Ever since she took a scrapbooking class 23 years ago, Leane Bhola was hooked. “I started making some books, taking more classes, meeting more people and making memories,” says Bhola, 46, of Coram.
Bhola and seven of her close scrapbooking friends recently took part in Just Say Scrap’s scrapbooking “crop,” a weekend of creativity, bonding and just plain fun, run by Adele Vaio Beisser and April Beisser, a mother and daughter duo who provide classes, materials and guidance.
“People look at your pictures and they want to know about them,” says Vaio Beisser, who started scrapbooking as a teen.
For this weekend’s crop at Hampton Inn in Farmingville, the dozen female attendees brought scrapbooks they were working on — of vacations, holidays, everyday life — and came home with new personally embellished mini albums.
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” says Beisser. “But you’re getting people to touch and feel what you’ve experienced.”
TIME AWAY TO WORK
For Bhola, scrapbooking offers a relaxing counterpoint to her daily life as vice president at an information technology company. “It takes me out of that stressful world,” she says, “Not to mention the laughing and camaraderie.”
When she’s not at the crops, Bhola might be putting finishing touches on a Caribbean cruise “smashbook,” a pre-made scrapbook to which she adds notes, photos and mementos, in her very own scrapbooking room over her garage, where she’ll often host friends she’s made through this artsy hobby.
“The people I’ve met through scrapbooking are like family,” Bhola says, adding that members of the group of 14 also frequently go to Broadway shows.
Three years ago, Bhola drew a co-worker, Maura Lebron, into the craft at a scrapbooking expo. “I got hooked,” says Lebron, 43, of Dix Hills, who’s made several albums filled with elaborate page layouts — but hasn’t added pictures yet. “I enjoy putting it together, but I don’t want to bother looking through the photos.”
Noreen Kozlowski, 56, of St. James, is making a scrapbook for her grandaughter’s 7th birthday. “I’ve already done one through six. It takes a lot of time, but it’s something she’ll have forever,” she says. “You start to look at life as one big scrapbook.”
Even younger people are getting into the act.
Katherine Gaynor, 16, of Bellport, learned about scrapbooking six years ago through her aunt, and has loved it ever since. “It was kind of like I had my own space to create,” Gaynor says. For several years, she’d accompany her aunt to Bhola’s home for a day of scrapbooking.
“It would be a fun day, where I just got to not really think about school and just relax,” she says.
Gaynor has since created scrapbooks for her friends’ 16th birthdays, books from her dancing days and current cheerleading escapades and one commemorating her parents’ 25th anniversary.
“It’s a lot more than doing a photo album,” explains Annajean Raynis, 60, of New Hyde Park, who attended the Farmingville crop. “It’s your feelings on a page.”
HOW IT WORKS
Organizers host cropping sessions in conference rooms at Long Island hotels — enthusiasts bring all their own supplies to set up workstations at long tables. Most events include grab-and-go food, giveaways and shared use of more advanced tools such as electronic cutting machines. Overnight hotel rooms are extra. Reservations are required. Upcoming events:
WHEN | WHERE April 13 and 14 and June 8 at Holiday Inn Express, Route 347, Stony Brook
INFO 631-404-8332, firstname.lastname@example.org
COST $55 day crops, $165 weekend
Includes use of die-cut machines and snacks.
WHEN | WHERE April 7 at Homewood Suites, 40 Westbury Avenue, Carle Place
COST $45 includes use of cutting equipment
WHEN | WHERE May 4 and 5 at Courtyard by Marriott, 2 Marriott Plaza, Farmingdale
WHEN | WHERE April 6 and 7, April 27, May 4 and 5, and May 18; 879 Little East Neck Rd., West Babylon
INFO 631-482-9190, scrapalatte-ny.blogspot.com
COST $30 for day crops; $60 for weekend
Long Island’s only brick and mortar scrapbooking retail store also hosts in-shop crops. Events include use of die-cut machines and breakfast (weekend-long crops also include lunch).