Sunday, February 24, 2013

Scrapbook Expo

Apologies for being late on my post today!  I try to have my posts published by 8:00 A.M. every day, but today it’s a lot closer to 8:00 P.M.  Normally, I write everything a few days in advance so it’s ready to post on a day of my choosing, but I saved today’s post until now so that I could include the most current information.

Some of the product I bought.
The reason for the delay is that I spent the weekend at the Gaylord Texan hotel in Grapevine, Texas attending Scrapbook Expo.  Those of you who have been to Scrapbook Expo know what all the hubbub is about, but for those of you who haven’t been, you just don’t know what you’re missing! 

We’ve been going to Great American Scrapbook Convention for years.  We like to shop, we like to crop, and of course, we try to promote our Crafty Neighbor events.  But the last few years, I have been increasingly disappointed in that show, and I blame it mostly on the new organizers.  It’s gotten so bad that I really don’t want to go any more, and I really only do so in order to pass out my flyers and meet other scrapbookers.  The last time we cropped there, it was terrible – the prizes were mostly out-of-date garbage and it just wasn’t very fun.

I had some pretty high expectations for Scrapbook Expo.  I had never heard of the company, but several people I know from California had been going for years and they assured me that this was a great convention.  I trust their judgment.  They weren’t wrong.  In fact, I think they might have undersold it a little bit, because even though I had some fairly high expectations, the Expo completely exceeded that and then some.

Stephanie and I didn’t get our tickets until the week before, so we completely missed out on the hotel package.  It was a great bargain, and I know quite a few people who took advantage of it.  We’ve already made a pact that we’re going to jump on that bandwagon ASAP next year.  What we wound up with was a ticket to the sales floor on Friday, plus the Friday crop ticket.  Then we had such a great time at the crop Friday, I had to come back for the Saturday crop as well!

After a very expensive lunch (I’ll discuss that later), we went to the crop.  I may have mentioned that Scrapbook Expo has a theme to their crops.  The theme for Friday was “Team Spirit”, so we made some decorations for our table and dressed up for our favorite sports team.  We went with a “college football rivalries” theme for our table, and made these cute decorations.  Valerie made the banners, Stephanie made the rosettes, and I made the cans.  We were very proud of our decorations and got a lot of compliments.  We also won the prize for best table décor.

One view of our award-winning table decor!

I was really pleased with the crop.  It was hopping from 6:00 P.M. until midnight, with lots of prizes, contests, games and more.  The hosts were friendly and energetic, and the goodie bags were pretty substantial.  Mine was a bag full of Sassafras paper and embellishments – lots of it.  And these weren’t just one or two unrelated pieces from lots of different lines.  There were four pieces of each double-sided paper in coordinating sets.  The prize for winning our table decoration was a bag of Graphic 45 and assorted embellishments for each of us.  We also received all kinds of handouts and giveaways throughout the night.

I didn’t take any classes.  GASC classes just never appealed to me.  The prices always seemed high, and the projects weren’t very high quality.  So didn’t even consider taking any at Expo.  Several of my friends did, though, and the projects they showed me were phenomenal.  Everyone reported getting lots of free product and giveaways in their classes, often exceeding the price of the class!

Some of the prizes and give-aways I received.  
All in all, my biggest complaints about the Scrapbook Expo were the parking and the food.  Parking at the Gaylord Texan costs $18.40 per day, but convention-goers can buy a discounted parking pass for $15.  The Gaylord Texan website states that you can get your parking validated by eating in one of the restaurants in the resort.  What they don’t tell you is that the validation is only good for 4 hours, so go back to the restaurant to get the validation stub just before you leave.

The food is the other big complaint, and my girls are already talking about what we can do to work around that for next year.  The convention center set up a buffet in the lobby each day.  On Friday, it was baked potatoes and chicken noodle soup with a glass of tea or water.  This would be a great lunch except for the fact that it cost $13!  Sodas and bottled water cost an additional $3.  Oh, and they only serve Pepsi products.  On Saturday, the meal was upgraded to chicken and penne pasta with veggies.  It came with a side of breadsticks for the same $13.  The restaurants on site were just as pricey.  A burger and fries runs $15+, and the only items on the menu at the Italian restaurant that are under $20 are the appetizers and desserts. 
My favorite prize -- a teeny weenie "X machine".  It is a real, functioning Xyron Sticker Maker in a 1" size.  And of course, it's my favorite color -- green!

All in all, the Scrapbook Expo is a great convention, I loved the facility, we had a lot of fun, and we can’t wait to go back next year.  Did you go to the show this weekend?  What did you think?  I’d love to hear how you think it compares to GASC and also whether you will be going to GASC this year.  Let me know what you think.  I’ll choose one random comment to win a prize.

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