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GIRL CRUSH austin ♥

Oh my word… Austin was so much fun! The multi-talented artist/designer Alyson Fox. Twelve amazing women. Delicious food. And, this crazy beautiful house…

Gah! Alyson’s home is amazing, and we were so lucky that she offered to host GIRL CRUSH right there in her stunning glass living room. And yes, there is an outdoor shower… not that any of us used it… but we totally could have! We spent the morning getting down to the nitty gritty of our creative souls – things we love, things we want, things that scare the $#&% out of us. Side note: I cannot even tell you how shocked and amazed I always am by the caliber of women that attend GIRL CRUSH. This was the sixth one I’ve done and, as usual, my mouth dropped open as they introduced themselves: writers, photographers, teachers, painters, designers, “financial advisors” who may or may not be on the run from the FBI, and the list goes on.

As the girls were working on a few inner-critic assignments, Alyson, myself and Kelly {my invaluable helper for the weekend who happens to be the woman behind the fabulous blog, Design Crush} set up for lunch:

Best napkin bowl ever, right?! Well, it’s not really a napkin bowl, but we put napkins in it just so we could leave it out on the counter! Now, all of that talkin’ really works up an appetite, and so we feasted on an amazing lunch that included chick pea stew, roasted potatoes, smoked salmon, salad, and home made roasted-red pepper dip  … all of which was prepared by Alyson. Geesh, between her house, her artistic talent, and her cooking… my girl crush on Alyson just tripled!

So, after lunch we’re supposed to move on to making collages for the afternoon, but the conversation was SO GOOD, that we just kept on talking… but, of course, we took a mid-afternoon break for these bad boys:

YUM! Peanut Butter Cup (cake), French Toast with bacon, something that seemed like double chocolate with chocolate goo inside… oh my word, these were so good! The lovely ladies of Sugar Mama’s Bake Shop generously supplied these sweet treats for our afternoon tea party… and then, just like that, there were none left. Mmm. And as if a ton of sugar isn’t sweet enough, we also got a surprise visitor part way through the cupcake binge:

What?! Magda Seyag?! Yep, another of my favorite artists, who happens to be from Austin, heard that GIRL CRUSH was happening and asked if she could pop by. Um?… YES!! I have loved Magda’s knit-bombing work for years, so I was so excited to meet her. She didn’t miss a beat – she arrived, grabbed a cupcake, and dove right into her own stories of her creative journey – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

It was a fantastic day… a really really really full day. I schedule these events to be from 9am – 5pm… but in Austin, the last person said good-bye at 8:30pm, and it could have kept on going as far as I was concerned! To all of the women who were there – I am so happy to have met all of you, and cannot wait to see where your creative path leads you.

And Alyson. Oh my gosh… Alyson. Thank you for everything. All of your help in planning, hosting at your beautiful home, that crazy delicious lunch, all of the absolutely beautiful things {ink dish mug,“shade of red” book, baggu bag!} that you put into the gift bags, and all of the hilarious conversation before, during, and after the workshop. You’re amazing xo

And finally, thank you so much to Kathleen Shannon, and Kari Crowe who were not only fabulous attendees, but also really great photographers who took enough photos during the day to make this recap post possible! xoxo

{ps. A few of the women have written their own recaps, so if you’d like to see their take on the day, you can go here, here, or here!}

psst… a GIRL CRUSH give-away!

Hi again! Ok, quick, before I hop on the plane to Austin, how about a give-away to make ALL of you feel like you’re at Alyson Fox’s tea party too? Ok, great! The lovely people at Ink Dish are giving away one set of side plates {4 plates in total} from Alyson’s White Noise collection! Gah! I love this collection oh so much! If you do too, just leave a comment here, and I’ll draw one lucky name when I get back on Monday morning.  Good luck!

GIRL CRUSH philadelphia ♥

I’m not even sure where to begin. I had a girl crush on Shauna Alterio before I got to Philly last Thursday night… but then I met her {and her wonderful husband Stephen!}, and well, I am in complete awe of both of them. They literally are creative geniuses, and their home… my word, it’s like waking up in an artsy heaven! Have a look:

Yeah, I know! We spent Friday setting up for Saturday {and we may have found some time to go out for brunch, and then a delicious dinner in downtown Philly!}. I fell asleep in this gorgeous loft, and woke up bright and early – ready for another GIRL CRUSH to get underway! An amazing group of women arrived {along with a whole bunch of much-needed coffee and plates full of yummy pastries}, and then, the even more amazing conversation got started:

This is GIRL CRUSH No.5, and I am always still so moved by the conversation that springs up during our morning of creative block bashing exercises. There are definite themes that have come up at each event, but the most consistent thing is the open, honest, heart-felt words that each person openly shares. Without getting too mushy on you, it truly does warm my heart.

Ok, so after about five pots of coffee {thank you Stephen!}, it was time for a delicious catered lunch… and then, of course, onto the art!!! Oh. So. Many. Supplies!

Collages on found book covers! Love, love, love! What else do I love while making art? Yes… whoopie pies!

Sugar. An essential part of the art-making process. They were graciously donated by Coco Love {thank you!}… oh, and speaking of graciously donated things, the gift bags were so heavy, I could barely pick them up!!!

Thank you soooo much to our lovely sponsors:

decor : bhldn // gift bag : green marketgirls can tellmade by hankgiant dwarfseed house

Yes. It was an amazing event! My crush on Shauna has definitely grown, but she might have a little competition, living right under her very own roof:

{photo credit: all photos were taken by women at the event. The last two in the post were from Lisa, anything with a little ‘L’ in the bottom right corner was taken by Leslie, and everything else was shot by Shauna & Stephen. Thank you all!}

GIRL CRUSH minneapolis ~ june 23rd

Whoa. It was a crazy week after getting home last Sunday, but the recap from GIRL CRUSH Minneapolis is finally ready!

Oh my word. I loved every second of my weekend in Minnesota, with American painter Jennifer Davis. Amazing conversations, delicious food, and lots of art! {psst… see that little birdie? That’s a Jen Davis original, that she raffled off first thing in the morning… no, I didn’t win. Damn.}

Our workshop/tea party was generously hosted by Soo Visual Arts Center – it’s a beautiful space, and we were lucky enough to be submerged, I mean surrounded, by the work of New York artist Samantha French. Gorgeous! After  filling up with coffee and breakfast pastries donated by Common Roots Cafe, we spent the morning getting to know each other, talking insecurities, motivation, and while we were at it, we tried to figure out why blank sketchbooks are so scary {still working on it, but at least now we’ve got a plan!} Oh, and then Jen pulled out a bunch of her original paintings, and passed them around so we could hold them in our hot little hands!

Yes. We got to hold these {and a whole bunch more!}. They are stunning in person. Stunning! {ps. that little black cat is a portrait of Jennifer’s cat, Nudge… I’m not sure who that little dog is though!}

Ok, so after a morning of artist-block bashing exercises, it was time to eat! Again. Lunch was donated by Chow Girls Killer Catering {thank you!!!}. It was oh so delicious, and oh so nutritious… which was good, because then we ate these:

Gah! So good! Honestly, I lost count of how many of these bad boys I ate! {Amy, from Chow Girls, picked these treats up for us from Sweets Bakeshop ~ thanks Amy!}. Now, everyone knows that once you’re full of sugar, you need a latte! So that’s what we did… we walked over to the back room at Common Roots Cafe, grabbed a fancy coffee, and got out the art supplies:

Fun!!! Paint, glue, bits n’ pieces of vintage paper, and of course Plywerk panels. The folks at Plywerk rocked my world when they donated another batch of panels for this workshop! They had just finished sponsoring GIRL CRUSH Portland two weeks earlier, and then they swooped in to help with Minneapolis. Amazing, yes!? Oh, and speaking of amazing, check this out:

1. A vintage image that Jen found in a pile of stuff  2. The sketch she did during the workshop … and then five days later, from that inspiration / sketch, she finished this final painting:

Yep. That’s why I have a girl crush on her! I think it’s also safe to say, that I might just have a girl crush on everyone that attended – here’s a peek at the work that came out of our afternoon:

Fantastic – You all make me jealous! xo

YAY! So, that was the last GIRL CRUSH workshop for the summer… Philly, with Shauna Alterio is sold out, and coming up in October. If you’re in Austin, there are still a few spots for GIRL CRUSH Austin with Alyson Fox in April 2013! It’s going to be amazing… you should come!

{…more thanks… photography: Katie Parr, and Carolyn Payne (exec director at SooVAC!) // gift bags goodies: Vandalia Street Press, Paper DartsHang ItThe People’s Jewelry, UrbanimalWalker Shop at Walker Art Center – thank you all so much! xo}

GIRL CRUSH in portlandia

I Portland! Wow… what a lovely city. Tree-lined streets, beautiful old homes, and the location of the latest GIRL CRUSH workshop & tea party!

Sigh ~ we had such an amazing day in the gorgeous home of painter Lisa Golightly. It was literally the perfect setting for an artsy tea party. Our group was made up of all kinds of people… artists, a poet, an actress, an art/design student, an advertising art director, and a couple of “crafty mamas” {… but that’s a story for another day}. After a few scrumptious breakfast pastries, delivered by Elephants Deli, and more than a couple of cups filled with Stumptown coffee, we spent the morning talking uplifting inspirations, crushing insecurities, and everything in between.

… and after all of that talking, listening, laughing, and cursing {yes, it’s true… the occasional bit of non-teaparty-esque language may have been dropped when referring to our always annoying inner critics}, we needed a little sustenance to help us make it through the artsy afternoon that lay ahead:

YUM! After an insanely delicious lunch from Elephants {note: fig & goat cheese tartlets might just be the best thing ever invented}, we moved on to these! Chocolate, vanilla, and red velvet cupcakes decorated with tiny sugar-coated rose petals & mint leaves! Thanks so much to Cupcake Jones for delivering these little bites of heaven to our doorstep!

Ok… sugar? Check. More coffee? Check. Time to head downstairs and make stuff:

I have seen so much of Lisa’s work, but never in person. Let me tell you… it’s fantastic! What an inspiring space to roll up our sleeves and get creative:

So much fun! The folks at Plywerk donated a whole box of gorgeous bamboo panels for us to use for our collages. Paint, bits of found paper, and a few gold animals… ahh, now that’s an afternoon well spent!

I could have worked on these forever! But alas, somehow this lovely day in Portland had come to an end. Thanks so much to everyone that came {Melissa, Laura, Jessica, Autumn, Monica, and Cait}, and thanks so much to Lisa for hosting… I loved every second of this amazing day! xo

{photos: Jessica and Autumn somehow managed to snap all of these photos during our very full day – thanks for sending them my way, girls!}

GIRL CRUSH portland… new price!

Boy oh boy… so many amazing people are helping me all over the US! Portland based artist Lisa Golightly {who was featured in Martha Stewart Living last year, AND was invited to have a booth at the Martha Stewart 2011 Holiday show!} and I are so excited that we’re able to drop the price of GIRL CRUSH Portland from $275, to $175! Elephants Deli is helping us with some of the food, and the lovely crew at Plywerk has kindly donated a whole bunch of their gorgeous panels for us to get creative on! I’ll announce our sweet treat sponsors as we get closer to our June 9th workshop! I sure hope you can come… it’s going to be a lovely day at Lisa’s Portland studio to talk artist blocks & inspirations, have an amazing lunch & tea party, followed by an afternoon of making art. We’ll get motivated, we’ll paint, we’ll collage, we’ll eat cupcakes. Really, does it get better than that? Nope. Spots are filling fast, so sign up soon... see you in Portland!

GIRL CRUSH minneapolis ~ sold out!

Thanks to some amazing people, we were able to lower the price from $275 to $175… and the workshop is now sold out!

First of all, Jennifer Davis is not only an insanely talented artist, she’s also unbelievably generous. She has donated so many fantastic things for the gift bags… art supplies {for our afternoon art project!}, one of her zines, a set of mini prints, a giclee print… and the list goes on. Not only that, but she’s going to raffle off an original piece to one very lucky tea party attendee {I’m secretly hoping it’s me, although I’m sure that wouldn’t be seen as ethical}. The generosity doesn’t end there though – Carolyn Payne, the executive director at sooVAC has offered her space to us, and is working like a mad woman to get us a few sponsors… sponsors like Common Roots Catering who will be providing breakfast treats {along with much needed coffee & tea!}, and Chowgirls Killer Catering who will be donating lunch… and all of it looks DELICIOUS! We’d also like to thank Hang It, for giving coupons to all of the attendees… so that you can frame those lovely prints donated by Jennifer! And, thank you to Vandalia Street Press who will popping a few pretty printed things into our gift bags as well! We’ll be announcing the sponsor for our tea party sweets very soon. See? So much love in Minneapolis! Can. Not. Wait.

GIRL CRUSH seattle… new price!

Yay! Thanks to these amazingly generous sponsors {and a few more that we’re currently talking to}, Girl Crush Seattle with the lovely Tif Fussell has been reduced in price. Instead of $275, it’s NOW $175! I am so overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone who is trying to make these workshops happen – thank you all soooo much. There are 4 spots left {and for those of you who have already signed up, I’ll be refunding you $100}.

If you’re thinking about attending, here’s what we’ll be doing… we’re going to spend the morning talking inspirations and artist blocks, and then try a few exercises to help break through those pesky blocks. Then we’ll have a lovely lunch followed by an afternoon of creating a collaborative piece of art that will be hung as a group show {for a month!} at Assemble Gallery & Studio!!! Tif is stepping away from her Dottie Angel persona for the day to be the artist that she truly is… and I’m actually going to get out from behind the blog, roll up my sleeves and make some art! Both Tif and I love collage work, that uses found imagery and found objects. We’ll supply all sorts of things to put into the piece. Here’s a sample of some of Tif’s work, and some of {gulp} mine:

Yep, quite the combo… I can’t wait to see what happens when all 12 of us put our work together! Oh, and half way through our amazing art project we’ll take a tea party break – art, tea/coffee and a whole bunch of beautiful cupcakes. But wait, there’s more… before we all head home, we’ll be giving out gift bags {made by Tif!} filled with all sorts of artsy surprises {you’ll have to wait and see}, along with a copy of Uppercase Magazine! See, you’ve got to come! Sign up here.

{Thank you so much to Assemble Gallery & Studio, Trophy Cupcakes, Uppercase Magazine, Caffe Vita, and the lovely Tif Fussell for helping make this happen. Oh, and ps. I’m working on lowering the price for all of the other workshops too, so stay tuned as the announcements for the other cities roll in… just working on sponsorships! Happy weekend}

GIRL CRUSH san francisco… a recap

I literally don’t even know where to begin… well, at the beginning I guess! The first of eight Girl Crush workshop + tea parties happened this past Saturday in San Francisco, at the lovely studio of artist/illustrator Lisa Congdon. She welcomed 14 of us {12 attendees, me, and my amazing intern Taylor} into her creative, inspiring, art-filled studio for the entire day:

She shared her story {from 1st grade teacher, to full time artist… ok, there were a few other stops along the way!}, and the behind-the-scenes of her process. So much beautiful work in one place! The other thing there was an abundance of {besides neon pink}… lovely, warm, inspiring, open women. Really, their reasons for attending the workshop were amazing, and their willingness to share their experiences truly blew me away. We spent  the morning talking inspiration, artist blocks, and the mean things we might like to say to our inner art critic {which I won’t repeat here!} {*”Amazing Things Will Happen” ~ hand lettering by Mary Kate McDevitt}

… and then of course there was the tea party! The food was amazing, and did not stop coming! {Thanks so much to Batter Bakery, Square Meals, and Coffee Bar …mmmmm!}

Of course after five or six chocolate ganache cookies, what better activity than a gallery walk! Lisa had arranged to take us to three galleries around the Mission. We popped into Guerrero Gallery, Southern Exposure, and Gallery Hijinks:

Gallery Hijinks is the gallery that reps Lisa’s work in San Francisco. Jillian, {on the right} the owner/director was amazing! She gave us the low-down on how she got started {just fueling the whole ‘insanely inspiring day’ theme}, and then back to the studio for a few more cookies, and a raffle {Lisa gave away two of her Collection-A-Day books, and two large panels… not to mention a zillion things in the gift bags! See, is it any surprise that I have a girl crush on her?}

Thank you so much to everyone that came… I am so honored that you trusted me, and I’m so thrilled with the lovely, inspiring day we had. It was a dream come true for me! And of course, thank you to Lisa for inviting us into her creative space – we loved every single minute of it! xo

*Most of the photos were taken by Taylor, my heaven-sent intern! Also thanks to Maggie, and Tiffanie who took a few of the shots as well.


Ok, I’m not usually a ‘testimonials’ kind o’ girl, but I just had to share some of these email snippets from the women who attended! {If you weren’t at this one, I hope you can make it to one of the other 7 cities – there’s a list of cities & dates in the right side bar}

The experience on Saturday was such an amazing one and to think I was so super nervous about the whole thing. Everyone was so interesting and beautiful and I wish I had miniature versions of all of you to keep in my pocket. On my drive home, I thought a lot about the things that were talked about and I felt a shift in my thinking and just now writing about it, I’m getting teary eyed because Saturday was exactly what I needed to get me over the rather significant hump of ennui that I was using as an excuse for not moving forward with my creative work. ~ Catie

I had such a blast yesterday.  What a great group of inspiring women!  Thanks everyone for being so supportive and encouraging. ~ Kelli

Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your space.  I don’t know if it’s the light, or the nooks and crannies of art and collections, or if it’s all the creativity that you’ve already oozed all over the place, but that room does make one feel like all kinds of amazing things can come spiraling out of one’s head at any time. And to all of you, thank you for being so gosh darned neat-o yourselves. Surrounded by so many interesting stories and pursuits, it would have been easy (for me) to feel overwhelmed and somehow lesser.  Instead, you all left me feeling like I was riding a rocket of supersonic awesome. ~ Maggie

A day later and I am still beaming about yesterday. What a fantastic time being with like-minded women and having the chance to hear Danielle and Lisa’s stories, and ask all those questions. I came home a changed person.~ Tiffanie

GIRL CRUSH… in minneapolis! {june 23rd}

Yes, this is an announcement for Girl Crush No.8, and I am beyond thrilled to tell you that it’s going to be hosted by a major girl crush of mine! In fact, she was one of the very first artists that I ever wrote about, AND I just did a post about her last summer on sfgirlbybay

Jennifer Davis! Oh my word, I love everything in Jennifer’s bizarre/beautiful portfolio, so when I received an email from a gallery in Minneapolis saying that they’d like to host a Girl Crush workshop/tea party with me & Jennifer, well, I jumped on it! Luckily Jennifer did too, and so we’ve booked it for Saturday June 23rd! We’ll spend the morning talking artist blocks and inspirations, have a delicious tea party style lunch, followed by an afternoon of making art a la Jennifer Davis! I know… so fun, right!? Now, where are we going to do all of this? At the lovely gallery that emailed me out of nowhere, of course! The Soo Visual Arts Center:

So. Much. Fun.

I hope you can come… you can sign up right here!