Making Memories for more than a decade

Heights shop 'second home' for local hobbyists

Those planning to take up a new hobby for the new year can look to Burnaby Heights for direction.

The Heights is home to a specialty shop, Making Memories with Scrapbooking, located across Hastings Street from Safeway, near the corner of Willingdon Avenue.

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The modest entrance opens onto a much bigger space than expected, filled with paper, ribbons, trimmings and more. In the back of the shop is a table, set aside for customers who gather there to make scrapbooks and cards.

"For a lot of them, it's their second home," co-owner Debbie Siu says, adding scrapbooking is a social hobby. "So many friendships have blossomed here."

Siu began the business 12 years ago after meeting co-owner Diana Pesa when they were working at Costco, she says. The two, along with co-owner Amari Yu, have run it ever since.

She discovered Pesa also enjoyed scrapbooking when they were in the lunchroom, and they joked about opening a store together, Siu says.

"Literally, in a couple of months we had the store open," she says. "We didn't think about it at all and if we had, we probably wouldn't be here today."

Times have changed since Making Memories first opened, according to Siu, and the store focuses on personal stationery such as wedding invitations and birth announcements these days.

"We've seen since we opened in 2001, there's been a shift," she explains. "Scrapbooking was so big back then and now with digital scrapbooking, and with a lot of moms are so busy, we've seen a shift to our business, so that's why we went into personal stationary, because we saw a need for invites and that sort of thing."

Cardmaking is also big, she adds, and the store just finished up its Christmas card classes last month.

"It's always really popular," she says.

For those interested in starting a hands-on, artistic hobby, scrapbooking still has its faithful followers.

"Organizing your photos is the first step, which takes a lot of time," Siu says. "It helps to journal a little bit too, and keep all your ticket stubs because you know, a scrapbook is supposed to tell a story."

People are often nervous about scrapbooking, according to Siu, because they think they don't have the creativity for it.

"It's amazing how many people come in and say, 'I can't do it,' then once they come for a class and do the layout, they are more confident," she says. "I always tell everybody, you're all creative in your own way."

Siu began scrapbooking when she was studying to be a teacher at Simon Fraser University and used it for a final project, she says. She also used it to document her travels after graduating.

"For me, it's just a fun outlet to show all our memories," she says. "And my kids do appreciate it and they do look at the books. In the end, it's very rewarding."

 For more information on the shop, go to www.makingmemorieswithscrapbooking.com.

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