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The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Scrapbooking: Make the Most of Your Memories

Scrapbooking: Make the Most of Your Memories

Scrapbookers unite! Typically celebrated on the first Saturday in May, this year’s National Scrapbook Day falls on May 4th. But who needs a holiday to practice the craft (and fine art, actually!) of creating an imaginative scrapbook chronicling the fun and milestones in your life? Whether you’re making masterpieces of sparkling events like birthdays, graduations, and weddings, or celebrating family holidays, pets, a coveted new house, summer vacation or just special everyday moments, a scrapbook is a pristine canvas on which to “paint” your life’s passions!

Charted as far back as the 16th century, “commonplace books” (from the Latin locus communis) were considered practical means of recording everything from helpful advice to proverbs, medicinal remedies, quotes, legal information, tables of weights or measures, etc. Commonplace books were regularly employed by scholars, students, and others to recall useful concepts and facts, each tailored to its creator’s personal predilections–much like their technologically evolved descendants: Facebook and Pinterest, to name just two.

By the 17th century, “commonplacing” was even taught at England’s prestigious Oxford University, and Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson were taught to keep commonplace books at Harvard. As these books evolved, sometimes becoming aptly-called friendship albums, they came to include short texts or illustrations by friends and patrons solicited by the book’s owner–something resembling today’s high school and college yearbooks. Engravings or lithographs may have been pasted into a book or album, especially to help record a cherished European trip, and 18th and 19th century girls were encouraged to share their literary skills and document and express their own private histories (using even locks of hair) and aspirations – something not available to them in other mediums.

Today’s scrapbooks have become highly creative material and personal expressions in so many ways. Beginning with the basic album–some permanently bound; others geared to expansion through page insertion; some accordion-like or else small and compact in size–and utilizing materials that run the gamut from cardstock to printed paper to fabric and more, scrapbooks are artful monuments to what means the most to us. Scissors or utility knives, art pens, die cut templates, runner stamps, craft punches, stencils, heat embossing tools and much more are standard tools in the pursuit of the quintessential scrapbook.

Lace, wire, beads, fabric, jewels, stamps, and ribbon are like icing on the keepsake cake, and ardent practitioners claim they may spend as much time designing and executing a scrapbook as an artist does on a fine painting. Scrapbookers in the know also find that acid- and lignin-free paper works best (after all, you do want that painstaking project to last for posterity!), and pigment-based ink has proven to be waterproof and fade-resistant. Choosing buffered paper protects from the acid that may result from memorabilia used on various pages to tell your special story.

Digital Scrapbooks
One accomplished scrapbook blogger has called the next level of scrapbooking–digital scrapbooks–“personal technological tour-de-forces” in their capacity to deftly meld graphics with scanned photos and mementos for a two-dimensional result.

Generally beginning with a digital scrapbook kit or template, which can be downloaded (tutorials are also offered on some sites to get you started), digital scrapbooks can even be combined with conventional scrapbooks to result in what essentially is the next generation of the craft: the hybrid scrapbook.

According to sources, hybrid scrapbooking involves creating layouts on the computer using digital supplies that will then be printed and combined with traditional ones such as buttons, ribbons and other elements.* Crafting your keepsake album in this way may take some practice, but those who do say there’s no end to the possibilities.

Kits for digital scrapbooks contain graphics and “word art,” and are a mix of background images and “cut out” images with “alpha channels” which combine an image with background to create the appearance of transparency. Downloaded kits can be used indefinitely to create new scrapbook pages within one’s selected software.

Whatever method you choose, preserving the best moments of your and your family’s lives in a format that will stand the test of time is a great use of everyone’s time, and one in which various family members can participate to make it truly their own. If you haven’t started one already, why not make National Scrapbook Day, May 4th, the day you set out on a personally great scrapbooking (ad)venture!

- via Wikipedia

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.