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Posted: Monday April 9, 2012, 1:39 PM
By Kara Mayer Robinson

If you're not familiar with the terms "crop," "stash" or "die-cut," you're in for a treat, especially if you love memory keeping, crafting or socializing. There's a whole world of fun and creativity in the bustling community of scrapbooking, and it's thriving right here in Bergen County.

Homey History

Lina Anderson, a Rutherford mom, is a huge fan of scrapbooking and does it with gusto so her kids, ages 9 and 3 1Ú2, can see what life was like at any moment in time. Anderson is super enthused about scrapbooks because they're so much more than a compilation of photos; they make memories really come alive.

The very best tool to create vivid scrapbooks, she says, is to add journaling. "You can write something funny the kids said or a few words about how you felt that day," she says. "I also like to include ticket stubs, programs or any other memorabilia from an event. You think you'll remember all those details, but you never do."

Anderson loves it when her kids look at an old book and get a kick out of reading what they thought or said at a certain age or seeing their handwriting or artwork at the time.

Bonus: It's a blast to create the scrapbooks, something she usually does alongside a group of fellow scrappers. "We try to get together once a month to scrap," Anderson says. "For our group, it's a very social thing – it's about catching up and hanging out."

Personal Lens

Pam Kosove, a mom, who splits her time between Westwood and New York City, has taken to scrapbooking so overwhelmingly that she sees the world through a scrapbooking lens.

"Ever since I started scrapbooking," she says, "I've developed a big interest in photography. I take pictures of everything that will help tell my family's story, from the food at our Thanksgiving table to the Second Avenue deli sign where my husband and I took our three sons to lunch."

Kosove loves being the family historian and is thrilled when family or friends rave about her scrapbooks. Each page tells a story – what starts with a few select photos is enhanced by journaling (from her own, her husband's or her kids' perspective) and personal touches like cool layouts, funky embellishments and professional-looking die cuts (shapes and designs). This mom's collection of gorgeous scrapbooks has become a treasure trove of memories.

Plus it's fun. Kosove can spend hours scouring the aisles of Michaels, and she loves nothing more than checking in with her fellow scrappers online, whether it's the pals she's connected with via message boards or the scrapbook bloggers who post challenges, share ideas about using "stash" (scrapping supplies) and run contests with enticing prizes. Her absolute fave is Nichole Heady, of Papertrey Ink, who has nearly 1,500 followers on her blog, nicholeheady.typepad.com.

Crop Time

When Tammi Kaminski, a New Milford mom of a 6-year-old boy and 2 1/2-year-old girl, isn't busy organizing fundraisers for her local elementary school or attending events at the Junior Woman's Club of Bergenfield/Dumont, she's mixing it up with fellow moms at a local scrapbooking "crop," where she has the luxury of spending hours of uninterrupted time doing nothing but scrapbooking.

"I go to crops on weekends every other month or so," Kaminski says. "It goes from Friday to Sunday, and all you do is scrapbook the entire time. It's a lot of fun."

So much fun, in fact, that she's created an entire network of friends there. But unlike meeting up with pals for, say, coffee, she and her fellow scrappers come home with a major keeper. "My last crop was quite productive," she explains. "I did a book – a little 8x8 album – for my parents from my kids. And now I'm up-to-date on my kids' scrapbooks, which is a huge stride for me since time is so precious."

Kaminski gives a thumbs-up to crops run by Scraparoni (scraparoni.com). "We do 10 to 12 events per year in Bergen County," owner Chrissy Guido says. "Our events – which include weekend and day events – are held in Mahwah, Ridgefield Park and Palisades Park."

Scraparoni's crops are a flurry of fun with treats like massages, vendor services and workshops, and are all-inclusive, which means one price covers cropping space, unlimited snacks, drinks, meals, and free raffles and prizes.

"We also offer a summer weekend event for families," Guido says. "Mom can scrapbook, and dad can hang out by the pool with the kids. Kind of a guilt-free weekend you can share with the family."

A fun-filled weekend plus a gorgeous scrapbook when it's all over? Genius.

Computer Creations

Hillsdale mom Cindy Merlino has always loved the idea of scrapbooking, but space and time constraints – she's a mom, a part-time training coordinator, and a volunteer with Mothers & More Bergen County and the Paskack Junior Woman's Club – left her overwhelmed. So she found another way of preserving memories: digital scrapbooking. She uses a computer to create and integrate all the elements of traditional scrapbook then prints them professionally.

Merlino does all her memory-keeping on shutterfly.com, a site more typically known for photo prints, holiday cards and calendars. This year, she says, the site stepped it up a notch with art and graphic options to dress up photo books. "With the addition of the clip art," she says, "my husband said this year's photo book was the best yet."

Digital devotees can go even further with the latest digital scrapbook software. For example, Chrissy Guido of Scraparoni, teaches workshops for both digital and hybrid scrapbooking using Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop Elements, something she believes could be the wave of the future. "I see many traditional scrappers moving toward digital/hybrid scrapbooking because of the space and cost," she says.

For more information on digital scrapbooking, visit JessicaSprague.com, a site that offers lessons and products for digital crafters.

Learn the Lingo!

Want to enter the bustling universe of scrapbooking? These keywords will help.

Crop:  An organized event where you can scrap to your heart's content, swapping supplies, learning new techniques and chatting it up with fellow scrappers

Die cut:  A piece of cardboard, paper or other material that has been cut into a special shape or design by a sharp steel embossing plate

Stash:  Scrapbooking supplies

Archival safe:  A type of material that is acid/lignin/PVC-free and won't cause your photos to yellow over time

Embellishment:  Any decoration that adds spunk or beauty to your layout, including flowers, tags, eyelets, brads and rhinestones

Sketch:  A map used to design a page or layout, showing where to place photos, embellishments, a title and journaling

Get it!

Our scrappers flip for these essential scrapping supplies.

Cricut Expression ($200, cricut.com) – cuts professional-style letters, shapes and motifs for page layouts

Xyron Create-a-sticker ($35, xyron.com) – turns photos, note cards and die cuts into stickers by applying an acid-free adhesive

Sizzix Big Shot ($100, sizzix.com) – portable manual shape-cutting and embossing machine

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