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Scrapbookers devoted to biweekly sessions

Exhausted, they'll walk to their cars at 2 a.m., weary from hours devoted to their admitted obsession.

And yet, hours later, they'll be eager to be back at it. Scrapbooking, that is — cutting, pasting, arranging and rearranging layouts designed to immortalize a moment in time.

A few times a month, a dozen or so women gather at Lexington's Lasting Legacy to take part in a marathon scrapbooking session called a Call to Crop. For $10, they get access to work space and tools, and a chance to win door prizes and enjoy their hobby in the company of other aficionados.

"It's never enough," said Bridgette Campbell, whose scrapbooks bulge with pictures of her four children — Eli, Aubrey, Evi and Claire.

"My husband hunts and he is gone a lot," she said, so scrapbooking is her retreat. "I wouldn't say it saved our marriage, but it helped."

But, she said, "my friends that don't scrapbook don't understand."

Campbell considers it crucial time to herself.

"I am so busy," she said. "It's the only thing I do for me. I don't think I have ever canceled scrapbooking."

Campbell's devotion is common, said Lasting Legacy owner Christi DeMoss, who started scrapbooking herself about 10 years ago after the birth of her child. Obsession is a word you'll hear often from scrapbookers, she said.

Nearly every scrapbooking store holds work sessions or "crops," she said. Scrapbooking is social in the way quilting bees once were.

It's a good outlet for people, she said, especially mothers who can claim some time to themselves while still making something their families can enjoy.

This is not scrapbooking as many know it — gluing some pictures on a blank page. Today's scrapbookers can choose from hundreds of elaborately decorated types of paper and add accents of all kinds — buttons and feathers and gadgets, and tiny icons of all sorts. Hard-core scrapbookers carry wheeled suitcases bulging with paraphernalia.

The nighttime sessions are a great girls' night out, a chance to catch up and, more important, share ideas and equipment.

Jorene "Jo" Brown said she has enticed several of her friends into the scrapbooking circle.

"I've gotten three hooked," she said with a smile, "so they can buy the stuff we don't have so we can all share."

At a recent Call to Crop, the chatter of the early evening soon fell into silence as the dozen or so women worked intently on their pages.

Perfectionism is a pitfall. For some, a single page can take hours.

After all, as Mary Ann Abner said while arranging a page featuring her daughter Maggie: "It's got to look good," she said. "It's for posterity."