Hobbies: A Scrap Over Scrapbooks

If scrapbooking conjures up images of kindly suburban women passing pictures around the kitchen table, then you don't know the modern hobby. Outraged scrapbookers recently forced the industry's top magazine, Creating Keepsakes, to strip a New York woman of its coveted Hall of Fame title after readers noticed a photo credit on one of her layouts. The rules require all entries to be the "sole work" of contestants. But while Kristina Contes admits that she made a mistake, she blames "petty, jealous women" for bullying contest officials into disqualifying her work. "I mean, it's not like I stole someone's boyfriend," says the 28-year-old restaurateur. "This isn't high school."

But it is a cutthroat business. Scrappers spent $2.6 billion on supplies last year, according to the Craft & Hobby Association, and one in four households contains a scrapbooker, making it more popular than golf. The Hall of Fame award can bring celebrity status, TV appearances and teaching jobs. After Contes declined to return her title voluntarily, irate hobbyists smeared her on blogs and threatened to flood her restaurant with fake reservations. "The b–––h doesn't have a moral bone in her body," wrote a commenter on the Scrap Smack blog. Over on the Creating Keepsakes Web site, angry readers cried cover-up and threatened boycotts when editors deleted unkind comments about the company from the site's discussion boards. "I wanted an explanation," says Noell Hyman, who was among the first to question Contes's work. She got more than that: Contes and another woman whose work was questioned have been replaced in the 25-member Hall of Fame class for 2007. "Women prove time and again that they are ridiculous, vile creatures," says Contes. She plans to retreat from the scissors-and-glue game—but she'll always have the memories.