Oh, what a night! It all started when Jim and Laura met Brett Nehls, Community Manager of Yelp, at an event sponsored by the Tampa Bay Concierge Association. A few days later Brett visited the studio, where we talked about activities we could offer his Elite group of Yelp members ... members who are the most active by leaving the most reviews of their experiences at shops, restaurants, events, etc. Throughout the whole planning process, Brett was on top of it, which is a major reason the event was so successful.
With Caroline Calcote's permission, I hijacked her blog post. You should really visit her blog, "My Fascinating Life," where she shares details of her incredibly rich life, including her journey of losing 100 lbs! I know this is a long blog post, but you have to read to the end. You find yourself laughing, I promise! Caroline is a really funny lady!
Thank you, Caroline for capturing the event so beautifully. On to Caroline ...
"Last night was my fourth event as part of Yelp Tampa Bay’s amazing eight day PASSPORT to downtown St. Pete extravaganza.
I have been excited for all of these back to back downtown St. Pete events, but I thought this one was going to be really special because we were going to get to create jewelry! My friend Kelly agreed to be my date for the event and we met up with my friend Charlotte (of Charlotte Smiled) just as we were arriving. (Editorial comment: Charlotte is our amazing dental hygienist!)
(Charlotte & Kelly…dang I have pretty friends!)
Painting with Fire Studio is located in the Grand Central district amidst an enclave of creative businesses.
They rolled out the welcome mat, or put up the welcome sandwich board, for us Yelpers!
One of my favorite things about Yelp events is getting to see lots of friends. It is my wish that all of my BFFs would become active Yelpers and attend events so that every event would just be like a private party for my friends and me. Sounds good, right? Well, I’ve gotten to know quite a few of the regular Yelpers already, so it kind of already is like that. But I’m on a mission to get all of my friends to a Yelp event with me at some point!
My friends Joe and Crystal:
When we first arrived I met Jim Lewis, one of the owners of Painting with Fire. He is a foodie and a talented chef…he made all of the amazing food for this event!
It was beautiful and there were so many options that I could eat (NSNG…no sugar, no grains). Jim also told me that all of the produce and food items came from Keep St. Pete Local business members. I love how KSPL businesses support each other.
(Cream cheese, marinara/cocktail sauce, shrimp)
The cocktail sauce did have some sugar as it contained ketchup, so that was my splurge. Otherwise, this was a fabulous NSNG dinner for me. Thank you Jim!
Later in the evening dessert appeared…
but I was so happy and satisfied with the copious hors d’oeuvres that I was not tempted…much. Yelp provided craft beer and red and white wine at the event, but I just stuck with water since I’ve had several NorCal margaritas lately.
As we ate and drank and mingled I wandered around the store taking in the eclectic and cool mixture of jewelry, pottery, and art.
All of the workspaces and jewelry/art supplies on display were inspiring me to get my guest room/craft room in order and play with my stuff!
But soon enough we were directed to the FIRE room where we were going to get to play!
Painting with Fire is a family business started by Barbara Lewis. She enlisted her husband, son, and daughter into the business and you can tell that it is a passion project for all of them.
Barbara also wrote the first book ever to focus on torch-fired enamel. “Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry: a Workshop in Painting with Fire” was named the Best Craft Book of 2011 at Amazon. It has a five star rating on Amazon with over 240 reviews!
Barbara was so welcoming to all of us and she explained about the unique work station/ventilation system and the bead pulling system that she created (patent pending).
Her son David gave us all a tutorial on how to use the torch and create the enameled beads.
Charlotte creating her masterpieces:
Joe and Crystal in deep fire-play concentration:
David explaining to me how to light a match:
Me torching the entire studio:
(What’s with my claw hand?)
You roll the bead in the apex of the torch flame until it is glowing red then roll it into the ground glass and then torch it again to melt it.
Then you slide it off into the cooling tray lined with gravel (the stuff that they use in auto mechanic places to absorb oil on the floor, so it is heat proof).
Then you have to fire up the stainless rod to “clean” it and then dip it into water to cool it before you use it again.
Kelly getting crafty:
My beads and Charlotte’s beads (ok, David actually made two of the blue ones in my tray):
We really were all proud of our creations.
There were quite a few pieces on display to give me inspiration for how I can use my beads to make something beautiful:
After playing with fire we went into the other workshop room to create sea glass pendants.
All of this sea glass was actually collected by Painting with Fire employees (no Shell Factory sea glass here).
This was our inspiration piece:
Crafting is fun, ya’ll.
When it was my turn I picked out three small pieces of sea glass from the tray.
I used a little E6000 glue to hold the glass together while I wrapped it with silver wire.
I’m quite happy with my pendant.
This was a really fabulous Yelp event. I had so much fun. Good friends, good food, good entertainment. What else could you ask for?
Thank you to Barbara and her family at Painting with Fire for hosting us! And thank you to Yelp Tampa Bay (especially Brett, our Yelp Tampa Bay Community Manager) for another great event.
I am FOR SURE going to attend a workshop at Painting with Fire.
Who wants to go with me? Let’s plan it!
Be sure to check out the Painting with Fire Studio Facebook page to see what they are up to!