Linda, Carrie and me in our happy place.
It all started last year in November. Carrie, Linda and I attended a crafting retreat at Roughly Manor in Twenty-Nine Palms. Along with 25 other women we had an awesomely creative weekend of crafting, laughing, eating and making new friends. On the car ride home Carrie and Linda came up with the bright idea of the three of us hosting our own crafting retreat for our friends. Within a week Carrie had found a location and we all were assigned jobs. Carrie headed up public relations and handled all the administrative tasks. I assumed the role of banker and Linda was in charge of "fluff" (anything that had to do with cuteness.)
For 3 months we planned and prepped. Linda made favors, I collected deposits and Carrie communicated with the 9 women who would be joining us. In February, Linda came to La Quinta for the weekend and worked on her"fluff" projects.
Linda made each person an easel place card.
All good crafters know you must stay hydrated...
...and moisturized when creating works of art.
What could be nicer on one's pillow at night than a Ghirardelli chocolate tucked inside an inspiring holder?
When inspiration strikes, a notepad is key.
Linda even made a banner to welcome our guests.
While Linda worked her magic in the craft room, I got busy in the kitchen, preparing as much of the food that could be frozen.
Linda's Chicken Enchiladas
My Grandma Jilda's spaghetti sauce and meatballs. When cooking in advance quality control is important, hence the side sampler.
Meatballs ready to be frozen.
When the first weekend in March finally came, we couldn't have been more excited. The house was big, beautiful and well equipped for both crafting and cooking. All the ladies enjoyed themselves as well as the food. Somehow, we ended up with more pictures of food than people.
All 12 of us! What a happy bunch.
Gathering in the kitchen for snacks.
(L-R: Debbie, Nancy, Adrienne, me and Barbara.)
Dessert Tray including Michelle's Lemon Bars, Linda's Kahlua Cake and Carrie's Magic Bars.
My crafting spot. I worked on Christmas tags for my annual Tin-O-Tags project.
As an added bonus, we found a cardboard cut-out of Blake Shelton in a closet that was useful for selfies, group photos and hiding in various locations around the house to scare unsuspecting crafters.
I took this selfie in an upstairs location and then texted it to Carrie and Linda, who were crafting downstairs. It garnered some good laughs.
Barbara and Blake. I think they make a cute couple.
Linda worships at the feet of Blake while all the others look on in fondness (and Adrienne tries to lick his ear.)
Our first annual retreat was a smashing success, if I do say so myself. And the funny thing is, it didn't even seem like a lot of work because Linda, Carrie and I did it together. Combining our talents and energy made for a wonderfully fulfilling weekend, and I believe our guests would agree. That's the thing about allowing only quality people - those who inspire, uplift, encourage, and love - into the front row of your life, it makes the traveling a lot more fun and the load so much lighter.
And the song, from beginning to end, I found in the heart of a friend.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
P.S. Some of the food was eaten so quickly that we didn't have a chance to snap a photo. Here are links to a few of the most requested recipes.