February 14, 2008
What is a crop? It's where a group of people get together and work on their scrapbooking projects. They can be held at someone's home, a church, or even at your local scrapbook/craft store. They usually last 3-5 hours. Super crops will last 6+ hours. Crops are great opportunities to get away from distractions and get some serious scrapbooking done. They're lots of fun, but if you don't know what you're in for, read on.
What to Bring
In the past, before I would go to a crop, I would spend hours just figuring out what to bring. After setting up at the crop site, I'd realize that I had forgotten some important tools and not be able to do my best work. Very frustrating! Fortunately for you, I have a check list so you don't get caught without during your precious scrapbooking time.
Tools - obviously you would need your tools.
Make sure you have plenty of adhesive. Nothing is worse than getting halfway through a project and just as you're really getting into it, you run out of glue. Don't let this happen. Have backups for your backup supply.
Bring paper cutters. I bring a large 12 x 12" one and a smaller 11 x 4". The large one is obviously for the 12 x 12" sheets that can't be cut any other way. The smaller one is a more convenient size to be used more frequently. Scissors are also a must. If you like the decorative type then bring those, but remember to always have a straight edged pair of scissors. I keep a small but very sharp pair just for scrapbooking
Paper - of course bring paper!
Embellishments - If you are into embellishments you'll need those, too. Bring ribbons, stickers, brads, whatever you're in to. Bring your hole punch and eyelet setter. Don't forget your eyelets!
Photos - You can make layouts and add the photos later, but it's much easier to have the picture there on hand.
Snacks - It's easy to work up a snack attack while working on layouts for hours on end. Have some granola bars, crackers, sodas, or whatever on hand to tide you over so you can concentrate on your work.
Inspiration - Nothing is worse than getting "Scrapper's Block" while at a crop. You have invested time in showing up and to just sit there with no creative juices flowing can be frustrating. I suggest you bring magazines, other scrapbooks or a scrapbook journal to have something to get your mind working
Extra Cash - If you are at a scrapbook store, they might offer a deal (a percentage off all merchandise) for those involved in the crop. This is a great time to stock up on stuff you need at a discount. You also might see something you need that you forgot to bring.
How Much to Bring
Now you know what to bring, it can be tricky figuring out how much. This takes some prep work in advance but it will make your crop experience go much more smoothly.
Double Up on Supplies - So you're not running around at the last minute looking for your scissors or glue runner, have two sets of most of your tools. One for home, the other for crops. Keep your "crop tools" in your packs or totes and only use them on crop nights. You'll never be without and you'll be confident as you head out the door.
Have a "Crop Project" - This is a great time saver. Have everything you need for one project. Figure out what colors, patterned paper, embellishments, have your journaling printed up, and photos ready. Then resist the urge to finish the layout right then and save it for crop nights only. Have several "crop projects" ready to take. I keep them separated by having all the project parts in a clear plastic page protectors. You can also use a handy device called the Croppin' Companion which has pockets and folders to keep all of your supplies at hand.
Be Organized - If you are planning on attending crops regularly (once a week, month, etc.) you will need to purchase a travel organizer. There are many totes that are made specifically for scrapbookers, but you can improvise with what you have. The easiest carriers to use are the ones with wheels. They have these at scrapbook and craft stores. Just to name a few there is the Crop In Syle tote from JoAnn.com and the Vituri Urban Roller Bag from All My Memories.
I have a specialty scrapbook tote like the ones you see above, but they are pretty expensive. An alternative to this would be to use a backpack, a plastic storage tote with handles and a lid, or a roller carry-on suitcase. The easier it is to transport your supplies, the more time you'll have for scrapping, and it's less stressful.
What to Expect
Okay, the vast majority of scrapbookers are women. That means the crop nights are most likely full of women taking time away from their stressful lives to relax and be creative. Now this is undocumented research but in my experience, as predictable as gravity, the conversation WILL include the following (in no particular order): kids, husbands, and childbirth. If these topics are too sensitive, personal or not relevant to you, you don't have to participate in the conversation. I was scrapbooking while I was single so crop nights kept me silent. I have since gotten married and have a child so I can now participate in the conversations. Crops are fun either way. Don't feel unwelcome or out of place due to the "lady talk."
Going with a friend can be a great bonding experience. Many come with people they know. If you go solo, don't worry, you're still in the club and are very welcome. However, I recommend going with friends because then you can share tools, stories, and have someone to praise your creativity.
Now you're ready to go out there and crop it up! Don't be nervous if it's your first time going. Just relax and think of it as a safe haven for creativity, free of distractions. Have fun and get scrappin'! Good luck!
Do you have a great idea to add to Tips and Tricks? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll see about publishing your idea right here on My Crop Room.