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Carmel, CA - Michaels Makers Summit

When I got the email that I was chosen to attend the Michaels Makers Summit this year, I instantly thought someone was messing with me. I decided to apply on the last day with one of my woven dreamcatchers. A couple weeks went by I got the email I was attending and flights were scheduled and I was well on my way to Carmel, CA to meet the Michaels Makers and all the other winners!

I stayed up all night Sunday night, got in the car around 2am, drove to New Orleans to my parents house where my dad took me to the airport to catch my flight at 6am. I landed around noon got my bags and was greeted by Virgil with a sign that said Michaels Makers Summit. Seeing that sign and seeing Virgil my heart jumped a beat from the excitement! I was the first to arrive!

After about an hour of everyones flights getting in a group of 16 of us winners took the bus from San Jose to Carmel. The drive was magical. Getting to know all the other ladies was fun, we talked about what we submitted, our lives and all the babies they left at home for a little retreat!

The scenery of Carmel Valley Ranch and everything that surrounds it is quite breathtaking, perfect blue skies, wild turkeys, organic gardens, nature trails with deer and mountains for miles. We were greeted by Jessica who gave us all the rules of the land, mostly that there were no serious rules, handed us a bag of goodies gifted to us by Micheals and sent us on our way. Over the bridge, past all the hummingbirds humming I was dropped off at room 213.

The whole room/condo was bigger than the house we live in currently. I couldn't believe it was meant for one person. If you followed me along on Instagram Stories or Snapchat I did a fun room tour! I got to freshen up and then headed out to dinner.

We walked to this beautiful lodge, where we were greeted and guided to walk down these steps to a supernatural view of linen set tables surrounded by all the greenery. I think I felt more in that reaction than I saw. There were white chairs lined down all the tables with perfect Cricut table placemats, flowers at every table and our hand dipped placeholders! I was sat at table 5, sharing the table with Makers: Heather of Whipperberry and Courtney of A Thoughtful Place.

I imagine I asked too many questions and looked at them with the brightest widest eyes at every little bit of information they had to offer. We then were greeted by Carrie, who had announced our special guest Sarah Michelle Gellar, who gave the most inspiring creative never let anything discourage you speech and then gifted us all 3 months to Foodstirs! Which I am beyond excited to start using.

After the 5 course meal and chatting non stop with everyone who surrounded me, a few glasses of wine later and a chilly night in the mountains it was off to bed. The bed had been tucked so beautifully and a little bottle of lavender spray was placed on the pillow, for some reason I have a feeling I will be ordering some directly from the ranch. I turned the fireplace on, took a bath in the largest tub I had ever seen, curled up in my robe and enjoyed my lavender scented sheets and went to bed.

Bright and early we had breakfast at 7am. It was all meet and greet again, so many ladies and so many names to keep up with. Finding everyone on Instagram and all the pictures of the food and mostly the view! We were then pushed all into a room where Heidi Swap had a little video of herself on missing the event but shared with us some of her line of products to us! It was like being at an Oprah event, already we had been given so much and now so much more! I had been eyeing that lightbox for weeks at Micheals! What a total surprise!!

We were then off to our classes!! First there was Macramé with Annabel of Little Pin Cushion Studios. It was something I've wanted to try and just never found the time to do it. So I was beyond excited to get started. Something that started out to be a little confusing in the beginning but I eventually got the hang of it and it was all knot this and knot that... Look at sweet Amy's face! I mean how adorable of a lady is she!!

After macramé we were off to jewelry making with Nina Owens. We learned basic jewelry making skills and created quite a few bracelets. Another really fun class I took so much out of. I think I'll try to incorporate beading into my future designs!

After jewelry making it was off to lunch in the organic gardens of the ranch, at the top of the mountain, down the path past the tallest sunflowers where I met Ruby of MyCakies and chatted for a while, took some cute photos of the scenery and then got in line to start eating lunch.

Lunch was unbelievable, steak, chicken and fish tacos, tortilla soup and dessert was churros and pecan clusters. I could have eaten two plates of all of it if I hadn't already packed my first plate up so high!

After lunch, we took the opportunity to explore the organic gardens, meet the chickens and smell all the flowers and barley they had planted.

After lunch we headed back to the main lodge where we would have our last two classes, floral arrangements with Mikie Russo and Watercolor class with the infamous Aussie Jane Davenport.

(above right photo by: Martha Forbes @plaidllama)

I think I could have spent hours listening and painting with Jane Davenport. She gifted us her cool palette of watercolors that will be coming out exclusively to Michaels soon including a few of her paint pens and a watercolor pen. She had a few blank pages of watercolor paper and a few pages of her sketches she had printed on watercolor paper. It was a lot of fun going over what colors to mix with what to get particular shades you want. She had the most relaxing voice. She went through her sketchbooks and what inspired her and pretty much was an open book to anything you wanted to know. We were then given frames from Michaels that we could put our newly water color painted images in! Seriously no detail went unnoticed from the whole experience. Every little touch of everything was above and beyond perfect and we were only through half the day!

We had a little bit of time to do a mixed media class and get a small break in before we were off to dinner again. This time it was in the Carmel Valley Ranch Organic Vineyard. Tables lined with puffs and pillows to eat and share family style plates of everything you can ever imagine. The food was so plenty I think I gained 10 lbs just in the two days we were there.

The napkins were wrapped with poms poms on ribbons and the tables were lined with coloring sheets with colored pencils as we ate, drank wine and colored as true adult women love to do! We stayed a couple hours sharing stories with each other and gaining knowledge from all of our experiences in business and in life. We saw the sun go down and the string lights light up the night. It was just a surreal experience, it had only been 24 hours and it really felt like days that I had been there.

After dinner I walked the grounds a little bit and talked with some more of the fellow makers and decided to go back to my room order the half bottle of the in house wine made from their own vineyards, took another bath and finished up my macramé piece in front of the fireplace before I went to bed.

Breakfast was another buffet style perfect setting, sitting with a couple ladies I was able to pass out more pins to. I really feel like as an introvert it helped me get over the hump of being nervous and allowing myself to talk freely about what I do as an artist and maker, at the same time giving someone just a little extra piece to take home and enjoy from such an experience I'm finding so hard to describe.

After breakfast I went on a small hike with a few of the ladies where I picked up a type of honeysuckle and a turkey feather and enjoyed chatting and learning about their businesses and personalities.

It was the perfect way to end the summit.

I can't thank Michaels enough for this opportunity and the ladies I met for their knowledge. Check out the #michaelsmakerssummit hashtag to see all the images that were posted and more details on the event!

Here are a few of the ladies that stood out to me and made this experience extra special:

Jade, Courtney, Heather, Rubyellen, Kaelah, Caitlin, Lindi, Jane, Annabel

Katelyn, Krisha, Amy, Kristen, Phyllis, Sabrina, Khristine, Chelsea

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments and I'll get right back to you!

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