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Cindy Cousineau creates page for Great Canadian Scrapbook Challenge

by Kumari Campbell

Cindy Cousineau

Earlier this year Cindy Cousineau of Greenvale, PEI, heard about the Great Canadian Scrapbook Challenge sponsored by the 3M Company (the Scotchtape company). The project called for a Canada Scrapbook that would contain a page from each province and territory. Winners would receive a cash prize as well as a selection of 3M scrapbook supplies. “I can do this!” Cindy said to herself, and immediately set about selecting the most representative and beautiful images of her adoptive province that enthralls her. Cindy’s PEI page was selected for the book, which was presented to the federal heritage minister on Canada Day. The citation she received, along with a duplicate page she made for herself hang proudly framed in Cindy’s living room.

“How did I get into Scrapbooking?” muses Cindy, as she tilts her head and repeats the question I’ve just asked her. She’s lost in thought for a moment. Then, returning to the present, she reminisces, “My family would go picnicking every Sunday when I was growing up in Ottawa. We had such wonderful times,” she beams, “but we never took any photos…” her voice trails off. “And memories don’t last forever. As you grow older, and father away from the memories, they become less sharp and harder to hold on to.”

It was this realization that got Cindy interested in scrapbooking eleven years ago. She was determined that this would not happen to her kids’ memories, or to her own adult ones. Hence, family scrapbooks are filled with photos and mementos of her children’s early years, family trips, favourite pets, the kids’ special achievements, birthdays, and graduations. She also has a special Island Scrapbook devoted entirely to the natural treasures and man-made attractions of PEI, for the use of her Bed & Breakfast guests.

Cindy’s choice of scrapbooks over simple photo albums was based on several factors. Foremost is the fact that scrapbooks, by their very design, invite you to include written descriptions and captions alongside photographs, thus significantly enhancing their memory cache. Small souvenirs and mementos can add further enhancement. By using only the significant parts of photographs, and cutting them into various shapes and sizes, unwanted background clutter is eliminated, while providing space on the page for more photos, and improving the aesthetic value of the page. Themed borders, trim, and stickers create pages that are visually far superior to those in the traditional family album.

Even more importantly, Cindy explains, “Most people don’t realize that the glue and tape we usually use in albums, and even the very paper or card that photos are glued to contain acids and lignins that deteriorate with age, and discolour the precious photographs.” Whereas, most of the products manufactured by scrapbook suppliers are acid- and lignin-free. The best products are even guaranteed not to discolour photographs.

But her interest does not end with cataloguing her own memories. Cindy believes fervently that everyone should preserve their memories, both for their own later enjoyment, as well as for the benefit of successive generations. So, last year she began offering scrapbooking classes and workshops, both at her home and at other venues, based on demand. She also offers community school classes at Bluefield and Gulfshore schools, and will be opening a scrapbook supply store in 2005.

Cindy’s next goal is to promote her beloved craft among senior citizens, and in particular early-stage Alzheimer patients. “Memory Books would be such valuable tools for these folks, to prolong their memories and bring joy to their senior years”, she says thoughtfully.

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