Saturday, March 15, 2014

Women's Retreat - Chocolate Style

I've been recuperating this week from all the work and implementation of our Spring Women's Retreat last Saturday the 8th.  If you've been here a little while, you might remember our Spring Woodland Retreat last year that was a big success with the women from our church.  I blogged about it, of course. We had such positive feedback last year, that we decided to use the same format again.  These are basically a "retreat in a box" from Group Publishing.  They give you all the material and music you need to have an amazing retreat WITHOUT a speaker.  It is basically a small group format.  It gives the women a chance to get to know someone they may not already know.  I HIGHLY recommend these.

We've been preparing for quite awhile.  And, you know, we don't do things by the book or in a simple way.  I showed you some of our inspiration previously here. The theme for this retreat was Café Chocolat and the topic was God's Abundant Grace.  My inspiration began when I found this pdf from Claudine Hellmuth.

These are designed to be cupcake boxes.  Our ladies were going to have some AMAZING cakes for dessert (see below), so we ended up using these as gift boxes with a bag of mixed candies inside to take home.  I've learned that if you want a great event with minimal expense, you have to use a lot of labor.  We divided these up between our council members and lightened the load a little. In the end, we had such a great turnout, that I ended up having to make 10 more the week of the retreat. I think we made 53 café boxes in total.
The take the color palette even farther, we used these Martha Stewart Rosettes that I found at Michaels. I made a few fans to go with them.  We also made banners and an "awning".  We covered bookshelves from the children's department with faux wood corrugated paper and a sweet scalloped top.

Teacher stores are a great place to find materials for the decorations.  My friend, Renee, painted the awning on a flat piece of paper.  Doesn't it look great? It really set everything off.

Here is most of my team in our matching Ikea aprons.  One did a bunch of work but had to be out of town for the event.  
Our centerpieces were made from thrift store tins and cake pans.  
Which we transformed into beautiful cakes.

We also used the little cafe boxes in the centerpieces.

I made coffee/cocoa cup wrappers with a design from The Graphics Fairy. 

A lovely woman in our church has her own baking business and makes the most amazing cakes and cupcakes. We enlisted her help and she was astounding! Look at these cakes! I gave her a little box to work from and she made two cakes and a dozen cupcakes. They taste as good as they look. Truly amazing!  

I was so busy that I really didn't take that many good photos. There were many details that I did not get a picture of. I should be receiving copies from others soon. So you may see another post on this. Hope you don't mind. I just wanted to give you a glimpse of the amazing retreat we had. The material in this kit was really good with a variety of object lessons, a charity project and quiet time. One of the things that I thought would be unpopular, became one of the most moving sessions of the day. I could tell that a lot of prayer went into the event and am so thankful that the ladies had a wonderful day.  


  1. Wow! Everything looks SO cute and it looks like you had a TON of fun! From what I've heard....the event was amazing! Heather raved about it! :-)

  2. I read this post really quickly the other day
    with the intent to come back and comment.
    Well, here I am better late than never.

    Love, love love ALL OF IT! Everything is so darned
    cute. What a great way to upcycle the tins and pans.
    You gals are so creative.

    M : )

  3. This is so fabulous!!! I am thrilled that my Sweet Shoppe cupcake boxes were a part of your amazing display!

  4. Oh how cute everything looks, Karen!! Those layered cakes made out of tins are a brilliant idea! Did you spry paint them to coordinate?


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