Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Crafty Chica Cruise 2009 Recap

I can't believe it's been over two whole weeks! Geez.

SUNDAY: Well, three Sunday mornings ago, I got up bright and early and hopped a plane from FREEZING AND WINDY Sacramento down to sunny and dry, albeit breezy, San Diego. Got my luggage right away and strolled right up to a waiting taxi who dropped me at the docks and the awaiting Carnival ship, Elation, a mere 15 minutes later.
Docked in Ensenada

Thanks to the wonders of technology and a full keyboard for texting on my Crackberry, I quickly located Ann and Alisa.
Alisita wastes NO time

...and together we discovered some girls who just HAD to be our people!

photo by Ann Pohlers

Yep! It was Ginger, the lucky winner of the free cruise, and her equally cute pal Alicia. We all took an immediate "like" to each other which still hasn't worn off (yay new friends!) It took me a while to put it together, but I'd been cyberstalking Alicia on MySpace and Etsy for a while - she's "Spooky Mama Creations." I'd also recently started stalking Ginger's Etsy store, Boudoir Noir. I guess I need to pay attention to who I'm stalking, huh?
Who stalked whom, exactly?
Ann, me, Alisa, Alicia, and Ginger, at the bar (where else?)

Much silliness ensued at dinner the first night...
Time to cut Señor Perrito off

...and then the crafting began in earnest!

- photo by Ann Pohlers

Our first project was to embellish a blank canvas book (generously provided by CT Publishing) which could be turned into a banner or a lantern (or, duh! a book). The creativity among my fellow crafters was, while not unexpected, amazing.

Alisa's "prayer flags" made from a blank canvas book
- photo by Kathy Cano-Murillo

MONDAY: We anchored off of Catalina Island, former summer home to the Wrigley family and subsequently ground zero for the Cubs' Spring training. Now it's a cute little island with some history and the clearest water you can find on the continental U.S. Oh yeah, and they have flying fish!
Carnival "Elation" from Catalina

Ann and I wandered around taking some photos and Alisa, Yoli, Ginger and Alicia did some shopping as we awaited the arrival of the ever-popular Cyndi Garcia of The Santa Clarita Craft Lab to join us.
Santa Clarita Craft Lab meets Crafty Chica Cruisers!
The Crafty Chicas meet the Craft Labbers, and I finally realize that I don't make a very good where's Waldo.

After a couple of hours in the sunshine, several of us beat it back to the ship for more workshop time, but Yoli stayed and partied with the SCCL girlies! I won't even attempt to compete with the awesome post Cyndi wrote detailing her carousings with the Sacred One; you'll just have to read it for yourself.

Once Yoli tore herself away from the Coronas and chicas on Catalina, she taught an AWESOME altered silk scarf workshop.
silk scarf project
One of the very FEW projects I finished - my altered silk scarf

Dinner on the second night went off without Señor Perrito getting out of hand again, and we had another workshop awaiting us! This time, The Mantastic Crafter, Patrick Murillo himself, led a workshop in making Dia de los Muertos figures.

Isn't Mary K's Luchador magnificent?? And of course, Yoli did a super-awesome Frida.
- photo by Cathy Cano-Murillo

Patrick shared a lot of information on how he creates the bodies, but he made fifty "blanks" and carried them all the way from Arizona for us. All we had to do was embellish them! After a lot of giggling to myself, I decided upon a "burlesque dancer" for my skeleton. While she has her pasties securely in place (along with a very classy thong) along with her matching 'modesty' fans, she needs a LOT more work - photos of her later. Several of the ladies crafted into the wee hours of the morning, though I threw in the towel just after midnight. I heard through my sources that the conversation turned quite NC-17 after the witching hour, oh, my delicate ears!

TUESDAY: Shopping in Ensenada!!! We all got up early, donned our comfy shoes, grabbed our biggest shopping bags and headed for the debarkation deck.

Yoli and I goofed off for a minute before the serious shopping started.

Our first stop was the fabulous Bazar Casa Ramirez, where Yoli and I did some drive-by shopping last year, but where we spent the bulk of our time this year!
Bazar Casa de Ramirez

At least half of the craftistas from our group were already in the shop when we arrived, and the other half were on their way.

Window at Bazar Casa de Ramirez

photo by Yoli Manzo

At some point during the frenzy of purses, art, milagros, jewelry, figurines and other goodness, we found out it was Nana's birthday; it was a VERY feliz cumpleaños for her!
at Bazar Casa de Ramirez

Ann, Yoli and I wandered off down the street and found some pretty bags and blouses, but the find of the day was a little mercado of miniature shrine supplies that Yoli spied with her sacred little eye!

And here are a few of my tiny finds:
goodies! goodies! goodies!

We stopped at one more shop on our way out of town and back to the ship where I purchased a piece I thought had great bones (yeah, pun intended). Here it is before I got my glittery mitts on it:
Ensenada purchase "before restoration"

and after:
Ensenada purchase -after the MAKEOVER
What a big change a little glue and Crafty Chica glitter in Frida's Fuchsia, Rockabilly Ruby, Goddess Gold and a touch of BeBop Black on the horns, with a tiny bit of iridescent Stickles in Diamond White to set off the skull

While waiting for the bus to take us back to the docks, we had "on board" entertainment. I clearly surprised him when he challenged the gringos to sing along to La Cucaracha and I actually did. En Español even!

Surprised "Messican"

We needed to be back on the boat by early afternoon so that we could learn tin embossing secrets from the Artsy Gringa, Michele Parlee.

Step 2 - the india ink (before buffing) That's "Altered Rose" Jackson's piece in the foreground and mine is just above hers
- photo by Kathy Murillo

tin project
My tin embossing project following buffing and glazing

I've been really excited to work with tin and now that I have some tips and techniques under my belt, I feel confident that you'll be seeing more of it in my pieces! She made it look so darn easy! Be sure to check out her etsy store and her blog (and, hey, Michele! get some new tutorials up, would ya??)

Following din-din that night, we dove right back into the crafting with another project I actually finished (well sorta - I want to add one more detail): a 3D postcard shadow box!

3d pop art shadow box
My 3d Pop Art Shadow Box using a SHAG (the art of JoSH AGle) retro art post card, my custom mixed Crafty Chica glitter (Glamour Queen Green / Goddess Gold) and a Dollar Tree shadow box

WEDNESDAY: Was a "fun day at sea" (ha! we were anchored amidst fog and wavy seas, but that didn't stop the crafting)! We had two projects on the books, but several of us spent our day working on our 'secret pal' swaps. I got the super-cute 'Friendy Wendy' who was also my table-mate, so I did some super sleuthing for her gift. I ended up painting her a skele-weiner dog (oh, and umm.... did anyone snap a photo of it? PUHLEASE send it to me if you did).

The official projects were a way cool bracelet kit with all kinds of funky swag and findings. The chicas really did some awesome work:

Pat's bracelet, which was so heavy, she built up muscles just lifting her arm for this photo!

Ginger's "bracelet" project
- photo by Kathy Murillo

My "kit" finally got out of the bag last night at Scary CRAFT and I started working on it, but I'm looking forward to having the time to clean off one of the tables in my studio and really going to town. Photos when it's done, of course, will be posted here.

We also had a challenge to create a self-portrait out of paper, which Kelly Wright completely mastered! Hers is so simple and so right on!
Cute Kelly times two

Right before din-din, we had our cocktail party and secret pal gift exchange. They just kept bringing the drinks! I don't know what I was drinking, but it had a lot of Midori in it and I had ... several. At one point, Ann even had two rum punches in her paws (and I'm pretty sure it was right after she told our server, "no, I'm OK"). We were also treated to a customized rendition of "My Favorite Things" by Kelly Wright. Dang that girl has a set of pipes!

Kelly Wright belts out a tune written especially for the Chicas
- photo by Mary Kirschbaum

AFTER dinner, we had our craft bazaar (for Crafty Chica cruisers only) where I got a chance to stock up on all kinds of goodies, especially milagros in all shapes and sizes from Annette and Jose Armas of C.J.'s Angels (my new official supplier of mexican ephemera!!). I also had some Skelekitty rubber stamps available (I need to replenish my supply now!) and introduced my new line of "loteria" greeting cards available in both "glitterfied" and "regular." Because they went over so well (I sold out of all the hand-glittered ones!), I'm offering the same price to everyone on Etsy ($12 for a set of 4, $15 for 6 - mix and match is welcome).

The next day was a bit of a blur as we all said our goodbyes and I went home with Alisa and Ann, hostesses extraordinaire, and stayed in San Diego for 3 extra days where we hung out at Balboa Park, ate lots of tasty ethnic foods, crafted (I taught Ann to use her sewing machine and Alisa gleaned all of my UTEE secrets!) and I snuggled with the kitties.
Balboa Park, San Diego Balboa Park, San Diego Balboa Park, San Diego

As is one of the downsides of a cruise ship, I came home with a cold virus and spent the week following our return sneezing and coughing. However, it was STILL worth it, and I'm looking forward to next year already. I just have to figure out how to pay for it.... (psst! buy my cards so I can go! LOL)

WHEW! that post took DAYS to write (I started it last Wednesday, if you can believe it). We all had SO much fun, that there is no way I could incorporate it all into a single blog post, but I gave it the old college try. To see more photos, be sure to check out the Crafty Chica Cruise 2009 pool on Flickr (and if you repost, be sure to attribute the photo to the person who took it and, if posting a photo of art, to the artist who created the piece).

Finally, but most imporantly, I wanted to thank all of the companies, both small and large, who donated to the cruise:

Duncan Enterprises, jumbo crystal stud iron-on appliques
Rings n Things, bracelet blanks
CT Publishing, blank canvas books
Walnut Hollow, wood bases, drills, metal embossing kit
Ranger Industries & Claudine Hellmuth Sticky Back Canvas & Brush sets
Marisa Pavelko, The Modern Surrealist, prize tiaras and an art shirt
Foxy Findings, jump rings
St. Theresa's Textile Trove, jumbo totes (I have one and LOVE it).
Art Chix Studio, mixed media swag bags
Miss Vicky's Retreats, assemblage swag bags
Santa Clarita Craft Lab, mixed media swag bags
Silver Crow Creations, ephemera & collectible swag bags
CJ's Angels, decorative supplies
Hannah Grey, curiosities and dry goods!
Craft Magazine, magazines and other treats
The Paper Studio, gourmet and handmade papers
Suenos Latin American Imports, milagro swag bag
Grand Central Publishing, juicy novels to read on the ship
Instructables, crafty cards filled with ideas (and the coolest robot patch!), bumper stickers, pins, crafty recipe cards
and don't forget:
The Mantastic Crafter, skellingtons, testosterone and know-how

p.s. I was supposed to be giving away a swag tote containing goodies from these companies, but it ended up going home in Kathy's suitcase instead of mine, so be sure to cruise over to her blog to win it!