Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Adventures of ReMe

A blog post shared from Jodi's Blog, Sweet Repeats

I had to double check my calendar, make that triple check my calendar and see if it was accurate...could it really be almost a month or so since I last posted on my blog?  These last few weeks have been full of  creating...I mean TONS of creating,  adventures on a remote island (Ocracoke) with our May 2015 ReMe class, and several other projects in the works that will be unveiled over the next few weeks.  

This month more than ever has taught me a huge lesson:  one  needs to expect the unexpected in all possible ways because it all can happen in a blink of an eye.   Our small ReMe family of hosts has had it's share of life trials over the last 2 months, so for it all to come together as  seemingly flawless as it did, is nothing short of incredible.   Penny, Jean, and I dealt with loss of close loved ones,  health issues, injuries,  parents with rapidly declining health, caretakers with issues, work demands with deadlines shortened...and more..much much more prior to the event, during the event, and right after the event.   Anyone of these life obstacles could have throttled our retreat,  but we knew this was bigger than ourselves or our personal crisis's, we were called to create ReMe and it would carry on this time around guided by our faith and determination, and of course later on once the guests arrived--they fueled the already burning fire with love, kindness, generosity towards all, and tons of laughter (laughter we decided was indeed, the best healing medicine of all).

With all that said,  ReMe's mission is to facilitate one's recharging of your soul. Rest, Relax, Renew is our mantra and at the core of what we teach, and provide to our guests.  Whatever is going on behind our own life scenes, it did not take away from the magic we saw develop with every minute of the week as it progressed with our guests.

We saw returning guests reconnect and new guests find their voice in the group  while peeling back their layers and develop new friendships with all.   It's always a bit scary doing something new and unknown, yet when we open ourselves and up, very often  the winds carry us through each moment like wings.  That sense of release also opens us up to  allow the gifts of the journey to present themselves to us all.

With hundreds of pictures taken over the week,  I will share more as time goes on.     Today I just wanted to give you a sprinkling of the pre-arrival shots and part of the first full day. With the day beginning as early as 5:30 am  for me and ending at 1:00 am after everyone was tucked in at night, you can be sure there was lots going on in between those hours!!   

The stage is all set...we were just waiting for the first car to pull up and the sound of happiness to fill the air.

Looks like we are missing a couple of peeps from this picture but had to share anyway--our first night was a grand fiesta of Mexican treats from Eduardo's on the island....can you believe he hand delivered all this gorgeous food on the festive platters?? Now that's delivery service at it's best!

I think you can tell by the smiles...there was lots of fun already being had by all..it was just the beginning of an awesome week at ReMe.

Our first full day of classes began with my workshop,  "Dirty Flirty Birds" ...and oh my, did these girls rock it out!  The work was fantastic and a fun day was had by all!
 We couldn't have asked for better weather on Ocracoke despite the looming storm out at sea, we had a grand week full of sunshine and moderate temperatures.  Perfect weather to have the window screens open and create with the whispers of the water lapping in the sound outside our backyard.

Details details....students lost in their own creative process--it was incredible to see their compositions come to life with every brush strokes.   We all were so proud of each other and had a great time designing our own "Dirty Flirty Bird" creatures.

While this is just the tip of the iceberg  for our ReMe adventures.  With out a doubt, there were surprises and island gifts at every juncture.  
  I hope you could get a taste for the wonderment we experienced through out the week.

I have gained such knowledge over the last year since we started ReMe, and this event is no exception.   One big life lesson I've learned through my own experience and that of others,  is that there are times when the mountain seems insurmountable,  the obstacles too  hard and the road too long to navigate, but you will never know your own strength or courage unless you are tested and begin to tackle all the life handles you with grace and faith that you have what it takes to face what's next, as long as you don't look too far ahead and just greet each moment as it comes at you.

A big thank you to our house Mother, Theresa who has volunteered her services to us the last 2 years by coming down from Pennsylvania to help us in numerous ways over the week.  Her support has been invaluable, her sense of humor and way of making everyone feel at ease has been the the exact ingredient needed to make May 2015 ReMe as special as it was.

Last but not least, thank you to all of our guests...for without you, we are merely a dream.  With you, we are bigger than words can say.  Our connections have turned friends,  old and new into something more---we are now forever, family.

And that is just a part of what ReMe is to us.

In Memory of Kevin Arrowood,  beloved husband of ReMe co-founder, Penny Arrowood who passed away unexpectedly prior to ReMe.

In Memory of Mary Kessler,  beloved Mother of ReMe co founder, Jean Skipper, who passed away after an extended illness, just  days after ReMe May 2015.

Our ReMe family is  deeply saddened and forever changed by the loss of  Kevin and Mary. On behalf of Penny and Jean, thank you all for the love, support and prayers you  have all sent.  We all can feel the power of such faith  guiding us through the this difficult time.


To join us for our October 2015 ReMe, please check out the left sidebar of the ReMe Blog.  We have only a few spaces left.  Be a part of the magic this year, too and join us on the adventure!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

6 Days and Counting....What is ReMe?

It's hard to believe we only have 6 sleeps remaining before returning to the Outer Banks for our flagship retreat on Ocracoke Island!  We call it our flagship retreat because it is the first incarnation of our dream to provide an intimate retreat for artists and creative individuals, who crave an experience that fulfills their mind, body and soul.   ReMe provides the opportunity for our guests to Rest, Relax, Renew in a variety of ways such as: great food, inspiring classes,   peaceful and recharging 'field trips', an infusion of island history, along with plenty of time and places for the guests to be still and reflect in the midst of the comforting salty air of the sea.

 Working with our students to create personal works of art that speaks to their individual nature, its a much more relaxed pace then trying to do the same in a large crowded room.

We found that we could start recognizing each other 'by the sound of their laugh', said student Debra Gabel...so true, and we loved hearing the laughter waiver throughout the house in both our May and October Retreats.

 We found that strangers could bond as fast friends and confidants during the course of the week. There's so much truth to the saying, 'seven degrees of separation'.  The connections and coincidental experiences we discovered about one another was unreal.
We had no idea what to expect at either of our flagship retreats in 2014 but we knew each event would take on a life of its own organically because of our unique and amazing guests.  In 2015 we are sure that the magic will continue between our amazing guests.
 Sharing stories after a fabulou meal, toasting to our new friends and experiences,  was a daily occurrence after classes and events. How lucky we are to be pursuing our dreams in the company of our growing ReMe sisterhood?!  

We hope that you can continue to follow this blog and  perhaps join us in one of our upcoming new events for 2015 and beyond.  

We promise to make you feel special and help to recharge your spirit in every way.

 ReMe is more than a retreat.

It's about Connection.

It's about being Brave and stepping out of your comfort zone.

It's about friendship.

It's about Art and Living a Creative Life.

It's about pursuing dreams.

It's about laughter.

It's about creating something magical.

It will fill your well with memories to carry you through whatever is next.

ReMe is about living life and not waiting until tomorrow.

 ReMe is about being present for the moment before it slips away.

To say we are looking forward to our new 'class' of 2015 in both May and October is an understatement....but without further adieu, from all of us at ReMe-we have lots of work to do ;)

If you are interested in joining us for a ReME retreat, we have a few spaces open for our October experience. This retreat includes most everything other than your travel to the event.  Classes, food, lodging, supplies, and many extras are just some of the things you can expect at ReME.  The sidebar at the left provides a link for the down payment so you can easily join in on this R-emarably  E-extraodinary  M-emorable E-xperience.

Friday, April 24, 2015

How and Why Jean Defined Her Collection

Sentimental Attachments
A Collection Withing my Collection.

One of the best pieces of advice that I received as a professional artist were the words "You must have a Cohesive Collection before marketing your work."  This may not be an exact quote; but I credit the sentiment to Alyson Stanfield.  (Alyson is The Art Biz Coach, and you can learn more about her and her offerings by clicking here.)

Metal and Found Objects as Chimes.
We'll be making chimes, hangings, 
and jewelry at ReMe this year.
When I first heard these words, I resisted.  At the time, I was actively creating almost every form of art that you could imagine, and I loved them all!  How dare she suggest such a thing?!?!?!  As time passed, and the shock wore off, I realized that she was right.  Professionally I had to find the one media and style with which I wanted to be identified long-term,  It had to be the one that was at my core.  Not one that I could live with; but one that I couldn't live without.  My professional development as an artist shifted into high gear as I further defined my true artistic love...found objects and metal.

Since that time, I've come to realize that this declaration of my professional artistic love didn't have to be the end of my affairs with other media.  I still love painting, collage, pottery, inks, beading, and writing.  I find joy in creating in these media for the pure pleasure of it.  In ways that I couldn't begin to imagine, these dalliances find their way into my professional body of work too.  My life and my work is richer for the experience.

How do you create?  Are you a purist whose love lies in one particular media?  Or is your art affair  one that's painted with a broader brush?  We'd love to hear more about it in the comments section below.
One of my early creations.  This painted mailbox hangs over my desk, and it's home to my envelopes and stamps.
The smile pin is a nod to my Dad, and the God Hates Hate pin is an original creation by folk artist, C.M. Laster.

While our ReMe Retreat on Ocracoke in May is filled to capacity; a few spaces remain in October.  Reserve yours by clicking on the Paypal Link on the left side of this page.  Convenient payment plans are available.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Eat. You'll Feel Better! - Jean's Recipe for Zeps - Italian Breadsticks

My cute self, hard at work in my Mother's Kitchen.
This picture is the first thing you'll see when you
enter my side door today.
In my family, we joke that, "Eat.  You'll feel better!" should be our motto.  And we do.  When we're happy, we eat.  When we're sad, we eat.  When we're not sure exactly what we feel, we eat!

So much of who I am blossomed next to my Mother, my Sister, my Aunts, my Grandmother, and my Cousins in the kitchen.  My Mom is Italian, and one of ten children.  My Dad was German, and one of eight.  Both were raised during the depression, and their Mothers worked diligently to feed their large hungry families on a budget, while still maintaining their traditions in the kitchen.

My Dad's favorites included ham and bean soup...heavy on the beans and with a ham bone to add flavor... potato pancakes, and apple cream pie.  When he returned after his service in The 69th Infantry Division in World War II, he loved the simple luxuries of meat, potatoes, fresh tomatoes, sugar, and good coffee.  They were available in short supply to him for so long, and he wanted to ensure that they were never lacking in our lives.

My Mother's family traditions revolve around food and lots of it.  (I come by it honestly!)  Pasta,
soup, and salad was served with virtually every meal.  Throughout the summer, and before the farm-to-table concept became a popular one, we delighted in the bounty of my Grandpap's urban garden, with the excess being canned for use throughout the year.

Grandma's handwritten recipe.  Until I read it, I would have
spelled this as "Zeppoli", Zeps for short, and the
Fish Cakes, made with anchovy were "Ulige Cakes".

Please remember that all measurements are approximate.  
Grandma let the dough lead her to a perfect consistency.

Both of my Grandmothers cooked without recipes, and in large part it's a tradition that continues today in my family.  Once my Mom's sister, Aunt Stella, spent an entire day in the kitchen with my Grandma in an attempt to capture written recipes for some of her favorites.   The result is a lovingly prepared pink three ring notebook.  Some of the recipes in it are written in my Grandma handwriting, others Aunt Stella typed, and all editorial notes are written in Aunt Stella's handwriting. This book is one of my most treasured possessions, and I still refer to it on a regular basis in an attempt to recapture the tastes of my youth.

One of Maggie's handmade samplers.
In many ways my love for time in the kitchen and this tradition continues with friends.  I love learning about their culinary pasts and sharing mine with them. We love to feed one another and share our stories, and this has become a central part of the experience at our ReMe Retreats.  While we spend oodles of time creating in the studio, the heart of our home on Ocracoke is Maggie's Kitchen.  I'll be forever grateful for the new memories that we're making in this magical place.

Hot and Ready Zeps!

Thanks to Aunt Stella, today I'll share with you my Grandmother's recipe for Ceppolli, "Italian Christmas Breadsticks".  These tasty treats were made exclusively for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and we looked forward to them all year long.  We ate them at room temperature days after they were made, and we couldn't get enough of them!

Now, we eat them the day that they're made, and my family loves them when they're fresh and hot.  They've also been known to dip or roll them in sugar or cinnamon and sugar, and this is something that we'd never even considered in  my family.
1 cake of yeast, 5 cups of flour, a little salt, and 1/4 cup of oil and the magic begins!
The Zeps rest a bit before their bath in hot oil.  While called "Italian Breadsticks" in my family they're donut-like shapes.
Cook two or three at a time for just a few minutes per side until they're golden brown.
The board that I use almost daily in the kitchen is the same one that my Mom and Grandma used.
Each mark is an integral part of it.  I like to think that I'm preserving its history while adding a bit of my own story to it. 

While our ReMe Retreat in May on Ocracoke Island is at capacity, a few spaces around the table remain in October.  To join us, please reserve your spot by using the Paypal Link on the left side of this page.  Convenient payment plans are available, and I hope to see you there!  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Inspiration: Everyone Has A Story To Tell

Hello Everyone, It's Jodi here writing to you today.  One of the things I like to do while in my studio is to listen to Ted Talks. I'm sure many of you do as well, or listen to them time to time perhaps in the car or while at work--or if you haven't,  take a moment and peruse the collection of inspirational and thought provoking library of talks.  Today,  I wanted to share with you a recent talk I listened to  that reminded me so much of ReMe and our mission as organizers for our creative community and events, I couldn't help but to pass it along.   When we first envisioned what our retreat would look like in the beginning stages and well on into the future, we knew we wanted to hold onto as tightly as possible,  was the format of  keeping out retreats along the smaller side so we could truly get to know our attendees, and likewise, for our attendees to get to know one another.

Why would getting to know our attendees or vs versus be so important in a creative, soulful retreat?

 This Ted  Talk explains it so well.

Everyone has a story.

Everyone desires to be heard.

We all want to know our life matters, that we count in the bigger picture of the world.

Giving the gift of being there for another person in your life or that comes into your life by a serendipitous moment, to stop...be quiet...and listen, can be profound.

 As both of our events last year in 2014 unfolded, we saw a common bond throughout both of the retreats.  It was important to celebrate our differences and recognize within each other there are many threads that tie us all together,  as there are differences.  No matter what our background, job or career path, level of income, ethnicity or religion, we all have walked along a path that we can pull similarities from and had experiences that are worthy of sharing.  It was even more important to let those stories be heard.  In a art/creative retreat,  you don't often have time for that, but at ReMe...being heard and discovering as much about others as you do yourself,  is at the core of what we facilitate and embrace.

Whether you have joined us in the past or are thinking about joining us in the future,  take this little bit of inspiration with you and incorporate it into your life if you can:

 Stop and listen to someone else and give them the gift of your time and interest in hearing their story. It's a treasure you'll receive that could be life changing for both you and the person you are giving it to.

And now to share that talk that reminded me of ReMe:  David Isay began a program that has grown over the last several years where they provide a platform in which two people and a facilitator can sit down and record an interview, asking poignant questions and just being there to listen to another human being. That dialogue is recorded  and uploaded into a bank of discussions for future generations.   It's a modern take on how  history has been documented since the beginning of time.  Listening. Sharing.  Writing.  Photos. Art.

 It's good to be reminded from time to time to slow down and just be present for someone else.

What is that you would ask someone important in your life about if you had the chance?  What nuggets of wisdom would you like to harvest from their life bank of experience?    

What is it that YOU would like to share with a loved one?  What if this was your last conversation, what would you like them to hear?  

We'd love to hear that 'question' you would ask or want to be asked during an interview.   Please leave a comment here with a question you'd like to ask that  person.   

Do you have a story that you'd like to tell?  We are here...and we want to HEAR you, too--whether or not you have joined us or will be joining us, we are are all brother's and sister's in this world together.
Thank you for being a part of the ReMe family in your own way.

If you'd like more information about a ReMe event or would like to join us in October 2015, please drop us a line at reme@remeretreats.com .  

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friends of ReMe -- OR -- Our *not so* Super, Secret Weapons of Mass Hospitality

Greetings, hale and hearty readers!  Welcome to the 1st day of Spring!  Penny here; I was remiss in my last posting in not mentioning one of my MOST favorite things about the wonder that is ReMe.  It occurred to me, after the fact, that it is "favorite" enough to deserve its own post!  Without further ado, I give you the splendiferous, the amazing, the incredible, the heart-rendingly generous, and  tantalizingly-mind-blowing Den Mothers!

Debbie Keen - Mother October & Theresa Zurku - Mother May
...the planets aligned last October, and our Den Mothers met on the beach!
It has been said that "it takes a village..."  If your village is fortunate enough to have two dynamos such as these, you are very fortunate indeed!  Beyond being blessed with the friendship of these lovely ladies for years before we entered into business together Jean, Jodi, and I are doubly blessed by having these dear friends supporting our efforts in a most 'hands-on' manner!  They are both incredibly endowed with huge hearts, quick minds, and a shared willingness to go the extra mile to bring the dream of ReMe to its abundant reality.  ...and we are so lucky to have them!

Our Wonder Women
(clockwise from upper left)
Theresa Zurku, Debbie Keen,
Theresa & Jean, Penny & Debbie, and Jodi & Theresa

From the Kitchen to the Classroom, and all points in between, I am convinced that what we do would be severely diminished were it not for the incredible gifts that each of these women bring to our bountiful table.  They have embraced our vision with enthusiasm, brought their own unique touches to the offerings of each season, and are ever at the ready to do more - help more - dream more to the betterment of all concerned.

Rest assured that if your plans include being a part of ReMe, you will experience the wonderment of our Den Mothers first hand!  From your arrival to your departure, you will be well attended to in the finest manner. 

Until next time,

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Friends of ReMe on Ocracoke

Jean here.  Grab something refreshing to drink; put up your feet; and let me tell you about some of my favorite folks on Ocracoke.

In October, when we were on Ocracoke Island during our ReMe Retreat, Amy Howard was kind enough to join us for an evening of storytelling.  She shared many of her own memories about growing up on Ocracoke, and she also shared the most riveting details about the history of The Island.  It was magical for all in attendance.  

Amy is a direct descendant of the original residents of Ocracoke Island, and she comes from a long proud line of Islanders who honor their history by sharing their stories.  Luckily for us and for Ocracoke, Amy is also the Executive Director of The Ocracoke Preservation Society (OPS).  

The OPS is dedicated to preserving Ocracoke Island's rich historical and cultural heritage.  They have a must-visit museum on The Island, and Amy and the other folks from The OPS maintain an active presence on Facebook that allows us to feel a part of things all year long. 

An aerial view of the OPS Museum. Photo 'borrowed'
from their Facebook Page.

During our visit, Amy shared news of The OPS's Annual Art Auction, she invited each of us to participate, and she distributed canvases to all who were interested.  The OPS and Amy are near and dear to our hearts, and participate we did!  Friends of ReMe arted their hearts out to contribute to the OPS.  

I was fortunate to be able to attend the auction in person this January.  What an experience!  The museum was packed to the gills; there was lively laughter and conversation; a frenzy of bidding on all of the amazing artwork; and a friendly competition or two as folks vied to take home their favorites.  By any measure, the night was a huge success, and I'm so grateful to have played even the smallest part in it.  

If you'd like to read more details about this year's OPS Auction, please view Sundae Horne's article in the Ocracoke Current by clicking this link.  The Ocracoke Current is The Island's Online Newspaper.  In their own words, "The Ocracoke Current is a source of reliable news and information for the residents and visitors to Ocracoke Island...It's like good gossip but verifiable."  What's not to love about that?!?

During our visit together, Amy also shared a bit of disheartening news with us.  The Hyde County School District, including Ocracoke Island, has eliminated Arts Education in their schools.  As a merry band of midlife artists who have each benefited from our own past and present arts education, this all but broke our hearts.

Happily, the good folks of Ocracoke did not take this news lying down.  Instead, Ocracoke Alive invited artists near and far to apply for the privilege of working with children in their school.  Ocracoke Alive is the driving force behind The Ocrafolk Festival, and in their own words, "The purpose of Ocracoke Alive, Inc/ is to enrich the Ocracoke Island community by encouraging and sponsoring cultural, artistic, educational, and environmental activities..."  (You can read more about Ocracoke Alive here, and the partnership that they established here.)

When I returned home, I immediately applied to be a visiting artist in their program, and I was delighted to be invited to participate during their first week in 2015.  The experience exceeded my wildest expectations!  (If you'd like to read more details and see oodles of photos, please visit my blog here.)

Our Flagship ReMe Retreats in May and October are firmly rooted in our Historic Soundfront Inn on Ocracoke Island.  It's the art that brings us together in this magical place, and the bonds that we form with each other take the forefront as we spend time together.  Amidst it all, there's Ocracoke.  The Island, The Beach, The Village, The Community, The Businesses, and The People; they shape our time together, touch our hearts, and are firmly rooted in each of our memories.  

The Ocracoke Preservation SocietyThe Ocracoke Current, and Ocracoke Alive, are run by some of our favorite Island Residents.  We're blessed to count them as "Friends of ReMe", and we encourage you to support them.  Each can help you to stay in touch with Ocracoke as you count the days until your next visit.   
While our ReMe Retreat on Ocracoke in May is filled to capacity; a few spaces remain in October.  Reserve yours by clicking on the Paypal Link on the left side of this page.  Convenient payment plans are available.