Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Countdown is on!

I'm in my final days of consulting for Dr. Webb - Friday is my very last day. Actually, I'm ready to be done now. The way my personality works is that when I decide something is over - I want it over now, I'm done. Finished. When I'm ready to move on, patience is not my strong point. But, I'm going to finish out the week and help him transition over no matter how much I want to be done right. now.

As far as work goes,last week was an incredibly LOOOONNNNNNGGGGG week. I spent my entire week at two marketing events. The first one was an Aging Conference and the second one was the Case Managers Annual meeting. Luckily, both were held at the same venue but it meant setting up on Monday, sitting and talking to people Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; moving our booth and materials and sitting and talking all day Friday. What made it so difficult was that is was absolutely freezing inside the vendor hall all week. I don't do well with the cold - it exhausts me and makes me miserable. I did keep a smile on my face (hope nobody noticed my chattering teeth!) and tried to dress as warmly as possible. I still froze. So glad to be done with that.

Last Saturday evening Doug and I went to our friends' Lisa & Wayne's house for a meet and eat. Eight couples, including us, are going on a Catamaran Cruise next summer to the British Virgin Islands. Everyone somehow knows Lisa and Wayne but this evening was to introduce everyone else and get a chance to know each other a little bit before next summer. Lisa cooked an *amazing* array of foods for all of us and the evening was so much fun! I'm sorry that I didn't bring my camera so I don't have any pictures to share.
We are going to be split up on two catamarans that each will have a captain and a hostess to cook for us. We are going to float around the islands, get some sun, eat, drink and have an amazing time. I know the trip is a year away but we are all so excited! Gives us something to look forward to.

Another thing I am looking forward to is the month of June off from work! I'm taking a sabbatical of sorts to try to figure out what I want to do next.The funny thing is how people are so worried about what I'm going to do next. People seem shocked that I want to take a month off. It's okay - I'll figure it out. Plus, I really need to get this house in order - organize from top to bottom. I'm working on my list of everything I want to accomplish and I'll share as I go along. My craft room is almost done - my organizer fell off her bike and broke her arm so we are on hold for the moment as to the finishing touches. I can't wait to share - I'm sort of embarrassed of the before pictures but I am so excited about the transformation I'm going to have to show how much it has changed!

One fun thing I am doing right now is taking an online art class from Suzi Blu. It's called Petite Dolls. Although I like to craft, up until this point I didn't think I could really draw. But I'm going to put myself out there and not worry about what everyone thinks about my creativity or talent. I'm doing it for fun, and I'm doing it for me. I'll probably post some of my sketches here and I look forward to getting some feedback but please, constructive criticism only. No need to be mean or hurtful. ;)

Suzi Blu is also a "Brave Girl". She went to camp this month and I actually think I found her through Melody Ross - either on a blog or a link or something like that. Suzi has a great post on her site about her trip to Brave Girls. If you are interested, take a look here.

I do need to go and buy a new scanner and printer - mine bit the dust last week. When I get the new one set up I am going to share a picture that Doug did the other night while I was watching one of Suzi's online videos. Be on the lookout for Doug's artwork - it's pretty funny.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Inspired...Or maybe just crazy.

I'm taking a leap of faith and finally making some big changes in my life. I gave my notice last week at work and will be finishing up at the end of the month. Currently I do not have any active legal cases going on and I'm okay with that. At this point I don't plan on taking on any new clients for the time being. I'm taking the month of June to get my house in shape, get myself in shape and take stock of what it really is that I want to be doing at this point in my life. It's scary but exhilarating at the same time.
It's time to move on and experience more of what life has to offer. I've been wanting to do this for some time but I wanted to make sure the timing was right and I believe in my heart that the time is now.
We will see what happens!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mary Engelbreit's Studio

The entire weekend was so much fun but I'd have to say that I was so very excited to get to tour Mary's Studio. What an incredibly generous gesture to allow all of us to go through, take pictures and oooh and aaaah over all her stuff. The entire studio with the exception of one area was available to us to take pictures and I can assure you the cameras were going crazy! We were not allowed to take pictures in the area where Mary is working on a new book. We were allowed to look at the work in progress but no pictures. Okay with me!
Here is part of our wonderful tour:
The flag in the foyer:

This is Ann Estelle outside the studio entrance, waiting to let our group in. Isn't this fun? I'd love to come to work here everyday. Even the water fountain has a cute little skirt.

This is the desk in the foyer. The bookshelves have all kinds of Mary Engelbreit merchandise on them. Just amazing and what a happy place!

A little seating area in the foyer. So cute!

This is the board room. Not stuffy like all the board rooms I've seen. The walls were covered in Mary's magazine illustrations.

This shot was taken looking into Mary's office. How I would love to get my hands on all those beautiful markers and colored pencils. Plus, if I was lacking inspiration (although I don't know how that would ever happen in such an inspirational place!) I could just sit and flip through some of her books and get some ideas...

This is a shot of her desk and inspiration boards.

Can anyone say supplies?!?

Anyway, I must have taken *at least* 100 pictures although they didn't all come out that great. It was kind of hard to photograph around our large group of people, plus there was SO MUCH to take in. As I look at my pictures now I see all kinds of things that didn't register the first time I looked. It is also interesting to look at the pictures that the other ladies took to see what caught their eye.
What an awesome, awe inspiring time I had in St. Louis.
Thank you so much to Mary Engelbreit and to all the ladies who helped make the conference what it was. I so hope they do it again next year because you can bet I will be one of the first ones to register!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mary Engelbreit Home Companion Workshop in St. Louis - Post 2

As the workshop was getting closer, I got online to do some research on the area we would be visiting. One of the places I found was "The Cupcakery" and I immediately let Rachel know since she loves cupcakes. Yep - they were delicious and let's just say we visited the store more than once. ;)

The first evening we went to an awesome Italian restaurant called "Bar Italia". We ate outside under a big white tent. The weather was beautiful even if it was a little windy. We shared some appetizers and each had a salad. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the place but I want to be sure to remember the name so I can eat there the next time I visit St. Louis.

Our second night in St. Louis we ate at "Scape". Again, fabulous food! One of the specials was Butternut Squash Risotto and it was beyond good!

We also visited Bissenger's Chocolate Shop and of course had breakfast Sunday morning at Crepes. YUM!

Okay, enough about the food and back to the classes.
My second class on the first day was a jewelry class with Kaari Meng of the French General. The project was a beautiful blue charm bracelet and I couldn't wait to take the class. Imagine my surprise when we were offered the opportunity to make either the blue bracelet *or* we could make a pink bracelet! You don't have to ask me twice - of course I went with the pink. I also purchased another kit to make a different floral bracelet at home.
Getting started:

My beautiful pink bracelet:

On the second day, my first class was a fabric bird sculpture with Kathy. I think I was a little tired that morning and just couldn't find my groove at first. However, once I finally got started I was so happy with my little bird! She looks like a little party bird. Don't make fun of her because her head is a little crooked - it's part of her charm. I just love her and I can't wait to make more of these.

Here is Kara with her beautiful little bird:

What I loved so much about this conference was the incredible creativity of everyone. Where the projects could be individualized, they were. Just amazing!
My final class was a Folding Travel Tray with Charlotte Lyons. This was a perfect ending to the crafty conference. We finished a beautiful tray and it wasn't too complicated for the end of the day when we were so tired.

Charlotte is so talented and so sweet and although I was disappointed I didn't get to take her cuckoo clock class, she had extra kits for sale and I purchased one to create at home. Yay Me!
Kara and Rachel looked so cute all weekend. Rachel made a beautiful flower in one of Kaari's classes. Check out Rachel's blog to see.

Me - I just had to make sure I stayed warm and comfy for crafting! Jeans and sneakers. Me and Kara:

If you are interested in reading more check out some of these posts! (Look around on their blogs as I'm only posting one link but there may be several posts about the Conference)
Nancy's Blog
Victoria's Blog
Michelle's Blog
Patricia's Blog
Okay, that is enough for today - we are under tornado warnings here in Oklahoma so I'd better sign off. Next post I'll share pictures of Mary Engelbreit's studio. Stay safe!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mary Engelbreit Home Companion Workshop in St. Louis

This past weekend I had a fabulous time in St. Louis, Missouri at the Mary Englebreit Home Companion Workshop. My friend Rachel who I had met earlier this year at Brave Girls Camp met me there along with her friend Kara. We checked into the Hotel Indigo and then headed over to the Chase Park Plaza hotel where the event was taking place.

The moment we walked into the reception hall, there was Mary Engelbreit herself standing right there! She caught me by surprise - I didn't expect to see her standing right there but there she was and she held out her hand and introduced herself. She was so friendly and down to earth and it was so exciting for me to finally meet her in person. I have been a fan of hers for years and was a faithful and loyal subscriber of her magazine right up until the very end.
At the reception, we got to meet some of the other attendees, and hung out with Claudine Hellmuth who was teaching two classes at the event. Claudine has a lot of spirit and I look forward to taking one of her classes soon. She is fun and of course, I immediately liked her but when I learned that she too is a total animal lover, well, that was all I needed to hear. I wasn't in any of her classes this time because we could only choose four and although I would have loved to take them all, I had to choose the ones that *most* spoke to me. I was happy with the classes I did pick. My suggestion for next year's event is to make it a couple more days and let us take ALL the classes ;) THAT would be some major crafting.
The first class I took was by Kathy Currato and was called "Award Ribbons". Kathy worked for Mary Engelbreit's magazine for many years and is now doing her own freelance work creating for other magazines. She is so talented and such a warm and friendly person.
Kathy's class was amazing - we walked into a room with all kinds of beautiful papers, ribbons, trims, and tools. I immediately found my groove and knew exactly what I wanted to create which is a first for me. I usually sit and ponder and can't decide what I want to do. Not that morning - I focused right in on what I wanted to do and got to work. I didn't look around to see what everyone else was doing because I didn't want to get off track. Here I am with my materials eager to get started.

The ladies at my table were so much fun! We laughed and had a great time. By the end of class it was incredible to see all the creativity that was being brought out in everyone. All the finished projects were absolutely beautiful - so different but so beautiful.
My finished project with Kathy: (sorry it's so dark but the lighting wasn't the best). I'm so happy with my award ribbon - I LOVE the way it turned out.

Since the weekend was packed with so many fun things, I'm going to break the posts up a little bit. In my next post, I'll show you pictures of my next project: A Charm Bracelet with Kaari Meng of the French General. Stay tuned!