Thursday, June 11, 2015

My Trip to Kansas: Karla Nathan's Birdsong No. 5

I felt honored to be a part of Karla Nathan's Birdsong art retreat this year. This was my third major event (I blogged about the first two here, here and here.)  If you haven't met Karla, you can read about her on her blog, Karla's Cottage. Caution: only go there if you have a big chunk of time because you won't want to leave. I was most excited to see Karla's art studio firsthand. As her studio has been featured in many magazines, I wanted to see it for myself and feel the presence of all the vintage goodness. I wanted to know if it was beautiful as in the publications - and YES YES YES it was!!!

Karla likes fairies which are abundant in her art studio. And she lovingly refers to her granddaughters as "grandfairies."

I arrived in Kansas on Thursday mid-morning. The event didn't start until Friday, although a large group of us were meeting for dinner that evening to get the party started. We were told that the Victoria Trading Co. has an outlet store in the area that Karla frequents and they were going to give Birdsong participants a gift and money certificate to use there. So knowing I wouldn't be able to visit there after Thursday, I decided to drive over there after I got my rental car from the airport. It turned out that it was the right thing to do because I met other Birdsong "Peeps" there! Here are some of the lovely things I saw at Victoria Trading Co. outlet store.

I used my coupon to purchase these vintage reproduction chenille Easter decorations. It's funny that when I visited my friend Becky in March, these chenille characters were our most favorite project to make together.

While at Victoria Trading Co, I met Cheri and Nancy who were staying at the same hotel as me. They invited me to pal around with them all afternoon in the college town of Lawrence where there are antique shops, a great fabric store (Sarah's), and a British shop.

Remember this John Lennon - Yoko Ono album? Oh, the memories...

On Friday morning, we found Karla's Cottage and once inside just stood there in amazement. After I pulled myself together, I got out my camera and started clicking away! 

We had to be sure to look up too!

We were greeted with a beautiful bag filled with goodies sitting on our chairs.

We worked hard!

Michelle, Karen, Jennifer, Beth, Randy, Sharon and Shelli

And we ate well too! Besides the delicious buffet style lunches and dinner, there was a treat station set up in the studio filled with delicacies and drink.

Check out the abundance of vintage wallpaper on the shelf!

Cut out sugar cookies butterflies and birds with "Peeps" embossed on them.

These type of events usually have swaps. One of the swaps was trading decorated birdhouses.

Nancy, Cheri, Betti & Linda

I met Karla's niece, Shelli, (left photo, below) and found that she is a fellow Hoosier (her mother Sharon is too!) and we discussed future luncheon plans! Below middle is Beth, who has a blog called Gathering Dust and an Etsy shop too. On the right is Cheri and Nancy, my shopping buddies and table mates.

Karla's cat had a litter of 5 adorable kittens that pretty much stole the show. Karla is holding one on the left below, and on the right is Twinkle. Karla's delightful pets and family members added to the joy of the event.

Here are the lovely projects I made. On the left is a wall hanging that was taught by Lori Oles. On the right is Juniper June, taught by Lesa Dailey, and a journal taught by Karla.

My Juniper June, Nancy's and Cheri's all lined up. It was so fun to see how everyone's turned out.

We ate, we talked and laughed, we created and learned new skills, and walked outside to enjoy the beautiful yard. We also shopped on Friday evening in Karla's garage that she transformed into a fabulous market.

Here is the group of ladies and a gentleman - Karla's BIL Randy - who attended Birdsong No. 5. This photo was taken in Karla's lush back yard in front of the gazebo. 

Photo courtesy of Karla Nathan

I had a wonderful time playing at Birdsong. If you ever get the chance to attend, I would highly recommend it. I sure hope Karla continues this tradition as it is a very good one!

All of my wishes for the event came true!

Peep! Peep!


  1. Thank you for the kind words! I hope to see you here again.

  2. Patty, you got wonderful pictures, and what a great recap of a fun weekend. Karla really is a great hostess, and it was so nice to see you again!

  3. Wasn't it just the best??? I see lots of new faces, so while I'm sad I missed out this year, I'm glad so many others were able to experience the Birdsong fun. Love your post and photos!

  4. OK I want to go next time!!! I love all the precious projects. Glad you had a great time ♡

  5. Hello from Spain: Kansas is a great destination. Fabulous exhibition. Wonderful creations. Too much fun. Nice photos.We keep in touch

  6. Oh wow! No doubt it was an incredible event. I have visited both Karla's and Beth's blogs many times in the past. So much inspiration all around.

  7. Oh, Patty....what a wonderful event! The projects are simply stunning. I love Karla's cottage. You took some fantastic photos. Thanks for sharing them with us!

    I'm taking a ten week portrait course this summer. Yikes!

  8. Patty, I think you, Becky and I will need to go! What a wonderful Blog! Love you, missy💓

  9. I'm so glad you blogged about Birdsong Patty, and that you had a chance to enjoy Karla's hospitality and all the fun! Lovely photos!


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