Okay. I have to make a confession: I do not like travel. Don’t get me wrong — I like being in new places, it’s the getting there that bugs me. I’m not afraid of flying. I’m not afraid of terrorist bombings. I’m afraid of packing myself into an 18″ plot of upholstery with 300 other people inside a tin can hurdling through the clouds at 500 miles an hour. Because, from any rational perspective, that should make you nervous (or terrified!)…Throw in four hours of a limited, recirculating air supply and a lingering whiff of an ebola crisis and you have yourself a really good reason to stay home. That said, when Michaels asked me to come join their other makers in California for their first summit, my immediate reaction was a resounding NO. Eventually I got over it, and now I look back at that ‘no’ phase and think what I would have missed. Oh my god.
Oh. My. Gawd.
You guys. This trip!
First of all. California. I used to live in Southern California and I know the west coast is just different, but this Sonoma wine country situation is a league of it’s own. Seriously. Everyone is pretty. Everyone is nice. Even when the waitress is ignoring you, she is being pretty and nice about it.
And the place is gorgeous. I would tell you what it looks like but it’s all different. You drive 15 minutes in any direction and you hit a new microclimate. The actual event took place at the top of mountain at the Ranch Above Santa Rosa, and the ride up was as an hour long, log-ride quality white-knuckle adventure. But look at this place!
Lounge chairs. In the sun. By the pool. Tassels swaying in the wind. Flowers, flowers, flowers. I have been to some pretty snazztastic events in my day, but this was in a league of it’s own. It was only three days, but every day was like a wedding. A stunning, delicious, thoughtfully planned out wedding. Everything from private drivers to thermoses of ice water to hand drawn messages in our hotel mirrors. The details! The logistics that it would have taken to put this together an event of this magnitude for all 50 of us makers must have been insane. My
hat tiara is off to all the folks who put this together. I feel a little sorry for the next event I get to attend, because this is going to be a hard act to follow!
Okay. So, this picture is pretty much the whole event: Pretty girls in colorful clothes on their phones taking pictures next to a pool. And then….there’s me on the left looking like the dishwater Midwesterner like about to pick my nose.
PS: The photo above is courtesy of Jaderbomb…
Jade is one of the few people I knew before going to the event, which is funny because we had never actually met in person but we talk on the phone all the time. Then we met and it felt like we had been hanging out for years. Don’t you love it when that happens? She is so fun. She’s wearing a flower crown in this picture because Michael’s set up a flower crown making bar (<< yes I said A FLOWER CROWN MAKING BAR)…but Jade could wear a flower crown to the grocery store. That’s just her. She’s like a cajun Stevie Nicks. Everything she touches is interesting and bohemian and involves a back story of someone famous and/or naked. Yeah, you’re going to want to hang out with her too.
Now, about that flower crown bar…
Isn’t this the best idea? This was for the welcome reception, but I’m thinking you could set up one of these at any party. And for kids of all sizes. Birthday parties? Bridal showers? Hello!
I had such a blast hanging out with Jen, Jade and Lia – and although I am sure we would have had a great time regardless of what was on our head, the flower crowns helped set the mood for the evening. California knows how to party!
Again, another picture of more pretty girls on phones taking pictures. Dinner was on a lawn at a vineyard in one of those farm-to-table situations I usually only read about in Sunset magazine. The food was fantastic, but the flowers. Holy cats. The flowers. The entire weekend – every flat surface had flowers and snacks. Snacks and flowers. Flowers and snacks. Californians know how to live!
Initially I thought the welcome dinner was the fancy part, but no. There were flowers everywhere the following day too.
I’m showing you a lot of pictures of flowers here, but it’s very little when you know that I took hundreds. As soon as I got home I started painting them. More on that later!
It was a big weekend for flowers. We even got to make paper flowers with Livia Cetti.
I have been following Livia’s work for years. And although I have some experience on the paper flower front myself, I bow down to Livia skills. Like, Whoa. These are not flowers – they sculpture. Each one is an art piece infused with energy and integrity and the sort of hand skills you usually find in a couture dress. Livia’s work has been featured in every major magazine and high-end retailer in the country – even the White House. I was so thrilled to take her class.
And here is the good news: YOU CAN TAKE IT TOO. Her class is now live on Creative Bug. AND EVEN MORE GOOD NEWS: It’s free for the next three weeks!
AND EVEN MORE GOOD NEWS: Creative Bug is letting everyone take the very same classes we took at Summit. There is always a 14 day free trial, but you don’t even have to sign up. Just watch the videos; paper flowers, watercolor painting, image transfers, frame weaving. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen me going nuts for frame weaving over this last weekend – you’ll be seeing more from me on that front!
If you haven’t looked into Creative Bug yet, you need to get on that I signed up about six months ago and have taken dozens of classes since then. They have HUNDREDS. All of the videos are superb quality and the instructors are top notch. You gotta check it out! Some of my other favorites…
Paper Party Crafts with Lia Griffith
Line Drawing with Lisa Congdon
Sew Embellished Pillows with Annabel Wrigley
Creative Sketchbooking with Pam Garrison.
How to Design Fabric with Denyse Schmmidt, Heather Ross, and Lizzy House
Beaded Leather Tassel Necklaces with Elke Bergeron
DIY Linen Caftan with Liesl Gibson
..and many more!
Thank you so much to Michael’s for inviting me to be a part of this inaugural event. Coming home was a harsh reality made a little easier by all the ideas, inspiration, and incredible new friends. Thank you!