13 April 2013

Southern Circle Retreats - Fun, Fellowship, and an Artistic Adventure

Let me start out by saying I am a blogging failure!  Sometimes I feel so gung-ho about getting going with it and then I crash and burn.  I HOPE I can change that starting now...we shall see!

The first retreat of Southern Circle Retreats was in late January and it took me several days to come down from the high of that weekend.  What a fabulous weekend of fellowship, arts and crafts, good food, and new friendships!  Jenni of Jenni Horne Studios and Tiffin Mills of Linwood Avenue put together the perfect event in the perfect setting, Serenbe!

One thing I learned about myself that weekend is that I need to let go more during the creative process.  The two ladies seated next to me, Cindy and Gretchen, worked on their projects with so much freedom!  While I was busy over analyzing and wanting things to be "just so," they were busy adding layers of creative goodness to their projects.

For the weekend we all used the Instagram hashtag #southerncircleretreats.  This is our weekend in photographs.  Some aren't IG photos - I took a ton and had a hard time narrowing down the ones I wanted to share.  I love photography, but I am no photographer!  I can't take credit for the first photo.  The first photo is of our lovely teachers/leaders/friends, Jenni (L) and Tiffin (R).  Doilies were prominent over the weekend.  It is so fitting; doilies are southern, traditional and special.  I incorporated the doily into two of my three art projects.  We were greeted by happy gift boxes on our beds that were FULL of swag!!  Our vendor sponsors were quite generous as you can see.

Tiffin made all of us a LOVE banner to hang.  I have it in my guest bedroom to remind all who rest there that I love them.  Jenni made us personalized coffee mugs.  Mine is the only mug I use at work...and no one can steal it!  Well, they could, but they would easily get caught.  This is just a very small sampling of the treats we had throughout the weekend.  We had fun sweet and savory dips and wine and celebrated Gretchen's birthday with a delicious lasagna homemade by Jenni, a family recipe, and a yummy strawberry cake!

The first night, Tiffin led us through the process of creating a different kind of scrapbook.  We made treasure boxes.  It was a relaxing project but of course I had a hard time with my over-thinking again.  Pattern paper, doilies, scrap-paper hearts and our anniversary date.  I still want to tweak it - add some more color maybe?  I don't know.  I may not do anything to it!

The next morning, Jenni led us through her wonderful painting technique.  I just love my little blue bird and cone flower.  It's just a happy painting.  That night, Tiffin taught us all about hoop art using handkerchiefs and needlework.  To be honest, I got so aggravated with myself that I tore out my first attempt.  Tiffin got me on the right track and I am happy with the result.  We had so many craft supplies to choose from for our projects!

The vendors who donated the swag for our gift boxes also sent in quite a few books for prizes.  I was fortunate enough to get the book, 'handmade sewing.'  Tiffin is one of the artists in the book and her craft apron is featured.  I bought one of the aprons she brought to the retreat.  I love it!  It's made of fun fabrics in happy colors and has plenty of pockets!  As a bonus, I snagged Tiffin's autograph!


Jenni also brought some of her hand-stamped jewelry.  Of course, I had to get a bracelet!  Isn't it perfect?  I had to take a picture of her well-loved, well-worn art apron.  Someday mine might look like that.  Jenni shared her creative journey with all of us.  I enjoyed hearing about her growth as an artist.

Two of my fellow retreat mates generously brought gifts for all of us.  Gretchen shared personal art and a Seed of Happiness.  Cindy shared packets of blank cards featuring her artwork.  So special!

It was freezing cold that weekend, but my heart was warm and full.  I feel like I made several new friends and learned more about the ladies I already knew.  I am so thankful I had the opportunity to attend the first Southern Circle Retreat!  I look forward to another Southern Circle Retreats adventure in the future.

12 December 2012

It's Here! It's Here! It's finally here!

This year, for the first time, I decided to participate in a Christmas gift exchange that was coordinated by sweet Danielle Burkleo of Take Heart.  Danielle's exchange is cleverly entitled, "Scarfament Swap" and the point is to exchange a scarf and an ornament with your with partner as assigned by Danielle.  I was blessed to be paired with my new friend, Carina.  Carina and I are just under 3,000 miles apart which I thought was pretty cool.

Today was the day!  My beautifully packaged box arrived!

See how pretty!  Where I have the gift tags, just imagine our to/from addresses beautifully handwritten in Christmas green.  Don't you love the chevron packing tape?  I sure do.  So fun and festive!

The box was full of loveliness!  This card is a great reminder, isn't it?

Wait for it...


LUCKY ME!  Carina makes the coolest jersey fabric infinity scarves!  If it weren't unseasonably warm here this week, I would definitely be wearing it!  My ornament is perfect for me - buttons!  I have an obsession with buttons.  How did she know this?  And, Carina sent me some lovely faceted gold earrings as an extra happy.  So sweet, huh? 

Carina has an Etsy shop that makes me drool.  Please check out Lovely Little Whimsy.  I'm quite certain you will fall in love with several items like I did!  I limited myself to two necklaces this go-round, but see other shopping expeditions in the near future.

How perfect for fall is the leaf and stone pendant?  The heart is simple and perfect and the proceeds support Carina's and Nick's (her husband) adoption hopes.  They have 3 wonderful boys already and their hearts are ready and open to another precious child.

I don't think I could have been paired with a more perfect Scarfament Swap partner!  Can't wait to find out what she thinks of the package I sent to her!

Note:  I wrote this blog on 12/4.  Check out Carina's blog post about the swap here.


29 November 2012

And so the INSANITY (the good kind) begins!

As I hinted in one of my previous posts, my momma is extremely talented in the crochet department.  She is THE QUEEN of crochet.  I still have the twin blanket she made me when I was about 4-5 years old.  Over the years she has made ponchos and hats and scarves for me and for other people.  She has made countless baby blankets that have become treasured friends to their little recipients.

All of my life I have watched her work and never asked her to teach me.  Quite honestly, until recently I had no desire to learn.  Then I decided to sign up for the Scarfament Swap and a fire started in me.  I was bound and determined to make everything for the swap - ornament and scarf!  I made the ornament at the Holiday Paint Something Workshop.  As far as crochet, I attempted to use YouTube videos and was NOT getting it.  My mom lives 4 hours away from us so I couldn't just drop in for a lesson or two. 

Fortunately for me, Thanksgiving was right around the corner when I entered this period of crochet madness!  We made the trek down to mom's for the holiday and I was able to spend time learning from the absolute best!  Mom was so patient with me.  She was very excited about my desire to learn.  That weekend I made one scarf and two hats and started two more scarves!  Mom even taught me to crochet a granny square.  I couldn't do it today without having her talk me through it, but I am proud of the one I have in my crochet bag!

Since we left Sunday morning, I have continued to crochet; in the car, on a plane, propped up in bed (at home and in a hotel), while watching a movie (at home).  I am working on a scarf for my nephew Ben now.  I love that he asked for a cool color like turquoise!  When I started this learning process, my stitches were so tight I had trouble with the subsequent rows.  My technique is getting better and it can only continue to improve.  My only complaint is that the arthritis in my hands doesn't like my new hobby.  But, pain won't stop me from trying.  A monster has been unleashed and it must be fed!

No pictures until my swap partner receives and opens her package!       

19 November 2012

The Revival of Vintage - An Excursion

My sweet husband took me to the fall edition of The Revival of Vintage.  The event took place at the old Bona Allen Shoe Factory in historic Buford, Georgia.  The building, now referred to as Tannery Row, houses an artist colony and is open for events periodically.  It's a really neat place!  I would love to spend a day up there taking photographs.

This lovely vignette greeted us as we came through the gate:

Behind the head of the bed, you can see a bit of the old...and I love it!

Doesn't it remind you of an old train?

Here's a close up shot:

 And a side view of this beautiful rust bucket!

Out of respect for the vendors, I didn't photograph their wares.  Their booths were beautiful - just take my word for it!

Now for the finds!  An old Ford grill frame.

Can't you see that used as a picture frame or a mirror frame?  How about a couple of mini-buntings stringed across?  So much potential in this piece - even if I just use it as is as an art piece.

Found our last name in letter blocks and our anniversary in Bingo pieces.  I'm thinking of shadow boxing with some of our baby pictures and a black and white of our wedding picture.  We'll see!

I looked at math flash cards, too.  But all they had were multiplication tables and no # x 1.  I was surprised by how reasonable the prices were at some of the booths!  Those bingo pieces were only 20 cents each!  Funny thing is the 19 has the first letter of our last name and the 3 has the first letter of my maiden name.  I didn't realize that at time of purchase.

My man was such a good sport!  He actually enjoyed digging around a huge room filled with stuff!  There is a man that keeps his wares at the artist colony.  He has some great, unique items!  He worked with me, price wise, on the Ford piece.  I'm glad he did because he seemed to really like his stuff based on his prices!

The Revival will be back at The Goat Farm Arts Center in the spring.  Can't wait to check it out! 

08 November 2012

Feeling Inspired…and Overwhelmed

One of the reasons I feel a sense of creative chaos is because of inspiration overload.   I seldom go into a fabric/craft store without buying a magazine that catches my eye.  When I think about trying a new art form, I scour Amazon for books and add them to my wish list.  I “follow” so many blogs it can be overwhelming.


I’m not sure how to bring order to the chaos.

Just this week I decided to sign up for Danielle Burkleo of Take Heart’s Scarfament Swap.  I would like to make a scarf and ornament myself.  So, what did I do?  I went to Joann’s and picked up some beautiful yarn and crochet hooks to make one.  I have never crocheted.  I googled ‘beginner pattern infinity scarf’ and found what I hope will work out – the instructions look simple enough.  We shall see.  My mom is a remarkable craftswoman when it comes to crocheting.  I hope that I have inherited some of her savvy in that department!

Is there a support group for art/craft addiction?  If so, sign me up!

26 October 2012

Everything and Nothing and a Plan

I have a severe case of creative ADD - I want to do everything and nothing all at the same time.  I have dabbled in many different art forms and love them all.  My favorites are scherenschnitte (the art of paper cutting), acrylic painting and doodling (now eloquently known as zentangle).  I have supplies for polymer clay projects, sewing projects (including a machine I've used ONCE in 8 years), paint chip projects, metal stamping and jewelry making projects and on and on and on!  I am inspired by so many creative people that I want to try EVERYTHING!  Instead, for the most part, I do nothing...but I have a plan! 

A few months ago I went to a Paint Something Workshop at Jenni Horne Studios and I have been hooked ever since.  Jenni is a wonderful teacher and just an all around great lady.  I don't know that I would have ever embarked on a painting journey if it weren't for Jenni's methods and her encouragement.  During my last two PSW sessions, I worked on this:

This picture is not the best representation of the final piece which now sits in a place of honor at my mom's house.  This project took me 10 hours...yes, TEN!  Up to that point, I had not attempted such an ambitious, tedious painting.  My back hurt, my neck hurt, my wrist hurt, but I had such a sense of pride!  Of course I got a boost when Jenni told me she was proud of me for getting out of my comfort zone and challenging myself.

I enjoy learning new techniques and revisiting old ones so much that I am going on a retreat in January called Southern Circle Retreats.  The retreat is being co-hosted by none other than Jenni and her super talented, fellow creative genius friend, Tiffin Mills.  It is such a gift to have this opportunity!  I can hardly wait!  The number of available spots is limited allowing for a more intimate experience.  I'd much rather have that than getting lost in a sea of people in a big classroom setting.  I want to be an artist, dreamer and doer like Jenni and Tiffin instead of just a dreamer.  Perhaps the retreat will give me what I need to get focused.

I would be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to my sweet husband.  He is incredibly supportive while I go through this discovery process.  He indulges my 'on a whim' trips to Hobby Lobby, Joann's and/or Michael's.  He believes I can do anything even when I am full of self-doubt and fear.  I am blessed beyond measure in the husband department!