I missed posting a Scraptacular Friday edition last week because I was trying to get ready for our weekend scrapbooking escape. Which brings me to the main topic of this post – how to prepare for a crop or scrapbooking retreat.  I know that when I am getting ready to go to a day long crop or a weekend scrapbooking retreat, I am always overwhelmed by all the stuff I have.  How do you choose what to bring and what to leave.  I have searched the net many many times trying to find suggestions from other scrapbookers, and to be honest – there is not a lot of info out there.  Maybe people think it’s self explanatory – you throw a bunch of scrapbooking supplies into a bag and go.  And you can do that.  But inevitably you will get to your crop and discover that you are missing things you would have liked, or brought a whole bunch of stuff that you don’t need.

Well, over the past year and a half of attending crops (and scrapbooking away from home in general!) I’ve determined that there are a few things that can help make a crop more enjoyable and more productive. Here are my tips:1. Pre-plan as much as possible. Personally I try to match paper to pictures, find a sketch or some other layout inspiration and jot notes about titles, journalling, etc. If you can’t commit the time to do that, at least sort through your photos and decide what ones you want to tackle, and be sure to make notes of any ideas that come to mind.

2.  Always bring as much paper as you can.  Paper is the backbone of scrapbooking an there is nothing worse than knowing you have the perfect shade of red at home for the Christmas pics you want to scrap, but not being able to get to.  Missing embelishments can always be added later, but it’s hard to even start a page without the right paper!

3.  Because you’ll have lots of time to think creatively, day crops and weekend retreats are great opportunities to use up supplies you’ve had sitting around for a while.  So aim to pull out those unused buttons or rub-ons.  Clearing out your stash like this leaves room for new supplies.  Also, if the other people you’re scrapbooking with are game, crops are a great place to swap supplies.  You can unload unused supplies and get some new stuff on the cheap.

4. Some must haves for a day or weekend of scrapbooking:  munchies (chocolate, a veggie tray – whatever you’re into), coffee of some description (especially if you’re planning on staying up late!), garbage bags taped to the tables ( to ease cleanup), a brag table (to take inspiration from your pals awesome projects and layouts), some tunes (our crowd prefers Country but anything works) and last but not least, comfy clothes (P.J.s are fine by me!).

Other than that – just have fun! There is nothing quite like a good ol’ crop day or a weekend retreat, for getting the creative juices flowing and helping me settle into some serious scrapping – with the added bonus of loads of time to catch up with friends. If you’ve never been to an all day crop or a weekend retreat, you’re definitely missing out on a whole lot of fun.  It’s not that hard to organize one yourself.

Hope this wasn’t too dreadfully boring for those of you non-scrappers out there! Maybe I’ll even convince a few of you to start scrapbooking yourselves.  I’ll leave you with a few layouts that I finished off at our last day crop.