Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Satisfying an emotional need

Scrapbooking is more than a hobby or a pastime. This absorbing, creative endeavor preserves the history of a certain time and place. It tells the story - your story - through pictures.

“Every picture has a story,” says Karen Campbell, independent consultant for Creative Memories. Karen holds regular monthly scrapbooking meetings in her Wilmington, Ohio, home where she offers space, tools, materials, a meal and a welcoming atmosphere. She also holds parties at people’s homes or offers her own home for others to give parties.

“I like to have people in,” says Karen, who has scrapbookers from all over the area come to her home. “I started my home-based business in Florida where my husband was stationed in the Navy. I started scrapbooking because I wanted to preserve his Navy career in a scrapbook. I became a consultant to get my stuff at cost, and it soon became because of the people I was meeting.”

Karen says the people she worked with “became dear friends.” Then her husband retired. “He wanted to go home to Ohio where he grew up,” recalls Karen. “I thought, ‘What am I going to do to get the business started again?’” But “moving was the best thing I could’ve done.”

Karen explains why. “My daughter had a group of four ladies that wanted to scrapbook on a regular basis, and it’s grown from there. The Clinton County Corn Festival, where I always have a booth, was such a wonderful event for me. They don’t have anything like that in Florida. Anyone can have their own scrapbooking business, and I’m always glad to help them get started. It’s now my eighth anniversary with Creative Memories.”

There are many venues for scrapbooking. Some scrapbookers get together occasionally with a few friends, while others, like Rita Butcher, just have an occasional gathering. Rita started as a consultant for Creative Memories in 1999.

“I started with a group of eight women,” says Rita. “My husband and I just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary, and now I’m making a digital album of that. We have ten kids and I made two albums for each of my kids. Some I made more if they were in more sports.”

Rita eventually quit consulting, but the relationships endure. A group of ten or so women still get together for a social weekend once a year and scrapbook.

“Our group is called the ‘Scrapping Sisters,’ and it sounds like we fight, but we don’t,” quipped Rita. “We even got matching shirts and bags with our name on it. We used to stay at two cabins on Cowan Lake, but we grew and needed more room. So we moved to the Wilmington Inn and used their community room. This year, we’re going to a summer house on Cowan Lake. It’s a beautiful setting. Karen Campbell joined us and she is now our consultant. Everybody looks forward to our weekend from one year to the next.”

Interestingly, there is a Creative Memories plant in Yellow Springs, Ohio, filled with friendly, gracious workers and large machines producing brightly colored materials of every size and shape. A tour is available, but the group must be accompanied by a consultant.

A popular event for scrapbookers is the quarterly garage sale in Kettering, Ohio. Scrapbookers can get a table, bring materials and equipment to sell or, if they wish, shop and buy bargains from other tables. Two important events for home scrapbooking groups are the Croptoberfest on October 28th and 29th and the National Scrapbook Day in May. Special gifts, free products and rewards are given by a consultant to those attending and/or joining.

The biggest event of the year is Celebrate Southwest Ohio. The event is held every February at The Roberts Centre, located north of Wilmington at the interchange of Interstate 35 and Highway 68.

“There are 1,100 scrapbookers and 126 consultants who come from everywhere for Celebrate,” says Karen. “People have to sign up under a consultant well before then. They are assigned tables and scrapbook all day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. They give away hourly prizes and teach classes on new techniques. We have such a good time. The day goes so fast. It’s just amazing.”

Not all groups are under a consultant. Shari Brucken enjoyed scrapbooking, so she recently started a group that meets at the First Church of God in Wilmington.

“There is no fee with the church,” says Shari. “We bring our own tools and a brown bag meal. We have plenty of room with more space available. We get together the second Saturday of every other month. It is open to the public. It meets from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. or whenever we decide to leave.”

“We talk about things, give ideas and (discuss) what to do with pictures,” says Ewanda Stewart, who attends with her sister, Teresa Tharp.

The group suggested that people write on the backs of photos the information of who, what, where and when, in order to remember. A photo safe pencil needs to be used instead of a regular pen so the ink doesn’t bleed through the photo.

“I would like it to be more people,” says Shari. “On Saturday, January 14th, we’re going to try the Wilmington Public Library Community Room. We’re going to call it the Scrapbook Club. Anyone’s welcome to come to that. There will be no fee. We’ll see how many come and decide whether to stay in the library or stay at the church.”

“We’re leaving a legacy for our families,” says Ewanda Stewart. “That’s how I feel about it.” The others agreed.

“It satisfies some kind of emotional thing in me,” says Karen. “I’m not real creative, but I have a little creative outlet. The way I look at it… even if not one other single person looks at what I’ve done, it made me happy. And, it’s a fun group. It’s also a way to meet people.”

“And make friendships,” adds Shari.

By Carol Chroust

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