Allyson Gehman has one bookcase dedicated solely to paper, two bins of ribbons, glitter galore and much more in her craft room. “I don’t buy shoes and clothes, I buy scrapbooking stuff,” she says. The Fort Worth mom and wife is co-owner of Sassy Scrap, a custom scrapbooking service, and she sells her handmade cards online. But this Birdville elementary-school nurse also uses her crafty talents to give back to America’s military.
How did you get into the paper arts? I started doing calligraphy in fifth grade, and every year I would explore new artistic mediums on my own. Scrapbooking became popular in the late ’90s; they were coming out with so many wonderful products that I became hooked. I started making cards several years ago and selling them in order to make money for the adoption [of our now nearly 5-year-old son, Reece].
Does Reece ever craft alongside you? Not really. My stuff is pretty expensive. I also have pigment inks that stain carpet. But sometimes he’ll say, “Mom, let’s make art.” So he has his own kid-friendly stamp pad, and he can work next to me.
Tell us a little about Operation Write Home. Operation Write Home is a wonderful national organization that provides handmade blank cards to members of the U.S. military who are stationed overseas. The military personnel write in them and mail them to loved ones back home. I love making cards, but unfortunately my business suffered greatly with the economy. I got involved with OWH about a year ago because it’s a way for me to still make cards, and I could turn it into something meaningful. Lately, I have sent lots of autumn-themed cards, including some Halloween cards that moms and dads can send their kids. I mail off a box of 300 cards about every four months.
What’s your favorite type of card to make? I really enjoy making cards with matching envelopes; this has become my trademark. I really liked making Father’s Day cards this year. I think a lot of men wouldn’t seek out a Father’s Day card for their dad, but if there’s a box plopped in their laps [from OWH] they might be more likely to do it. Those fathers at home would be really blessed to get that.
Any advice for moms who want to start scrapbooking? Start with one event, such as a birthday party or Christmas. Buy some papers that would specifically go with that occasion.
How did you and your husband, Christian, meet? My college roommate came home from church in 1996 saying, “I met the perfect guy for you!” I had heard that same comment from so many people that I didn’t give it a second thought. We met a few weeks later, and I was really impressed with him. This is where our stories diverge: He says that I was dating someone else when we met, but I know I wasn’t. So long story short, four years later we reunited through email, and the rest is history.
You’re more than a year into the adoption process in Ethiopia for the second time. What does Reece think about adding a sister to the family? He says that he will let her sleep in his baby bed and that he will share his baby toys with her—but not his big-boy toys. Overall, I think he is really excited.
Did you read any good books this summer? Several, but my favorite was The Fidelity of Betrayal: Towards a Church Beyond Belief by Peter Rollins. It’s a very refreshing take on modern personal spirituality.
Do you have a favorite childhood Halloween
costume? I dressed up as Holly Hobbie once with a bonnet and a fake yarn wig.
What’s your favorite family activity? I love waking up late on Saturday mornings to Reece jumping on the bed. He uses the covers to pretend to be an egg and he hatches. Those are times I’m going to remember when I’m old—just enjoying each other.