Scrapbooks Etc.: crop ’til you drop

Co-owner Alyse McConnell shows off the wares of Scrapbooks Etc., a specialty store catering to scrapbook enthusiasts. - JIM BRYANT photo
Co-owner Alyse McConnell shows off the wares of Scrapbooks Etc., a specialty store catering to scrapbook enthusiasts.
— image credit: JIM BRYANT photo

New specialty store for the booming hobby opens on Madrone.

Four pastel-shaded tags dangle on the page, carrying a hand-written message. A baby photo matted in two shades of blue is paired with a neatly typed paragraph.

It’s today’s scrapbook – a fusion of dollhouse chic and photo album sentiment – and it now boasts a specialty store of its own on the island.

Alyse McConnell and Klaas Hesselink, co-owners of Paper Products Etc., opened Scrapbooks Etc. at the end of April to meet the rising demand for the materials needed in the popular craft.

“(Scrapbooking) is creating a legacy or a story,” McConnell said. “It makes an amazingly personalized gift.”

Since taking over Paper Products in March 2003, McConnell says the most requested products have been for more scrapbook papers and supplies, a hobby she says has boomed in the last five years.

She’s been surprised at the number of regulars – many of whom patronize the new store weekly or more often – who used to travel as far as Bellevue to replenish their scrapbook-making supplies.

“I expected primarily young moms, but that’s only one-third. Another one-third is empty-nesters putting things together for kids or parents. There are also a lot of young people working (on a scrapbook) with their mother,” McConnell said. “Seeing teens and moms so excited, it’s hugely gratifying. They’ve got a vision and are really collaborative.”

Located on Madrone Lane in the former Art Soup space, the store is a craft set writ large, with carved stones, assorted ribbons, fantastical stickers and rubber stamps to decorate pages, along with ornaments like miniature tacks, clothes pins, file folders and hammers to bring it all together.

Scrapbook-making tools have changed a lot since the days when a swatch of wedding dress was the album’s primary adornment, and cropping photos required a hunt around the house for the right size dcircle to trace.

Now, transparent templates of concentric circles, hearts and squares make it easy to crop photos and cut out colored-paper mats to set off photos. Tiny wooden frames can be covered with papers or ribbon to accent photos on the page.

Eyelets and metal brads – similar to the ones on manila envelopes – come in a variety of sizes, plain and decorative.

Adhesive dots and strips make it easy to attach anything to the album page, which is then slipped into the plastic page sleeves bound between album covers.

Handmade paper by Shizen is made to scrapbooking standards which must have a low enough acid content to not yellow paper or cause photos to deteriorate.

Popular scrapbook topics include children, pets, trips, family heritage or even day-to-day events like sports games.

For those new to scrapbooking, Scrapbooks Etc. manager Shannon Boyington suggests not trying to do a person’s entire life from the beginning, but just choosing themes like a soccer game or birthday party.

“You don’t have to use (only) photos because you’re doing journaling at the same time,” Boyington said. “The journaling tells the stories as much as the photos do.”

For more structured advice or information about new tools and techniques, scrapbook instructors teach basics or theme-based projects like “pet pages” three or four classes a week in the shop’s back room.

For a minimal fee, enthusiasts can gather with fellow scrapbookers and work in an open workshop called a “crop” (as in cropping photos). People can also book the classroom for birthday parties or showers, where each guest might make a page in a scrapbook for the coming baby or wedding.

“The folks that are really into it, are really into it,” McConnell said. And for those just learning the art of scrapbooking, she says, “just seeing them open up to the idea, seeing that sparkle, that’s really gratifying.”

* * * * *

Easy pieces

Scrapbooks Etc. is located at 139 Madrone Lane. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 12-5 p.m. Sunday and closed Monday. Classes cost $12-17 and crops are $5 per session. Call for details at 855-2926.

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