May 31, 2012

Point, Shoot and Hoot with Laughter

I begin this post with my boots, a flash, and a disclaimer that while I did have the same boots on (I have worn two different boots out - not on purpose), I took only my point and shoot camera and had a ball because I didn't shoot for beauty, but for fun.

I wasn't in the mood to shoot, but to have a good time, which did not include being behind the lens. My day started at 5:30 AM and I just now found my little "thingy" that allows me to download my card to my computer from this new little point and shoot camera. My adventure took place this last Feb with a bunch of girlfriends, and while the photos aren't too pretty, the fun was fab and girls are gorgeous to me...





The story really begins with "Flat Wendy." Actually, our good friend, Renee, was turning 50. Her sister, Wendy, who lives in Wisconsin, set up a wonderful surprise party, and we gals here in St. Louis got in on it and had a ball surprising Renee all day long.



We all met at Debbie's house at 6 AM and Renee lives across the street from Debbie. We all park far away and walk, and this happens to be in Feb - a VERY cold day!




Gretchen and Debbie make breakfast-to-go - look at the goodies.  No McDonalds with this crafty bunch. I am barely awake...I am not a morning person, but we are all excited, as Renee, the Queen of Shopping, thinks she is just meeting only Debbie to go to an estate sale - she hasn't a clue...





We (Gretchen, Flat Wendy, Carol and me...not in this photo, that is Debbie) all wait in the kitchen quietly holding a banner as Renee and Debbie walk in (gabbing away of course) and she turns the corner and this is what we see from Renee....






We just told her how much Wendy wished she could have driven down for the party, but since she couldn't, a version of herself came instead, and that is when Renee finally noticed "Flat Wendy."





We are all sure that Renee just did a little pee here...she is a "pee girl"....we all know and love her...but put a towel down on a long car trip that is sure to be filled with laughter and cut down on the sodas....





The time and trouble it took to get "Flat Wendy" to St. Louis is hilarious and only Wendy with her Wisconsin accent could tell the story correctly, but needless to say, it would have been cheaper for Wendy herself to have flown down herself! All week long, Debbie hid Flat Wendy in her hallway, and every time Debbie turned around, she gave herself a heart attack thinking someone was standing in the hallway!






While we were inside, Pete, Renee's husband, was outside decorating the van that Gretchen rented for our surprise trip...


We told Renee that we were taking her to her favorite shop, Whimsy...in a town that is a little over 4 hours away in Morris, IL.  






As the sun broke, we took out the trays that Gretchen brought (with rubber mats even) and opened up our beautiful lunch bags made by Debbie (I only eat, I don't craft, remember?) and we enjoyed a tasty breakfast that only a girl of 50 deserves...







Carol in the back and with Gretchen the driver and Debbie next to me, I think I got the best seat in the house...surrounded by the best company anyone could ask for!







Four hours and four pee stops later (I know you want all the details here), we all depart our van and take Flat Wendy with us on our adventure...




In keeping with the Flat Stanley, we decided that Flat Wendy should have her photo taken everywhere we go as well...Flat Stanley isn't the only one who gets out and sees the world...we are in MORRIS, IL, after all!







Renee poses with her sister, Flat Wendy, so happy that her sister was so thoughtful to send a substitute and we all laugh so hard...and have so much fun....







But as Renee poses with Flat Wendy, the REAL Wendy hops out of the store and surprises Renee and we all thought Renee was going to pee in her pants...we never laughed so hard!




 But it isn't over...out hops Mary, Renee's sister-in-law who said she couldn't make it either!






This is the best photo I got of all of us...but it reminded me of those old vintage photos so I put it in sepia...we had a ball.  Now it was time to enter Whimsy! The best store ever and look how we all attacked Renee the moment she entered the store:






Tracy, owner of Whimsy went through a lot of work to craft the crown, made up her store just for Renee and later made more things for Renee...Tracy is a very talented and sweet girl. Check out her site here:  Whimsy!








Now the party is starting! Tracy had drinks waiting for us in her store...how sweet of her! 







Renee and Gretchen and Tracy, store owner, and her lovely mother who helped her out on this special day.





Inside of Whimsy...wonderfully delicious!





Flat Wendy - now the store greeter...






Now a surprise luncheon at a tea room down the road that Tracy and Wendy (not the Flat one) set up for Renee....loved it...she is looking for the bathroom she is so excited....










There is Tracy...isn't she a doll? Talented, pretty, smart...want to hate her, but can't...she is too adorable.  Remember, Whimsy!





Above...close up of the crown that Tracy made for Renee...and below...well...what can I say? Only gal pals could give another gal pal Depends as a gift....to celebrate 50! It is Renee after all...very handy....






Okay, this will take a minute, but so worth it...don't look down yet...keep reading...

Wendy gives Renee a box as a gift and tells us all this story. Wendy is older than Renee. When Wendy married, she tells us that Renee gave her a wedding gift (I believe this wedding gift was about 30 years ago?) and what was so special was that Renee at that time, MADE the wrapping paper for Wendy's wedding gift. 

Well, Wendy was so touched by Renee's making the wrapping paper, that she KEPT the wrapping paper all these years and now as she is telling the story, Renee is opening up the box that Wendy just handed her....

Inside the box is THE wrapping paper that Renee had made Wendy all those years ago and now remember...all day long, you will remember, we are surrounded by all sorts of crafty women....

Gretchen and Debbie treating us to this beautiful breakfast in the van with beautiful tags, bags and ball jars filled with yogurt and then Flat Wendy that was sent to us, and then Tracy creating a beautiful crown and the lunch table and gift bags and the beautiful cake and on and on....all these beautiful, crafty very talented things all day long we experienced....

And then Renee opens up the box and pulls out the wrapping paper she crafted for Wendy's wedding so long ago and turns it around for us to see......

















OMG!!!We ALL BURST OUT LAUGHING with tears!!!! We could not stop and just kept laughing and laughing....and finally someone asked Renee...."Now how old were you when you made this?" And she said very sincerely, "About 19." 

And ALL of us in unison, just BURST OUT laughing so hard, our sides ached and we just couldn't stop laughing.....and the joke is that both Renee and I are the "uncrafty" ones of the group...but now she is TRULY the uncrafty one!







So I ask Tracy to come over and pose with Renee and to point to her crafty crown and for Renee to point to her "crafty wrapping paper" so we can see the difference in talent.....and we all burst out laughing...I love how she made the wrapping paper eyes go to the side and we all decided that was very "crafty and imaginative"!  







And here are the sisters and the beloved paper. I told Renee that she needs to frame that paper and hang it up in her house....how cool is it that her sister kept that paper for so long??? I still laugh out loud whenever I see that paper....









I felt much better after that little stunt because my gift was next, which Renee is already flipping out because it came in a leather French collar box. Yes, I tempted to craft something...very daring of me in a room full of real crafters...but after that wrapping paper fiasco, I was in the clear!







I made her a French Collar Wrist Corsage. I pulled out some REAL French stuff from my private stash.  If you hang in there...at the end of my post, I show you how I made it and even let you peek into my stash in my junky-ass basement....











Headed home now, and Debbie is crammed in the back with our goodies and we found lots!! Look how her arm is smashed...but look at her smile.


And can you find Renee's crown in the photo? She wore that darn thing ALL the way home and into every gas station and rest stop!







The surprises aren't over! Her parents drove down from Wisconsin as well and are waiting for her in her house. It is her dad's birthday as well. She has NO idea they are in her house waiting for her and she just walked in and I barely caught her reaction....




She finally took off her crown and looked in the mirror behind her and yelled, "Yikes! I have crown head!" And put the crown back on! Hahahha.





I'm so glad  found my "thingy" so I could finally download my photos from my little camera! I wasn't about to buy another one - too expensive...but I am glad to share my time with my gals.


Below are photos from my time spent crafting Renee's French Cuff Wrist Corsage:






















The photos pretty much show all you need to know. I pulled out my real deal stuff for her special day. I took an old cuff, sewed on vintage buttons as decoration and put on Velcro on the inside to make it easy to fit over the wrist. Took an old lace piece and threaded silk ribbon through it and pulled tight and glued it to the cuff and added trinkets. Scroll up to Renee wearing the cuff and and you can see what it looked like on her....


And below are scrolls I printed on old pages with some photos I printed up.  Debbie made some belly bands to go around them and at the end of the party, we all got one and unrolled it, read it aloud and then filled it in and gave it to her to put in a scrap book that Debbie made for her special day.







And while all the craft photos are pretty and such, and the real French stuff..the stuff I call the "real deal," looks dandy...well I thought you would get a kick out of the "real deal" when it comes to my basement and the steps I have to go down to get to my fancy-schmancy French stash......



I know...nice, right?  And see that dark line across the top of the photo? That isn't a dark line...that is a wall!  I must duck down as I go down the steps (and up) or risk knocking myself out...which I have done several times.  And see the plaster knocked off the wall and on the sides? That is from years of loading up and down the steps all sorts of inventory and totes as I quickly duck down and crash the tote (always load them too heavy) and lean against the wall so I don't fall, and chip away the wall over time....or...I drop the tote or whatever I am carrying and it tumbles down and crashes, and then falls down to the right and down to the floor....very graceful over here.




And in the dark, back corner of my dingy basement....lies the golden grail....or in my case...a big black tote. But it is filled with treasures from my trips to France, Germany and Belgium that I have kept over the years and pull out only on special occasions when I find a use for them in the home or for gifts or when I am going to sew....

SOMEDAY...you wait...I will have a really nice basement with steps that require no ducking and wide enough that I don't have to toss stuff down ahead of me so I don't kill myself...someday....sigh....





Here are just a few of the things...if I show more...then my stuff won't be a surprise for those who may be a recipient, now would it?  ;-)  I do love digging in here for photo shoots, or when I redid my living room and needed a drape for my single front window and found a beautiful hotel French curtain with the large lace piece in the center (it was posted). Or when I needed stuff for my wedding and dug around in here...an ugly trunk. Which is good. A thief would just walk right past it.  Never judge a book by its cover!!









I hope you enjoyed my day with my gal pals and my crafting project. No matter if crafty or not, no matter how ugly the trunk, or how bad the steps to get to the stash....it's the heart of the matter that matters. 


And gal pals get that.


And I know you do too...that's why I share with you the not so pretty basement that holds the good stash!


from my house to your house,




Signature

15 comments:

Alabaster Rose Designs said...

Oh Elizabeth, this was the best post ever!!! It made me want to be friends with you and your wonderful friends!
I laughed so hard at the pee thing, cause when my mom and I get together with my aunt and grandma, my mom always "trickles" because we laugh so hard!
What an amazing day you gave your dear friend, she is very fortunate to have you all! And your "real deal" stash is fabulous!! The cuff you made her was gorgeous!
I always enjoy reading your posts, I had such a yucky day and you made me laugh, thank you!
Have a beautiful weekend!
Sincerely,
Melinda

Nancy Wethington said...

OMG I think my group of girlfriends are kindred spirits to your group of friends. We need to meet - and we're all in St. Louis. This looks like so much fun. I've never heard of Morris but now must go there (with girlfriends of course).

Tracey said...

Absolutely loved it! You are very blessed to have a bunch of friends like that. Thanks so much for sharing

Rene Foust said...

Thanks so much for sharing such a wonderful celebration with friends and of friends! I really needed this, you put a smile in my heart.

trash talk said...

Man alive...I wanta turn 50 again so I can have that type of party. Psst...I'm real easy to surprise as I'm known to run around helter skelter with out a clue all the time.
I love Whimsy's blog. I go there for inspiration all the time. Tracy really is excellent at what she does.
Finally...that wrapping paper did me in. It reminded me of my "Talking Vay Jay Jay" a friend made me for a blogger button for one of the blog parties at Zapp.
Great post, great friends, and really great stash.
XO
Deb

Tina said...

Oh Lordamercy----- what a wonderful post! I laughed, I cried, I even read Slow.L.Y. to make it last. So great. Awesomesauce great. Big hugs from my crappy basement to yours.... and do not EVER say you are not a crafter. You are a creator and who can argue with that goodness??????

Kelly said...

what a great birthday...and fun to read..the best way to tune 50 with laughter and family and friends...great post....

A Cottage Muse said...

You girls sure do know how to have fun! Thanks for taking me along and for the giggles this morning!

rivka said...

Elizabeth, I've been following your blog for ages...actually been "following" you since the article in Home Companion Magazine. I love your talent! Thank you for all the sharing you do. I appreciate your honesty...even writing how setting up the photo shoots are so exhausting and the obstacles you overcome to get to just the right location for your photos. And your unfailing optimism.

I was inspired to leave the comment finally because this post was delightful. What a lovely and loving friend you are. (and whoa! you looked gorgeous at that party!) Your friends must love you.

Your friend must be very beloved. Again, thanks for this wonderful post.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Thank you everyone for the lovely comments. And I will say, even today, when looking at the post again, I STILL laugh out loud when I look at the wrapping paper that Renee made!

I love sharing with you all because I know you all "get it."

Thanks for making my day by leaving such lovely comments.

Big hugs
Elizabeth

Curtains in My Tree said...

I loved this post also , but I like all your post
The party was just too cool, loved her crown of 50 and that her parents surprised her and also your cuff bracelet made of vintage treasures & textiles

I love your deep dark hole of a basement , the best kind just like mine.
I feel like no one appreciates my stuff but I know you would, however I have NOTHING from France in my old boxes down in the basement

Auntie Bliss said...

FUN!! What a great group!
I LOVE the cuff so much...gonna make my little fifty year old self one :)
So...
I'll need to get into that trunk...

Jen said...

I just found your blog and laughed so hard at this post. What a fun group and wonderful friends you have. My favorite pic was the one of Renee with the crown on at the gas station and you can just see that crown above the top of the shelf!!! I was laughing like crazy. And Wendy saving that paper! Honestly, this is the funniest thing. THANK YOU for making my day. Girlfriends are the best especially as we get older. I don't know what I'd do without mine. Seriously, you have a gift for telling a story.
Jenifer

Mary Ellen said...

Oh this was so fun reading about your day celebrating Rene's birthday!! It made me homesick for my friends who would have (and have) done something just like this me and each other. Such a blessing in friendship!

Oh if Rene want's I do know of something that will help with the pee pee problem!

bee blessed
mary

Barbara said...

I really enjoyed your post and I laughed so much at the wrapping paper gift that I had to read it to my daughter! You have such a great group of friends and it was fun watching the day play out! It reminds me of the times my family would get together and laugh until you "pee'd".
Your decorations and gifts were awesome! This is my first time on your blog but I will certainly be back!

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