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‘Scrapbooking’ enthusiasts preserve memories, while building friendships

HARVESTER, Mo. (BP)–Putting photographs in albums the usual way is “out.” What is “in” is the pastime of “scrapbooking” — cropping photos and otherwise enhancing their presentation with creative use of text and colorful touches, such as stickers and die-cuts.
Not only is the finished project more appealing than an ordinary photo album, but “scrapbookers” have a lot of fun with the process. Many of them get together for “crops” — scrapbooking work sessions. Barb Cummings, a scrapbooker and member of First Baptist Church, Harvester, Mo., compared the crops to old-fashioned quilting bees. “It is just fun to get together and talk as we work on our albums.”
Cummings began scrapbooking with the birth of her two children, Jacob and Michelle. She has done pages for her album featuring Vacation Bible School, MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and her church’s mother-daughter banquet.
In her opinion, scrapbooking is long on values. “Our books go along with what is important in our lives,” she explained. “We want our kids to look back and remember what is important to us.”
Susan Brandt, associate executive director and director of communications for Hobby Industry Association, reported scrapbooking has taken off during the last two to three years. Hobby Industry Association, a New Jersey-based international trade organization, conducts research every two years on the buying habits of hobbyists.
“Scrapbooking existed before in various pockets of the country,” Brandt said, “primarily through Creative Memories [a major distributor of scrapbooking supplies]. But in the last two years, we’ve seen a jump in scrapbooking purchases from $200 million to $250 million.”
Brandt acknowledged the numbers are difficult to measure, because so many scrapbooking products are used for other hobbies. “However, there is no question that scrapbooking has captured the imagination of the U.S. consumer.”
Deborah Mock, managing editor of a national magazine for scrapbookers called Memory Makers, agreed. She has seen an incredible jump in the magazine’s distribution.
“We began the magazine in 1996 with a distribution of 14,000. Within a two-year time frame, we’re up to 160,000 copies.”
Scrapbookers have discovered a way to add worth to their already-valuable pictures. By developing page layouts, the scrapbooker can choose the best photos as well as the best way to display them. In addition, “journaling” — describing in text the scene in the photo — captures and preserves the memory.
“There is definitely an increasing emphasis on taking care of memories,” Mock said. “Scrapbookers are interested in preserving their heritage for future generations.”
Jill Sanders, a member of First Baptist Church, Ferguson, Mo., and a Creative Memories consultant, said looking at old photo albums points out the need for protecting and preserving photos. “Many of the photos have acid deterioration,” she said, noting some types of album pages can let photos yellow and fade.
Sanders and other scrapbookers emphasize the need to use buffered pages and acid-free stickers, papers and pens on the pages.
Mock attributes some of the growth of scrapbooking to the social interaction at “crops.”
“These cropping times bring women together to expand the circle of friends. The scrapbookers talk about experiences and memories in a shared environment. The old and the young share stories and advice. They may never have met in any other situation.
“When we are working on albums, an evening of cropping provides a commitment time to work. Otherwise, we never have extra time in the day to sit down and work on it,” she added.
Mock also discovered another positive idea for scrapbooking at one of the crops.
“I’ve had clients put together albums about people who are no longer with them,” she said. “It really seems to be a healing process to put together a treasure of memories about the person. I’ve also seen celebration albums of life for children and grandparents.”
Sanders approaches the task with a spiritual purpose. “I sprinkle Bible thoughts throughout my books. I believe the words of Psalm 78 can be carried out through my albums. I want the generations of my children to read my praises for God.”
When Sanders visits relatives, she always packs the albums. “My family and my husband’s family live out of town,” she said, “so they love looking at our albums and catching up on daily activities.”
Mock sees only growth in the future of scrapbooking. “Our magazine began as a medium for sharing ideas around the nation,” she said. “We are seeing a constant trend toward higher quality in the albums and in the products used by scrapbookers.
“Small companies for scrapbooking are springing up with innovative and creative marketing. Many women are succeeding as entrepreneurs.”
Sanders offers a variety of suggestions for getting boxes of photos out of the closet and onto the pages of an album, including:
— Sort photographs chronologically. “Focus on the type of album you want
to do,” Sanders said. “Do you want a family album? One for each child?”
— Don’t get overwhelmed. “Start out simple. Use current photos, and
then move to your backlog. By starting where you are, you will develop a style.”
— Remember that you do not need to use every photo. “Use only the best to tell the story. Then, crop to enhance the photo. The photo could be trimmed, cut in a shape, or the excess background could be cut out altogether.” Sanders added that she has changed her method of photography since beginning her scrapbooks. “I take pictures differently now. I have an idea or purpose in mind.”
— Keep all scrapbooking supplies in one location. “That way, you don’t have to track everything down each time a few scrapbooking moments become available.”
For more suggestions, call Creative Memories at 1-800-468-9335.

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  • Vicki Stamps