This August, I went to my first Stamp and Scrapbook Expo. It was held in Schaumburg, Illinois. I was so excited when I discovered their website. I didn’t know anything like this existed. It combines two things I love: crafting and travel. Now only if it combined animals and hiking in the woods. (I could have added a day on and went to the zoo. That would have covered the animal part.) There are several Expos held throughout the year in different places. Some are larger than others. I decided to go to the one in Illinois since it was larger than the one in Kansas City and the drive wasn’t much different for me.
I decided to stay at the Hampton Inn which was only about a mile from the convention center. If you have trouble getting around, you may prefer to stay at the hotel at the convention center. I liked staying off property because it saved me money and the Hampton Inn offers free breakfast. That was important, because the food at the convention center was limited and very expensive. Google Maps was very helpful for me planning out my trip and also I found some local places to eat. I was able to walk to a deli that was about a mile away for a lunch break. (I didn’t want to spend time away, but this way I got some exercise and better food than what was at the convention center.) One night, a local person from our table went and picked up food from Portillo’s which is a local establishment (of course we went Dutch). I was told their specialties were hot dogs and beef sandwiches, so I got their Italian beef sandwich. It was juicy and delicious. On Sunday, I went to Giordano’s, which was across the street from my hotel, and got two frozen Chicago style pizzas to take home. I had brought a cooler with me for this purpose. I was glad that I did this since I didn’t have an opportunity to have any during the Expo and my family really enjoyed the “gift” I brought home. You can’t really go to Chicago without having pizza.
I also joined a Facebook page to get some pointers before I left. I signed up for two classes and a card swap when that was opened up for registration (usually two weeks before the Expo). I also signed up for the Mega Make and Take and two nights of the Crop Party. These are the evening activities you can do. During the Make and Take, representatives from different craft companies give you directions for making a project with their products. The Crop Party is just reserved space at a table for you to work on crafts. Most people were doing the Make and Take projects and scrap booking. I found a group on the Facebook page that needed an extra person to join their table. You have to pay extra for reserved seating, but that way you don’t have to move your stuff every day. That also allowed me to work with the same people every night and make some new acquaintances.
Each night of the crop party had a different theme. Some tables decorated for it and you could dress up for a costume contest. Prizes were given to the best table and costumes. The first night was a Peanuts them. I brought my snoopy lunchbox (which is just a small remake) and teapot to put supplies and decorate the table. There were a lot of cool decorations that day. The second day was Star Wars. Not very many decorated or dressed for that.
I made some You Tube videos about the Expo if you want see more about the trip. There is a video about the Make and Take/Crop Parties, workshops, and card swap.