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.