Connie Englund shows off a scrapbook page she created featuring her father and grandfather working on the farm. Englund opened a business scrapbooking for other people, called Designated Scrapper, in early 2010. Photo by Charis Prunty/Register
• Brookings woman turned hobby into business when illness kept her home
BROOKINGS – Each page has its own personality when Connie Englund makes a scrapbook, and it shows through in the details.
She’ll use her Cricut machine to cut out words in just the right font, create a graduate cap with thread to match the new grad’s school colors, and invest in just the right stickers to match the photos on that page.
Englund’s first scrapbook was one she made for her grandmother several years ago, before she had really learned anything about the craft. She quickly realized how special a scrapbook could be.
“I did one of those kind of things for my grandma one year, and I had a bachelor uncle who lived with her, and he said she spent hours and hours just paging through that book,” Englund said.
“And I didn’t do anything fancy – I’d never scrapbooked before – but I knew that my parents had all kinds of pictures.”
Since that first book, she’s made lots for herself and her husband, and for other family members.
In Feburary 2010, Englund, a Brookings resident, decided to turn this hobby into a business called Designated Scrapper. She needed a job that could be done from her home on a schedule that worked around her medical condition, and her sister suggested this could be a service to the many people who have boxes of photos and mementos sitting around, waiting to be preserved and displayed.
Englund previously worked in the office of South Dakota State University’s Wellness Center, then briefly for the Brookings Area Transit Authority.
But she has lupus – a chronic inflammatory disease that, according to the Mayo Clinic, occurs when your body's immune system attacks your own tissues and organs – and has neuropathy in her feet, which throws off her balance and causes her to mainly walk with a cane outside of her home.
“Some days were good days and some days were really, really bad days, and to get anything done on those bad days was not working out,” she said of working outside her home.
“I was so busy all the time, and I would get those terrible sleepy spells after lunch and sometimes they would come in the morning, too; I just never knew when they were going to hit.”
A scrapbooking pro
By the time she went into business for herself, Englund was no longer a scrapbooking amateur. She’d taken classes for a couple years at Journals of the Heart, a scrapbook supply store in downtown Brookings.
Besides the challenge to create themed pages and projects in those classes, she’d made scrapbooks on a variety of topics: A wedding, retirement, vacations, her husband’s National Guard service, a graduation album for each niece and nephew, pets and other things.
Helping people to understand exactly what she does as a “designated scrapper” can be a challenge.
Englund said she can turn any collection of photos into a scrapbook, with as much direction as the client wants to give. She can use digital images or printed photos, even old ones in black and white. She’ll make copies and sometimes crop out excess empty space in a photo, to highlight its subject.
Englund emphasized that she’ll take very good care of every photo entrusted to her.
The price for a scrapbook depends on the size and number of pages clients want.
Making five basic new puppy books in a small size she can do within a week; a larger book with about 50 pages could take two to four weeks.
“Depending on the number of pictures that they want,” she said. “Some people like all the embellishments and everything and just a few pictures, and I try to steer them toward lots of pictures and less embellishments. To me, the album is all about the pictures.”
Using her creativity to create each new page is one of her favorite parts of this job, Englund said.
“That and seeing all the pictures that people take that mean so much to them and that kind of thing, I think those are a big part of it, too,” she added. “And, I like that I can kind of set my own hours. If I feel really crummy one day, I can wait and hopefully the next day I’ll be better, and then maybe work a little longer.”
Englund is also mentoring other scrappers, through a monthly class she leads at her home called Stamp ‘n Chat. On the second Monday of each month, Englund guides the group of ladies through three different projects. Elaborate birthday cards, gift-card holders and Post-It note jackets are a few of the recent projects.
Each class is $10, with supplies included. Group members come away with ideas they could reproduce in the future as gifts.
“I really encourage them to use their own creativity to some degree,” she said of the projects. “It never has to be exactly the way I’ve done it, because I’ve done it sort of like somebody else and sort of like how I want it, you know. So please, feel free to do things a little differently if you like.”
Learn more about the Stamp ‘n Chat group, which is open to new members, and Designated Scrapper on the business’s Facebook page. Or, contact Englund at 691-3001 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Charis Prunty at email@example.com.