Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hi Everybody!!! It’s Susan from Redwood City, California!!!! Melanie (AKA MO) asked me to be a guest blogger and talk about my art retreat experience. I have to tell you, I am not a blogger, only a blog reader. I don’t have pretty pictures to post, (and I wouldn’t know how to post them if I did) but I will give you my perspective of the weekend…, which was FUN, FUN, FUN!!!!!

First off, let me tell you how this all began. Many years ago…and I don’t even remember how it happened someone said go to this Caring Bridge site and pray for this little boy named Jake….I did and I fell in love with that little guy and all his family!!! I can’t tell you how many times a day I used to check his website for updates praying for some “good news”. After his passing, when Mo started her site, I started following it, and the rest is history.

Over the last several months, Mo has been talking about having these art retreats at the BAH and in the back of my mind, I have been thinking….that it would really be fun to go…..I am not an arty person, but thought I just got to go and meet these people!!! So when she put it on her blog, I thought I think I’ll go. I first told my husband, I’d like to go to Louisiana to an art retreat….he knows I follow these blogs but he didn’t know about this art retreat thing I’d been thinking about. Being the great guy he is, he said I think that’s a wonderful idea. Then I said….I think I’ll take Melissa (our daughter) with me. He said good. So I sent her a text and said “I am thinking about going to an art retreat in Louisiana would you like to go with me.” I immediately get a phone call asking me if I had lost my mind….and she was laughing really hard. She said “Mom you are the most unartsy (if that is a word) person.” I said I know I am. I am just going because it will be a lot of fun. She said ok….I’ll go too!!!! She’s not an artsy person either – so this was going to be a new experience for both of us and some good “together time”.

Since we were flying from California, we flew in the day before and spent the night near the mall. We shopped the morning before going to the retreat. We called Mo after we were done shopping and she had Jin Jin come to pick us up. Jin Jin was everything I had imaged from reading Mo’s blog. She explained to us all about the area and showed us where Mo’s Physical Therapy office was on the way to Mo’s BAH. It was our first time in Monroe.

After arriving at the BAH, we met Mo….and she was just as I had imagined…so much fun, very outgoing, and very personable. I love the people from the South. I had to write a couple of things she said to Melissa in my phone….she had me laughing. Jessie, Riley and Mindy were already there. She gave us a tour of the BAH……what a beautiful house it is…..everyone needs to go to an art retreat just so you can stay in the BAH….the blog does not do it justice!!!! It was all decorated and ready for Fall. Jin Jin showed us where the drinks were and said help yourself and there were lots of snacks out for snacking!!!

When Kacy and Blue arrived, we got busy. And…..there was no resting after that!!! We were busy and having fun!!! Our first canvas was a pumpkin that Mo had prepared for us. Mo explained the basics about using several colors on our bush, starting on the outside and making it darker at the bottom like a shadow. We did it….I am not sure how!!! Then we shaded in our pumpkin to try and make it look like a real pumpkin. After it was all done and we thought it was looking great, she brought out all these stencils, sprays, glitter, and swirls to put on top. We thought…”Oh no…we are going to ruin our beautiful creation.” But, we went with the flow and trusted her. Guess what….as you can tell by the pictures, they are beautiful. We went on and did a decoupage with a Christmas ornament after we finished our pumpkins.

After all that we started on jewelry making. Mo explained about the tools, eye pins, spacers, head pins and beads for earrings. We proceeded to make two pairs of earrings. They didn’t take too long. We needed some help getting our hands to work the right way but good ole Mo was there to help us out and I must say they came out great.

Friday night Todd made gumbo for us. So good, what a great guy he was to put up with all these women invading his home. Mo’s crew showed up to bring us some goodies for breakfast the next morning and also to have a little wine. I felt like I knew these ladies too since I have seen them many times on Mo’s blog.

Everyone wanted to learn how to put the “goo” on the canvas so after dinner, Mo showed us how. It was much easier than I thought it was going to be and a real fast process….some did candy corn and others did witches hats. All came out great. We all went to bed sometime after midnight….

Saturday morning we all got up and ready to get started somewhere around 9:00. Todd had the coffee ready and Mo’s friend Angie was there and had breakfast all laid out and ready for us to eat. Us California people who never eat grits got to try them. Yum!! Lots to eats – her friends and family really came through….cause y’all know Mo doesn’t cook.

After breakfast, we started scrapbooking. Another new thing for me!!!! I did my scrapbook on a recent family vacation to Hawaii. I had no idea it was going to take so many hours to make this tiny little book. It took me from about 9 in the morning until we went to dinner at 8 at night to complete that thing only stopping for lunch and to get changed for dinner. That’s a lot of time and I didn’t even do a fancy book – like Riley and Mindy did. Mine is pretty basic with some stickers and lots and lots of pictures. But it is cute and tells our story of a fabulous family vacation. Jessie was with us all weekend and printed some things that we could use in our books. Mo taught us all the basics of scrapbooking using paint chips, just using our pictures, using ribbons, stickers, buttons, pop ups, inking the edges. So many things I had never even heard of before. End product looked great – even for a beginner with no art talent!!! We had chicken spaghetti for lunch which was really good and a wonderful banana caramel pie which we learned how to make when Rita (Mo’s stepmom) (she made the chicken spaghetti and the pie) dropped off Ellie and Gabbi).

Saturday afternoon we got to meet those two little sweeties – Gabbi and Ellie. They are exactly like Mo describes on her blog. Ellie acts much older than a 4 year old. She was a hoot at dinner fixing Kacy and Jessie’s hair. They are both upcoming little artists. They were working on painting projects on Sunday morning and both seem to love art.

Saturday evening we all went out to dinner including Jessie and Ellie and Gabbi. It was great. It was a long day and again it was after midnight by the time we got to bed. We came back home and finished off another pie.

Sunday morning we all got up around nine again and started painting the last canvas we had “goo’d” ourselves. Mine was a witch’s hat. It came out really good. Mo was there every step of the way to answer questions about color, shading, putting strips over the paint, and writing words on the canvas or whatever else came across our minds. We had breakfast and also had some coconut cake that Rita made….didn’t get that recipe but really need to…..even those that said they don’t eat coconut liked it!!!

Overall, it was a fun, fun weekend for this “unartsy” Grandma and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Actually, I had a request from my 4-year-old granddaughter to go to an art retreat (she is the artsy one is the family). I told her when Mo had one for little girls, I would take her. So, I might be going again some day and I would not hesitate to go again!!!


Patricia said...

Ok!! I am sooo not artsy but can I come to a Mozart retreat and do the cookin'?! Looks like a blast!

Zhohn said...

Thanks for sharing Susan! The more I read, the more the more to go! The food sounds as exciting as the art!

Mama J said...

I had so hoped to make the first retreat but could not. So it is nice that you shared the fabulous experience with us. Mo IS so talented and she shares so generously with her friends and people she doesn't even know. Give her a second and she will become your friend. What a lady! Thanks for sharing and I know you all had a wonderful and memorable time.

Theresa Shirley said...

Glad you got to go & have a fabulous time Susan! It sounds like so much fun. I bet it was neat, getting to meet everybody that you already felt like you knew. I definitely hope to make a future one! Thanks for the update :)

snekcip said...

Thanks for another great PEEK @ THE RETREAT! Isnt Jin-Jin awesome!! I adore her and Mo too pieces!!! Truly Southern Belle's!! I will agree the BAH is just gorgeous!! I can only imagine how Mo had it decorated! I loved the "personality" of the house and ALL the pictures of the girls that adorned the wall! I love that "feel of home" that you get once inside! By that I mean, albeit all it's grandeur, its very welcoming and it's not a house where you feel "you can't touch anything"! Does that make sense? I didnt get a chance to see the awesome cabin outback, but I'll be back again one day! I will see it!!

I tell ya one thing though, don't try to find the BAH after dark w/out Mo or anyone who knows those LA woods! Wooooo talk about PITCH BLACK!! Forget the "Hansel and Gretal" dropping pebbles to "find your way back", because guess what....YOU WILL NEVER SEE THEM IN THE PITCH DARK!!! LOL!!! I was pretty proud of myself that I found my way back on sheer memory! Thank goodness for that longggggg white fence!! If my memory serves me right...I think it belongs to The Fords!!

Also, I have to add: just a little food for thought...if you ever heard of the word MOJO, it means (charm and magical)! Mo has ALL that and more. I was honored to be in her company as well as ALL her beautiful family and wonderful staff!

Thank you again Susan for sharing your time at the MoZart retreat!

firefamily said...

What a great blog and thanks for the peek at the retreat. My girls are 4 and 10 and they want to go to Mo's for an art retreat too, so I think an art retreat for little one's and their mom's is a great idea, I would so be in. Please keep us posted on your next retreat dates as I have lots of friends and sisters that would love a road trip to LA for just this kind of thing.
The timing for this weekend was just bad for us so we couldn't commit to it be we anxiously awaiting the next dates and hope they work with our schedules.
Cyndi Eckart

JenTJohn said...

When I read you live in Redwood City, I screamed! My husband is working in that area and I have been there for 5 wks in the past few mths. How random! Glad you and your daughter had a great time! Thanks for sharing!