Saturday, April 11, 2009

oh, a-croppin' we will go...

Finally! I'm going croppin'! Next weekend I'll be in Batesville, South Carolina with at least one friend, maybe 3, maybe 4... I don't care. I'd go alone. I need the getaway.

I remember my very first crop weekend. I had been cropping for a 2 & 1/2 years - I totally didn't understand this forfeiting a weekend to do nothing but scrapbook! If I was going to give up a weekend with the family, I was going shopping, or to the beach, or exploring... not sitting in an enclosed room working on my albums. But something made me say "yes" this time - it was November 2001 - and I had nothing but an absolutely wonderful time!

I've gone on crop weekends since, but not any in 4 years. Time has not allowed it, but the truth is, I haven't been motivated. I kinda walked away from my scrapbooks. I continued to take photographs, document memories and buy an abundance of materials, but I wasn't preserving anything. I've gotten into these blogs - mostly concentrating on the card making - but I realized, I miss cropping. So, I've set aside a weekend to crop with a bunch of girls I don't know. And I cannot wait.

Being so behind with my memory keeping, I'm going thru a rigorous process of figuring out what I'm going to do, what I'm going to need & the challenges of getting my hands on everything. Thank goodness I'm a planner & an organizer because I've spent a little bit of time this past week, and will also this coming week, getting everything together. My friend, Dana, who can't go with me this weekend wanted to know "how do you plan for a crop away from home???" So I thought I'd share my process here.

1) Decide what you're going to work on: if you're current w/your scrapbooks, this is relatively easy - you just keep moving forward. The only challenge I would ponder here is whether you have enough to keep you busy for the entire weekend, especially if you're a regular cropper. Someone like me, tho, who is years behind and has a long list of project ideas, it's not so bad to decide what to do. In my case, I'm going to work on 2009, so 4 & 1/2 months worth of "stuff." This seems easy enough, because, really, how much as happened since the first of the year??? Well, apparently, plenty! Much more than I realized... I went back thru my date book and my pictures and was a little amazed. But that's OK! At least I won't run out of material over the weekend, right?

2) Sort your pictures: in this digital era, this means (for me) going thru my pictures on the computer. I wish I was the type of person who immediately organized her pictures @ download. I'm not! I spent at least 4 hours on this step - going thru the various different files on my computer, checking each picture to make sure it was in the right file, putting it where it belonged if it wasn't.

3) Start a notebook: This was the smartest thing I did - why didn't I think of it before? I just grabbed a spiral notebook and labeled the top of a page with the event I was going to scrapbook (not necessarily in order - hope that doesn't trip me up down the road!). I listed out the pictures I wanted to use on this page, and the sizes, and sometimes a sketch of what I thought the page might layout to... I jotted down memorabilia, notes of what what I wanted to include (say a quote on "Spring"). If I thought of a clever caption, or if a particular picture had a certain memory to journal, I noted it here, too. What would make this perfect would be some sort of pockets to include the pictures themselves or some memorabilia... but whatever! I also used this a checklist to make sure the pictures I wanted to print were all received.

4) Print your pictures: whether you do this yourself @ home or send them off, keep a record of which pictures you wanted and then verify they all printed. I took my spiral notebook with me and realized, while still @ the store, that I was missing 5 that I sent to Walmart to print for me via the internet. If they're not in by tomorrow, we're guessing they're lost and I'll have to resend for printing - which isn't going to make me happy after all the time I spent working on this!

5) Sort your memorabilia: using my notebook, I was able to put this together pretty quickly - and despite my backlog, I'm pretty confident I've put my hands on everything I wanted to include.

6) Pack your supplies: since I know exactly what I'm going to scrap and how I might potentially lay it out, I know what I need... I tend to overpack, tho! I'm really going to try to pare it down, lighten my load. Hopefully, the CM consultant will have all of her tools, and I'm sure if I really need something I'll be able to borrow it from someone else. If not, NO WORRIES! Why? Because I've learned to be prepared for such... read on:

7) Pack "crop office supplies": I have these in their own container. They include:
  • black gel pen: when it doubt, use black! Also serves as a pen. I always need a pen for some reason...
  • pencil
  • small post-it notes: I use these to remind me of anything the page needs that I can't produce @ the moment and want to come back to later; this is my life saver for not having every single crop supply or bit of information @ my fingertips when cropping away from home.
  • stapler: I don't know why, but this has come in handy more than once
  • a calculator
  • a notebook for reminders, ideas, notes, sketches, new friend's contact info; my mind is reeling when I'm in creative mode and I want to capture these raging thoughts!
  • a calendar
  • rubber bands
  • paper clips
  • scotch tape
  • hand sanitizer (I know, I've read the reports that these aren't as effective as they claim but the way I figure it, something is better than nothing)
  • hand lotion
  • lip balm
  • bobby pins and a hair rubber band so I can pull my hair out of my face as it tends to distract me!

8) Organize, sort & pack embellishments to use: go thru decorative papers, stickers, punches, ribbons, dimensionals, etc.

I have completed #1-6 as of today. I'll finish #s 7 & 8 before bed tonight. I'll be 6 days ahead of the game as of tomorrow. Plenty of time to decide what else I might need & have time to put it together. I'll also be able to spend the next 5 days getting my clothes & other packing things together. For this particular crop get away, the consultant recommended we bring sheets, blankets and pillows! OMGosh! Not exactly the Ritz, huh? Since this is going to be a dorm environment, I'll bring a pair of flip flops to wear in the shower, too. Of course my camera has to go so I can capture all the great memories I'll make that weekend!

It's going to be great fun - I've got high hopes I'll accomplish alot and I'll be nothing but ready to Friday morning when it's time to head out.