Hands-on Memories…

Stephanie Heiner has a lot in common with Thomas Jefferson and Mark Twain. Heiner is a contemporary scrapbooker, while Jefferson and Twain were two of the earliest (and more famous) scrapbookers.

Scrapbooking, a multibillion-dollar industry, is the newest version of arranging photographs, printed media and memorabilia in decorated albums. The books are more personal than traditional scrapbooks that have a photo of you in front of the Empire State Building with a scribble that reads "Me in front of the Empire State Building. 2003."

Around the world, scrapbookers gather at homes, local scrapbook stores, conventions and even meet on cruises where they share tips and ideas, as well as enjoy each other’s comapany. Heiner started the first of her many books following the birth of her son Brady 11 years ago.

"My scrapbooks tell stories of my family and things we have done over the years," said Heiner. "Most scrapbooks have photos and then a sentence about who, what, where and when. Modern scrapbooking has evolved into displays of photos, extensive journaling and memorabilia that might include newspaper clippings, letters, invitations, stickers, postcards, ribbons or ticket stubs."

Teresa Schneider, owner of Scrappin’ Time, 3317 E. Russell Road, said this month has been busy with graduation.

"Parents, mostly moms, are making scrapbooks for their kid’s graduation," she said. "Besides pictures, the books contain report cards, corsages, term papers, early colorings or anything that reflects that period of time. And each item has something written about it and what it means. These scrapbooks are indiviudal pieces of art. Kids enjoy it today and their kids tomorrow and for generations to come. It’s a very thoughtful gift that has historical and family value."

One of the key components of modern scrapbooking versus typical photo albums is the high quality of materials scrapbookers are using. Because they are designed to preserve photographs and writing, scrapbookers insist on acid-free and lignin-free papers, stamp ink, embossing powder, acid-free tape and glues, and pigment-based inks that are fade resistant, colorfast and often waterproof. The most important scrapbooking item is the album itself, which can come in a variety of colors, sizes and themes.

There are no hard and fast rules to scrapbooking, and that is why each one is so personal. The more creative and resourceful the person, the better looking the page will be. Some prefer pages where the photograph is the central element and embellishments are minimal. Others include a variety of embellishments to add to the design or story. It’s all about creativity.

Schneider said the hobby has reached across all ages and sexes.

"I’m finding more teenagers attending the scrapbooking classes that I conduct at my store," she said. "While the most common theme is family events, I’ve seen just about everything, even people planning books in advance. I had one customer buy a book and various embelismnets that already depicted places and sites that she was going to visit in Europe. She was getting everything ready for the photos she was going to bring home."

Heiner said scrapbooking became a serious hobby for her after her second son Noah was born. Today, her books have evolved into wedding gifts and other special occasion mementos.

"My cousin and I went on a trip and I took all these pictures," she said. "I made a scrapbook of our time together and wrote about things that made us laugh. It took me close to four hours to put it together and she loved it."

While photos are the most important element of the book, just as important is the journaling.

"What I write is personal and might include feelings and emotions, song lyrics, quotes and poems that give insight to the picture or event," said Heiner. "And I always write in my own handwriting. I know there are people who don’t like the way they write, but your handwriting makes it so much more personal."


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