Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"It looks like CKU threw up in here..."

I love this quote from scrap bud Stephanie Dade. She said it as she made excuses for her messy hotel room the first night we were at CKU Provo. Although I could not have cared less (she and her roomie Dana were offering me a much-needed glass of wine and who am I to judge when we are in the throes of CKU!?), she was very much correct. Suitcases and crop bags everywhere, swap stuff laying out, class schedules stacked around, not to mention ribbon, embellies, appropriately logo-ed T-shirts and more. Yes, indeed, it did look as though CKU had OD'd on "scrappy goodness" and has tossed it's embellishments all over the room. I SO wish I had a picture, but I think that anyone who has been to an event like this can just imagine it in their minds!

I am just starting to recover from last week, which was the week of not only Creating Keepsakes University - Provo, but of the SoCal 2 Provo CKU Bus Shopping tour, the mode of transportation to the event for about 22 of us. Here is a sampling of photos and highlights, starting Tuesday morning Aug. 5, when we met at Scrapper's Cafe in Corona to board the bus. New owner Carol opened the store before 8 a.m. so we could shop, munch on some bagels and use the potty before we headed up I-15 toward CKU. My Dad was kind enough to get a shot of me outside the store with the luggage.

We had ladies arriving from all over SoCal. Helen, from New Zealand, had been traveling around the U.S. for nearly three weeks and made CKU Provo and the bus tour her last stop. Everyone got their credit cards warmed up at Scrapper's Cafe and then snacked, chatted and waited (like Gale.)

And then we loaded up ... (ignore the man in the background... he's delivering snacks - he should have been Photoshopped out of this picture, LOL ***just got word that this man was deeply hurt when I said the should have been Photoshopped out... perhaps I spoke too rashly. Thank you for hauling in all the heavy stuff. Testosterone is definitely good for something! If I use Photoshop, I will bring you further to the front and put a Crop-a-dile in your hand!***)

Our bus driver, Jose, turned out to be a total delight! Not only was he kind and courteous, but he embraced scrapping the very first day we were out, buying his first pieceof 12 x 12 paper and matching beach stickers at the third store we stopped at. If you ever need a scrappy driver in SoCal, ask for Jose with Balboa Tours out of San Diego.

On the way to our first stop, my Secret Sister revealed herself. She did not want to accidentally give it away. Scrappy Val was my girl and I was definitely surprised! She had done a fabulous job keeping quiet despite all the contact we had had before CKU. And her last gift to me was just fabulous - a set of organizational baskets with my name silk-screened on them. And did I mention they were filled to the brim with "scrappy goodness?"

Our second stop was at Scrapbook Boulevard in Victorville. Store owner Vesta and her girls were more than ready for us with an adorable paper bag suitcase make and take we just loved.

After Scrapbook Blvd., we were off to Vegas, baby! On the way, we figured turnabout was fair play and Val's secret sister, Angie, revealed herself, presenting Val with her favorite cupcakes from Sam's Club and a baby shower where the entire bus "showered" Val with baby gifts. Of course, she cried. Hormones, hormones! She is 7-months pregnant with her fourth boy and didn't miss one CKU activity that I can think of!

After the baby shower, we had a bit of a scare. Elizabeth had taken a sip of water just as the bus bounced, causing the water to "go down the wrong pipe" and her throat closed so she could not cough it back up.

Fortunately Susan C. is a nurse and she was able to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on her before it got really ugly. Although she was tired from the ordeal and went to bed early, there did not seem to be any lasting effects... thank goodness! Elizabeth is too much of a sweetheart to have missed CKU! And a HUGE thanks to Susan!

Our first stop in Vegas was Scrappin' Time. Great store, and, because of our running about a half hour behind schedule, we did not get to shop as long as we would have liked. But something is better than nothing! And this is where Jose bought his first scrap supplies - it's all over now, Jose!

And our last scrappy stop of the day was Pebbles in My Pocket-Las Vegas where we enjoyed tasty cake and some more Shopping!!

We stayed at Texas Station Hotel and Casino, ate the obligatory Vegas buffet dinner
and I felt the need to drop $40 into the dollar slots. Good thing I followed my instincts... I ended up winning $1,000 which made it possible for me to shop THAT MUCH MORE on the trip! What a great "windfall" for me! Of course I got some of the girls to take my photo with the winning machine. (My Dad later told me he thought this was not allowed. I had no idea... no one stopped me and we were making quite a big fuss...oops.)

Then, off to bed so we could be fresh for Day 2!

Day 2 of the SoCal 2 Provo Bus Tour started with a trip to Majestic Memories, who also opened their doors early for us. Store owner Dodi was even kind enough to take a great shot of all the bus tourists after we shopped.

After our last store in Vegas, we headed off toward Utah, spending about 20 minutes or so in the state of Arizona. Unfortunately, there weren't any scrap stores in this northwest corner of the state, so we moved on, stopping at Roberts Arts and Crafts in Cedar City, UT. What a great store! Although we got a discount like every other store we stopped it, it was almost as of we did not need it because simply everything scrappy seemed to be on sale! I have no idea why I do not have any pictures of this store, just of some girls doing a MnT... hopefully some of the other girls do, so I'll have some for my album!

We had one more surprise stop before we made it to the Provo Marriott. This was a surprise manufacturer stop - at ProvoCraft! Fellow CKUer and PC employee Janna was kind enough to spend weeks planning this stop for us, and even managed to keep it a secret from me, the organizer, so I would have a fun surprise to look forward to, too. And what a surprise it was!

We were greeted by Cricut and Cuttlebug (turns out two guys were late to work that morning and it was their "punishment" to wear the costumes in 90-degree weather. I wonder if they showed up late again...LOL) as we got off the bus, then given a tour of the plant, including mock product displays, a birds-eye view of the HUGE warehouse, the Cricut customer service center and more. Last, but certainly not least, Janna led us into the conference room, where generous goodie bags awaited us. But that wasn't all...

All of us had to sign Non-disclosure Agreements, so what I can say here is very limited, but suffice it to say that we all got a glimpse of a tool that is scheduled to hit the market this Fall, and there is nothing else out there like it. Not only did we get to see and play with it a bit, but some of us from the bus tour maight even get one shipped to us to "play" with, share and blog about. So, stay tuned for details on THAT! It was so fun to be a part of something so new and innovative!

But the fun surprises did not stop there, either! ProvoCraft gave away four big prizes: Lori won a Cricut Jukebox, Cathy won a Cuttlebug, Sheila won a Cricut and Robin got the granddaddy of all prizes: A Cricut Expression! We had some very happy scrappers boarding the bus! We were also treated to a beautful rainbow as we left Provocraft, sealing the already-perfect afetrnoon!

We finally got to the hotel around 7:15 p.m., but no one was too disappointed by our being late. The CKU Staff was kind enough to open registration for us again and we checked into our hotel rooms. A handful of us rushed off to the Scrapbooker of the Year banquet, but we were a bit late and could only find seats in the back. I did not even bother to try to take photos of the new SOY winner, Mandy Douglass, who was adorable and, from the looks of her sampling of work, very talented. I hope she has an incredible year! I DID take a photo of my place setting, though.

On to Day 3!

Thursday was the day of the Inspiration Stations, and instead of us moving from station to station, the instructors moved from classroom to classroom! A great restful day for those of us who had been on the move for two days already!

A handful of us bus tourists skipped out of class at lunch to head to the nearby Die Cuts with a View warehouse sale. And it was worth playing hooky! 25-sheet packs of paper for $1, inspirational and funny home decor metal signs for $2.50, sticker sheets and embellies for 25 cents each, lots of fun stuff! Plus, a number of us were raffle winners, so we got all sorts of great stuff - my favorite prize was a framed glass calendar that I can use dry erase marker on.

And then it was back to CKU for our afternoon Inspiration Stations

Little Yellow Bicycle teacher Lori was incredibly upbeat ... you can't help but like a lady who calls all of us "excellent women." And the more I hung out with this company, the more I liked it, in philosophy and design. I fell in love with the blue and green Bella Vita line. It is SO me. Plus, LYB, a division of the C-Thru Ruler Co. (think Deja Views - the company was started by a woman - the first to develop a see-through ruler) is only available in our local scrapbook stores. You'll never find it a Michaels, JoAnns, Hobby Lobby, etc. Gotta love a company who supports independent retailers in this industry!
And, of course, we had to squeeze in a store stop between the day's classes and the evening's events. Scrapbook Central in Payson was full of scrappy stuff we couldn't resist!
Thursday night was the CKU Kickoff with perfrmances by the dorms. One dorm was represented on the SoCal 2 Provo Bus: CKU-Ville, a take-off on Dr. Suess. My secret sister, Val, performed, as well as Kim, Jennifer and Angie. The secret sister I gave to, Emily, was the Ali-cat in a Hat...

What would we have done without Rusty Pickle uberfan Scrappy Val? I'll tell you what we WOULD NOT have done: Had Mr. Pickle himself, Lance, aboard the bus! While we all wanted to go to the Rusty Pickle warehouse sale, we were not able to fit it into our schedule. Not one to give up, Val managed to convince Lance to open up the warehouse at midnight for us to shop! I invited him on the bus with us so he wouldn't have to drive and he accepted, despite the fact we had a store stop before we could go on to the warehouse.

My Scrapbook Zone in American Fork (as well as the frozen yogurt shop next door - yum!) kept their doors open late for us so we could root for our dormy friends. They had three make and takes for us and a store full of fun stuff.

Today we had also "picked up" our bus tour "day-trippers," Rita, Lisa, Allison and, our favorite ProvoCraft employee, Janna. Not all of them chose to come on this particular stop, though.
Off to the Rusty Pickle warehouse! During the half-hour ride, Lance gave us the history of Rusty Pickle and some other manufacturers, which is always fun to hear, We heard how he went from engineer to scrapbooker in his career and heard some stories about his family. It was truly a unique experience and really shed some light on RP as a company and the family behind it.

On the way back to the hotel (we arrived sometime between 2 and 2:30 a.m. Thursday, but who's counting?) Lance gave away goodies for the entire trip, keeping us wide awake the whole time. Rumor has it that Lance was a bit sleepy the the next morning during his album track, but we truly appreciate his (and his wife's!) generosity and accommodation!

I have been to three CKUs and at each CKU I have entered the poster contest. The first year I did a CKU dictionary, the second, I co-designed the "CKU's Most Wanted" Sponsor poster with all the little wire bound books. This year I created one focusing on the teachers, made completely from K2R acrylic panels.

I submitted it Friday, but the winners were not announced until Saturday at Commencement.

On Friday I had Ali Edward's "Evolution" album track. I did the album on my husband, Rodney's, life and have not finished it yet. I plan on unveiling it to him once I am done with the journaling, which I have not completed yet. So, as soon as I am done and he's seen it, I will post pictures. I am really happy with the way the album is turning out.

Friday after class was the paint can swap. This and the Secret Sister Swap are the ones I always do. I just love them. Here are photos of my can, and a shot of me with Tracy, the gal my can was traded with.

And then, of course, there was the Friday night crop. Canon was there, showing off their line of printers and sponsoring a layout contest on "What Inspires You." I entered this layout about Jose, a new scrapbooker, and winners would be announced Saturday night at Commencement.

And then, more shopping! Friday Night was the SoCal 2 Provo Bus Tour's Pajama Run night. We "ran" to Pebbles in My Pocket in Orem first. They had a lot of fun stuff going on - make and takes,

great sales and a fun raffle like musical chairs where you ran for a number. If your number was called, then you were a winner, like Erin!

The second store was Heartland Paper Co., in Taylorsville. Great store ... and the free fountain drinks gave us the 28th wind we needed to push on!

Looking at this photo, I realize that we look let than thrilled... but, really, we were having fun, we were just beyond exhausted!

The lack of sleep proved too much for more than half the bus that night. Maybe it was the comfy jammies, but there were lots of girls down for the count ...

I think Rita was the most soundly asleep. Somehow she managed to roll over on her tummy on the narrow seats and across the aisle!

And I still had sposor appreciation cards to do. I had chosen Inque Boutique and Cosmo Cricket... here is the clear Cosmo Cricket card I did with some K2R acrylic I had on hand.

I think I finally got to bed around 4 a.m.
My alarm went off at 7 a.m. Scrappy Val called me at 7:05, inviting me to breakfast. Thanks, Val, really. If you hadn't called I would have seriously contemplated sleeping through my first (and maybe second, third) class that morning. I was ti-red!Saturday was individual classes for me, and I think this photo of my hands says it all ... we got down and dirty into our work, especially in Tim Holtz's class.

Commencement was Saturday, which featured awards and a slideshow. The CKU-ville dorm won for best centerpiece, my poster won for best school spirit, and we were luck enough to have Jose join us for the festivities!
After commencement, we headed to our last scheduled store stop, Heartfelt Creations in Sandy. The store semmed huge, with lots of product. Plus they had a special 50-percent-off shop a few doors down. A fabulous last stop!
We got in "early," before 11 p.m. While I chose tro crawl in to bed without even one glance at my computer (I had been faithfully checking email every evening of CKU), a few die-hards went to Lance's "secret" Rusty Pickle album class until 3 a.m. (ahem, VAL! BTW, Val lost her camera at this event, so if you happened to pick it up, let us know).
Sunday we had the long trek home starting at 7 a.m. We made such great time, we got back to Corona two hours early! This was with a half hour stop in St. George, a driver switch in Barstow (Jose could only drive 10 hours a day)

and an hour stop in Victorville (we had to eat and just HAD to shop one more time at Scrapbook Boulevard!). Scrapper's Cafe opened up again for us, too, so we were able to get the last little shopping bug out of us before we headed home.
Now that I have finally gotten a couple good nights of sleep, I can look back on the week with a huge smile. It was so much fun and that doesn't even express my feelings enough. A huge thank you to the SoCal 2 Provo gals, you guys made the trip wonderful, despite the fact more than 20 ladies were all on a bus together for days on end. I'll travel with you any time! Especially if there are Heidi Swapp XL photo corners involved!


Jennifer Priest said...

OPMG Jessica!! I love all the detail you shared! And if anyone can convert a man to scrapping-- it is you!! Way to go!! I am convinced I want to go on one of these tours if you ever do it again. It sounds like with all the shopping that I'd want to save up fro a few years but it sounds soooo fun!

It's Just me...Crazy "T" said...

It was so great to meet you Jessica and thank you so much for swapping paint cans with me. I love the acrylic and can not wait to play with it all. I didn't find out who you "really" are until dinner that night with Emily and feel so embarassed that I didn't realize I was with a great celebrity!! Your details of CKU is perfect and so much fun was definately there.
Hope to see you again someday soon.
Crazy T

Anonymous said...

Jessica, You are such a wonderful story teller. I felt like I was there with you. The pictures were just as wonderful to see. One of these years I will have to try a trip like that.

Jenn C

Lori Shrout said...

Awesome recap Jessica ! Loved the Bus trip !!!! - oh - and CKU was ok too.

Anonymous said...

The guy who was so GRACIOUS to carry all of the heavy stuff onto the bus was hurt when he read that he should be "ignored" and should have been "Photoshopped out".

Trisha said...

HOLY SHMOLIES!!!!!! GIRL! Sounds and looks like you guys had a freakin blast!!!!!

I would love to go one of these days! Just looks like you guys were "BREAKIN' THE LAW! BREAKIN' THE LAW!!!" (Beavis & Buthead!)

Glad you you guys had a great time! I am slightly jealous...who am I kidding! I am more than slightly! Glad you breturned safely!

Scrappy Nan said...

was wondering how it all went. looks like a blast!!!

Lisa Spiegel said...

Jessica, thank you so much for the detailed post about CKU...I felt like I was there...and I really wished I could have been..I know Elizabeth (she was on a scrapbooking cruise with me in 93 so I'm glad to hear she is OKAY after her scare. :-) Congrats on your poster win!!

Anonymous said...

I loved your recap! Thanks again for making it such a memorable trip.