Wednesday, May 23, 2012

the very first makerie man

*image by my beautiful mom

We were thrilled to say the least to have our first Makerie Man ~ Ivan Balbuena ~ as a participant this year. And what a wonderful one he was! I could go on and on about how much we adored him, but I'll let you judge for yourself below. Ivan was kind enough to write about his experience so you could read about it through his sweet eyes. Men have an abundance of creative gifts to share with the world and I would love to see more of them nurture their creativity too. One thing I know for sure is that we'd welcome them to the Makerie with wide open arms. 
A Weekend at the Makerie – A Man’s Perspective
by Ivan Balbuena
My first impression was of affirmation. The setting was perfect ~ Chautauqua Park just outside of Boulder, Colorado up against the Flatiron Mountains. The cabin itself, cozy, inviting, with a front porch and a small back deck where Magpies would come looking for food. We were greeted by volunteers and asked to grab a name tag and a bag of goodies. At the end of the hallway, Ali made the first comment of many more that made me feel very special during our stay. She welcomed me and my wife as the first couple to attend The Makerie and me, the first man, to come to this event. I have to say, if I had known about this distinction, I would have made a big deal on Facebook and in any other place so friends and family would start feeling jealous.
I will remember many things about this weekend forever and the first one I’d like to share is Ali’s speech to officially welcome us to the Makerie. I’ll never forget how genuinely happy she looked and how excited she was. Being the only man was not such a big deal to me, at least at first, it was being the only man and feeling so welcomed and cared for was what was such a big deal. 
We had signed up for two classes, the first one chosen by me since I have some background in screen and press printing. The class was called Lovely Letters Pressed. To be honest, I referred to it as something I could go back to my male friends and tell about without having to give a long explanation, and without making it sound like it was geared to women only. So I worked on a printing press, very manly right?
The experience was both new and familiar. I have been so close to machines similar to the ones I used but never had the opportunity to touch them, let along use them. Allison shared her babies (her antique presses and letters) as if we were old friends that knew to respect them and love them as much as she does. Allison’s studio, BirdDog Press, was well organized and not surprisingly, full of little details everywhere; the shapes on the floor, the tin ceiling that let rust colors come out, and her samples of work.  
Details were so prevalent during my experience it was hard to miss them. Or maybe once I saw one I became obsessed with finding more. It was just like a seductive but delicate perfume. An example of details were the boxed lunches we got. The sandwich was delicious but that was just the icing on the cake. The sauce came in a little container with a small wooden spoon with the word ‘eat’ stamped on it (which is the name of Katie’s catering business), handmade potato chips, the cookie in a small cloth bag, and the lemonade came in a mason jar with a country style print cloth. As I said, details were everywhere.
I could go on and on about the class itself, and all the information about the business that Allison shared with us, but the class would have been dull without the warmth and smiles she printed, so to speak, on the experience, not to mention on the cards we took home with us.
Our second day was no less than the first one. Our class was held by Aran, an inspiring photographer that showed us her mastery in food styling. The creative juices combined with the sweet juices of the fruit we played with, though the creative ones were depleted way before the sweet ones, at least in my case. We watched Aran make a childhood memory through a picture of cookies and milk, while I enjoyed her props with some coffee.
I have already made some comments on my Facebook page and told several people about the Makerie, but I truly believe I need to do more to help Ali and everybody at the Makerie spread the word about this homage to creativity and beauty that women have. All these women, including my beautiful wife, deserve a huge thank you.
I also had the opportunity to explore my own creativity and I happily invite other men to explore theirs too. I warrantee it they won’t be disappointed.
Thank you again Ali, Aran, Allison, Ali’s mom and all the beautiful women that made the Makerie such a wonderful experience!
Ivan Balbuena
Thank YOU Ivan so very much for sharing your beautiful words!

p.s. If you didn't love him enough already, did you know he sought me out for a florist recommendation so he could send flowers to the Makerie for his wife's birthday? I know... He's a keeper! 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

feeling grateful & blessed

If you know me even a little, you would see that I'm honestly shy at heart. I prefer conversations with just a handful of people as opposed to big groups. Public speaking gives me heart palpitations (still!) & I am most comfortable being behind the scenes. Putting together the Makerie has been a huge growing experience for me in all of these areas, and continues to be! We all need to be challenged in life and I am thankful that for me, it can be through doing something I love and believe in with all that I am. Needless to say, I feel incredibly blessed to be part of the latest issue of Where Women Create (on newsstands now). It's an exciting, wonderful honor to be in a publication that I have loved and read for a long time and to be featured among people I admire so much. (Gosh ~ pinch me please again!) A most heartfelt thank you to Jo and her team for believing is us enough to share our story. I am grateful from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

gobs of goodies!

image by Teryn Wilkes

Our goodie bags this year were full of wonderful items donated by some of our favorite inspiring shops and companies. The bags themselves were from Hands on Hemp, a thoughtful local business that makes reusable fruit, veggie and bulk bags. We thought it would be fun for the bags to have an afterlife and are always searching for ways to make our event earth conscious. It makes us feel good. :) The design on the front was by the uber talented, budding pattern designer Katy Clemmans, who won a contest we ran in the Art of Surface Pattern Design e-course (which I loved!). Many of the items found in the goodie bags reflected the essence of our event and what we stand for ~ a creative, healthy & sustainable way of living. We were just thrilled to have such fantastic support from our growing community and couldn't wait to give our participants their bags full of treats! Our awesome intern ~ Laura ~ worked really hard pulling all of the pieces together for this project so big thanks to her! 

Below you can find the fantastic companies and boutiques that contributed to our bags and a little bit about what makes them so lovely. We are incredibly grateful to them all!


Bead for Life: a wonderful organization dedicated to empowering women through handmade crafting

Bird Dog Press: our favorite letterpress and design studio

Bell Frida: a new, unique local boutique with handmade clothing and folk art from mexico

Colorado Chautauqua: the beautiful venue where our event is held and did you know the Makerie is carrying out their 100 year old original, wonderful historic mission

Common Threads: a local high-end consignment boutique that also hosts a wonderful variety of creative workshops

Cured: our town's brand new wine, cheese and cured meats boutique ~ you must try their fresh bread baked daily!

Dish Gourmet: a favorite local deli and catering company who provided one of our yummy lunches ~ their customer service is outstanding

Fabricate: a new modern fabric shop and sewing studio in Boulder that we're super excited about ~ what a great addition to our local handmade community!

Fancy Tiger: our Denver crafting mecca full of boutique crafting supplies and a wonderful variety of creative workshops; we loved having their adorable pop-up shop at the Makerie again this year

Firefly Handmade: our beloved Boulder handmade market that features incredibly well-curated indie-craft artisans ~ how we love that they put on the Makerie Market and treasure our partnership!

Fiskateers: still can't believe all the crafting and sewing tools they provided for our classes and goodie bags ~ a serious treat for all

Horseshoe Market: a seasonal open-air handmade and flea market in Denver that is always full of inspiration

Ink Lounge: a fantastic Denver screen printing studio where we printed each goodie bag by hand

Larabar: one of our favorite natural energy bars and love that they're local

Love Grown Foods: this fantastic Denver company is devoted to changing the world with love and granola (and they are some of the nicest and most generous people you'll ever meet!)

Mollie Makes: an excellent creative publication from the UK that lives and loves handmade

Old Glory Antiques: a truly wonderful Denver antiques & home decor boutique that we adore in countless ways; their love and support of the Makerie just amazes me! 

Pangea Organics: a Boulder-based skin and body care company that uses only natural and organic ingredients ~ and you can certainly feel it

Petite Purls: the most adorable children's knitting online publication

Quarry Books: a fantastic publishing company with beautiful and inspiring crafts, food, and lifestyle books

Roost Books: another wonderful publishing company, focused on publishing inspiring crafting, cooking, gardening, and lifestyle books to celebrate creativity and the natural world

Savory Spice Shop: our neighborhood spice shop, with a huge selection and the most friendly, helpful staff (we have a crush on them ~ it's true)

Shuttles, Spindles & Skeins: a yarn, spinning, and knitting shop in Boulder that offers excellent fiber arts classes taught by lovely local experts

Sunset Magazine: a fabulous national magazine featuring the coolest happenings in the west, fresh ideas, yummy recipes, and oh so much more... they happen to be one of our favorite publications ~ we heart Sunset

STC Craft: a marvelous publishing company with beautiful and plentiful crafting books 

Uppercase Magazine: a gorgeous publication with endless inspiration and creativity ~  we were quite honored to be a part of issue # 12 

Wild Yarns: a super special Denver yarn boutique, with classes and social gatherings to support the handmade community ~ they generously hosted our DIY coffee cozy making station

Yoga Junction: a fabulous Louisville, CO yoga studio that taught our splendid Makerie morning classes


Thank you so much again to everyone for their tremendous contributions!