Crop Circles

No, not the mysterious kind...LOL!

The pea challenge for today was to share a funny story from your cropping experiences.

I've been to so many crops it's not even funny. Houses, churches, stores, civic centers, conventions, camp grounds and hotels. I have attended crops as a cropper, a teacher and I have hosted crops at my home and in hotels.

The funniest was the very first Croptoberfest, way back in 1999. It was funny in so many ways. Looking back it was amazing and wonderful and yes, funny. It added so much to my life. It was a weekend retreat held at a Baptist campground in the hills of eastern TN for a group of online friends who met thru a Yahoogroup. It was a weird and brave thing to do--back in 1999--to go to the woods to meet a bunch of people you only knew via the email, but it was so worth it. That's where Anita first started making me laugh and where I sat next to Rebecca Sower for the whole weekend and gleaned from her amazing work and where I became known as the woman who slept thru Croptoberfest (even tho I really didn't) and where Julia spilled salsa on Claudean's album (not a funny moment) and where I learned to stamp in a scrapbook and where I ate way too many of Julie Parker's butterhorns and where I discovered a knack for winning HOTP Paper Pizazz books in the random door prize drawing (I hate those things but couldn't stand to not be gracious--I came home with 4 of them) and where I fell in love with the mountains and where I began to realize how important it is to get away occasionally. There's more...but I don't want to incriminate anyone. :) And believe me, I could.

The worst was a scrapbooking group advertised at my church in late 1998. It was advertised as a crop. It said nothing about being a Creative Memories event. We had just moved from MS to Nashville and I thought it would be a great way to meet people. Boy, was I wrong. There were about 30 people there--All CM devotees. Which would have been fine except that I kinda stuck out like a sore thumb, not being a CM convert. The overriding problem, however, was that there were no introductions, no get-to-know-your-neighbor one seemed to be in charge. I introduced myself to the people at my table but got the distinct impression that I was intruding. It wasn't a pleasant evening and as I recall, I left early. It was cancelled just a few months later.

Over the years I've become a very selective cropper. Selective is the nice way to say "picky", ya know. (I admit it. I'm picky.)

Many of you know that I hate to pay to crop. It's just one of those qwirky things. It just seems like such a waste. I won't attend store crops that charge a fee--I hate the notion of paying to shop. I don't expect much (a chair and a table and good lighting) and prefer no meals or snacks. I love to be able to shop while I am cropping and do, regularly. I don't think I should have to pay for the priviledge of shopping and using a table. Like I said, it's a gwirk.

I don't attend convention crops because I can't focus in a room full of 400 scrapbookers and they are way overpriced. Way! The last convention crop I attended was at Simply Scrapbook and Stamp. There was a keynote speaker that unfortunately no one but me was paying attention to (which I thought was incredibly rude) and later was followed up by Kareoke. Can you say "bad idea"? Just because you have heard a song on the radio...does not mean you have the pipes to belt it out!

Anyway, lest you think I am completely negative...I'm not. I've just come to understand what I like.

I like it when I can crop with a small group of friends.
Have a nice meal.
Take time to talk and catch up with each other.
Tools to share.
Stories to tell.
Burdens to bear together.
Laughter to enjoy.
Dessert to indulge in once in a while.

I've been hosting crops in my Great Room for almost two years now. Nothing to buy (unless you want). Come early. Stay late. Eat or don't. Scrap or cut stamps or whatever appeals. Soak up the friendship like a sponge. Borrow tools. Learn new things. Get ideas and give them. Laugh and cry--either or both. Answer that call from your hubby or ignore it and we won't tell. Vent a little and we'll try not to call you on it too much. Show off your latest work or your latest purchase or confess you haven't done a thing since our last get-together. It's all good.

If my walls were lined with every color of Bazzill ever made and every Quickutz alpha set, I wouldn't love Scrap Night any more than I do now. Well, OK maybe just a little. But it's the girls that make it special.

-Heather, the proficient scrapper who has taught me to get on with it and the woman who finally convinced me to go digital (and my favorite lamination expert)...
-Carla who drives a billion miles to be here and rarely ever scraps (but that's OK)...
-LeighAnn who so generously loans out her tools and books and who is stronger in heart than she knows, I think...
-Sabrina, the walking Club Scrap Encyclopedia/Sales Person and the brave lone mother of a daughter amidst all these mothers of sons...
-Debby who's just starting the scrapping journey but is definately holding her own and is our favorite not-yet-married woman...
-Susannah who used to be the mother of all boys but recently joined the "MoG" club and who still thinks we are a little weirdly obsessed with this paper thing...
-Connie who makes pages we adore and dips she doesn't like and shares her recipes for both graciously...

...and other occasional guests (Michelle, Anita, my sister Deborah, Hannah, Brookelyn...maybe others). These are the women who grace my table with their gifts and their friendship...who I treasure. We've had to take a little break thru the summer months and it's making me nuts. I feel like part of my life is missing and I can't wait to get back to our monthly shin-dig!

Cropping for me is less about the cropping and more about the people that it has brought into my life. That's a good thing because they all know I rarely ever actually get anything done. It's OK. I enjoy what it is to be among a circle of friends...I will forever be grateful for Scrap Night.

May you have a blessed Sunday!


AnneMarie said...

love your way of writing... and.. I totally agree with youe quirks :)

Leigh Ann said...

Awww! I enjoy our group so much, too. You are very kind and your assessments seem right on. FWIW, no matter what type of outing I go on, I'm always known TOWHCTM - the one whose husband calls too much. LOL. Thankfully it's in the vein of "I miss you and it's boring at home without you" and not the "what are you doing?!?" =)I'm looking forward to cropping more often when summer winds down.

Leigh Ann said...

One more most awkward crop experience was the time I showed up at Janeen's with every scrap tool I owned plus the kitchen sink. She had a large group there so the space was limited and I took up way too much of it! Fortunately everyone was gracious and after that I learned the fine art of making page kits and packing lighter.

Connie said...

Love it, Sarah! Your assessment of me cracked me up - the part about the dip, I mean. I read it out loud to hubby, but he didn't get it. Thanks for inviting me into your home - I've enjoyed it immensely!

Debby said...

I think, because I totally agree with you that the people are the most important thing about these or any gatherings (though I really have to accomplish as much as I can each time for my own sake), you brought a tear to my eye. It's nice to be counted as special! Thanks as always for opening your home to us and sharing your life - you are special too! Looking forward to getting back into it!

Mimi said...

Wow! I'd love to crop with that group as well!

Michele said...

I'd love to know when your next crop is - I wanted so much to get to one of the previous ones and the dates just never work out. Well FINALLY after 6 years my husband is going to DAY shift!

Hopefully this will mean more time to crop and occasionally get away in the evenings.

Just keep me posted!