How lucky could a sports-loving scrapbook neophyte be? My first "crop" is an all-star gathering.
    My teacher is Lisa Bearnson, Highland resident and the founding editor of Creating Keepsakes scrapbook magazine. My classmates are the wives of some of the Utah Jazz players and coaches.
    Jazz staff members - several of whom scrapbook - pulled the gathering together when they realized most of the players have children younger than 5. By the time the kids are old enough to understand basketball, Daddy might be playing in another city or retired. A scrapbook of their playing days in Utah would bridge the memory gap.
    We meet in an underground suite at the EnergySolutions Arena. Bearnson and her staff have put together a packet that includes Jazz-colored paper, lettering, "naked" chip board and brackets that we will use to create two sports-themed pages with the title "Play Hard."
    Before we begin, Cheyenne Araujo - wife of Rafael - shows everyone her first scrapbooking effort: a small album of her now-3-year-old daughter's first trip to Brazil, her dad's birthplace. Cheyenne's hoping today's event will inspire her to do even more.
    "I think it's fun to look back and remember," she says. "Rafael says it shows you care."
    Now I feel guilty. Until now, I have shunned this popular hobby, partly because of time and expense, but mainly because I never liked those pages filled with ribbon and doo-dads and one photograph trimmed to the size of a golf ball.
    That's not to say the Stephenson family photos are in disarray. After they're developed, we slide them into protective covers, label them and store them in three-ring albums. They are organized and easy to find.
    But as my children's school certificates, Little League photos and artwork pile up in a box in the closet, I realize I need to do something more.
    Bearnson gives me and the Jazz team some simple strategies to get started:
    * Use 12-by-12 paper. It gives you more "real estate" to work with than 8 1/2 -by-11.
    * Flaps and pockets create even more space on a page.
    * With "naked," or unpainted, chip board, you can paint it any color you want. In this project, it was colored white and used to spell out the name of our favorite player and his jersey number.
    * Buy some archival mist and spray it on newspaper clippings. It neutralizes the acid and prevents yellowing.
    * It's more expensive than glue, but pages come together faster when you use sticky dots tape.
    Amy Williams, wife of Jazz guard Deron Williams, makes me feel better that my children's Jr. Jazz basketball photos are buried in a box.
    "This will be the first page I've ever done for Deron," she says as she paints the chip board. "We have so much stuff saved like newspaper clippings and stuff from his college days."
    Williams is an avid scrapbooker. But most of her time and energy is spent chronicling 4-year-old Denae and 8-month-old Daija.
    "It's fun. I'd rather do that in my free time than anything else," she says.
    But she feels no urgency to start on a sports book for her husband, she says. "He knows I'll get to it at some point."
    I hope I can get to my own all-star album sooner than that.
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    * KATHY STEPHENSON can be contacted at kathys@sltrib.com or 801-257-8612. Send comments about this story to livingeditor@sltrib.com.