scrapbookResorts need business in the wintertime, and scrapbookers need a place to go for a little peace and quiet. A few smart resort owners have put two and two together and have started offering winter scrapbooking retreats to women looking to get out of the house and record some memories.

Campfire Bay Resort up in Cushing is one that offers scrapbooking retreats, and it's been quite successful. "In my 'free time' I like to scrapbook," says owner, Heather Sams. "I had a friend in the area that opened a scrapbooking house: it was the first of her kind in the country. That's when I put two and two together. She was already booked out years in advance, so it wasn't really competition. When we got to the point of building year-round cabins, we made a hybrid cabin for multiple families in the summer, and for scrapbooking in the winter."

And how has it worked out? "Pretty well. Eighty percent of my winter business comes from scrapbookers." Campfire Bay also gets a pretty good infusion of quilters.

To find out what makes scrapbooking such a great winter retreat activity, I went straight to the source: Rhonda Anderson, co-founder of America's most well-known scrapbooking company, Creative Memories .

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 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 2011. 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."

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."

Digital scrapbooking is the next big wave: now scrapbookers can tote their laptops up to the retreat, create an album online with Creative Memories software, and have it printed and shipped for about twenty-five dollars.

It is wonderful to preserve family history, and scrapbooking is an excellent way to do it. Many view quilting as a way to preserve family history as well. Whatever medium you choose—be it quilting, scrapbooking, or another entirely—there are Minnesota resorts with great workspaces ready to host.






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