How odd for someone whose nickname is “Mary Sunshine” to begin my blog contributions to pixels2Pages with a complaint, but here I go…

I scrapbook for a lot of different reasons. At the core, I scrapbook to share myself, mostly with my children, but sometimes as a self-discovery tool too. And sometimes it’s just about the art. I share my whole self. My real self. I’m honest in my scrapbooks. I give my pages whatever I’m thinking or feeling at the moment. Sometimes I tell my children stories of my life. I’ve written about what Home means to me and I’ve written about what I like about each of them and how they seem unique to me. I’ve written about deep spiritual moments and I’ve written about goofy and completely embarrassing things I’ve done in my life. Sometimes I just give them myself in my design or my art on a scrapbook page. I have been known to spend hours making a page that seems simple. I have tweaked every paper, every color, every position of every element dozens and dozens of times. But I’ve also done pages that have literally taken two minutes that have been lovely as well. Sometimes the process of making the page is more important than the page itself. Sometimes making the page is just about breathing. I have a biological need to be creative. If I didn’t have a creative outlet every day, whether it be writing or cooking or quilting or scrapbooking, I’d shrivel up. I’m sure of it.

As a result, my scrapbooks are “messy.” They aren’t organized two page layouts with coordinating colors and well-thought-out themed contents. They represent me. They’re all mixed up. They’re not even always chronological. I scrapbook what I want and when I want it. My books are like I am. Day- to-day I like to do different things. I love color but I’m thrilled my kitchen is black and white. I love to write but I have been known to cry about a beautiful stand-alone photograph. I made a page one time entitled, “I am a contradiction” in which I described myself as “a super smart ditz,” “a creative copier,” “a superficially deep thinker,” and “a hardworking sloth,” among others. I couldn’t follow scrapbooking rules any more than I could wear the same clothes to work every day.

Scrapbooking is intensely personal to me and my personality is eclectic. So stop telling me there’s one way that’s better than another or one thing that can’t be left out, ever! Stop telling me it’s not a ‘real’ page if it doesn’t have journaling. Stop telling me a page that takes hours to create is not a good page. Stop telling me to ‘keep it simple.’ Stop telling me that I can’t use dozens of papers on one page. Stop telling me that a page full of writing with no photographs at all is not actually a scrapbook page. Stop telling me that plain white backgrounds are boring; stop telling me that patterned paper backgrounds are too busy; stop telling me that I have to pull colors from the photos to make it more appealing. It’s MY page! It’s MY scrapbook! Seriously, butt out. I’m tired of people claiming to know the “right” way to scrapbook.

I have multiple reasons why I scrapbook and multiple outcomes I seek. If I want to have one photo of my son’s smile on a page, and if I make that photo really tiny with tons of embellishment near the photo and tons of white space elsewhere, really, what difference does it make to you? I’m not insisting you do the same. Shoot, I’ll be the first to compliment your page and encourage you to make it your own. Be free! Scrapbook the way you want and let me do the same. You, yourself, are beautiful. We all are. Surely part of that beauty must come from realizing that we don’t have to impose our will on other people’s scrapbook pages.  🙂 Mary Sunshine… signing off.

Carolyn Bodkin

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7 Responses to Butt out! It’s MY Scrapbook!

  1. Carolyn says:

    Thanks everyone. I love scrapbooking but mostly I love scrapbookers. I want you to know that I honor whatever you choose to do.

  2. angielusz says:

    right on! you go sista!!!

  3. Tameka says:

    You tell ’em Ms. Sunshine…. I have a ton of people I can send this exactly blog entry to and just cosign my name. Preach on!

  4. KMacDigi says:


    Thank you for this reminder – very timely! I don’t intend to be judgemental about others’ album styles; however, I have been noticing of late that some styles which are so different than my own – kinda get me wondering, “Boy, why would she do that on that page?” Well, heavens, why should I care??? If she is making her pages and she’s happy with them, Hallelujah! and if I’m too wordy on my pages and not “fancy” enough – why should that bother someone else? You’re absolutely right. This artform is incredibly personal. What a great venue to celebrate diversity of every kind – journaling, no journaling, lots of papers or layers, no embellies – it doesn’t matter if the creator is happy with it. I love to learn and be inspired by the different pages I see at the CM website, CM Go Digi group or at this p2P site – and now I will be reminding myself to celebrate each one rather than scrutinize. This is supposed to be fun, not stressful! Your life your story your way – options, options, options!

    You rock for helping me think about this 🙂 I feel very free right now! Have a marvelous day!

  5. sistersunshine57 says:

    AMEN SISTER! *U* Kathleen

  6. Cornmama says:

    THANK YOU!!!!!!

  7. sailorgirl says:

    Carolyn – THANK YOU for writing this! I have been a consultant for nearlyy 11 years and one of my mantras with me and my customers is: “It’s your album. You can do whatever you want.” Thanks for putting this out there! No go crazy and do whatever you want! 🙂

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