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Scrapbooking is a cut above old albums

Hobbies are recreational things we do in our spare time; and since January is National Hobby Month, I decided to find out more about one of the most popular hobbies these days – scrapbooking.

In the craft field, scrapbooking remains a perennial favorite according to local crafters. While Michaels Arts & Crafts says they are offering Wilton cake decorating classes this month, they say it is the scrapbooking supplies that continue to fly off the shelves.

Today’s serious scrapbookers recognize the names Sizzix, Cricut, Cuttlebug and Xyron. They have carousels with 24 (or more) pairs of decorative-edged scissors; dozens of colorful pencils, pens, and markers; and reams of fanciful acid-free paper.

Their projects are professionally created with computer software, templates, stencils, or die cutters; and the latest in double-stick tape and archive-worthy adhesives. They embellish their scrapbook pages with everything from buttons and ribbon, to metal studs, rhinestones, and fanciful stickers. Many spend hundreds on their supplies and often devote areas of their homes, or even entire rooms, to their scrapbooking hobby.

While growing up, I enjoyed looking at an old scrapbook from my mother’s childhood. Although it fell apart and was disassembled years ago, some pieces of memorabilia it contained were kept. In later years, my family inherited scrapbooks two of my grandmothers created out of newspaper articles or notices that were important to them. One glued historic news articles printed during World War II into a scrapbook; while the other filled hers with obituaries of people she knew “back home in Nebraska.”

I have two scrapbooks from my childhood, both already falling apart from years of handling. The first, begun by my mother on my birthday in 1955, is chock-full of glued-in birthday cards and valentines. The sweet-faced little girls and charming animals featured on the cards are a delight to thumb through; but it’s the memories that are priceless.

This early scrapbook includes birthday cards signed “With Love,” from my Great-Grandma Williams, Grandma and Grandpa Dewey, Grandma and Grandpa Graham, and Daddy and Mother. It lists the gifts I received for my sixth birthday: bubble bath from my cousins, Cheryl and Merla Jean; a watch from my brother Mike; paper dolls from my younger sister Debby; a jump rope from my baby sister Norma; and a red billfold with 604, and a coloring book, from my parents.

I received my Date Line Photo Scrapbook for my 13th birthday. I was a much more creative scrapbooker by then, but had unfortunately discovered Scotch tape. The tape yellowed and gave up its cellophane stickiness years ago, leaving my teenage scrapbook in pretty sad condition; but still full of the memories I stored between its oversized, red plastic covers on quiet afternoons.

This scrapbook contains more birthday cards and letters from my grandparents, notes of accomplishment from church and school, and my Huckleberry Hound Fan Club Card. It includes a program from the 1963 Ice Capades, ribbons from our county fair, and programs from camps, conferences, and the day I was initiated into the National Honor Society. It chronicles my years at Frontier Junior High and Moses Lake High School, my “lavender phase,” and my accomplishments in 4-H.

There are valentines from kids I went to school with since kindergarten. One large valentine from Roger Voiles reads, “It would be just ducky to be your Valentine,” and features a couple in a tunnel of love, of all things. I really enjoyed seeing that card because at our 30-year class reunion, Roger told me he had always been impressed with me because I ran faster than him in first grade. I never knew I ran faster than anyone in my whole life – ever. He’s now one of my favorite people, and I’m glad I kept his valentine.

Although the professional looking scrapbooks of today don’t look much like those early scrapbooks my grandmothers, my mother, or myself, stuck together out of flour and water paste, using a pair of old scissors and the stuff of our memories; their sentiment is the same. Whether digitally produced, carefully crafted with perfect lettering and professional touches, or put together with childish lettering and homemade glue, scrapbooks are lovingly preserved chronicles of our lives – and a great hobby for the long, cold afternoons ahead.

Contact correspondent Mary Jane Honegger by e-mail at