PART TWO: Craft Liberation -a weekend getaway #1... A COMPLETE SUCCESS!

well, friends... i FINALLY figured out the snag with trying to upload these photos, plus i'm new to editing my own on a mac, so thank you for being patient. probably not the best time to switch out my computer. oops.

gotta give some major props to our official photographer, Katie, for how hard she worked during CL to capture every detail and so many great memories! having many differing craftiness levels in the house made it a great atmosphere for growth, helping one another, and of course, learning new skills!  she even came early to get photos while everything was still untouched. you'll have to excuse my not-anywhere-near-as-steller-as-katie's photos in this post. there were moments that katie was shooting other things, being crafty or just simply relaxing, so i took the liberty to grab some shots. you'll notice mine by the lack of watermark, and skill in editing the orangey color out of all those cabin pics. ;)

i'm so thankful to my beautiful and gifted friend laurie for partnering with me in this journey. isn't she just beautiful? her insides are even more. (click her name to read her blog. if you don't know her and her story of JOY, you MUST! Jack, you'd be so stinkin' proud of your mom for so many reasons. she, and everyone, misses you.)
and if course, i can't help but put a plug in for our sweet helpers, our daughters. so stinkin' proud of these girls!

(ok, so we kinda sorta maybe forgot to bring food to eat for ourselves for the day prior while we were setting up. so, for some reason, i feel like all we ate for two days straight was subway. i'm a bit burnt out. even still.)
i was so blessed that my sister came to my first Craft Liberation. she drove in from St. Louis! she arrived early, and after hitting up nashville for a bit of shopping, she arrived in time to get some pics of her own, and even star in this beauty...i love her so. OH!!! and do you see that silver necklace i'm sportin'? it was her gift to me! it is customized with words like, 'fabric,' 'lemondime,' and 'craft liberation!' do you see that teeny pair of retro green scissors! i think this needs a post of it's own. one of thee most thoughtful gifts i've ever been given. she's so special to me.
so let's recap a minute. beautiful cabin, supplies galore, yummy food, and a group of beautiful women with huge hearts and amazing lives....3 days. lifechanging. if you missed part one, go there first and read the how and why of what's going on.
here we go! 
THIS is what the girls walked in to.

my  contribution to the SWAG: jars and sleeves to go with their Cuppow lids!
do you see these nametags? they were made by hand, by Laurie and me-some serious love went into those babies! 
after the girls arrived, it was time to mingle, get to know each other, grab a refreshment, and relax. there were girls who drove from michigan, illinois and wisconsin....so time to relax while dinner was being prepared was welcomed

after some talking, and while dinner was being prepared, everyone found a place at the table to begin digging through their swag. it was so fun seeing everyone's expressions! (a HUGE THANK YOU to all the SPONSORS that sent goodies for the girls. i will be posting specifically about you all NEXT!)
next, it was my turn to officially begin our weekend. i had rehearsed this moment in my head what seemed a hundred times. and just as i had expected, 3 words out of my mouth and i was in tears. i'm so thankful to the Lord that He allowed me, prepared me, led me, and blessed me with the opportunity to use the gifts and talents He gave me to do something so exciting and enjoyable. this moment will forever be etched into my memory as point in my life of joy, fulfillment and thankfulness. (posting this: fresh tears)
then it was time to tell L how much i love and appreciate her.
explaining the stories behind the swag. so fun.

next, everyone got a turn introducing themselves, getting a few moments of personal fame, and maybe just one or two or a hundred tears were shed. so humbling to have them all sitting around that table. i felt like a mother hen having gathered all her chicks. my sister Keri starts. so glad she sat right next to me. (she's my momma hen) then, you see that beautiful soul sitting next to her? that's Andrea. this pic was taken moments before she fearfully and half-heartedly told us all she wanted to start her own photography business. AND, just since this pic was taken, SHE LAUNCHED HER BUSINESS! check it out here!!! EEK! sooo proud of you Andrea!!! oh- and we can't forget her other business Knits and Knots- oozes talent, this girl does.
Joy cracks me up! look at her smile.... sweet thang.
Roni, in the blue there... she may have forgotten to tell us she had kids until her turn was well over. i wish i would have gotten some pics of all the laughter that stemmed from that. i guess some of us were just really glad to be outta the house, and didn't even mentally want to go back. hee hee.
the Young ladies watch from afar as they tend to preparing dinner.

up next was dinner. we enjoyed roasted vegetable orzo pasta with feta cheese and crusty bread. light and tasty. (this is the closest recipe i could find... i just added some veggies and took out the pine nuts, or i would'a gone broke)
time to settle into the crafting part of the evening.
the first night was dedicated to our 'big' sewing project. no, we didn't reupholster furniture, but we did make some SUPER cute bags! when praying about what crafts to make for CL, i was reminded that when i first began sewing almost five years ago, the very first thing i ever made was what i called, a weekender bag. my husband joel and i were headed to a retreat for the weekend, and i thought it would be fun to bring a big bag for all my stuff.
here is the first 'kellie bag' (as it would come to be called by all my friends):

i came up with a new design for the official Craft Liberation Bag. something easy enough for non-sewers, but still cute and a just a bit of a challenge to prove to these girls anyone can sew! all the crafts were kept a secret... so this was the first big reveal. i didn't have a name for this bag design... but the girls came up with one for me and i LOVE it: the 'Liberation Bag'!!! and that basket of fabric was filled with 'the good stuff;' some of my favorites... like the Amy Butler print i used for the sample. swoon!
time to let the girls dig and claw their way through that stack of fabric love to pick out two prints for their bag. 

did someone draw blood?
i taught the girls out to rip their fabric. talk about liberating! although it turned out a bit disastrous, it was no fault of their own. we pushed through, and much pressing and sewing commenced.

it didn't take long before Becky (who picked out my fave fabric from the stack!) tied some fabric on her head and yelled out, "LOOK! I'M KELLIE!" anyone who knows me, knows that i'm often found with a bandana or scarf in my hair..... and so began the picking out of headbands. it continued all weekend. it was quite comical! i wasn't sure if i felt picked on, or slightly honored. :)
Allison drove from MICHIGAN!
ok... i have to tell you a story about Roni. i was really proud of her here. she is a sewer, but sews while sitting on the floor using her KNEE to push the foot pedal!!! WHO DOES THAT? she is ULTRA talented! and she's gets extra points for sucking it up and sewing in the normal seated position. 

at one point, i look over, and Laurie is going to town, teaching the girls how to make fabric rosettes. creativity was flowin! keri made a super cute one for her bag. everyone was getting into their comfy clothes, enjoying some snacks, and even late night dessert of cheesecake made with Fudge Stripe Cookie crust!
 one of my fave shots of that night...helping Joy.
as the night got later, girls were turning to coffee for a second wind. i know this is kinda a silly picture of Christine, who drove from Wisconsin... but i couldn't help but give some bonus points to Laurie for the coffee she made for us which had her homemade sweet-cream creamer in it... oh, and topped with those mini Ghirardelli chips on top! mmmm Laurie, you ROCK- i think you've become the official CL Barista!
Traci had to have proof for her husband that she was actually sewing on this women's getaway. here it is; you can't make this stuff up!
Katie preparing her interfacing.
OOH! there's Miss Photographer with her purple tipped hair goin' to town on the bag!
I wish we would have captured more moments of 'turning,' where the girls turned their bags right side out to reveal the almost finished product. we clapped each time someone turned.... well, almost each time- there was one or two whose handles were sewn into the bag layers, but we won't point them out here. Allison did a great job!

everyone went to bed LATE but feeling accomplished. what a perfect first day!

saturday morning ran a bit late, as everyone was dragging a bit, including me. some slept in, exercised, got dolled up...they were free to do what they wanted until breakfast was served; broccoli bacon quiche and fresh fruit. bonus points to Melissa for being my hand model.
from here we all drove into Nashville (indiana that is) to split up and shop, snack.... or enjoy time with the girls we just met. i couldn't help but go straight to the candy shop- ellie, melanie and i found some great treats there! check out these big candy sticks! they put the ones from Cracker Barrel to shame
it's like it knew 'the lemondime' girls were coming for a visit!
i found Christine and Keri at a super cute soap shop: Bathology! look at these colors! i could eat it.
this looks like KIWI!
more fun shopping! look at her bag- sassy pants ;)
hee hee. aw naw you di-int!
then it was time to say goodbye to our beautiful helper/daughters. cuties!
and.... back to shopping! look what i found! (my sister sent this SAME pic to my phone when she was in the shop. great minds think alike....or at least minds created by the same mother and father ;)
although these quilts are not really my style... i can appreciate them- and love how they were all displayed.
yep. that's what i think.
walking out of one shops with Laurie, we saw this stump and had to laugh at how entirely painful that would be to sit on, or fall into. OUCHIE!
everyone met back at the cabin for lunch and a bit of show and tell. it was fun to see what everyone picked up- but there was some overly obsessive kitchen utensil buying going on... i was getting worried. too bad i didn't get a pic of that!

lunch menu: Creamy Chicken Packets, salad and lemon bars.

after everyone ate, cleaned up and got comfy again, it was time for a night FILLED with many different crafts. they started by painting chalkboards. i loved their creativity... each one different. in between coats of paint, they worked on shrink film bracelets. (do you remember Shrinky Dinks?) also, i introduced them to the fun that is fabric wrapped wire words, and washi tape coasters.

love this random hug from L.

 CREATE: one of my favorite words.
oh. be still my heart. i love their creations! 

my bestie, Traci decided to try her hand at sewing her own messenger bag, based on a pattern from one of the sewing books i had there for the girls browsing pleasure. she just needed a few simple instructions, and then she took the wheel.... she did a GREAT JOB!

these shrink bracelets turned out so so awesome!

dinner break: chicken fajitas and margaritas!

there is a HUGE story behind this ONE and ONLY group shot. it took many tries, lotsa butt shots of the one running into the scene for the timer and a high speed body-into-drink crash. so thankful to have all the girls in at least one photo. my awesome Mother insisted on us drinking from real marg. glasses, so she sent these as a gift. i love her. bonus points go to Andrea for having a lengthy timer, and wanting Katie to relax on this shot.
(if you look closely, you'll see some empty glasses...it took. that. long.)

after dinner it was back to crafting, and a totally spontaneous straightening of my sisters hair, by Anne, the in-house hair-straightener.

Roni took a moment to write a beautiful sentiment in the CL guest book.

i started on the cinnamon rolls early.... but kinda got a bit distracted- the dough busted right through the plastic wrap! oopsie. don't have a good after pic of these ginormous rolls. oh they were good- with a giant schmear of thick cream cheese icing.

so much painting going on here-Christine took on the role of official painter of tiles. she made each girl one of their own to take as a souvenir. some used the washi tape that was donated by Cute-tape! when i recieved their box of swag and supplies, i immediately ordered TONS more... it's uh.maze.ing! some of the girls were even making little teeny washi bunting!!! EEK!

Roni came to me halfway into the night, asking if i had any Christmas lights she could buy. and actually, i had one strand left after making the scrappy lights for decorating the cabin. she tore and tied fabric for what seemed HOURS! the result was BEAUTIFUL! she posted the pic below of her bannister, to facebook after we got home- it's just perfect there, isn't it?

oh, i almost forgot to add, Laurie also taught some of the girls how to make these awesome paper stars....and if you ever get a chance to see L's house, there are stars EVERYWHERE!!! and our Miss Katie Photographer Girl, made her daughters APRONS! and she's NEW to sewing! HOW CUTE ARE THOSE!? Jen made some headbands... i think the girls were CRAFT LIBERATED!

Sunday morning, Katie had to leave early to tend to her sick little girl, and the rest of us took some time to feed our souls. Laurie introduced me to the book, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. it was a book that changed us both. i had recently ordered the dvd study, and we watched the first session that morning. it was touching as we all learned the importance of slowing down time, and being present and thankful in each moment of our lives. start counting gifts. thanksgiving always precedes the miracle. if you haven't read the book- please do. here is her blog- it will change you if you let it.

i handed out little handmade JOY journals to all the girls; something they can keep with them and jot down all the ways God loves them. we wiped tears, prayed... even sang Amazing Grace together. it was a moment in time i'll never forget. my cup runneth over. 
we said our goodbyes and held tightly to our new group of friends. so many memories made that weekend. i'm so thankful to each and every girl that signed up to be a guest at the very first Craft Liberation.
as i sat and thought about the days prior, after packing and cleaning, i thanked the Lord for all the ways He helped me, and how much His presence was with us in that cabin. i can't wait for CL #2
i wanted to add some testimonies i recieved after the weekend was done, and everyone had a chance decompress and take in what they had experienced. enjoy, and consider attending the next craft weekend on August 16-18th. if you haven't been to my FB page, it's found right here. if you would like to reserve a spot for a future weekend or if you have any questions, you can message me there or email me at thelemondime@yahoo.com.

"My life is absolutely changed. no denying that. I've been in a different place since then. even with the "stuff" going on here...I'm just in such a peaceful place about it all and that's NOT like me. lol. it's all HIM!"

"While I really miss our time together, I really needed that weekend to strengthen me spiritually. I feel like that strengthening was needed by all of us for one reason or another. God knew what we needed exactly when we needed it. Love you ALL."

"I just want to ramble on for hours to everyone I run into and tell them about how awesome it was! When I go out to the store I look around hoping to run into any one of you and then I realize...not going to happen! "

"I most definitely needed it. It couldn't have come at a better time for me. I feel refreshed and like I have ten NEW best friends! I love you all and miss you terribly. I keep remembering funny little things that happened and want to tell whoever is close by and willing to pretend to listen! I pray for all of you daily. I know we're each going through different "things" and we all need to be uplifted in prayer. Love you girls!"
with that, i thank you- and i thank God most of all, that i have been chosen for such a time as this. 


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