Yikes. It's Tipsy Tuesday day and I'm still germinating my tips for you, so hang with me while I just casually jot down some ideas. Clearly, from the name of my blog, you can tell I like crops, our generation's quilting bee. I thought I would gather some strategies more or less for papercrafters who think they'd like to go but just don't know what to bring or how to make it work for them.
There are lots of web sites and message boards with specific advice on how to pack for a crop, and, there's a whole industry of organization products to help you take your scrapbooking products on the road. Some crafters say they're most productive at crops because they don't have the distractions from home. I get less done because I have the distraction of too many fun ladies all in one room, but I don't mind because I go more for the experience and less for the productivity. If you don't mind a little friendly, unofficial advice . . . here's my no-lose tips for attending a crop.
- Don't try to do a lot of designing at a crop, whether it's a card, scrapbook or altered item. Even though you'll be surrounded by talented people who can prime your artistic pump and give you great feedback, I find there's just too much going on to really get "in the zone."
- Decide in advance what you're going to make at the crop. That way you only have to bring the products you need for that specific project and don't have to sweat trying to bring everything you own and then have to rent a moving van to get there. Scrapbooking kits or Stampin' Up's Simply Sent kits are great to take to crops because the designing is at least half-way done and a good share of the products are already there for you.
- Crops are really great for doing repetitive activities like invitations, party favors or upcoming swaps. One good friend spent an entire crop just trimming and assembling her unmounted stamps, another spent her time just organizing her photos. The camaraderie turns something that would be boring into a memorable experience.
- Walk around and see what everyone's working on. Make the most of the time you have with these terrific ladies. Some will be shy, but others will love sharing their creations and even ask your advice. Meanwhile, you will learn more in one crop than in all your magazine subscriptions. For example, this past weekend I finally found someone who could help me work my Crop-a-dile without mangling my brads (or my fingers), and she did this while also debating who should win American Idol – Jordin or Blake. Now, tell me, where else but at a crop!
- Don't be afraid to go it alone. Half the fun is meeting new people. I've gone buddy-less more often than not and I can honestly say I've never met a scrapbooker I didn't like. That said, though, you will find some venues are more aligned with your tastes or socialization style. If one crop isn't what you thought it would be, try another until you find the perfect fit for you. My favorites are the one's held by Scrapbook Fever in Round Rock for their friendly staff. They also have a few customers are my age. (Okay, no spring chicken here, so I'm not scrapbooking Disney or ultrasound photos.) And, you know, I love the crops sponsored by the Heart of Texas Scrapbooking club. Those ladies Rock!
- Resign in advance to the fact that you won't get everything done you thought you might. Even if you don't get one whole scrapbooking page done, look what else you accomplished: created at least a little something to leave a lasting legacy for future generations, gathered with women who understand the obsession to create with paper, successfully pulled a ploy to get out of the house, and relieved stress in your spouse knowing you've been occupied for at least 5-6 hours. And, if you finish that album, well, that's gravy.