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Scrapbook Manor puts new twist on weekend getaway

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Story and photographs

by Holly Leitner

“So this is what it feels like to have a wife,” Kim Gallagher says as she strolls around Scrapbook Manor in her lounge wear. Gallagher, of Grayslake, Ill., came up here to Walworth’s scrapbooking haven to spend the weekend with her girlfriends, doing what they love to do, memorialize memories via scrapbooking.

At the Scrapbook Manor, owner Karen Heyer makes sure the weekend is all about pampering and creative scrapping. From fluffed pillows to gourmet dinners to sharing every necessary scrapbooking tool, it aims to be the perfect retreat. It’s a bed & breakfast situated in a turn-of-the-century home, making the perfect backdrop for a scrapbooker’s paradise. All meals are catered by a professional chef, scrapbooking tools are plentiful and there is plenty of space to sprawl out in and get creative. All one needs when coming here are memories to journal and comfy pajamas.

Scrapbooking is a popular leisure activity and has become a $2.5 billion industry, more popular than golf. Scrapbooking can be very intensive, as people spend hours on end doing handiwork. That’s why Heyer brings a massage therapist on Saturdays to give the customers a break.

“I do it because I enjoy giving women time and a place to get away, get pampered and go back home rejuvenated,” says Heyer.

The ladies counted their hours on a recent Saturday: From 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. they scrapbooked or “cropped,” with a few breaks for a quick massage, coffee, dinner or wine, or when it was nice enough, a gathering by the outdoor fire. But the rest of the time, movies rolled, chats wafted through the double rooms as they created homes for their memories.

“You can go for 18 hours and not know where the time went,” CJ Sultz said. “It feels like a half hour.”

For these women, it’s a creative outlet and a way to catch up with each other. Most people come in small groups, meeting for the weekend. The upstairs lodging holds 13 beds separated into five rooms, each abode outfitted with pillow-top mattresses, high-thread-count sheets and down pillows. It may be shared rooms, but that’s part of the college-like bonding experience in a luxury dormitory.

Downstairs, spread out in two rooms, are large drafting tables, each station equipped with tools. Scrapbookers are welcome to use any tool available: a state-of-the-art scanner and printer, die-cutter, stamps, computers and idea books. In the shop, crafters can pick up popular papers such as Bazzill, BasicGrey, Karen Foster, Fancy Pants, Little Yellow Bicycle, We R Memory Keepers, and Scrapbook Girl. The idea is, once you’re here, you don’t go anywhere. Pajamas can stay on for the whole weekend.

It’s noon on Sundladies ay, and some are still refilling their custom coffee mugs, still in flannel pajamas head to toe, deciding on what movie goes in next.

One weekend, Sultz, of Glenview, Ill., recalled that she watched five movies — the kind of comfort movies where you nearly have every line memorized — in one day while cropping.

After all, they say, the things you do where you lose sense of time are the things you love to do —the perfect winter oasis.

If you go

To organize a scrapbooking getaway a the Scrapbook Manor, call Karen Heyer at 262-275-2854 or reserve on the website, www.thescrapbook Making early reservations is highly recommended, especially in winter.


The cost is $299 plus tax per person per weekend. Price includes unlimited snacks, beverages, five meals, two nights, 48 hours of scrapping, use of tools, and 48-hour access to the store.

Daily rates on weekends are also offered, space permitting, for those who don’t want to stay overnight. Hourly cropping rates are offered during the week.

The Scrapbook Manor is located at 130 Kenosha St., Walworth, WI 53184.