(For reference, follow this link to Cool Crops.)
I had all sorts of grand plans to get posts up about my weekend with the Cool Crops girls but once I got home I immediately headed out again for a visit to Texas – I’m just now getting photos sorted.
The basic facts were this:
- I had a fabulous weekend.
- Total reasonable price ($135) included a huge personal space, several meals, and an absolutely appropriate level of “group” activities.
- The hotel cost $69 per night and was very reasonable as well.
- I knew by the first day that I was going to be signing up for the November Cool Crops date in Portsmouth, NH.
This was my first ever 3 day crop. I spent a long time prepping for the crop by cleaning up my space at home and keeping several lists. I made a 3 column table in Pages and just printed it out again and again. This was something I got right. I had one list for projects I wanted to work on that I wrote down as the thought occurred to me and a similar one for things I wished to bring. Both were exceptionally helpful when packing because I didn’t really make page kits – next to each project I jotted down specific materials I wanted to use with that project and just made sure that was packed.
Working off lists of projects and their needed materials was absolutely the way to go – I had always done very specific page kits in the past, even for shorter crops, and the agony of selecting coordinating cardstock a week before I actually was scrapping wasn’t working for me. Since I didn’t have various colors of cardstock in fifteen different sacks to return to their right places once I got home, unpacking was a breeze.
Only once did I have a problem with my packing – I thought I had forgotten a key set of inks when actually I had packed them in a completely non-intuitive (my intuition, not a normal person’s) way and found them after I had to make some serious changes to one of my projects.
I took just about everything. All of my vertical files of CS/PP fit into a large laundry basket (HEAVY!). I just scooped up my Sterilite drawers (they fit perfectly under my table – I would gather there would be crops where this might not be so). I also ended up throwing large categories of things like my ribbons and adhesives into the big 2.5 gallon Ziploc bags I originally bought to put page kits into. I also ended up just throwing a lot of stuff into a second laundry basket. It would drive me nuts to have stuff like that at home, but it worked for me at the crop.
I think the only thing that was totally superfluous was the Big Bite. There was one there, and I had so many projects that never got completed I just never got around to playing with mine.
I am very glad I brought my own Baby Cricut and the big wire shelf. There were plenty Cricuts to go around and I took advantage of the tool table’s cartridge selection several times. I got a ton of use out of two of my newer cartridges, Storybook and Happily Ever After.
A couple things I learned:
- I personally have no interest in a “location” crop. I care about a quiet place to sleep, reasonably healthy food, good lighting and a really big table all my own.
- If I had had more room in the car I would have brought my office chair – the banquet chair wasn’t so much uncomfortable as it was just a little too short.
- Planning a four hour outing with my family in the middle of Saturday messed with the mojo.
- I had a tough time concentrating after lunch on Sunday – I had planned to stay to the very end but I was tired and had a hard time ignoring the packing up going on around me. Next time I’ll get there at 9 on Friday morning and make up the time thataway.
- None of the Crop Horror Story Threads I had previously read on Two Peas and Scrapbook.com even came close to being true here. We had some issues with other guests of the hotel but that was it. The crop organizers were able to advocate for us all and we were comped the last night’s stay. For me, the other guests are now just a funny story to tell.
- Sometimes there was dueling musical styles being played. I did have earphones with me and if any of the music had been intolerable (like listening to High School Musical or Christian music) I could have listened to my own stuff. I take fiddle lessons while there are bagpipers practicing outside my lesson room and I taught third and fourth grade. The dueling music in the background didn’t crimp my style one bit. I actually found using headphones hindered me from being with the others. My final verdict is to have them (I imagine you’d not make many friends if you asked someone to can their music) just in case, but only use them as needed.
- It was refreshing to be with a large group of women. Somehow, topics mostly stayed light and appropriate for the situation. I really hope to run into the women I met there again.
My favorite surprise of the whole weekend was how much I enjoyed the group participation. I’m not a huge fan of get to know you games or anything like that. Cool Crop’s “events” were just the right level of participation. Participation in various challenges, group games, and other things were rewarded with Cool Crops Cash which were then used on Sunday morning to purchase raffle tickets for the raffle prizes. Everything except the Saturday night group games was totally optional and I really valued the experience of the group games. We were assigned a random group ahead of time and moved through stations where we played brief games. It was over in an hour and it was a quick hour.
I am so signing up next week for the November crop date in Portsmouth.
Here are a couple pictures of my space. I’ll post photos of the stuff I did separately so I can talk about what I did and the techniques/materials used.