By, Gina Karas
If you’re anything like me, you love to attend crops and retreats. The dedicated time to work on your projects is just what you need. The date is on the calendar and you’ve talked about it for weeks with your friends. But, the week before has arrived and panic has set in. How in the world do I pack for this event? What do I take with me? How much is too much? What if I forget something? Lions and tigers and bears…OH MY!!
Take a deep breath. You can do this. Over the years, I’ve attended many crops and retreats and I go through certain steps to prepare myself. Here are a few tips that you can use to make getting ready easy and fun:
1) Decide what you want to work on while you’re at the event. Don’t worry about getting anything together yet. Just make the decision on what you’re trying to accomplish with that dedicated time. Is it page layouts, cards, mini-albums, paper crafts, home décor, etc?
2) Go through your projects and see if you already have some unfinished ones that you can finish up. I tend to do this for the “instant gratification” factor. If I start off by finishing an unfinished project, then it gets me into the creative mood and I already have a completed project under my belt. It is very satisfying to finish something that is incomplete and helps stop the negative self-talk. Then I can tackle a new project with motivation & inspiration flowing.
3) If you’re going to be working on layouts, be sure that you have your photos picked out, organized and printed. I see so many scrappers spending time at crops or retreats going through photos. As a time saver, I do this ahead of time and put the photos that I’ll be scrapping either into plastic sleeves to be paired up with paper/embellishments later or into my photo tote. As a reminder, I put a Post-It Note on the front of the photo pile to let me know the event, date, place & any other important details to be used in the journaling. You can gather what you will need for each layout and put supplies into big zip-lop bags or pile them into 12 by 12 boxes. NOTE: Our Editor, Carrie, does this in front of the TV and it works great!
4) Once you’ve decided on the type of projects that you’ll be working on, then you can start gathering your supplies. If you already have kits purchased for your projects, put those next to your tote/bag. If you’re going to be gathering supplies from your stash, decide on your color scheme first to help narrow down what you need.
5) Always check your adhesive supply! This is the most important tip, especially if you’re in a remote location away from any nearby stores. Be sure that you have enough of both wet & dry adhesive.
6) Once you’ve packed your photos, supplies & adhesive, don’t forget about your own comfort! I always have comfy socks/slippers to keep my feet warm or flip flops to let my feet cool off. Always bring a light sweater or jacket to be prepared for any changes in room temperature. I always bring my cup holder to keep my plastic tumbler off of the scrapping table. The plastic tumbler cups with the screw on lids and hard plastic straws are the best. Check with your hostess to see what snacks & drinks will be provided, so that you can be prepared with your own stash too.
7) How much is too much to bring? What if I forgot something? These are the biggest panic questions of them all. I bring enough to keep me busy, but not too much to look like I’m moving in for the weekend! I usually have my rolling tote with all of my kits, cardstock, Thickers & paper trimmer. I have two plastic cases that hold my bling, inks, stains & embellishments. Those fit into a square tote that also holds my cup and drink holder. Then, I have my tool kit with all the basics: ATG gun, foam dots of all sizes, glue dots of all sizes, journaling pens, scissors, ruler, paper piercer, Glossy Accents, Crafty Tape, tweezers, Xacto knife, Crop-A-Dile, corner rounder, Tiny Attacher and a few other odds & ends. If I forget something, I always remember that I’m surrounded by crafters. Don’t be afraid to ask your fellow crafter. She probably has what you forgot. I have never been let down yet when I ask.
8) Once you’re packed up and ready to hit the road, don’t forget about getting there safely. Be sure that you have directions to and from your destination. Take off with a full tank of gas, in case you get lost. Be sure that your cell phone is charged or charge it in the car on the way. You’d be surprised how many of us forget the little things when we’re worried about what to pack.
9) Put on your favorite scrapbooking t-shirt, take a deep breath and exhale.
10) HAVE FUN!!!!
Gina Karas is a traditional scrapbooker with a passion for photography. She work full-time as a Sales Assistant in the construction industry, but spends her spare time crafting with her mom and crazy friends! “Scrapbooking keeps me sane!” she says. See her projects and posts about scrapping & crafting on her blog, California Scrappin’.