Tuesday, May 18, 2010


These thoughts have been circling through my brain lately and I should be telling you all about Inspired in North Carolina, but bear with me while I clear this junk out. I'll insert crafty pictures, how's that for a compromise?

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This is the table in our journal class with CD Muckosky. It was very free spirited and playful and dirty. I'm not a dirty artist but it was fun to use stuff that isn't meant for art, to make different designs. Pam Garrison's journal is second and Sandy (my roomie's) mosaic piece in infancy.

Anyway, back on point. I deal with accidents - in my regular job and so I read ALOT of reports about how things went wrong, to figure out whether we're liable,which means we have to settle and pay money. I also like "lessons learned", which I find helpful (but not everybody does). But I'm always astonished when learning about accidents how one choice, made differently would cause a different end result. One lane change not made = no accident. That one choice you make, in a split second, that if made differently can sometimes alter a life - alot of lives really. I know all this sounds so damn deep and its really not. You probably think about it too. I guess its on my mind because I'm reading alot about the BP blowout and wondering what could have been different. Did you know they were celebrating 7 years of no lost time on that rig on the day of the accident? So ironic. Okay, back to the point. I made a choice last week not to lock my car and someone else made a choice to take things that didn't belong to them. Not big or expensive things but it wasn't theirs to take. And it has really made me feel so vulnerable and afraid, ALOT of the time when I'm out in public. Like, okay, so what's going to happen next? What other shocker is going to happen to me. You go along swimmingly in your little life, little bubble and then, boom. Its sort of funny because - you know all the stuff you've been bitching about? Well, I'll give you something to stress over! And really - IT WAS NO BIG DEAL. They didn't steal money or keys or credit cards, for God's sake. But they stole a piece of my peaceful little life from me and I want it back. I stand at the front door now before I go to bed and wonder if they're walking around right now - can I catch them at it again?
Anyway, its just affected me in a profound way. When I think about it, I guess it is a good faith tester. Am I going to be negative and cynical and think of all the dishonesty in the world or will I believe in people's goodness? That's been my talk, so I guess I gotta walk it now.
And really its simple. I let down my guard and so now I just need to be careful. But when do I trust and when do I protect??? Good question.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Class-y ME

I take two suitcases when I go to a scrap workshop or art retreat (whatever you want to call it). One for clothes and one for supplies and stuff I bought. That one is still stuffed, lying open on the chair waiting to be unburdened. I haven't taken pictures of what I bought either... I don't always get around to that timely, do I, Megan? I can do commentary, though, if you'd like. The Chase Park Plaza has everything you would expect from a grand dame hotel. I had breakfast in the cafe in the morning but it was fairly empty - only Kaari Meng and a few others. There was an upscale grocery next door with a fine deli for lunch. My first class was with Kaari of French General to make a Charmant Bracelet. I'm not a jewelry wearer or a jewelry maker but I enjoyed the class and learning the proper way to open the ring-things and thread the pin-things. I added a Mary medal from my religious medal collection. There were two choices of color - sea foam and pink. Here's a picture of Pam's blue rendition. Its funny to look at other photos of Mary's studio and seeing things for the first time. There was just SO MUCH TO SEE and take in. There was also some incredible talent in the joint. I mean raw, palpable talent like Debbie Dusenberry of Curious Sofa. I saw two of her projects and they were jaw dropping. It is not - oh lets think of something nice to say about someones project - its eye blinking - lets take it all in stuff.

The four classes were 3 hours in length and in between the two classes on Friday were 3 lectures of an hour each. You could attend two and have lunch during the off-hour. I went to a legal one about copyright and trademark given by Mary's former lawyer, Emmett. It was interesting and alot of people had questions - people who are starting businesses. The second lecture was given by a young art student, "Event Coordinator" for Renegade Fairs which is a big event in Chicago. I don't know anything about them but he was funny, in a comical kind of way but not being mean spirited. He was twenty something and said "like" about eight thousand times. Renegade Fairs seem like the Renaissance Festival meets Art Car Parade or something like that. Okay, now, don't anybody come back and say ... YOU DON"T KNOW RENEGADE? No. I don't. But its coming to Austin in a couple of weeks if you want to get to know it.

My second class of the day was Matthew Mead of the magazine, Flea Market Style, along with his wife, Jen. It was a cool idea for a class. He brought a bevy of props from his stash and we got to choose about 5 or so and set them up for camera shots. He then photoshopped them a bit (using mostly watercolor filter) and printed them and we placed them in a small jewelry boxes that you could attach in any kind of configuration.
I had two favorite props from this class. One is a vintage dachshund flower frog that I had seen in his magazine and fell in love and began feverishly googling "dachshund flower frog" to try to find one. Ha. No such luck. I offered my first born child for it and he said no, which is probably a good thing since there is no such beast. He did say that he may have some made... which would be cool. I also loved the little girl vase. Sweet.

There was a 20-something cutie in our class who made this... I liked the style of the set up and the newsprint. It was "out of the box", so to speak.

And then there was D Dusenberry's rendition of Printer Art. Do you see the difference? Its art, people, lets face it.

This is Lainey from Missouri, she works at Hallmark and she's kooky and fun and was in two of my classes. She kept calling me Mary's sister LOUDLY so that other people would hear and then later ask me, are you really Mary's sister? I do see a resemblence and actually later two other people asked me the same question. I need to email Lainey.

It was nice because you weren't whipped at the end of the day - with just two classes. It was relaxed, nobody was rushing around. There were 130 people at the event (or rather 130 students), which was nice. Some classes were almost filled but not packed. That evening we met up for dinner with my sweet friend, Barb R from St. Louis who attended Scrap Etc. with us a few years back and also Scrap St. Louis for the past two years. She is a good egg, as my Mother would say. Easy to be around, interesting to talk to and just downright nice. We walked to dinner at an Italian place with Carolyn from Atlanta and Debe from the Woodlands and enjoyed a relaxing evening, first with some wine in their room and this fabulous cheese from St. Louis called palermo or something... What was it called, Carolyn? We ended the evening, running through the rain from the Cupcakery, drenched but smiling. Justine and her sister in law, Claudia knocked on my door and we visited for an hour or so - delivering her set of Year of Tags from the swap, since she missed us the night before. It was better that way though - visiting with both of them and getting to know them better. I met some really great people at this event. I'm closing up shop for the night. Suitcase still needing to be unpacked and desk covered with junk. Perhaps tomorrow I'll get the photos taken. Oh and so, tomorrow, remind me to tell you about Dee Foust. Yes, THAT Dee Foust. There really is a person named Dee Foust. I didn't know there was a person named Mackenzie Childs!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Meeting ME in St. Louis

Thursday morning I flew to St. Louis with Pam N and Debe L for the first Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion Workshop. We stopped at the new Red Lead location after dropping Debe off at the hotel and shopped a bit. We ran into Shelly, Jemilla and Rene (who created the gorgeous January tag for our Year of Tags swap) at the store. It was so fun to finally meet Miss January or Miss June! The hotel, Chase Park Plaza is in a beautiful part of St. Louis, across from a park and within walking distance of little shops and cafes. Its old and grand and was such a nice treat. I went solo and didn't have to share a bed with a dog hog (Killer). It's the little things...

After the shopping, I hurried back to Maryland St so I could do my tour of Mary's studio with tag swappers, Alison, Jane and Catherine. The building is very unassuming and you have no idea where you are, except for the cute Anne Estelle dressed girl greeting you at the staircase. The offices have amazing natural light (but, of course!) and I managed to snag about 70 photos. You can see the rest of them on Picasa here.

This greets you at the reception desk.

Here is where Mary sits and creates.

Loved all the colored pencil options and copic markers. And did I mention the light... We got a full tour of the studio, no stone left unturned and were only politely asked not to take photos of the 2011 calendar markups. There is a small, side room with special lighting to check print colors. Amazing. Notes written on proofs to correct this bit of red or that shade of white. Loved it.

After about 45 minutes at the studio, it was back to the hotel for registration and then a cocktail reception from 6-8- with shopping! And visiting with Mary and the teachers. It was fun to find the rest of the swappers and they convinced me to get the tags ready to not wait until Friday - and let's swap Thursday night. Unfortunately, we missed one person - one sweet, adorable person, Justine Dennen who was a sweetheart and came to my room Friday night, along with her sister-in-law Claudia. All was not lost - we had a very nice visit. I really enjoyed meeting and visiting with everyone and felt like a dunce without a name tag. (no excuses) Without knowing it, there was a HUGE Texas contingent - we kept running into Texans like Kim from Katy or Donna Donna from Wimberley/Austin. Jen Duncan had a late arriving flight and I loved how she stepped off the elevator, Mary greeted her and I distinctly heard Mary say - Oh, Jen Duncan - I read your blog all the time! Wow - what a trip. And of course she does, because Jen is so uber talented. We had a nice dinner that night at the Blue Moon (okay, maybe it was called Bar Louie but there was a sign in the window that said Blue Moon - honest!). That was the end of day 1. Be back tomorrow for the first day of classes. And I have to take photos of the goodies I purchased.

Sunday, May 02, 2010


After this weekend. Just saying....

Mary looks like the cat that ate the canary... did I say something goofy (again)?

Mary Engelbreit, me and Muffy

Will post full details with pictures tomorrow.