O’ Scrap! What Can I Make for the Holidays?

Clearpixel

If the thought of scrapbooking makes you cringe and conjure up images of yellowed photos from high school in a leatherette-bound construction paper contraption with faded corsages and swim team ribbons bulging from its contents, think again.
mom of two who has scrapbooked for six years and works as a Creative Memories consultant, teaching scrapbook classes and selling supplies.

For Marcia Lewin of Charlotte, it’s just plain fun.”I LOVE scrapbooking. I love from the very basics to ‘all the latest fads.’ I’m usually mentally designing the layout as I’m taking pictures, especially family events, and am running through ideas.”

Why the craze?

People have been saving nostalgia and scrapbooking for generations. Some of us are lucky to find ourselves with carefully maintained photo albums filled with lovely black-and-white images held in place by old-fashioned black photo triangle corners. Your grandmother may have even carefully penned the dates and the names of those in the photo below those images. Lucky you. Lucky great-grandchildren and beyond.

Today’s scrappers are an eclectic bunch and an excited bunch and motivated for a variety of reasons.
North Carolina’s own scrapbooking “star” — Faye Morrow Bell of Huntersville, a contributing editor to Creating Keepsakes magazine and author of “At Home Scrapbooking with Faye Morrow Bell” — says the scrapbooking of today has brought us full circle.

“In the mid-90s, after the me-decade of the 80s, there was a return to ‘home’ and ‘nesting.’ Consumers begin building home theatres, restaurant-quality kitchens and home offices. Scrapbooking was a natural outgrowth of this internal focus on home and family,” said Bell, a former banker and mother of one. “The events of 9/11 served as reinforcement for the cocooning trend.”
Marianne Madsen, the managing editor of Creating Keepsakes, one of the most popular scrapbooking magazines in the country, agrees.

“I think some of the events of the past few years have started people thinking more about home and family. In times of war and disaster, memories of home and scrapbooks of family are comforting,” she said.
The recent national Scrapbooking in America survey showed that there are 4.4 million new scrapbooking households since 2001, for a total of more than 26 million households and 32.1 scrapbookers.
Spending on scrapbooking supplies by households that scrapbook has increased 6.3 percent to $96 million annually since 2001.
And as far as regional representation, 22.5 percent of households in the South Atlantic have a scrapping hobbyist at home.

Who is doing it?

You don’t have to have any special skills to get started in the world of scrapbooking, hobbyists insist.
“You do not have to be an artist or even that creative. There are great products out there for beginners that will help you create a whole album without having to do too much thinking,” says Andrea Edward, a Huntersville mother of two who has been cropping for about five years.

Janet Kessler, a Winston-Salem mother of two and nine-year veteran of the hobby, thinks it is the perfect family activity. “Parents naturally take pictures of their children at birthdays, holidays, school events, etc., because they are proud of their children. We hang on to school award certificates, music/dance programs, artwork and more memorabilia,” she said. “Scrapbooking is a great way to make a keepsake album to put all of these things in to keep them organized, safe archivally and handy to show off.”

Many woman — and men — find that scrapbooking is a hobby that is relaxing and comforting. “Scrapbooking can be very relaxing — because you can choose to scrapbook in an environment that supports your needs,” said Morrow Bell. “Many women like to scrapbook together. Local scrapbook stores often host ‘crops’ on Friday evenings where women gather to scrapbook, shop, talk and snack. Crops have been called the ‘quilting bee for the new millennium’!”

Many scrappers choose to work on their albums alone — or with their children — often as a form of meditation.

Why consider it for the holidays?

Madsen recommends that families even consider a cool Thanksgiving album that you make in a weekend while your family is around. Everyone works on it together as a family “coming home” project and enjoys the nostalgia that many photos are guaranteed to drum up.

“The biggest thing to remember as a parent is to step back and let the children create. They may not do it the way you want them to — but they definitely scrapbook the way they want to!,” said Madsen. “Let young children scribble or ‘write’ on their pages — you will be happy to have their ‘handwriting’ captured forever in their scrapbook.”

Macdonell warns hobbyists — especially novice scrapbookers — “to be careful not to bite off more than you can chew” during the holiday season. “This is not the time to start from childhood through the married years,” she says.

Some memorable holiday activity and gift ideas from local and national experts to consider:
• Create a “Through the Years” album. Just use one photo from each year and share a story about the photo.
• If you have a holiday collection (ornaments, recipes, figurines, etc.), make a mini-album about your collection for yourself. Scrapbookers rarely scrapbook for themselves, many say.

• Design a mini-album of your favorite holiday recipes. Or ask family members to contribute recipes for the album.

• Scrapbook kits make great holiday gifts for adults and kids alike.

• Make a mini-album about your Christmas dinner. Make a placard for each dinner guest and ask him or her to write their favorite holiday memory on the back. Use the placards and photos from dinner to create an album.
• Morrow Bell recommends an easy and inexpensive “Christmas Card” album that a young child can make and, perhaps, use for show-and-tell at school. Give a child an album, some photos from the holidays, a few of her favorite Christmas cards received, a pen for journaling (if she can write!) and a glue stick. You may find yourself surprised at the results.

• Create a book about your favorite holiday traditions — trimming the tree, shopping the day after Thanksgiving, making eggnog, etc. Don’t have photos for these activities? Just tell the story and embellish the page with any number of the myriad of holiday stickers, tags, die-cuts or pre-printed papers on the market.

• Madsen suggests an album with pages about the pieces of home that you look forward to seeing or experiencing the most when you visit during the holidays.

• If you have a member of your family away from home (such as in the military service or cross-country), create a book for him or her that will remind them of being at home during the holidays.
• Or for an album that everyone contributes to — sort of a circle album based on the circle journal concept — mail family members a layout a month in advance and have them fill in the journaling, then compile them into an album when everyone arrives for the holidays.

• McDonnell recommends a special cookie album. She has a special cookie recipe that her grandfather and father always made. Now, she has photos of her children making the recipe one year. “This is a small album that is only comprised of this one event. But it is a special album.”

• For a special gift album, make an album about someone who has accomplished something remarkable — a 4.0 grade point average, a milestone birthday or anniversary or the end of chemotherapy. Perhaps a touching album of persons who have passed away or a mini-version of a family heritage album can be a touching holiday gift.
Shirley Landry of Winston-Salem, a scrapper for eight years, knows that memories — and saving them — are what the hobby is all about.

“The beauty of album making is that you can make it what you want it to be. You can be a history archivist, photo organizer, family historian and/or artist,” she said. “As a tradition, album making can definitely be a bond between generations — children, parents, grandparents, etc., through stories shared in albums.”
Lewin of Charlotte agrees. “I’ve been thanked several times by people who tell me this as it has been ‘last captured pics’ of certain people with certain others, like my grandmother with all the great grandchildren at the time of the example. It’s a priceless hobby, a priceless gift,” said Lewin.

Basic Tools for Scrapbookers

* Archival adhesive
* Clear ruler
* Pencil
* Black pen
* Art gum eraser
* Paper trimmer
* Small scissors

— From Simple Scrapbooks magazine

How About the Pooch?

Howling for a paw-sitively purr-fect photo album for pets? Paw-Sitively Purr-fect has introduced Paw Prints, a scrapbook for the family dog or cat. Look for the $19.99 book at specialty pet and gift stores nationwide.

Happy Holidays Card

What you need:

• Tag with pocket card in honeydew color
• Christmas enamel charm
• Snowflake rub-ons saying “Merry Christmas”
• “Happy Holidays” and winter holidays rub-ons

• Ribbon, red and white card

Instructions:

1. Tie ribbon around the striped portion of the card with a knot on the left side of the front.
2. Attach the enamel snowflake charm over the top of the knot.
3. Tie ribbon through the hole in the tag and knot.
4. Rub on snowflakes onto the tag.
5. Rub the phrase “Happy Holidays” onto the bottom portion of the card.
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Kathleen Conroy is a former editor of Charlotte Parent