Scrapbook Studio 54, a Periodic Table, and Why I Stopped Scrapbooking


If you were scrapbooking a decade ago, you probably remember the many manufacturers and magazines that have since disappeared, along with local scrapbook stores and message boards. I disappeared from scrapbooking as well.

After a three year hiatus, I returned to scrapbooking and drastically reduced my supplies, simplified my style, and made it all manageable and fun again. Details on how I did it will be in my next post, but first I wanted to explain what scrapbooking was like several years ago and give you a sense of what led me (and probably others) to burn out.

I’ve also included this old school periodic table layout (get it? school? periodic table?) showing some of the popular things back then. Published in Creating Keepsakes, September 2006.

Here’s my story:

Scrapbook Studio 54

It was the height of the scrapbooking era. Scrapbooking was art, journaling was therapy, acid was out and freestyle was in.

Everything was sparkly and everyone was enthusiastic. I saw new scrappers emerge with stars in their eyelets, while old scrappers were altering their paint cans.

Mundane incidents were hailed as groundbreaking scrapbook topics. Candid photos contained perfectly posed and color-coordinated children. A two-minute event took a minimum of two days to scrapbook.

There were long lines of scrapbookers waiting to get published. Some were stamping and punching. Others shamelessly flashed their large, embellished layouts. A select few were invited into the coveted Hall of Fame, but I only got as far as the waiting room.

Then die-cut Traditionals began experimenting with ink, and the Digital clique was captured photoshopping in the darkroom. I got swept up in a stampede of Hybrids wielding brand-name layouts and chanting something about a Comic Sans boycott.

Gangs of design teams roamed scrapbooking message boards looking for new recruits. Paper pushers were on every corner.

Crops were everywhere.

Blinded by glitter and impaired by glue fumes, I stumbled through the maze of ribbons and cloud of chalk dust, dazed and confused.

Several months later, I woke up with a rub-on tattoo and no recollection of why I had 54 albums dedicated to my daughter’s first year.

That’s when I knew I needed help.

I spent three years in scrapbook rehab and gave up many of my worldly scrapbook possessions. I have since returned to scrapbooking with a new outlook and a smaller, simpler style. I also drink a lot of coffee.

The End.

I hope my story inspires you to get a little creative with your journaling. Or make a periodic table.



Updated to add close-up photos of the periodic table layout:

Top Left:

periodic table close up 1


Bottom Left:

periodic table close up 2


Bottom Right:

periodic table close up 3

  • Nancy Nally

    I’m also in the process of simplifying my stash and process and getting back to the basics. Love this.

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Thanks, Nancy! It’s a great feeling to get back to the basics.

  • Lisa Dorsey

    This is fabulous Lisa! Just love your writing style. I have missed your sense of humor and am glad you found your way out of the chalk dust. :) I remember that layout! Thought it was incredibly creative then and still do. Welcome back. :)

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Thank you, Lisa! That is so sweet!

  • Courtney Walsh

    Ha. You and me both! I took about a three year hiatus as well and haven’t fully re-entered for my personal scrapbooking self…I tend to kind of hang back and ponder but the desire to be cutting edge and unique is gone. I kind of just want to preserve my memories. Gosh, what a concept. :) Love this, Lisa!

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Thanks, Courtney! That’s exactly how I feel – I have no desire to be cutting edge anymore, I just want to document stories.

    • Marie-Pierre

      love this: I just want to preserve my memories.

  • Joscie

    I love this, so witty, so true.

  • Marilyn S

    Maybe if I purge and simplify I can get back to it, too…Hope so.

  • Jane Davies

    Fun post! So true too! I switched to digi scrapping but still haven’t managed to clear out my paper stash!

  • Heather

    I can so identify with your post. I too went from knowing it all and getting published to nothing. I have been doing some scrapbooking but about 2 – weekends a year. I get about 30 pages done in a year but no fuss scrapbooking – layouts take an hour instead of about 5. I like what Ali Edwards did with her stash. She cut her cardstock down to 5 colours (white, kraft, black, cream and red) and that is all she has.

    • Lisa Moorefield

      I like the no fuss scrapbooking, too. I didn’t know about Ali’s stash – I do the same thing when working on an album, but hadn’t thought about doing it for all pages. Thanks for the tip!

  • mary Davis

    I am inspired by your words. I hope to get back myself. I am also burned out and have too many unfinished projects and too many tools. I can’t bear to get rid of anything. Any ideas on how to give away supplies to worthy cause/

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Thanks so much! I gave most of my supplies to my children’s elementary school art teacher. As I cleaned out more, I would give it to their teachers. They have all been incredibly thankful and the children seem enjoy having different things to create with. I am sure there are more ideas for where to donate scrapbook supplies; I will look into it for a future blog post – thanks for the idea.

  • Bec Kilgore

    Looking forward to your next post.

  • bunnyfreak

    Love the humor in the story.

  • Lisa in AL

    Wonderful story!! I too remember your layout in the magazine, it is an awesome layout. I love the simpler approach you have decided to take. Whatever works best for each of us individually is the way to go! How times have changed…

  • Louise Spiden

    Hilarious and I can totally relate!

  • Annette Kuusinen

    For the last couple of years, I’ve been more interested in making mixed media art instead of scrapbooking. A few months ago, I picked up an old scrapbook and realized I missed telling our stories. Your simpler approach may be exactly what I am looking for. So excited to tweak it to make it work for me. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kathydid47

    I’m currently in the process of moving to a much smaller house now that both my girls are married and moved on. Time to save money!!! I loved the idea of going thru your scrap stuff like it was a store….and thinking what would I buy today! I want to do this with my whole house as I move! Great idea!

  • Marie-Pierre

    What about Project Life? That could be a solution too, no? Maybe without the pressure of scrapbooking a week every two pages…. just adding the significant stories as they come? I love your article! :) It makes me think of where I am and where I am going….possibly toward a burn out.

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Yes, definitely! I’m a fan of anything that makes scrapbooking fun in a practical way.

  • krunberry

    I heard you on Paperclipping today and just had to come read your blog. I adore this blog post! I wish the periodic table were bigger so I could read all the details, but the idea gets across perfectly. I am taking slow steps to simplifying, but I am enjoying the process. I have always loved telling the stories and used to feel bad that I couldn’t figure out how to do the fancy pages. Thanks for the validation that I am still ok. :)

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Thanks so much! I attempted to make the image larger for when you click on it, but I don’t think it helped much. The image resolution is too low and I don’t have a better one saved on my computer. I do still have the original layout, though! :)


    I must be incurable because I still want to see the Christmas colors at Christmas, the pastels at Easter, etc etc etc in my scrapbooks. I want the soccer field to look green like grass etc. I need more therapy!!!!

    • Lisa Moorefield

      I like traditional colors, too. :)

  • Moni/Penny

    I adore your writing style and sense of humor!!!

    “Gangs of design teams roamed scrapbooking message boards looking for new recruits. Paper pushers were on every corner.”

    I nearly fell of my chair! :))

    And the periodic table is a fantastic idea…But I couldn’t read all if it,neither :( my dad is a chemist, but I was never into chemistry…maybe if I had had a table like this back then *gg*

    actually I only started scrapbooking last year and live in Germany, where scrapping was never that big like in the US, so it’s really interesting to see how things were, I’ve heard about it on message boards, but couldn’t really picture it. Until today, of course^^


    • Lisa Moorefield

      Thank you so much! I will take some close-up photos of the periodic table layout and post them this week.

  • Vanessa

    I am sorry that you allowed peer pressure to take away the joy I feel still after creating my 78th scrapbook. I still after 16 years of scrapping know the legacy of a life lived will be there to see 100 years from now.
    Hope you get back to why we all really started Scrapbooking.

    • Lisa Moorefield

      It’s great that you still find joy in scrapbooking. I’ve now found my style and scrapbooking purpose and am quite happy. :)

  • Leeann Giroux

    I am feeling burned out also. Wanting to slow it down, maybe try the simple scrapbook style or do project life instead. Been purging so many supplies. Glad to see I’m not the only one feeling iverwhelmed with having the perfect page, making sure my layouts are trendy or publis worthy! I need to let that pressure go. But first I want to fix up my scrapbook space, to de clutter, make it more spacious, so I don’t feel so closed in and being Swallowed up by products and every crafty tool available.

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Thanks for your comments! Project Life seems to be quite popular – maybe it’s because so many of us felt burned out. Good luck! :)

  • Cathy D.

    Just stumbled on this post of yours. This was just the right tone (thank for the humor) and kick in the pants I needed! I’ve really cut back on my scrapbooking. I too was feeling overwhelmed to make each page a “work of art” worthy….. worthy of what? the purpose is for my family and myself to enjoy them! Thanks for inspiring me. I’m off to my corner of the basement to clean out, purge and get back to what I really love, savoring memories!

  • Tanya Ham

    I was just directed to this post by a friend, and LOVE your sense of humor and the perfect message!!! After starting my blog a couple of years ago, hoping to be on a design team (and getting turned down a few times), and not being with the “IN” crowd doing art journals and worshiping Tim Holtz, I had to just take a step back. There have been so many times that I, as a clean & simple type of gal, had to just say “it’s done,” instead of getting upset, even crying, because I couldn’t possibly think of anything else to do to my layout! :) I shouldn’t get frustrated at something I do as a hobby and stress RELIEF, LOL! :) So, THANK YOU, for posting this!! I love it, and I love the periodic table, too. So funny! :) I’m off to see more of your posts! :)