Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Swaps..... Sensational Works of Artful Presentation

It's been announced.... the date to sign up for an event!  You've

marked it down on your calendar.  Circled it in red.  And you wait.  The

day arrives and sitting at your computer, nose to the screen, you fill in 

all the necessary paperwork hoping you haven't missed a thing.  After all,

your fingers have been flying across the keyboard!  Then, that magic

moment when you hit "Enter" and BAM!!  you are officially headed to an

event that leaves you so over-the-top excited you can barely contain

yourself!  Next comes the realization that it is six months away!

Six months is a long time to keep that enthusiasm at a fever pitch, right?

Not if you sign up for a swap, it isn't!  And at Kim Caldwell's event, Affair

at Tiffany's, there were thirteen... count them... thirteen to choose from!

Some women had their creativity in overdrive and signed up for most of

them.  Me?  I signed up for two ~ the evening bag swap and the tiara

swap!  Both were one-on-one swaps where you create something within

the parameters designated by the swap hostess and exchange with another

woman at the event.  It's genius! What a fabulous way to pique my 

interest in all things blingy, pearly, and oh, so girlie!!

                                         Evening Bag Swap

The basic requirements were to purchase a vintage black evening bag,

embellish it, and place at least five items inside that Holly Go-Lightly

would probably have in hers.  This is the one I found at an antique

store in Chagrin Falls, Ohio (on my day off from nursing my son and

his knee back to health~ it was either take a couple hours break or

turn into Nurse Ratchett!).  I loved the shape as it had a flat bottom

and a rich, creamy satin lining.  BUT.  There was a slight issue with 

it. When I got it back to my studio I realized it wasn't black... wasn't

navy but somewhere in-between. Eventually, I solved the problem

and embraced the variance in color by mixing midnight blue satin

with black.  The result?

Isn't that lining gorgeous?  I drooled! Next up... creating items to be

placed inside for a girl's night out on the town. I let my imagination

go wild!    

                 A mint tin covered in pearls... to freshen breath for that special kiss
                                                A bejeweled compact... all blinged out
      Her favorite perfume bottle embellished with lace, rhinestones, abandoned earring and pearls
                                Earrings from Tiffany's .... is there any other jewelry store??!!

                               A vintage hankie with the recipients initials in the corner

                       A blank notebook, adorned with a bit of "foof" and bejeweled pen        
Did you notice in some of the photos that the items rested on a small

drawstring toile bag?  That is how I packaged most of the gifts.  And

on the outside I stitched a quote from Audrey Hepburn.  That just 

tickled me!

                                              Tiara Swap

The recipient (Rochelle) requested all things vintage.  Ephemera to

the ninth degree!  I dug into my stash and used a brooch with pale

blue rhinestones, set on a vintage tart tin.... complete with a spot

of rust.... as the centerpiece.  Surrounding that was an accordion folded

paper halo set off by lace edged with rhinestones. And of course, pearl

accents along with iced stems from Christmas decorations.

The side shows the use of bits and pieces of vintage laces in various

aged hues, more pearls and floral leaves covered with paint, text 

from an old children's book and white glass glitter.

I learned from this creative endeavor that projects need time to brew.

To evolve.  At least for me, they do.  As I worked on it, I would step

back and think, "Done!".  Within an hour, I realized not a chance!  It 

needed more depth, more oomph!  Never having created a tiara before

I felt pleased with the final project.

Ok.... so the title of this post?  Everyone did such an over-the-top job

in being so mindful of who they were creating for.  Each and every gift

was truly a work of art and deserved the admiration they received.  What

a party it was that night when we all exchanged with each other!  That is 

why I don't have photos to show you.  I was caught up in the excitement

 and wanted to be present.  But trust me..... it was an amazing evening 

that can't be duplicated!  And yes ~ when the time comes, I will once again

have my nose to the screen, fingers primed on the keyboard, ready to 

hit "Enter" and BAM! off again to another event!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

That Dreamy Tiffany Blue

No standing on the outside looking into Tiffany's store window in the wee 

hours of the morning!  Not at all!  Instead, this girl immersed herself in 

a four day extravaganza where I was swathed in Tiffany blue, pearls 

and of course, that quintessential little black dress.  I knew to jump at the 

chance to sign up for Kim Caldwell's event, Affair At Tiffany's, as she 

creates an environment that goes beyond all expectations.  And this year,

she outdid herself!  I have not felt this girly in a long time!

                                          tiara created by me!!

From the tiaras on our heads ... to our Tiffany blue painted toes....

                    .... to the pearls we wore around our necks.......

..we gathered at the Belamar Hotel in Manhattan Beach to see old friends

(that perhaps we haven't seen since the previous year) and to make

new friendships, as there are always first-timers that have heard through

the grapevine that they should at least experience ONE of Kim's events!

                             ****      ****

First full day, we walked into girlie heaven where women sat at

tables adorned with swag bags and goodies not only ON the table

but also on our chairs which were draped in satin and rhinestones! Oh, my!

I'm a "garden club" drop-out and must admit I cringe at the word,

"centerpiece", but if I could have snagged this and put in it my 

suitcase, I would have.... I swooned!!

So how do you fill four days?  How do you keep 70+ women happy?

By learning, from four talented teachers willing to share their craft, 

a completed project from start to finish!

                             a lovely detailed necklace taught by Lonne Jenck

                  shabby chic mini chandelier shade taught by Kecia Frazee Deveney

                            collage and painting techniques for a journal cover
                                                         taught by Jeanne Oliver

                        darling, mixed-media album taught by Laura McCollough

And of course, we women love to eat and chat and lunches were not

a let down!  Outdoors, in the courtyard (remember that we are in

sunny California), we gathered at beautifully set tables with our

every whim attended to by a gracious staff.  How I wish I could

have a fresh tomato and mozzarella salad with freshly chopped basil

on top, drizzled with balsamic vinegar, every day!  Those are not your

midwest tomatoes, dearie!!

Dessert? Not a day went by that our sweet tooth wasn't satisfied! With a 

display that Colin Cowie would give a nod and say "well done" ...........

......a display  that tempted us to indulge in a sugary haze

...we popped malt balls into our mouths, sucked on suckers we haven't

indulged in since childhood, chewed on taffy, and savored the jordan

almonds without one bit of remorse!!

Gosh, I miss them ALL!  And trust me, there are SO many others that

didn't make it into my camera... so sorry!  But know that you are loved,

missed and embedded on my heart memory card! 

      Thanks for the fabulous time, girls, and see you next year, for sure!

              Hmmmm..... wonder what Kim has up her sleeve??!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Conversation.....

The beauty of being an empty nester is that I can take a 12 day

trip and not have "guilty mom" complex!  However, I do miss darling

husband!  You might not think so as we aren't the couple that calls

at the end of each day just to hear each other's voice.  In fact, in

the 12 day period we probably touched base five times.  But maybe I 

need to rethink this... especially after this conversation!!

                                 ***    ***

As I was sitting in the airport ready to head home, I sent him a quick 

text message......

ME (in full spousal-mode) ~ "Won't be long now until I board. 
Can't wait to see you!!"
REPLY~ "Are you coming home tonight? I thought you said Tuesday!"

My jaw dropped!!  How many times did I tell him I was flying

home on Monday night?! I start texting my response...

ME ~ "You are joking righ......"

The phone rings before I even finish the sentence.  It's darling husband.

With panic in his voice he says, "I thought you said you were coming 

home on Tuesday!!"

"You are joking, right?"

"No... I could have sworn that you said Tuesday."

"I can't tell you how many times I told you my plans!  You had better

hurry home and get those dancing girls out of the house before I get


We laughed and I think he was a bit relieved not to hear frustration

in my voice.  And he was right!  As I hung up the phone, I was smiling

and shaking my head.  Ok.  The guy might only hear half the things I 

say. We might not communicate perfectly. Maybe we DO need to call

more often.  Or at the very least, I need to write out my itinerary

for him.  But after 38 years, I'd say we've got most things figured out!

For instance, I knew I could now count on him meeting me at the 

airport upon arrival. Because one thing is for sure ... 

the man does not mess up twice!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Table Gifts

Hmmmm... the sweet little package or the cake?  Which one you think is

a table gift will depend upon what state of mind you're in!  Trust me, there

are plenty of moments when that sinfully delicious carrot cake with whipped

cream cheese icing.. so rich, so creamy, so melt-in-you-mouth good..

might have an edge to my answer!!!  For instance, right now.  I haven't  

had anything to eat, yet, so you can tell where my mind is wandering!  But 

lets move on.... please!!!

Table gifts are those "little somethings" you bring to the art retreats that I

love to attend.  Think of them as little hostess gifts for the women you 

will be seated with for the duration of the event.  And in fact, "hostess

gift" is the perfect way to describe the process of deciding what to bring.

It's not expected ~ but I would feel a bit like a smuck if I didn't reciprocate.
It's not ostentatious ~ don't want to showboat and make others feel badly.
It takes some of thought ~ at least for me, it does!! 
It needs to be small enough to pack in your suitcase.. 

I must admit, I freak out about this whole thing with those "rules"

demanding equal attention in my decision-making process.  Add in the  

"perfect" factor and I'm dead in the water!

So you get the picture... me, working on this for days!  Stopping and 

starting with a myriad of ideas.. dragging this bit of trim out or that 

vintage photograph or jewelry baubles to tuck inside a wrapped package. 

I want it to say, "I bet this is from Kadee!" and, more so, I want to 

please the recipient!

Right now, I am attending Kim Caldwell's event ~ Breakfast at Tiffany's. 

I am so excited to set my completed table gift in front of each of my

tablemates' place at the table.  Here's what they look like.... 

The theme I chose to center my gift around.. I'm such a theme girl! ..

was "Celebrate".  A mini-party in a package tying in the color of

Tiffany Blue.

A vintage photo of children at a birthday party, along with a reproduced

image of a dish of ice cream (found in a teacher's curriculum packet on

nutrition.. remember it's part of the major food groups..ha, ha!), a rubbing 

of my grandmother's sterling teaspoon turned into a bookmark, and a dairy 

token. Next, I added a small folded box that would be the start of a 

package they could decorate with these embellishments....

      Cut-out butterflies with pearl center.. I edged the top of the card to give it pizzazz

                                Silk ribbon wrapped on vintage music cards from France

                   Every package needs a tag so I cut these out and used twine for the tie
                                    .... love the mix of glittery with natural elements...
                                   add in a Martha Stewart sticker in coordinating color ..

 ..and I was done!  The bonus?  Remember all those stops and starts

on the way to this idea?  Well, I now have, waiting in the wings for

my next retreat, table gifts all ready to embellish and bling out!

Thrilled beyond belief!!!!!