Alright, getting to Omaha wasn't easy. The story of our treacherous journey seemed to precede us, for everyone we met on Friday said "heard about your trip." Yeah, it was a pretty bad one. First off, it wasn't going to be all that easy squeezy to start with. We were taking off from NY Laguardia at 6am. This meant leaving our house for the airport at 3 something am. We are night owls, still had work to finish, so this meant we were not going to bed Wednesday night. Which was fine, we'd sleep on the plane and nap Thursday afternoon on our soft Omaha Hilton beds. We are used to pulling all nighters. So we flew out of Laguardia without incident. Aar had some trouble with the metal detectors because of the hardware implanted in his leg (he's bionic in case you didn't know), but we anticipated that and Aaron doesn't mind being pat down, he's a huggy type ; ). Anyway, we were flying to Detroit for an Omaha connection. I won't go into how crazy it was for me to be on a plane in the first place...we've never flew...and let's just say I'm nuts. Ok, we land in Detroit and the airport is HUGE. It was like a two mile walk to our connection flight...through this magical musical lightshow tunnel that was once featured in the movie Punchdrunk Love. After the long walk we get to our gate and there is still some time, the gate is still closed and all passengers are in chairs. We walk a few steps away to wait and Aaron walks away for two minutes. The gate opens, the passengers go through, me and Missy walk over and stand by the gate to wait for Aaron. The woman at the gate says "c'mon lets go. I can't wait." We say "Oh just one second, our third person will be here within seconds." She says "oh no, I don't hold planes for anyone. " and closes the door and says "you'll have to be on standby for a later flight." She does all this and never looks us in the eye. In fact she leaves, I guess to prove the finality of the situation. Aar, shows up seconds later like we said he would and me and Missy tell him the news. And "standby" means "tomorrow" because all the flights are overbooked already. So in essence...we are DONE. All that work, contracts signed, kits and artwork shipped to Omaha....all for nothing, because we'll be sitting in an airport in Detroit while Silver Bella commences.
So what did we do? CRY! for a while. Aaron had to walk away for a bit so he didn't end up detained. I called my dad, Aaron called his mom, and both instantly said: Get in a car and drive. Yup, that's what we did...rented a car and drove...Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, all of Iowa (so flat, so plain, I mean good for them but when you're driving for eleven hours and you haven't slept since Tuesday, some sights would be nice!) We drove like 90mph straight to Nebraska. Stopped twice for gas and one of those stops was also for Arbies at The Largest Truck Stop in the World, so said the sign on I-80...there are showers there...I mean I guess there would be, but it was surreal and spooky when me and Missy thought we were headed for the ladies room and ended up in a steamy hallway of towel wearing men.
The trip was daunting to say the least. It was followed by like an hour and a half at the Omaha airport to retrieve our luggage which made the flight without us. We got to the Hilton very late Thursday night, claimed our Fed Ex'd class kits, spent a couple hours sliding the printed directions into each and then slept til Friday morning and the official start to Silver Bella.
Of course that's just the brief account and I apologize for telling you even that much. I guess I needed to tell it so that it could help illustrate how awesome our time was at Silver Bella...meaning, the hardships of the journey VANISHED as soon as the weekend began!
You could've almost called it Silver Blogger. All the names and faces were familiar. We all knew something about each other. I found myself saying things like " I know you...you took your kids to Disneyland in July and you had on a pink ruffley top!" All of us had these snippets of detail on each other because we all read one another's blogs. Like FBI dossiers on the usual suspects.
And I was blown away by the gracious gifts...
Lonnie, our online pal, and now real life friend from the opposite side of the country came armed with three pounds of selected Tillamook cheddar cheeses from her own town of Tillamook Oregon. Aaron is a huge cheese fan, especially sharp cheddar, and when we first saw Lonnie's address we immediately recognized Tillamook because they put a slice of Tillamook cheddar on top of your warm apple pie at Johnny Rockets (you must try it!). Anyway, Lonnie promised that if we ever met in person she'd bring cheese! Well here it is along with a super sweet cupcake crown for me and some deeeelish chocolate turkeys...their feathers are almonds! My spell check is underlining all of my Tillamooks...and seeing them all highlighted I must now apologize for using up my Tillamook yearly usage quota all in one paragraph!
Jennifer Hayslip aka Best Dressed Bella, made this adorable 'lil snowbunny and we just had to hang her on our table top tree at vendor night. That's Jennifer in the cowgirl hat and pink galore! Go check out her blog to see some Atlanta, GA eye candy. In person she's as sweet as she looks...ask anyone who attended SB!
This tiny little ballerina in a box is from Heather Rowley of Speckled Egg fame. She had an amazing tablescape at vendor night and when I go to SB next year my main objective is to see all there is to see from all the vendors! I barely got around at all but I caught brief glimpses of Heather's table and it was fabulous! I hope she'll be selling any left over goodies over at Speckled Egg, and speaking of, be on the lookout December 1st for an online boutique event she'll be hosting called Art from the Nest, featuring a slew of other ultra talented artists. We were lucky enough to have Heather in one of our classes...she's a sweetheart!
Oh yeah, in the above story about our travels I said how we got to the Hilton late at night and tracked down our Fed Ex boxes. Well it was Aaron that searched the Hotel for them and finally tracked them to The Washington Room which was locked. Turns out, it was locked from the inside, and locked inside were all the other Bella instructors making jewelry 'til almost midnight. Aaron was road weary and not exactly prepared to meet everyone but he was welcomed graciously...Teresa brought him up to speed,showed him where our boxes were, gave him our itinerary and presented him with this fab gift. Being there was a gift...nothing else was necessary. It's totally amazing, I love it. I'm pretty sure you can get it on Amazon. It was a warm welcome when we needed it most.
Tammy Gilley put some of her magic in a vial. This is really precious...a fun idea expertly executed! She had some on sale at vendor night and I totally bet she sold out, and I hope I'm not being too presumptuous in thinking that she'd make more for the holidays. Go to her blog and see if you can score some of her magic!
Love these gloves from Corrine Ayers! Thank you! Be warm and bejeweled!
I love Charlotte Lyons. Her little 'clean up your workspace project' was the impetus for the Bits and Pieces swap. This is one of her adorable snowmen she gave me on vendor night. It's from Seasons of Cannon Falls and she had them for sale at her table. She also gifted all of us instructors with this really cool collage of vintage American Geisha girls. It was so exciting to meet people whose reputations and artistic accomplishments speak volumes. Charlotte has done so much great work, and I spied some finished products from the classes she taught, wow, those were the classes to get!
And speaking of...Pam Garrison, you all know and love her. She had amazing kits! She was directly to our right on vendor night and she nearly sold out before the doors even opened. I love her work so much. These hand sculpted glittery birds are from her...We traded her for one of our new Charlotte ornaments...speaking of...
we had some at vendor night and they were soon all gone...now we have them for sale on Etsy!
Ok, this is lengthy isn't it? Pretend it's two posts. Me and Aaron met so many great people in our classes. I think when someone is partaking in the artistic process you can get a good sense of their real self. I mean, don't quote me on that...because if you were to meet me and Aar at 3am in the midst of working against a ludicrous deadline, you'd say we were raving lunatics.No, I mean like the group crafting environment. Everyone is open to suggestions. Everyone is giving suggestions. Lots of laughing. Mistakes are shrugged off, messes are made, supplies are lent. It's a good time to make friends. In the back of one of our classes we had a BAD TABLE (BAD in a fun gradeschool sense)! And I have to admit that it was my sister who was partly responsible for all the acting up and naughty behavior! She was having a blast back there with Hope and Artsymama, and her new BFF's Kim Hesson and Michelle Devine. They were busting at the seams and turning red with laughter...and later carried over the fun into Jennifer Paganelli's class...the same crew all over again! Well, Kim and Michelle are responsible for these magical party hats as well as the bejeweled heart ornament. After class they wentback to their room and made these hats for us! It was such a sweet gesture. On our last day in Omaha the front desk of the hotel called our room and said that there would be gift bags waiting for us there. The note from Michelle and Kim said that the hats were to prove that they had the ability to actually FINISH a project (being that class was all play and no work!) So so nice of them!
Oh, and Aaron made this cone in Jennifer Paganelli's class. Everybody loved her classes. She loves to pump you up when you dazzle. She's constantly holding up people's works in progress saying "hey guys...check this out! Is this somethin or what!?"
Here's some classroom pics. That's Lorraine with the Thomas Pink box (she bought a pair of sox just to get the box...now it's her crafting kit...we are totally kindred spirits...myfriend Tricia once conned a box from Thomas Pink for me...she went into the one in mid town NYC and said "I bought my friend a shirt before and I didn't get a box...can I have one please?) Lorraine was a dazzler in class. She somehow made our kit look like her! She took both of our classesand when she held up her finished products they looked like she designed them from scratch...it was really remarkable! She even cut up our directions to use the words Let Them Eat Cake...very cool! We chatted with her and her man for a while. He rules....he was right there in the crafty fray along with dozens of ladies. Lorraine is down in DC and lives in a pink paradise. We were talking about organizing a cupcake tour of NYC, maybe in the Spring. New York is really the cupcake capitol and so wonderful in the Springtime. Plus we've got Jennifer Paganelli close by in Connecticut, Danielle Muller of Vintage Dragonfly right on Long Island, and Hope, Melfie, and Amy Powers are East coasters as well. Let's all think it over, get crafty, come up with something multi layered and fun!
Grabbed this repro mercury glass votive holder Sunday afternoon at a shop in downtown Omaha. It was the only one and it was two bucks! I can't believe it survived a weekend onslaught of Bellas. I can only say it was meant to be mine! Am I being greedy by saying that I wish there were two of 'em?
Ok, you need a break. Forgive me for talking so at length about Silver Bella. If you were there, you already know most of what I've said. And if you weren't there you are probably sick and tired of hearing about it already. Please try to go next year...you won't be disappointed. And plus, Country Living Magazine was there doing a story and after the article comes out next year I think Silver Bella will be the hottest ticket in town! So get in on it before it blows up!
Thanks to all you fabulous gift givers, class takers, and blog readers! You make my world go 'round. And same goes for Aaron. He's not on blogs like I am. For him it was especially great to meet everyone in person at SB. He said that one weekend made up for a year of being a shut-in. I have a feeling he'll be reading over my shoulder much more!
Just wanted to show you guys a glimpse of our kits all opened up. If you ever watch JimCramer's Mad Money he always talks about cracking open an ipod to see what's inside and then to buy stock in those components...(betcha never thought I'd be able to tie in Jim Cramer on this blog...it was a stretch but I pulled it off!) Anyway, these are over at Etsy. A few gals have picked some up this week and I really am serious when I say to email me for any hints while you're making your project...and I'd love to see some finished products!!