Scrapbooking: a hobby of a lifetime

Monday, January 24

By Annelia Vakrinou

I was 13 when I began exercising scrapbooking as a hobby. It all began when we were visiting some friends of ours for dinner at their house. As the only kid in the house, I quickly got bored of the conversations going on in the living room so I naturally started exploring the two-storey house. I knew that the family had a daughter that had just left for medical school in the UK, so her room door on the upper floor was open and I couldn't help myself from gazing around. 

She was and still is a girl I always looked up to; she frequently refers to me as her “little sister” as we are both only children, she frequently passes clothes down to me and she always brings me the most amazing gifts whenever she comes back from England. Not to mention her mum is like an aunt to me at this point.

So there I was, carefully sneaking into my “big sister”’s bedroom when I came across a big black book that looked kind of like a sketchbook. It was lying open on her desk with a bunch of photos surrounding it that depicted her with her friends or places she had been. As I reluctantly flipped through the pages I quickly understood that that book was her scrapbook. Through the pages, you could see her memories coming to life through photos, drawings, doodles, tickets and other scraps that didn’t mean much at that moment in time, but would eventually mean a lot more.

I immediately fell in love with that idea. That day was almost 5 years ago but I remember it like it was yesterday. The moment I went home I started looking on the internet for supplies, scrapbooks, stickers, tape and of course a lot of Pinterest boards on how to layout the photos and decorate them. No more than a month later I actively began making my own scrapbook and I have never stopped since.

You see, I have always been one to carry a camera around in any social event or trip. I constantly try to catch my friends in the frame of my phone when I’m not secretly looking around for a cool keepsake to shove in my bag or pocket. I consider memories to be the most valuable thing I can have in this life, something that can never be taken from me and what better way to commemorate a feeling than by putting it onto paper and decorating it with your favourite song lyrics, quotes from your friends, stickers and doodles?

This hobby of mine began as a way to become more like the “big sister” I so admired as a young girl but ended up becoming my creative and emotionally safe space. I have to admit, the results of my first two and a half scrapbooks are pretty funny, as I was still trying to figure out what I liked in terms of decorating and I did not have the best quality of paper to print my photos on, the appropriate stickers or the coolest lyrics to include in the pages. But I have tried a lot of different styles since I first started scrapbooking and I keep finding new things to try or add in my scrapbook. 

Through the 5 scrapbooks, I have filled since 2017, you can almost accurately flip through the story of my life (1D reference most definately intended). All the friends I left on the way and the others I found later, all the places I visited all these years, all the sunsets, beaches, cocktails, parties and concerts I saw since then. 

Whenever I got nostalgic during quarantine, I knew that I could go back to those books and flip through all the amazing things I have lives and think about everything that is going to come. Even after household confinement, I frequently find myself looking back at the photos I spend so much time decorating and placing on those pages and it gives me a sense of hope, of happiness that has yet to be experienced. I love sitting down on the living room table with all my tapes, photos, stickers and markers laying around the book, the record player keeping me company as it spins a good vinyl and spending hours over hours alone with my memories and thoughts.

All in all this seemingly insignificant hobby started very suddenly but ended up being one of the most pivotal aspects of my life, one that I know I can always turn back to when I miss someone, when I need some creative time alone or I need a reminder of how beautiful life can be. Scrapbooking has made me grateful for every experience I have, for every person I met and every moment I lived and I have yet to live.

I would like to tell my “big sister” how big of an impact this scrapbook of hers made on me 5 years ago, but I am not sure how happy she would be if she learned that I had been snooping around in her room! 

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