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.

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