Chirped by Cass (& Tina)
Tina and I are both avid scrapbookers. I’m a classic paper, stickers and photo album scrapper while Tina has moved into digital albums. If you’ve been living under a rock for some time you might not have realized that scrapbooking “retreats” are a thing. (-; Groups can rent out locations – might be a private rental home, hotel conference room, convention center, or even cruise ship event room, and get together for an extended period of time devoted entirely to catching up on their photo albums! The locations usually provide cropping tables to spread out your gear, bright lighting, Wifi, and may have equipment to use or extra paper and supplies available for purchase. We both headed to just such a retreat last fall, so we thought it would be helpful to put together some checklists of things to do and pack should you decide to embark on your own weekend of non-stop scrapbooking!
For the Classic Paper Scrapbooker:
Make a List… Prep before you pack. Decide what you will be working on over the weekend. Is it a single scrapbook or several different albums? Are you making cards? Get a list together of the projects you want to tackle so you can make a game plan for what you need to bring.
Photos… Next go through your pictures and choose your favorites. Assuming they’re digital, place an order online or from a local store so you have them ready for scrapbooking. This may take some time, so be sure to do this a few weeks before your weekend. Once your photos come in, you can pre-sort them so it’s easier for you to start working on your pages.
Journaling Notes… Whenever Tina and her husband go on a trip, they try to take notes about each day during cocktail hour or at dinner. Don’t forget to bring your notes along for journaling purposes!
Supplies… Time to go shopping. Buy items like albums, extra insert pages, special papers, stickers, embellishments, etc. that you need for the theme of your projects. Make sure you take inventory of your basics as well: tape, glue, markers… and stock up on a few extras. It’s no fun when you run out of adhesive tape in the wee hours during your weekend away!
Food… If you are going with a group, divide up the weekend menu into meals, snacks, or drinks. Assign them to different people (or take volunteers) so that cost, prep, etc. is easier for everyone attending. We had Tina as our resident mixologist in charge of a festive cocktail to brighten everyone’s evening! See the recipe in last month’s post: December Birdseed – Gingerbread Martini
Clothes (& Linens?)… Most likely you will be inside all weekend sitting at tables, so dress in comfortable clothes. Also, pack clothes for varying temperatures. Sometimes a facility may run hot, sometimes they run cold. Be prepared with different types of clothes so you are comfortable. Remember slippers. Find out if the facility also supplies towels, sheets, etc. or if you have to bring your own.
Drink container with a lid… Bring something you can keep at your station so that if you happen to knock it over, it won’t spill all over your project or someone else’s.
Equipment… Find out who might be bringing a Cricut, printer, stamps or any other kind of equipment so you can lessen your load and maybe share accessories. Some retreat locations even provide equipment for your use, but may ask you to bring your own mats, cartridges, ink pads, etc.
Task light & other useful amenities… Most places just have overhead lighting, so having your own task light is great for the detail work on your projects. Don’t forget extension cords, chargers and a power strip for all your electronics. Also see if the site or an attendee has a wireless speaker so everyone can listen to music while they work.
Seat cushion… I always bring a seat cushion or pillow. It’s just a little extra padding since you will be sitting for most of the day.
For the Digital Scrapbooker:
Many of the items are the same no matter what kind of scrapbooker you are. You just don’t need all the paper, embellishments and albums! But if you’re digital, make sure you attend to these critical items before you leave…
Bring Your Computer and Phone!… And don’t forget the charging cords, your mouse, mouse pad, and any backup hard-drives or photo chips you might need pictures from.
Wifi… You won’t get very far without it. Usually the retreat will supply it, but if not, figure out how to use your phone as a hotspot – or maybe your laptop already has one?
Journaling Notes… Unless you typed them into your phone or computer, you will still need these very important bits of paper even when you’ve gone digital.
Filtered Computer Glasses?… If you suffer from eyestrain after too long in front of a screen, there are blue-light filtering films you can get for prescription glasses, or non-prescription glasses made just for long hours at the computer.
Something Else to Do?… Again, if you’re eyes tend to go buggy after a while, bring a book or a craft project to switch things up. Or go for a walk, see what the paper scrappers are working on, or go enjoy another of those yummy martinis…
A Few Highlights from the Weekend
The place we stayed at was called the Mohnton House in Mohnton, PA. It actually had several venues on the same property for different sized groups. Our house was pretty bare bones, accommodating up to eight people. It had a basic eat-in kitchen, two bedrooms with four twin beds squeezed in each, and one and a half baths.
Two crop rooms took the place of any sort of hangout space – no couches or TVs to distract from your scrapping goals! Each crop room had four 3’x6′ work tables and reasonably comfortable adjustable office chairs, bright overhead lighting, and Wifi shared with the other two group’s spaces. They also had a Cricut machine and paper cutter in one room, assorted stamps, and self-serve paper and tape refills for sale. The location in late fall/early winter was nothing that would tempt you outside, though there was a bubbling brook behind the parking lot that might have been nice to check out in warmer weather? The main draws were reasonable pricing, no distractions, and the ability to put together a group that would be fun to scrap with for a weekend!
Food-wise we enjoyed a fair amount of wine and the Gingerbread martinis that Tina concocted, along with ham and cheese sliders, baked ziti, a hearty soup, and take-out pizza for the first night when everyone was just arriving. Breakfast casseroles, abundant snacks and leftovers filled out the rest of the weekend’s menus.
We had two digital scrappers, five classic paper scrappers, and one card stamping enthusiast in our group. Everyone was really productive over the weekend! A lot of friendship, food and foolishness fueled our festive getaway. No one had to clean their house or rearrange their furniture to accommodate a large group, and day-to-day duties like dog walking and bill paying were left to the folks back home or saved for another day. You could certainly host a weekend like this at your own home – but this way is more fun for everyone!