Last weekend I attended my first scrapbooking retreat. What an event! So many new adventures! So here’s a detailed recount of my experience:
I arrived at the hotel at around 6:30 pm after having left the twins at home with the promise that “I would be home soon” 🙂 I checked into my room -pretty average hotel room, nothing special about it- and went down to the hall where the retreat was taking place. I met a lady in the lift on my way there and she showed me the seating plan and helped me find my seat when we got to the hall.
What a huge place! The room that we were using was much bigger than the one normally used for the crops and it was pretty full when I got there! If I remember correctly, there were approximately 6 tables with an average of 12-15 people per table… That is a lot of people!
On my table space there was a goodie bag with chocolates and snacks, a bottle of water and a scrapbooking pack as well. There was a letter from the organiser explaining the times and activities taking place during the weekend and also a list of challenges.
I decided straight away that I was not going to take part on any of the challenges, as you had to put your pages on the wall for everybody to then rate, and because of the way that I scrapbook with my books, there wasn’t an easy way for me to enter the challenges. So I decided to skip them.
A little while after my arrival, Claire arrived too. I know Claire from the Facebook group and we’ve also met before once at one of the crops, so at least I wasn’t completely alone! Unfortunately I didn’t know anyone else at our table. The rest of the people that I know from crops or facebook groups were already sitting in a group table. I must admit that I was a bit jealous of this. I went to the retreat for the break from my routine and to scrapbook a lot, but I also wanted to build a little bit on the friendship with the “Bracknell crew”, and unfortunately I didn’t get a chance. There were at least 15 ladies on that table and they all knew each other, they were a group. So much so that on the Saturday they were all wearing marching t-shirts and all! It felt a bit intimidating, like a closed circle… However, I didn’t let that affect me and I still had a great time.
On the Friday I only managed one layout. A little while after arriving, there was dinner included, so I took a little bit of time to relax having dinner and chatting to some of the ladies. So after more chatting and hardly any scrapping, I finished one layout and decided to go to bed.
I got to the hall at around 10 in the morning, after having breakfast at the hotel. Claire, who was sitting next to me, didn’t arrive until well past noon, so the morning was very quiet. The other ladies on my table were not really the chatty type, so we all just got on with our layouts.
For lunch I had a sandwich in the hotel bar. The hotel gave me a £5 voucher to spend for declining to have my room serviced that day, so a £9 sandwich ended up only costing me £4. Kaching!
After lunch Claire arrived, and the afternoon was more entertaining. She is really chatty and very friendly, and she is even more crafty-crazy than me! There was another lady at the table who was very chatty, who also came in the afternoon, so that was good as made it very enjoyable.
For dinner I asked several times what everyone was doing and got no replies or shrugs (Claire was on a diet and didn’t eat much at all all weekend). So I ordered myself a pizza for delivery. After my pizza arrived a couple of ladies in my table said that they would have ordered with me had they known…. well, I did say!
I finished 8 layouts more (wow! huge number!) but by 10:30 again I was knackered and went to bed. A lot of the ladies, especially the Bracknell crew, stayed until much later. I heard stories of bottles of wine rolling and scrapping until well into the night.
Again, I made it into the hall at around 10 in the morning after having breakfast. However, I kind of lost my mojo and took me a while to get started again. Eventually I got the mojo going again and managed to finish three more layouts before packing up and going home.
Before going home, we all got to vote for our favourite entries in the challenges. As I left before the results were announced, I didn’t get to see who won. I found this a bit annoying, actually. It would have taken the organisers very little to take a photo of the winners and let everyone know. But, nevermind, I suppose next time I need to stay longer if I want to find out!
All in all I had a good time, but I think I would have enjoyed it better if I had had “friends” with me. All the groups are already made and it seems hard to “infiltrate” these circles. Conversation at my table was sometimes a bit forced and not all that natural, given that some of the interlocutors didn’t know each other that much. So when I heard real laughter coming from the other many groups of friends I felt a bit of lack of belonging.
But hey, I’ve only been going to crops for less than a year, and I see some of these people only once every couple of months, so I can’t expect them to welcome me into their already made group just like that! It will happen with time…
So here are the layouts that I made over the weekend!