I just got back from a quick weekend trip to Tulsa, where I went to the Creating Keepsakes Scrapbooking Convention, aka CKC-Tulsa 2007. It was my first time to go to an event like this, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I ended up learning a little, buying a little, and walking a lot! Thought I'd share a quick list of with my thoughts on the best & worst of this event:
- Cool New Products. A couple I liked were the Fastenations Brads and the Lip Smackin' Ribbon. The Fastenations Brads have a flat spot on top, so you can match them to your project using a standard hole-punch & a dab of glue. The Lip Smackin' Ribbon is kind of a mix between paper and ribbon -- and it has some properties that give it some interesting possibilities.
- Watching & Learning: I volunteered as a teacher's assistant for four hours to save a little money & to get some freebies (more on that later). It was interesting to watch a seasoned craft teacher at work. My favorite part? When she used her best kindergarten-teacher voice to tell the room full of adults, "Okay, I need everyone to listen very closely now." And it usually worked! Probably the best craft-teaching idea I've seen...
- A Few Good Deals: Deluxe Designs is going out of business, so they had a great clearance ($0.50 each!) on those card templates I love. I would have bought them all if they'd had them! And speaking of good deals, I got a $30 voucher for volunteering. With that, I got the 40 Techniques for Making Cards book and a couple of paper crafting magazines. Nothin' better than gettin' stuff for free!
- Over-Crowded, Over-Scheduled Classes. I didn't have time to count, but I'm guessing there were at least 75 people in each class. At just one hour per class, there wasn't time for the very-complex projects they were supposed to make -- which meant everything was very "paint-by-numbers" -- put this piece of paper here, this embellishment there. Where's the creativity in that?
- Paying to Shop. Granted, I'm not a big shopper anyway... but paying $10 for the privilege to shop in their Vendor Faire just seemed ridiculous, especially when the prices seemed about the same as the regular prices at Hobby Lobby.
- Poor Volunteer Management. One of the things they promised volunteers was 2 tickets to the Vendor Faire. I assumed that meant I could take someone with me when I went, but it actually meant they gave me 1 ticket per day. Tulsa is about 2.5 hours away from here, and we only had the hotel for one night, so the second day's ticket was useless to me. Granted, it wasn't that bad in my case -- I was going to take my husband with me, and I think he was just as happy (ok, happier) going down the street and using Panera Bread's free wi-fi while I shopped. But that, along with a volunteer coordinator who was rude to me, kinda gave me a bad taste in my mouth about the whole thing.
Would I go again next year? Probably not. The classes seemed less than ideal, and I'd just as soon shop in my far-less-crowded neighborhood craft store. Maybe crafting conventions aren't for me. But like I said, this is my first event of this sort -- so I don't know how this convention compares to others. Is this pretty typical?