Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Scribbles From My Scrap Studio–May 2017

Last month, I went to CKC – jealous?


Yes, pretty much every year sis-in-law Trenna and I go to the Creating Keepsakes convention; for the last 3 it has been just outside St. Louis in Collinsville, Illinois. I was worried this year.  Creating Keepsakes, while sponsoring the event, was not teaching any classes (but going to the competing Stamp and Scrapbook Expo in Anaheim instead?)  We love their classes, and suspected this change did not bode well for the future.  Not to be thwarted, a careful comparison of classes available provided a good alternative – A to Z scrapbooking offered similar classes featuring quite popular product lines.  With Robert Frost in mind, I signed up.  Mr. Frost said to entertain great hopes.

But Robert’s pie-in-the-sky, ant-with-his-rubber-tree plant attitude was a distant memory, when a month prior to the show A to Z Scrapbooking and Quick Quotes pulled out and cancelled their classes.  Yikes, with 4 of my classes cancelled, I was disappointed, a lot.  I struggled to find 1 additional class to attend, and so planned on more scrap time in our room.  But to paraphrase another unknown less famous quote:  Average scrappers have wishes and hopes, confident memory-keepers have goals and plans.  I set a goal for a # of pages.

As predicted, attendance at the show was way, way down – obviously, noticeably so. The vendor floor held fewer companies.  Even the area’s largest local scrapbook store was not there.  The area where you could check your bags before entering the vendor floor had been overflowing in years past, but it was barely 1/3 occupied.  There was plenty of room in the aisles; the wait lines to pay were short. While a bit more convenient, there was less excitement, less buzz.

Still there were highlights to our adventure:
  • The Thursday night technique workshop was better than ever, with an extra company or two joining in compared to prior years. Each presented a quick easy project, getting the creative juices flowing.  We were totally psyched to start scrapping in the room.
  • Paper Loft’s annual class “All Totally Awesome Layouts” featured their new Euphoria line, and was totally awesome. We walked out of there with 4 double-page spreads to finish up.
  • We tried our hand at water coloring at an Art Impressions workshop.  It was really, really well taught – and our little projects looked even better when we got them home and they had dried completely.

  • Queen & Company’s Embellishment Envy class put an emphasis on stacking paper scraps with pretties to make your own embellishments.  I love the layout and the card we created in class.  This was the class I added as a replacement, and it was lucky for me.  I won the most coveted door prize too -- one of their new Heart Throb kits.
  • And then there was the hidden gem of the convention, Sugar & Spice Scrapbooks.  Her class included 3 double page spreads, featuring Simple Stories and Kaisercraft papers.  Her solid designs were not overly elaborate. The pictures of the kits do not do them justice.  I added photos to several and they really shine because her bases are well planned.  Her in-class tips were wonderful, making quick work of focal point features.

So we still had a great time, and brought home plenty of new supplies, both class materials and some freebies.

Wondering if the future of this event might be in jeopardy, I shopped wholeheartedly, sticking mainly to buying kits – page kits, album kits, card kits.  Disappointed in my ability to complete only 5 single layouts of my own design while cropping in the room, the timesaving reality of starting with someone else’s base pages was reaffirmed.  Sometimes speed and productivity trumps pride of original design. Here are 40 cards I had finished within a week our our return.

A good portion of my freebies are from SEI who announced they will not be at future Creating Keepsakes conventions (perhaps the competing Stamp & Scrapbook Expos, neither). Based on the discounting and bigger than ever selection, it certainly seemed that their plan was to dramatically downsize inventory.  Each time Trenna and I visited their booth (Thursday, Friday and, yes again, Saturday), we combined our purchases and qualified for their generously stuffed goody bag, which we then split. It was funny that even when we shopped apart from each other, sis-in-law and I still managed to grab many of the same kits.  I have already mixed and matched the freebies into 3-4 page kits of my own. That’s just how I roll.

I visited the Creating Keepsakes booth, because I like their kits (and their cute crop buttons). There was very little new this year, no trendy new product like prior years, mostly kits from prior year classes (many of which I already had taken.)  Without the lure of class discounts, their booth was nearly empty most of the weekend – proof that classes drive scrappers to shop.  Lesson learned, CK?

Speaking of learning, let me wrap up with what I have learned (or relearned, as the case may be):
  • Classes reinvigorate my creative mojo, whether is it new techniques like water coloring or just revisiting old scrappy tips that have been forgotten over time (e.g., using templates to cut repeated shapes).
  • Kits of all types save precious time, and really provide a solid base for your own pictures and finishing touches, which is all that is needed for them to be as unique as you are.  I quickly surpassed my original goal of 10 pages for the weekend by completing pages from kits in the 2 or 3 days after arriving home (plus all those cards).
  • One smart thing I noticed from Sugar & Spice Scrapbooks was to use premium brands like Simple Stories for the main papers, but lighter weight sheets from The Paper Studio instead of cardstock for all the photo mats. This is economical and lessens the weight of the finished pages too. While I don’t buy lightweight paper any more, it is a good reminder on how to use up some of my older sheets.
  • The industry has shifted toward online shopping and inspiration, but is that as EXCITING as learning, scrapping and shopping in person with a scrappy friend by your side.  Not for me. What do you think?  Are you holding on to high hopes, waiting for the  industry to cycle around to a resurgence of scrappy events, so in unison we can all chant “Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant!”
Postscript:  If any of you were at the Anaheim event in April, I would love to know how that went.  Was attendance up, down or steady?  How did the offerings for workshops and vendor floor shopping compare?


  1. Jealous? Maybe a bit. But more so, delighted to read your take on this event. We have a similar type of event each year in Edmonton, put on by Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine (or what ever their name is now) and it to has shrunk to hardly worth the drive.

  2. I know how you feel Susanne. We have very few scrapping events in Toronto and even the major crafting event that's held twice a year no longer has any scrapping/stamping classes. I've been making cards for years, but love taking classes to learn new techniques and try different products. Going away for a crop weekend this past March and taking classes for two days was one of the best things I've ever done. I'm hoping to get to two in our province next year.

  3. Great write up and as ever, insightful and succinct. I've never been to such an event and am not even sure if they have them over here! I'm not really in on the inside track of scrapping in Germany, preferring the personal scrapping I do with my Scrapabilly friends.

    As for kits, I wholeheartedly agree. I don't buy kits as such but hardly ever make a page without one of my Scrapabilly or Counterfeit Kit Challenge kit.

    Hope all the mojo from the event has continued!


Compliance with the new European Union E-Privacy Regulation

If you leave a comment on this blog, you do so with the knowledge that your name and blog link are visible to all who visit this blog, that you have published your own personal details and that you have consented for your personal information to be displayed.
This blog is currently generated from the USA with contributors from Europe, Australia and the USA.