Project-packed weekend retreat sends ’em home happy, glittery & de-stressed!

Ive had a few requests to share pictures of the projects I taught at my first Fall Art Retreat held at Cottages at Sunset Shores. I was so pleased with the comments and feedback I received from the students. Everyone had a wonderful time, Vivian fed us so very well, the cottages are adorable and the craft room offered us plenty of space. Best of all – everyone completed their projects! Of course, we all know there are certain projects that are ever-changing. We add a little something here, change a little something there; but for the most part the projects went home complete!

I planned three projects to keep everyone busy throughout the weekend but still allow a wee bit of down time for Saturday afternoon. They really had no clue as to what the projects were. They trusted me and signed up sight-unseen. I dropped little hints every now and then, but no major announcements. They were given a supply list to bring (mostly consisting of tools) and I supplied the rest.

We started Friday evening with the beginnings to a Vintage/Shabby Chic coin envelope mini book with tags. This project would teach a plethora of techniques and carry into Saturday to finish up. We worked on that till nearly 11:30 p.m. then did some stenciling on their Vintage window frames so it would be dry in the morning. I had a selection of different sizes of Vintage window frames so they were able to select a style and size best suited to fit their space at home.

The window project also taught several techniques using gesso, stencils, acrylic paints, ultra-thick embossing enamels, dry embossing, tissue printing and using manly tools like power drills and screwdrivers! I must say, the group took their windows up a notch! They all turned out so beautifully. I love when students have enough time during class to experiment with techniques and the freedom to play and that’s what this retreat weekend was all about – time to experiment and play.

It took all of Saturday to finish up the windows and coin envelope books and we tossed in a make-n-take provided by Globecraft Memories using Piccolo Charms and Piccolo Enamels.

We finished the weekend off by making an ornament from Globecraft Memories using Art Glitter, Crafty Secrets, Piccolo Enamel Powders and some beads.

I don’t know who had a better time – the students or myself! I’ve already selected the dates for the Altered Vintage Winter Mystery Retreat to be held at Sunset Shores Feb. 22-24. Watch for more info to come.

Here’s the pics: click on any them for a closer view.

   

  

   

Candy Spiegel tells you all about her altered window on her blog. Hop on over and see what she has to say!

Fall workshops are just around the corner …

Even though temps are still pretty high around here my attention is focused on Fall – Fall workshops that is. I’ve been working on several projects this summer that will be offered this Fall as workshops and I wanted to share some sneak peeks with you all. My calendar is being updated as workshops get confirmed so check back often.

The first is this Christmas-themed configurations tray using Graphic 45 papers, Art Glitter, Globecraft Memories and Xyron. Go figure! I managed to work them all into one project that I think you’ll love to display each year during the holiday season. We’ll work with acrylic paints, inks, embossing powders, fussy-cutting, glitters and so much more! I’ve titled it “Compliments of the Season.”

This next workshop, “Glimmers of Hope,” came about as I was designing a project for the Graphic 45, Art Glitter and Want2Scrap Blog Hop recently. The project received so many nice compliments (thank you to all of you for those!), and is able to work so nicely into a workshop. I’ll teach you how to turn a Graphic 45 plain craft-paper box and accordion book into a beautiful keepsake. Once again, we’ll use those gotta-have-’em papers from Graphic 45, Art Glitter and Ranger products – more technique!

Who doesn’t love hand-made ornaments? These cute little globe ornaments from Globecraft Memories are so much fun to create with. You can put just about anything inside them – they’re not just for the holiday season! This workshop will really get into fussy-cutting using some Crafty Secrets cut-out sheets. We’ll add some bling, by way of Art Glitter and Want2Scrap and you’ll be able to play with the new Piccolo embossing enamels from Globecraft Memories too! Join me in this “Victorian Gewgaw” workshop.

There are a couple more in the works still. As soon as the samples are done you’ll find them here so check back often! Any of these workshops can also be scheduled for private groups of six of more in your home or other location. Contact me via my email: lneffscraps@gmail.com  to make arrangements.

Displaying fragments of a creative soul wannabe …

Remember the vintage letterpress trays I picked up at the Allegan Antique Market a while back? Yep, those trays. I think it was nearly two years ago that I came upon them thinking I’d create a shabby-chic style wall decor class.

I started collecting bits and pieces of sewing items – old patterns, threads, buttons, thimbles, intending to work into a sewing theme, but I struggled with where and how to begin. So the trays continued to take up space in the garage.

I turned many a magazine pages searching for inspiration; something to get me going. I shopped antique malls, searching for more little trinkets, treasures and ideas. I searched the Internet. Nothing. Nothing really inspired me enough to get started. Finally the time had come to do SOMETHING with those trays (my husband said so)! I took one out, hosed it down and spray painted it white even though I loved the honey-colored patina of the wood. It was like a whole new object – a big blank canvas to work with and it gave me the kick in the butt I needed!

I packed the tray along with loads of stamps, inks, paints, bits-and-pieces and whatever else would fit in the back of my car and headed to Sunset Shores over Thanksgiving with a couple of friends for an artsy weekend.

Nearly all the background papers are hand-stamped with Wendy Vecchi and Tim Holtz stamps because the papers I packed just weren’t working. The solid colors texturized with embossing folders, and yes, I measured and cut paper for each little cubbie.

I drew inspiration from some of my favorite artists: Rebecca Sower, Nellie Wortman, Michael Jack Putman, Tim Holtz, Wendy Vecchi and Lisa Pace. The piece finally started to come together. It actually took on a life of its own and went in a totally different direction.

Hardly any sewing notions I so painstakingly searched for and collected were used. Instead of a sewing theme it became representative of little fragments of my life. The life of a creative soul wannabe born in 1950. The thimble reminds me how my mother taught me to sew at the age of 7. A game piece from the Sorry! game played so many times with brothers and sisters. My Charlie dog and so many more memories fill those little cubbies along with a few family photos. Some cubbies remain empty to house memories of days and years yet to come. I am so pleased with the results. Don’t you think it will look great next to the vintage shutter?

Focusing on the positive…

If there was ever a time when everything falls apart it was in class this past weekend and, as an instructor, that’s the one place you never want it to happen.

I’ll admit, the majority of my classes usually go extremely well and I consider myself very fortunate. It doesn’t just happen, though. There’s a lot of time put into designing my projects, keeping track of all the products used and writing easy-to-follow instructions with color photos for all the students. I package kits and pack extra supplies. The store owners receive a complete list of products that will be used in class and they receive a sample for display.

Techniques are the focus of all my classes. I love teaching technique so have learned to incorporate them into projects that can be completed in an allotted amount of class time. I’ve been getting much better at estimating class times and classes have been finishing on time – until this past weekend.

Boy, my estimates were way off and everything that could go wrong did! Students were very understanding and still commented about how much fun they had and that they loved their project, but underestimating the time to complete the project combined with confusing instructions was frustrating for students as well as myself.

On my journey home I churned the day’s events over-and-over again in my mind, working through all the kinks – I do make an effort to learn from my mistakes. These mistakes needed to be corrected because I’m teaching this class again in a couple of weeks and I’m positive it will be a good time for all!

Weather, birthdays and classes …

This beautiful weather we’ve been experiencing for a week now is making it very difficult for me to stay indoors and do what needs to be done – like posting to this blog! Today my husband and I started by clearing out a lot of junk out of the garage but as the day wore on we both found ourselves sitting under the tree and watching the wildlife scurry around the pond.

Dinner was cooked on the grill and we ate on the patio. What a wonderful day! I justified the easy day by telling myself I’ll take it for my birthday instead of Monday – works for me (I don’t know what other excuses I’ll use if this weather holds much longer)!

I wanted to share these photos of my recent shutter classes. I’m really bad about remembering to take photos during classes because I’m usually chatting and sharing techniques and ideas and before I know it the students are gone and I’m packing up. This first photo is the first group of students working on their shutters during class at Scrap Tales.

This next photo is at Scrapbook Peddler in Saginaw. I caught the students just as some were leaving but I really wanted to share their shutters with you. They worked hard on them and they each created very unique looks to fit their decor.

I just love teaching and watching the students go off on their own allowing their creativity to jump out and take over.

One of my most enjoyable teaching experiences recently was with the Brush Benders painting group in Brighton. This is a very creative group of students who are usually much more structured in their meeting sessions and their craft than I. But they gave it their all as they experienced playing with gesso, Distress Inks, Grunge Board, paints and gel mediums in my version of painting class.

I’m currently working on some classes for Fall and Christmas and I’ll have some sneak peeks to post later this week so stay tuned. I will be teaching in Flint and Saginaw this weekend so hope to see you there!

Sharing school memories …

Are there any memories more vivid than those we have from our days spent in school? It’s where many of us made life-long friends, decided on a career path or met our spouse. Not all memories I have of school are good ones. I still remember my 6th grade teacher – Miss Pomeroy – who would whack her pointer stick on my desk when she’d catch me biting my nails (by-the-way, I don’t do that anymore).

I came across my daughter’s year books recently while cleaning and had a sit-down to take a look through them. She was involved in lot activities and had a slew of nice friends. It made me wish I had discovered scrapbooking earlier, while the kids were in grade school. I could have put together cute little mini books for the grandparents rather than just send an envelope full of photos.

That’s what I had in mind while creating this little mini book for the back-to-school season. It’s small in size but big in personality with plenty of tags and nooks and crannies to hold a good amount of photos and journaling. The Graphic 45 ABC Primer collection of papers that were released recently were just the perfect fit for this adorable school-themed mini.

Check my calendar often and watch for locations, dates and times for this class and others – I’ll be listing them soon!

Celebrating random chunks of time …

My mother-in-law has been delivered safely to her home back in Florida – a three-day drive there and two-day visit and then another three-day drive home. The lovely lady spent the summer with us and was right at home with the temps we’ve been experiencing.

After weeks of 90-plus degree temperatures and air conditioning everyday it’s now in the 50’s and I’m tempted to turn on the furnace! Go figure.

Dennis and I celebrated our anniversary today with a brisk 2 1/2-mile walk at Kensington finished off by pizza at home from Soda Pops – yum! I can’t help but wonder – if it’s been 42 years does that make me old?

It’s been a whirlwind two weeks but I’m finally back on track to creating! Couldn’t wait to get back home and settled so I could open my delivery from Graphic 45 (those are the new papers from ABC Primer on my desk). I’m working on a mini project for back-to-school. It’s coming together even better than I envisioned – couldn’t put it down and next I knew it was 2:30 a.m.!

That little feeling of success was topped off today by an email from Scrapbooks & More that my class there for Saturday is FULL and Thursday’s classes are selling well too. Looks like I’ll be busy all week kiting – I’m lovin’ it!

Looking forward to our Cracker Jack Stampers meeting this week and our Crafty Murder Mystery Book Club starts up later this month – yeah! Can’t wait to catch up with everyone!