Are you a scrapbooker, card maker, art journaler, or other paper-crafter? If so, you are probably familiar with the term “Crop” and all that entails.
For others who may just be starting out (whoop whoop) or who are unfamiliar with the huge underground world of scrapbooking, I hope this little diddy opens your eyes to the fantasticness that these innocent girl trips bring into the lives of middle aged women.
I am one of those women. I remember thinking scrapbooking was a glorified way to present your photo album. An artistic way of saving mementos from trips. Junk you didn’t need, like that napkin and coaster from the Golden Nugget in Vegas, or the first little ringlet cut from your 30 something baby’s first haircut. You don’t really need it (Doubtful they can get useful life-saving DNA from that tiny 30 year old pile of hair), but just can’t throw it away. That was my idea of scrapbooking.
That may, by some stretch of the imagination, be the technically correct definition, but it is so much more.
The Scrap Life sucks you in like Hobby Lobby’s 80% OFF section. You get deeper and deeper in, it gets crowded, and there is no turning back. There is stuff to be had on every shelf. Who cares if it is February and the napkins say Happy Thanksgiving. There are reasons to be thankful all year long, right? And…and…Thanksgiving will come around in a few months, and they will be perfect. Get them. GET THEM! Girl!! You KNOW you NEED those napkins! Someone else is reaching for the last pack! The ones with the gold embossed maple leaf on front, SNATCH THEM UP NOOOOWWWWW.
That, my friends, is scrapbooking. You are constantly Jonesing for the newest paper, stamp, cutter, ink, technique….you MUST have them ALL now. You have to be prepared for when you actually get to scrapbook.
All this stuff must be organized, of course. You have to be able to find it when you need it, right? You know, for that elusive Sunday when you get to stay home and do nothing but scrapbook all day?
How you organize your stash depends largely on what style of organizing apparatus was recently on sale, found at a garage sale, or introduced at the latest convention.
Yes, there are scrapbooking conventions and expos. I attend both. My friends and I load way more stuff than we need into the largest vehicle among us and drive (or ride) for hours to get to these weekend events. Hotels, food, gas, and classes…and shopping, of course, and then, exhausted, we cram all of our old crap, and our new crap back into the ride and head home. Excited about the possibilities of the scrapbooking we will do when that Sunday free of responsibilities hits.
We organize, reorganize, and send pictures to each other of our organizing skills. Occasionally, one of us joins a MLM company and “sells” (ie: temporarily gets at a small discount) some way overpriced must-have supplies, and we all ooh and aah over the catalog, order the latest and greatest, and pack it into the must-have tote bag of the season, until we can find a better way to organize it.
Then…I don’t know who the genius was who thought of it, but someone decided that the the-more-the-merrier approach was an ideal situation for paper crafters. They may have been right.
I have no idea why, but these events are called Crops. They can last from a few hours, to a week, but are most commonly held from Friday evening to Sunday at lunch.
There are small crops, just a small group of friends who get together, to those with couple dozen ladies, and those with up to several hundred attendees. You can stay in your pajamas the whole time, but more than likely, there will be a t-shirt to buy, and every cute scrapbooking saying that you can imagine will be featured on the shirt front of someone stopping by your table to see what you are working on.
Crops can be huge productions, taking up entire Civic Centers. At the larger crops, there are often photographers, and multiple props set up to fit the theme of the event. (Some I have enjoyed were Willy Wonka, Steam Punk, Alice in Wonderland, etc.) There are classes, swaps, and, of course, kits.
Kits are pre-designed layouts (mostly double paged decorative papers with words and embellishments to cut out and put together to put your pictures on in your albumn). There are simple to elaborate kits, and always several to match the crop’s theme, and the closest holiday. Kits usually run from $15-$25, but sometimes you can find a sale kit for under $10 or a fancy one over $50. I make my own.
There is a lot of visiting, snacking and laughing at crops, and little, if any judgment. A lot more socializing goes on than actual scrapbooking, that’s for sure. Most large crops provide each person with their own 8’ table, while smaller crops may provide a 6’ table, or have 2 people share an 8’ table. Once again, organization is important. (Stackable containers for the tabletop, rolling carts, compartmentalized totes and bags.)
A scrapbooker is generally afraid of forgetting the one thing she she may need at home, so she packs everything. Ev-er-y-thing. Hundreds of pounds of paper and embellishments. Cricuits and Silhouettes (paper cutting machines), laptops, tablets, printers-paper and (Selphy) photo. Paper cutting gadgets, scissers, punches and glues. Adhesive tape rolling guns are mandatory, of course, as are ink pads in at least 2 dozen colors, as well as stamps and stencils to possibly, maybe, use with said ink pads.
The Crop is not just a place to pretend you are going to actually create a page for your albumn and attach an actual photograph to it. No. Nope. Nada. There are vendors. Yep. You can shop for more scrapbooking stuff to haul home right there at the crop, at 2 AM, in your now pizza-stained pajamas. Wood cut outs, paper flowers, tote bags…and, did I mention kits?
You get the picture now, I think. (If a poll was taken, most scrapbookers’ biggest fear would be that after she is gone, her husband will sell her scrapbooking supplies for what he thinks she paid for them-eek! lol)
Now that you are a little more familiar with the details, I will get back to the topic at hand-the Scrapbooking With Friends Crop in Crowley, LA.
This was my first time to attend SWF, although my friends have been a few times before-this one had always seemed to fall on a weekend that I was already busy. (SWF is a monthly crop.) I had seen the huge group pictures, but was not sure what to expect.
I shoved my 100 lbs of paper and 3 tote bags of supplies into the back of my BFF Kaye’s Tahoe, along with hers, and those of our friends Theresa and Sherry. At 7 AM we were headed South for the 2 hour drive.
We stopped at Wally World on the way to pick up food for the food tables, and snacks for our tables. (Snacks are an integral part of the process, remember?) Then breakfast, (I brought my own food and snacks due to my AIP diet) and after a quick trip through the drive-thru of Mickey D’s, back on the road.
We arrived (I do believe it was the coldest, windiest day of the year) and started unloading our bags and bags, and pounds and pounds, of stuff. Kaye finally found us a janitor’s cart, and we were all happy to see it, mop bucket and all!
Once inside, we dropped off our food on the (3) food tables, and our donations to the (3) Free, Swap and Trade tables (bring items you no longer want or use, and take something that you would like to have) and registered for the drawings, There were some awesome door prizes, and even ‘scrapbook bingo’, along with several tables of kits for sale.
Sherry found us a spot where we were semi-all together, Theresa sat across from us. They had 8’ tables, 2 persons per table, butted up to tables on the other side, so that you could look across and visit with your table mate.
The drawings and games started early (5 games of bingo and a quilt give-away) and we all started digging out our projects. Kaye and I worked on art journaling, and Sherry and Theresa worked on kits and pages. I used paint, markers and glues for mine, so I was in a constant state of waiting for something to dry. I brought my heat gun, but this particular crop only had certain areas with power, and my table was not one of them. (I was too lazy to go hunting for a place to plug in and dry, but I brought 5 art journals, so I survived, lol. )
Soon they called for lunch, and the line quickly formed. I tried my best not to overhear the oohing and aahing over the various flavors of King Cake, and to divert my attention away from the Po-Boys, chicken strips, and broccoli salads. Everyone really seemed to enjoy their lunch. (My contribution was grain free chips and hummus-in case there was anyone else who ‘eats funny’ like me). I enjoyed my lunch, too!
We all took turns taking pictures at the prop station, and they had some really cute items to choose from, and a nice large background. We did a group photo on the bleachers, as well. (The event is held in a church gymnasium.)
I met some really nice and creative new scrapbooking friends, did a few journal pages, and enjoyed my day with the girls.
Late that afternoon, we packed all of our goodies back into our fancy totes, crammed them, and the new junk from the free tables back into Kaye’s Tahoe, and headed home. All-in-all, it was a great girl’s day!