Thursday, March 27, 2008

Scrap Happy

My daughter-in-law Sue is a “cropper.” If you don’t know what a cropper is, you aren’t one of the 25 million people in the United States who scrapbook. And I’m pretty sure all 25 million attended the Scrapbook Expo at the Pleasanton Fairgrounds last weekend. Make that 25 million and one. I was there too.

My latest hobby, scrapbooking, is not a whim like my other hobbies—collecting Italian Charms, crocheting mufflers, or raising children. According to statistics, “scrapping” is the fastest growing hobby in America, second only to collecting knock-off purses. The average “cropper” now spends hundreds of hours working on scrapbooks instead of making dinner or cleaning house. And she spends nearly $2,000 a year in tools and supplies. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to what she once spent for shoes.

The most popular themes for scrapbooks are cats, with dogs a close second. For your cat scrapbook you’ll need cat decorated paper, cat paw stampers, cat catch phrases like “My Cat Can Whoop Your Dog’s Butt,” and hundreds of candid shots of your cat’s daily life—mostly sleeping or licking herself. Other popular themes include “My Vacation, “My Wedding,” “My Honeymoon,” and “My First Baby,” (second babies have a scrapbook but there’s nothing in it, and third babies don’t even get the book.) After those basics, croppers really have to brainstorm to come up with other themes to continue their habit—“My Trip to the Grocery Store,” “My Grandson’s New Potty,” and “My Husband’s Favorite TV Shows.”

If you’d like to join me in my new hobby, just clear out one of your bedrooms (move all your kids into one room), and set up your Crop Shop. Then fill every nook and cranny with organizers of all sizes to hold your crop crap. At the Expo, I found tons of goodies to help “enable” my “addiction”—“antique” ink to “distress” paper, stampers featuring everything from animals to things that start with the letter Z, hole punches that make hearts, stars, even dog bones, and stencils featuring every holiday from Christmas and Halloween to Groundhog and Boxing Day. My favorites are the phrase books with quotes like, “Been there, done that, scrapped a page about it,” “Don’t Worry, Be Scrappy,” “Born to Crop, Not Mop!” and “Nothing Stops a Cropper, Not Even a Paper Cut.”

Sue came home from the Expo with armloads of her incredible creations. She can scrap anything from a cardboard box to a paper bag, and turn it into a work of art. I’ve tried to copy her designs, but I usually end up with antiqued fingertips, stickers stuck to my clothes, and a scrapbook that looks like my three-year-old grandson’s artwork.

I asked Sue how she and her friend Robyn Frendberg became addicted to scrapbooking. Sue said, “I started scrapbooking when my son Brad was born. (No, he was not named after the scrapbooking embellishments called “brads.”) I was passionate about preserving his memories, and I needed that creative outlet as a stay-at-home mom. Some people have a perception that scrapping is frivolous, but for me it’s an art form.”

“I tried scrapbooking several years ago,” Robyn added, “but I never really had time for it. Then when my son was born three years ago, I pulled out my supplies. I have thousands of pictures of Josh, who changes nearly every day, and I’m motivated to scrapbook his adventures. And after chasing a preschooler around all day, I find scrapbooking therapeutic.”

I could go on about my new passion, but I’ve already broken a basic cropping code: “What Happens at Crop, Stays at Crop!”


Blogger Kathleen said...

Penny, I love your website and blog! Hilarious and with so much verisimilitude! ;o)

I too have been bitten by the scrap bug to such an extent that it borders on the absurd. Thousands of dollars worth of cool STUFF I just have to have!

How much actual scrapping have I done?

Well, a fair number of digital pages and Nancy Drew cards. ;o)

My next prospective project is an altered book.

Like my creative writing aka lesson plans, they are in "my head". ;o)

I am reading every book I can get my hands on about creating such a book.

I have artist trading cards. Yes, of kitty cats! LOL.

And there are vintage altered art sheets that are so gorgeous that the notion of taking a scissors to them is somewhat horrifying.

I sell vintage Nancy Drew books on Ebay. That interest, albeit obession led me to your site.

I guess that is what my university studies in Criminal Justice, Poli Sci, Early Childhood have prepared me for! I have yet to figure out a way to incorporate Spanish into the picture but I'll think of something.

Everyone tells me I should write professionally and I tend to agree for writing is my passion. However, there is this desire, a yen for near perfection that hinders me so, in the interim, I write long letters to my friends as well as lengthy Nancy listings on Ebay.

Over the years I have received but ONE complaint, more of a ranting, about the length of my letter from an aquaintance in Arizona. That was the last time i graced her with a twenty page letter!

The way I figure it, unlike a slide show, a letter (and applicable to most any writing I suppose) does not require a captive audience. If she did not care to read my tome, she didn't have to do so, right?


Next step- I buy your book and if it is anywhere near as good as it sounds I'll sell some copies!


August 10, 2008 at 3:53 PM  

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