Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I'm not slacking off ...

I've been on a non-stop merry-go-round since coming home from the retreat.  I can't believe I've been home for 10 days already - time for another retreat, right?!?

Day one was spent unpacking and doing laundry, the next few days were spent putting everything away.  And then I hit the ground running making cards.  Here are just a few:

This sweet little girl is going to Kayla - happy birthday!

I love the femininity of this one.  The softness of the flowers, lace and feathers juxtapose perfectly with the rusted heart.  Happy birthday, Tasha.

This is one of my favorites!!!  I found this photo of my great grandmother and decided to put it on this happy birthday card for my cousin, Lisa.  My regret is that I didn't make a copy of the picture first.  Enjoy, Lisa!  Lots going on here and I enjoyed creating it every step of the way.

Good friends are like stars.  You don't always see them, but you know they are always there.  Happy birthday, Pete.  I hope you enjoy this year's card.

This will be given to a happy couple that just became engaged (in Belize - lucky girl!)  True love stories never have endings.  May your love story continue forever.

The remainder of these were made while I was on my retreat.  Thank you Vicki and Julie for supporting me.  I appreciate you!  I hope the people you send them to enjoy them.

Oh - and that's not all I've been doing - I will fill you in another time.  You won't want to miss it.  My next post is where I'll share an exciting opportunity and a giveaway.

I leave you with this:  hold someone's hand today - we all need each other.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Home Sweet Home

I'm home!!!  Pulled into the garage at 6pm on Sunday and oh my goodness was I ever tired.  A huge grasshopper hopped onto the hood of my car and was my company from the Ranch all the way to I-20.  I think the overpass and the wind caused him to fly away.  This is probably a good thing!

A huge "Thank you" to The Runner for unloading the car.  Believe it or not, but there was more stuff that came home with me than I took out there.  How does that happen?  I was too tired to even eat dinner (could it be that I was just stuffed from so much food?) and called it at night at 8:20.

This is a fabulous place to get away, leave it all behind, relax, craft and meet new people.

Believe it or not, but with all the stuff I took out there, I forgot one thing but fortunately one of my new friends let me borrow hers.  The first weekend there, I met eight lovely women.  Deborah (from the non-wedding planning group) is not a crafter per se but let me tell you ... I recruited her in a heartbeat and she was a tremendous help in making flowers.  Her group called her "the traitor" but it didn't stop either one of us.

Productivity?  Oh yes - lots of crafting.  The purpose of the first weekend was to prepare for an October wedding that will be held at the Ranch.  I made 157 fabric flowers and wrapped three bouquets.  I had help making 174 coffee filter flowers which will be used to decorate 110 napkin wraps, 71 centerpiece mason jars and 4 cans.  The bride worked on two window screens that will be used as props.  The bride's daughter made the gift cash wooden box.  Everybody had to watch where they were walking so we didn't get spray painted as Billie and Stacy worked their magic with those cans as they painted all the jars.  Now, you wonder why I'm tired?

Bet you're wondering how anybody could work in such chaos and mess.  Not to worry because stuff got done.  Yes, this was my space.  Six feet of craft table and it all comes down to working in less than a 12"x12" space.  What?

Another project completed was to set up a retreat blog.  Thank you so much Billie and Makenzie!  Once I get my thoughts together I will announce and introduce it right here.  Stay tuned!

When everybody left on Sunday Marie, Stacy and I went out to dinner.  We didn't last long after that.  I think Stacy was asleep before 8:00 and I followed shortly after.

The first four days were spent working in the large craft room and sleeping in the house.  It took hours to pack up (again) and move all my stuff into the small craft room and bedroom in the craft building.  Thank goodness for those wagons!

Here ya go - a peek at my space before it got all broken in and messed up.  See those containers on the top left of the screen?  I made every single one of those flowers on the left side.  Every. Single. One.  Some at this retreat, but most were made at other retreats and at home.

My friend, Julie, arrived on Wednesday evening and gave me this apron that she made for my birthday.  I LOVE IT.  If you look closely, you'll be able to tell that it's Tim Holtz's material - and it is reversible and "SuZeQ Creations" is embroidered on both sides.  Thank you, Julie!

Thursday morning, the other 15 ladies started to trickle in.  Soon we had a full house and everybody had their craft on.  We laughed, a few cried, we told stories and jokes (none to repeated here - remember: what happens at the retreat stays at the retreat!) and we ate - LOTS.  Several made their way over to the new Walmart while others just threatened to go.

We crafted, too.  Well, MOST of us crafted.  Sarah played a lot of solitaire and talked and ate a lot.  The craft building was filled with swimmers, dreamers, scrapbookers, hand-knitters, cardmakers, seamstresses (just LOOK at these darling outfits!) and bread bakers.

Yeah, I see you drooling over all those goodies behind Julie.  And that wasn't even all of it.  Remember - there are two kitchens and two dining rooms out at the Ranch.  Julie, you can drop a loaf of bread off at my house any day!  This was delicious with the baked spaghetti she made for us on Saturday night.  We didn't think we'd have room for it after Stephanie's always-delicious breakfast egg and sausage casserole and Kay's luncheon of pulled pork, chicken and beef sandwiches on French bread but we managed!

I was quite productive the remainder of my time there: 19 cards to fill orders, 134 square nest tags for my friend Vicki, 137 business cards and 1 book page Christmas tree for me.  I started, finished and gifted: 1 decorated peat pot, 1 strawberry basket, 1 frame and 2 gift bags.  I also worked on decorating 9 lamp shades for a Springtime event out at the Ranch.

What is so enjoyable to me is meeting new people.  The fellowship and the friendship is so much more important than productivity.  I crafted with new life-long friends, Vicki and her sister Pat.  I know we will be sharing a craft room in the future.  I just know it.  Oh - okay, the eating part is pretty awesome, too.

Amy's waffles and sausage breakfast followed by Susan's chicken wraps for lunch helped to sustain us as we packed up our supplies and left the retreat with the memories that will always be with us.

The 11 days that I spent out there were so relaxing and productive.  But, I must admit, it was nice to get home.  How wonderful to be reunited with The Runner, my routine (boring as it is - the routine, not the hubby!) and my own bed and pillow.  Oh - and my electric toothbrush, my hand-held shower, cell phone coverage and my computer.  I suppose being away from the computer for that long was a good thing but at one point, I'd thought I'd gone into withdrawal.

With all that being said, I certainly miss my crafting sisters, all the desserts (Kay's cake balls and graham cracker pralines and two cakes were out of this world and Teresa makes a mean cake, too!) and non-stop eating.  Also, being able to spread out to a larger crafting space certainly has me spoiled.

Back to reality and waiting for the next retreat ...

Thursday, August 7, 2014


I spent the last two days packing.  Yes, I did leave the kitchen sink at home but that's about all - or so it appears.  Everything in this stack (with the exception of the plastic bag on the top far left corner) is what I will NEED.  Even as I went through my list - of course I have a list - and checked everything off as it went into containers, I am sure I will have forgotten something.  I always do!

All this is loaded stuffed into the car (The Runner ROCKS!) and today just about everything I own is going out to Whitworth Ranch Retreat.

Thank goodness there are wagons to carry my tools, supplies and suitcase from my car to my room.  I can't imagine doing this without these John Deere-looking gems.  I think John needs bigger wagons!

Here's where I'll be resting my head at the end of the day - or would that be at the beginning of the day.  There are no clocks when you're on a retreat.  You just flop when you can't keep your eyes open.

If you've never gone on a retreat, you might want to reconsider that decision.  It is a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, try new foods, clear your head, work on projects, get a massage, learn a new technique or just get away from it all.

This retreat is family owned and you will see Marie, John and Stacy wandering in and out during your stay.  The venue is out of this world and so very peaceful - the ranch sits on 50 country acres where you can enjoy watching the cattle.  If you wish, you can talk to them; they talk back and they know my name - true story.

You can enjoy one of the 18 single (non-bunk) beds in five bedrooms.  All bedrooms are on the first floor with the exception of one.  Next to each bed is a night stand and all bedding is high-quality.  There's a vanity table in each bedroom where you can set up your beauty bar.

There are four bathrooms where towels, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and hair dryers are provided.  Two bathrooms have a showers/tub combination while the remaining two offer showers.

You can enjoy their two kitchens, two dining rooms and two craft rooms.  Every crafter has a six-foot table with self-healing mats and drink holders.  Offered is a Cricut machine with over 50 cartridges, die cutting machines, Stampin' Up stamps and a full array of stamps for your use.

If you would like to move away from your crafting spot, there are these very comfy sofas to rest your weary bones and catch a second wind.  The good part is that they're right there in the craft room and you can still be a part of the high energy.  Several ladies have spent the night here - they're that comfy.

Oh, don't let me forget the food.  Stacy is culinary trained and can handle special dietary needs.  Her meals are TO. DIE. FOR.  Let me be the first to tell you that you will not go away hungry.  Ever.  My favorite is her Bolognese sauce, homemade granola, and green beans.  Not together, of course - just my faves.

If you are a swimmer and love the water, check out this pool and hot tub!!!  Two craft rooms, two bedrooms and two baths are housed in this building.  Under the covered patio is a barbeque grill and the chuck wagon for Stacy's famous BBQs.  Is this inviting or what?

Since you won't be hearing from me while I'm there, I'll see you in 11 days.  It'll be a tough assignment, but somebody has to do it, right?  After pictures?  Well ... what happens at the retreat stays at the retreat so maybe not!

Don't deny yourself.  Sign up for a retreat.  If Whitworth Ranch Retreat is too far away from you, check out retreats in your neck of the woods and treat yourself.  I promise you ... you won't be sorry!  Oh - and not everybody packs like I do so don't let that scare you away.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


I fought Facebook with all I had in me for a long time.  (Yeah, I fought having a blog, too, but that's a whole 'nother story!)  An acquaintance convinced me that I should create a Facebook page to promote my work.  She didn't tell me that I would be able to connect with friends from way-back-when.  She also didn't tell me that people could "Friend" me.

Initially, I was interested in using Facebook only as a vehicle to get my work out there.  Nothing more.

What a learning curve.  It took me a while but I soon got the drift and haven't looked back since.  I didn't realize exactly what all could happen once that page was created.  Wow - it was magical.  One of my "Friends" is from my glory days (whatever THOSE are!?!) and after some private messages, e-mails and phone calls, she told me that she wanted to display something in her home that I created.  What an honor!

She knew exactly what she wanted me to do.  It took some time for her to find the pictures and then it took me waaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy too long to actually put it all together and get it out the door.  I wanted everything to be perfect for her.  I shopped, shopped some more, dug through my supplies, researched and sketched until I saw double - and I had to see doubles in this case.

She had a picture of herself and another one of her husband sitting on Santa's lap.  She told me she wanted to display them together so I wanted them to be matchy-matchy but not identical.  I knew I wanted to make her canvas "girlie."

And I knew I wanted to "boy" it up on his canvas.
Yesterday they finally arrived and she is pleased.  I am sure she will enjoy these for years to come.  Thank you, Claudette!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Happy Friendship Day

Today is the day to celebrate your friendships.  Here are a few cards some lucky friends will receive.  Yes, friends are the best.

Life without friendship is like the sky without the sun. 

Friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil - but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small silly presents every so often - just to save it from drying out completely.  Don't let your friendships dry out.  Make that phone call today!