* I have been attending scrapbooking retreats/crops for almost ten years now and I have a few tips I would like to share!
Over the years I have learned that it really pays off when I take the time to organize, pack, and prep all my supplies before I leave for an event. I know…everyone is always saying I don’t have time to do that. Often I will get to a retreat and I will hear people saying, ” I just threw everything I own in the bag and brought it”, or (and this one truly makes me cringe), “I never even unpacked my bag from the last crop!”
Even though I am currently a stay at home mother, I have worked outside the home within the last ten years so I certainly understand how hard it can be to find the extra time to prepare. That being said, here are some reasons to encourage you to somehow squeeze in at least a little time to “PREP” yourself for an upcoming retreat/crop!
1. You will be more productive!
(Most of us already cherish the time we get to create because it doesn’t happen as often as we like. So when we do get to attend crops/retreats, of course we want to turn out the pages and feel like we have accomplished set goals, etc…)
2. Spend your money wisely!
(For some this might not be an issue, but I for one want to make sure that I am getting the most for my money. Most retreats/crops are not cheap, but even for the ones that are, you are still spending valuable “time” away from your family. I don’t want to spend good money and come home without anything to show for it. As a mother of three, I also don’t get the chance to spend time creating by myself without distractions. )
3. Give yourself a present!
(More often than not, I do not put myself first when it comes to spending money on things, time on things, etc…and that is the way I want it to be. I don’t ever want my kids to go without something just so I can have something I want. However, when I get lucky enough to attend a retreat/crop, it is my way of pampering myself and letting go so I can relax, rejuvenate, create, and essentially come back home as a better mother, wife, and person. Since pampering myself doesn’t really happen very often, again I want to make the most of my time and suck up every little bit of goodness that I can. I work on hard on preparing and organizing everything for crops/retreats so I can do just that! I give myself the present of being prepared to fully take advantage of my precious creative time!)
* This year while I was packing I decided to take pictures to show you my process and maybe give you a few packing ideas! I took all of my photos with my iPhone and then loaded them into the “Picframe” app so I could arrange them in templates. Then I opened them in “Instagram” to edit them and applied my favorite effect (Earlybird).
* Description of Pics above:
1 – File box I found at Hobby Lobby last week and absolutely love love love! I will definitely buy more – sadly they only had one left when I found it but I will search them out.
Here’s what I put in it:
- Patterned Paper (I look through all my paper and simply grab a small stack of whatever looks pretty or inspiring at the moment. I do not take papers I might have to force myself to find a way to use)
- 12×12 Watercolor paper pad
- 1 bag of scrap paper/die cuts/product packaging
- 1 bag filled with pre-made backgrounds/unfinished projects (these are great to grab for when I am lacking inspiration or just want to finish a couple of projects to get my creative juices flowing!)
- 1 bag filled with templates & stencils
- a couple of resist paper pads
2 – Big Zip bags: one filled with flowers, one filled with adhesives, one filled with thread for my sewing machine
3 – Tim Holtz Palette filled with alcohol ink and perfect pearl mixtures
4 – 14×14 box of pictures (yes, I go through these to and only take and print out ones that inspire me right then. I don’t take pictures I feel guilty about not scrapping yet really because I know I will be inspired to scrap them at some point. I want to feel totally happy and inspired by everything I bring.* Description of Pics above:
1 – a few idea books/mags to look at while I drink coffee in the morning or if I need some extra inspiration
2 – a box filled with different ink pads
3 – a box filled with letter/number stickers
4 – vintage tins filled with washi and paper tape
1 – Box filled with canvas items, stamps, misc…
2 – This is a picture of what’s underneath the stuff on top of the box in pic 1. I organize everything in Ziploc bags.
3 & 4 – My STAEDTLER case filled with all my pens, markers, color pencils, watercolor crayons, etc…
- Chipboard letters
- a bag of flowers
I usually sit this on the floor slightly underneath my table and it makes for easy access when I need to grab things from it
Yes, I also go through my stickers, chipboard, cardstock etc…and only take what inspires me at that given moment. I have found that less is more. When I take fewer items, I do not spend all my time looking at a million things trying to figure out what to use on a project. Instead, I am encouraged to use what I have on hand.
* I load up my table bag with important tools like non-stick craft mats, pencils, ruler, heat gun, sanding block, stapler, water bottle, scissors, etc…
I also take a plastic box to do all of my misting in. I know a cardboard box will also work and then you can throw it away – but I like my box better. I just give it a quick wipe down after each project and it’s ready to go again. I also don’t have to worry about any paint seeping through and I can dry it (unlike a cardboard box). My friend Lindsay said it looked like a kitty litter box…lol yeah it does.
* My all important Embellishment box!
* I organize my embellishments by placing like things together in little plastic bags. All my bling together, all of my tags and little die cuts together, all of my twine in one bag, etc…This really makes everything easy to see and you can find things in a snap!
Even if you don’t organize everything else, at least try to do this one thing and I promise you it will make a difference! I follow the same rules as with all my other supplies – I go through my embellishments and I only pack ones that I want to use right away…or they are brand new and I have been dying to break them open! I mean why even bother taking stuff you don’t like anymore, or haven’t touched in years? You obviously weren’t inspired to use it before now so why would you want to use it this particular weekend when your goal is to relax and just let creativity take over and flow. Are you catching the theme here? Don’t take stuff you are probably not going to use anyway because it will just take up room, cause more clutter, and take up more of your time while you are searching for what to use on your next page.
* I use Maya Road and Prima tins to organize a lot of stuff too. In the top right hand picture you can see my big box of stuff. I usually take a big box to every event and it’s filled with my ott light, extension cords, my box of stickles, all my mists and Distress stains, Cuttlebug, and everything else that I need that didn’t fit into one of my other boxes. The last bottom picture is of my new awesome tool box that I recently bought at a garage sale for a $1. I filled it with my important art supplies: gesso, mediums, paintbrushes, sponges, alcohol ink pens, embossing powders, paints, etc…
Again, I do not take everything I own – this is only a small sampling of my art supplies.
* In Summary
If you take the time to organize your supplies it will pay off in the end. You will not spend most of your time searching through all of your stuff to find things or even just to see what you find. If you look through your stash and only take the things you are really itching to play with, you will be more inspired to create. Let’s face it, part of the whole retreat/crop experience is spending time with friends talking about this and that, so if you plan well before, you can spend plenty of time gabbing with friends and not have to put so much thought into what the heck am I going to work on. You will have laid the ground work before hand and things will run more smoothly. Also, even though it make take you longer the first time you “really” prepare and pack for a crop, it will be so much easier the next time you pack because you will already have a system of what works for you or at least know what doesn’t work for you.
I had a fabulous time at the Crop Around The Clock retreat that I attended hosted by Diane Freeman and Dana Hood. I had a great time visiting with friends, ate tons of food and treats, and got quite a lot done!
*12 layouts, 1 altered record, 1 album cover, and a few new backgrounds to be exact!