Sunday 21 August 2016

HLS Craft Retreat - WOW! - (Photo Heavy!)

Hello! I am back from my whirlwind tour of Europe. I really packed in the sights and I loved every minute. Unfortunately it got the better of me and I ended up with Bronchitis towards the final leg of my trip. I'm still not the best and am suffering from jet lag but I just couldn't wait to share a particular part of my trip with you.

The 29th of July marked the inaugural Happy Little Stampers Craft Retreat in the UK. I had been planning and organising it for about 18 months. Yes, I did from Australia - thank god for the internet! 

If I was asked what was the highlight of my 4 weeks away - this would have to be it. I cannot believe how everything came together. From the feedback I have received, it was a complete success and I can't wait to start planning the next one! 

The ladies that attended were my 'guinea pigs'. I had never done anything like this in my life. I am truly grateful to everyone that came along. We had a fantastic weekend - great food, great company and plenty of crafting.

The morning of the 29th had me driving from Bath to Swindon. First stop was HobbyCraft so I could pick up the supplies -

(You will have to forgive me if the photos aren't the best. I 'killed' my camera on the very first day in London so I had to use my phone.)

What a dork....

Then it was on to the Blunsdon House Hotel where the retreat was being held. With a little help from my friends, we set up our craft room.

Many thanks to Simone and Anne :)

Thanks so much to Sizzix for our loan machines, dies, and giveaways. HobbyCraft Swindon also provided us with a lucky door prize (won by Anita!)

Around 2pm everyone started arriving. It was so amazing to finally meet everyone. I had met a few of the girls previously but it was so good to hug everyone when they arrived!

Of course we ended up in the bar and took over a complete section so we could get to know one another :)
Kathy, Di, Monika

Julie, Darnell, Carol

Marina, Sarah, Anita

Kylie (me) and Chrissie

Val, Sue, Anne, Lilian

Then it was time for dinner and who turned up but Miss USA herself!!


Miss USA even allowed us all to have our photos taken with her tiara - what a princess!

Thanks for the collage Darnell!

A great group shot at dinner -

Melissa and her gorgeous family arrived just in time for dinner after driving from Germany!

Ready for day one of the reatreat?

Everyone is starting to arrive and finding more goodies on their tables (everyone was given a goody bag at registration the night before as well!)
The first demo was how to use Brusho watercolour crystals a number of ways. 

These were the pieces using the Brusho, Starch and Cling Wrap technique. 

The next demo was done by my beautiful mum - Christmas in July making Crakers and Table Wreaths

Day 1 was fantastic - we also had lots of Anything Goes time. Check out the mess we made!

Day 2 of the retreat had us playing with stacks of supplies from Sizzix and WOW! Embossing Powder. Carol gave us an amzing demo on masking using all different products. Carol you were awesome!

We also had a number of challenges that were run at the retreat.

Challenge 1 - Create an Australian Themed Christmas Card - winners: Sue and Val
Challenge 2 - Create a Card using a technique from Day 1 - winners: Marina and Sue
Challenge 3 - Create a card using an object you found at the hotel - winners: Kathy and Val
Challenge 4 - Photo Scavenger Hunt - winner: Di

Throughout the retreat we had lucky door prizes and raffles. We had an amazing amount of goodies from our wonderful sponsors - Sizzix, WOW! and Colourcraft (Brusho products). Thank you to all these sponsors!!

Some of us joined in an ATC swap - check out these amazing makes -

Here are all the cards/tags that were made by all the gals at the retreat -

We also had a special guest -

And a final group shot before it was time to say goodbye -

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the ladies that came. You made it such a great weekend and I can't wait to come back. Thanks for the encouragement and support (and my surprise presents) to give me the confidence to do it all over again. 

Special thanks to

My Mum - mum travelled with me on this epic journey. We travelled around the UK, Wales, France, and Spain. What memories we have!
My best friend Simone and her mum Anne - for all their help with the set up and just for coming on this trip!
Sandie and Callum - for putting Mum and I up while in London. They are seriously the best!
Carol - for taking deliveries for me and bringing them to the retreat. I couldn't have done that without you! Your demo was fantastic (hence everyone getting on bloody Amazon buying up everything) and I appreciate your neverending support. I can't wait to see your next demo hint, hint.
Julie - for being the boss of ATSM while I was away and running everything for me. Also for returning the loan machines to Sizzix. You are the best!
Monika - for helping my mum. Thank you!
Kathy - for just saying 'go for it' and her support when I broached the subject of the craft retreat many moons ago. 
Florence and Freddie - for putting up with mum and I while in Spain - germs and all. Love ya guts.
Barb - for taking care of ATCAS for me while I was away. She is a star!!
Jane - for taking care of the HLS challenge blog while I was away - thank you so much!

That's it! What an epic adventure I've had. I can't wait to get back into my craft room and play with some of the goodies from the retreat and my new purchases. 

I am going to copy and paste this post to the HLS blog - sorry for the double up but I am jet lagged and using that as my excuse for not writing a whole new post :)

Thanks for popping in. I hope that this will inspire you to come to the 

2nd Happy Little Stampers Craft Retreat in ............................

stay tuned


  1. And, as an attendee/guinea pig, may I say how well it all went - it was brilliant fun and I'll be "staying tuned" for the details of the second HLS retreat! YAY! and BRING IT ON

    Brilliant pix too

    Hope you will soon be feeling better


  2. I'll second that! Such a great set of ladies, who just got down and inky!
    It went by with such a whirl that I couldn't believe it had happened the day after I got home! The piccys prove it did, despite the tiara being too big for my small bonce, it would keep slipping down!

  3. A great time was had by all which is apparent from this terrific account! Well done Kylie, here's to the next one!

  4. Wow such a fabulous trip :) I am sure it was fun seeing and crafting together in person. Loved reading ur post !

  5. Thanks so much for everything, Kylie! This was an EXCELLENT retreat and I look forward to hearing your plans for a second one. I hope that you are feeling all better very soon. Thank you again and hugs from the entire Lane family.

  6. Oh I loved reading this Kylie! Well done to everyone and especially you for having the courage to take the leap!What great photos too. I did giggle at the one from the very end of day one - that room looks like a pack of dogs just had a fight in there! Too funny :) Hope you're soon totally well again - and planning your next retreat!


    Di xx

  7. Your post says it all Kylie! Another guinea pig but loved every minute! You're a star for organising this superb event and can't wait for the next one! Carol your demos were so inspiring that I don't think Amazon knew what had happened over the weekend with so many craft orders of the same gorgeous goodies! Get well soon Kylie... You can rest up now! X

  8. As a guinea pig with a pet hamster (wait. what?) who came all the way from America, I'm in awe of what a fabulous job you did organizing and executing this fun, inspirational, and educational Retreat! Thank you so much to you and all your helpers for all you did to make this happen! I'm looking forward to the 2nd Annual HLS Retreat!! Get well soon! Hugs, Darnell

  9. Great post Kylie, sorry I missed it x

  10. WOW... Kylie... that is some trips and fun gathering you had! Love seeing the amazing projects, too! So glad and thankful that you are back home safely :)

  11. Looks like it was a huge success, Kylie, and so much fun! Wish I could have been there. Congratulations on it and on going forward to plan another one.

  12. How've had a great time. Most, however, I envy the that you can meet together and get to know personally.

  13. Welcome home, Kylie! I left lots of love for you on the HLS happy that you had such a great time, and I hope you're feeling better! Hugs, Barb xoxo


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