I know I've hardly mentioned this, but I managed to get a ticket for a very special ArtsyCrafts workshop - with Leandra and Lin, and some chap called - what was it - Tim Holtz? ;-)
I got the ticket way back in September but the class wasn't till 25th February so I had to wait 'patiently' for those loooooong months to pass.... And, eventually, they did!!
I packed up my bag and set off on Thursday evening, because it was a bit of a trek to get to Newport Pagnell and I didn't dare risk oversleeping (as if!) or being delayed by traffic (much more likely) by driving the whole way there on the day. I spent Thursday night in a very comfortable room in a lovely little country pub - they were having some of the rooms renovated, so I got an upgrade from the tiny single room I was expecting to a spacious family room!
I got to bed nice and early, as I wanted to breakfast at 7am and get to the venue by 7.30 if possible, partly to avoid rush hour and partly because that was when the shop was due to open..... ;-)
I woke at half past midnight. Hmm. A little early to get up just yet. I managed to get back off to sleep quite quickly though.
I woke again at quarter past 3. Um. Still not quite getting-up-time.
I was still awake at 5.30. I was just thinking about getting up anyway when I managed to doze off again for 45 minutes. *sigh*
I got up at 6.30, got myself organised, took my bags to the car, and was ready for my 7am breakfast - not that I wanted much to eat at that time! (I'm not exactly a morning person at the best of times. Add in a
I may possibly have squealed and bounced in my seat slightly as I saw the signs for Newport Pagnell....
It is remotely possible that I had a tear or two in my eye as the venue came into view....
It's really rather likely that I couldn't stop grinning widely pretty much from the moment I woke up....
And I was there!! First stop: the shop, from the corner of which I could sneak a peek of the first room set up for my morning class:
But I didn't spare too much attention for that, there was so many amazingly gorgeous goodies for sale, and all at discount!!
I was very fortunate that I had plenty of cash with me; The Mother and The Parents-in-Law had both given me spending money for my Christmas present, and I'd been saving hard. With the generous event discount I was able to make that cash go a long way, and didn't even crack open the credit card (though I did have to work pretty hard at resisting going back later just in case I'd missed anything!)
Wanna see what I bought? :-)
I had a mental list of certain things I particularly wanted to get hold of, and while a couple of them were out of stock or hadn't actually been released yet, I got most of that list, plus plenty of other goodies!
While I was in the shop, I bumped into Leandra :-) We'd been exchanging tweets for a while so she'd kind of got the idea that I was a bit excited, I can't think why?! So when she saw me, she presented me with a very special badge, to go with my event name badge!
I have no idea why she thought that might be a good name for me.....? ;-)
I got a photo with Leandra and Lin, another Twitter friend and Leandra's partner in
(Look, even my hair is excited!!)
And then - after a quick coffee - it was time for the morning class to begin :-)
The idea was that each group would have a 2-hour workshop with Lin and Leandra, and a 4-hour class with Tim. It turns out that 2 hours wasn't long enough for Lin and Leandra, so we actually got a 3-hour class with them for our money :-)
It was so cool to see the little baskets of supplies in the tables! (And yes, there was some of that essential crafting tool - chocolate!)
We all settled down and got crafting :-)
It got satisfyingly messy with paints and inks!
And the chocolate came in very handy!
I took lots of photos of the various steps of the process and they'll all go into the minibook I'm planning, but to be fair to Leandra and Lin I won't share those, as it would be too much like giving you a tutorial! But here's what I made:
I was lucky that the lady sitting next to me received an 'M' in her kit and was quite happy to swap it for the 'G' I'd been given :-)
I just love how the cut'n'dry foam had been arranged!! I think Millie might have been responsible for that?
And then it was lunchtime. And then, finally, it was time for the afternoon workshop!
Quite a lot of stuff is required to kit out 4 groups of 72.... Loving this stack of boxes outside the door!
See all the happy people? Why are they smiling so, I wonder?
Why, it must be because they're about to take their long-awaited class with Lord Tim of Holtz!
There is no 'front' of the classroom really because Tim circulates all the time and offers demos and hands-on help to each table as required, but I still managed to get a seat as much at the 'front' as it was possible to be!
It was SO cool to have a close up look at the amazing projects I'd seen on Tim's blog and on QVC - to be able to handle the book he'd made and to appreciate properly the incredible details :-)
And it was SO cool to get started on our very own Configurations box!!
Being at the non-front of the classroom also meant I was near Mario, Tim's business manager and another Twitter-friend (so good to meet him for real!) It was lovely to chat to him now and then, and to get a good view of him modeling this gorgeous hat ;-)
(The white space is intentional, by the way - when this photo goes into the minibook I shall add journaling into that space.)
As I said, Tim did a great job of circulating and making sure each table got a fair share of his attention and help :-)
And he was so patient and lovely about having his photo taken with everyone!
Meanwhile, I was also working on my project lol! Here's the box all arranged and covered in paper and tissue tape and misted with the rather amazing Perfect Pearls Mist in heirloom gold, yum :-)
Tim was (unsurprisingly) a super teacher, so funny and interesting to listen to (though his voice was suffering, poor guy!)
One of the things I'd hoped to pick up was the new grungeboard 'printer's blocks' alphas, but they're not available quite yet - so imagine my delight to find an advance set in our class kit!!
What??? We HAVE to take a break???
Ah - so that the next batch of goodies can be given out! Yay! We'd had intriguing sneak peeks of these little calico bags but the contents were kept very secret - so exciting to see them waiting in our places, but we were strictly forbidden from opening them till the break was over!
Mario also brought round more essential craft supplies:
And I took the chance to pose for a photo with him!
And then - hooray!! - we were allowed to open the bags.
Time gave us some hints and tips and techniques for a couple of specific items, but the second half of the class gave us a lot of creative freedom to fill each little box however we wanted, while he wandered round to help, advise, admire and sign autographs!
Towards the end of the class, this being the final group of the four, we presented him with a special book we'd all put together for him as a souvenir and thank you. My classmate Tania had made the covers, as many of us as possible had made inchies with messages on the back, and everyone else had a chance to add their messages to the extra pages of the book. It was a thing of beauty, and made with so much love - and Tim was overwhelmed to be given it :-)
It was an *amazing* day. I've shared here just some of the hundred and seventy photos I took, and just some of the memories that are spilling out of me. A huge, huge thank you to the whole team for all their hard work, organisation and creativity xxx
Yes, of course I got Tim's autograph!
And yes, of course I'm going to show you my finished Configurations box :-)
Top, sides and bottom - and yes, I got my project signed by Tim, too :-)
And here are some close-ups of the boxes:
(The ceramic buttons and the raw coffee beans had been given to me ages ago and I've been waiting for the right project. Here it is! I also brought along the tiny domino. Everything else was in the kit.)
(I love that my name is tucked away at the back in the corner, like I'm hiding!! And I got lucky again, the lady next to me - different lady this time - had this counter with a '36', my age, and was happy to swap!)
(How cool is this gentleman - printed on a transparency, wrapped round a candle tealight so you can light him up?!)
I bet you keep thinking maybe I've finished?! Sorry, there is a little bit more....
You see, in each class there had been some giveaways. Ours being the last, we were lucky enough to have a few extra chances to win, as Alain - boss guy at Ranger - needed to lighten his baggage in order to fit in the chocolate and gifts we'd all brought!!
And yes, I was fortunate enough to win one of the prizes :-) The very, very last giveaway of the entire event, in fact! When Mario looked at the list of names to see whose number it was, he said 'I recognise this name...... It's Tigger!!' So exciting!! So up I went to claim my lovely prize - I could hear someone say 'She's bouncing!' - and I think I might just have been :-)
I won this pack of brand new, not even released for sale yet, Core-dinations cardstock - woo hoo!!
AND! We each brought home a limited edition Vagabond sticker, and the goodie bag of products that we'd used to make the Configurations was ours to keep afterwards. Plus I also got to keep the leftover bits and pieces, paper offcuts etc!!
I'm done now. If you got this far, well done you!! I can't promise never to mention it again lol, but I promise I've got the initial excitement out of my system now! xx