One Bright Spot: Sisters help others preserve cherished memories

June, 2009 Posted in People

Twins Jennifer Evans and Rebecca Grinder create One Bright Spot.

By Mary Owen

Two local artists keep busy by helping others make memories with “family-inspired” paper art that they sell online.  

“One Bright Spot gives us the artistic outlet we both really need,” said Jennifer Evans, of Lyons, who owns the Web store with her twin sister, Rebecca Grinder, of Aumsville.

With almost a decade of scrapbooking experience, Evans admits to being a “little out of the ordinary.” She said she often gets caught up in “a mess of paint, distressing and ephemera.” Grinder, who previously worked for an online scrapbooking store, keeps her grounded with her clean lines and designs.

This collaboration between the twins reflects “family” in every card or gift they create.

“Even during my school years, my art was inspired by my family’s history,” Evans said. “I breathed the 1930s and ’40s. My twin sister and I watched classic movies and listened to big band music before it was cool.”

Evans left a teaching career to be a stay-at-home mom and began looking for a way to channel her creativity. Her sister introduced her to scrapbooking and paper crafting. After growing as a designer by working part-time for a local scrapbooking store, a second career was born.

“Becca and I had been dreaming about opening an Etsy store for a while,” Evans said of the Web network that is home to One Bright Spot. “Finally last year, I sat her down and said, ‘Why not?’ What was keeping us from fulfilling that dream? We missed working in the paper-crafting community, where we could build relationships while preserving memories. We love to bless others.”

The store, Evans said, also allows both to blossom as artists. 

A paper crafter for more than 10 years, Grinder said, “Jennifer’s style is more vintage collage, which reminds us of our grandparents’ time spent in London and Southend-On-Sea, England. My style is simple and geometric, using bright colors. It reminds us of the simple pleasure found I in the place our grandparents called home after they came to America.”

Born in London, grandmother Renee spent her time there during World War II as an entertainer, designer and bomb warden. Traveling to Southend in Essex for a holiday changed her life.

“She was at the Kursaal carnival with her friend, Betty, when she lost her handbag,” the twins relate on their Web site. “As she walked by the game booths, a man called out for her attention. She told the young man that she would only play his game if he had a handbag for a prize. He didn’t, and she walked on.”

As fate would have it, another pass by the young man’s booth resulted in a dance date later in the week. Sydney Berg and Renee fell in love, married, and with their three children, climbed aboard the HMS Queen Mary and sailed for new life in America. They landed in New York, traveled the country and settled in Santa Barbara, Calif.

“My sweet Nana would have thought it a great adventure,” Grinder said about One Bright Spot. They try to capture the special memories families and future generations can cherish. “She would have said we were dears for telling others about her life. I don’t think she really knew how much she inspired us to love and live.”

Their grandfather also greatly influenced the sisters.

“He would be amazed at the idea that people halfway around the world can see our work and order from our store,” Evans said.

Her grandfather once tried to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for getting more than 350 ribbons at the State Fair.

“They declined,” Evans added. “There is no category for that kind of achievement.”

What he – and her grandmother – impressed upon their grand-daughters was a love of laughter and life.

“I miss holding Grandpa’s hand, and the way no noise would come out of his mouth when he laughed too hard,” Evans said. 

“I miss lying with my grandmother, watching the Andy Hardy series. It’s important to remember – not just the big events – but simply who they were.”

Their grandparents children all live and work locally. Sandra, the twins’ mother, lives in Stayton and works in Aumsville. Raymond Berg is Aumsville’s postmaster. “And Uncle Adrian resides in West Salem,” Evans said. “I know Sydney and Renee would be proud of their family’s legacy, and please that we are preserving it.”

The twins hope to inspire their customers to record everyday moments through scrapbooking, now called “life art” by many who participate.

“Scrapbookers are expanding from art that tells about a single event to work that tells their life story,” Evans said. “And ultimately, isn’t that what preserving memories is all about?”

From their first sale to a person in Israel to the many other customers they serve through their Web store, the sisters have taken items originally created for friends to greater visibility. 

“Eventually, we would love to have a studio to work from,” Evans said. “Where we could hold classes and scrapbooking events,” Grinder finished in only a way twins can do. “But to start, we would be thrilled to see some of our tags hanging in the local scrapbook stores.”

The bottom line, Evans said, is, “We want people to feel empowered to tell their story.”

“The heart of scrapbooking isn’t about all the fancy paper, buttons and glitter,” Grinder added. “It’s about the story you have to tell. We want to help you document that one bright spot, that memorable moment in your life!”

Visit One Bright Spot at


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