Ranger U – Day One


I drove home this morning and I'm still walking on air after three days of intensive instruction from Tim Holtz, Dyan Reaveley, Claudine Hellmuth, and Mackie Mullane.  Ranger U was amazing… we learned 90 techniques over the three day course.

On Friday (Day One) we started out with a tour of the Ranger factory.  Right here in the good old USA they manufacture all the wonderful products we crafters love… distress inks, stains, paints, perfect pearls, etc.  I learned so much about the production process, and how many individual people handle a given product as it goes from raw materials to the recognizable products that are stacked up on my work table.

Ranger is family-owned and employs over 80 people in New Jersey.  Mario took this great shot of us in the factory:


There were 24 students from 10 countries.  Someone said yesterday a roomful of strangers is just a group of friends waiting to be met.  I've heard about the close friendships that form at Ranger U, and I'm a believer.  You're in such an intense and creative situation, and you're with people who feel the same way… it's exhilarating.

I had some fabulous tablemates too.  I sat with Annette Green, Ellen Vargo, and Jim Hankins AKA Jim the Gentleman Crafter. Here we are holding agates we made with Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel:


And here Key and Miyake, my new friends from Korea, show theirs:


I learned so many more ways to use the Melting Pot than I ever have before… can't wait to get going on that!

We made several pieces of jewelry using Ranger products to color Vintaj metals:


We all had fun with that (I even managed to use two pair of pliers simultaneously, which was quite a feat):


Annette Green was loving this part:


Ellen managed her Melting Pot in a more traditional way than Jim did.  That's all I can say about that.


We ended our first day that evening with 30 techniques down, 60 to go!

Then we gathered back in the factory for a barbecue complete with Jersey dogs, burgers, salads, etc.  All delicious and what a great way to end the first day getting to know everyone a bit more in such a relaxing atmosphere.  Alain & Justin's wives and children came (the families in the family-owned), and the kids rode skateboards through the warehouse.  A couple of ‘big kids' joined in, too.

Here's my new buddy Silvia Santoyo from Madrid.  She is absolutely lovely, and we all appreciated the fans she brought to share on this Melting Pot day (imagine the heat from all those pots, all the Heat It tools, and just all those women!):


And you might recognize this redhead from the U.K. who Annette and I were chatting up at dinner time:


Dyan Reaveley is a hoot!  And rumor has it she's designing some incredible new releases… she'd only tease, so I have no inside scoop, but I'm fairly confident they will be fabulous.  Best be careful with her… she'll give you that nice smiling photo above and then before you know it, this one's been shot as well:


And you know I can't blog a Ranger U post without a picture of this guy:


Talk about creatively inspiring!   Tim shared so many techniques and tips and was entirely welcoming and generous in every imaginable way.

More pics to come for Days 2 and 3… seemed like waaaaay too much to squeeze into one post.

Thanks so much for the visit!



  1. Anita Houston on May 4, 2013 at 12:12 am

    So so happy for you Marjie! I can smell all the smells, and can see all the sights! So glad you got to do it all too!

  2. MIYAKE on May 3, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Marjie~My Good Friend~!
    I miss you~! ♡

  3. linda on May 2, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Sounds like you had a fantastic time! So jealous!

  4. Helen Tilbury on May 2, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    How WONDERFUL. Just LOVED this post!! Awesome opportunity & you grabbed it with both hands – go you!!!

  5. Diana on May 2, 2013 at 11:39 am

    i am so very excited for you! i can’t wait to see/read/hear more!!

  6. Shahrul Niza on May 1, 2013 at 3:51 am

    Oh WOW, this is over the top WOW!!!. You met all these great people, you’re soon to be one, Marjie!! :). Yeah I can feel the heat even now, talking about creativity boom. So happy you’re in this, I’m loving all the phots you shared here. HUGS.

  7. Valerie-Jael on May 1, 2013 at 3:50 am

    Looks wonderful, glad you had such a good time. But I’m just a TAD envious, too! Hugs, Valerie

  8. Annette G on April 30, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Thank you for sharing these great photos and am sure you are going to thrill us with your new creations. Hugs Annette x

  9. Barbara Albrecht on April 30, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    I can’t wait to see what you make after playing…er…I mean…learning all weekend at Ranger U! It looks like you guys had a blast. Thanks for sharing your pictures and your story…looking forward to Days 2 & 3.

  10. Sandra on April 30, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    wauw, Marjie! What a great adventure it must have been! So many talented people all around you! I’m so happy that you got this chance! Love all the pictures of day 1, can’t wait to see them of day 2 and 3! Hugs, sandar

  11. Astrid on April 30, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Oh you lucky, lucky thing. You must have had so much fun, it all looks and sounds amazing! Love the jewelery pieces and can’t wait what you will show tomorrow. One thing I am wondering though is, how on earth do you remember 90 different techniques? Did you get hand outs?

  12. Claudine C. on April 30, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    This all looks just wonderful Marjie. Thank you for taking us through your days at Ranger. I didn’t know they were family owned, that’s amazing!! I seriously want to learn all the fun things you can do with a melting pot, that would be so fun, lucky you!!

  13. Silvia SF on April 30, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Was a pleasure know you! I have a lovely time! I arrived Madrid eight hours ago and I was so tired but so happy too! Was an amazing adventure! Hugs from Madrid :)

  14. butterfly on April 30, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Fabulous post, Marjie… thanks so much for sharing all these pics and details… I’ve also got a huge smile on my face!!
    Alison x

  15. Corrine on April 30, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    You look so amazingly happy that you are making me just smile and smile. Can’t wait to hear about all your adventures and the melting pot, well do tell girl, sounds like mine it totally underutilized!!! xox

  16. Christine Ortman on April 30, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Sounds so busy and so absolutely wonderful! I’m so excited for you that you were able to be a part of the Ranger U experience and looking forward to seeing your inspirations that blossom from it.

  17. Redanne on April 30, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Wow Marjie, what a great post! 90 is a lot of techniques, you must be buzzing with ideas now. Looking forward so much to seeing the rest of your pics. Hugs, Anne x

  18. Victoria Sturdevant on April 30, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Fun, creative time! TFS

  19. Kay Wallace on April 30, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    What an amazing opportunity for you, Marjie! It is so obvious by your photos that everyone had a marvelous time. I must add that I think 90 techniques over three days is a bit of pressure! What a thrill to meet all those amazing artists, and I just don’t mean the staff at Ranger, but all the other attendees! So very happy for you! I will look forward to seeing more photos from Ranger U! Oh, yes, love that opening shot of the Ranger Ind. mailbox!

  20. Julia S-W on April 30, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Wow!! Looks like you had a fabulously creative time Marjie. Can’t wait to see what you did on day 2 and 3!

  21. Silvia on April 30, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Wow, I’m just jealous ;) Seems you’ve had a lot of fun. 90 techniques…. FANTASTIC.

  22. barbarayaya on April 30, 2013 at 11:08 am

    This is my big dream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ranger u!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hugs Barbaryaya

  23. ConnieM on April 30, 2013 at 10:26 am

    It looks like it was more than fabulous!! Looking forwaed to more pictures!

  24. Martha Richardson on April 30, 2013 at 7:39 am

    Thanks for sharing…love the new website!

  25. Trace metcalfe on April 30, 2013 at 6:46 am

    Wow lookslike you had an amazing and incredible time, full of creativity…looks fab …one day maybe?! Hugs trace x

  26. Laura Spano on April 30, 2013 at 4:07 am

    Yay! I was waiting for this post! Wow – 90 techniques- what a whirlwind. No wonder you feel exhilirated. And I had no idea there would be people representing 11 countries- I take it for granted that this is just over the river in NJ from me. And lol, my first class at Art is You was with Suze and her melting pots. We about died from the fumes. Thanks for sharing your adventure. Can’t wait for the next installment!

  27. Toni Burrows on April 30, 2013 at 2:25 am

    Thank you so much for giving us this little taste of Ranger U. What a brilliant time you must have had. Fabulous examples of the projects can’t wait to see more xx

  28. Debi Ryan on April 29, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    I’m still head swirling at the thought of 90 techniques in 3 days ;) looks heaps of fun! Debi x

  29. Fern Edwards on April 29, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Sounds like it was wonderful and inspiring! Can’t wait to hear the rest of the story and see your new creations.

  30. Julie Tucker-Wolek on April 29, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    HOW EXCITING!!!! And I think I am MOST jealous that you were at Jim’s table!! I {{{heart}}} him!!!

  31. Jessica Sporn on April 29, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    What a great post. I can just feel the excitement, inspiration and creativity bursting through your words and pictures. It was SO GREAT to see you today and here about your wonderful weekend. I know you’re going to be teaching amazing things, using all this new knowledge!

  32. Susan on April 29, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    Looks like it was all that you hoped it would be! Great fun!!!

  33. Terry on April 29, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Love the photos and those hearts and jewelry pieces looks amazing! I need to break out my MP! So glad you had a good time, but how could you not??? Hugs!

  34. Teresa Jaye on April 29, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    fun pics! So glad you had a wonderful time, can’t wait to see more!

  35. susan salyer on April 29, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Oh Marjie how fabulous. you are in the artist Disney Land learning their secrets :) :) :) I am so happy for you. Your smiling face while you are creating says it all..blessings sweet friend.
    susan s

  36. kazoomi on April 29, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I’ve so enjoyed the blog posts by many of the ranger u participants this year. I can’t wait to see what you all share as you create wonderful projects!

  37. Caroline D. on April 29, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Sounds like the experience was beyond wonderful!! Can’t wait to see all the new creations you will share with us on down the road. Thanks for taking time to share your pics… they are great!

  38. Donna on April 29, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Thanks for sharing the dream! Would love the chance!
    Congrats to your new education status!