Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cee Dub - The BIG Skinny on Craft Weekend

I don't even know where to start with Craft Weekend.
I could probably just say "It's one of the best things I've ever done" and leave it at that.

But when have I ever opted for the succinct route?

I really can't even put my finger on the one thing that made it so fantastic. I think it was lots of little things. The perfect storm of awesomeness. Something like that.

The fun technically started at the airport, and by "fun", I mean nerve-wracking and frustrating, but I also mean hours of crack-me-up texting with Meg.

The whole point in me being one of the CW Helpers was to show up a day early and, well...help.
So while I lounged around at gate F-11, they picked up my slack and promised to not eat anywhere too good for dinner without me.

They rolled out of bed to retrieve me the following morning at the hotel where I had slept for roughly four hours. In solidarity, despite the fact that I had already showered (dangit), I didn't put make-up on. This is what I looked like the first time I met them. So help me Hannah. My beady eyes terrify even me.

The split second I saw Meg at the hotel, I spontaneously teared up. Strangest thing. She's like Elvis.

It was positively surreal to walk into the Craft House. I felt like such a creeper...it all looked so familiar! It was fun to see how all of the rooms flowed together.

Needless to say, every ding dang corner of that house was cheery, colorful, deliciousness.

True story: I do believe Meg has served as key inspiration in my drifting toward more colorful decor. She's the master.

Every single guest room was decked out.

I'm so glad I took a few minutes to roam around and snap a few with my trust point-and-shoot. It was pure, undisturbed lovely.

I had so much fun tooling around with these ladies on Friday before the other crafters arrived. I tried to make myself useful after shirking my duties the previous day.

Meg and I ran errands in the morning, including a thrift-stop for old t-shirts (best thrift store EVERRR), listening to a couple of old-timers kiss in line, grabbing tequila for the margaritas on the menu that night, assisting the cutest little elderly couple after she had just taken a tumble, forgetting to return a Redbox (twice), and forgetting to pick up ice (twice). I squeezed a bunch of avocados and got to help choose flowers that would later grace the tables. And yes, I did all of this with my naked, beady eyes. It bonded us for life.

Photo: Shannan & me. Boom. #whatevercraftweekend
 And now, a word on Meg:
She's just my kind of people. We might be twins in an alternate universe if "twins" is defined by a propensity to laugh at the same jokes, watch the same movies, and stay up until the same unholy hour. I want to mine her heart for a while - there's so much good in there. Of course none of this is news to you and it wasn't news to me, but there's something about sharing the same space to cement the things you already knew to be true. She's rowdy and low-key and we share a few of the same exact quirks and she's my friend for life. Ready or not.

The rest of the afternoon was spent sprucing and tidying and not cutting my fingertips off with my first go-round with the villainous rotary-cutter. I also did an impromptu reading for the three lucky ladies. Free of charge.

{Check out that swag! I died for the swag. More on that in coming days.}
{Also, I learned what swag means! Stuff We All Get. Consider my world rocked.}

Eventually we put on our faces and at 5:30, the Crafters arrived.

And now, a word on the Crafters:

I adored them.

They were all warm and funny and unique. Comfortable in their skin. Different ages, different styles.

We spent the next 2 days crafting our brains out in our pajamas. Everyone was engaging and creative and kind and special.

I knew I loved them at the time, but I knew it even more somehow when I finally made it home and realized that I missed them and our unique camaraderie. There's something about holing up with other women, eating cinnamon rolls, cramming into a 15-packer, waxing poet about the various attributes of the Sonic Jalapeno Popper.

After everyone arrived we got straight to eating. Kimberlee fed us so well.

 And now, a word on Kimberlee:
 She made me feel like I had known her since my hair was in braids, and I'm not talking about that one day two summers ago. I love her laugh. Her heart is so pure. Her pajamas were so pajama-y. She served with joy and made us all feel honored and spoiled. I wanted to steal her away and talk for hours while she fed me cheesecake and harvest chili.

You like these rainbow knives?
I don't. I almost lost my left forefinger to the green one.

All I know is, I was slicing half a lime and I thought, "I think I'll slice this on an angle and get three wedges instead of two. I'm so industrious! So the-opposite-of-wasteful!" Then the two ladies to my right made me laugh and I looked up and when I looked back down, I was hemorrhaging.

I'm such a stinking chicken. I lost all my color and they made me sit down. I kept repeating, "Do I need a stitch? Do you think I need a stitch?"

I couldn't stop. And I couldn't figure out why no one else matched my level of near-hysteria. Why were they still laughing and milling around? Why were they handing me a margarita while I was bleeding out?

I didn't need a stitch. Just a Band-Aid, as it turned out.

After dinner we got straight to our first project: The Apron.

You know I'm terrified of the bobbin, people. And the thought of measuring things gives me hives, so I pretty much refuse to do it.

I was in good company, because there were several of us who were novice seamstresses.

The only problem is, most of the novices caught on considerably faster than Taryn and I. And we were the two "helpers", mind you.

And now, a word on Taryn: 
She was the other helper and I'm sure we'll be friends for life. Our worlds are pretty similar. We were the only two without a Smart phone. In fact, we have identical slide phones. And we use the same exact ring tones. (creeeepyyy!)

We are a terrible combination in a room full of sewing machines and the only two in the group who ended up with mini-skirt aprons, because we cut each of our ruffles a full inch too short.

We cannot be trusted. Can. Not.

What can we say? We like our aprons a tad on the scandalous side.

My apron is 2nd from the right. The vertically-challenged one. The one with the naked top.
But I love it!
I could have spent hours just picking fabric.
In fact, I did.
And that might be why I was the very last one to finish mine, a full 24-hours later than the other ladies.

Meg always says she loves every single apron and now I know why.
However, I had a favorite, and you'll find it on the left. It is Kellie's and I adore her brave choices. She was worried that none of them worked together, but she picked her five favorite fabrics to stunning, show-stopping effect. (There's a lesson here...)

{Meg's shop}

Day two? We shopped.

It might be some unwritten rule that every crafter shall not leave without a quilt. So many of us bought quilts! Can you see why? I found one for $45, just perfect for Ruby's bed. I didn't have room in my suitcase, so I hauled it through O'Hare airport bed-roll style. Twice I was asked to unroll it for closer inspection and was happy to oblige.

A raging headache sent me across the street to the funniest, homiest cafe for some caffeine.

Then we hit up the famous Barn. It reminded me so much of Larry's barn.

It was crammed with goodness.

{Taryn's "chip clip" photo bombs my shot.}

Lordy, I loved Kansas and all its farmy charm.

Sometime soon I'll tell you all about the craft I taught. So fun!

This trip, while more travel-adventure than I bargained for, was just what this girl needed. I've ventured to places that have left me feeling like a misfit. This wasn't one of them.

I'd like to think each one of us felt community while we were under that roof. I know I did. We spent endless hours trimming threads and decoupaging our hands together. We ate cheesecake at midnight, argued with Pandora, and talked about important things into the wee hours.

My kind of heaven.

Also, breakfast was served at 9:30 with the disclaimer, "You can come down in your PJs if you want." Don't mind if I do.

Is anyone still with me? This is entirely too long. But it all needed to be duly memorialized. Thank you for your time, and God Bless America.

Read more about Craft Weekend here.


*Cool, Instagrammy pics courtesy of Meg. Find her on IG as Meg Duerksen.


  1. I read Meg's post yesterday. I love that you actually posted a photo of the staircase which is a part of Meg's house I had never seen.
    Those rotary cutters take a little getting used to.
    I'm so glad you didn't need a stitch.
    Maybe that shop has all the good quilts in the country? Because I've never seen such pretty old quilts all in one place.
    I loved reading about the weekend.

  2. wow I would LOVE to go as I really want one of those aprons!!! So glad you had a great time!!! Love all the pictures!!

    1. Oh and you must post a picture of rubys quilt!!!

  3. Wow at all this color! I'm in love! I've never heard of craft weekend (I know!) but it looks like the deal. I'm going to be obsessed with copycatting that photo of the watercolors (I think it is?) above the gumball machine. I'm not incredibly crafty (Krafty yes, crafty no.). But this is an inspiring and gorgeous post. God bless America, you, and the rest of the crafters, too!

    PS, I love all the knives except the green ones, of course.

  4. Oh - this looks like such fun. I am not crafty, but I need a girls' weekend just like this.

  5. dang. am i allowed to be a teensy bit jealous? this is dreamy swoony fun. and i happen to think you had cory in mind with that apron mishap... you excellent wife, you.

  6. How Fun! What a Fabulous house and love all the color for sure.I also collect vintage and new quilts who doesn't love them right! ~Kim

  7. Scandalous or not those aprons are the cutest! How fun seeing and hearing about this amazing event.

  8. I think you messed up in telling us which apron was yours. You SHOULD'VE let us guess, b/c I WOULD'VE guessed rightly, and you WOULD'VE wanted to love me, except you WOULD'VE been kind of creeped out, like: HOW DID SHE KNOW? Was she spying on me? Did she e-mail someone else who was there and ask? But it's the blue and white stripe. DEAD GIVEAWAY.

    1. Dang, I should've made you guess!!! Pretty sure everyone would've known which was mine. The stripes and gingham give me away! And the fact that mine is a little wonky. Ha.

  9. I've had Meg's colorful Craft House on my mind for 24 hrs. I'm so glad you got to be a helper and that you had a great time! Thanks for posting more pictures of the house for me to obsess over. :)

  10. aw shan... it was so lovely to meet you!!!
    i just think you're amazing!
    it was fun sitting in the backseat of that van trying not to vomit.
    kidding... that sorta sucked.
    luckily we snagged a seat close to the front on the way back.
    then we froze.
    oh well... cold or barfy.
    it was all good b/c i got to know you!
    awww! ;)
    (love that photo bomb by taryn's pic clip too!!!)

  11. this whole house is just like. WHOA.

    . . . . . . . .

    that's all.

  12. I live in the middle of nowhere Kansas. Do these craft weekends happen often? It looks like so much fun!

  13. I'm scared of bobbins too...only I always mess up and call them bobbers, like you use for fishing. I even took a sewing class and kept forgetting to lower the foot {I think that's what it's called...it holds the fabric down??} anyway, I'm sure you totally did a great job :)

    1. It took me a good 90 seconds to figure out how to put the foot down. I feel ya.

  14. it was amazeballs.
    and i am sorry i cried when you left. it was too short for me. we will hang out again sometime somewhere many more times. you were exactly as wonderful as i had hoped you were.
    thank you for making the ridiculous trip to kansas and back to be my helper.
    i loved it all.

  15. shannan, love your view of the fancy cee dubbya. thrilled for you to be there!
    (also. please get instagram. i LOVED seeing you there!)
    i mean, angels are singing, so much beauty here!
    meeting kimberlee will be my highlight, because i am determined to make it to a weekend one of these days! so glad you escaped that mean green knife with minimal damage.

  16. Totally jealous, but you're so totally deserving of this. What a great opportunity. Meg is THE BEST, even though I've never met her. I would totally have tears too upon meeting her. Crazy thing.

  17. Meg inspires me. When I first found her blog, I knew I had finally figured out what I wanted to be when I grow up. Everytime I see a big old house for sale, I daydream of turning it into my very own craft weekend house and living happily ever after in rooms full of bliss and weekends full of fabulous crafty fellowship and fleamarket fun. Can I put you on my waiting list? ;) You wouldn't have to fly! Better yet, bring your heart puncher and teach!!! Or maybe you'd like to be in charge of the food? I'd be happy to eat salsa all weekend. Just no feta, please.

    1. So there. SO. THERE!!!!

      Also, guess what I'm looking at right now? Your map. Haha. I've been looking at it for about 6 months. I even bought a tube to stick it in but the tube was too short!!!!!! I'll have to just hand deliver it, I guess. :)

    2. I'll meet you halfway! Where IS halfway anyway? :)

    3. Me too! Old houses and crafts ... mmmm!

  18. Wow. That looks like an AMAZING weekend!

  19. The weekend went too fast...weren't we just getting started?
    I'm sure we were.
    Looking forward to you coming back.
    I'll have some pajama-y pajamas ready for you.
    Where do you come up with this stuff?
    Hugs to you.

  20. I. Am. One Jealous Girl Right now. This reminds me of Brave Girl Camp that I have read about. Wish there was something here in Massachusetts! I am so glad you had a blast!

  21. I love this, but first things first. You don't have on makeup? ! I kinda just want to call you something right now...
    You look awesome.
    laughed. out. loud. over the being handed a margarita while you were bleeding out. I don't think that you dying over a cut finger is funny. But it was.
    and yes, God Bless America.

    Have a great day, woman!


  22. I'm so glad you didn't leave out any details! I loved reading your write-up and seeing all the pictures so much that I just popped over and read Meg's as well, to make sure I didn't miss anything. And now I will dream of a craft weekend of my own. It looks amazing.

  23. It sounds like a little spot of heaven. I'm so glad you got to go have the experience! My girls swear that in about 60 years when I am no longer on this earth that they are going to turn my house into a craft house. I can't think of anything that would make me happier!

  24. THAT orange 'farm' plate. Please tell me it's yours now... ;)
    Hubs took me on a drive this weekend up north to see a portion of the state he provides care in.
    Thought of you as we drove through your neck of the woods!

  25. Wow! I am jealous for sure! That looks/sounds like so much fun and my kind of weekend away. I can hardly handle all the color-so bright and inspirational. I may have to put my name on the waiting list and start saving my pennies.

  26. What a fun weekend. I need a barn to shop at. There is nothing better than a group of women getting together to craft and eat!

  27. Wow. There is so much drool-worthy, inspiring, I-need-to-rush-out-to-the-fabric-store sort of eye candy in this post. Thanks so much for sharing!

  28. Women rock! What a great post. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Oh what a positively wonderful weekend! What a blessing!!!!!

    And that house...oh my word that house...perfection!!!

  30. I cried when I said goodbye. Felt like an idiot, but it was all just too wonderful. The whole weekend was surreal. Looks like you had a ball...puffy eyes and bleeding fingers to boot.

  31. 'twas a great weekend indeed ... travel issues and all! Lovely post!


    1. Hey Dawn! Happy we all made it safely home, but the two of you were great lay-over companions. :)

  32. This looks amazing! I want to go immediately!

  33. I love reading about craft weekend! My friend and I are going in April and we are beyond excited. I am so anxious to find out who our "helpers" will be. I'm nervous because it seems like all my favorite bloggers have already been helpers.

  34. How crazy fun!! Loved all your words about these women!

  35. Oh my. I said "to go" way too much. Should proofread.

    1. Hi Angela! I just emailed Shannan this morning telling her about last May. glorious!!

    2. Angela - Your addendum cracked me up. I just wrote an email where I edited out three "I love it!"s. I feel ya.

  36. Hey, I have the same phone you do! I'm glad to "meet" someone else with a "dumb phone!" I just found your blog (popped in from the Nester cuz your kitchen is GORGEOUS!), and I love you already!

  37. you ARE brave!
    i am on the list and if i ever get called..i'll die
    chicken out or something
    i have chrohn's now what do you do with that at a CW?...lol
    thanks to jeruselum...i found your kitchen and bought a print.
    is it ok that i copied?

  38. In.sanely.jealous. Two things. WHY aren't there craft houses in every city? Why am I only just now hearing about this? Sure, there's a little town close to where I gre up called Jugville (actual name) that has this place called The Shack (what else are you going to call a place in Jugville?) which is actually a pretty amazing little complex of fancy cabins. I spent the first night of my married life in such a luxurious "shack". And they host a scrapbookers weekend every year, but I can honestly say that the little cabin where said scrapping takes place is in NO WAY the oasis of joy that you have just shown me! I mean, it's like a spa for creativity! MUST. GO.
    -Dessy (the girl that Google Profile refuses to remember)

  39. Ok so I just googled "how far to drive from Ohio to Kansas"... 13 hrs and 43 min if you're curious.

    Glad you had so much fun (how could you not??) And I think you are so brave because the sewing and measuring definitely freak me out too!!

    Angie Pants

  40. Your pictures made me giddy-happy! I was living vicariously through you. :)
    Just like you, Meg turned me from ho hum bland to using COLOR in my home. This is what she inspired me to do to add a punch of happy color:

  41. Those vintage chairs!
    In the grass.
    On the tarp.

    And, I totally laughed that you even have the same ringtones :)

  42. scandalous aprons aside, i'm so stinkin' glad to finally know what swag means. {i have no idea why i didn't google}.

  43. The entire time I was drooling over this post I kept thinking of that goofy Tina Fey quote, “I want to go to there!” I kinda feel like a dork for admitting that publicly but I'm going to go with it! Also, I'm pretty sure my eyes just overdosed on all that eye candy in those pics! So inspiring!

  44. Ok, I don't even like crafts, and this post makes me want to craft it up. Oh, and the fact that you don't have a smart phone makes me like you even more. Slide phones rule, baby.

  45. Soooo dreamy. All of it. Lucky you! Except the wound. Ouch!

  46. I wanna go to craft weekend so bad I can't stand it.
    hummmmm.wonder if she'd let me be a helper if I have no idea how to sew?

  47. You captured the weekend in such a real way.. It was a quirky idea on my 8 hr drive there but I was at such peace and had so much fun... I did tell my husband that is kinda sad that I will most likely never cross paths with any of you all.... But I have such good memories.. and I luv my canvas by the way.... Take Care...



  48. Stinking inspired by all the cuteness in this post!!

  49. I can't stop laughing. And laughed out loud at the whole cutting your finger and handing you margaritas and I think I was taking pictures of you while you were freaking out. I hope you still like me after that :) Seriously though that weekend was good for the soul on so many levels and I'm SO THANKFUL that you were (one of) our special helpers. My only regret is not having more time with each woman, one on one.

    Loved it and love you friend. And am glad you made it home too....eventually ;)

  50. Wow! Wow! And Wow! It’s truly an honor. Thank you so much! I’m new to this and working hard to get out there. Child With A Dove