Creative Journey: pre-industry

I’m calling this segment “pre-industry” and what I mean is, it’s about the stuff I made before I got hired as a scrapbook store manager back in 2003. So consider this the “1987 – June 2003” part of my scrapbook story…

In the beginning it was always about 1 big thing, and enough to fill a whole album. I’d make a “scrapbook” about something. I’d complete the project and put it on a shelf for others to enjoy. It was very common for my Aunt Mad to take a lot of photos of our vacations/trips/visits and send me copies along with a partially started book. They consisted of a plain paper book or a 3-hole folder set up like this. With copy paper.

Stickers + words + photos. All my 13 year old hotness and fashion excellence aside, I love these old books. The photos show so much of my world, so much of the way things were- they’re priceless.

Then in about 1999 or so my aunt (the same one) sent me a gift of some stuff from a company called Creative Memories. Now by this time I had 10 years scrapping under my belt, not to mention the attitude of a 20 year old and a lifetime of general crafting going for me. So I did NOT buy into their philosophy nor did I agree with some of the rigid rules.

In other words, I used the products they had that I liked and added in whatever I felt like.

I was very into sticker “art”, cutting out photos by hand to just have the people/things I wanted, and conversation bubbles. Lord help me, I loved my conversation and thought stickers. Most of my “CM” albums were 5×7. It was a good size for the amount of photos I was taking during trips at this time.

You will find loads of movie references and private jokes in my old scrapbooks. Looking back, my only regret is that I didn’t make more. The ones I have are priceless- that’s one regret from my youth: I didn’t take more photos. Of course I was busy traveling for fun with my boyfriend as well as working full time, going to school, and showing horses on a very competitive circuit so it’s not like I wasn’t busy! Scrapbooking + photography were not even connected in my mind. When you had a big event/vacation with enough photos you scrapbooked it. THAT WAS IT.

May discovers the scrapbook store.

If memory serves me it was called the Scrapbook Garden. I fell in love the first time I walked in. Jason and I were engaged at the time, and I knew I wanted to do a honeymoon scrapbook for sure, and I think I was working on some other project as well. I wasn’t overwhelmed at first, just excited to see some things I had dreamed of/wished for actually existed. This is where I bought my first 12×12 album. I was thrilled that such a thing existed, and that I could get so many more photos and do so much more with the size.

The honeymoon album took me 11 months to complete. I worked in the order that I was inspired by, and I did whatever I felt like doing.

The above page might look easy – it wasn’t. First I drew (and re-drew, and re-drew) dragons until I was satisfied. Then I cut them out and all their parts including individual teeth. Then pen work, glitter, etc… it took over a week. Then for the title I printed out the words on white printer paper then used a pen and traced over the papers (with cardstock below) so that a slight indentation was in the cardstock. I took my metallic pens and hand drew the title at that point. To this day I look at this page and think “my goodness I had wild ideas.”

Then I went “easy” by re-creating the Jurassic Park gates. The title is printed out (on computer printer paper) and then I hand-cut around the dinosaur and backed it with red cardstock and edged with gold pen. All that grass and the trees and such were hand cut too of course.

To this day I thank my mom for giving us a “do whatever you want” and “if you can think of it, you can make it” attitude towards crafting. All that playing and exploring and making stuff for our barbies as kids gave me the idea that I could do whatever I wanted- I didn’t know there were boxes I should fit within.

About half way through the album I discovered crops. The store had Friday night affairs where the owner cooked up dinner + dessert and you could just bring your stuff in and scrapbook. Actually, I’d known about the crops but I was afraid to go by myself until the owner convinced me I would enjoy it. Since my family was living in New England and Jason was working tons at the time I was alone a whole lot – I figured “why not?” and went. It was culture shock to me. I’d never before done any crafting with anybody but my own family or girlfriends if we were making something specific.

My stash pretty much was a little folder of stickers + cardstock + scissors + trimmer. Some of these women had tools, stamps, embossing stuff, quilling papers, wire and beads… it was INSANE. It blew my mind. It also made me feel like I needed to get in on all that other stuff.

Around this time EK Success introduced something called “Jolee’s Boutique”. I was blown away that I could have all these detailed themed things on my page that I hadn’t made myself.

The above page is sky vellum, with rock patterned paper cut out and layered over it, and hand cut/drawn title letters because I wanted that EXACT brown. So while I learned about “matting photos” and “double matting” and such I still worked in my own ideas and custom stuff.  Overall I really loved the crop experience because the ladies were so super friendly. Sure, at 22/23 years old I was 10+ years younger than most of them – but they didn’t care and nor did I. This was a place you could be creative and have fun!

I just didn’t realize at this time that I would move to a new town over an hour away, work at an exclusive Napa Valley resort, and make a move that would forever change my career path…

{If you’ve got questions or anything as I tell my tale – please feel free to chime in and ask!!}

15 thoughts on “Creative Journey: pre-industry”

  1. This is so much fun to read May! When I read about your journey, I so recognize what I went through, only that I did it in 5 months. It started out with some 70% off stamps from a crafts catalouge I got in the mail. 5 months later I received my Cougar (electronic cutter) that I paid almost $500 for… Its been quite a ride!


  2. You sure was creative with the “old” stuff! Love how creative you were with all them. You would laugh if you seen mine. Thanks for sharing all this with us!!

  3. Ohhh, I have my popcorn watching and waiting for the next chapter. I’m also sending this link on to my co-crafter in crime, my SIL, who would truly enjoy this story

  4. Thanks so much for sharing these early creations! I am really just getting started in scrapbooking — I’ve finished one book in my life (a retirement gift that I am kicking myself for not photographing). But around 2000 or so I bought a ginormous spiral bound black book with black matte pages in it and did a grand total of one or two pages. Pictures of me and my husband on our Florida vacation with captions in glittery Gellyroll pens. If ever go back to it I’m going to resist the temptation to rescrap that page. 🙂

  5. Love this! May – last night on the Academy Awards show there was an acceptance speech about how his parents had never told him he was wasting his time with the little video camera…very well said, and I can’t do it justice – did you watch?….Anyway, it was just that. I love to foment my daughter’s creativity. I never had that, and question myself all too often. When I just try, I get nothing but compliments. Good for you!

  6. It has been fun to see how you have instilled this same creativity and the love of playing “outside the box” in your girls May. I think of their craft room at your mom’s house and how their faces just shined as they were creating. Good for doing that! ME

  7. I’m really enjoying reading about your craft journey! There are so many similiarities to mine (though I know pretty soon in the story yours is going to take a big turn toward professional that mine hasn’t) I love seeing all the old pages and hearing where you were as a crafter.

    One question: what other crafts were you doing at each stage in your journey?

  8. Wow! Can’t imagine spending all that time on those dragons or gates-looks so cool!

    Thanks for sharing all of this-so fun to look back, isn’t it? 🙂

  9. I am LOVING these pics of your old albums. I, too, have been scrapbooking for YEARS and enjoy seeing others work from years gone by. Love seeing the evolution of style and products. So cool. Please keep them coming.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing your past creations. Isn’t it fun to look back. You are amazing to do so much cutting and creating. My first page used CM oval cutters – loved them!!

  11. i love seeing your earliest bookd and subsequent ones as well. i can’t help wondering what you’d have done if you hadn’t visited that first scrapbook store… and i think we had similar moms 🙂
    i’m looking forward to your sharing more!

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