Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Creative Connection Event 2011

The Creative Connection Event... the rest of the story!

Arriving on Wednesday afternoon in St. Paul, I had time to walk around the local area. 

No, I didn't make it to Mall of America (shopping is the last thing I need to do!) but I did take a stroll around with my camera. Note to self: bring the lighter camera on next trip! There were beautiful hanging flower baskets from the antique-style lamp posts and interesting buildings. 

Does anyone know what this building is across from Rice Park? I didn't walk up close enough to find out, but I was attracted to the architecture as it reminded me of a castle. Very pretty, don't you think? Also notice the brick road which directs your eye right to the building.  

Across from the hotel was the riverfront of the Mississippi River. What a great view from my room! The next day was BlogHer Handmade day. We began with a welcome breakfast in the ballroom and a version of Speed Dating. For twenty minutes or so, we rotated down a line introducing ourselves and exchanging cards. This was a really fun way to meet some interesting people that a person might not have otherwise met. Did I mention that there were 300 or so people there that morning, with more joining for the next two days?

The rest of the day featured three social media panels (very informative), a keynote luncheon with Becky Higgins and Stacy Julian as speakers. Both were excellent, sharing their experiences, learnings and advice while keeping us laughing and smiling at the same time.

The day was capped off by the welcome dinner with keynote speakers Cristina Ferrare and Holly Becker. Each time we entered the ballroom, the tables were beautifully decorated. The tablecloth glimmered in gold as we ate and listened. 

Holly Becker

Both Cristina and Holly kept us riveted with their life stories as they inspired us all by sharing so much of themselves. These are truly accomplished ladies.  

Friday morning, I took Photo Styling with Becki Crosby. The class was packed with information and what a doll Becki is. She did a great job and I have great admiration for the business she has built.

My second class was Photography for Knitters & Craft Bloggers with Gale Zucker. I had seen Gale's photography on her website prior to class and wanted to learn from her. Her photography is beautiful! Another great class - I have tons of notes from both and left both classes totally inspired.

Photo used in inspiration board by Leslie Shewring

The next day started with a keynote breakfast with a great panel of women entrepreneurs including Janine Vangool, Kelly Rae Roberts, Karen Walrond, Leigh Standley, Melody Ross and Susan Branch. I could go on for days, but just let me say that they were all wonderful and forthcoming with challenges they faced and advice for others.

My first class was Traci Bautista's Making a Living as an Artist. Wow - another three hours jam-packed with information, tips, advice and more. The last class was Inspiration Boards with Leslie Shewring. I was anxious to meet Leslie as she co-taught the Blogging Your Way online class last spring. She was just as delightful in person and we used images, papers and washi tape to create some collages. It was a good way to see how specific colors can work with each other.

The class I wanted to take but didn't (oh, there were so many great ones to choose from!) was Creating Fabulous Parties with Kim Stoegbauer of Tomkat Studio. However, I was able to photograph the display outside her classroom later. She has tons of great party ideas!

In between sessions, I perused the Marketplace and took in all the creative wares being sold. There was also a book author's signing and cocktails one evening. Loved the yummy hors d'oeuvres and desserts.

But the last night was the Cupcake Farewell. Even though there were a lot of people around there, I managed to get in and take some photographs of these gorgeous creations.

Yes, I admit that I do buy cupcakes just to photograph so this was a highlight for me!

I didn't eat any, but I sure loved shooting them.

There were also cakes made by Carolyn Robb and Sarah Champler at their English Country Garden Afternoon Tea workshop. 

Oh my - have you seen anything more beautiful than these cakes and lovely bouquet? 

Nancy Sorriano, Jo Packham, Brandy Shay; Zac Williams

Jo Packham, co-founder of the event, gave some final words before everyone enjoyed the desserts. Since I'm always on a quest to improve my photography, I was able to have a nice chat with Zac Williams who was the official photographer for the event. Even he could not resist shooting the cupcakes!

So that was the end of the event, but there is so, so much more I could say. I met so many super nice people, including my new BFFs Debbie and Barb who invited me to dinner at a fabulous Irish pub. The turkey (their specialty) was one of the best I've ever eaten - yum! - and we had a great time. 

I came home with a bazillion notes taken from the panels, keynote speakers, workshops and people I met. It was truly the most inspiring event I've been to and since then, I've been spending hours (okay, days) reorganizing my creative space and planning my creative next steps.  Wow, I'm exhausted just thinking about it all! Kudos to Jo and everyone who worked so hard to make this such a great event. I'm hoping to be back next year!



June said...

Looks like such a great event. Wow, the food alone has me wanting to go some time Sharon! Beautiful photos of St. Paul. What a lovely place. I had no idea.
SO glad you made it home safe and sound.
hugs from here...

Debbie said...

Thanks for sharing your trip, I love the photos, and the cupcakes, out of this world. I am going to make attending this function one of my top goals for 2012.


Debbie said...
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Mitzi Curi said...

Wow, your pictures are just fabulous! I was hesitant to take pics inside for some reason, and wish I had more of the Marketplace and some of the presenters. Let's plan on going again next year, OK?

T's Daily Treasures said...

Hi Sharon, it all looks and sounds so absolutely fantastic. No wonder you came home inspired. Have a great week. Tammy (P.S. did you stick a cupcake in your pocket and sneak it home for Miss Gracie?) :)

Milady Leela said...

As always such lovely pictures.
That cake with the rose petals looks so fantastic!!1

Rustique Gal said...

Sharon, what a fun event that was! I can tell by your lovely pictures! It looks like you have your creative juices flowing now!
Have fun!

Leslie said...

Hi Sharon, it was lovely to meet you at TCC -it is wonderful to see all your photographs. I especially enjoy the ones of the city. I think I was indoors the whole time so it is nice to see your shots! Hope life is treating you well!
take care,