Before I 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?
Scrapbooking clubs 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.
--> How 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.: http://www.momscape.com/scrapbooking/scrapbook-club 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 scrapbooking club.
Short note about the author
Copyright 2005 Susie Cortright
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 ? here: http://www.momscape.com/scrapbooking