Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cropping Goals

Whenever I go to a crop, I have goals of what I need to accomplish at that crop. Some are weekend crops and I have big plans. Others are Friday night crops where I won't get anywhere near the same amount accomplished, but I do always have a goal and a plan.

The very first crop I attended was an all night crop at a store called Memory Lane in Clifton Park, NY. Sadly, since then the store has closed. I had no idea what to bring or how long anything would take me. At that time, my sister-in-law was pregnant with her first child and I was making the invitations for the baby shower. I had to make 70 invitations. Surely, I thought this would take me longer than 12 hours.

I cut everything assembly line style so I would have a pile of papers for each cut I needed. Henry Ford would have been proud! (He's the man the production assembly line is credited to.) So about four hours later I was done. Yes, in four short hours I had completed 70 invitations! What was I going to do for the next eight hours? I had nothing planned! I started wandering around the store aimlessly looking for something I could do. I purchased a few chipboard books and made them.

This crop taught me a very valuable lesson. I needed to seriously think about how long I would be at a crop and what I wanted to accomplish. Then I began to over plan and pack enough to keep me busy until the cows come home. I've never had any cows so I'm thinking I would have been very busy for far too long.

With over thinking things and packing like I was moving, I was killing myself. I had to spend so much time and effort in packing that it became a chore. It wasn't fun. It was a ton of work. And I swear my crop bags weighed a few ton each. The end of the night when it came time to pack up my car, I dreaded and needed Advil when I got home. Not a good thing!

So I had to come up with a new way of doing things. A way that cropping could be fun again. That's when I started leaving the embellishments at home and finishing layouts at home. I have a whole room that's just my paper studio so why shouldn't I use it? Seems silly to have it for decoration purposes only.

Just by leaving my embellishments, stamps, inks, and Cricut home I was freeing up tons of space in my car and my stress level dropped like a rock. I didn't have to spend hours thinking and planning on what to bring. I literally would spend a few days packing everything up. It was like I was moving every time I went to a crop.

Now with my less is more approach, I get a ton done. I don't have headaches, backaches, or stress. I have a good time. I don't spend a few days packing for every crop I go to. As you can see from my Crop Count, I'd do nothing but packing if I was cropping my old way with the schedule I have coming up!

So with every crop I do have a plan of what I need - yes need not want - to accomplish. I have thousands upon thousands of photos that need to be put into layouts. Yes, I am one of those who crop every photo I take. I don't do photo albums. They're not my thing. They work for many people though. I'm just not into them.

Every month I get at least 1,000 photos printed. I order them online and have them shipped to me. I have tried several different printers and am hoping I have finally found one I really like. The others I tried weren't bad. I just didn't like the quality of the prints. Other folks have had awesome results. I think it's the style of photos I take. I do mostly outdoor and nature shots so the lightening isn't the same as taking photos of your kids in the house or at a pool party.

When my photos arrive, I sort them all out. I put each event into a photo envelope. I label the envelope with that photos are and the date the photos were taken. Then they go into one of my many photo boxes. I also take those thumbnail sheets and cut them up. I use a grease pencil and write the date and what the photos are of on the sheet. Each one goes with it's corresponding photo envelope. Once I scrap those photos, the thumbnails go into an envelope with each other. I have a nice thumbnail collection that I need to create some cute project for.

The day before a crop, I start to go through my photo envelopes and pick out what I want to work on. It all depends on how many photos there are and how long the crop is. I can usually do about 100 photos at an all day crop. It all depends on if the photos can be cropped or if they need to stay 4" x 6".

I pack the photos I bring to a crop in a photo box from Creative Memories. I won this from a crop a few years ago and it changed how I bring my photos to crops. Before I won this, I would just stuff the photo envelopes in one of my crop bags....EEK!

Once I have chosen my photos, I pick out my paper collections. I put a Post It note on each bag so I know what photos go with which paper. This is especially necessary for weekend crops. I'm absent minded and would forget my name if it wasn't on my license! :) If I'm only working on one set of photos, then I don't bother with the Post Its.

This past weekend, I went to a weekend crop that was three days long. I brought lots of photos with me! Most of the photos were from our Southern States Trip from way back in 2009 when we went to six states and spent two and a half weeks sight seeing. It was an amazing vacation! I hope I can get it all printed and scrapbooked before I'm 50! Here is what I scrapbooked: Bean Station, TN, Archibald Smith Plantation located in Roswell, GA, High Point Museum in High Point, NC, Calhoun Mansion in Charleston, SC  (this mansion was used in the movie The Notebook), Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, shore and dunes which are all on Cape Hatteras, NC, and fireworks in Cobleskill, NY from the 4th of July 2008.

During the weekend, I was tweeting about what I was working on and some of the music I was listening too. Here's where you can follow me on Twitter and see what I am up to. When I'm traveling, I don't have much time for blogging or Facebook. I have mini parties when I accomplish one of my goals. It keeps me going and moves things along. Amazing what a few M&Ms can do.

As you can see, I don't scrapbook in order. I work on whatever I have printed and whatever I feel like working on. Some projects are huge and I procrastinate with them. Like my NASCAR photos. I have hundreds scrapped already and have thousands more that need to be printed (several hundred already are) and then they need scrapping. The joys of going to race shops and six races in one year. That 2006 was a crazy year of racing for me! And then I've gone to races almost every year since 2002 so that's a lot of left hand turns. I haven't worked on those pics in a few years so maybe it's time.

Until next time *

Have you scrapbooked today?

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