Friday, September 21, 2012

The Workshop

Well, the day didn't get off to a very good start. I had set up the coffee urn the night before - just needed to put the basket containing the coffee in the urn and plug it in. Had to have it on at 7:30 as people were going to start arriving at 8:00.

Plugged the urn in but forgot to put the coffee in :-(  But I caught that fairly quickly, refilled it with cold water and put the coffee in. This time the stem holding the coffee basket wasn't in place so the water didn't pump through the coffee grounds and all we got was hot water. Third time was a charm but by the time it had perked it was well after 8:30 and hard on those who need coffee to kick start the day.

Waiting for coffee (Marg, Tina, Bev, Lori-Ann, Bob and Debbie

9:00 a.m. sharp, the workshop began. Debbie Burville of Montacute Miniatures and Bob Francis, the Canada West Regional Coordinator for N.A.M.E., were there as assistants to Lori-Ann as was our own Sunni Dixon who not only helped various members with aspects of the workshop during the day but also did much of the set-up and clean-up for lunch. Thanks, Sunni.

Lori-Ann is an incredible teacher. She's personable, funny, beautifully prepared and very knowledgeable. One of the things that impressed me most was the fact that she makes the effort to address various learning styles. Her written instructions are very explicit but she also includes pictures for those who learn more visually.

And speaking of her instructions:

This is the instruction booklet that we received. The first page contains (1) tools required to finish the kit; (2) tools included in the kit; (3) a list of kit parts; and (4) optional materials/tools.

Following that are 13 pages of instructions for doing each section of the kit. Then there are five pages of photo montages of how different stages of the various projects will look. The following six pages of Fun Facts and Information include three pages of information on design and composition techniques. The final section contains the graphics for the project - four full pages with options for some of the pieces and a small glassine bag of small pieces of graphics including all manner of labels for the packing boxes included in the other graphics.

There were three people who were unable to attend the workshop due to illness or other obligations. I have absolutely no doubt they will have no trouble completing their kits due to the thoroughness of the instruction booklet.

The kit itself:

First of all, we received four pieces of Bespaq furniture: the mirror, the small table, the chair and the tall dresser. Following Lori-Ann's excellent instructions and supplies, I did distress the mirror and small table but I have to confess I didn't age the chair or the tall dresser as I won't be using them in the attic but will use them eventually in other projects.

I know distressing is SO appropriate for some settings but I have to admit that I don't do distressing well. I like my scenes crisp and clean. I do so admire people like Linda Austin who do worn/distressed SO well as anyone who has ever seen her No-Tell Motel or her diner can appreciate. Unfortunately I don't have pictures of those but they are the epitome of grunge and SO perfect. (I've asked Linda if she has pictures that she will allow me to publish here.)

All the bits and pieces supplied in the kit: packages of Christmas and Hallowe'en 'stuff ' to fill boxes, fabric for quilts and cushions, picture frames, Chrysnbon kits and various other things.

The supplies that came with the kits:

 Due to the vast scope of the project, the focus of the workshop was on the techniques required to complete each part of the kit - particularly aging/distressing furniture and paper; the little details that make it 'real'; working with the Krylon gold leafing pen; and layering and composition.

Stopping for lunch
This workshop was such an incredible learning experience! If you ever get a chance to take a workshop from Lori-Ann, I highly recommend it.

We finished shortly before 4:00 and, with the help of all, the room was cleaned and the extra tables returned to the room they were borrowed from.

My friend, Sue from Calgary, had arrived about 3:00 and was waiting for me in my apartment.(Disappointingly, for various reasons, the other three ladies from Calgary were unable to make the trip this year.)  I took some of the leftover food to my Mom who lives in the building next door to mine; Sue helped me move some of the last things from the social room to my place; then we had a few minutes to catch up on RL events.

Joanne and I spend the night in the hotel while Sue stays at my place. Sue and I loaded up all my displays, etc., on a cart and and loaded them in Joanne's car then we all headed off to the hotel.

This year, Connie Stitt was sharing the hotel room with Joanne and me so we found her, checked in, and moved all our displays, etc., into our room, Connie is the lady who made all the plants in my "Petal Pusher" display for the Little Fair on the Prairie. She recently moved to Alberta from Ontario so we were thrilled to have her as a dealer this year - she hasn't done our S&S since our last Gathering about 10 years ago.

After we got everything in the room, we went back downstairs to the Jade Room which had been reserved for a 'no-host' dinner for dealers and MEE members. Not a great turnout this year in terms of numbers - many MEE members who usually come had been at the workshop and didn't want the extended day - but the food was great and the company even better.

After dinner, we hit the jackpot! The Silver Room, which is our display room, hadn't been rented for Saturday night so Lorry and I were able to get in and put the 'landscaping' cloths on  the tables for The Little Fair on the Prairie. Ran into a bit of a snag when the display piece for the smaller scales didn't have the screws for the shelving but the hotel staff came through - not only found the screws we needed but assembled it for us! Yay! Royal Executive Inn staff!!! (They also disassembled it for us at the end of the Show - bless their hearts!)

So back to the room...visited with Connie for awhile until Joanne came back from helping Sunni with some last minute details...visited for a bit longer, put in a wake-up call...then lights out!

Ring...ring....ring Oh, my goodness, it can't possibly be our 6:00 a.m. wake-up call! I look at the clock and it's 1:06 and the ringing is the blinking fire alarm!!!

We exit the room and meet up with Lori Hansen and Kathy Barbier in the parking lot (at least we're in good company!).

Coming back in (only 20 minutes later), we hear that some idiot(s) pulled the fire alarm then headed down the stairs. When we checked out, we were told that there were three idiots who were caught on camera.

I hope they'll be found and charged with the expense of all the fire engines and personnel that showed up plus a $10,000 surcharge (my own personal touch)

Tomorrow I'll tell you all about the show and sale....

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