May 16, 2019

Have you always Wondered ?

I get so many question every year about  so many things I have decided to do a BIG post and answer all your questions ! ... so lets get started !..  bear with me tho, I'm not good at talking about myself.. Im very shy and VERY PRIVATE .. I'm not sure how long this post will even be here for viewing but Im going to try to get it all out so you can see a taste of how this all started ! 

 How did you get started in Soldering ? 

I had been working in Papier mâché designing for the gift world for over 12 years and was also a  full time hairdresser and wife, and mother of two small children along with the caretaker for my mentally ill mother..  Life was more then crazy busy , I had even taken on a bigger role of a Licensing agent to License artists in their art work.. With this job it took me to China as  a Licensing agent and designer for the products along with  quality control... This was a whole new life for me going to China and honestly I wasn't loving it.. I saw so much untruth , lies and STOLEN aRT , so many artists  that have no idea their work is mass produced in China  ! Every day I was blown away ! .. I can only imagine in the world there now with social media how easy it is for them to copy any of us. and they do  ! ...  I had designed Papier mache figurines for 12 years for two companies and it was taking its toll on me, running a busy salon, and the recent death of my mother was a real pit fall in my life.. absolutely shattered me at 36 years old and no mother ... my heart knew she's  in a better life then the real struggle  of bi Polar and mental illness..
With the passing of my mom, my heart really struggled creating art , its hard to feel creative when your heart is so shattered and broken , I remember hearing of Debbie Thiebault loosing her son, and watching her struggle getting back her creative edge , so I knew I wasn't alone ..

I threw it all away .. 
 I purged all my art supplies , and I mean ALL of it .. I  did not think I would ever do anything artsy creative ever again!..   ....I just felt lost and empty, struggling to go to work,  trying to find what my new life was suppose to look like ! I was slowly sinking into depression.. something I had never experienced before..  One day I woke and could not go to work, it went on for several weeks to where I wasn't leaving the house , I was sinking fast into depression..
I remember one day my dad came over and just held me and cried , he was so worried I was getting hit by the same illness that eventually took my mothers life MENTAL ILLNESS ! ..
Those were words I did not want to hear, and I went reluctently  to see a Dr .... The Dr of course put me on Depression mediation and it scared the life out of me, I saw my mom struggle my whole life with pills and medication the ups and downs of the real sadness of  bi polar life !

After about two weeks taking these pills I threw them all away, I did not want to be in a medicated state of mind, I do not like medication and I can tell you why ! my mother was an addict , she would take any medication she could anytime anywhere , she went to every doctor from Seattle to Portland ,her drug of choice was pain pills !.. I had seen my mom being taken away several times in straight jackets and put in padded rooms in mental hospitals all due to her taking pills and mental illness ..  this is so common with mental illness, all they want to do is feel better ! my mom was beautiful and the best mom she knew how to be ! she had a nervous break down when I was in the 6th grade and life was never the same ! .. All this flashing in my head I decided pills were not for me and I was NOT walking this same road !.. I fought off all the depression getting back to work and doing what I loved , owning a busy Hair salon and being a good mom !.. I was lucky my drepression was short lived and I was able to get myself  thru it . we had lost my mom and franks mom 10 months apart so I completely fell  down thru all that .. it was some pretty hard hard years of many many  family  losses...

2004-  After all this I lost my father  suddenly .... I cannot even describe this and it is still a  struggle today to talk about it.. He was my best friend, my rock , my father  .... I fell deeper into a dark dark hole.. at 39 years old I was lost completely lost ...

Lets take a jewelry class 

 Lets fast forward  , one of the friends that worked for me in my  salon  surprised me with a Sally Jean class in Portland ! I had not clue who sally jean was or even what soldering was ! I DID NOT WANT TO GO , I did NOT want to learn jewelry , remember I had thrown away all my art supplies I didn't even own a paint brush ! LOl.
So off we go to Portland, me fighting tooth and nail , telling my friend lets just leave at noon and go shopping !! ..
We arrive at Sallys Studio .............. big sigh ...... it was the most beautiful room I had ever seen, everything in that room looked like everything i love ! ,turquoise , robin egg blue , pretty stuff  and just so so unbelievable how it touched my broken heart .... I about cried, but quickly remembered we were making jewelry ! YUK !! hahaha .....
 As the day progressed I found my heart racing of happiness, I was so EXCITED , I LOVED the soldering and Jewelry part !The class  was so fun was beyond anything I had ever even imagined !  After two days  in class , I was in Love with soldering ! my friend that took me  wasn't having as much fun  LOL ,  haha she burned up everything she could with that soldering iron and shecwasn't making pretty things !!

I came home a new person, its hard to really believe something so simple can open your heart back up ! .. a few months later I was back for another class at Sallys Studio, again as I walked in my heart just burst with happiness and Love for that place  , it was like Sally was my twin I loved everything she touched and so did a lot of people, Sallys classes were sold out all year long, she was in the prime of her life ! anyone that attended was addicted ! .. She was a very good additcion to my new healing heart !

1 year later 

Art camp Started and On the Road I went teaching !  ! 

Lots of Teaching for many years in Arizona !  
Jo Packham attened Art camp ! I was featured in Where Women Cook Magazine ! and several other publications over mamy years ..

Beth Editor of Jewelry affair Magazine,   she came to Art Retreats and classes ! 
The Beautiful Deb Hodge !  
Carolyn and Terri  meet with the Estate for cooking classes ! we may have ran over a Giant snake this DAY !! 

Art camp on the Oregon coast ! do you see your self ? 
cooking class In Italy ! 

Barb Solem, Marianee Solem and the Solem girls attending Art camp in 2010! .. 
wine thirty in San Diego ! at the Sweet Jane Jolee Penthouse ! 
my Very first class at my home !! Many many years ago !.. 8 students ! 2007
My friends were begging me to teach a class on soldering, so many wanted to learn this fun new hobby I grew to LOVE ! .. I would always laugh it off until one day several pinned me down and. I agreed .. I had 4 ladies over to solder.... O M G  can I say BEST DAY EVER ! I was so HAPPY teaching and helping them learn a new hobby ! my heart exploded seeing how HAPPY it made people,  it was the most rewarding thing I had done ! .. from there it just took off, I had a Salon Website that I added a few classes too, sold out, sold out , sold out.. I could barely keep up ! I had an instant following , it was crazy truly how it just took off over night  !

2007 one of the ladies said lets do this at the beach ! Lets call it Art Camp ! I said LETS GO! .. This is how my retreat life started ! we packed several cars, sold 15 seats to camp and BAM there was a new beginning a Retreat now called ART CAMP... just like that ... I put it on my website , Sold out , always selling out the same day I listed it !  it was crazy how fast this took off.. people were starving for Retreats and gatherings of women !... I had not known there were so many broken sad women needing the same thing I needed ART and SOUL , Friendships , creating, inspiring life changing Retreats !  ......

How did you end up doing Retreats in Italy ? 

I met Carolyn Peeler here at my studio in several classes, Tiffany Kirchner Dixon had brought her to class ... I loved her from the second I met her .. I dont remember exactly how many classes Carolyn came too and she attended and taught at several of my Art camps..
Carolyn sent me an email and said I have a proposition for you , can we meet and talk when I come to class ! .. Yes I said.. I believe this was 2013  ..
Carolyn arrived with HUGE portfolios  albums of Italy.. she sat me and Frank down and shared all her  new love of Italy ! she was beaming showing her family photos of Italy and the Estate where they all stayed . she was a good salesman ! LOL .
THIS is where La Dolce VITA Retreat was born ! She wanted to partner together and start a Retreat in Italy !... I told her I know Retreats and have a great following  but I dont know a thing about Italy.. she told me this is where I come in, I can teach you about Italy and you can teach me about how to host Retreats ! .. it truly was the perfect combination . We designed every avenue of the Retreat together as a team and it was absolutely a lot of blood ,sweat and tears ! ..

It was off the the Races ! We did months and months of planning just to get the Retreat to go live for sale.. I was still doing Art camps twice a year so adding another retreat in a foreign country really took it to whole new level of WORK !.. Carolyn was fabulous, this girl LOVES travel, there is no denying that ! .. We planned every detail of the Retreat hour to hour to every detail on beds and gifts and swag, something I knew well from Art camps, this is something thats always a big part of Art camp as well...100s of hours face timing and meetings ..

2014- it was show time!! .. Our retreat sold out same day , two weeks of retreats ! we were ecstatic ! we brought on Tiffany Kirchner Dixon as our Photographer, we also needed another helper ! it was the perfect trio !! .. We immediately started planning the next year and so on...

La Dolce Vita Retreat - 2015  Sadly  I was badly burned on my feet ! a pot of scalding hot water was dropped and it landed on my feet ! We were just finishing week 1 retreat and this happened ! OH bOY what an ordeal!!.. We had not planned anything to what we would do if one of us got hurt ! .... it ended up I was VERY  VERY badly burned !!..... long story short I had to come home to get proper care, it was a long lengthy healing process ! Although  Carolyn and I  were apart I was right beside her all the way ! ..

There has been many rumors about the accident and that the women that dropped the kettle of scalding water was drunk.!!.. I honesty can tell you this makes me RAGE with anger !!... no one has any right to even think that comment,  let alone make that comment !!! !..  She was NOT DRUNK .. she did have a glass of wine, she had just bought a bottle of wine from the Estate and was singing and dancing with us cooking in the kitchen..( Me , Her and Tiffany)  I loved seeing her smiling and happy as she had  devastating life changing news upon her arrival to Italy... The accident was just that, an accident!!! ..The pot caught her apron as she used it as pot holders , the apron tipped the pot out of her hands ... she was also badly burned on her arm and hand...We were both treated at the  Siena Hospital..  Can you imagine dropping a large part of scalding water and badly injuring someone else, and then years later hear the rumors she was drunk ! .. she absolutely was NOT ! its really shameful that this was told to others ... I love her with all my heart and we remain GREAT friends !... things happen, life changes in an instant, I was just always VERY thankful I was the one hurt and no one attending the Retreat ! ... it could have been a real awful situation ! ..

2016 - as normal we were planning our spring La Dolce Vita Retreats , I was healing and just knowing I would be fine by the time it was Italy time....... all our plans were made we face timed weekly all these years going over plans and details.. We were truly a great team both wanting the same visions of our Retreat ! ... It was just a few moths until we were to leave and I had to cancel.. my foot was still not good, I was having terrible nerve issues with pain.. I was pretty devastated I wasn't going to be back in the saddle as fast as I thought I was .. who know that many  months later I was still having such pain ! I have a new perspective  for Burns and Burn victims !
 Carolyn and I had decide to hire Amy Hanna to take my spot for that spring  Retreat ! .. I Love Amy, and oh my gosh I could not think of a better fill in ! Amy had taught at several of my Art camps and everyone always loved her ! . I spoke with Amy several times preparing her for her Italy teaching ! The retreat came and gone, it was so hard to watch from home ! but with true fashion it was another successful La Dolce Vita Retreat..
Carolyn and I immediately started working on the next years retreat ! there is so much panning behind the scenes to any Retreat ! People have no idea really of all the back side work ! especially in a foreign county ! ..
With a lot of thought I had decided to pull away form being co-owner and partner , as my healing of my foot was quite a painful and a lengthy process, I didn't want to hold Carolyn back and keep trying to find fill ins for me not able to attend .. Carolyn has a true Travel Passion, its her life and it shows she's truly amazing at hosting ! . Carolyn is truly just such a kind gentle spirit and this really ignites her travel bug like no other !  it was VERY hard to let it go as I had also fell in LOVE with Italy..  We worked GREAT together , it was truly some of the best times of my LIFE ... Carolyn has La Dolce Vita still going strong and it will always have  a pieces of my heart , it was our baby ! when you Birth something its always a big part of your Heart... It makes so around of her seeing her thrive and doing so well..
 2018 -We had talked  a lot about me making a return to Italy with La Dolce Vita Retreat.... I had put a lot of thought of how to return , and would I ever return to Italy?... I loved Italy but I  also had  some very hard memories of Italy and my Burns .. I was often asked if I was scared to go back after getting so badly burned .... that answer was always no, I wanted to go back and prove I was Ok, I wanted to see Paola and the friends I had made in Italy !..

With a lot of thought I had chose to start my own Retreat in Italy { Light and Fire Retreat} although going back to  La Dolce Vita would have been so easy to walk right back in , I wanted a Retreat more about Jewelry ... The first person I told was Carolyn , it was tough for me as it was so IMPORTANT  she was the first person I told, we had a great relationship and I did not want that to change.. and of course she answered in True Carolyn fashion wishing us nothing but Happiness !..

Carolyn is going strong with La Dolce Vita Retreat and it makes me so so proud of her ! when I say its her Passion I am not kidding ! she eats, sleeps drinks in Foreign travel  and it shows ! I HIGHLY recommend La Dolce Vita Retreat  to anyone !

 Light and Fire Retreat took off like a red rocket ,  I am so blessed to have a continued amazing following that return over and over again  for all these years ! I am blessed to have Shana Kai as by business partner with this new venture Light and Fire Retreat , its been a great Joy to travel with her and learn our own path in Italy.. I dont plan on doing Retreats in Italy to many years,  we have 2019 , and 2020 on the books, after that I believe we will be relocating to a new fun ESTATE someone ! ( stay tuned ) I LOVE Italy , but I have a HARD time doing the same thing over and over and over .. I want to see new and explore ! .. Although it easy to do the same Venue and country as you learn to know it well...  we will see where it takes us  .. you never know what life has in store.. I certainly Thank Carolyn for showing me her travel Book and introducing me to the great country I now Love  Italy ! .... if it wasn't for her I  would never have been doing a retreat there ! ... and vise versa, I had the following and retreat knowledge to get her going as well... we were meant to be ..

Fast forward .... 
I am now in 2019 Art camp is still going strong on its 11th year !!  I do as much as I can , Teaching has forever changed my life , being a retreat host has even done more... I dont think I could ever work so hard but yet feel so rewarded ! people thank me for changing their lives all the time, the letters I get about how Art camp and Retreats changed them FOREVER and I remind them, no they changed my life!.. I love ever single women thats crossed my path, I am a better person because of all these women ! ...

Terri , what would you do different ? 
 well ...... there is lots of things !... this business took off so fast it was mind boggling.. remember im shy and quiet and leading a Retreat now . most my friends are still in disbelief  , they just cannot believe I do this for a living  !!   If I could give any advise I would say DONT teach something you had to pay to learn for free ....  WHY you ask, well they will be your next competitor ! you paid to learn so why teach anything free ???  Those that want to learn all they can from you for free are  never a true friend ..... Ive learned a to in the past 15 years , life with out parents, Life in a NEW Busy fashion, I go full speed and need to learn to slow down..
I would advise anyone - TAKE THAT CLASS you dream about.. save up and Attend a Retreat somewhere , it TRULY is  life changing !!...Ive realized Life is SHORT , dont wait ...

 I guess if I could end with any kind of closing .. 
 Life is not easy and no one has the easy life even if it looks like it..

It may look easy but remember people only post happy photos , the dark side is not on social media ! because someone page looks perfect and happy it is not always that glamorous !... your not alone being sad and feeling like you dont belong.. you DO !.. ...... Behind every cover is sadness and broken women.... I think we all need to love more and hate less... There is room for all of us in the world...
Its a tough world now with all the social media, it wasn't like this when I got started !  we all need  to find that passion, a drive, something to look forward too.... were all broken and looking for something to help us thru life ! ... Help  someone today, smile, talk to them  , its the BEST Medicine !

I thank Sally jean  Alexander for teaching me to solder, it changed my life forever and ever amen ....
I hope you can all be thankful for that person that helped you out of a rut or how to move forward, or how to follow that Dream... Always give credit where credit it due ....

Make time for Art , Travel and Girlfriends its the best medicine to Happiness !! ..

My favorite saying is my Maya  Angelo and it is absolute the TRUTH ! ...  Make someone feel good today and every day ...

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