sunday 021504

February 16, 2004

A book of photos of Kathryn Leigh's 6-year-old son and her husband at about the same age lays on the table. The Father's Day gift still needs a little work.

Dressed in pajamas and leopard-pattern houseshoes, the Liberty woman settles in for the task on a Friday night at Simply Scrappin' in Danville. The crop class, which is a work session scheduled for scrapbookers, begins at 6 p.m. and continues until the wee hour of 2 a.m. For this one, participants are encouraged to come in their pajamas.

Leigh's sister-in-law, Robyn Slone, joins her, wearing similar slippers, but in a black and white cow pattern. They munch on McDonald's fries and hamburgers before spreading out their scrapbook supplies. Many of the scrappers invest in wheeled luggage for toting supplies.

"It's good to bring everything because you never know when you're going to need it."

Slone aims to continue a book she is putting together for her daughter. The sisters-in-law haven't been to any of the Friday night crops, but they regularly gather for work sessions.


"We've been scraping about five years because we scrapped while you were pregnant," Leigh, who also sells scrapbooking supplies through Creative Memories, says to her sister-in-law.

Usually, the women each create one book per year. Slone, who had pages dedicated to Easter egg hunts, Christmas gatherings and even one with little bowling pins attached to mark her daughter's first trip to the bowling alley, says she makes scrapbooks because of her daughter's reaction.

"Probably because when I see the look of my little girl when she sees them."

Leigh, who made books for her mother and mother-in-law as gifts for Mother's Day, agrees.

"The excitement it brought them. They took it to work with them and showed everyone."

Slone admits that it's work, but says it's worth the effort.

"When you see the excitement, you say, 'I've got to do this more.'"

Around the tables set up at the back of the shop, other pajama-clad women are spreading out books of family photos. There's lots of work to be done. Teresa Castle of Garrard County works on a fresh stack of Christmas photos. With her arsenal of memory-making equipment - a 35 mm camera, a digital camera and a photo printer - she created quite a selection.

Castle's scrapbooking days began about three years ago when she began meeting with a friend.

"I taught and she taught and we started getting together at her house. Before we knew it, another friend joined us."

Her first project was to work on childhood photos of her two daughters.

"Which was very overwhelming because they're 19 and 21," says Castle, who says her daughters also do scrapbooking.

Twelve scrapbooks later, she shows no signs of slowing down with her hobby, but has switched gears to vacation shots to such places as the Outer Banks and Hilton Head. Thoughts of scrapbooking influence the photos she takes.

"When you're an amateur picture taker you try to get everything in the shot. But later, you think, 'This would look good in the scrapbook.'"

As she weeds through photos, Castle says she sticks with the hobby because it relieves stress but also because she likes what she makes.

"I realized I was preserving our family memories and to me, that's the best thing."

Peggy Underwood sits nearby and Castle occasionally holds up a photo for her to see. Underwood, in turn, shows Castle some of her latest family shots. Like the other scrappers gathered for the session, Underwood is working on a book about her son.

"My child is 18. I'm doing band pics and graduate pictures."

She is working her way back in time. First she did a book on kindergarten through eighth-grade.

"I plan to go back and do this baby to kindergarten."

Castle says she wishes she had waited to do her daughters' baby books because her skills have improved.

Both women admit that they spend quite a bit of money on their hobby. No matter what she invests in the project, Underwood considers it worthwhile.

"It's not like other things where you think, 'I'm throwing my money away.' It's something you can hand down."

Across the room, Stacy Blacketer and her sister, Cari Hensley, plan to get down to business. Blacketer says the crop session makes it easy because the whole store's contents are at her disposal.

"If you have an idea it's right at your fingertips."

Blacketer, who has several scrapbooks in the works - one for vacations, one for each child, one for family and a wedding one - also likes checking out the work of others.

"I like seeing other people's ideas, too. If you get stumped in something you can put other people's ideas together and come up with something new."

Blacketer says her 10-year-old daughter enjoys the hobby also. She did not attend but store employee Kerri Waxtell was there with her 12-year-old daughter, Abi. Abi's scrapbook was dedicated to many fun times and friends. She had pages about her twin, Brittany, their grandma, family and a "cool cuz."

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