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.