discovered the world of scrapbooking, I was inexplicably drawn to my
local office supply store. I loved to stand in an aisle surrounded by
the different colors of copy paper. And the pens!
At the time, I
thought this was really strange. (So did my family). And then I
discovered that there are a lot of people who share this fascination.
I realized that there is an entire industry that caters to my
obsession with patterned paper and coordinating embellishments.
Then I discovered
that these people also form clubs where they get together, share
ideas, and eat chocolate. What could be better?
are the quilting bees of the modern era. When you join - or form - a
scrapbook group, you create a regular time to meet with creative,
loving, and family-centered friends.
Carving out a
regular time to meet is an ideal way to create and maintain these
meaningful friendships. Plus, as everyone gets together to work with
family photographs and poignant memories, conversations tend to be
deep and meaningful, too.
You can start your
own scrapbooking club by asking yourself these questions:
--> How often
do you want to meet? How frequently do you want to hold group
meetings (or crops)? Weekly, twice-monthly, monthly? It's best to get
a consensus from group members as to which day works best, as well as
which time of day. Will you need child care - and how many people
will be pitching in for the sitter? How many people do you want in
your scrapbook club?
The group dynamic
varies greatly if you have 12 people, versus 30 or more. Decide in
advance how many people you think will comprise an ideal group. Do
you want an intimate gathering of friends - or the energy of a larger collaboration?
--> Where do
you want to host the crop? You can start out at your home, if you
have the space. Or you can ask if the scrapbookers in your club would
like to rotate houses.
For larger groups,
consider churches, community centers, or conference rooms. Often
churches and businesses will be very receptive to providing space for
this type of gathering. Scrapbooking is a fun, family-oriented
activity, which places of worship and community centers generally
love to embrace.
--> Do you want
to charge membership dues? If you have to pay for your scrapbooking
space, you'll probably want to recoup those costs. If you are going
to provide instruction (or food or a babysitter) - simply charge
reasonable dues from each member to cover your costs. Many
scrapbookers are accustomed to paying for this type of scrap space.
--> What will
you serve? You can serve food - or not. I like to keep things really
simple. I have a simple basket of cold Evian bottles - which I stock
up on when there's a sale.
The best foods to
serve don't leave anything behind, so stay away from anything that
would make it necessary for guests to wash their hands with each
bite. If you're going to serve finger food, use toothpicks. And - for
the chocolate fix - M&Ms are wonderful because they really do
melt in your mouth and not in your hand.
structured would you like your meetings to be? Some scrapbooking
clubs will invite Instructors to teach a variety of more advanced
techniques. Check with your local scrapbooking store and direct sales
consultants to see which classes might be available.
Tip: You - or one
of your club members - might want to consider becoming a consultant
yourself in order to supply the group with product and training in
the latest techniques (direct sales consulants often receive this
training from their teams and from the company themselves, ie. http://www.momscape.com/scrapbooking/business.htm
) Then you can earn a profit and the club can earn and share the
free hostess rewards. Free scrapbooking goodies for all! Or you can
schedule your crop around a monthly scrapbooking club kit, ie.:
It's fun to see the different projects that each club member comes
up with, using the same supplies. Plus, some monthly club kits(like
the one cited above) come with idea sheets and an artist/designer
gallery of club creations.
--> What is the
best way to set up the meeting space? Make sure the lighting is
adequate and that each guest has enough table space. You can set
everyone up on your dining room table, or - if you have the space,
create a more elaborate configuration. One idea I found on the Two
Peas in a Bucket (http://www.twopeasinabucket.com) message board is
to create a square from 2 8-foot tables and 2 6-foot tables. This
configuration will comfortably accommodate 8 scrapbookers.
It's fun to have
some community tools on one table, too. I have the basics: trimmers,
Coluzzle, Silent Eyelet Setter, a mini sewing machine, etc.
I also like to
bring a selection of my favorite idea books and scrapbooking
magazines, especially those that feature seasonal project ideas.
And place a small
gift bag or paper lunch sack in the center of each table for little
scraps. This goes a long way in helping to keep each workspace
organized and clutter-free. You can also set a relaxing (or
energizing) mood with your choice of soft background music.
--> How will
you find club members? If you don't already have a group of
scrapbooking friends (or you want to find more), simply announce your
group in the community.
Word of mouth is
the best way to do this. Ask your scrapbooking friends to bring their
scrapbooking friends to the club meetings.
You can also post
flyers and announcements on community bulletin boards in libraries,
grocery stores, community centers, etc.
Check to see if
your local newspaper will run a free ad in the Community Notes
section before each scheduled crop. For example: "Free
Scrapbooking Crop. All levels of experience welcome. Instructor/designer
on hand to answer questions and provide instruction. Come have fun
and meet new friends. Time and location. Your contact info."
You can also send
email invites to all your friends. Evite.com (http://www.evite.com)
is a great tool for keeping track of invitees. Simply pitch your crop
night as a "girls' night out" (or "mom's night
out") where you'll get important things done (and it never hurts
to let them know you'll have chocolate on hand.)
Have a great time
meeting new scrapbooking friends and inspiring one another to
complete cards, layouts, and gifts-from-the-heart in your new
Where to Next?
Susie Cortright is the founder of Momscape's Scrapbooking
Playground. Subscribe to her free twice-monthly scrapbooking
newsletter, featuring best-of-the-net design ideas, advanced
techniques, and money-saving specials on supplies: http://www.momscape.com/scrapbooking
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