Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all ...

I am blessed beyond measure with my family and friends that have become family - especially Stacy, John and Marie, my Whitworth "family."

Remember - it's not what's on the table that counts, but who's sitting in the chairs.  I hope you have a chance to spend some time with all of your loved ones today!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Featured Guest - Tammy Lee

I was fortunate enough to meet Tammy last month.  Not only is she talented as all get-out, she can dance up a storm!  I think you'll agree with me that she's a true beauty!

How did you find out about Whitworth Ranch Retreat?  I first met Stacy and her mom at one of the scrapbook conventions.  I thought they were great and was hoping to stay at the ranch sometime.  Luckily, soon after that Cindy Mayfield planned a Paper Cowgirl retreat there.  I have been to the ranch four times now and I'm planning to go back this weekend.  I absolutely love it.  It's like bieng at a big slumber party with all of my best friends.

Do you have a preference as to which bedroom you sleep in?  I think I've spent the night in most of the different rooms now and I really love them all.
Where do you prefer to get your craft on?  Large room, small room?  My favorite craft room is the large one because we can all get together in the same room.  It's more fun for us when we are all together.  That way, no one misses a thing.
Were you in a mixed group or did you fill the house with your own friends?  I have been in a mixed group and I've been in the house filled with only friends that I already knew. Of course it's always great to get together with friends you know and catch up with each other. Though I really did enjoy the mixed group as well because I made new friends.
If there is an opening for just one person, are you open to attending a retreat with women you’ve never met?  Yes, absolutely I would.  Based on my past experience with the people I have met, everyone has been very friendly and inclusive.  So even though I might be a little nervous, I would not feel too uncomfortable to go by myself.
We all know that Stacy is an excellent chef.  Do you have a favorite meal?  I love all the food that Stacy makes, but some of my favorites are her homemade biscuits, taco soup and coconut cake. Every time she cooks for us I'm always asking for recipes and she is very sweet about sharing them.
Are you a paper crafter, quilter, knitter, jewelry maker or trouble-maker?  I am a mixed-media artist, so sometimes my interest can be all over the place. I spend most of my time oil painting, but I love to make jewelry, flowers and purses among other things.

I would not consider myself a troublemaker but if a group of my friends and I are together we do tend to get a little bit loud and silly. We like to have fun while we create! Lol!

I've been into arts and crafts most of my life but I've been doing mixed media and oil painting for about four years now.

When you create, do you sell the finished products, keep them or gift them?  Sometimes I do sell or give away my creations. I'm always thrilled when anyone likes something enough to want to own it.
What is your signature style?  My style is a combination of shabby chic, vintage, artsy and funky.
What have you created that you are most proud of – and why?  My favorite piece is an oil painting I did of a coal miner. He had a weathered face, full of character. My mom had torn his picture out of the newspaper about 30 years ago, thinking that someday she would like to paint it. She and I both painted it about two years ago. I think when we finished we felt like we knew him. So I still have the painting in my house and I feel like he's a member of our family.  Also shown is another piece I painted.

If Ms. Muse decides not to show up, where do you get your inspiration?  When I'm looking for inspiration I usually get on Pinterest or start flipping through my Somerset magazines. I also like to go shopping or spend time somewhere I can surround myself with beauty of any kind.  And then sometimes just going into the studio will inspire me.
Do you have a dedicated craft area in your home?  I have a small room in our house that is my craft studio. I have lots of shelves and cubbies to put things away. I have stacked them floor to ceiling. It seems that I am always in the process of re-organizing that space. Lol!

How do you keep your area organized and do you have any tricks for organizing your supplies?  So far what seems to work best for me is to keep like products grouped together. I try to have all my paints and inks in one area. Paper and ephemera in one area and things like that. Staying organized is a huge challenge for me. Most of the time I don't get to finish a project in one sitting and I am always so tempted to leave it out so I can just pick up where I left off, but sometimes it's days or even weeks until I can get back to it. For that reason I have found it works much better for me to go ahead and clean up after each sitting. Otherwise I will start a new project and then before I know it my table is so cluttered I can't get to anything and I end up cleaning instead of creating.
What are you working on right now?  I'm in the process of taking a free online organizing course from Tiffany Spaulding and I think it's really going to help me. Fingers crossed. Lol!
What would your dream space be like?  If I could have a dream space it would be a giant studio in my backyard. I would decorate it all vintage shabby chic and funky. I would have different stations with chairs and shelves so that you could move around and work on a project without having to drag everything out and put it up every time. Like a fabric station with a sewing machine. An ink and paint station where I would keep all my stamps, stencils and collage materials. I would  have another station with my printer, my big shot and my cricket with all my dyes and cartridges together.
I would have lots of table and floor space so all my friends could come over and create too.
Oh my gosh I could go on forever. That would be sooooo awesome!  ;~}

I don't know about you, but I want to spend more time with Tammy.  I'm sure some of that mixed-media talent would rub off on me.  Thank you, Tammy for agreeing to be a featured guest.

Would you like to share a little something about yourself?  Just let me know - we'd all love to meet you!

Remember one thing:  YOU matter.  See you next time!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Won't be long now ...

April and Damon will be tying the knot and making it official on Saturday.  I've never been to a country chic wedding before and looking forward to being there.

Heading out in a couple of hours to Whitworth Ranch.  This time, I won't have to carry everything I own since it's not really a typical retreat.

Centerpieces and over 300 flowers were made in August for this wedding.  Don't think any more will have to be made so all I'll need is my trusty glue gun and apron to put the finishing touches on the decorations for tomorrow's wedding.

Billie Long is the official photographer so as soon as I get some pictures from her (and some that I hope to capture) I'll be sure to post.

Happy Wedding!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Denim and Diamonds

I had the honor of being invited to Karen Hillman's Denim and Diamonds event last weekend.  Oops, two weekends ago.  Where does the time go?????

All glammed up in our denim, diamonds and Western wear, just before the sun set and before dinner, we gathered around the tractor.

Karen and Randy Nathan slipped away from the kitchen and the dinner they prepared for us for their Kodak moment.

Dinner was delicious: Cajun mac and cheese, chicken divan, a huge salad and biscuits.  It's a good thing there was dancing.  We sure worked off that meal, let me tell you!  I still cannot believe one of us didn't land in the pool.  Thanks, Sam - you did a great job playing the music and singing, too.
Once again, a good time was had by all.  It's always fun at this country chic retreat.  New friends, new experiences.  I can't wait to retreat with y'all again.
Remember one thing:  YOU matter  See you next time ...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Guest - Kim Zapalac

Since we can't all retreat with each other at the same time, wouldn't it be fun to at least get to "meet" each other?  I've decided to feature some retreaters here on the blog.  Let me introduce you to our very first featured guest, Kim Zapalac.  By the way (and I think you'll agree with me) she did an outstanding job in answering the questions!)
Tell us something about yourself. I was born in New York and moved to Houston when I was 13 years old. I have lived in Texas ever since and love the beautiful flowers, countryside and beaches!! I became an avid photographer and scrap booker in high school and continued my hobby through parenthood. When my daughter was six months old I went to a Creative Memories party and was hooked. I started making Creative Memories scrapbooks in 1997 and also became a consultant. I remained a consultant until they went of business. I still make scrapbooks and love to attend retreats.  I try to attend at least four retreats a year! Scrapbooking is just one of the many crafting hobbies I enjoy. I also partake in painting, sewing, quilting, card making and much more. I am very blessed to have a loving and supportive family who encourage me to do my crafting!
I have been married 25 years and have two beautiful children. Ross (age 22) and Bridgette (18.) They both attend Texas A&M University, so we are BIG AGGIE fans. I am also the mother of two beautiful fur babies! Sasha, our rescue lab is four and Bentley, our giant lab puppy who thinks he is a bunny is a year old. They love to go on long walks, swim in our community lake. I am also a lucky Grandmommie of my son's lab mix, Shiner, the best Granddog ever. My favorite season is fall; I love the colors, celebrations, decorations and the football, oh the football. I LOVE TO WATCH football (especially college games!)
How did you find out about Whitworth Ranch Retreat? I attended a retreat a few years ago and met a very close friend of the owner of the Whitworth Ranch. We were discussing the next retreat (as we always do near the end of the retreat.) She suggested we try out the Whitworth Ranch since it was such a lovely retreat. She also told us about the hot tub and pool available to use at the retreat. Well, once I heard about the pool and that the owner was an executive chef. I was SOLD. I stood up out of my seat and shouted out “sign me up!”  I have been there attending three to four retreats a year ever since that day! Actually, I haven’t been to another retreat since I attended my first retreat at the Whitworth Ranch. I consider it my home away from home.
How many times have you been there? Total retreats. I think seven times and soon to be eight. I am attending a sewing retreat the last week end of September!
Were you in a mixed group or did you fill the house with your own friends? Most of the retreats have been with all of my friends, but I have been with a mixed group there as well, which worked out just fine since there are two sleeping houses with full kitchens and bathrooms. Also, there are two separate scrapbooking rooms, so mixed groups can easily be accommodated. I don’t mind mixed groups at retreats. I think it makes the retreat fun and exciting. I also enjoy mixed groups because it gives me an opportunity to make new friends!!
If there is an opening for just one person, are you open to attending a retreat with women you’ve never met? Yes, I am open to attending a retreat with people I don’t know. Actually, the next retreat I am attending is with a sewing group of women I have never met, but I am excited to go and learn how to make a special quilt.
Are you a paper crafter, quilter, knitter, jewelry maker or trouble-maker? So funny!! All of the above with a very teeny tiny amount of jewelry making! I've been paper crafting for 40+ years, quilting (brand-spanking new quilter), knitting (made one knitted item 30 years ago), jewelry making (about 15+ years, but I only make a few items a year!!) I LOVE BEADING!!  Trouble-maker – all the time for 50+ YEARS!!
When you create something, do you sell, keep or gift? Again, all of the above. I sell some premade scrapbooking pages and or supplies to make the pages. Would love to sell some quilts, but always keep them or give them away as gifts.
What is your signature style? I guess you could say Shabby Chic. I love making old stuff into beautiful items. I have mostly a traditional style. I LOVE antiques (and own many!) When scrapbooking, I am a traditional scrap booker. I’ve done a few digital books based on a special occasion or celebration. I love Smash Books and recently started making Junk Journals, all while trying to keep my family and vacation books current! Needless to say, I am a very busy scrap booker!!
What have you created that you are most proud of – and why? My most treasured creation is my daughter’s high school graduation Junk Journal (below.) It is perfect collection of her cards, pictures and special memorabilia. I had so MUCH fun making this book!!
Do you have any crafting secrets you would like to share? No crafting secrets. I like to use memorabilia as embellishments. And, I am recently obsessed with liquid pearls.
If Ms. Muse decides not to show up, where do you get your inspiration? Idea books and my electronic idea database organized by theme. And of course my collection of page ideas on Pinterest.
Do you have a dedicated craft area in your home? Yes, I have a craft room in our upstairs fourth bedroom and it is jammed packed with stickers, paper racks, two work desks, a bed and television. Shelves reach from floor to ceiling crammed with artwork, pictures and lots of paper - oh the paper!! The walls are covered with framed artwork from my kids' preschool and elementary days. Displayed in my special room are my special treasures and collections: I have my gnome collection in there as well as my Topo Gigio (a very famous puppet from The Ed Sullivan Show, late 1950s, early '60s.)
Are you a neat or a messy crafter? Messy crafter all the way!!
Finish this sentence:  When I am in my creative space ... I usually spend most of my time organizing!
It’s time to go shopping.  Does most of your money go to Hobby Lobby, Joann’s, Michael’s or a local scrapbook store?  Or are you an on-line shopper? Oh, my gosh, all of the above again!! So, I will put in order. Mostly Hobby Lobby, which is about three miles from my home.) Then online. Michael’s and Joann’s last. We really don’t have any local scrapbooking stores in Houston anymore (which makes me very sad) L I miss Archivers! There is one VERY small one in Spring which is about 20 miles from our home. I only go there about once a year. I prefer locally owned and I always visit May and shop at her store in Mayfield the Whitworth Ranch.
If you were given $1000 to spend on craft supplies/tools what would you purchase? Liquid Pearls, adhesives, scrapbooks, page protectors, flowers, embossing sets and lots and lots of paper!!
Do you spend hours and hours looking at blogs?  Do you have a blog? I love blogs, but I don’t have one!! I also LOVE Pinterest. BTW.
I know.  I know.  What happens at the retreat stays at the retreat.  Let’s break a few rules.  Tell me something interesting that was said or happened on one of your retreats. Well, we love to watch musicals and sing to all the songs. I guess that’s not a big secret, but it is a FUN fact. We love to have some cocktails while floating in the pool. Well, we did have a wild afternoon in the pool and some twerking and booty clapping went on.  Not to mention any names, but some of us did have to take a long nap after that!! We always have so much fun!! Again, no secret, but a fun fact!!
Now that you've met Kim, wouldn't you just love to spend a weekend with her?  I'm sure she could teach us all something since her interests are all over the place: scrapbooking, jewelry-making, quilting.  Oh, and twerking!  I'm not sure what booty clapping is but I'm sure she would be happy to teach us that, too.  Thank you, Kim, for being the first featured guest.  I know I can't wait to meet you!

Would you like to share a little something about yourself?  Just let me know - we'd all love to meet you!

Remember one thing:  YOU matter.  See you next time!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

CKC-San Marcos and a Surprise Treat

Whitworth Ranch Retreat took their show to San Marcos last weekend.  Check out their new display - the new addition (back wall) that Justin built is super!
I hope you had the chance to stop by their booth and visit with Marie, Stacy and Billie.  I know one person stopped by - Jennifer Fest won a weekend for herself and friends.  I know you and your group will enjoy yourselves.  Congratulations!!!

Coming up soon ... a surprise treat.  It involves somebody by the name of Kim.  Do you know anybody by that name?  Hmmmmmmmm - could it be your friend?  Stay tuned.
Remember one thing:  YOU matter  See you next time ...

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Welcome to A Country Chic Retreat

Yes, welcome!  Sit back, grab something to drink and enjoy the words, the photographs and all the information this one blog post can offer.

Have you ever heard about retreats and wondered what they were all about?  I did.  I also couldn't imagine packing up my supplies and taking them "somewhere" to craft when I could do all that at home.  What should I take?  What should I leave at home?  What if I forget something?  Most importantly, how would I ever get everything out of my car and into the retreat?  Wonder no more. Whitworth Ranch Retreat offers wagons to carry all of your "stuff" from point A to point B.

Don't scrapbook or make cards?  Certainly, don't let that keep you from going on a retreat.  Maybe you'd just like to get away and relax and get a massage, read a book, swim, watch a movie or take a nap.  Perhaps your "thing" is to make jewelry, knit, crochet, quilt or sew.  Look at the beautiful outfits Julie made for her twin granddaughters.

Whitworth Ranch Retreat is family-owned and operated.  I am not one of the owners but
I certainly feel as if I am part of their family.  John, Marie and Stacy make every single person that steps foot into their retreat feel like family - always.  You will see them wander in and out during your stay.

The venue is so very peaceful - the retreat sits on 50 country acres where you can enjoy watching the cattle.  They love it when you talk to them and they even talk back.  True story!

You can enjoy one of the 18 single (non-bunk) beds in five bedrooms.  All bedrooms are handicap accessible and are on the first floor with the exception of one.  Next to each bed is a night stand and all bedding is high-quality.  Each bedroom has a vanity table where you can set up your beauty bar.

There are four bathrooms where towels, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and hair dryers are provided.  Two bathrooms have a showers/tub combination while the remaining two offer showers.

You can enjoy their two kitchens, two dining rooms and two craft rooms that seat 18 people.  Every crafter has a six-foot table where you sit in a comfy office chair with adjustable seats and side arms.  Your space has self-healing mats, drink holders and trash cans.  Offered for your use are a full array of stamps, a Cricut machine with over 50 cartridges, die cutting machines and dies.

I always have good intentions.  I start out like this ...
but quickly, I am working in something like this.  Six feet of real estate and it all comes down to working in less than a 12"x12" space.  Hey - it happens.  Don't judge!  I usually know where everything is and try not to spill over into my neighbor's space.  Most of the time I am successful.

Need to move away from your craft area?  Guests have been known to sit on these comfy sofas to catch a second wind or just to rest their weary bones.  The nice part is that you don't have to leave all the high energy because they're situated right here in the large craft room.  Some guests have even been known to spend the night here.

Oh, don't let me forget the food.  Stacy is culinary trained and can handle special dietary needs.  Her meals are TO. DIE. FOR.  Let me be the first to tell you that you will not go away hungry.  Ever.

Are you a water lover?  Check out this pool and hot tub - especially inviting during our Texas Summers!!!  A kitchen, two craft rooms, two bedrooms and two baths are housed in this building.  The remaining bedrooms, baths, kitchen and dining rooms are in the house, which is just to the left of the pool.  Under the covered patio is a gas grill and the chuck wagon for Stacy's famous BBQs.
This wonderful retreat is located in Scurry, Texas.  They are 12 miles from Kaufman where a brand new Walmart just came to town (always good to know for a quick trip to replenish supplies or snacks.)  Don't live close by?  Don't let that stop you from loading up the car and caravan with some friends, hopping on an airplane or researching a retreat in your area.  You won't be sorry.
I was fortunate enough to help Stacy at CKC-Houston last month.  Whitworth Ranch Retreat shared a space with The Little Blue House and was able to reach quite a few Houstonians.  Are you from that area?  It's a "doable" car trip - only about three and a half hours from The Woodlands to Whitworth.  Congratulations to Diana Chestnutt!  Diana was the lucky winner for a free weekend retreat for herself and her friends.  She has decided to retreat in October 2015.  Enjoy!
I won't be at CKC-San Marcos on September 5th and 6th but you will be able to meet Marie, Stacy and Billie Long.  Stop by, visit with them, pick up a packet of information and drop your name in the bucket to take a chance on WINNING A WEEKEND RETREAT FOR YOURSELF AND SEVEN FRIENDS.  You never know - you might be the winner ... and then you'll be hooked for life - just like me!

Do you have a special event coming up?  Whitworth Ranch Retreat will be happy to take care of your graduation parties, wedding/baby showers, bachelorette weekends, weddings, special artful gatherings and classes.  How about planning a "staycation" for your family?
Speaking of weddings, next month April and Damon will be tying the knot at an intimate gathering at their country chic barn style wedding.  Billie Long will be behind the lens capturing the bride and groom every step of the way.  I will be posting pictures so that you can get an idea on how it's done in the country!
Are you a "picker?"  Tracy Pounds from The Little Blue House will be at the Pickers' Holiday Workshop the last weekend of October, which is also First Monday, Canton.  There are still a couple of openings so reserve your spot today if you would like to be a part of the festivities.  Your reservation will include all lodging and meals for five days.  You will be creating three-four holiday projects and all class instructions will be included.  If you miss this workshop, there will be another one in the Spring.
I invite you to visit the website at  There's so much more information and photos on this site than I have touched on here.
This wonderful country chic retreat only has two weekend openings for 2014:
December 18-21
December 26-28
Next year is booking up fast and it really isn't that far away.  Dates available are:
March 5-8, 12-15, 19-22, 26-29
April 2-5 (Canton weekend) and 9-12
May 7-10, 21-24
June 4-7, 11-14, 19-21, 25-28
July 9-12, 23-26
August 6-9, 27-30
September - 3-6, 10-13, 17-20, 24-27
October 29-November 1
November 5-8, 12-15, 18-22, 25-29
December - 3-6, 10-13, 17-20
Of course, all of these open dates are subject to change.  Please contact Stacy Seely at 817-706-8118 or whitworth.ranch@yahoo to reserve a spot for you and your group.  Stacy already has some retreats on the books for 2016 - yes, already!  I am unable to schedule your reservations or accept your payment; you will need to speak directly to Stacy.
I am so happy and proud to be the blog author for this country chic retreat.  If you have spent (or will be spending) a weekend here, please leave a comment and share your experiences.  If you would like to share some pictures with me, please e-mail them to and I will be happy to post your good times for all to see.  Please type in your e-mail address in the right-hand column - you won't want to miss any posts!
I would love to have you visit my personal blog at SuZeQCreations.

Remember one thing:  YOU matter  See you next time ...