The very first Craft Napa retreat was a tremendous success!

1 carMy car was packed to the gills when I drove away from my house for Craft Napa with my daughter Indigo, who was working as staff photographer for the event.

We stopped on the way to pick up my recently retired mom (78 years old) who was signed up for a watercolor class with Jane LaFazio and 2 mixed media classes with Leslie Jenison. This was my first time having my mom along on a teaching gig, to get a glimpse into my world.3 generations

Indigo, Mom and me


The Embassy Suites in Napa turned out to be a great venue for the retreat.
2 hotel pond

I’ve taught at other locations for this kind of thing and none of them have worked as well. The classrooms surrounded a big open atrium where registration and all the evening functions were located. The restaurant and bar was conveniently located next to that which was a great place to meet up with friends and relax at the end of the evening.

opening night
Cheryl Sleboda was our on board activities director.

breakfast with mom and Indigo

Mom and Indigo

Each morning we had a full made to order breakfast (included with overnight stay) with eggs, bacon and potatoes or pancakes, as well as oatmeal, fresh fruit, bagels, coffee and tea. This gave us the opportunity to visit with friends and drink plenty of coffee, before setting up for class. 🙂


What a treat it was to teach with so many women I have known and loved for years

Top row: Elizabeth, Judy, Jamie and Jane   Bottom: Pokey, Carrie, Leslie, Melly, Jenny and Lynn

and then meet 2 new fun, creative friends; Carrie Bloomston and Elizabeth St. Hilare. I immediately liked them both and look forward to getting to know them better in the future.


judy and Melly 2016

It was wonderful to hang out for 5 days with my good friend Melly! Both our lives have gone through drastic changes over the last 5+ years, and I’m so grateful that we became friends when Pokey brought a group of us together for a long weekend about 10 years ago.

succulents for Lynn

Before I left for Napa, I took lots of cuttings from my succulents to bring to fellow teacher Lynn Krawczyk, to add to her indoor succulent garden in Michigan.


10+ Techniques with Acrylic Inks

acrylic inks 1

My first class was the 2 day 10+ Techniques with Acrylic Inks. What fun we had on our first day, making beautiful painted base fabrics, that we use to build lots of other techniques on to.

acr inks brushstroke

acry Inks 3acry Inks 6.

We had an exciting new development during class. I have a technique I do placing string under fabric before painting it to create interesting textures as it dries, but I wondered what would happen if I dipped the string in ink, then laid the fabric over the top. Another student tried the same thing, but placed the colored string on top of the fabric and this is what we got:acr Ink string 1,

and this is the other side of each fabric:acr ink string 2

I love how each fabric has two sides that are slightly different from each other. This is definitely a technique to play more with.

Acr ink Dedeacry Inks 4acry Inks 2acry Inks 5 acry Inks 7 acry Inks 8 acrylic inks class

What a fun class!


On Thursday night, all the teachers got to participate in the wine blending event, thank you Pokey! Who knew it would be such a blast! There were 5 tables with about 8 people on each team.

wine blending


The goal was to blend 4 different varietals: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, into a pleasing red blend (with no more than 50% of any one varietal in the final blend). To get everyone at the table to agree was easier said than done, when some people like higher tannin and others like less. Our table made 5 blends, using chemistry equipment to accurately measure the percentages of each varietal. Our final blend was then submitted to compete with all the other tables for judging.

wine judges bernina winner

Our table lost, but that’s ok, the judge from our table said the winning blend turned out excellent, and the whole event was a blast! And one of the participants won a brand new Bernina sewing machine!!

swag bag and wine

The winning blend was bottled that night and each participant received a bottle the next morning. And by the way, look at the fabulous burlap tote! Everyone at Craft Napa received one filled with some very cool swag; pre-cut fabric swatch packs from Melly and Carrie’s fabric lines, Aurafil thread, a phone charger back up battery from Meissners Sewing, and lots of other goodies!


On Friday night there was a really fun Artists market

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

unfortunately I was so busy at my table, I didn’t get a chance to wander around and see the cool stuff at all the other tables.


Tea & Ephemera


On Saturday, I taught tea & Ephemera, and we had a great time using thermofax screens, drawing on teabags and collaging all kinds of decorate papers, stamping and using Shiva painstix with stencils.tea 2 tea 6

tea 7tea 3 tea 4 tea 5



momUnfortunately after lunch on Saturday, my mom stepped off the curb outside the hotel wrong, miss judging the height of the higher than normal section of curb and fell.

The hotel brought her a wheel chair to sit in because she couldn’t put any weight on her leg. She was having so much fun, she wanted to go back to Leslie’s class in the wheel chair and wait for my step dad to pick her up at 5:30 (3 hours later) but luckily, I spotted my friend Rachel’s husband (a retired hospital administrator) and called him over to talk to her and help convince her she needed to go to the hospital to get it checked out.

The x-rays showed my mom broke her hip and she had surgery on Sunday morning, to put 3 screws in the tip of the bone connecting to her hip. The surgery went well, and on Tuesday they transferred her to a rehab facility here in Sacramento.


Pokey held a closing party at the barn after classes finished on Saturday,

sat night barn

where a giant Bernina Sewing Machine piñata was hoisted up to a rafter, filled with batting and thread.pinata

It was such a fun way to wrap up a fantastic inaugural Craft Napa retreat. I can hardly wait until next year, Pokey really knows how to plan fun-filled creative events like no other!


pinata burial

On Sunday, several teachers had flights home and the few who were able to stay on an extra day, met up at Pokey’s barn to share stories and bask in the glow of a job well done. Bravo!


I’m so proud of my beautiful and talented daughter Indigo who provided all the photography and video, designed the logo, promo materials and graphics for the Craft Napa website and signage for the event.




7 Responses to “The very first Craft Napa retreat was a tremendous success!”

  1. Clare Hunter says:

    So Jealous – I’ll get there eventually!!

  2. Diane Evans says:

    Wow!! Three generations of your family together, sharing their talents. How wonderful! This retreat looks as though it was an amazing experience. I recognized Carrie Bloomston immediately in your picture — I have recently discovered her book, and I would think that you and she would be kindred souls. Both of you are inspirational and empowering. Thank you for sharing all this — makes me almost feel as though I were there. And did you sell many of your beautiful pieces? I just loved them when you posted your pics a while back.


    • Diane, you would have loved Craft Napa!! My daughter Indigo spent time in Carrie’s classes while taking photos and had such wonderful things to say about them and was very drawn to her. I heard the term ‘magical’ used to describe Carrie from people in Napa more than once 🙂 and I sold the little quilted bird and the bee pieces at the artist market.

  3. A wonderful time was had by all! This fact is proven by your mother’s insistence that she go back to her workshop IN A WHEELCHAIR, WITH A BROKEN HIP. So glad she is doing okay.

  4. sunmoongal says:

    Your daughter is as amazing as you are. I hope your mom is healing and not in pain. The event looks like a blast, wish I had been able to make it.

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