Monday, May 17, 2010

BRAVE GIRL CAMP - What a Trip!

And, we "tripped the light fantastic" didn't we girls?! How to describe the journey of 5 days in the forest north of Boise, Idaho with 20 artists (yes Margaret, you are now an artists). And then there were the "worker bees" and some of their family. And finally, there was Melody and Kathy - sisters to the core. Wow!


Suzi and me

Above photo is Suzi Blue and me getting ready to get on the bus for the 2 1/2 hour windy bus ride with Jim, our trusty driver. Thank goodness I brought along 4 sets of wrist bands to deal with motion sickness. It's also a little cold and blustery.

The New Me - NOT!

Playing on bus with Elena's head band and #1 reason why I should never wear one. Should this be my new "avitar?"


Crazy Elena
(not to be confused with Crazy Rachel. . .)

Me with head in fish at potty-break on way to camp

Mignon and Melody "kickin' up their heels"

I am sooo proud of this photo since I caught it the FIRST TIME they did it with my itty bitty skinny Sony camera. Everybody else seemed to have theses giant cameras with giant lenses. I timed it just right. Love it when I finally do something right! Of course, they then turned around and everyone else's photo is with them facing them. . .

Speaking of "itty bitty". Learned phrase from our new friends Cheryl and Haley - "itty, bitty, shitty committee." I take this to mean the thoughts we have gathered inside our mind from people we shouldn't be listening to - every.

Here is the video Suzi made and posted. How does she do it and do it so quickly and professionally? Enjoy.

The Great Room with the Red Carpet

The Great Room - 3 stories high!

The Food

What was fantastic? Well, to start with, the food! The most gourmet food from the moment we arrived until we left. Three main meals a day then the 3 "snacks" (ha, ha, ha). Yes, scheduled snacks! With an announcements starting 15 min before each dining experience with Marq, Melody's husband, coming to the art room and turning off the light and announcing "15 minutes, until snack or some meal." Returning and announcing "5 minutes, until food." "Time to eat!" Nothing was spared. The quality of what they were serving was the best.

Chelsea with daughter assisting

One of the afternoon snacks

Where we all ate every meal

The Refreshment Bar Something for Everyone

Viewed from above

Up to my old tricks
Hope my daughter doesn't see this!

After returning home and reading all the information everyone sent about themselves including the "worker bees" I have a challenge for Kathy - chief cook and bottle washer - create the most incredible low fat meals for one of the future camps. Knock your self out finding the best and lowest calorie meals and snacks you can create. But, please don't forget to make available for purchase all the recipes from this camp boxed in one of Melody's beautiful tins. I truly don't care how much you charge. I want it and I am sure so does everyone else, even if they don't cook. They will want someone in their life to create theses meals again!

The Art Room

"How big was it?" The perennial questions. . . At my age, a whole new meaning. "Big enough" doesn't begin to describe it. Six work areas that allowed six artists per table plenty of room at each set up. A table with a sewing machine, an old fashioned type writer and a Selphy printer provided by and demonstrated by Elena (Scrapbook Royalty) and Canon printers.

Art and Scrapbook supplies lined the perimeter of the room from top to bottom. Everywhere on the floor and shelves was every product you could image. All provided by Melody and including Melody's products. You truly did not need to bring one thing yourself. Paint, buttons, jewelry, paper, ribbon, fabric, Tattered Angels (provided by camper Liz). All of Melody's products and camper Angela's Unity Stamps provided by Angela including Melody's stamp line (we also got theses stamps as gifts to take home). Be sure to visit their online site!

Beads, ink, foam stamps, Modge Podge, scissors provided by Cheryl (a previous camper and Fiskar representative extraordinaire). More scissors provided by Westcote, Scrapbook Royalty's new sponsor. Chip Board from Melody, all her latest products. Tattered Angel's mists supplied by Liz AND glitter! Do you get the picture because I am not going to show you a photo? I want you to have an "OMG" moment when you enter the art room for the 1st time!


Suzi, me and Siobhan (from England)
A shout out to Siobhan!

Rhonda, Kathy and Lynn

Liz, Cortney and Veronica



Cheryl, me and Haley


Elena and Cortney


Lori and Kim of Express the Moment


From all walks of life and from as far away as England and Poland. All with a story to tell! They spoke and we listened. . . and cried, hugged and loved and supported each individual. We were all rewarded.

Some of the Worker Bees

Jeri Lynn

Mignon and JedMaria

Myrna Jean and Me The two oldest women there!

The Gang of Worker Bees
including Marq, Melody's husband

What I Learned

We all learned what it is like to be part of a very large family. We saw real examples right before our eyes with Melody and Kathy's families present. With Melody and Kathy's mother, Myrna Jean and 4 generations of their family present and working together we learned anything is possible.

Every group needs a leader and compliant "worker bees" that like(LOVE) each other and find ways to turn any job into "fun, fun, fun." Not to hurt anyone's feelings but I have to single out the most fun worker bee who was possibly also the quietest worker bee - Mignon! They were all great, but Mignon had those moves. . .

What Amazed me the Most. . .

That you can really young children present, and if you give them the love and attention they need, they aren't demanding and they aren't spoiled. There was no "mommy mommy" (or for that matter "daddy, daddy" - since there were daddy's and uncle's present. We could have our big group meetings around the red carpet with one woman talking at a time, and the children present in the same room and you didn't realize there were children in the room.

What I Learned

That my house is sacred. I can set boundaries. I can love someone but still "send them to the moon." There are acquaintances, friends, families and best friends. Protect your heart and soul and family from negative influences. You can love your family members but still "put them on the moon" if you find they are too toxic. It's never too late. Remember, today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Saying Goodbye to "The Family". Could I look much tireder? And the family looks just fine including the mom, Myrna Jean. All the girls inward and outward beauty came directly from Myrna Jean, as you can see for yourself!

Me and Melody Ross

Me, Myrna Jean and Kathy

Mignon and me

In closing, thank you Suzi Blu for inviting me to come with you and travel to Idaho. Thank you Brave Girl Camp for being available and getting the word out. Your dream, Melody, has made this world a better place to live in for those who have experience your camp and your family experience in the forest. We will go forth and spread the word. Thank you!

Good Night. "Don't let the bed bugs bite you!"

p.s. People keep asking me "what is Brave Girl Camp?"

"It is where you heart, soul and tummy get fed until you think you will burst!"

Be sure to visit Brave Girls Club and see what all the fuss is about! And, lastly, thank you Suzi Blu and Melody. Without you two I would not have been able to go.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mermaids and Frying Fish

The Art of Frying Fish and Creatures of the Sea

What a weekend I had and how much fun can one person have?

First off, I received an email from Jenny Doh inviting me to be a Guest Curator at CRESCENDO. What a surprise and an honor. I am somewhat overwhelmed at the moment contemplating the responsibility this represents. But, most of all I am thrilled to be telling my story to a larger audience of how art and the people I have met through art have changed my life in the most positive way. I will be featured for a week in October. Stand by?

Back to Saturday and Stamping Details in Poway, CA, and Suzi Blu's Mermaid Class. I sat between Stamping Detail's worker bee extroidaire, Vicky and one of my play day friend's Kat. Across from me was a friend I hadn't see in a long time, Angela. And then there were all the new friends I met and made.

To begin with, last fall Suzi and I had gone to this wonderful Christmas Year Around Store in San Diego called City Lights Collectibles and taken photos of various hanging ornaments. I knew I would eventually be doing mermaids and so took some photos. Here is the sheet of photos for ideas for Mermaids that I printed out for inspiration when I began sketching.

Contact Photo Sheet

Sketches made from above photo sheet.

I had drawn three mermaids on Friday thinking this would take up so much of my time on Sat. and really wanted to work on paint and design. Of course, Suzi had already thought of this. and had printed out 3 of her own mermaids for us to work with so that we could concentrate on the face with colored pencil and the back ground and putting it all together. She came with tons of stuff for us to play with and to spark the right side of our brains.

Closeups of unfinished Mermaid

I went home totally satisfied with a promise to myself to finish the project at home. The photo of my mermaid is still not finished. I am going to put pink bubbles down the right side from the top with the letters spelling "Enchanted" inside the bubbles. Suzi suggested I have some pink there and Vicki came up with what it should say and another new friend suggested bubbles. Obviously, "It takes a Village" of wonderful friends to complete my project. Thank you all.

Christine and Vicki

Angela and Kat

Susan and Michelle

Alisa and Ann

Artist Thinisha Magallanes and Her Painting

Another Beautiful Artist and her Painting

Kristine and Corrine

Shannon's Birthday
Beer Battered Everything

Now we move to Sunday and my daughter-in-law's birthday celebration which was over-due. In my family, a new tradition has evolved. We all cook together for birthday dinners. The birthday person picks the menu. We collaborate on the recipes. Plus, one rule, it should be something I have never made so I don't end up being the boss just another cook with more experience. There is my daughter, Kari; my son, Erik and his wife, the birthday girl, Shannon.

Shannon and Erik on left. Shannon and Kari on right.

Shannon, Erik and Kari

Onion Rings and Zucchinis staying warm

The menu was Beer Battered Everything plus OMG Peanut Butter Pie for dessert. The recipe for this was from my favorite restaurant in my husband's home town of Rochester, New York - The Dinosaur BBQ Restaurant.

For appetizers we used a recipe Kari and I had gotten at a Great News in Pacific Beach cooking class - beer battered onion rings. Oh, of course, everything was deep fried. . .

Halibut and Hush Puppies

Cole Slaw recipe from my cousin in Virginia that was so excellent and no mayonnaise. Great for picnics! We also used my cousin Susan's recipe for the fish and the creamed corn hush puppies.

We started at 2 pm and finished at 9 with some "time outs" to let our stomachs rest. What a feast and how much FUN!

So, the kitchen is finally clean and free, once more, from grease until the next time. My Mermaid awaits me and the recipes need notes added for the next time, documenting all that we learned together.

We once more asserted that the art of anything is a collaborative venture and only gets better each time you participate.