Scrapbooking for Fun and Charity

Laser cutters. Pinking shears. Cupcake-printed papers. Adhesive sticks. Every style of sticker, button and ribbon on the planet.

Walking around the Craft & Hobby Association’s SuperShow Convention in Rosemont this year, I couldn’t help but feel like I had entered the wondrous, over-the-top-elaborate temple of a secret sect. The religion? Scrapbooking.

And when I say it’s a religion, I’m not kidding. For many women, scrapbooking is the most meaningful hobby: They spent whole days or weekends on it, and it allows them to escape, bond with old friends, make new ones, preserve memories, create keepsakes, shop and even give back.

“It’s the only thing I do where I don’t think about anything else,” says Darlene Lipczynski of Wadsworth, who started scrapbooking when she was 10 using paper from her birthday presents. “It’s a total release.”

Jennifer Ameneiro-Gomes of Skokie put it best: “Scrapbooking is my ‘me time.’ ”

“You start, and then you kind of lose your mind,” says Lynn Van Cleave of Northbrook, who scraps with her sister and about eight of their friends from the neighborhood. “It’s fun and productive,” she says.

Van Cleave and her friends go away on weekend scrapping retreats about four times a year. Their guru is Donna Burch, independent consultant and senior unit leader for Creative Memories, an international scrapbook supply company. Burch hosts parties in her home twice a week, as well as 6 or 7 large retreats each year locally and in Lake Geneva.  Scrapbookers can also find meet-ups, often referred to as “crops,” with the help of online communities.

The CHA Convention included a SuperCrop charity scrapbooking event, where Lipczynski and Ameneiro-Gomes paid $50 for a daylong crop, including spots at large tables, goody bags and raffle tickets. All the proceeds went to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. “We were happy it benefited a charity,” Lipczynski says. She and her scrapping friends hope to host a charity crop in the future.

Burch donates supplies collected at her retreats to the cancer support nonprofit Gilda’s Club in Chicago, and her events also support Make-a-Wish, which is Creative Memories’ national charity of choice.

And then there’s the shopping. “Shopping for the materials is the best part,” Lipczynski says. She and Ameneiro-Gomes swear by their paper trimmers, tape-adhesive runners, ink pads (to make edges look distressed) and cardstock. “There’s always something new, something I must have,” Ameneiro-Gomes says.

When she traveled to Paris on vacation, Leslie Kazmierowski of LaGrange found a 20-year-old student scrapbooker online who offered to take her on a scrapbooking tour of the city. And, of course, the best store was called “Le Temple du Scrap.”

Shop and Crop
The avid scrapbookers we talked to recommended hitting up the following places for supplies:


Creative Memories/Donna Burch

Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft
Arlington Heights, Niles, Lake Zurich, Vernon Hills

Glenview, Niles, Skokie

Paper Source
Evanston, Highland Park

Defining Moments by Jocelyn Tobias

Windy City Scrapbooking

And if you’re ever in Paris …
Le Temple du Scrap