Like the photos and page embellishments on a scrapbook page, everything has fallen into place for Payson businesswoman Connie Smith.
Her dream business, Homespun Memories, has two new partners, expanded inventory and a new location to encompass it all.
Beverly Draper and Marsha Ward inquired about going into business with Smith within two days of each other. Smith calls them, the "answer to my prayers. From then on everything just fell right into place. Within three weeks of forming the partnership, we had this location up and running."
Scrapbooking is not a craft that makes people wonder if it's worth the time and money they're investing, according to Smith. It's worthwhile because their efforts and money are creating lasting memories for their families and friends.
"I believe that everybody has a story to tell and if they don't tell it, when they are gone nobody else is going to be able to tell it," she said.
Her partners agree.
Draper was working in the fabric department of Wal-Mart when Smith talked her into a "scrapping" class. That class made Draper fall "in love with the whole concept."
Ward said she started her 7-year-old granddaughter on the lifetime hobby of making photo scrapbooks, or memory albums, this Christmas. Buying into the store is her way of putting down roots in the community and investing in her own future, she said.
At more than triple the space Smith started out with, the expansion includes a room where children can watch a video or play while moms work on their albums in the craft area and the free workshop room.
There are hundreds of die cuts available in the free-to-use workshop room, as well as tools for trimming, embossing, punching and creating stickers. "We have craft papers and stickers, so if they just need one little piece of something it's here," Smith said.
"Scrapbooking is not just a female-generated craft," Smith said, citing young men who scrapbook their sporting events and hobbies.
Themed crops (scrapbooking gatherings similar to old-fashioned quilting bees) include couples crops and sports crops.
"One couple came in and made a scrapbook of their courtship together," Smith said.
There are still spaces in January's "Chillin' Retreat," being held Jan. 20-22. It will be three intense days of working on scrapbooks, learning new scrapping techniques and winning prizes.
Children are also invited to the retreats because scrapbooking is important for all ages said Draper.
According to Smith, "Beginning Scrapbooking" has remained a popular class since she started as a Creative Memories consultant in 1995.
Right now, the "Walnut Ink" class is also popular.
Walnut inks distress ordinary pieces of paper, using a pre-inked dauber, rather than adding water to ink crystals, which is a messy process, and runs the risk of making too much or too little.
There are monthly page layout contests, where patrons can buy a page kit for a small fee and use a part of each item in the kit. When they turn the page in they get next month's contest kit free. A $15 gift certificate to the store is awarded to the winner.
The store's inventory includes specialty and patterned papers, 144 different colors of card stock, a variety of rubber stamps, lots of stickers and embellishments from the Chester and Bling lines, Junkitz and Queen & Co.
Homespun rents out scrapbook kits for visitors to the Rim Country who want to scrapbook in their hotel room. "It's basically all of the essential tools one needs to scrapbook," Smith said. The kits have paper cutters, templates, die cuts and an idea book.
Once a month, the store focuses on a charitable organization, asking customers for donations. New Beginnings Pregnancy Center is this month's beneficiary. Customers who bring in a diaper bag or a crib sheet will get either 30 or 25 percent off an item.
"I love scrapbooking and I love teaching people how to preserve their family histories so that they will last for generations," Smith said.
Homespun Memories is located at 408 W. Main St., Suite 2, Payson. The phone number is (928) 468-1968. It is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.