By now, you're probably realizing that in addition to taking care of our family and working two part-time jobs, I really work to keep my own mental health in good shape. As a WAHM this means, in part, outings OUT of the house and sometimes without my kids. This weekend that included my very first Creating Keepsakes Convention in Tulsa. Luckily for me my best crafting buddy Chrissie happens to live in Tulsa and was game for a new adventure (as always). There were some misadventures too, as usual. Here is a quick run-down of our lessons learned for next year (YES-- we are going again and you are welcome to join us!)
(As Usual) Planning makes perfect-- sign-up for classes in advance and start researching this more than the week before it happens. Some things sold out that we were interested in and we paid more for the ones we took registering the day of show than you do online. The list is overwhelming and the website is not exceptional so set aside some time for this.
Due to poor planning, I ended up with three free hours on Friday before Sarah and Chrissie could meet and my one class I did get scheduled. I spent much of it shopping for clothes and discovered it felt weird to shop alone and not on a schedule. I did end up enjoying it and finding some needed pieces. Shopping child free is quite liberating!
All Classes are not created equal - Also, class quality varies WILDLY. We had to very good classes - Making Ordinary Extraordinary (SEI mini-album class) & I took 2010 Latest & Greatest (Embellish It). I would take classes from these groups again. I took one class that was fine, but not spectacular related to stamping and then we both took a final class that was quite dated and I would avoid in the future. I think a bit more research on who is presenting as well as feedback online and our own experiences might help with our selections next year.
Think carefully about what you pack - They include a basic supplies list for the classes on the website, which was ample for what we needed. However, when preparing for the crop in the evening it really is best to pick out the paper and embellishments and do a bit of planning for each page in advance. I, of course, just tossed a couple kids and a few other tidbits in a bag and hoped for the best. Everything actually turned out pretty well, but was a create exercise. Also, note to self, do not leave all your cardstock in the car when going to the crop. That is irrational.
Proceed with Caution - Hold on to your wallet as most of this event is going to encourage you to spend money freely. I am very well-versed in how much products should cost and managed to spend relatively little on product while I was there and only bought two items at full price along with a couple sale items. That said, there is plenty of temptation and it is very easy to impulse buy, particularly at the crop where there is this mad rush of people to a given "deal" that is only available for 15 minutes. I only want things in my stash that I really think is lovely and that I will use, not what is cheap on a given day as it will end up getting donated.
Ask anyone for help - everyone was very friendly. In a couple instances where I lost the train on a project or needed help with a supply or something my classmates were all very helpful and encouraging. I really liked the community feel of the whole adventure.
Bring Water - Somehow I forgot a water bottle at the crop and classes and could really have used one and possibly snacks.
Bring a Friend! - Until the crop on Friday evening I was venturing through the event alone. It felt a bit lonely even with the masses. Everything was much better and happier with Chrissie (but isn't it always?).
I had plenty of misadventures too including having to buy a new tote when the one I planned to bring exploded in the washing machine. The upside being that the random tote I bought for $12 at Target turned out to be absolutely perfect, cute and I love it! I also lost my sunglasses and had to buy new ones before heading west and home. They are just so so, but fine for the car.
Also, my camera decided to be a bit cranky so no pictures of the projects or pages yet, but hopefully soon. Overall, I really had a fabulous time hanging out with Chrissie and doing lots of crafting. Getting to have dinner with Eric, Sarah and Serenity was wonderful too. I'm so glad I get to have these little adventures and am usually in a much better frame of mind for having done it. We are so very blessed!