Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fiskateers and Why I Loooove Online Crops

I put my Fiskateer number on everything. I have a Fiskateer layout hanging up on my scraproom wall. I love to wear my Fiskateer t-shirt, and yes, I even had Fiskateer business cards made. So I'm often asked, "What's a Fiskateer?"

For all the advertizing of my Fiskateerhood, I find it really difficult to communicate what, exactly, it is. Yeah, it's a messageboard. It's a blog. It's a corporate ad. It's an elite scrapbooking union. It's a whole slew of my friends. None of the answers really fit the way I feel about Fiskateers. It's a little dorky (not the list, but the sentimentality I feel toward it), but there are some great perks, not the least of which are the online crops.

So, this leads us to the next question I get. "Online crop? How the hell do you have a crop on the computer. Well, first we shrink ourselves down (depending on your monitor size, this can be easier for some than others), then we go through the process necessary to acheive 2-dimensionality. It's can be pretty painful, but it's totally worth it for the make-n-takes. If you have an older, non-flat screen monitor, it's a good idea to pull it out from the attic and hook it up. Trust me, it's worth the extra effort to have lots of extra space to spread out all your supplies.

There are other online crops, but as far as I know, Fiskateers does them bigger and more frequently than any I've been able to find. All of the best things about crops are there. The chat room is open the whole time to yammer back and forth with the other attendees, plus a thread on the message board to share tips, talk about your day, whatever, often with surprise random RAKs among the people who post.

The one thing I feel is better than a "real" crop (aside from the extensive handicapped accessability for those of us with mobility/constant pain issues) is the gallery section. It's like peeking over every participant's shoulder a bajillion times per crop! Try doing it at a live crop! Even if you were physically able to be behind 100 people's shoulders at once, you would definitely come across as the creepiest person in the room. I know I'd be slinking away from you. Online, everyone posts the projects they have been working on, and I have spent hours upon hours getting lost in this section, just clicking on one photo after the other, seeing how every person interperets the challenge assignments, and what they are working on in general.

Have I mentioned how much I love scrap challenges? Sketch challenges, theme challenges, ones that call for using certain supplies, ones that don't allow adhestive, I can't think of any yet that I haven't enjoyed. Those of you who know me pretty well may find that out of character since I'm really kind of persnickety about making up my own projects and things for my Stampin' Up classes, eschewing those pre-made class instruction kits that tell you where every little thing goes. It's not that I'm *against* using class resources or copying a project from another demonstrator per se. I have been in some great classes that were planned that way and had a blast. I just get squeamish about using them, myself. Like I'm cheating or something. Like I need to make these projects my own. Challenges, however, make me work double hard. I love the concept of using a guide to force me to think, to make me fit my ideas into a puzzle. It feels like I have to be more creative to work within the boundaries. I love swiping sketches from things I see online. Once you get used to using sketches, you start to see them inside every layout and card you see. Remember that Tootsie Roll commercial with what has to be the lousiest baseball bat of all time (come on--you know the ball is going to bend the thing backwards, the animators took a bit of creative liberty in making the Tootsie Roll hit a home run. Can you imagine how squishy and filthy that thing had to be, being passed from one grubby batter to the next? Not the most appetizing commercial. Seriously, you really don't want everything you see to turn into Tootsie Rolls. Sure, a rolling pin? I can see that. But a tootsie tire? Think of all that gravel crunching in there.) If you don't yet turn every project you see into line drawings, give this site a try: The author has a great book by the same name that I'm totally into, too. I'll be reviewing it on my Scrappyrat blog. Trust me. You want this book!

The pics you see here are all projects I've made via the latest Fiskateers online crop. As soon as I get the date of an upcoming crop on the board, I mark my calendar and do what I need to do to clear that weekend. If you're like me and you want to participate in every event, every chat, every RAK, every scrap challenge, every written challenge, and even post a challenge for your own chosen prize, it can keep you working and up all night for the entire duration. Of course, if you have a life to attend to, you can also just check in from time to time and choose a couple things to do for fun. It's free, it's fun, and you might just win something before it's done. Hey Hey HEEEEEY!

1 comment:

NanaBeth said...

You hanging in sweetie?