A couple of weeks ago I left the comfort of sweltering Louisiana for lovely San Francisco, where I held TWO design camps on back-to-back weekends. Two. Two camps. You know what is a lot of camps? Two.

It wasn't that the camps themselves were hard -- on the contrary, they were both awesome. Amazing. An extraordinary person. It was that I was gone from home for thirteen days, which is about ten days too long for my taste. My dad's motto about fish and visitors going bad after 3 days also holds true for travellers, I'm afraid. Luckily, I had Maggie Mason on my side (literally: the girl shared her BED with me), and not only was she a lovely and gracious host, but if she got sick of me at any point, she did not let on. That girl is a keeper. (A keeper who snores.)

Also a keeper: the southern California weather I enjoyed my first week there. I know! In San Francisco! It was a sunny, glorious miracle.

Also ALSO a keeper: Jordan Ferney, whose gorgeous studio was camp headquarters, and who didn't even complain about keeping all my extra stuff there during the interim week. (Including a case of champagne, which I was hoping she'd mistake for sparkling water, get hammered on, and post Drunk Mormon photos all over the internet. Alas. Next time.)

One camper -- now my favorite camper ever -- brought ice cubes made of orange juice from her own yard for our Sunday morning mimosas. Good work, Cynthia. You're invited to all camps, forever.

Apparently I do this hand movement a lot. I only know this because sweet Victoria came in one Saturday to take pictures for me (the ones you're seeing here!), and I'm making this gesture in fully 99% of them. It obviously makes all the design knowledge I'm dropping sink in better.

See all the learning that is happening? I'm probably making the hand gesture. Or maybe I'm making this face:

Tell me you don't want to learn interior design from this person.

One of my Session One campers was Miss Lisa Congdon, who made me the painting you see above. It's my quote for what I think should be in every room, and she liked it. So she painted it and gave it to me, and then I cried. Lisa is super mean.

I made New Orleans-style iced coffee every day of camp, which involved many hijinks/shenanigans/etc, including my total overreaction to the fact that Blue Bottle wouldn't grind the coffee I bought from them. Y'all, I was so outraged. We Southern ladies are not used to people ignoring our charming accents, Blue Bottle was NOT HAVING IT, and I had maybe a little fit in the car afterwards. I'm sorry, Blue Bottle. I still love you and your delicious coffees.

Speaking of which, the iced coffee was so popular that I am thinking of doing a little video tutorial on how to make it. Vince Chao has offered to a) film it, and b) write some acoustic guitar backing music for it. Because every coffee tutorial needs an acoustic guitar soundtrack, AM I RIGHT?

If you come to camp you will learn how to make a houseful of adorable arrangements out of one bunch of supermarket flowers. See above.

The only known camp photograph of me where I'm not making The Gesture.

The flower and vignette-making tutorial often turns into a how-to-shoot-interiors lesson, and everyone gets really excited about their cameras.

One particularly perceptive camper from the first week mentioned that it would have been nice to have a fruit or vegetable somewhere in my snack plan. As if potato chips and burritos weren't enough, I am so sure. But she was right, because this basket of apples was quite a hit the second week. You live, you learn, you arrange apples in straight lines.

My campers are all adorable. Don't argue, you know it's true.

I also need to thank Maggie for her generous milk bottle/Mason jar donation. Camp would definitely not have been as cute without them. Also, Maggie, I'm sorry I told everyone you snore up there. I couldn't help myself.

Here is where I need to thank my fabulous and over-the-top-assisty interns, Traci (Week 1) and Hannah (Week 2). Those girls went so above that beyond wasn't even visible anymore. They tied ribbons on things, hauled ice, arranged sandwiches, went out for emergency popsicles, and served as all-around moral support during my more -- how shall I put this? -- NUTSO moments.

HAND GESTURE.

So, yay for San Francisco design camp! I had so much fun, and I hope everyone learned some good stuff. I know I did. I also know I'll be back as soon as possible, because San Francisco is my new favorite city.

Do YOU want to go to camp and have a person teach you design-y things while making wild hand gestures? You can! Seattle is up next, in September, and I am so excited about it. That one is unfortunately sold out*, but spots are still available in NYC, DC, and Chicago. So get on it, future amazing DIY designers! I would love to see you there. Especially if you bring orange juice ice cubes.

*PS. Speaking of Seattle, I'm only scheduled to be there for the weekend, but I have had several requests for Portland, and could maybe pull off a mini-camp there during the week. If anyone is into that, let me know, and I will try to make it happen! (This is mainly because I have never been to Portland and want to put a bird on something.)

I'm staying with Maggie while I wait for my next SF design camp, which happens this weekend, yay! We've been doing some exciting things, like working, making plans for world domination, drinking iced coffee (more on that later, stay tuned), watching SportsCenter (I'm teaching Maggie what sports are), and making bourbon cherries. (PS, am I fully clothed in that photograph? You decide.)

This cherry pitter has been inexplicably named "Nigel," but I prefer to call it Cherry Chormp Chomp. 

Professional lifestyle bloggers are required to wear bunny slippers at all times. It's like a law and whatever.

Thanks to all of your awesome comments yesterday, I have even more items to add to the list of things I want to do in SF, and you best believe I'll be starting with the grilled cheese + oyster combo. Thank you for all the suggestions, and if you need me, I'll be at Hog Island.

I think it may not be legal to talk about how much fun we had at this camp. San Francisco was the biggest class I've had to date, and I am proud to announce that I did not have even one little panic attack. In fact the bigger class was not so different than the littler ones, logistics-wise. And as you can see, we had a pretty big time.

Just look at them all! Having fun and learning things and whatnot. And how cute is Jordan's studio space? REAL CUTE. More pics and a recap coming soon!

PS, I'm here in San Francisco until the second camp this weekend, so if you have any recommendations on things I need to eat/drink/experience/see, let me know. Also the best place to take headless photos. Heh.

 

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AuthorAB Chao
Categoriesdesign camp
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Slide presentations are fun. I am a liar.

I know it seems like this place is nothing but camp talk lately, and that is because I am in the camp WEEDS lately. Next week I will embark on a dangerous thirteen-day journey to the wilds of San Francisco, where I will hold not one but two design camps. I have a couple of announcements, so I thought I'd hit y'all with a little news update.

1. The San Francisco class size has been upped from 15 to 20. As of right this second, I have one space left for SF I and three spaces left for SF II. I have never had a class this big before, so it's all very exciting. I will be bringing extra rulers for rapping knuckles.

Sign up for SF I (July 21-22)! Sign up for SF II (July 28-29)!

2. Someone has had to give up their spot for the Seattle camp, so there is one spot available. Sad for her, but yay for you! Sign up here.

3. I have been adding some cute things to the Dewit Design Toolkit, but I cannot find a good place to get custom pencils. The last order I placed, from maybe a less-than-reputable company, was lost in the mail and I paid a bunch of $$$ for a great big box of nothing. Sad face. So I am taking suggestions if you have them.

4. This has nothing to do with camp, but four of my friends have recently dropped books, no big deal. Pam. Stephanie. Heather and Jessica. BAM. I know some smart, funny ladies.

5. I hope you have enjoyed my new habit of randomly bolding words. It's too hot to go outside so I am making my own fun, goodbye.

 

Hello, Dewit Nation! I have some interesting news for you. Please regard:

1. San Francisco Session II is going like hotcakes (mmm, hotcakes) so if you still want in, get on it.

2. Speaking of San Francisco, potential camper Megan B. can only attend SF I due to scheduling conflicts, so if anyone is wiling to trade with her and go to SF II, email me here

3. I have to be honest with y'all, I am a little concerned about Austin. Some cities are just more popular than others, and I cannot explain why. But Austin is coming up fast, and I do not have enough attendees, despite an enthusiastic verbal showing! So if you were thinking about coming or are on the fence or whatever, you need to sign up in the next few days. Come on, Texas, represent! As a former Texan, I will take it personally. And you know you want to spend a weekend having delicious cocktails in the San Jose courtyard (where I'll be staying every second I'm not telling y'all how to dewit). Go.

4. Who wants to have Camp in Chicago? I do. But I am only adding it if Oprah promises to attend.

5. Just kidding. Here you go, Chicago. I hear you're lovely in December. 

In closing, please enjoy this photo of the current state of my bathroom. I am actually kind of in love with that wallpaper -- which I am pretty sure is hand-painted-- I discovered under the drywall. Don't worry, I saved a big old piece.

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AuthorAB Chao
Categoriesdewit
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