Ready to crop?

Scrapbooking is fun. Gathering pictures, ticket stubs, locks of hair - memories - and displaying them artfully on pages is rewarding. Add some like-minded individuals, and you have the making of a Scrap-tastic time!

As the weather cools off, many communities in Canada and the US see day or weekend crops being advertised. Usually for a small fee, (to cover the cost of the venue) you get hours of time for you to work on a project. No kids, no housework, no ringing phones (OK, lots of people will have a cell or tablet on the table!), just some reserved creative time - Yay!

To make the most of your time, here are some tips to add a sense of satisfaction to your next crop.

Choose 1 goal

By chosing only 1 goal, you can stay focused and have progress!

I like to look at my current collections of stuff that needs to be scrapbooked. Today I have lots of piles - a school album for my son with 2-3 pages for each year (not started yet - he's in grade 1 now), a family album of our activities (complete to 2011), a pre-dating box of stuff mostly from university days, my son's album since 2012 (yes, I'm a few years behind!), an outdoors album (hiking and canoeing trips), a Christmas album (2 years behind), a wedding album (of those we've been invited to, just 1 more to add), a grandparents album (annual recap I make about my son), a dog album (of our pets' antics) and a work album (my husband works construction and likes to document when and where he's been - I haven't finished more than 3 pages yet and he's been in the trades for 21 years!)

And that's just off the top of my head....if I add in card making projects - I'd be so completely over whelmed with choices! Where to start? Choose just 1 theme.

By focusing on just 1 set of photos, you can begin (or continue) an album. One theme means you'll likely have similar colours and embellishment choices so you don't have to haul cases of stuff. You'll be able to pack what you need - and if you forget something, chances are somebody else will have it :)

For example, tomorrow I am going to a crop. I like to make our Christmas cards - and it's the last week of October - so I'm thinking cards are my focus. As a back-up, I'll bring my Christmas album because same theme = same tools and embellishments.

Get photos, memories and embellishments organized

Take a look at the photos you'll be bringing. I find that I'm sometimes easily distracted by other people, especially if I have to design every page from scratch. If I pre-sort my photos into pages, I get more done.

My favourite way to store projects for travel is in a 12x12x3 hard plastic case. I layer the base page, background and coordinating papers, photos, die cuts, memorabilia, and stickers. Sometimes I'll have a great idea for a layout - petals on a flower, gifts under a tree, geometric shapes - so I'll add a note with a drawing or words I want to remember. I often have a rough page map in mind so I'll draw those too.

One case can hold a complete album of pages. I've never finished an album at a single crop, but on a good Saturday, I average just over 2 pages finished per hour, usually 12-15 pages in 6 hours.

Ready to assemble!

Another way to store all your page materials is in the album itself! Here you can see the alphabet album my son is working on. We have sorted each page with photos, stickers and die cuts. By keeping everything that belongs on the page in one place, he can complete a page in about 45 minutes - not bad for a 5 year old!!

If I think of the perfect caption for a photo, or have some ideas for journalling, I might try writing them in a special font on the computer. This worked especially well for a vacation album I made because I could paraphrase guide books and pamphlets in one font throughout the album, then have my own observations in another font and in hand written text.

I like to keep the 3D elements in a separate container. I've found those plastic 4x6x1 photo boxes are perfect for holding brads, eyelets, charms, ribbon roses, buttons...These little items can get lost in the bigger case, and this way I can add the same element over several pages to help with album continuity.

Think carefully before packing tools

Some tools are essential for scrapbooking:

  • sharp paper scissors for detailed cutting
  • straight edge ruler
  • pencil and eraser for making notes, and marking
  • archival safe pens and/or markers for titles and journalling
  • 12" straight cutter
  • tape runner and refills

Then there are the extras. I have probably 40 punches - but only use 5 or 6 a lot. Keep your theme in mind as you select tools. I won't need the Mickey Mouse punch for a Christmas album, but the reindeer border punch is being packed.

I love the idea of specialty scissors - but I don't use them that often. I have 3 or 4 favourite pair that are versatile enough to use in many page layouts. If I have a picture that needs one particular specialty cut - I do it right away. I can arrange the other page elements later and I won't have to carry an extra cutting tool.

Stamping is an area where I tend to over pack. I find the cling stamps so easy to add to my tool caddy! Dozens fit in a small stack!! I bring only the medium sized acrylic block and the stamps that stay on theme. I also have a few generic scrolls and border designs that I use or consider for lots of card and page layouts. I am more particular about the inks I bring (they take up more room!), so I stay on theme and bring the most likely colours I'll use.

Keeping the theme in mind, I try for a strict "is this necessary" attitude. Chances are if I absolutely need something, someone will have something close - or I can add that bit when I get home later!

Don't forget snacks!

The last thing to remember is food. It's important to stay hydrated - so drink water. I always have a sealed travel mug to keep my beverage safe from being spilled on my - or worse someone else's - project. Some crop organizers will ban food and drink from the working area to prevent accidents and that might seem a little over-board but if you had spent 3 hours working on a detailed page then someone spilled Orange Crush all over it - you would support the idea too!

I love to snack - it keeps me from grinding my teeth, and gives me a short break so I can check out what everyone else is doing. I stick to chocolates (bite-sized) or mints. These I can keep in a small container or bag in my purse and they don't mess up my fingers! I plan on having several eating breaks throughout the day - a muffin or half a sandwich about every 2 hours. This keeps me fueled and reminds me to walk around a bit.

So call the number on the poster and say "Yes! I'd love to come to your crop!" I promise you'll have a memorable time!

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