Making and keeping a scrapbook was a popular hobby for women and children during the Victorian era. While scrapbooks nowadays mostly consist of our personal pictures, Victorian scrapbooking was the art of clipping newspaper, magazine, and card pictures and arranging them beautifully on the page. It was a perfect rainy day project, or a way to let children craft.

I am an avid scrapbooker of our family photos, but is has been awhile since I’ve put anything else into a scrapbook. When I was in late high school and early college, I often clipped out pictures I liked and kept them in binders, sometimes glued onto paper. It was a few years after this that I learned how prevalent that pastime was in the 19th century.

Since we’ve been delighting ourselves with old-timey crafts and activities this season, I figured that it was a perfect time to introduce Katie to Victorian scrapbooking. She has helped me with the family photos, but this type of scrapbooking is a different form of art and of relaxation. Looking through old magazines and catalogues is calming and restorative. She gets to practice her work with scissors in a fun way; she has liberty to arrange her clippings however she likes. We talked only briefly about creating pages with themes, and she decided almost instantly that she wanted to create pages of angels, snowflakes, and birds today. So that is what we did.

Katie ponders her pages, which she designed herself. I wasn’t sure if she’d take to this right away, so I decided we’d make our scrapbook with blank paper and keep it together in a binder. At some point, I will buy her an actual scrapbook if she continues to enjoy this. For now, I wanted to see what she thought of this potential new hobby. It turns out, she LOVED it, especially since it spoke to the collector and the artist in her.

Also, notice Bing in the background on the TV. We watched White Christmas as we crafted. We love that movie, one of our favorites.

Even though my children enjoy many modern resources, I want to share these classic and old-fashioned types of pastimes with them. There is something beautifully simple and peaceful about sitting together and cutting out beautiful pictures, talking about what we like and why, just enjoying the time with one another. I want to teach her ways to slow down and quiet her mind; scrapbooking is almost like a form of meditation, an art into which to delve. Victorian scrapbooking is also a fairly inexpensive child’s hobby. We already have magazines and catalogues on hand most of the time. Paste and paper, even a scrapbook itself, are relatively inexpensive. Simple and humble pleasures, I believe, stay with a child forever.

And a couple of pictures from this morning:

The kiddos enjoy their train as we read The Polar Express. I blew our train whistle and called, “All Aboard!” After our reading session, we turned on all the train-themed songs from our Music Together class (it turns out there are quite a few) and danced around the living room. (We ended up not attaching the boxcars with the paper chain, only because it became clear that the kiddos love to move their train around so much).

And finally, a sweet shot of Eric’s new favorite game. He loves to take hold of Sister’s hand and lead her around and around…and around…the house. He does the leading, and she is so patient and sweet about it. She actually adores that he seeks out her hand to hold it. The bond between these two babies is really something, a true gift. I love to watch them as their mommy, knowing they have these special moments that are really just between the two of them. They certainly have their little tiffs (over toys mainly) once in awhile, but for the most part they are completely attached and loyal to each other. I think being so close in age helps that bond, for sure. It is beautiful to see.