Saving memories

Scrapbook items such as cut-outs and stickers like these are

Once no more than a blank book in which to attach adhesive photo
corners, the scrapbook has come a long way.
Today’s versions are veritable works of art complete with
specialty papers, decorative ribbons, stickers and complex paper
creations known as embellishments. That, and they’re designed to
last.
Once no more than a blank book in which to attach adhesive photo corners, the scrapbook has come a long way.

Today’s versions are veritable works of art complete with specialty papers, decorative ribbons, stickers and complex paper creations known as embellishments. That, and they’re designed to last.

Acid-free papers, inks, dyes and glues abound, and if the creative side isn’t your forte, there are classes and books, even professional scrapbookers that will pull the whole thing together for a price.

“You can be very individualized in how you present your photos with a scrapbook,” said Rosemary Smith, owner of The General Store in Morgan Hill. “There’s something for pretty much anything you want to put in your book.”

True to her word, Smith’s store is filled with 12-inch by 12-inch squares of paper in every hue, shade, pattern and motif imaginable, from baby blue gingham to dark mauve golf scenes to pages that look as if they’ve been ripped from old newspapers.

Screaming red and purple pages are all the rage right now at Smith’s store, with plenty of patrons making scrapbooks that honor their involvement in the Red Hat Society, a popular senior lunch group for women.

At Got Memories? in Gilroy, no one thing is especially popular, according to owner Michelle Fargoso, because everyone is looking for something that fits their own taste and style.

Fargoso’s busiest times are summer and when kids go back to school, but she said people aren’t spending the amount of time in craft stores that they used to.

“Classes right now are declining, not just here, but at all scrapbook stores,” said Fargoso. “People are looking at idea books or getting ideas online. They’re not spending time in the store because they have kids to look after at home, and it’s just easier.”

Still, there are things that only a tangible store can provide. At Smith’s shop, novices turn out for the bimonthly “Crop Nights,” where experienced scrapbookers aid newbies in learning to make cuts that are both precise and artful.

And the papers, ribbons and embellishments used in scrapbooking easily translate into a variety of other popular craft hobbies. Fargoso has customers who let their kids use the specialty papers to spice up school assignments, while Smith reports customers using scrapbook paper to create unique and expensive-looking invitations at a fraction of the normal price.

“If there’s anything you can’t find or you just don’t like, you can always make your own,” said Smith. “Say you wanted to do a baby page, but you couldn’t find the right paper. You can take a stamp – say of a stroller – and make your own paper with your own design.”

If the hue isn’t right, Got Memories? even carries paper and ribbon dyes.

Costs vary based on the scope of a project. Each sheet of scrapbook paper costs between $0.50 and $0.99, but stickers and embellishments (miniature paper and cloth creations that look like everything from military uniforms to golf clubs and garden hoses) can be much more. They range between $2.99 and $3.99 a pack at Smith’s store.

“My daughter does it very inexpensively, but she does a beautiful job,” said Smith, pointing to an example with stamp cutouts and paper-framed photos on a decorative paper. There isn’t a sticker or an embellishment in sight. “If you put one picture and 8,000 embellishments on a page, of course it’s going to be a lot more.”

Avid scrapbookers can expect more innovations to come in late February, said Fargoso. Vendors release most of their new merchandise for sale only after an industry trade show held each year in the month of love, but once they’ve debuted, stores should be swimming in new products.

For more information on scrapbook supplies or classes, call The General Store at (408) 779-9288 or Got Memories? at (408) 842-7730.

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