I have to say, that I thought that this year’s Creative Escape was the best one yet. But, I have to admit, I think that I have thought that every year! It was awesome, in every sense of the word… the basic framework of CE didn’t change:
- fabulous resort environment: CE has been held at the Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, AZ the last 2 years, and will be there again next year. It’s out in what feels like the middle of nowhere, and it’s just unique, tranquil, over the top service, fantastic food, great rooms, beautiful pool- and a brand newly renovated convention center that has been expanded and even more completely fits our needs of having 700 participants taking 8 classes simultaneously, and feeding us breakfast, lunch and dinner in one huge room… as well as the perfect space for an on-site scrapbook stores that rivals any other retail scrapbook store anywhere!
- Bus tour that pre-event takes people to visit the Bazzill plant, and Scrapbooks ETC in Mesa, AZ.
- 8 teachers that offer different and unique projects and backgrounds, experience and specialties. This year… we were blessed to have back Tim Holtz and Carol Wingert (and myself…) as well as Marah Johnson, Paula Cheney and Debbie Crouse (they taught together), Lynette Carol, Debbie Schuh, and Heather Bailey. The projects were all very different and very cool! Classes are 1 hr 45 min long, and each person takes all 8 classes; 4 Friday and 4 Saturday.
- Technique Boutique offers a diversity of things that need to be picked up or done before classes…this year ‘cookbookin’ had a mini-class… and some wonderful fruit bars for everyone! Everyone also got a clear acrylic bowl that would be used to hold various little things needed- and they could paint them w/ Krylon paint pens… it was amazing to see the creativity! Cool zebra patterns and everything!
- Every year, we have what is called a Trunk Show- which provides a place to see past work from each teacher, as well as get a chance to meet them and chat a little… if you check out Tim’s blog, he has a photo from each teacher’s trunk show table. They were beautiful representations of each artist… I love this part, cause I love to visit w/ everyone!
- Thursday night, the only official CE activity is the ‘welcome’ meeting- it’s quick and just goes through the ins and outs… this year, each teacher was presented with a really cute apron from CE as a thank you gift… and we encouraged people to get some rest… none of them do!
- Everyone is fed breakfast, lunch and dinner Friday and Saturday. The breakfast was so awesome this year… buffet style…they had it all! Lunch is just a box lunch, but super yummy! Great wraps and sandwiches… cookies/brownies etc. etc. and this year we had a sit down dinner each night- this was new- usually we have a buffet on Friday night… the food there is spectacular! It was delish. Even if the dessert was fruity!
- Friday Night Extravaganza has been something different each year- and after a long day, we decided to make it as meaningful and quick as possible! We invited Heidi Lynn Schreiber to create a project for everyone to make, and Bazzill donated all the supplies. Bazzill staff was brought on board to teach the 1 ½ hour class…it was a great album project that included some embroidering using Bazzill’s ‘in-stitches’ line. I had the opportunity to introduce this year’s theme: Unwritten. I spoke for a few minutes about the REWARDS and the RISKS of writing things down in scrapbooks… I did share some of my OLDEST scrapbook pages… and got a good laugh!
- Saturday night is the END… the culmination of the whole event.. and it’s always my most favorite part. We have a special tradition that we ‘eat dessert first’… so as soon as everyone is seated, they are presented with a beautiful, delicious dessert!... throughout the weekend, participants are given and can obtain raffle tickets by purchasing them or making purchases in the on-site store. We had 100 raffel baskets to give away during dinner… and then it was time to announce the winners of our Charity raffles. We were giving away 2 spots on the Scrapmap Ultimate Cruise 2010 that I will be teaching on with Debbie Schue and Stacy Julian…. (price is $1289 or so, and they have a payment plan that is only $100 a month... COME CRUISE W/ US!!!) We then did something that was new this year…
- Leukemia and Lymphoma Society fund raiser… 2 years ago, one of Bazzill’s graphic designers was diagnosed with a huge tumor on her heart- and has since battled and won out on the disease… so many of us have been touched in one way or another by Cancer, and it’s been our desire to give back, in some small way. In June we invited the incredibly talented past and present teachers to take a cheap-o IKEA lamp and create something fabulous that we would raffle to raise money. We decided to make things interesting by having a live auction of the lamp I created and the lamp Tim Holtz created… I was so amazed and delighted when my lamp sold for $8200!!! Imagine that… it was making me more and more nervous to hold the lamp as the price tag got bigger and bigger… The woman that won my lamp is someone that I know.. (a ‘she’)… and I was thrilled to know it would be inspiring her in her creative space! Next up was Tim’s lamp… and these ladies were not messing around. I think it was like 3 bids and it was up to 16,000$ (I think it’s like childbirth, faster the second time around! LOL)… Tim’s lamp sold for an amazing $29,000. I am not totally sure the final number, but between the cruise and all the lamps the total amount (100%) of the proceeds totaled over $46,000. It was the most overwhelming, exciting and electric experience!! The generosity and kindness… the desire to somehow HELP was felt by all! The lamps were so amazing to see in real life… they literally gave me chills, and SUCH a warmth! It was AWESOME!!!
- Keynote………every year we have been blessed with an absolutely wonderful speaker, and this year was not different in the brilliance of our invited guest: Melanie. She is niece to Mr & Mrs. Bazzill and sister to Shelby, the afore mentioned Cancer survior. I obviously can’t repeat what she shared, but it certainly filled me with a desire to be a better person. A better human. To give. To encourage and share and lift and believe in others… everyone in that room felt it- that desire to love more fully … ‘live with arms wide open’. It’s had a major impact on my heart.
While the basic components of the event were the same… there was a little bit of a difference that I felt this year that seemed to touch me… this year connections were being made on such a greater level… the FRIENDSHIPS that have been created at CE either this year, or in years past… are AMAZING. I could see it in the women, as their guards were let down, and they allowed themselves to be touched, connected and SERIOUSLY HAVE FUN. real fun. crazy fun! zebra toes fun. chocolate 24/7 fun. crowns and flowers fun… and the kind of sharing that happens when you are surrounded with people that are all passionate about the same thing: preserving life’s memories. And everyone was having a BLAST! That is the best part…
Since the event, I have been feeling SO overwhelmed with gratitude.
I am thankful for the team that puts SO MUCH WORK into CE: Doug, Carol, Lisa, Frani, Mona, Marti…Douglas and Shelby.. and all those that made kits, buttons, boards, props, tying ribbons, shipping, moving, arranging, computer systems, CC machines, and attention to every single, tiny detail that must be carefully orchestrated.
I am thankful for this year’s teachers.. their projects were SO great… the trunk show was FAB…they kept up the crazy pace with huge smiles and warmth for every single participant!
I am so thankful for the VOLUNTEERS… ok, they have to be the most amazing group of self-less women.. they just flat out love people and want them to be happy!! Most these ladies have been there all 4 years, and this year… people were REQUESTING what volunteer’s group they wanted to be in!! their dedication is just tireless, and they also have non-stop smiles and energy. And it’s HARD to be nice that much!! (wink).
Thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!!
I am so thankful for the hotel staff.. they are PHENOMINAL!!
I am so thankful for those there participating! They were SOO happy to be there. Everyone was beaming, and smiling and ADDING to the over all good-vibe! I loved being in your presence!
i am SOOOOOO thankful for all thea ROCKIN' sponsors... course we couldn't even come close to pulling this off w/ out the massive support we get! we LOVE you... and apprecite you... thank you SO much!
I am so thankful for the opportunity to be involved… It’s hard work, but it’s SO worth it.
I am thankful that my sweet friend Chanel could come from Australia to be here..
and i am thankful for my sister Katie for being my helper... she is the best!!
and most of all...
i want to thank Eric... for being an awesome husband and father, but mostly being my very best friend. he wanted to be there this weekend.. to be with me, and help out, and EXPERIENCE it... but, it's harder to leave 5 kiddos... and the day i left was of course the first day of school!! he was cheering from Utah, and taking care of everything here. i couldn't do it without him. i love him and appreciate him SO much. thank you eric!!
We DID announce that we’ll be putting it on AGAIN in 2010!! … see you next year!
just a few shots... i didn't take enough shots to capture it! i love seeing YOUR photos- tag me in your photos on facebook! i'll let you know when the official CE photos are up on the site to view!!