Cuttings books


Here’s something I don’t often talk about: I keep scrapbooks of ephemera I’ve clipped from magazines over the years. I also stick in some postcards from family and friends, but mainly it’s just pictures, ideas, sometimes words and occasionally whole articles that I have wanted to keep for inspiration. It’s a haphazard pursuit. I can go months without putting anything in, then I’ll have a grand old sort-out of piles of reading material and devote a bit of time to updating the albums.


These are not scrapbooks of the kind that make up a vast crafting industry nowadays, they are clippings books of the most old-fashioned type. There’s little embellishment, minimal creativity, and no personal story-telling, just page after page of stuff that’s caught my eye, be it art, fashion, food, colour, poetry, people.


I’ve tried various scrapbooks over the years, but the only ones which have stuck have been these pastel-paged spiral-bound books from Paperchase. I’m coming to the end of the third book and hitting something of a dilemma: the Paperchase branch in my home town has ceased trading and they don’t have these particular albums on their website so I hope I can source something similar. (Edited to add: As soon as I’d published this, I found the perfect items on Hobbycraft’s website, out of stock online, but available in my local branch so I got in my exercise for the day and picked a couple of new ones up.)


Running alongside this, I have a lot of digital clippings sitting on my computer and I’m in the mood to print some of these out to include in the albums. Every so often I will browse through my digital ephemera, but it’s not quite as enticing as leafing through the books which act like a distilled ultra-magazine collated for me and me alone.

I have just realised that my albums are similar to the “Runway” magazine mock-ups which are delivered nightly to Miranda Priestly in the film “The Devil Wears Prada”!

Speaking of magazines, I am awaiting delivery of two “new” vintage magazines which I’ve ordered as reference material for my novel as I will soon be moving onto the part most closely involved with the 1970s. Huh, who am I kidding? I’ve ordered 1970s Vogues because I want to drool over the fashions and the adverts and dream that I’m there!

Do you have any quirky little side-hobbies that amuse you but that you are disinclined to talk much about for fear they might invite ridicule?

10 thoughts on “Cuttings books

    1. Glad to hear it! My vintage Vogues came today and, oh my word, they are gorgeous. I don’t think they will be the last vintage magazines I buy.

    2. Ah, what a lovely thought. I’ve finally plumped for some wool that I hope to use for the Vintage Cardigan Jacket so I’ll probably be eager to swatch as soon as it arrives. It was one of those serendipitous moments of checking a web shop I’ve had on my radar but not used before and just catching the tail end of a 20% off sitewide offer. Too good to miss.

  1. I love this idea! And loved seeing a peek into what’s inspired you. I am constantly saving bits of inspo to keep but often get bogged down in waiting for when I have time to make the scrapbook spread look “nice”… of course then I never get around to it. Must try your approach next. Thanks for sharing

    1. Thank you so much. Like you, I often clip bits out then just stash them inside my current clippings book waiting for the ‘perfect’ place to slot them in, but actually just getting them stuck in there is a better idea. I’m having a lot of fun composing digital clippings into collages to print and stick into the books and I’m using the same method to make collages of photos to import to this blog now.

    2. Very nice. Digital scrapbooking sounds interesting and useful because honestly I am staring at a screen more than riffling through paper. What programs or apps do you to collect and edit into collages?

    3. I’ve got tons of things I’ve just grabbed screenshots of over the years, or scanned in, and kept them in folders on the computer, but I’m at the point where I want to print them and add them to my physical cuttings books. I’m a Mac user and I find the app GraphicConverter works very well to group photos into collages. It’s free to download, but has an increasingly long opening time if you don’t want to pay for a licence. I usually stick with Apple’s own software and it takes a lot of thinking for me to buy a third-party app, but I am just about at the point of wanting to pay for it. To keep images as a digital scrapbook I’ve got a feeling that something like Goodnotes would be a possible option because it does provide the concept of a ‘book’ format with go through. iScrapbook by Chronosnet is a proper full-on digital scrapbook app, but I don’t have any personal experience of it. Then again, it does offer a free trial so possible to try it out before stumping up any money. I’m afraid all of these are Mac-only apps, so perhaps not much good if you’re on a Windows system.

    4. Wow thank you for the very thoughtful response! Literally just 1 min ago I had to shut down my PC because it froze after some video editing. Was just thinking I’d like to buy a mac, since they are supposed to better at video and graphic design stuff. I think I’ve seen people do digital collage on procreate… (this is me making excuses to treat myself to an ipad) I look forward to seeing how your digital to analog collages turn out 🙂

  2. Awonderfulsheep, go for it and treat yourself to an ipad. I used windows all my working life and several years ago Pamela gave me one of her old macs (I’m one of her sisters!), I loved it, but struggled using the 2 systems, now I’m retired and my brain has discarded all that ‘work’ stuff so I got a reconditioned ipad from Apple and it’s wonderful! Only starting to really use it and get to grips with what it offers but loving it, well worth it.

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