Monday, January 31, 2011

the inspiration behind the makerie

a family hike at Chautauqua Park (photo by my mom)

In June 2009, I attended my first creative retreat and it was seriously, one of the best experiences I have ever had. I went by myself ~ didn't know a soul ~ and had the time of my life. Not only did I take the most amazing creative classes designed for anyone, but came home with the most genuine friends, a huge amount of inspiration and a renewed spirit. This was the first thing I had truly done for myself since having my two little ones. At first I felt guilty and selfish for taking a few days out of our busy lives to go, but then I realized how terribly important it was to have a little time and space to just be me again ~ something I had lost a bit along the way with the intensity and beauty of being a full-time mom (which please read ~ I love more than anything in the world!). I learned so many things that weekend ~ so many things:

* how important it is to honor who you are and what you love to do

* the power of being in a like-minded community

* that you can have your own thing and still be a great mom (in fact, I found I was a better mom because of that!)

* how honoring and exploring your creative side brings out the best in everyone

* to listen to your heart

When I came home, I shared this magical experience with all my friends and family, and they all wanted to go. So I told them I would find a place in Colorado a little closer to home and we would all go. I searched and searched for something similar and couldn't believe that there was nothing like this in our majestic Rocky Mountains. How could that be? There must be a place like this here! And maybe I should start one? In my heart, I knew that I wanted to create a place to give people the opportunity to experience what I did, but in my own backyard that I love so much. I wanted to provide a place where people could step out of their fast-paced, everyday lives, leave technology behind for a few days and reconnect with themselves ~ a space to simply play and feel like a kid again. It does wonders, let me tell you! I still carry the magic I felt from this first retreat, and am eternally grateful to Elizabeth and the courage she had to create Squam Art Workshops. It truly changed my life.

As I approach the endeavor, I am doing so with an open mind and heart, and trust it will evolve as it should. I have cherished the input and support from so many amazing people and feel the greatest power in creating this is the warm and wonderful community it already seems to be bringing together. My greatest hope for the Makerie is that it provides a beautiful energy to all it touches, and that it might inspire someone to follow their dreams too. The Makerie is most certainly a dream come true for me and something I do believe we will all create together. So here we go! Hold on... it's going to be one wonderful, wild ride!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

the makerie scholarship!

photo by my beautiful mom!

We are elated to announce the very first ever Makerie Scholarship! Old Glory Antiques and Common Threads are generously teaming up to offer one full Makerie package (excluding any travel costs) for the 2011 event. For the next two weeks, we are inviting nominations for a very special someone who would embrace the spirit of the Makerie! Do you know someone who is deserving of a creative weekend away, but maybe is unable to make the financial commitment at this time? The eligibility requirements to enter are simple (read none!), as we will work off the honor system here! All we ask is that you write us a letter via email detailing why this person would be a beautiful fit for the scholarship and what attending the Makerie would mean to them. (And YES, feel free to nominate yourself!) Please know that all entries will be kept confidential, and be sure to include your contact information.


Scholarship Application Process:

Thurs, Jan 27   Email all nominations to  
                   (please use 'makerie scholarship' in the subject line)

Thurs, Feb 10   LAST DAY for nominations!

Mon, Feb 14     Scholarship winner notified! Yippee!!


We would be grateful if you could pass this along to anyone you know who might be interested in applying!

A HUGE heartfelt thanks to Old Glory Antiques and Common Threads for making this all possible.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

guest blog post :: the first stroke

Well we could not be more excited to introduce the very first Makerie guest blog post! We are incredibly honored to present THE Jenny Doh, who we admire in absolutely every way.


Not so long ago, when I had my daughter in my studio, I gave her a stretched canvas for her to try her hand at painting. She sat there staring at that canvas, transfixed, and unable to move. After a few minutes, I asked her what was happening and she said “I’m scared I’ll mess it up.”
“So what?” I asked Monica. "Who cares? So what if you mess it up? You don’t think I can get anther stretched canvas? You don’t think there will be any more paint left? Even if you mess up this canvas and the next one and the one after that, trust me, there will be more canvases and there will always be more paint. It’s OK.  Go ahead and paint."

So my cautious little Monica started. One stroke. Then another. In the end, it wasn’t a masterpiece but it was her first piece. And the thing is, no matter who you are, you’ll never get to the 100th piece unless you complete your first.

I think the blank canvas can symbolize other things in our lives that can cause us to be gripped with fear. Fear of meeting new people, fear of pursuing a new project, of making changes in our personal and professional lives.

There's a saying that I love. It goes like this: "Courage isn't the absence of fear. It's conquering it."

Whether it's fear of the blank canvas or the strange noise in the middle of the night, fear is fear. And if courage isn't the absence of it but rather the conquering of it, the question of course is how do we conquer it? How do we get out from under the covers to get to the bottom of the strange noise? How do we transition dreams into tangible plans to make changes that we know we need to make in our lives?

I think the answer is as easy and complex as taking that first stroke ... that first canvas ... that first step. And how once the first is taken, the second, third, and more are just around the corner.

Monday, January 24, 2011

alt glow

copyright 2010 [Roy Tennent]

I just returned from Alt Summit, and boy, was it one inspiring trip! Well it certainly started out on a great note when my dear friend from college (who happened to be in Salt Lake City for work) picked me up from the airport, even though my plane was over an hour late! I didn't expect that at all so that made for the warmest welcome to a new city, especially since I was coming to the conference by myself (a little scary!).

Gosh, it's hard to know where to start because those Alt days were filled (to the brim!) with incredible inspiration all around. I could go on for days... so I think it might be fun to share some of my favorite quotes and takeaways from a few of the many inspirational speakers. (I know, I know! I need to find another word for 'inspiration' but I just don't know one that captures what I'm trying to say. Do you?)


"Celebrate the everyday & make the everyday special." Sarah Bryden-Brown (Babble)

"Art is the most renewable resource." DJ Spooky

"Grow organically & authentically." Molly Peterson (DwellStudio)

"Nobody can tell you what's best for you." Tina Roth Eisenberg (Swiss Miss)

"Everyone needs an inspiring aunt." Tina Roth Eisenberg (Swiss Miss)


Thank you so much Alt Summit and all of the wonderful sponsors for making the event SO fabulous in every sweet way!

Monday, January 17, 2011

the makerie

click here to play the video!

So here it is! Our very first Makerie video. I do have to say we had a blast creating it! I owe a big, big thank you to both Alli & Kristin for helping bring this to life. Alli with her awesome ideas, cute hands (yes those are her's with the adorable ring in our video!) and incredibly generous time... and Kristin for letting us use her insanely inspiring home for our production studio. So that wood background you see, that is a counter in her house she made... yes I know... it's SO very cool and only the tip of the iceberg! And if she wasn't generous enough to let us take over her house for the afternoon, she handed us a plate of warm, homemade chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven, smack in the middle of our work. Was that not the sweetest treat? It was truly an awesome collaboration, and I could not have done it without the help of these two beautiful friends.

I hope this video, along with the song, helps to capture the spirit of this event. The great creative workshops are, of course, a super special part of the weekend, but it's oh so much more than that. It's about providing a space to really play with your creativity (at whatever level that means for you!) and disconnect from our fast-paced, high tech world. It will be a place to connect with like-minded people in person ~ which can be inspiring and healing on so many levels. And it will be a weekend to simply honor who you are and what you need at that very moment. I love this verse in the song we chose for our video, as it speaks so much to how we hope to inspire others.

I've got to show the world
All that I wanna be
And all my 'bilities
There's so much more to me...

What we are creating here is open to anyone ~ yes, even those that claim they are not creative at all! ~ and in fact, believe the Makerie is something we will all create together. I sincerely hope our little video is relaying this message ~ loud and clear. I do hope you like it!

Friday, January 14, 2011

meet the darling Jessica!

Jessica was one of the first people I contacted about teaching at the Makerie! I had been following her sweet blog for quite some time, and after some back and forth emails regarding an adorable barrette order I had placed with her, I added a p.s. at the end of one of them and asked, "Would you ever be interested in teaching at a creative retreat?" And her response was, "Sounds sumptuous. I'd love to hear more!"

So here we are and couldn't be more excited to have her teaching debut with us this spring in Boulder! As you can oh so clearly see, Jessica's sense of style and originality is second to none. Her shoes are so sought after that they literally sell out in seconds when she lists them on her blog! Jessica built her company, which started as a hobby, as insatiable demand grew for her tiny peep toes, flowered ballet flats, and velvet spat boots. She creates many of her products by hand, but is also working with several manufacturers to transition her designs to firm-soled shoes. Joyfolie shoes have been featured by well-known magazines such as Cookie, Brides, and Pregnancy & newborn and rumor also has it that they may be offered by a large, well-known retailer in Fall 2011. We're so excited to hear who that lucky retailer will be!

But without further ado, get to know the darling Jessica a little more below.


If you could start your own restaurant, what would it be?
I worked as a personal chef and had my own small company in my 20's so this is a good question for me! I would love to have a small cafe that has fresh, tasty breakfast... rich french press coffee, omelet stuffed crepes, homemade sesame granola, fresh berries. And fabulous lunches with homemade soups, salads with berries and gourmet cheeses, and interesting wraps and sandwiches.

Do you have any phobias?
Not really!

Your true indulgence.
Time to be creative for myself. I almost never do that... or time to repaint a piece of furniture or some other crafty house project.   

Hidden talents.
I know how to use a chop saw, wire a chandelier and work a power drill. I also went to seminary and studied Greek and Hebrew.   

What color shoes are you wearing right now?
Cream knit boots (they are like a glorified wedge flipflop with a sock glued on). I just bought them at Claire's for $10. Don't judge, but I really love that how comfy they are!

If you could give the world one piece of advice, what would it be?
Break your goals up into manageable steps. The life of your dreams in more feasible than you know!

What do you value most in other people?
Vulnerability. I like to connect with people on a real level. I would rather get into an honest debate with someone, than have someone be pleasant but never say how they really think and feel.

What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?
To be honest, I seldom consider failure an option. Failure is never a dead end, it just means, get up, dust yourself off, and try again... or maybe go about it in a slightly different way. 


p.s. This is my little flower girl sporting the sweetest pair of Joyfolie shoes. :)

Monday, January 10, 2011


Colorado Chautauqua in January!

The coziest of cottages!

A gorgeous snow!

I wanted to share a bit more about where the Makerie will be held. The Colorado Chautauqua is simply a magnificent place. I mean the setting alone is breathtaking & add to that the cozy cottages that have all been restored (some even to LEED certification standards), hiking trails practically out your front door and well... I just couldn't imagine a better place to host our retreat. And if that weren't enough, Chautauqua's goal is to become the greenest national historic landmark in the entire country! I just love that. There is recycling in all the cottages, you'll find eco-based soaps & shampoos, they use green cleaning products, recycle & compost leftovers from events & really, everything they do is with thoughtfulness for our environment. It's such a wonderful synergy for us, as we are trying to plan the Makerie in the same thoughtful way. Have we shared yet that we will be donating all possible extra food from Makerie weekend to a local food bank? And that we will be gathering and donating extra materials leftover from the classes as well?

Chautauqua is honestly a place near & dear to my heart, a place our family frequents regularly for hiking & picnics. In the summer time, the Meadow Music Monday night kids concerts with Jeff Kagan & Paige are an absolute family favorite. (If you are local, you simply MUST put it on your list to do this summer!) Even being locals, my husband & I stayed in one of the cozy cottages for our 10th anniversary!

In addition to all of this, what's even neater to me is how the Makerie ties in so beautifully with what the original vision of what the Chautauqua movement really was ~ a place to gather, learn & play. (You can read more about it here.) Oh if you are at all thinking about staying in those cottages Makerie weekend, it would be one super comfy, cozy magical choice!