Tag Archives: fun

A New Obsession…

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I’ve never thought of myself as an artistic type.

Never.

Ever.

So I don’t know what encouraged me to buy a Groupon to a Paint and Sip event. Maybe I was intrigued when I first learned about these from Lisa’s post. She lives in the Portland area and when I read/saw her post, I immediately thought, “I wish we had those here!” She said that she wasn’t an artist either. And her painting turned out beautifully!

And every website indicates that there is “no painting experience necessary!” I figured that they wouldn’t say that if they wanted happy customers. And it sounded like a lot of fun. So I bought two different deals to different events led by two different companies without ever having done much more than a paint-by-number as a child.

And now I am obsessed!

Generally, at these events, the cost includes your canvas, the use of brushes and paint and the instruction. Everyone is painting the same thing and you are given step-by-step instructions from an artist, although you can feel free to make your painting your own in any way that you want. The event lasts about three hours.

It’s called a Paint and Sip event because you can also buy beverages (alcoholic or non) to sip on (and/or relax yourself!) while you are painting. Sometimes food is offered, too.

In the Twin Cities metro area, I’ve been to classes run by:

  • Cheers Pablo – Studio in Woodbury
  • Brushes and Brews – Paint & Sip events at restaurants throughout the Twin Cities (generally the south metro)
  • Art and Elixir – Paint & Sip events at restaurants throughout the Twin Cities (generally the north metro)

Here’s what I’ve painted so far…

Table in the Rain

Cheers Pablo – Woodbury, MN

I attended my first event with my husband, not knowing what to expect. We decided to do a Couple’s Painting because why would we need two of the same painting in our house? What this meant is that while every one else was doing their own painting, we’d each be doing one-half of a painting on two separate canvases!

Sample of one canvas painting versus a Couple’s Painting on two canvases:

It’s amazing to think that we started with these canvases with a simple sketch…

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And of course a glass of wine…

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You might be wondering how a painting could look cohesive if you have two different people painting it. The instructor told us that we’d be swapping canvases throughout the night, so the work would be a combination of the two of us!

The process…

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But then Rob went rogue!

He decided that he didn’t want to “conform” and put windy rain on his side and refused to paint his side of the table the same color. At this point, we completely forgot all about swapping!

Here is our finished work:

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It was a ton of fun! It’s a unique piece of work that represents the two of us.

I was hooked.

~

Wine & Song

Brushes and Brews – painted at Casper’s in Eagan

My friend and I chose this painting mainly because of location and timing. In the banquet room, the artist had a sample of the work we’d be doing and another canvas he’d be working on himself as he guided us along through the project.

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This time, we started with a blank canvas. Jen and I discussed how relaxing it was to make brushstrokes into these circles to form our background.

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The process:

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And our finished paintings to bring home…

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Owl Always Love You

Cheers Pablo – Woodbury

My friend Kim said she wanted to do this painting for her daughter:

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I agreed, but wasn’t sure those colors would go in my house. {But, duh, you can make the painting any color you want.} Then Rob had the great idea to give the painting to his parents for Christmas! It would be a one-of-a-kind piece of art especially from me.

But there is a little pressure for an inexperienced artist when you know you are giving it as a gift. Plus, I didn’t want them to feel like they’d have to hang up a(n adult) child’s artwork in their home. But I went with it.

When we arrived, they gave us all sorts of options:

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I decided to stick to the winter theme because I loved how the owls were snuggling and wearing scarves and earmuffs! Kim decided to go with the spring version.

This time, we started with a blank canvas. We got to do a swirly circle background again! Here’s how we started out…

Don’t they look creepy without the eyes!?

And the rest of my process…

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And here’s our finished work… success!

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When Kim’s daughter saw the painting, she pointed out that the little owl was her and that the bigger owl was Kim. How cute is that?!

I didn’t like how dark I made the circles around my red owl’s eyes. So I turned them into glasses! I think he looks like a professor. My mother-in-law said that she is going to name them!

~

Stone Arch Bridge

Cheers Pablo – Woodbury

I told the girls that I really wanted to paint the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis because it kind of holds a special place in my heart because Rob and I have had some of my favorite dates walking that area of town like this time and this time.

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We all felt like this was the most difficult one we had done yet. We had a hard time looking past the painting itself and looking at it in terms of shapes instead. As usual, we started with the background.

I was having a hard time creating the colors I wanted to. In the photo below, where we began to sketch in the buildings, you can see the bridge that we are trying to paint on the screen on the wall. Those are the colors I wanted.

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We were all confused on how this could possibly turn out like that painting. But then I realized we needed to relax and just have fun. That’s when, out of nowhere, I said,

“Just Trust the Process.”

Kim just about fell over laughing. And it became our quote of the afternoon. And it was fun. Here are some photos of what I painted while I was trusting the process…

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And our final masterpieces!

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Jen and I are signed up for another class with Brushes and Brews in February. Let me know if you want to join us!

Come back tomorrow to see what Rob and I painted at Art and Elixir – our pooches!!!

What is the most artistic thing you’ve made?

Cheers~
Carrie

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The End of an Era

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So it goes.

After ten years, I have decided to resign from my role as an Independent Wine Consultant doing In-Home Wine Tastings for the Traveling Vineyard.

It was a difficult decision to make.

When I first started, I didn’t know if I would like it. But I figured, “What did I have to lose? If I don’t like it, I’ll quit.” Little did I know that I’d not only love it, but I’d also take away so much more than wine knowledge…

I’d make friends with people all over the country with whom I probably would have never met otherwise…

Lisa, Me, Katie - Puerto Vallarta 2007

I’d earn some fabulous trips…

Including those to Sonoma

Where I’d learn to love Pinot Noir in the Russian River Valley…

To Puerto Vallarta, Mexico…

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Where we took a break from wine and tasted tequila instead….

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Then, there was Tuscany

Ah… Tuscany… One of the most spectacular trips I’ve ever been on…

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A beautiful stay at Villa Dievole

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Where my husband proposed…

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And then there was Napa….

Which was so much fun that it’s mostly a blur…

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Outside of the trips, being part of The Traveling Vineyard changed my life.

Those of you from my childhood or even high school, know that I was painfully shy. In college, I was even told by an acquaintance that when she first met me, she thought I was just stuck up because I didn’t really say much.

Traveling Vineyard lit something inside me.

I felt good in front of an audience.  (A little wine could always calm the nerves otherwise!).

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I got to teach!

When I was a kid, I loved school so much that as I ascended through each grade, I wanted to be the teacher of that grade! Then, when I hit high school, I realized it wasn’t really about teaching any more. Most kids/teenagers didn’t want to learn. I saw teachers pulling teeth to get the class interested or just to behave. I was even threatened to be kicked out of class once for falling asleep.

I no longer wanted to be a teacher.

But when I started doing Wine Tastings, I got to teach about wine. And I got to teach people who wanted to learn about wine.

One of the greatest rewards was hearing from other people that they never really liked red wine before; but that I had taught them how to like it. I walked them through each wine and explained how to recognize the aromas and flavors in each one so that they could determine the style they liked. I demonstrated that by pairing the wine with simple foods, the flavors could change as well. I gave them the ammunition to become more confident about wine, to describe what they like at a restaurant to get a recommendation, to be more confident in trying new things.

It felt so good.

I met the greatest people. They all loved or wanted to learn about wine!

This included fellow consultants (aka, my Wineaux friends)…

Wine Tastings Hosts…

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and the guests…

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A special thanks to every single host and guest I met over the past ten years! My Traveling Vineyard experience would not have been nearly as enjoyable without you!

And I even got to meet many of the winemakers…

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I earned awards.

I got not only recognition for my efforts, but the fun, friendship and financial reward that came along with it!

So, it was a difficult decision to cut ties.

In all honesty, I believe that The Traveling Vineyard is truly at its height. There is so much room to grow. If I had been putting the same effort as I had just a few years ago, I’d be twice as successful.

But I lost it.

I lost the passion.

I still love wine. I still loved meeting all of the people. I still loved teaching about wine.

Then why?

In 2012, I started on a path to better my health. My health became priority and running became a new part of it. After a herniated disk at the end of the year and back surgery in March of last year, I stopped doing tastings completely.

I needed to heal.

I needed to recover.

And I learned one thing…

I needed to slow down.

For the past ten years, I’ve basically had two full-time jobs. I was very involved with TTV. While there were no minimums to remain active, I did an average of six to eight tastings per month. In addition, each month, I held a Team Meeting. I participated in a Taste of the Business Meeting. I listened to the consultant and leadership conference calls. I taught Learning with Leaders classes. I didn’t miss anything that was offered.

When I slowed down with my tasting events, my husband noticed how much less stressed I was. I had more balance.

But I can’t do anything half-way. Generally, I am “ALL IN” when I’m passionate about something. By slowing down and doing less, I lost interest. I lost the passion. I found I liked the time at home with my husband and my dogs.

Then I realized that I’ve pretty much had two jobs most of my working life. I had summers in high school and college with two, or even three jobs. The same happened after college.

It’s taken me this long to realize that it’s time for me to slow down.

To take care of myself.

To just enjoy life.

It’s a little difficult because I’m so used to being busy. But I’m learning.

2014 is going to be all about self-care.

Traveling Vineyard has taught me so much not only about wine, but about life. The company will always hold a special place in my heart. I would still recommend The Traveling Vineyard to anyone wanting to learn about wine, wanting to earn some extra cash or to take it on full force as a career. I know many consultants across the country and would be happy to recommend someone, if I can, in your area for more info about hosting or consulting.

And with that, I say, “Farewell,” to that part of my life. I have fond memories frienships that will last forever.

Remember… “Over a bottle of wine, many a friend is made…”

~Unknown

Thank you for ten fantastic years, Traveling Vineyard!

Cheers~
Carrie