When I was selling professional development seminars I ran into a woman who was a Creative Memories consultant. She wanted to get together with my wife to talk about scrapbooking supplies. She seemed harmless enough so I told my wife. 


The total bill for this little get-together? A little north of $200. I thought “What was I thinking, connecting these two? I’ll be broke within a year.” Now, having come to appreciate the importance of cataloguing our family history, I can look back on that story and laugh. 


Our practice is to make one scrapbook page for each of our kids every year, and the toughest part is narrowing down the photo options. Hardcore scrapbookers might consider this a little light, but there’s a lot of work involved in each page and with six kids we’re plenty busy already. The key is to just get something done.


Rhonda Anderson (the founder of Creative Memories) agrees. Her advice to scrapbooking retreat planners is the old acronym, KISS: Keep it simple, sweetie. Don’t obsess over embellishments and only get two pages done. “We have made many affordable and quick projects,” Rhonda said. “When you go to the resort you have the time, and Creative Memories will provide a quick, affordable project. You can leave with an album done.”


Rhonda’s mother made scrapbooks while Rhonda was going up. Pictures of the family and all significant events were compiled in photo albums in chronological order, and captions were written in with the photos. 


“I thought that was normal,” Rhonda said. “I was fortunate because I had all the benefits that album provided: it entertained me, passed on our family values, and it preserved our history. Most people printed pictures and stuffed them in shoeboxes, but my family enjoyed our pictures because they were in albums . . . It gave me a great sense of belonging. If I was happy day or a bad day, I could look at my album.”


And that’s what birthed Creative Memories. Rhonda spoke on how to make family photo albums to a group at her church and the whole room full of women wanted to make photo albums. 


“I’d teach in houses and the response was always the same,” Rhonda said. “I taught them to put the pictures in chronological order, and add a few embellishments. The ideas resonated with people.”


The photo album that Rhonda’s mother had used was made by Webway, and that’s the album line she’d been showing. She contacted the Webway photo album company in St. Cloud, went there, and shared her class and her concept. “Two months later we launched Creative Memories,” Rhonda said. After appearances on TV and on Focus on the Family, Creative Memories grew exponentially. 


Fastforward to 2012. We’re busier now, much busier, and time for scrapbooking can be hard to come by. “Scrapbookers are passionate about retreats because they need to get this done,” Rhonda said. “Time has been our greatest enemy. Some people think they’re not creative . . . My vision is for those people to just get their pictures in there and tell their story. A picture is worth a thousand words, but if we don’t write it down, our minds forget.”


Sometimes the toughest thing about getting it done is having a conducive environment—one that is inspiring and free of distractions. That appears to be why so many people head to resorts during the shoulder season (spring, fall, and winter) to get the pages put together. The settings are beautiful and it’s typically an indoor activity, so the discounted rates of the shoulder season are a great advantage.


Patsy Rieckhoff of Mogasheen Resort likes to scrapbook. She laughed when I told her my $200 story. “I spent $150 when I first got started. Over the years we gathered many photos of our three kids and I put together a book for each of them. I guess I’ll have to start doing something for the grandkids now.”


Another way to make items that hold meaning is through quilting and knitting. Who doesn’t want a sweater or scarf knitted by grandma? Some people have even taken to getting photos printed on patches of cloth and embroidering momentous dates in quilts to make “memory quilts.”


Quilters and knitters help to fill the shoulder season at Mogasheen as well. “We had three ladies drive up from Texas last fall and they quilted all week. They made beautiful quilts, visited area quilt shops, and took in Bayfield’s Apple Festival. We had another gal who would come up during hunting season with her husband. He would hunt and she would quilt.” Patsy laughs, “She was working on that same quilt for four years. I think the only time she was able to put into it was at the resort.” 


I s… I scra… I scrapboo… I scrapbook. There, I said it! I am a man and I like scrapbooking. I hunt, fish, camp, cut wood, build stuff, and love power tools. I also love my wife and kids more. I love recording the history of my family and I also want to scrapbook with my wife because it always brings back memories of fun times we’ve shared as a family. I have talked with her about getting away for a weekend at a resort to engage in a scrapbooking weekend together but getting time away from our six kids—all ten and under—to record our lives together is a daunting task. Still, I know one day we will. 





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