***** Warning!! you will need to make a cuppa cos it's gonna be long post!!*****
It has been the nicest weekend - I've been to the Anam Cara Sewjourn 2008 in Shepparton, with Janet Rowe from Wildcraft Farm, Libby Richardson from Artsmart Cottage and Catherine Baynes from Willow Valley Store .
It was just a lovely day, I set off early after dropping my younger daughters at Mum's (THANK YOU MUM AND DAD!!!!), arriving in Shepparton at 10am, just as the doors opened. We were ushered inside the Shepparton RSL conference room, to gorgeous white tableclothes, rosey napkins and fresh roses in vases- the theme for the day was Take Time To Smell The Roses.
We were handed crisp white bags filled with all sorts of goodies including our kits for the day, patterns, recipes and chocolates- YAY!
After wailing to Janet about my poor laser machine, it was so nice to finally meet her in person - minus the Irish accent I was expecting!! Her helper extraordinaire was Sue from Dragonflies and Daisies, You know it's going to be a great weekend when you get a big hug hello as you met someone!
I also met up with two lovely ladies who I'd first met at CraftAlive this year - BIG, BIG thanks to Suzanne and Bev (sorry if I've spelt your names wrong) for keeping me company all day, talking with me about family and friendship - you are on my list of my new favourite people! When I met Suzanne she bought my "Little Book Of Angels" and told me she hadn't tried anything like stitcheries but wanted to give it a go. I remember her saying, "i"ll probably never do any of it" so imagine my delight when I spied a little collection of painted angel bookmarks she is creating from my book for her friends in her sewing box. Happy thrill for me that someone is actually making my projects, and she is such a beautiful woman, I'm wishing we lived closer cos I'm sure we would be 'everyday' friends!
My first 'class' was with Janet, with quick gifts and projects, plus a glorious sewing roll, the coolest bookmarks and her love affair with Crisp - me thinks she likes it a bit too much LOL!
Janet talks a million miles an hour, and moves from one idea to the next at the speed of sound. She had so many tips and tricks to share and I don't think she ever turns her designing brain off!
I have already come home and shown Meg, Lani and Lani's friend Monique how to make folded fabric bookmarks - Monique thinks I'm Cool! LOL!
After an all-too-short time, we moved on to our next teacher, Catherine Baynes from Willow Valley Store, (sorry I forgot to take a photo!) Catherine had designed a gorgeous little cottage "Rose Maison" to stitch, plus a teacup filled with roses in full bloom. She had iron-on transfers for us and demo'd how to use then.... now I understand why mine didn't work (doh!)
Catherine uses Derwent pencils to add a touch of colour here and there - not colouring the whole design just highlighting a line or two within the rose or along a brick wall. It really makes a difference to the designs, and brings the colour of the threads out so much more.
She also blends different Thread colours together and I never realised how much they add a gentle variation in colour throughout a design.
Now, I know Cath wasn't feeling very well , but she did a great job, even managing to show everyone (that's +60 women) how to make Colonial Knots - they are smaller and neater than french knots and create a perfect rosebud shape everytime! Cath has a great blog, with lots of yummy pics of new projects - you'll find it in my list of favourite Blogs under Willow Valley Store
Lunch of fish or Roast Pork was devine - mainly because I got to eat it all without cooking it, sharing it or having to clean up afterwards!
Our groups final class was with the AMAZING Libby Richardson.
She had brought along her business partner and friend Melissa Grant (original creator of Giggle Buttons, and one of the sweetest women I know! Thanks Melissa for your encouragement and positive attitude - I doubt anyone could feel negative for very long while talking to you!).
Now, here I might get a little carried away but I am awestruck by Libby - her painting and artistic skills are just amazing! I can only wish to be able to design like her! So imagine my excitement.... I'm sitting there with Libby teaching me how to paint a bear! YAYYAYYAY , I'm jealous of myself!!
Okay so it doesn't look quite like her sample but it is nearly.. nearly there! I have to say , I think she did an amazing job teaching over twenty women at a time to paint a teddy, rose and leaves. Every single lady there completed their bear stitchery painting, hats off to Libby for guiding more than sixty women through their first painting class! You did a great job!
Prizes for the largest handbag, biggest Bling, furthest traveller and mother of the most children added laughs to the final goodbyes.
Suzanne and her Mum Bev took me over to the Anam Cara Patchwork shop - just a glorious little shop nestled in Kialla Lakes,
then I went and checked into my Motel Room.
I could have driven the hour home?!
Well yes I could but my yummy hubby said I could make a night of it, so I did!
I stayed at Paradise Lakes Motor Inn at the outskirts of Kialla Lakes. Now I'm not usually one to get too excited about a room and bed, but this Motel Resort is fantastic! Firstly - here is the view from the back sliding door of my room -
It's not the best pic, but it over looks a rose garden, the pool and spa and Kialla Lakes, so quiet and peaceful, just the birds chirping! Even friendly ducks wandered past my feet quacking (two of the fattest, largest ducks I've ever seen actually!) I sat out here for a couple of hours with a glass of wine, stitching and just enjoying the view! - I even sat and dangled my toes in the pool for a loooonnnggg while. I adore my kids but WOW it was nice to just ... be .... if you know what I mean.
Then Janet and Sue came by and offered company for the evening over pizza and stitchery kits.
Here's the tip - Pizza delivered to your room is the best pizza you've ever eaten, and shared with these lovely girls made for a happy evening. We chatted about stitching, business, family and babies, about how to keep your sanity, how to get over the "spotless House" guilt, and how much chocolate is an essential part of living!
I wandered back to my room after 10pm and slept like a baby! The walls at Paradise Lakes are all brick so you don't hear anyone in the other rooms- it's fantastic.
Bacon and Eggs for brekkie and a leisurely wander in the market before heading home has had me returning home with a smile as wide as Sydney Harbour! The kids and Jason are happy and calm, I'm floating after a truly wonderful, relaxing, energising weekend... it doesn't get better than this!
Thanks to all the lovely ladies who have emailed me over the past week - never fear- Button Bliss isn't going anywhere! I love my buttons and stitching and the little community of creativeness I am in, My machine will return as well rested as I am and we will be creating buttons for years more.
Hope your weekend was wonderful
PS thanks Janet and Sue for playing with me!