Von Trapp Retreat
"Surround yourself with people who add value to your life. Who challenge you to be greater than you were yesterday. Who sprinkle magic into your existence, just like you do to their's. Life isn't to be done alone. Find your tribe and journey freely and loyally together" - Alex Elle
I’m all unpacked and reliving the wonderful time I had at Country Craft Creations Vermont Retreat.To say the time flew would be an understatement. I think everyone talked about how fast the three days fly by, and it happens at each and every retreat.
I wrote and posted the following after my first retreat in 2017. My feelings are exactly the same, except, my tribe has grown tremendously. I think it encompasses much of what CCC is.
Hi Everyone! - I just want to take this time to say how truly humbled and blessed I feel to have met such talented, funny, kind, and giving women. To feel such a connection with people I literally met through a computer screen is a miracle when you think about it. Meeting each of you was like opening a present that can’t be bought and will last forever.
I met a wonderful southern mamma who told me stories of actually double dating with Elvis Presley (yes, the real Elvis!!) and living in the same neighborhood with him. I admired a feisty grandma who stood up to an entire school and fought for her grandson’s right to learn. I was fortunate to sit next to a Copic Marker genius who is married to a rocket scientist, and she is too! (really- rocket scientists!). I spoke to a warm and sweet woman who traveled across the pond from England ALL ALONE, and a ball of fire from Alabama that made me laugh out loud, just to name a few. I wish I had more time to get around the tables more and really get to know everyone, but I look forward to all new stories I didn’t get to hear next time around in Vegas.
Finally, I got to meet Tamara and Brenda who together inspire me, and make this newbie, once a stranger, feel like family. I know how much work putting an event like this is- and I am so thankful for your commitment, energy, and true love of the craft. Tamra, your patience and extreme generosity is just amazing. Your business is a success because of your unsurpassed work ethic, and humbleness. This retreat was perfect in every way!
For me, this retreat was not just about making books. It was a step toward independence, perhaps about escaping from hardships for a few days, getting a well needed rest from work and the house, and recharging creative batteries. For many, I know it was God’s way of sending angels to those of us lucky enough to have found each other. I do not believe in chance meetings, although one would think this was a perfect example of it. No, I believe that we were all hand-picked to become friends, definitely not by chance.
So, not only did I survive the trip alone, but I also walked to the arch, walked to the ball field, strolled around the downtown area, and back ALL BY MYSELF on Sunday!!.... Well, maybe not all by myself…. I face timed with jimmy most of the time…but I did it!! Counting down to Vegas!!!
I read those words now, two years later, and I smile. Acquaintances back then, are now dear friends, practically family. I have grown so much, and my crafting skills have soared! What a difference a year or two can make. Who would have thought back then, I’d be a part of the Country Craft Creations Family? It was a dream of mine to one day be good enough to have my own YouTube Channel, and to design books along with all the amazing woman here. But, look how God works... I’m writing! I love to write! I’m doing live videos and I LOVE IT!!!!! I feel like a movie star when everyone says hi to me and laughs with me! (Side note:I’ve lived through four principals in my 38 years of teaching. And each and every one at some point on my evaluations wrote- Mrs. Phelan is a true actress in the classroom! I took that as compliment of course! But, I'm still waiting for my big break to be in a Hallmark Movie or a host on QVC or HSN! Who knows....this may lead to my big break!!!! If anyone has an in- let me know! ) I also get to put funny faces on Tamra without her knowing for at least five or 10 minutes!!! I LOVE TO MAKE HER CRAZY!!!! I found my niche, my happy, my joy. I believe others have found their happy here too.
This retreat was perfect as usual! Although it was smaller, it was still so crazy and fun! It did have a Zen like feel though. Possibly the gorgeous mountains surrounding us and the peaceful, quiet surroundings, offset our laughter and crazy antics!
Our crafting room was bright and beautiful with ceiling to floor, wall to wall bay windows on each side, and a gorgeous stone fireplace in the middle. It was roomy but cozy.
Many of us started each day down at the breakfast cabin. The food was delicious! The hugs, stories and laughter started as soon as you walked in the door each morning and carried through the rest of the day.
We were in the crafting room by nine each day. The first day everyone was given an adorable canvas bag filled with multimedia supplies, Art glitter glue, the pin, score tape, and another beautiful, beaded, non- clogging pin made for everyone by a member not even in attendance. Rosie Strike was on the cruise and wanted to make these for everyone going to Vermont This is the kind of people Tamra draws.
Bonnie was first up with her Multimedia Project. It spanned over the three days as it had to dry after each application. Everyone loved it, and for many it was their first play with Rangers Multi Mat medium, gesso, Crackle Paste, and Stamperia’s and rice paper! No two projects were alike. Just gorgeous!
Tamra was up next with her new binding system. If you have not tried it, I promise, once you do, you may never go back. No struggling to bend the card stock, no tearing of edges, and it ensures a straight even FLAT book. Its fabulous! She used Authentique’s Snowfall. This paper is stunning! The colors and patterns are so different, although it has Authentique’s fingerprint all over it. I love it because, it’s a winter themed paper. Perfect for displaying January and February. It was full of flips, folds, pockets and new surprises. There was a pull-out twist page and a double door barn door page, I call it, to name a few. I loved it so much I took the sample home- I had to fight Bonnie for it- BUT my constant three-day nagging, crying, temper tantrum throwing, and threatening to jump out the window finally earned me the prize! OMG ! I LOVE IT SO MUCH !!!!!
The third project was Kim’s stunning Winter Banner and keepsake box. The perfect home decor piece to display after all the holiday decorations are taken down and the house looks so empty. It sparkled with Art Glitter's gorgeous glitter. Tamra will also have in the shop this month! It looks like perfect teeny-weeny diamonds glittering like crazy even without light shining on them! Along with the banner we made a beautiful keepsake box to store it in.
Each day we waited for our Secret Santa to receive their gift. Such thought and time went into these gifts, and we were all so grateful for the not only the tangible gift itself, but for the excitement and joy opening them gave.I believe it is us; the moms, grandmas, sisters, and aunts that do most of the gift giving in life. Although we all do still receive gifts on special occasions and birthdays, opening these little gifts three days in a row, reminded you of that giddy excitement you felt as a child on Christmas morning.
On our last night we had a Pajama Party. We drank hot cocoa with marshmallows and all kinds of toppings, exchanged our last secret Santa gift of an ornament, and laughed ourselves silly as we entered the room like runway models sporting our adorable pajamas. Take a look at some of our models and the pure kid -like joy on these beautiful faces!
Who would've thought at this stage in our lives we would be acting like teenagers; telling stories, laughing, joking, and strutting our beautiful selves so confidently, in our silly pajamas, in a room of newly made friends? Not to mention the purpose of these retreats - to learn and create masterpieces that could literally be sold if we wanted. Magical...simply magical. Here's a few more pictures of what a Country Craft Creations Retreat looks like:
Oh.. check out this Christmas Collection by Echo Park! I LOVE IT!
Until next time....I wish you joy!