Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A croppin' I did go...

A crop is the annual or season's yield of any plant that is grown in significant quantities to be harvested as food, as livestock fodder, fuel, or for any other economic purpose. (Wikipedia)

Uhmmm…not so much.

Crop (social event), an event where scrapbookers get together, at someone's house, in a scrapbook store or another event, and scrapbook.. (Wikipedia)

For many scrappers the holy grail of their craft/hobby/art is to attend a weekend crop to scrapbook to their hearts content without interruption for meal prep, laundry, sibling refereeing, chauferring to hockey/trampolining/dance/drama/piano (or all 5 in the span of 3 hours!) and answering the incessant “Mooooooom?” OK, I stand corrected…the real holy grail would be to sail away on one of those scrapbook cruises. Truthfully, I’d be too conflicted to pay to go on one of these. Do I spend my days in a dark meeting room with scissors and glue or do I get out and enjoy the on-ship pool and the warm rays of the sun and visit the various ports of call to enjoy the tropical scenery and the warm rays of the sun? Not to mention those drinks with the little umbrellas! I’m thinking anything that has to do with the warm rays of the sun would beat out scissors and glue. However, if I won a cruise or had a generous benefactor that wanted to buy my ticket I would have no qualms about spending my time in a dark meeting room with my glue and scissors (and perhaps a drink with an umbrella.)

OK, so in my reality a weekend get away is my holy grail and I recently came home from a wonderful weekend where I was provided with 6 meals, a wonderful bed all to myself, 12 feet of table space (and believe me, I used every inch of it!) a comfy padded chair (with wheels so I could quickly maneuver around my 12 feet of table space) and the enjoyable company of others who apprecaite being locked up in a windowless room for 3 days as much as I do. Now, I’ve also cropped at rustic locations where I’ve slept in squeeky bunkbeds made for pre-teens with 6+ other women (also in squeeky bunkbeds – ask me how I know!) and had a folding chair with 2 feet of table space. But you know what? As long as the company is good (and the food!) you can overcome these little (and those beds, chairs and limited table spaces were indeed little) obstacles and go on to create paper masterpieces.

For you uninitiated here’s how a crop goes…

You spend roughly 40 hours getting ready to go, between getting photos printed, matching patterned paper/card stock/embellishmnets, packing a few snacks and making the 13 trips out to your van to get everything loaded up (and FYI it only takes one trip to get the snacks!) Dan can’t understand why I don’t just stay home and crop. Ummm, yeah – please refer to paragraph 1!

You arrive at your destination and it only takes you 3 trips to get all your stuff inside because they have these wonderful carts to speed up the process.

You set up. This includes plugging in various accessories such as lamps, lap-tops, digital cutters and coolers (I told you I was bringing snacks!)

You get down to the business of scrapping, taking breaks only for meal times, bathroom trips, a sojourn to the LSS (Local Scrapbook Store) and a few hours of shut eye.

Reluctantly you pack up and take your 3 loads back out to your vehicle. Oddly enough your load has not lightened. It would seem that the void left by the consumption of snacks and beverages and all the bits of papers left laying on the meeting room floor has been filled by purchases at the LSS.

You arrive home where you may or may not bring your 13 loads back into the house. Even if you do bring them in, you may or may not unpack them sometime within the next week. Who am I kidding…the next month.

You run around like a mad woman trying to un-do everything that has been done and do everything that was left un-done in your house while you were away for 3 measley days. But oh how you loved those 3 measley days.

One of the neat things about cropping with friends is that you get to feed off their creativity and draw inspiration from their work. There is a lovely acronym in the scrapping world, CASE, which stands for copy and steal everything. AKA scraplifting – makes us sound like a bunch of criminals, doesn’t it? My little group like to display their creations up on the wall for inspiration (and easier copying/stealing.)

***Disclaimer...not my layouts - I'd only be so lucky to get half as much done!

One of the issues with scrapping is how to organize and transport all the supplies that we collect. Some of us feel the need to bring everything we own to a crop cuz you just never know when you might need something. I’d hate to have my creative energy sucked out of me just because I didn’t have that one perfectly matched ribbon or eyelet with me so I like to err on the side of caution.

I also like to wander around and look at what other people bring with them to crops. At this last crop I found 2 cool inventions.

This first one is a ribbon holder made from a recycled Girl Guide Cookie box. This ingenious, environmnetally friendly scrapper has spray painted her box, drilled holes and added washers to encircle the holes for this awesome looking and easily transported storage idea. Secondly, another scrapper has collected her bits of ribbons (but you could do this with buttons, chipboard alphas, etc) into little ziplock baggies and has hole punched the sides twice and run binder rings through the holes. By having the two rings it gives enough support for this holder to stand up on its on. This picture shows two holders stacked.

Besides scrapping, the thing we do best at these crops is talk and laugh. Sometimes I wonder how we accomplish anything. Do you suppose my output (usually the lowest in the group) is directly related to the amount of laughing and talking I do? Perhaps I should also mention that I require huge amounts of chocolate to get my creativity kick started. So between talking, laughing and eating I usually manage to create about 10 pages.

My little group plans these get aways twice a year, in spring and fall. If it weren’t for the probability of traveling in the middle of a snowstorm I’m sure we would try for a weekend in the dead of winter too. I hope that you also get a chance to experience a weekend crop. Why, I’ve even gone back after having to vacate the premises in the middle of the night for a fire alarm – and it was a real fire! Not only is it a chance to crop uninterrupted but a chance to renew old friendships and create new ones. Scrappers are the friendliest bunch of people I’ve ever met and most are not in the least bit inhibited in sharing stories that could make you pee your pants from laughter. I’d tell you more about the antics and laughs but we have a little saying with our group, “What happens at NavCan stays at NavCan.”

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

And a partridge in a pear tree

Dan is not romantic. He does not like to shop (unless we're talking Princess Auto, electronics from E-bay or Canadian Tire.) I knew this before I married him. The first gift he ever gave me was 3 pairs of wool socks. "Why?!?!?" you ask? There are plenty of other un-romantic gifts out there (and believe me, I've received most of them) that he could have chosen. Truth is, he really was thinking of me when he chose the socks. We were preparing for a backbacking trip to Newfoundland and he wanted my feet to have good cushioning so I wouldn't get blisters (and therefore require him to carry my backpack.)

So, you see, I didn't go into this marriage expecting romantic gifts and,in fact,I have gotten a couple of great gifts...

Erin was born after a traumatic, scary, meds free, ... and TMI ... so many stitches they wouldn't give me a The whole thing scared Dan so much that for Mother's Day a few days later he surprised me with a swimming pool. Sure, not romantic - but this so topped my first Mother's Day when Allie was a newborn when Dan invited a single buddy over for the day and managed to pick up a take-out pizza. Have I ever mentioned that I don't really care for pizza?

One year Dan stumbled across, without any help, hints or outright stating from me, a little adhesive tool for scrapbooking that really excited me. Not excited in the romantic way. Dan thought he hit the jackpot with this gift. Lucky for him this little tool required adhesive refills. The next 4 or 5 gift giving occasions I received adhesive refills. Again, not romantic. Practical, yes. If you know Dan then you know he is all about practical. This was 6 or 7 years ago and I still have unused refills.

So, we've been together 16years (OMG), married for 14. On average, we'll say there are 3 gift giving occasions each year (Christmas, my birthday and we'll throw in a "pick one" between Valentines, our anniversary and Mothers Day - I know I'm not his mother but he could help the kids out a bit!) Of course I do accept gifts anytime. In fact, I remember one time a loooong time ago (BK - before kids) I was off work sick for a few days and he surprised me with a Kitchen Aid mixer and while yes it is a kitchen gadget (usually frowned upon by me as being a household item not a present) it was such an out of the blue thing that I was thrilled to receive it. So, 3 gifts out of 48 opportunities gives Dan a pretty poor success rate (and if I was any good at math, I'd figure out the percentage.)

Disclaimer - I'm really not that much of a material girl but I really think items such as tuna can strainers, brooms and dustpans are best left for occasions other than birthdays. These would be totally appropriate for many other occasions...OK, so the only occasions I can think of are housewarmings or going away to college care packages. And pool chemicals are only an appropriate gift if attending a housewarming where the house does indeed have a pool...again, not acceptable for birthdays, even if I really liked the pool as a Mother’s Day gift.

So Christmas has recently come and gone and I'm sure you are wondering how Dan made out shopping this year. I'm happy to report that I got everything on my list! Of course I decided to cut out the middle man. I used to make out a list of things I wanted including EXACT store, size, colour - even attached coupons from Michaels. Then Dan would trudge out and battle the crowds and then come home and complain about the whole experience. This year the best gift I gave Dan was freedom from the mall. We were both happy (well, Dan hasn't seen the credit card bill yet!), I didn't get a nozzle for the garden hose, and Dan was spared the daunting task of shopping. Oh wait, he did get an ounce bottle of baileys attached to a bottle of rum that I said would make a good stocking stuffer. Funny how he could battle the crowds at the liquor store no problem.

And so another Schurman Family holiday tradition is born. In fact I believe it will become a tradition for all gift giving occasions where he is the gifter and I am the giftee. Saves him the stress and saves me from getting a swiffer duster.