a seriously long description of fabulous CE!

I am finally coming up for air! Creative Escape 2007 is over, and was a wonderful, delightful and fabulous weekend! The second annual CE was held the 6-8th at the Squaw Peak Hilton here in sunny Phoenix, AZ! i didn’t take NEAR enough photos… i get so DISTRACTED!! i wish i had more photos to document every little detail!  We were joined by over 600 very enthusiastic scrapbookers, and over 50 staff members and volunteers… put that all together and there was a lot of PINK, sparkles and flip flops… Ultimate_ce
big pink scrapbook totes, tons of adhesive, cold drinks and smiles! We had so much fuN!  This being the 2nd CE, we benefited so much from last year’s experiences… things seemed to go SO much smoother! There were of course a few little unexpected surprises…but all said and done… it was so awesome!! Any event has soooo many people working together to make things happen. For us… I have to give a huge thanks and cyber hug to the BAZZILL team. Doug Jones (who is the owner of Bazzill) is the most kind, considerate, positive and genuine guy! Working with him, his family, and his staff (which can be almost considered family!) is such a blessing. In the midst of the final month of preparations for CE, they consolidated their operation from 3 large warehouses to ONE very large warehouse, as if preparing for CE wasn’t enough… Bazzill has a reputation of quality and commitment to the industry, and that attitude reflects in everything they do… especially CE.  And of course, no one has any idea how much time, effort, worry, stress and dedication that EMILY put into this event. She settles for nothing less than ‘just right’ on anything. She never ceases to amaze me with her ‘get it done’ attitude. She is always willing to do whatever it takes, no matter how hot, how late or how long it takes! THANKS EM… I must thank the teachers this year who were so awesome! Not just this year’s teachers, but we brought back the teachers from last year for a pretty intense Friday night event, and they rocked it! and also… Allison Tyler Jones who delivered such an inspiring and touching keynote presentation… you were laughing as hard as you were crying. It was unforgettable!

If you weren’t there with us… I will give you the run down!
Warm_welcome
Thursday was the beginning… we got there early in the morning to start setting up for registration and what we call “technique boutique”.  Registration would begin at 1pm along with technique boutique and go until 6pm.  Carol Niemyski is the COO at Bazzill, puts together a special team for registration.  This year upon registration, each guest received a (EXTREMELY CUTE) pink creative escape bag, along with her very own “project portfolio and inspiration guide to Creative Escape”… a full on, full color, spiral bound, 123 page book that included all the classes, instructions, fully stepped out… as well as the technique boutique guide, and all the projects from the Friday Night Extravaganza! As well as a special section we call “trunk show” where we showcase projects from each teacher, to give a little insight into her creative genius!  Also, when they registered they got the cutest pink and green beaded lanyard for their name badge. Turned out so cute. The only draw back during registration was that the room we were in was about a million degrees. I kept telling people that it was a ‘warm welcome’… Doug and I were greeting everyone and sweating our guts out! 
Technique Boutique is a way for us to introduce the CE guests to the sponsors, and teach a few valuable techniques that will be needed in class. We had a bunch of ‘exclusive’ products that were available at a little mini-store: mug, visor, waterbottles, t-shirts, CE paper packs, journals, etc… we had a photo booth where we were taking photos, and Epson was printing them off… we had a special project that everyone could gather the supplies for and complete on their own… there were so many gifts from our awesome sponsors: purple cow gave everyone their own ‘freestyle trimmer’; big picture was there giving a little mini-project away designed by Tena Sprenger. Scrapbook Adhesive by 3L was available to all… and then we were playing with Distress Ink, new Bazzill “in Stitch’z”, and everyone got a jump on Rhonna’s 21-day challenge journal. And even more stuff… at 4pm, we started the “trunk show”… and this was my favorite part of the whole weekend. I guess because it totally shocked and amazed me. We asked each teacher to bring a few things to display from 4-6pm so we could give people a chance to meet the teachers and get a glimpse of what their style is… nothing could have prepared me for how OVER THE TOP each of the teachers were. Lesli

Jen_2
Jen Wagner, for example, brought in an 8 foot wall that she had painted and hung pictures on, as well as bringing furniture from home to display her beautiful pieces. Lesli Spafford brought a COOKIE for everyone, and made tons of cookies, cakes and cupcakes to decorate her table, along with huge jars of candy. It was stunning… and next to her, there was Tracey pulling out twinkling lights to string along her table… to say nothing of her beautiful pieces! Then there was Chris who was teaching the Soldering. She had made this STUNNING chandelier. Chandelier
Now I knew that she was bringing it, but I was amazed at how cool it looked in real life. so inspiring! Heidi Lynn had these HUGE poster size layouts and topiaries made of Bazzill paper… and I was lucky enough to look through each of Rhonna’s journals and just ooh and aaahh at her work. Then there was me, who really just brought a few things to spread out on a table. I was COMPLETELY out done in every way! –and I loved it. the room was far too small and the time too short for everyone to adequately enjoy all the inspiration that room had to offer. Stunning.
Intro
We then kicked the evening off with a short welcome. We didn’t want thurs to be too late because the east coast ladies were already tired! We wanted everyone to be fresh in the morning…as we were preparing our little intro to the event, we thought it would be fun to calculate how much went into the event:
    50,000 kits
    75,000 sheets of paper
    25,000 yards of ribbon
    81,000 buttons and brads
    92,000 die cuts
    23,000 flowers
    12,000 signature buttons (event buttons)
    16,000 playing cards
    …………YIKES!!
Friday morning started off with YUMMY breakfast burritos. (this year the food was SO good…) WE had 2 classes before lunch and 2 after.Katie

Chris Randall taught a soldering class…most people it was their first time ever… so it was just meant to be an ‘introduction’ to soldering. I loved seeing people’s charms as they came into my class. What a FUN thing to play with. I am totally addicted. Simply Swank sponsored her class… they are a new company and they have PINK soldering irons… LOVE THAT!
Jennifer Wagner taught a class that created a little book in a purse. It was so cute, and she is an awesome teacher. She had beautiful samples to share. Creative Imaginations donated the purse and book…so generous!  Jack was even on hand at the event.
I taught a canvas class… and Donna from Canvas Concepts gave not one, but 2 canvases to each person! We created a memory board and used Tim’s Distress ink on the canvas… LOVE that stuff. 
Tracey Niehues taught the most clever little folder-thingy… she is the coolest girl. She is super mellow and down-to-earth. She is an awesome, systematic teacher. I have known her for a long time- she teaches and designs for K&Co. (They sent so many prizes and stuff to give away as well)… she is just a class act!
Lesli Spafford is the resident ‘card’ instructor at Scrapbooks ETC. everyone loves her cards… she is known for clever, cute little folds and unexpected twists… these cards were no exception. They are cards that can be whipped up in a second, but totally impress! I especially love the box-fold one… that has to be my fav.
Heidi Lynn Schreiber is the power scrapper of the bunch! She has a knack of making scrapbooking quick, simple and do-able for anyone! She did a calendar class, using one of my calendars. In class they made 5 layouts, and the book contained the other 7 pages that could be re-produced later…(or you could buy the kits too). What a great idea for a Christmas gift…a full calendar!
Rhonna Farrer taught her signature “21-day challenge” class. We created an 8×8 book that was exclusive for the class, and used her line if paper and stamps… she even designed rub-on quotes for each of the 21 days… they came in a fabulous tin and were so beautiful! I must say, that I started the 21-day challenge… and LOVED doing it. I LOVED having a book already to go, and adding creativity to it every day documenting my challenge. So inspiring. She couldn’t be any cuter, or sweeter.  And I LOVE her papers…thanks Jeff and Autumn Leaves… you were great to work with.

Our goal is to create an event that is well-rounded. That is nicely paced, and has a wide variety of classes… last year, we had 8 classes- 6 were project classes, and 2 were lecture classes (photography and computer skills). This year…we felt that people needed a little
R e L a x a T I o N in there as well… so we had 7 classes, but they were all projects.  The classes were all paced a little different. Some super intense, some mellow… it’s all part of balancing it out. The sponsors and teachers were all so generous with donations and time and effort. I am so appreciative for all they put into making CE great! Kelli Collins and Amy Tottie were our “whoo-hoo” girls and delivered RAKS all weekend-with the help of Haylee Jones…(I am still hearing that whoo-hoo in my sleep!)

Friday night we did totally different this year. After dinner, which was a YUM Mexican buffet…we had the ‘Friday Night Extravaganza’… We wanted to bring in the teachers from last year and have a little fun! I have this favorite book: “EVER WONDER” (it’s a compendium book)… and it’s just a book of questions. Each teacher chose 2 questions, and designed 2 playing cards. We made a kit with all 16 playing cards. All the groups of students were assigned to a room, and from 8pm until about 11pm, the teachers each had 15 minutes with  each class to re-create their cards. Some  they did both, some they only had time for one.  It was a little intense! But it went very smoothly and we had a blast. I tell you, by the end of Friday, my voice was almost gone. I had been teaching for about 12 hours.  BuT I LOVE LOVE the playing cards, and most people didn’t really  know what they were for (to play with) and we had a great time… so fun to have Stacy Julian, Carol Wingert, Hottie Amy Tottie, Tena Sprenger, Pam Black, Kelli Collins and Marty Jones (and honorary alumni teacher!) I already have a cool idea for the Friday Night Extravaganza for next year.

Saturday morning served up another yummy breakfast. And I actually went down to the buffet and everything. ( I am usually not up early enough for that luxury). The buffet was served outside in the courtyard, and the temperature was so perfect. it’s so nice in the mornings! The day went smoothly.. and about 1pm the flower arranging for the Sat. night dinner began behind the scenes… Mona, Frani, Janet and Em put together the 60 center pieces with 12 gerber daisies in each. When I walked into the room I was so thrilled at how beautiful it looked in there. there is definitely something about fresh flowers. we had such a yummy dinner…of course, served with dessert first. We tested about 6 different desserts, and this one was the best! Dinner was delish… chicken breast and these yummy potatoes, carrots and asparagus. The real treat was Allison. After we gave LOTS of amazingly fabulous gift baskets away… we had a slide show of everyone and Doug shared his scrapbooking poem. SO cute. Doug’s oldest son and his wife just had a baby… the first bazzill grandbaby…so he factored that into the poem! Then we heard from Allison Tyler Jones. We asked her to be our keynote speaker after the even last year. I was so touched and inspired by her words. She is one that can make you laugh and cry all at the same time. her presentation had just the right mix of inspiring words and photos. it was just absolutely fabulous! I love and admire her so much! I have to admit to being happy it was over, and that everything went GREAT!!
I am so grateful for EVERYONE involved… from the hotel staff, to the volunteers… to all who attended. We had a great group. I smile just thinking about it! I was given so many kind, thoughtful gifts and sweet cards. The women at the event were so thankful and so excited! It’s so fun when your efforts are truly appreciated!
Of course, I have already started thinking about my class project for next year!
Thanks to everyone… see you next year!!Charm_2
Charms

these amazing charm bracelets were made by the yahoo group… they were so generous to give one to each teacher… i love it! so cool.

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