Thursday, April 9, 2015

e2c 2015

It's hard to believe that so much time has whizzed by and our retreat is now just a memory. How the heck does that happen!?

We were so blessed to have our wonderful 4 teachers - Leanne Allinson, Fiona Paltridge, Kim Price and Chantalle McDaniel this year. We had been in communication with these ladies from around May last year so both Meredith and myself felt like we had known them *forever* by the time we welcomed them off the plane. And they were just as fantastic IRL as they were in their emails. Within minutes of arriving to our retreat location they were pitching in, asking for any jobs and fitting in like they had always been a part of e2c. We loved that.

Chantalle McDaniel, Fiona Paltridge, Kim Price, Meredith Treloar, Amanda Hall and Leanne Allinson

Our decorations i think were probably my favourites from any year we had ever had... which is kind of nice considering that we had a lot of headache trying to think up something different, something new, not too pricey and incorporating the triangles and the gold. Luckily we had some wonderful helpers to do this and before long the boring old 'shed' was magically transformed into a golden glow of balloons.
before set up

during set up - photo by Sandra Wallace
Thursday passed in a blur - setup and then out for tea with our teachers and shop keepers as we do every year - and all of a sudden it seemed to be 2pm on Friday and there were people lining up to get in the door. We were possibly the most organised and relaxed that we had ever been this year which was so lovely - i think probably the hour later start time helped with that.

our wonderful shop keepers (minus Ally) - photo Sandra Wallace
The best part of the retreat (and believe me it's tricky to pick the best BEST bit) is when everyone first comes in the shed. The noise level explodes and there are squeals of delight and sometimes even some tears of joy (i am not exaggerating!) It's so fulfilling to hear everyone enjoying the experience after so much anticipation and all our work getting everything just right.

the lolly table
personalised mugs by Petch Printing

After everyone settled in and we ate our first deluxe meal by Tony and the team (my goodness that man excelled this year!), we had the fun of Crystal and her Photo Booth. This was a great success and we were thrilled it was supported so well and Crystal was run off her little feet for the entire time we had hired her. Some of the photos are absolute doozies!

A late night was had by a few that evening as we settled into the pace of the weekend and were perhaps a bit too excited to sleep when there was socialising and scrapping to do. I know personally i just loved our little table so much - and the funny conversations that we had that i am still giggling on the inside- that most nights i felt sad when one by one they moved off to bed. Dramatic i know, but i enjoy those girls and their company so much.

Saturday dawned and we were off! Our first class by Fiona Paltridge. And WHAT a great class it was too. A little challenging for some of us cleaner scrappers ( a lot of eek moments for me) but when it all came together in the end there were peals of oohs and ahhs from around the shed. It looked incredible.

After lunch we had Leanne Allinson's class which then challenged those messier, mixed media types (haha!) but the simple scrappers had a field day, whipping up clean pages and trimming like a boss. Just a fantastic class and i enjoyed every single minute of it. It felt so liberating to cut and stick without thinking too much, without stressing about placement and balance. It just flowed. And ohmylordy those products... LOVE.

On Saturday we had our prize table, thanks to many donations that e2c had received. It was wonderful to see so many varied prizes on that table, and everyone who's lucky number was called was grateful to pick from such abundance.

our helpers, chauffeurs and bed buddy coordinators - Trish and Sandra

Sunday morning we had the wildly talented Kim Price. Her backgrounds have been wowing me for years now, and i've tied myself in knots wondering how she does it. How mind-blowing it was to see her create it in real life, right in front of my eyes and the whole technique be so simple!? I know everyone loved their pops of yellow on their page and it was wonderful to see so many pages look so incredibly different.

Our last teacher to step up to the plate was Chantalle McDaniel. Wow what a pocket rocket this woman is! He page was incredibly detailed in parts, and seeing it come to being with a few fancy folds and a bit of washi was so cool. Being a Heidi Swapp lover i just adored this whole kit - especially the set of stamps that every class kit got. So very lucky. Chantalle's puffy stickers were a very clever little process too!

The rest of the time really was free scrap time and boy did it fly by. As Sunday merged into Monday i felt like yelling out 'STOP THE CLOCK' which was ironic as the previous week seemed to drag by. It doesn't seem fair that you can plan for something for so long and then blink and it is gone by. Done. Finished. I always feel like standing up and calling out  'DONT PACK UP YET' when everyone starts to make that final move. (Luckily i restrain myself from all yelling out to avoid looking like a totally nut job)

And then just like that - it's over.

I think that feeling in the shed is something that i love. It's 80 odd women creating and being inspired by others in the shed, which is pretty special in itself but it's more than that. We are ALL pleased to be there. We seemed to be just DELIGHTING in the fact that we were there. It's a rare thing to be able to sit and laugh / eat / scrap / socialise without added pressures of life. Without thinking about the washing, or the kids, other commitments, or our jobs, putting out the garbage or what to cook for tea. Which sounds a bit like a 1950s housewife but for many of us mums and wives - that is what our lives are about. We lose a bit of who we are in all of that busy-ness, day to day living.

And here's the kicker - we get to do this whole lot of nothing for 4 whole days. Four. Whole. Days. What bliss.

My opinion is that the special feeling in the shed is us getting OURSELVES back a little bit. Time for us. Mental health for mums, workers, wives, carers and granmas.

And that is what makes the whole thing worth it to me.