

I also think that scrapbooking the everyday and the special events, year after year, shows my kids how important they are to us and how special and amazing they are. If you’re a kid looking through a scrapbook full of photos that include you and your family, the fun times you had, the efforts your parents made to spend time with you, evidence of all the games they attended and the celebrations of your good report cards … how does that make you feel anything but GREAT? My kids may never look at another scrapbook again and that’s fine. But if they do, the evidence of my love is always there for the taking.

Okay, well! I’ve addressed pretty much every freaking point in the article, haven’t I? If you’re still with me, you’ve probably gone through your Venti latte and your eyes are bulging clean out of your skull. Sorry ’bout that. No worries … I’m about to wrap this sucker up so you can get on with your life. Promise.

If the author of the blog post does find my response, I hope she’s not offended. I don’t think she will be. I read through her blog and if you think I’m sarcastic … boy howdy, she puts me to shame. (And I LOVE IT!!!) I’m pretty sure she won’t try to bitch-slap me through the internets. If she tries, you still got my back, right? Scrapbookers Unite! Hollah!

Okay, I’m off now to go scrapbook about my doggie taking a doo doo, what shade of blue the sky is today (I happen to have very expensive coordinating paper, duh), and my kids’ math homework page. Ta ta! (For now).

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