April 10, 2011

My Digital Conversion

Did you start scrapbooking with paper and scissors? Are you still?
I started in 1995, all thanks to my mother.

Here are my Scrap Books, handwritten spines and all. (yuck)

 Back then it was 8.5x11 binders- I converted to 12x12 in 2004. 

This photo is about 8 years old. See those 2 boys? They got into everything, still do. It was impossible to try and scrapbook with paper, glue, and scissors.

I wasn't ever a "3 hour -a- page" scrapper.
My focus was to document my kids lives.
Even a simple page like the one above would take me a good 1-2 hours from start to finish. I hand stamped the "rodeo" title, and then typed up journaling in a word processor, printed, cut and pasted it onto the page. The simplest layouts were still time consuming. I was never "caught up". I would create a book for my baby, and then a copy for me. Oh, how I wish I had digital back then!

When I look back at how horrible my scrapbooks are, I have to remind myself:
"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without."  ~Confucius

The Conversion:
After the 3rd boy was born, I saw a friends 12x12 album filled with digital layouts popping off the pages. It looked so amazing! That was it, my turning point. Never again would I need an entire day to complete a layout.

In 2007 I bought a digital camera and took a community photoshop class at our local College. 
  • Now I can create a page in 10-20 minutes.
  • I don't have to have an entire room in the house dedicated to scrapbook supplies. 
  • I can also print one layout multiple times, rather than cutting and pasting multiple pages!
  • My digital "letters" don't come unglued and spell out odd words
  • Taking the laptop on a road trip generates at least 10 layouts
  • I can start a page, save it, and come back. No clean up required!

 Digital Scrapbooking saves me time AND money:
  • I can fit up to 10 images on one 12x12 page. (10 4x6's costs $1.90)
  • My digital supplies can be used over and over! (recoloring)
  • I can fit at least 50 more pages in a 12x12 binder 
  • I *could* charge my mother for the time it takes to now create her layouts digitally, but I don't. She is currently in digital training:)

Statistics show that when children see photo's of themselves, it foster's self-esteem. 
When we have down days, we can reminded of happy times through our photo's. 
All of my boys LOVE looking at photo's of themselves. (they are almost "too confident" at this point!)

Time to get your layouts OFF of your hard drive people! (you know who you are:)

My Goal: That my kids will have self-esteem. That they will remember the good times in life, and know how much they are loved.

Regardless of how you choose to document your memories, I hope you feel it is as valuable as I do!
(even I have to force people to look at my scrapbooks, but someday they will do so willingly!)

Happy Scrapping -Documenting -Designing -Creating

*Are you a digital convert? What was your turning point?


  1. This is an awesome post! I first dabbled in digital in late 2005. I made 12x12 layouts for my in-laws Christmas calendar. I used PS and hated it. Time consuming and all that jazz. Eventually went with SBC and now really only do digital. I'm an instructor in scrapbooking though so I am going to dig out my paper supplies. My boys are older so I don't worry about them getting into everything as much. I love doing digital for most of the reasons you mentioned, Chari. Time, speed, ease, convenience!

  2. This is a great post and sum up exactly how I feel about scrapbooking!

  3. I was a 15+ year paper scrapbooker but was so overwhelmed with all the "stuff"... and averaged about five pages a year.

    I'd seen some really cute digital pages online and thought I might dabble in it but that I'd always be a paper scrapper. After completing five pages in one week (compared to a year!) I was hooked and have never looked back.

    I've been digital for three years now and wish that I could have been digital the 15 years before that. I loooooove digital scrapbooking. I love that I can close my laptop and walk away and there is no mess. And I love ctrl-z. it's changed my life :)

    I make extra copies of my pages for my mom's book... I make duplicate photobooks as gifts. Digital is soooo freeing and I LOVE IT!

  4. I love your post. Thanks for reminding me to go simple and get it finished! I am a Mom with a 28 year old. I only started scrapbooking about 12 years ago, so I am still horribly behind. I spend WAY too much time on paper pages AND digital pages, but I am getting faster. I am starting to use digital more and more. I would like to scan all my OLD photos, but think that would take longer than just getting them in albums. I will probably convert to ALL digital starting with my 2007 photos. Re: your boys being "too confident" reminds me of the advice my Mom gave me "build them up as much as you can and don't worry about them being over confident, the 'world' will beat them down enough" My daughter turned out confident but not arrogant

  5. I decided to create a "Fantasy Travel" scrapbook for myself and two friends, showing us travelling to places we had never actually all been to together. I intended it to be a traditional scrapbook, with only my photos manipulated digitally. I bought one package of travel-related stickers, but they were way too big for my 8x8 scrapbooks. I had recently purchased Photoshop Elements (2, I think), and the project became a way to learn PSE. The next thing you know, the entire album was digital. Sure made it a breeze to create three identical albums! Not very polished, but I still really enjoy it, and so did my friends! I am making digital scrapbooks for my dad of two extended vacations we took together. He doesn't care about fancy layouts and I try to include as many photos as possible. Someday, I plan to do some more "artistic" scrapbooks for myself. Love digital-- quick, easily corrected/changed, no more mess, MUCH less expensive, and I can reuse the digital elements over and over!

  6. I started scrapbooking in 2003 and just fell in love with it. In 2009 when my son was born, I had less time for everything and found digital to be less of a mess and required less time as well. I love the freedom of just taking a laptop to a crop instead of having to pack and figure out what I need to bring. I started selling most of my paper scrapping items last weekend. When I was going through my paper stuff I felt no desire to paper scrap again. Like you my goal is to document my family and our life together. I want to make memories and not spend all my time scrapbooking! Thanks for sharing your story.

  7. I wrote about my digital conversion in a blog for our local magazine last September. http://www.katymagazine.com/the-evolution-of-a-hobby/

  8. Chari I was thanking you this weekend. When I saw the BOGO scrapbook pages I stupidly did not read the entire post, and thought it was on the entire order...50% every page. So I thought, OH my gosh, I have to finish my 2010 pages and order today! After I finished, I went back and looked, and thought, "I am so stupid." BUT then point of this is I completed FIVE kid's scrapbook pages for an ENTIRE year in about 3 hours! That is why I love digital scrapbooking...I could NEVER have done that cutting and pasting. It would have taken me entire weekends...time I do not have!
    And I totally agree with you...it's a self-esteem boost for me too when I am having a bad day. Looking at how much we have done as a family, the trips we have taken, the games we have watched, all the sports, and just how much they have grown. I don't think I will let my children have their scrapbooks till I am dead in the ground, seriously. I love looking back on their lives! :)

  9. I started digital scrapping in September of 2010, and while I still dabble in paper, I probably am 95% digital right now. I have found myself doing layouts I never would have done had I stuck exclusively with paper (like documenting the death of my computer mouse and the adoption of the new wireless mouse...named shmouse! lol). I'm having fun!!!

  10. LOVE it Chari! I love when my girl grabs an album (mine are 8x8) and starts looking through it. Then come all the questions... "remember mom when I was a baby?"... "babies don't wear underwear. I'm big though now so I do" LOL ..

  11. @ Teri.
    What's "SBC"?
    In you comment below ... "I used PS and hated it. Time consuming and all that jazz. Eventually went with SBC and now really only do digital."
    I assume PS is Photo Shop, but what's SBC.
    Please email me direct.

    Thank you in Advance,

  12. That's how I feel about converting to photobooks/digiscrapping. I went from 6 scrapbooks on a shelf to being able to store dozens of photobooks. It's faster and easier to not have to print photos anymore - they are printed in the layouts in my photobooks. I purged all the supplies I had hoarded and my office was suddenly clean. I honestly don't miss anything about paper scrapping. I had actually been wishing for some form of "computer scrapping" since the dawn of scrapbooking in the 1990's.

  13. What a fabulous post, Chari!!! Omigosh! You've totally convinced me that it's high-time I get my pages off my hard drive! Really!

    I, too, have A LOT of paper scrapped layouts - and I love them. I will keep them forever (even if the alphas fall off the page...hahaha). However, you're so right, digital offers so much more.

    Thank you for sharing this with us! I needed to hear this!


    P.S. It was so great to meet you in Vegas! You are awesome!

  14. I started paper scrapping in high school, and scrapped through each year until I got married 8 years ago. now I'm 8 years behind, but catching up with the digital scrapping! I LOVE it!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE! I scrapped an entire album but lost it in a hard drive crash before printing it (LESSON LEARNED!) - and I scrap vacation pictures the day they are taken! It's fabulous - no mess and endless creativity!

  15. I'm not a digi convert in the sense of giving up paper scrapping because I do both. I do love doing digi scrapbooking though. I took two Jessica Sprague classes and I love what I am able to create now in PSE. But my digi pages take me a MINIMUM of 30 minutes (usually much longer) to do - I'm not a fast scrapper in either medium. ;) I love digi because I can re-use supplies and resize pictures so easily. And I love being able to recolour cardstock to match perfectly!! I love that I can use "dimensional" elements without the bulk in my albums.

    I'm not a fan of photobooks - I much prefer printing out my pages and putting them in a traditional album. I still love traditional scrapbooking - I love the feel of textures, the weight of cardstock and the whole tactile part of traditional scrapping. But I love so much about digi too. I love that if I get blocked, I can switch from one medium to another and my inspiration seems to come right back. Now I've got the best of both worlds!

  16. I started scrapping in 2001 had my 1sst of 3 kids in 03'. Finally was excited about cropping went to events signed up to be a CM consultant (that didn't last). Had a backache every time I went to a crop. Then a friend (Jen Maddocks Designs) that I had introduced to scrap booking went digital. That was probably in 07'(?). I was like no way that's not for me...... Then by 2009 I finally gave in and tried it. Totally hooked.... Now in 2011 I'm completely digital all that stuff in my basement collects dust. I hate glue. I love PS & now AI. Now I just have to figure out how to scan in all my wedding photos so I can finish that one digitally.....

  17. I started paper scrapping in 2000, but easily became a convert to digital scrapping about 3 years ago. For awhile I did both and mixed them together in scrapbooks, but I agree about digital being faster and I love not printing pictures and then finding I have a wrong size or what to do with all the photos I didn't end up using. I still have all my paper supplies as I do make cards ocassionally, but I keep thinking about getting rid of my supplies just to clean up my room! Just not sure how to go about that...

  18. I'd love to know your methods for creating a page in 10 to 20 minutes. I still take hours to do a page, digital and/or paper. Maybe you could teach a class?
    Audrey V

  19. Now what to do with all those supplies...a room full of paper and stickers! Not touched for 18 months!

  20. Audrey- honestly, when digital kits are organized, I grab a template (love scrapping with Liz or Biograffiti for those) and bust em out, simple and fast! For events that have so many pictures that I can't live without- I use Picasa for a quick collage. Under 20 minutes, not a ton of detail, but it gets the job done!
    We are loving all of these digital conversion stories! Thanks for sharing!

  21. I started scrapping digitally about 5 years ago and I love it for all the above mentioned reasons. I still like to mess around with paper and all the stuff that goes with it but being behind (digital cameras cause that to happen - lol)I'm catching up faster using digital. Since my scrapping style is a collage style Picasa is working great for cleaning up my hard drive - yes, you're talking to me :-). I love that you can print out multiple copies since I am making scrapbooks for each of my grandkids and with 11 of them there is a lot of overlap. Someday I hope to get all the pictures from my own kids growing up days scanned and scrapped digitally for the ones I need multiple copies of. My grandkids are using up a lot of my old scrapping supplies - they love to cut and paste and make scrapbooks when they are here. I have an envelope of pictures for each one of them and they love going through them and making their own scrapbooks. I just let them cut and paste to their hearts content. Keeps them busy and uses up a lot of my old stuff :-)

  22. I have PSE but just can't get into it so I haven't been able to part with my traditional paper scissors glue. What is SBC?

  23. SBC is a Creative Memories digital software program, similar to photoshop, but easier to understand.
    Persnickety Prints fulfills many print orders from customers using Creative Memories software. We are $1.99- they are priced at $3.99 for a 12x12. And of course, our quality is much much better. Here is a link to the CM Blog that talks about this software: http://bit.ly/9DvlXF

  24. You will have to copy and paste this URL- http://bit.ly/9DvlXF
    (can someone tell blogger that we need to be able to hyper link in the comments!:)

  25. I've been totally digi for a couple of years now. With 3 children ages 13-5 who play sports/activities and a full time job this is the ONLY way for me now. I still don't accomplish as much as I would like but it is SO much easier to complete a page now than it was when I was cleaning paper off my dining table just to put it back out. I too, was a 3 hr per page scrapper. No more :)

  26. Oh...and for all you ladies wondering what to do with your paper supplies....contact your local Make a Wish Foundation or another local charity. :)

  27. Thanks for this inspiring post, I found it via Memories on Clover Lane :)

  28. I started paper scrapping in 2001 at a Creative Memories party. Within 2 months, my family room was converted to a scrapping room with long tables so I could have friends over to scrap. We learned so much from each other and inspired each other. I converted to digital about 3-1/2 years ago and last year finally sold or gave away all my scrapping stuff. There are so many places that want/need your supplies, even your magazines. The senior center near my house has weekly crops with instruction as needed. Our local Children's Hospital also needed supplies as did our shelter for battered women and their children. Oh, and any elementary art teacher or kindergarten teacher would die to have your stash. There are so many places that can use your paper scrapping supplies - check around, you'll be surprised. I urge you all to give those things away before the paper gets wet, frayed or otherwise damaged. Even stickers can have their glue dry out. You can make your supplies have a whole new life - and you'll feel better having cleaned up your scrapping space, put the stuff to good use and unburdened yourself. The only thing I ever missed were the crops - but now I go anyway - just a laptop. So freeing!

  29. I do either/or/hybrid. I must say that I spend just as much time, if not more, per page when doing digi as paper. The same thing slows me down...picking the perfect papers, finding the right emb, etc. I had hoped digi would speed me up, but since the potential to get the perfect thing for my page is greater than with my paper stash, it seems to take me longer. Getting my ideas out of my head and onto the page is the hardest part...just never matches the idea in my head. Not to mention, my husband can put up with time spent in my room on paper pages, but when I am on the computer for extended periods doing a layout, he is not happy. I need balance...in so many areas!

  30. I started hand scrapping years ago and I have to admit, I look back on some of the pages and think *eww* did I do that? lol . . . I have learned so much over the years and what products work and what does not. With all the die cuts and punches and new items to use, I am just in heaven. I still scrap by hand and make many many cards and favors and I still make layouts, but I have learned how to digital scrap and love it too. I really just decided one day to try it, when I seen others do the work and I thought, wow I can do that. I will never give up hands on. I have way to much stuff to scrap with (a store in my room) PP does all my printing for me and I use My Digital Studio by Stampin' Up. Very easy program and I also have Photshop, but whew a lot harder to understand (think I need classes) I love your story and I can understand how in years we all improve. Thanks so much for sharing your story and I have enjoyed reading the comments too. Have a great Happy New Year.

  31. I 'came to the dark side' about 2001, and started from scratch- making my own supplies because I didn't know anyone else who was doing it! (I had the Photoshop skills already, thank goodness). About 2004 I found some online stores and realized I could buy kits and never looked back. I've gotten rid of most of my paper stuff, still keep a little for craft projects though. Just the thought of scrapping with paper and adhesive gives me the heebie-jeebies! The mess! The expense! Never again!

  32. I started working in digital just before my youngest was born (he is now almost 2). It was actually a Cathy Z class that turned me. I had signed up intending to complete the project in paper, but had an unopened copy of PSE on my computer...turned it on and followed the tutorial on how to use a layered template, and I was sold! I have not made a paper page since then, though I haven't gotten rid of my paper supplies yet.

  33. I had done traditional scrapbooking for about 8 years and was eager to convert to digital scrapping so I took a Photoshop course. Although I enjoyed the class, it was more complicated than I wanted and it wasn't a true scrapbooking software. Then I discovered Creative Memories' Storybook Creator software and knew I had found what I needed. I had a huge project in mind so in 2009 I bought a laptop, a scanner and the software and began my two-year project which I completed this month. I created three 100-page scrapbooks detailing the life that my husband and I spent together. It started when we met in 1959 and ended with his death in 1992. I scanned 100s of photos and documents to compliment our story. The books are now a heritage gift to my two children and will be passed down to their children. I never would have attempted this if I had had to do it with paper and glue. It would have taken years longer and I couldn't have ordered duplicates. Digital scrapping is definitely faster, but my project took as long as it did because of all the scanning, photo editing and research that needed to be done. I LOVE digi scrapping and have completely given up doing it the traditional way. I enjoy working on it on a lap desk while I watch T.V. in the evenings. It's so-o-o convenient. Although I definitely work faster now, I enjoy taking my time and creating the "perfect" page.

  34. THANKS FOR SHARING Everyone! Wonderful Story "Anonymous"!