Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Handmade U - Coming down from the HIGH!


I don't even know how to begin to talk about the amazing weekend I just experienced. I knew most of the ladies coming to Handmade U's First Semester, and I knew we'd have an amazing time hanging out. I just didn't know HOW AMAZING it would be.

The weekend really began Wednesday afternoon when my parents came up to help pack up their car with as much as we could fit in, as well as mine. We also did our grocery store runs to load up on food. You just never know how much food you will need to keep this many ladies energized for a weekend of heavy crafting!! I erred on the side of LOTS of food!

In the evening Michelle Geller flew in. We stopped to get her a snack, and lo and behold, we just happened to be right next to Dick Blick's, so of course we had to stop.

Then a nice mexican dinner with Michelle and my fiance Jim helped get us psyched for the next day and to work on the few last touches late into the night.

Thursday morning came early as we packed up the few last things and headed to Minglewood Lodge. After getting the keys we brought everything in and started getting organized.

We set up the tables for the ladies! My Mom made these cute totes with the fabrics I found for each of the girls. She even embroidered each name on the bags! And the file folders I fell in love with...Anthropologie of course! The name badges were painted with chalkboard paint and written on with Chalkboard pens which are fun! I brought a bunch of candies too to share with the girls throughout the weekend. A bit' o honey treat in a glassine bag was put on each bed the first night. My fiance Jim helped package all of those up prior to the weekend. Thanks Jim!

Each tote held the wonderful giveaways from all our sponsors and I added a fun wooden ruler, and packets of these Handmade U pencils!!

We added some special touches to the lodge, which was already gorgeously decorated.

I added some fun crayons, papers, and ribbons on this wreath.

I had name plates on each bed to show where everyone was staying. We put their Handmade U t-shirts on their beds along with a little treat.

I've been loving these typewriters for so long!! Well Handmade U was a great excuse to buy one for everyone to use!

We worked til lunchtime and grabbed a Subway. My Dad was off to make the first airport run to gather up Pam, Hope and Stephanie. When they arrived we were all ready to welcome them to Handmade U! We chatted and anxiously awaited all the other Freshmen students. The lodge was filled with smells of Smoked Chicken that my Dad made, and my Mom's AMAZING Baked Beans. YUM...I think a few girls talked about sneaking more beans for breakfast!

When everyone arrived we had the most delicious meal, topped off with pieces of Chocolate Cake the size of your head!

The evening activity was creating small SLAM BOOKS as an ice-breaker get to know you project. It was more fun than I expected. The fun part was coming up with all the questions to go on each page with everyone, then filling in your own. After that we started passing each book around so everyone could put their answers in each person's book.

Throughout the weekend we filled each book in, we each decorated the books in our own unique styles, and had a little treasure to go home with!

We did take a break for what we all love to do at Art Retreats - SHOPPING! I brought all my fun French finds which I was excited to share with everyone. I will hopefully be able to add items into my etsy shop sometime soon!!

Michelle brought her ephemera goodies, double-sided tapes, and of course the very popular WASHI TAPE!!

Friday morning began by making tasty breakfast sandwiches for each woman as they came downstairs. I'm not a morning person, we probably only had a couple in the group (we love you Hope and Shelley!) but it was nice to leisurely get up and eat breakfast, with class starting at 10am. No rushing at Handmade U! No packing up and going from here to there, just come down, relax as if you were at Home.

Michelle started her Handmade Inspiration Journal class once we were all done with Breakfast. Can I just say, I knew Michelle was uber talented, I have loved all her journals that I've seen on Hold Dear and in person, but she went ALL OUT. This was her first major teaching event, an all day class, and she WAS AWESOME! The kits she laid out on each person's table were OVER THE TOP!! I think I could have just looked at all the goodies, papers, ephemera all day long and been happy not even creating the journal. However I did work on my journal, and wow it was FUN.

Michelle broke down the class into really manageable steps so no one got overwhelmed. We each created a fun cover, then varnished it!!

OK I think I have probably said before I LOVE MOD PODGE....and I do, but I hope Mod Podge doesn't get jealous when I say I LOVE LOVE LOVE VARNISH!! I may just start varnishing everything. It puts such a fun shiny gloss on everything. I think there is room in my heart for both Mod Podge and varnish, that's just the kind of crafter I am.

After creating the covers we sewed on the binding and threaded the sari ribbons that would be our way to attach our pages.

Then onto our pages. This was so much fun. Michelle had given us so much to choose from it took some time to plan out what each page would look like.

Friday night was PIZZA night, which was a nice and easy meal so we could get back to our pages and working on the journals! We did find time for a little piece of Carrot Cake, yum.

Here are all the journals nearly done!

Saturday we woke, had muffins, yogurt and fruit and prepared for Quilt Art with Sundries. Each person received a 12x12 art canvas and I had an industrial size bottle of mod podge to share!

I put together a pack of ephemera using papers from my recent France trips. Also my 6th Sponsor was MODA Fabrics!

They sent small charm packs of Kaari Meng's new French General line of fabric. Many of the ladies used those in their designs along with papers from our journaling kit too.

I had lot so paints to choose from and tons of embroidery flosses to add the stitching to the canvases.

I was so proud of all the girls' canvases! You really could look at each one and know who designed and created it, each was so personal. I taught some basic quilt pattern designs, mod podge techniques, and some painting ideas, and away they went.

Michelle Early did a cool block based on the Gee's Bend Quilts.

Pam created this beauty using the quilt block featured on my Mom's business card for Acorn Ridge Quilting. The red polka dots are from one of our napkins! She also showed us a little preview of here "doodling" skillz. We are hoping she shared more at Handmade U Second Semester in the Spring! If you want to see more of what she has to offer, hurry over here to purchase her doodling sets for digital download!

Here is Lisa working on her beautiful canvas!

We decided to put all the "quilt blocks" together into one Quilt Art!

During Saturday afternoon some of the girls were needing a little pick-me-up. The Minglewood Mocha was born. Coffee with a little hot chocolate made these girls very happy!

Happy Michelle!

As some of the girls were wrapping up their Art Quilts, I introduced another new technique to them. I handed out a hard-bound 9x12 journal to everyone and we decorated the covers with different tissue papers,

Well...this I just don't know how I can explain it....

Dinner Saturday night was a special treat. More on this later!