Back from Boyne Highlands

I’m back from Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs, Michigan. It is one of my favorite events of the year and is by far the largest … there were 389 women this time! I’m there to work, not crop, but I’ve made dozens of friends and I love spending time with them. The rest of the time I was shopping from my favorite vendors (my purchases are still in their bag), having my traditional Thursday night dinner at the bar (grilled whitefish and sweet potato fries, all made gluten free), and teaching others to use Elizabeth Craft Designs and Mosaic Moments products. It’s tiring, but wonderful and it always goes way too fast.

Last fall, one of my customers-turned-friends asked me to make a page kit showing some of the resort. I used Mosaic Moments Grid paper and dies to create the layout and sold every one — including my sample. Fortunately I have the photo so I can make another for myself!

Matt has taken over many of the make-and-take duties during the event — especially since I had so many classes this time. While demonstrating how to use a transfer sheet to use the leftover stickers, he came up with a few new techniques. (Well, either he did or customers did … I never did get the answer, but I came back to this)

And this …

And this …

and this! I was quite impressed.

Another customer worked up an idea with Silk Microfine Glitter that I helped her implement. I thought I took a photo, but I must not have. I will be making a tutorial to show you how she did it soon — it’s that fantastic.

This time, I taught classes for Bayview Scrappers, a new store in Traverse City, Michigan, in addition to teaching my own. One of the classes I taught was on using rubber stamps from Art Impressions to create watercolor art. I was so impressed that even I could watercolor that I came home with several sets of stamps. Stay tuned for more!

I also taught a Mosaic Moments class and worked one-on-one with others showing them how easy this system is. It amazes me when ladies learn and then come back and show me their first page … yes, this is her first page! I love the mix of detail and distant photos and how she mixed in family pics with scenery. This one is going in a frame on the wall in her family’s cottage … she plans to do one each year. What a wonderful idea!

This is another first-time page, believe it or not. Although you can’t see it very well in the photo, she used different depths of dimensional foam adhesive on different squares in the photo. The effect was amazing!

I will admit to helping her decide between lavender and navy grid paper and showing her how to use the Mosaic Moments At-a-Glance-Guide to make sure she didn’t cut the sun, but otherwise, it is all her! An amazing idea I plan to steal and a truly beautiful page.

Each year, there is a layout contest as part of the fun. Ladies submit their favorite works and the other croppers vote on them. I was pretty proud to see three Mosaic Moments pages registered for the contest. And, even more proud to hear the winner of the contest was one of them! She did photos of her trip to Ireland.

We also gave away an Ott-Lite and a box of stamps, inks and card bases. Of course, I forgot to take photos of the winners with their prizes. Going to have to change that for next year!

The ladies totally spoiled us while we were there. They came with hugs for us both (I even heard one of them calling Matt, “honey”) and tons of gifts. My friend from Marquette brought me these dish cloths with the UP knitted right in. I’m not sure how she knew blue was my favorite color. She also brought me jam and Matt the Yooper version of biscotti. yumm

A mother and daughter from Northern Michigan brought Matt and I each a birdhouse filled with candy eggs. And they brought me a “Take-and-Make.” They gave me a great tip for using my tweezers to thread the ribbon and quietly fixed my bag when I did it wrong. lol. I love these ladies!

My friend from Ohio who keeps me laughing until I cry, gave me a copy of this beautiful picture she took last fall at the resort. I told her I was going to put it on my fridge and wanted to show her this proof that I did!

And, my wonderful friends from Canada brought me this adorable chicken to welcome everyone to my house. I love it and I love them!

These ladies make this trip so wonderful for me. I come back with new ideas and techniques and lots of inspiration and I think I actually learn more than I teach. It is such a wonderfully uplifting event. I cannot wait until fall when I see them all again.

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From Boyne Highlands

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Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs, MI is one of my favorite places to visit.

It’s a ski lodge and features some of the best golf courses in the state, but I go to work — and relax. The place is truly magical. Less than four hours from my house, I feel like I am in another country every time I visit. The buildings have a Tudor vibe and are covered in ivy. Inside, the decor is quite Scottish — which I absolutely love. There are rustic log tables in the lobby, vintage Scottish posters in the halls, and lamps with antlers in many of the rooms. The hotel has a tower, although I still haven’t gotten my Rapunzel photo from it, with beautiful stone, spiral staircases. The bar has amazingly comfortable chairs to relax in and the carpet is red tartan. The rooms have robes to borrow and the hot tub and heated swimming pool are open the entire time we’re there. Every employee — from the front desk to the cleaning staff to the security staff — is polite and happy and they will go out of their way to do whatever you need. In the fall, you can ride the ski lift to look at the colors — more on that to come later. There are many other amenities to enjoy, but we never have the time to enjoy them.

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I love this place. I feel like a fairy princess living in the castle with a beautiful room I get to call my own for 3-4 days, twice a year. Honestly, I never have to make my bed or my own coffee and wine is available by the glass or bottle. What more could a girl ask for?

candyscraps_boyneThis year, we got to go three times, since they added an additional Girls Just Wanna Crop weekend, the weekend following the traditional fall one. For me, these two October weekends were monumental.

candyscraps_boyne3On a professional level, I developed a new business plan limiting my products to Mosaic Moments, Elizabeth Craft Designs and my unique page and card kits. My husband built me some new displays to showcase my new lines and Boyne was the first time I got to try them out. I also worked out a deal with another vendor while I was there (you’ll see more about this later). And, I taught Mosaic Moments, in the form of a two-page layout, for the first time to a group of 15. The class sold out quickly, I had to turn many away and I was very nervous … but the ladies loved it. (Of course, I forgot to take any photos the entire first weekend)

candyscraps_boyne4As usual, I did free make and takes to show new techniques throughout the weekend. Here’s a card one cropper made after learning to use Elizabeth Craft Designs glitter and peel-off stickers.

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And a pair of sweaters my new Canadian friends made with the Elizabeth Craft Designs Sweater Die.

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Another created this amazing page with Mosaic Moments … the empty spot will be filled with a photo, once it is reprinted. It suffered a slip of the knife …candyscraps_boyne5

And, in the last few minutes of the second weekend, Sandy Wilkinson and Tami Migda came to show me these amazing pages they made … They liked them so much, they bought frames from another vendor and framed them! (Naturally, they were the only ones I managed to remember to take a photo of and get their name … you would never know I was a journalist for decades.)

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I did not get a photo of a winning layout … one customer bought one of the Mosaic Moments dies from me and then created a two-page layout. During the crop, they have a contest and her layout was voted the winner! I had nothing to do with it, other than showing her how to use the die, but I felt pretty darn proud!

On a personal level, the second weekend at Boyne was also monumental. I drove there by myself — the longest drive I’ve ever done alone. And, on the way home, I drove with a custom-designed rack on the back of the car to hold all of my products. It wasn’t a big deal, but it was something I had never done before, so it made me feel pretty good.

For the first time in my life, I got out of the hot tub and pool without feeling self-conscious. This was a huge moment for me in my personal growth. I was so calm going from one to the other — even with others around and all of the hotel rooms looking onto the area — that I didn’t even notice I wasn’t uncomfortable until the third time I did it. I guess I’m finally learning to accept myself for who I am — well, and losing 75 pounds doesn’t hurt either.

Finally, I actually rode the ski lift to see the fall colors. I was scared to death — especially before we figured out there was a bar we could pull down in front of us. I held onto that bar with white knuckles, but I didn’t have a panic attack and I did manage to take pictures. (I have yet to download them, but I’m hoping the stabilizer on the lens combated the shaking in my hands.) From someone who a few months ago couldn’t climb up a step ladder, this was a HUGE deal! Thanks to the guys operating the lift for slowing down and even stopping it so I could get on and off.

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So now I’m back down below the 45th parallel and getting special orders ordered and shipped, restocking my inventory and getting ready for my next crop … I have lots of samples I made for Boyne to share … stay tuned!