Tuesday, March 20, 2012

KEYS 4 ART 2012!!!

I got home and had to decide between organizing this house after the hurricane which was KEYS 4 ART 2012 or blogging about it. The fact that you are reading this sort of indicates which direction THAT decision took!!!

So, on Sunday, March 11, 2012 commenced our THIRD annual Keys 4 Art retreat! This year we had two wonderful instructors, the fabulous LYNNE PERELLA and the amazing and lovable KATHY FILES of Paper Phenomenon who created an AMAZING project just for us!!! (The kit is now on sale on her blog!)

The ladies arrived on Saturday at the 11th starting at 11:30 am at Miami International Airport. We met at Chilis at MIA to wait for the others. They straggled in until 5:00 pm so needless to say, we ate, drank and laughed for hours at the airport!

I sent the ladies off in a transport van to Key Largo that afternoon and waited for Val (Brincheck) and Jen (Rogers- Daniels) to arrive and we were OFF!!!

Let the retreat BEGIN!!!

We had a late dinner and just got organized. The ladies that stayed in my house slept on air mattresses; 3 slept in the motor coach and the rest went with Jacquie (Valdespino) to a "beach house" lent to us by a very sweet man who is a good friend of Jacquie's and who has lent us his home two years in a row! We absolutely LOVE him! LOL!!!

Everyone received a beautiful tote bag with KEYS 4 ART engraved on it. These were purchased by Jacquie and are just fantastic. I decided that since this has become an annual event, I would make patches for each year with our logo for that year to attach to the bag. Everyone really loved their bags!!! Everyone received a 2012 patch and I will be sending out the 2010 and 2011 patches to those who attended that year! (Are we like the Girl Scouts or WHAT???).

This is a picture of our tote bag:

Inside each of the tote bags were tons and tons of goodies! I am not going to list everything that came in the tote bags but believe me when I tell you that everyone was quite happy! I will show things throughout the week and give credit where credit is due!

MONDAY 3/12/2012

This was our setup at my house:

I was a little concerned as this year was our biggest group (17)! Next year will be a little smaller and I am going to try to keep it to 15 or less every year from now on! Too much!!! LOL!

On Monday we just worked on our postcard project. This is a picture of my postcard book:

Eileen (Bellomo) had this wonderful idea about doing this project. We usually give each other handmade gifts when we meet for Keys4Art but Eileen suggested that this year, instead of going through that stress, we each make a postcard depicting where we are from with a picture of ourselves on the postcard. I had just returned from Cuba and took advantage of the trip to take a wonderful picture in ViƱales which I attached to my post card. Everyone did some really great postcards!

These are a couple of the postcards in our books:

The mermaids are from Daisy Cooper (Spring Hill, Florida); the flour delis is from Karen Trabor from Louisiana and the most creative postcard was from Val from Michigan!

That evening Jacquie invited us all to eat her unbelievable paella!!!

Does this not make you want to jump through the screen? And YES it tasted as delicious as it looked!!! Everyone helped Jacquie cut up the ingredients to put into this MASSIVE paella pot while I went to the airport with Teri to pick up the ultra-fabulous LYNNE PERRELLA!!!!

Even my husband Bernie got into the groove of things and helped Jacquie with the condiments!

Thank you my sweet friend Jacquie for your wonderful paella!!!

TOMORROW!! Our first day of class with the uber-fabulous Lynne Perrella!!!

Meanwhile, enjoy the smiling faces of some of the Keys4Art crew!!!

Teri Flemal, Eileen Bellomo and Pat Tillery - better known as the New York Tri-Fecta!!! These are the greatest ladies you could ever meet!

Jacquie Valdespino - Coral Gables, Florida. My BFF and my Keys 4 Art cohort!!!

Lillian Mederak - from Way-the-hell-up-there Canada!!! She comes every year to thaw out!!!


  1. Your house must be huge to fit all those people in with room to craft!They sure look like they are enjoying themselves!

  2. Keys 4 Art Rocked!!!!
    Your pictures are great but being there was even better!
    Thank you Elena and Jacquie !!!!!

  3. good morning from Belgium !

    hello Elena,

    I already saw some pictures on Eileens blog and damn... I 'm so jealous !! If I didn't live so far over the sea I would definitely want to be part of this.
    Just a whole week of creating with people you "know" through the internet, but already feel familiar since a long time, chatting and getting to know each other better, cooking together, having an awesome teacher as Lynn Perella !!!! ( looking forward what you made with her. The other teacher, I don't know yet).

    I also think you have a husband to keep ! Letting all those women in his house for a whole week, letting them rearrange your house for creating and sleeping,... I think my husband would go insane :)

    Looking forward to more of your stories of this past week !
    Thanks for sharing : makes me feel a bit I was there too ...

    greetings from belgium

  4. Love this blog post and all the great photos. You are a very, VERY special person to organize this and host it, and I'm so grateful that you include me. I'm already missing my art sisters!

  5. The photos are great but only hint at how fabulous the week was, and what an amazing, generous, warm hearted person YOU are for inviting us into your home and putting together such a fantastic retreat. I know it is a labor of love for you, but labor it still is. How you manage to do all this while maintaining a home and a demanding career is beyond me. But I'm sure glad you can! For as long as you want to do this, I'll be there!