How to plan a Scrapbook Getaway

I told you about how we were rushing to get home from the west coast after the storm Stella, right? Well, maybe you were thinking "what's the rush? why rush home from 90 degree weather to be freezing in the teens?!" or maybe you thought "ah... they must have to get back to work". Well, no. Not at all. The reason I was in a hurry to get home wasn't because I had to work (I have 2 weeks off this month; Sean works on a computer and can pretty much be anywhere). It definitely wasn't because we love the cold weather or the snow. And as much as we love our cats -- we knew they were well taken care of. :)

No, no -- the reason we were rushing home was because every year I plan a scrapbook weekend (Thursday-Sunday) for 10 women, in the White Mountains of NH about 3 hours away from where I live, and our cancelled flights were jeopardizing my plans! To say that I was upset about this would have been an understatement. I did end up missing one night but I eventually got there and carried on the tradition of raffles, giveaways, prizes and break-out sessions. If you craft, I highly recommend starting up this tradition with fellow crafters. Here's how:
1. Find your people: The biggest part of any plan is having people who will show up. I've found the more people who come, the cheaper it is for all. But of course you need enough beds and enough bathrooms. For my group there are some family members, some friends, and some friends of friends who have become friends. It's a really tight group and we've been going as our own group for 5 years -- though we broke off from a larger group before that so we've been doing this for longer. Everyone doesn't need to do the same craft either -- with table space and lighting (and internet) you can pretty much do anything. Some people relax, others scrap, some read, and some enjoy the resort amenities like the pool and the gym. It doesn't have to be all work all the time. So think of your family members and friends. Anyone stick out that may seem interested in a crafty-getaway? Ask them!

2. Find a location: I like to scrapbook, others like paper crafts, or painting or knitting -- just something creative with your hands. You need a space to do such things and the most important things the place needs to have is good table space and really good lighting. I've attended lots of scrapbook days at various places -- hotels, churches, people's houses but the place we go for the weekend rents out condos (they call them the scrapbook condos) and it's basically 2-adjoining condos (6 bedrooms & 3 bathrooms). One living room is set up for scrapbooking and the other has comfy couches, a tv and a fireplace to get away to relax. There are 2 kitchens too BUT our meals are included in the cost of the getaway so we actually get breakfast and dinner at the resort's restaurant. As soon as you're back in the condo -- you can scrap away, take breaks and go back at 2AM because that's why you're there! No need to clean up at the end of the day. It's 4 days of fun. Depending on how long you are planning to go you can contact places near and far with your exact requests to see if they can fulfill them. I like the place we go because they set-up all the tables/chairs and lights for us, but you could make it work if you rented a house and brought your own tables and chairs, too.

3. Plan some fun: Like anything you host -- it's always fun to add a little extra for your guests. My mom helps me plan, shop and coordinate but we put together welcome bags for everybody and plan raffles and prizes, too. Generally raffles are smaller gifts and I pull a name out of a jar a few times each day. It goes something like "raffle time!!!" and everyone kind of jokingly oohs and ahhs over a paper pad or adhesive. Prizes are larger gifts and for that I also pull names out of a jar. Sometimes we do "in your seat raffles" which means if you're not sitting/working and your name is pulled -- you miss out (we never actually follow that rules, it's just fun), and sometimes we do "finish a page" raffles where you put your name in a different jar every time you finish a page in your scrapbook (the more your scrap, the more of a winning chance)... and we do a larger, "grand prize" on the final day of the weekend. Here is some of what we gave out this year.

Some items in the welcome bags:
 Some prizes:
// country farm house // calendar kit (similar) //

I buy some stuff from Amazon, some from Michaels and AC Moore and sometimes JoAnn Fabrics has some good deals. Always get their apps and use their coupons and ALWAYS check their sales during Black Friday. Sometimes we buy stuff well in advance and hold on to it in anticipation.

In addition to all the loot, we plan and teach "break-out sessions" and provide "make-and-takes" for everybody. I was totally unprepared for this, this year, because of the flight situation, but my mom and a friend totally saved the day. "Make-and-takes" are quick projects where we supply all the materials and "break-out sessions" are longer lessons where we tell people ahead of time what they should bring and then we teach the class on one of the days. This year we made this, this and these. Pinterest is an amazing place to find these types of projects and you can watch youtube videos, too.

And then of course, my favorite part of the weekend is when a chair masseuse comes to the condos to give massages. It's always good to treat yourself and your guests!

All in all, you just really need company, a place and a few projects! And then you can scrap for as long as you'd like!

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