Complete Idiot's Guide to Scrapbook Projects Author Interview

Dana Hinders
Layout by Allyson Bright Meyer
Layout by Allyson Bright Meyer

Would you love to get your photos out of the attic and into a beautiful keepsake album? You're not alone! Many people want to learn how to scrapbook, but they're simply overwhelmed by all of the possibilities available.

A Guide for the Beginning Scrapbooker

If you're looking for an easy way to get started scrapbooking, pick up a copy of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Scrapbook Projects Illustrated. Written by Allyson Bright Meyer, an accomplished designer and scrapbook instructor who has had layouts published in Memory Makers and Scrapbook Trends, this book is a comprehensive resource for the beginning crafter. You'll learn how to choose coordinating supplies for your first album, expertly crop your photos, preserve important memorabilia, and use your computer to add artful journaling to your pages.

Not sure what to include in your scrapbook? In The Complete Idiot's Guide to Scrapbook Projects Illustrated, Allyson Bright Meyer shares sample layouts and suggestions for the following projects:

  • Vacation album
  • Annual holiday traditions
  • Baby's first year
  • School days
  • Team sports
  • A musical tribute to your significant other
  • A tribute to your parents
  • An album for your best friend
  • An "All About Me" album
  • Favorite recipes
  • Daily routines
  • Goals and dreams

Allyson Bright Meyer's designs are simple, but not plain. Instead of creating cluttered layouts filled with embellishments, you'll learn how to develop the design skills necessary to make your photos shine. Once you've mastered the basics of scrapbooking, you can even turn to The Complete Idiot's Guide to Scrapbook Projects Illustrated to learn about using your supplies to create circle journals, handmade greeting cards, and scrapbook-inspired home décor items.

Interview with Allyson Bright Meyer

Recently, Allyson Bright Meyer took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for the readers of LoveToKnow Scrapbooking.

How did you first become interested in scrapbooking?

I've always enjoyed taking photographs, and even the process of organizing them into photo albums. When I was in college, a local scrapbooking store opened up in my hometown. I happened to wander in one day and was instantly hooked. I already had an interest in papercrafts, so scrapbooking seemed to be the perfect way to combine two hobbies I already enjoyed.

In your opinion, why do beginning crafters find scrapbooking so intimidating?

I think some people believe that if you're going to be a scrapbooker, you will somehow be required to scrap every single photo you own. Many people have well over 20 years of memories in their photo stash. Thinking of having to scrap all those photos and get "caught up" can be overwhelming. Other people get intimidated by the visual nature of the hobby, and feel pressured to create artistic pages that match the ones in the major magazines.

What's important to realize is that scrapbooking is a personal hobby - every scrapbooker has her own photos, and can scrap them her own way. If that means placing a single photo per page in a small album, and adding just a bit of journaling text, than that's okay. If that means creating something super artistic, than that's okay, too.

Scrapbooking can be whatever you want it to be. If you're too worried about meeting someone else's expectations, it takes the joy out of the hobby. Remember, scrapbooking is supposed to be fun!

What process do you go through to create a layout?

Rather than events, I choose to focus my scrapbook pages on relationships and memories. So I usually start with a story, or sometimes a photograph that best represents what I want to say on my page. Once I've chosen photographs, I'll select the paper and embellishments that support the photo and the story. Then I'll spend a short time arranging everything, and glue it all down. The final step is to add my journaling, most often in my own handwriting. On average, the entire process for a typical layout takes about an hour.

How would you describe your own personal scrapbooking style? How has your style changed during the time you've been scrapbooking?

I would describe my scrapbooking style as "sentimental." Visually, many of my projects are very different. I might create a very simple, linear page one evening, and follow it up the next with an artsy hand-painted layout. It really just depends on my mood.

What is consistent about my projects is that they strike an emotional chord with me. It's all about the feelings and thoughts that are a part of everyday life. While my artistic style is constantly changing, and often evolves with current trends, I have always taken this approach with my journaling and photos.

Allyson Bright Meyer, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Scrapbook Projects Illustrated

In your book, you show several theme albums. How does making a themed album differ from scrapbooking in a strictly chronological fashion?

Scrapbooking chronologically has a lot of benefits, but I think it can be stressful for many scrapbookers-mostly due to the large amount of photographs in their personal collections. Theme albums allow scrapbookers to choose a few of their favorite photos, collect them together, and tell a larger story. When creating theme albums, you can combine photos that wouldn't end up together in a strictly chronological album.

For example, I have photos of my grandmother, my mother, my sister, and myself all as young Girl Scouts. Putting these photos together will create a really unique album about our family's history of scouting - a story that wouldn't be told in a chronological album.

What are some of your favorite scrapbooking products? Is there one particular item that you feel is a "must-have" for any scrapbooker?

I love using all sorts of products. I definitely love patterned paper. Lately, I've found that I really enjoy using ribbon on my pages. I also reach for my stapler quite often - it creates a somewhat organic look, and is incredibly cheap to use. The must-have item for every scrapbooker is a 12x12 paper trimmer. I'm not sure how anyone could scrap without one!

As you probably already know, scrapbooking can easily become an expensive hobby. What is your best tip for the crafter on a tight budget?

Start with the basics. Invest in a good trimmer, an album, basic adhesive, a permanent journaling pen, and an assortment of cardstock. When it comes right down to it, that's all you need to preserve your memories.

When I first started scrapbooking, I bought all sorts of paper and stickers, just because I thought they were cute. Many of those items never got used. Now, I just purchase items when I know how I plan to use them, and it's cut back my spending quite a bit.

Do you have any other advice for the readers of LoveToKnow Scrapbooking?

I believe it's really important to put yourself in your scrapbooks. Don't always hide behind the camera. Don't be afraid to put your real feelings in writing on a page. As a scrapbooker, you are a storyteller. Make sure you're a part of the story.

Additional Information


~A review copy of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Scrapbook Projects Illustrated was provided by the publisher for this article.

Complete Idiot's Guide to Scrapbook Projects Author Interview