Friday, March 16, 2012

all things crafty retreat - 2012

I had so much fun at the retreat this year. I am always happy to come back home after the retreat for a couple of reasons: (1) I miss my baby girl like crazy when I'm gone! and (2) I feel so inspired and relaxed and ready to conquer the world after having a good dose of April and the other amazing women that come along.

Want to see some photos? Of course you do, who am I kidding. No one wants to hear me ramble on, ha!

:the view:

Camp Mitchell on Petit Jean Mountain is where we go for the retreats. The location is gorgeous. We were blessed with great weather on Friday and Saturday. It rained Sunday, which was no fun when it came time to pack our cars! I looked like a drowned rat by the time I was driving away. One of my favorite things to do at the retreat is to find some time to myself to go sit out on the cliffs. It is so peaceful and you can see for miles and miles. 

:the sunshiney:

I always feel extremely close to God when I'm sitting outside up there. Camp Mitchell also has a beautiful chapel, which I didn't get a photo of this time. I enjoy sitting there as well.

I drove up Thursday afternoon, after working for half a day, to help April set up the crop room. I was grateful when I got there that the tables were already papered! For the past six years, I have had the task of putting the paper on the tables. I don't mind doing it, but it takes forever. It was a nice surprise to see that already done! The fun part was decorating the crop room. April had already set up a ton of stuff. She truly works SO hard to make the retreat the best it can be. I am so inspired by her.

:part of the store area:

:one table area:

:another table area:

I failed to get a photo of the entire crop room. I usually do that. I'm hoping that April did. We had around 40 people in attendance with about 8 table areas. So, what's on the table??


My daughter had tons of fun helping me punch some scrap paper into fun shapes for this table confetti. I added in two bags of pom poms from the craft store and a couple of small bags of actual confetti. It was completely adorable.

:the name tags:

Each year, we try to come up with the perfect name tag. I think that this year, we found the most comfortable one yet, if I do say so myself. Of course, I made them, so I could be a tad bit biased...ha! I used chipboard butterflies from Maya Road as the base of the name tag. I stamped them with a large flower stamp that I have (sorry, I don't have it in front of me for the brand name) with blue ink and then mod podged the name onto them. For the cord, I braided three strips of fabric (this was the part that took the longest, but it was cute and so worth it) and attached the braid to the butterfly by pulling it through punched holes on each wing and then knotting it to secure it. I loved the outcome!

:the inspiration parcel:

We also added an "inspiration parcel" to each place setting. This package was packed full of random papers and ephemera for each attendee to use on their projects. This was one of my favorite things to put together for everyone. 

:the place setting:

:small bag of crayons:

An artist can never have too many crayons! Plus, they are April's favorite thing of all time, so adding them to the table was a must.
:april and julie getting crazy with the lights:

April brought these awesome rope lights to put in the gallery. This is us on Thursday night, extremely tired after putting the room together and being a bit goofy. Okay, Okay....we are goofy all the time. 

:april and julie - ready for everyone to get there:

:friday night art journal:

Friday night, we had an art journal buffet. April has a Cinch machine (which I totally want, by the way) that can bind books. We laid out a table "buffet style" of tons of chipboard, tags, embellishments, fabric, etc. for everyone to choose from. They also could add elements from their inspiration parcels to make a book - an art journal. April is such an inspiration in this department. She encourages people to just play and make art. It doesn't have to have a purpose, it is something just for you. That is what these art journals were intended for. I ended up making three books in different sizes. It was so much fun. I do have a mini album obsession, which April makes fun of me for, but I can't help it. I love books of any kind. A book that I can paint in and junk up is all the more fun to me. I will share photos of my art journal in another post.

:sunday's lunch:

:melanie, the cupcake baker:

One other thing that I love about these retreats is the FOOD! We have a chef that cooks for us while we are there and let me just It is SO delicious and amazing. Also, this year, my best friend, Melanie, made everyone cupcakes. Melanie makes the best cupcakes I have ever tasted. She seriously needs to open up a cupcake shop, hint, hint. On top of all that, look at how stinkin' cute she is! 

:april in teacher mode:

Saturday, April taught two classes. She is such an amazing teacher. And have I mentioned how inspiring she is? I seriously can not say enough good things about April. She has such an artist's spirit. I am blessed to know this woman.

:beautiful creation:

This is an art piece that someone made during one of April's classes, using pastels.


We had amazing sponsors this year too. So thankful!

:woot, woot!! year 7!!:

We take this photo every year. I can not believe it has been SEVEN years. SEVEN! Wow! I feel lucky to have been a part of this event each year.

:stacy and leanne:

Of course, I love seeing my friends too. It is one time of the year that we all try to get together and enjoy our friendships. We are all scattered across Arkansas and Texas, so it is nice to have a weekend together. I wish we could have ALL been together this year, but some couldn't make it.

:april, courtney, melanie, leanne, julie, stacy:

I have a strong core group of friends (not all of them are pictured here) and I am so thankful for each of them. They each play a huge role in my life and I'm thankful for them all. I love this photo because this is what I do 99% of the time I am with them. I laugh until I pee my pants. And then I say, "awkward". 

:julie and courtney:

One of my Texas girls. I love this sweet thing. 

:rebecca and april:

This beautiful woman has attended several retreats as well. She is sweet, gorgeous, and very talented!

:dusti and brianne:

April's sisters-n-law came to the retreat this year and they were a blast!

:jazz hands:

This is kind of an inside joke, but these girls were a blast! I always have such a wonderful time with everyone. April and I were both taking photos, so I didn't get everyone individually. However, in the gallery, April will add the photos all together! 

:melissa, liz, and gladys:

I call Gladys my "mama". She has attended the retreat almost every single year. This group of women is very dear to me as well.

:april face paint:

April was sitting beside me and I reached over and painted a heart on her face. Of course, she accidentally scratched it off later, but it lasted for awhile! 

:painting one:

I painted two canvases over the weekend. I am enjoying painting these girls and I'm starting to find my own style. I will share more of the process of that in another post.

:found heart:

:mellie heart:

I haven't been posting these on the blog as much, although I've been faithful in posting them on my Facebook, but I continue to see hearts consistently. It reminds me that God is here, I am not alone, and I am loved.

:painting two:

:mandi singing:


On Saturday night, this beautiful girl sang for us. Her voice is gorgeous. I didn't get a photo of this group of women: Angie, Mandi, and Brittani - but, they are DEAR to me. I love them like family. They are my other Texas girls. Mandi will be getting married soon. I took her engagement photos and will be flying to Houston this summer to photograph her wedding. I guess I haven't shared those photos either. (I really HAVE been doing things, I have just not been good about blogging...I will get better!)

All in all, it was such a wonderful weekend! I am grateful for everyone who came. Each of you enrich my life. Thank you, April, for keeping me on board each year! I love you!


  1. First of all, this is an amazing post girl! I love it and if it's okay I am going to add a link directly to it from mine! Second, I am super excited because it looks like we both took pictures of several different things so together we should have a terrific collection of retreat photos!! Third, I love you dearly and this would not have been possible without you - you have stuck with me through seven years of crazy happiness on the mountain and I have cherished every minute. Fourth - and this is the most important...did you hang up your happy lights yet????? If not do it now SB - they will bring you happiness my friend.

    love, April

  2. Great post Julie! Thanks go to John and Bob for putting paper on the tables - they did a wonderful job!
    I thought Mandi was wonderful! - everything was wonderful!

  3. Enjoyed this post...great job. Wish we were all
    on the mountain again this week-end.
    Have you started on my painting yet??? You know
    Mothers Day will be here soon....LOL.
    Oh..did Jenna like her flowers?

  4. Great photos and a great blog post! I miss the mountain! But I've been trying to hold some of that mountain-happy in my heart. I picked up a few things at the Hobby Lobby Thursday so I hope to create a bit this weekend!