The Times West Virginian

March 6, 2013

A scrappy hobby

By Debra Minor Wilson
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — You could call Debbie Cooper a scrappy kind of person.

She wouldn’t mind. She’s been that way for a long time.

She belongs to a group of scrapbookers called The Scrap-A-Lattes. They have been meeting once a month for a “crop.”

No, they’re not farmers. This is just a gathering of scrapbookers.

“It is very much like an updated version of the old quilting bees,” she said. “Some of us have been together since 2005 when we started scrapping with a few friends at church or in someone’s home once a week.”

By 2006, the group had started growing, “thanks to Fairmont State/Pierpont, when they were looking for someone to teach scrapbook classes as part of their community education courses. They let us hold our monthly crops in their building downtown and we ‘scrapped’ there until May 2009.”

Because of a scheduling conflict, the group had to find another location. They found a more permanent spot at the Eldora United Methodist Church multipurpose room. They meet there usually at 9:30 a.m. on the third Saturday of the month, but that can change with the church’s schedule.

“It’s usually about midnight by the time we finish up and clean the church,” she said.

“Yes, we really do scrapbook all day. And often we wish we didn’t have to quit then.”

There’s more to scrapbooking than most people think.

“When you say the word ‘scrapbooking,’ most people think, ‘Oh, you put pictures in an album.’ Well, yeah, we do, but we do so much more. Sometimes the layouts get ‘blinged out’ with rhinestones, jewels or glitter, ribbon and stickers.

“My personal favorites are brads and eyelets. I love them so much I put 185 on one layout.

“And we use flowers. But not real ones. Well, I guess some people might use real ones,” she said with a laugh.

“Attending crops is a great way to share new ideas with other ‘scrappers,’” she said.

“When we are struggling a little with a layout, there is always someone who can help out. Need a specific kind or color of paper? Someone will probably have it.

“Heard about the latest and greatest new scrapbooking product? We share the info with everyone.

“Don’t have that tool you need to do something? We’ll share ours.

“We love to meet new scrappers. A crop is not a class, but we are happy to help anyone who would like to learn about scrapbooking.

“We bring so much stuff that it looks like we are moving in when we come even for just a one-day crop. Everyone has their own style or method of scrapping, too. Some are chronological scrappers and wouldn’t even dream of scrapping the Fourth of July before Christmas. Some jump around and work on whatever subject they want to and others may work on a specific event album until it is done before moving on to another one (for example, a Disney vacation album).”

In addition to making something to treasure, the scrappers grow friendships to treasure.

“Scrapping isn’t restricted to women,” Cooper said. “We actually had a male scrapbooker who attended for a while before moving away. We usually do some kind of food theme for the day and we all bring a potluck dish that fits with the theme. Last month we all brought a new recipe from Pinterest, since that seems to be a new obsession for us scrapbookers, too.”

They also love to gas up the car and take road trips to local scrapbook and art supply stores.

“And we’ve attended many weekend retreats. The retreats are a favorite for us. Instead of just one Saturday to scrapbook, we have a whole weekend. In May, we are renting a cabin that is set up for scrapbookers for a four-day retreat in the Eastern Panhandle.”

It’s easy to see that scrapbooking is more than just a hobby for her.

“As you can tell, it is a passion. But not only that, it’s a good way to preserve those pictures and leave a legacy for our children and their children and so on,” she said.

“One more thing,” she said.

“Scrapbooking is not just a local or U.S. hobby. People from all over the world participate in crops/retreats, and when we get together and meet new scrap groups, it’s usually like we have always known each other.”

Email Debra Minor Wilson at dwilson@timeswv.com.