Pursuits of Happiness: Papercrafting

Photos by Kaiti Sullivan/The Herald
Sylvia Seger of Jasper, right, reaches over her niece, Deanne Seifert of Jasper, for a stamp while handcrafting cards in Seger's home on Dec. 21. Seger has been handcrafting cards for more than 20 years and spent most of them working at a craft shop in Santa Claus. Now she works in her own craft room from home. "It's my getaway," Seger said. "I walk in this room and I absolutely can just forget about the rest of the world. My husband's been gone for nine years and it's a time that really lets me let go of all of that. It was my salvation after he died to have this."


Creativity takes many forms.

Many in Dubois County express their creativity through papercrafting, or creating items out of paper products.

And they have been doing it for years.

“This is my relaxation time,” said Sylvia Seger of Jasper. “It’s my time to get away from everything. I don’t think about anything. You go into your own little world.”

Seger has been involved in crafting most of her life.

“I grew up with a mother who was huge into every kind of crafting thing you could imagine,” she said.

She used to do a lot of needlework, but got more into papercrafting when she became a first-grade teacher at Fifth Street Elementary. “That’s what you had when you worked with children,” Seger said. “That is what they could work with easily.”

These days, Seger’s papercrafting focuses mostly on making cards. She makes hundreds of them each year, and has a list of family members and friends she sends cards to every year for different holidays and occasions.

Sylvia Seger of Jasper handcrafts a winter card at her home in Jasper.

“The reason I love cards so much is that I can mail them out, I can share them with somebody or I give whole sets of cards to somebody as a gift,” she said. “From the time I was in college, I knew how important it was to me to receive cards in the mail. So I’ve always been a big card sender.”

In those early years, she bought cards to send. But while living in Santa Claus with her husband, the late Bob Seger, she befriended the woman who owned a local scrapbooking store called the Village Scribe Shoppe. “She got me into card making,” Seger said.

Seger went on to teach classes to others for the time the store was in operation, in the late 1990s to early 2000s. She even worked on cards when she and Bob were traveling.

“I had a lap desk that I would put on my lap, and I would work on cards the whole time we traveled somewhere,” she said.

Seger now lives in Jasper. But she continues her passion for card making. She likes to make other things out of paper, and she’s scrapbooked as well. But she prefers to make things that she can give to others.

Seger’s love for papercrafting rubbed off on her niece, Deanne Seifert, who has been making cards for about six years.

“Sylvia would send us cards that she made. And I’ve kept all of those cards,” Seifert said. “I’ve put them in the box, one for the kids to keep and for mine.”

Unlike Seger, Seifert finds it’s difficult to send the cards she’s made. So she has a collection of hundreds of cards at her home.

“I keep looking at them, and that gives me more ideas,” she said. “I do give some out. But, I don’t know what it is. You know how some people like to collect baseball cards? I like to collect my greeting cards.”

Hundreds of stamps line the shelves in Sylvia Seger's home in Jasper.

Making cards “is a stress reliever,” she said. “It relaxes me.”

Seifert tries to craft every other week, and goes to her Aunt Sylvia’s house to craft in her craft room about once a month. She also goes other places to craft, including the scrapbooking sessions and card classes at the Doodlebug, the Jasper craft store.

She likes the creativity behind papercrafting.

“You really don’t use your imagination when you work and clean, things like that. To me, you’re not using that part of the brain. I do when I go make cards,” Seifert said. “To do something, and then realize, ‘Wow, I’m not so bad at this. I am creative.’ It’s a neat feeling. It’s using my imagination.”

Staci Williams of Huntingburg said scrapbooking allows her to take some time for herself.

“It’s a stress reliever just to get away from everything,” she said. “It gives you a chance to take a breather.”

She got into scrapbooking 14 years ago because she wanted to make her friend a gift.

“We took a trip to Tennessee, and I decided that I wanted to make her a scrapbook,” she said. “I’d never scrapbooked before in my life. I had no clue what I was doing. I bought a kit and went to another friend’s house who scrapbooked, and she taught me how to make pages.

“And then I got addicted,” she said.

Williams scrapbooks all kinds of pictures, like vacation photos. She’s made a wedding album for a friend. She is working on a scrapbook for her son of his school years.

“I’m like to eighth grade, and he’s 25,” she said with a laugh. “So I’m a little behind. But I do other things in between.”

She’s also keeps a scrapbook of the fun cakes she’s made for family and friends. “I’m working on that one now,” she said, “to take a break from other things.”

She does most of her scrapbooking at retreats and scrapbook fundraising events, although she does have a small table at home that she can work on. She prefers working at the retreats.

Sylvia Seger, right, and her niece, Deanne Seifert, both of Jasper, make cards together at Sylvia's home.

“I like the friendships you make through scrapbooking,” she said. “And I like to see a page come together and see those memories. It’s more than a photo album.”

Ann Henke of Holland started scrapbooking on her own 23 years ago.

“My son was on a basketball traveling league when he was 7 years old, and we traveled a lot. I always took a lot of pictures of all of them playing,” she said. “We spent a lot of time in hotels. So I started doing it in hotels between games.”

Eventually, she started taking classes, going on scrapbooking retreats and attending scrapbook conventions. And that opened up a floodgate of connections to other papercrafters.

“You meet a lot of people at those retreats and conventions,” she said.

Not only has she gone to local events, she’s been to conventions in Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and Florida. “I’ve met so many people,” Henke said. “I’ve got friends all around.”

She scrapbooks at home, too. “My husband says I take over the whole house,” she said.

Henke, who is retired, scrapbooks weekly. Her recent projects have been making pages of photos of her 2-year-old granddaughter, and making individual scrapbooks for her six nieces and nephews. “They go back to 1985 up to this year,” she said.

She also helps with a scrapbook event at Holland United Methodist Church, which raises money for Relay for Life. That next event will happen March 28. And she’s helped with a jail ministry where she provided materials and led inmates in making their own cards. “It was mostly with the women,” she said. “But the guys even got into it.”

Henke has at least one more scrapbooking goal she wants to achieve.

“On my bucket list is to do a scrapbook cruise, where they scrapbook every day at sea,” she said. “I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. So this is where I spend my money.”

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