I thought I’d pop in share an update as to what I’ve been up to since my last post.  First off – my poor Stampin’ Up! goodies have been sitting neglected and unused as I haven’t had a creative moment to myself pretty much since we launched our membership special and transfer to the new home of PCL.  Pretty much our entire team has been busy answering emails and handling transfer questions and issues – the week our special first started – for that entire week I was spending almost 16 hours a day in email, over and above what my virtual assistant and office manager were able to do (they both are part-time).

Thankfully since then we’ve been able to keep on top of things enough that I was able to leave my studio – without guilt – and head off to North Caroline for Donna Downey’s Capture Your Vision Event with DJ Pettit.

capture-vision-lgThis is my third time in two years going to one of Donna’s Art Workshops – and each time it’s been fantastic – an opportunity to learn from fantastic artists, to learn new techniques, make friends, be inspired and of course just have fun playing with art supplies!

The day started super early with Todd (my husband) dropping me off at the airport at 6:00 am – thank goodness we were early because the lines through US customs and the security checkpoint were huge. First stop was Starbucks (of course) for my traditional “travel fare” – their perfect oatmeal along with a Grande Vanilla Latte Non-Fat, No-Foam, 170 degree F, double cupped!  It’s always quite the mouthful to give them my ordere LOL.

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If you’ve never tried their Perfect Oatmeal – it’s pretty yummy and quite filling.  I did manage to get a few hours of work done while I was sitting in the airport waiting for my flight so that was good.  Now because I had booked a direct flight from Toronto to Charlotte, NC I was on a pretty tiny plane – apparently they only do two direct flights from there a day. It was one of those planes that’s so small that you walk outside to board the plane.

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Bill Downey (Donna’s husband) picked me up from the airport – he really is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Well really, they both are.  Donna is an absolute hoot!  She has such an outgoing personality and makes the workshops very lively!  After spending a few hours at the hotel, Bill came and picked us up and shuttled us to Donna’s studio/store.  They moved into a new space since the last time I was there – right next door to the old one – but more than twice the size. It’s absolutely incredible!  Here I am outside – looking a little travel weary and rough around the edges I must say.

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I had to take a picture of the front door of the studio because I just love the colors and that Donna painted the canopy over the door.

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So here’s a picture of  what you see when you first walk in and look to the right.  Tons of shopping goodness!

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When you look to the left you see their teaching space – LOTS of room.  This was just before the class as it was getting started.

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One of the (many) things I loved was seeing Donna’s artwork everywhere.  When you stand between the shop and teaching space there is a hall that extends deeper into the building and Donna has it lined with her artwork -most of it for sale.  It’s like having a private art gallery.  I spent quite a bit of time looking at all the paintings, just soaking it in!

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This is our instructor – DJ Pettit – waiting for us all to get settled. Thursday night is a meet and greet with a delicious dinner catered by Donna’s mom (I’ll show you pictures of her kitchen and candy bar tomorrow).

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At each table there are “place settings” with some of our supplies laid out.

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Tonight was the prep work.  DJ is showing us how to make her amazing journals.  So we had to tear and gesso pages, tear and die muslin – etc.  Nothing really to show yet – but I will take some in-progress pictures if I remember.

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And then of course I did absolutely have to show you this adorable picture of Donna with her new little puppy named Karma.  She is 10 weeks old – she’s a Chihuahua and she is the tiniest most adorable little thing ever! I told my husband I want one LOL!  Donna carries her around in a puppy carrier that she used for her other dog Pixel (a 6 lb Chihuahua) when he broke his femur (because someone dropped him).  Apparently though she ordered a pink one for Karma LOL!

So that gives  you a highlight of today.  The workshop is all day tomorrow and Saturday and then until noon on Sunday.  It’s always intense because there’s a lot to get through, but I know it’s going to be an absolute art-venture – it always is. And truthfully, I really need it right now.  In one of my posts not too long ago I alluded to the fact that we’ve been facing some very difficult circumstances.  That coupled with the normal stresses of running a full-time online business, being a mom to 5 kids (2 of which are in competitive sports), a caregiver for Papa (my 92 year old Grandpa)……it can get overwhelming.  I was starting to feel close to burnout -so I’m looking forward to re-charging this weekend.

I’ll be back with more photos tomorrow – or maybe Saturday depending on how exhausted I am at the end of the day LOL.