Friday, March 09, 2007

Well, we are alive and well and it is 9 degrees and sunny in Rhode Island this morning. I am beginning to feel like I am catching up a little bit after being away for so many weeks. I am still behind on my emails, but one can only do so many things in one day!!

We had a great trip to England! At the beginning of the trip, Al and I did the International Craft Hobby and Stitch show in Birmingham. We shared a house with the PA's in Kennilworth. It was a perfect village complete with large castle ruins, hedge rows, little gardens and a great pub. Daffies and crocuses were up everywhere and it was sooo green! We had the smallest booth on the planet, but it worked out just fine. We met lots of great people and were lucky to spend time with show buddies. Good food, lots of laughs and stories!

Before and after the show we got to stay with Mark and Leandra Franich, the very funny and smart people behind PaperArtsy and their four charming children! This is the east view from the studio that is set in the middle of a huge farm. Young Hugo is studying beads for his macrame project. Which he did with great focus and skill!

The girlz, Sue and Midge (known as Smidge by the PaperArtsy kiddies) flew into London and joined us at the farm. We all spent time putting rubber stamps in bags, adding stickers and header cards, learning new swear words (that I tried not to say in public), drinking lots of tea, doing crafts with the kids, and preparing for the weekend in Oxford. We managed to slip into London for a day before we headed to Oxfor to check on hairdo's and fashion trends! Skinny skinny jeans and boots... We managed to find our way "home" in time to enjoy yet another evening with the traveling duo from Ranger...Tim and Alain. The train trip back to the suburbs was a bit tricky when we all got off at the wrong station, realized it as the doors were closing and proptly dove for the doors that were closing. Sue and Al were back on train as Midge and I attempted to pry the doors and prayed that the train wouldn't take off with us stuck between the doors. We didn't know about the "open the door" button...

Mark and Leandra wanted to prepare the children for the suprise arrival of Tim and Alain, so as a family, we watched Tim's CD Bloopers which brought all of us many beans on toast took on a whole new glow as the kiddies chowed, joined by Mr. Holtz.

Late start to Oxford on a busy Friday...trying to get everybodies stuff together...We made it to the hotel where 90 women were set for a week end of classes with paints, glues, charms,
stamps, wire...a constant supply of cookies and tea, more snacks...a lovely dinner on Saturday night for everyone in the ballroom. Three class rooms were set up. "Students" stayed in their spots and the teachers moved around to the class rooms...and of course there was shopping...

We were very lucky to have had a private tour of around Oxford on Saturday afternoon with Janie. We saw real live Harry Potter's, a beautiful college campus, botanical gardens, churches and tea with scones, cream and strawberry jam at Janies club.

Back at the hotel, women were madly making books, altering tins, shopping for inks and stamps and preparing for dinner...where we found our seats by our names "Artgirl 1", "Artgirl 2", "Artgirl 3", "Artgirl 4"...I was, according to my food choices, #4...

For our class, we adapted an idea that was brought to us by Erikia Ghumm at CHA...she had created a beautiful necklace made with a spool and our wing charms. It had a lovely picture of her grandmother, buttons, and made us drool. The week before we left for England, we were still trying to figure out what to do for our class, having gone thru many project we went to the vision of Erikia's necklace and made one up. Here is our first group of happy students!

Followed by the next group...all of whom did very well twisting wire, wrapping cloth, and using a needle and thread!

We didn't have to teach until Sunday afternoon, so after checking out we walked to a little organic market that had a mix of hand made crafts, cheeses, honey, meat, and bread. Took a little walk around the town and headed back to headquarters. Our last class went well despite the fact that all were very tired!

Mark, Midge and Al headed back to the farm to collect the children while Sue and I helped Leandra count and get paid for sold stamps, had dinner at McDonalds in Oxford...does that make any sense?? We were very tired and still had to drive back to Essex...

Back at PaperArtsy World Headquarters, it was back to getting the unpacking, getting orders out, organizing the children who were missing Mom and Dad madly and, had been sleeping on camp cots so we could have their beds...We had one more trip into London on the train. Took a walk through and around Westminster and saw this guy making his statement across the street. It was very cold and windy, so we took a very quick, brisk walk by Buckingham Palace and back to the Neal's Yard section of town. I was cooked! Back onto the train to pack up and prepare for our long journey back to Artgirlz World Headquarters.

It was hard leaving the beautiful green farm and our buddies. I miss them as I plow thru our piles of projects, knowing that they are digging thru their own piles with an additional 4 children!! All of us trying to figure out the smart things to do! We are very greatful for everything that they did for us while we were there, and look forward to more adventures together.

I think that I can say that we were all exhausted as we made our way home, and it took a few days to feel have way normal. We are still catching up. I am hoping to get thru the rest of the emails this week. Below are lovely images of #4 flying home from England last year and the day before flying home this year!!!