Retreat Treat!

The Joys of Scrap Retreats

One of the nicest things a crafter can do for themselves is attend a crafting retreat! I can’t even begin to share with you all of the benefits, but I will try. First of all, having 3 or 4 days to focus on creating, without constant interruptions, is fantastic. In addition to that the camaraderie of spending quality time with talented people is immeasurable.  I have learned so many techniques from fellow retreaters. When I was first starting out in  paper crafting, a dear friend at a retreat taught me how to use my cricut personnel cutter. Then in more recent years, a fellow crafter taught me the basics of making book bindings for mini albums. Video tutorials are handy, but nothing compares to one-on-one, hands-on instruction. Sharing ideas and being inspired by others creativity helps me reach new levels in my crafting.

Getting the most out of your retreat time:

If you want to be able to maximize your crafting time at a retreat, it is vital that you plan ahead. Have a short list of goals that you want to accomplish. My goals for the spring retreat were make a set of 12 cards with card boxes, make a recipe album with the Graphic 45 Parisian Cafe paper, make a flip fold baby album as a gift, and play with some new stamp/die sets that I have purchased over the last few months.

After setting your goals, make a list of all the supplies that will be necessary to fulfill those goals and gather them together. I like to brainstorm every possible contingency and pack accordingly. For example, not sure if I want to use magnets or ribbon to close my recipe album cover, pack both! It’s better to over pack the things you may need than under pack and not have what you need to finish the job. (This past retreat, I forgot to pack chipboard sheets. I was unable to complete my recipe album without it.) That being said, there are only so many hours in a day and it is not necessary to take  your whole craft room with you. This is why careful planning is so important. Remember everything you take, has to be hauled home and put away after the retreat. So if a particular item is not needed for your goals, leave it at home!

One of the heaviest things to take is the paper and paper pads. For this reason, it is good to plan the papers you want to work with in advance and only take the ones you know you  will use. Once you have those papers, throw in a pad of multicolored card stock just to be on the safe side. Layering and matting is important so take along enough colors to choose from in addition to what you have pre-planned.

Always pack extra of consumables like Glue and tape runner adhesive. You won’t want to run out. Assume you are going to accomplish all your goals and take enough consumables to get the job completed, plus some.

Finally, make a checklist of all the odds and ends you may need. Like chargers and power cords for equipment. I once went to a retreat and left the keyboard to my computer at home. I had to go to the nearest Best Buy. (I’m still using the keyboard I bought that day). It helps to pack everything a couple days before you leave, so you can add to it if something comes to mind. Rolling carts and totes are a great way to move all your crafting supplies from point A to point B. It is a good idea to put your name on things. Often many people have the same type supplies and you don’t want to get things mixed up.

Every spring and fall I join a group at the Rockin R Ranch in Temple, TX for a four day retreat. Our fearless leader,  Geri and her to good friends, Lisa and Diane always plan an excellent weekend. (They also feed us really well!). The following are some pictures that I hope will inspire you to seek out and plan your own crafting retreat!


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Thanks for stopping by & Happy Crafting

At the end of March, I’ll be posting about my trip to the Scrap Expo in Irving, TX. (Check it out to see the latest products and companies in Paper Crafting)



Post 2: Stamps with Dies Storage

Have you ever wasted hours of crafting time searching for the exact stamp or die your wanting? Effective storage can be a challenge for all crafters and by effective I mean “being able to put my hands on it when I want it” effective. For years I fought with different ways of trying to store my stamps with matching dies. Nothing seemed to work for all my stamp/die combos. A few years ago, I stumbled upon a method that really works. You can get started with a just a few easy to find materials.

Material List:

  • Plastic container (I bought mine at Michael’s)
  • Plastic index dividers (from Wal-mart)
  • Adhesive backed magnetic sheets (from Wal-mart)
  • Labels
  • Clear packing tape
  • White paint pen

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Step 1: Prepare the Index Cards

  • Snip off the tab of each Index divider
  • apply 1/2 of a magnetic sheet to each plastic index card

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  • Add the dies onto the magnetic index card
  • trace each die with the white paint pen
  • Label the index card with the name of the coordinating stamp set

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Step 2: Prepare the small plastic container:

Once I’ve accumulated enough stamp/die sets from a particular company to fill one small container (usually 4 to 5 sets) I prepare a small container for permanent storage.

I stack them in the container with a magnetic index card, then the matching stamp set, then the next die card and so on. Sometimes I have to trim the plastic around the stamps to make them fit, but most companies come on a 4 x 6 card or smaller so they fit perfectly.

Once I’ve filled a small plastic container I label it.  I will label the top edge with a key word for each stamp set inside. I always cover all my labels with clear packing tape so they will last longer. I then label the top of the container with the name of the company and the proper name for each stamp set inside.

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Step 3: Prepare the large plastic container

I like to store my stamp/die combo’s by company. I tend to remember if the stamp I’m looking for is Heartfelt, Stamps of Life, Lawn Fawn, etc. You should store your’s however you identify them most. I keep a large plastic container for each company and label them accordingly.

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I keep all the large containers on a shelf that makes it easy for me to see exactly which one I am wanting. No more wasting time looking for the stamp or die I think I might have. Now they are all organized and quick to find.

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With Companies like Heartfelt Creations that have large collections of stamp/die sets. I keep all the dies in one small container and all rubber stamps in another. I label them and keep all of them in the same large container.

Additional benefits:

An added bonus to storing your stamp/die combos in this manner is if you want to take some sets with you on a crop or a retreat, it is easy to just grab the containers you want to work with and go. They travel safely and are kept together so nothing is damaged or lost.

Final note:

Most of the supplies for this are relatively inexpensive, however the plastic containers can be pricey. (usually around $40). So keep all those 40% and 50% off coupons from Michael’s. You can pick them up for half the price. Also keep an eye on Michael’s sales, they often run craft storage on discount.

If you have struggled with storing your stamp/die combos in an effective manner you may want to give this a try.

Thanks so much for stopping by and Happy Crafting!