I have been engaging in a fairly silly internal debate with myself about digital scrapbooking, Project Life and buying a printer. Here’s a summary of the arguments I have been having, or rather a catalog of the competing thoughts I have been thinking.
(Feel free to skip this if you don’t care! It’s mostly for myself. I think better when I write things down. It’s really long! for the internet, at least)
What I like about Project Life:
a simple coordinated look, documenting everyday life, keeping track of the little things, creativity, lots of photos and stories, only as scrappy and as froufrou as you want it to be, can be made in any style that I like regardless of what everyone else is doing, looking back at the past, a place to collect bits and pieces I like to hang on to anyway, so many fun details, a community of ideas and inspiration.
What I don’t like about Project Life:
the GIANT binder (a HUGE con for me), cluttered look (if you’re not careful), difficult to do without a good home printer or a lot of discipline, not easy to share with others, too heavy to take anywhere, lots of supplies even if you keep it minimal, keeping stuff that isn’t important in the long run, a huge commitment, there are so many other ways to record life that might be a better fit for me, looking back in the future it might seem like a very dated fad.
What I like about digital scrapbooking:
learning a new skill, no fear of using a supply and later wishing you still had it – it can be used as many times as you want, buying mountains of stuff and not having to find somewhere to store it, sharing what I made moments after finishing it, neatness and preciseness, being able to use fonts and fancy handwriting that I can’t do in real life, being able to crop a picture or zoom in without having to plan in advance what will look best, no wait time between taking pictures and using them, being able to pull a color from a picture to coordinate titles and embellishments (love that eyedropper tool!), being able to shop for supplies anytime and get them instantly, not having to donate or re-home supplies I never used, not having to explain to your partner why I have so many supplies, being able to scrapbook anywhere that I can take a laptop, no mess, no cutting, being able to go back and fix mistakes or adjust things that don’t look right later on, supplies are cheaper and since they are everlasting they are even better value for money, never running out of I E A or O stickers in the middle of a title.
What I don’t like about digital scrapbooking:
spending too much time at the computer, not being motivated to start, getting bogged down by too many photos to choose, organizing things digitally doesn’t mesh well with my visual out of sight out of mind nature, not producing anything real or physical unless you get it printed out which is a hassle, not being able to flick through the cards and photos and arrange them in the physical world, no tactile payoff, too easy to spend a lot of money on supplies and never use them because they are hidden away as file names, having a very full hard drive, battling technology that isn’t doing what you want it to do.
Why I like not having a printer:
most of the time printing is not necessary and if it is it can usually wait a day or two, no need to stock expensive inks that get used up even when you’re not printing, no frustrating technological troubles, having space in my home that isn’t being taken up by a monster printer and its paper trays that need clearance, one less thing to dust, no clutter of papers that I thought I needed to print, less recycling of .
Why I might like having a printer:
sometimes printing is helpful, sending pictures out for printing takes time and you lose some control over the finished product, sometimes you just want to print something out right now and then change it and print it out again, being able to use whatever cardstock or paper you like to print and not having to guess what it will be like from online descriptions and then wait to see if you chose right, being able to make a layout and turn it into a physical real object immediately, being able to print cards out and write on them with my own handwriting, being able to print out a preview or contact sheet for the digital photos and supplies I have so that I can more easily choose what to use.
It seems pretty clear that I have a lot of arguments in favor of digital scrapbooking, that Project Life could be something I would enjoy, and that even though having a printer at home seems more convenient, it’s really a case of trading one set of inconveniences for another.
I have been spending too much time looking at what other people are doing online, and the thing is that they never show the bits where their printer jams and they spend $100 on new ink cartridges every month and they realize they have spent thousands of dollars on pretty pieces of paper but what they really want to do is buy a new camera or travel someplace awesome. Or worse, when their husband comes home and says “I got a job in a foreign country and we’ll be living in a tiny space and there’s no way we’re shipping all that crap over with us!” I love the idea of collecting pretty things but the reality is that I’ve been there and done that and it’s not very satisfying at all.
So I think I will take a compromise path. I heard about some neat 6×8″ Handbook binders from Studio Calico that have divided pocket pages that hold 4×6″ and 3×4″ cards just like Project Life. I have made a couple of 6×8″ layouts (which I will share soon) and although I’m not sure if that’s enough space to do a Project Life style layout I’m going to give it a go. The line also includes 6×8″ non-divided page protectors so I could print a digital layout in any style to include in the album. I was considering the mini albums from beckyhiggins.com but they have a fixed layout and fixed number of pages, which wasn’t quite what I want.
I’m probably not going to do the weekly layouts that most people associate with Project Life. I’m not even sure what I want from the layouts – maybe monthly, maybe event based, maybe a random mixture that reflects the rhythms of my life. I’m going to resist the urge to buy thickers and stickles and tags and labels and flair because once you start it’s never ending. But I reserve the right to change my mind later if playing with paper is really what I want to do. I think I will continue with using digital PL supplies – I recently bought the seafoam and olive collections. I might send a few pages of those cards out to be printed later if I want to do some paper scrapping, but if I do that I need to commit to myself that I will clear out one drawer of my sideboard that will house everything PL related. And it will all have to fit in there. Because there is no more space. Unless I cleared out my ottoman…? hmmm….
I have a little mental shopping list of paper scrapping supplies that the pack rat in me wants to buy. But the last time I went to Michaels to buy some craft gifts I felt like an addict having a relapse – it was so overwhelming and it made me feel quite sick, but at the same time one part of my brain was scheming and justifying all the things I should buy! You should’ve seen me, hugging the gift items to my chest like they were a shield that could protect me from Martha’s evil crapbooking empire, keeping my hands busy so I couldn’t fondle the pretty stationery. The overwhelmed part won out, probably because the place stunk so bad of cinnamon candle scent that I just wanted to get out before I started to puke, but the thoughts of scrap stash building have been nagging at me ever since, fueled by YouTube videos and beautiful blogs.
Well, thank you for listening to my ramblings. I need to get up and get out of the house and take the dog for a walk before this day totally gets away from me. We have a beautiful day dawning outside, if you can get past the freezing fog! I should probably not listen to the scrapbooking podcast while I walk the dog, but knowing me I probably will. Wish me luck! especially seeing as I’m going to be shopping at Studio Calico soon. The next time you see me I may have given in to the dark side…
No! I need to remember Cathy Zielske’s motto – taking the CRAP out of scrapbooking! That lady is awesome, and her style is the best model I have found to be inspired by. Simple, clean and totally her own.
Bye for now
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