Families, Creativity, and Design: Crafting Community.

Wild Things at Crafting Community 2013

I attended Crafting Community as part of my involvement with the Target Inner Circle Thank you, Target!

Last week my oldest daughter Jillian and I spent the weekend in gorgeous Palm Springs, California attending Crafting Community.  To say this was a special time for us would be an understatement.  Magical might be a touch more accurate.

We needed this mother-daughter trip together, and beyond that, my child was in her element creating, crafting, and surrounded by inspiration.   As her mom, that was pretty wonderful to get to experience with her.

Crafting Community founder, LA based artist Karen Kimmel, believes esthetics and design are not lost on children. Kids love beautiful things and in fact, beauty helps engage them.  Hmmm, that almost sounds like someone else I know …

With that in mind, Karen works tirelessly to create workshops that will inspire and engage guests of all ages.  I think you’ll agree with me that the end result is pretty wonderful.

The Ace Hotel Palm Springs California

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter than you know that I couldn’t stop raving about our time while Jillian and I were there.  In fact, I’m probably completely guilty of “overgramming” as they say, but I couldn’t help myself.  There was something wonderful to experience around every corner and I really wanted to share it with all of you.

A shared family creative experience?  Well, you know we’re going to love that.

A beautiful setting, a laid back environment, unlimited crafting supplies?  Fantastic!

Yes, there is much to love about Crafting Community, but here was my favorite thing:  the changes that I saw happen to the people who were guests there, including myself.

Crafting Community Poolside Fiesta 2013

Jillian and I arrived at the Ace Hotel earlier than most families, thanks to an early flight into Palm Springs, and so we saw the guests arriving after us.  At first folks were checking the walls for signs and directions, clutching the printed booklet with the itinerary for the weekend, the last bits of the outside world’s worries and residual travel stress still clinging to them.

But, then this wonderful change happened:  within a few hours the mood changed, the pace slowed, and smiles graced nearly every face.  The kids especially seemed to grasp the idea behind this weekend, to jump in and be creative, totally immersing yourself in the process, but it didn’t take long for the adults to join in, too.

Kid Made Modern neon papers collage

Encouraged to create first and worry about the clean up later, Crafting Community fosters an environment where no idea is too outlandish, no question to silly, no collaboration too far fetched.  From handing the kids new Converse and white tee shirts for them to customize to working with leather to good old fashioned paper and glue sticks to rolling up your sleeves and digging in the dirt, there was something for everyone.

Deluxe Your Chucks at Crafting Community 2013


Sitting in the first workshop session, listening to the happy sounds of families creating art together, it didn’t take long to see that Crafting Community is someplace special. Families surrounded us drawing comics together, making elaborate duct tape creations, working with clay, and beautiful leathers, fabric, and yarn.

There was gardening, skateboarding, yoga, painting – the sky did indeed seem to be the limit, right there in the middle of this beautiful setting.

Ace Hotel Palm Springs, CA



Jillian and I attended as guests of Target and the Target Inner Circle, given the assignment of interviewing Todd Oldham of Kid Made Modern (I’ll let you know when you can read the interview at A Bullseye View).  Meeting Todd and how genuine and enthusiastic about sharing the artistic and design process he is was certainly a highlight of our trip.


That amazing moment where Todd Oldham sits down to craft with your daughter and he tells her she’s got a talent for this and should keep pursuing it and she just beams and floats on cloud nine for the rest of the weekend.  Yeah, that.

But, the thing is moment after moment like that happened during the weekend.  The artisans were there because they genuinely are excited about their craft and eager to teach their skills.  That’s one of the things I really enjoy about being around creative people:  their passion for what they love is contagious.


Comic book making with Ryan Quincy.  Jillian says to watch for further adventures of Roller Bunny!


Beadtopia and working with clay with Bari Ziperstein.  How is it we had never added Scuply to our crafty line up at the Fleck house before this?

Beadopia Clay Display


More than just a much needed mother-daughter retreat together, Jillian and I came away from Crafting Community with new knowledge and crafting techniques (many of which she was so eager to share with her younger siblings that she set up her own mini-Crafting Community in our garage the day we arrived home).



I asked founder Karen Kimmel a few questions about the weekend and this is what she said:

What do you hope will be the take away for families attending Crafting Community? 

“Our hope is that each family takes away a new found excitement and respect for the simple things in life. The love between family members, stolen moments with friends and the power of taking just one creative risk. Saying yes to something new can open a window of opportunities and self discovery. Crafting Community is just the delivery system that ideally can help ignite a families passion for creativity and remind them how important just being together in a supportive environment can be.”

What do you see the lasting effect of their time here to be?

“Well, nothing gets our team more excited then seeing families having fun and making memories. If Crafting Community can be the catalyst for parents and kids to try something new, rediscover something they once loved, make a new friend or take time to hang with old friends, we feel like we are doing our part in reminding each other that as elusive as it may seem, happiness is what makes all the challenges of building a family worthwhile.”

Crafting Community 2013

There was an authentic design meets creative living vibe and a real feeling of community for the weekend.  I can see the ripples of this experience echoing for a long time for our family.

Duct Tape Creations at Crafting Community 2013

If you want to find out what Crafting Community has in store for 2014, I suggest you head here and sign up for their email list. I know Christopher and I have already talked about taking the whole family next year so that we can all experience this together.

About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at KElizabethFleck.com.

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  1. Wow. I’ve been following your adventure on Instagram, Kara – it looks and sounds like the best experience ever! I am more than a little envious. It may be time to start saving up for a trip to Crafting Community. We have a house full of people who would love that. Gotta admit – I’m super surprised that you guys haven’t used Sculpey before – it rocks off socks. Today we’re using it to make necklaces of the Deathly Hallows (just like Xenophilius Lovegood’s). So fun!
    Robin from Frugal Family Times´s latest post: A Key to Saving Money: Finding Contentment with What You Have

    • I know, right? Jillian says she’s used it at art club, but somehow I don’t think we’ve ever brought it home (or, if we have, I’ve totally spaced it). The necklaces of the Deathly Hallows? Now its *my* turn to be envious! :-)

      Isn’t it awesome that our kids love this stuff as much as we do? :-)

  2. This looks amazing! “That moment when Todd Oldham sits down with your daughter…” yeah, that’s pretty incredible. :)

    Glad you had a great trip!
    Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy´s latest post: The “secret” society all women deserve to discover

    • Oh, I know! Do you see that zipper and duct tape necklace she’s wearing? Todd made that for her and tied it around her neck himself! (and I about hyperventilated) :-) Afterward I said, “Jillian do you know you have a custom necklace that Todd Oldham handmade for you?” and she was so chill about it, “yeah, pretty cool, right mom?” SO awesome! And such a kind person!

      We’re still on cloud nine, a week later :-)
      Kara @SimpleKids.net´s latest post: Families, Creativity, and Design: Crafting Community.

  3. I’m nearly in tears over how AMAZING this must have been!!! Oh, my creative mama heart is about to burst. Kara, I just love your heart and the way you live out art and creativity with your family. Thank you for continuing to encourage and inspire me!! XOXO
    Megan at SortaCrunchy´s latest post: october: that certain slant of light

  4. Oh I have loved watching your whole adventure… such amazing fun!!! And such a special time with that sweet gal of yours!!! Love it all totally!!!
    se7en´s latest post: RHS Garden Projects… OutDoor Inspiration from DK Books…

  5. Lisa McGrath says:

    Ah…to have an entire weekend to craft with your kids and not worry about laundry, grocery shopping, work, etc, etc, etc…PRICELESS!


  1. […] Jillian and I had such a wonderful time at Crafting Community earlier this month.  In case you missed it, I shared some of the details of our trip in this post from last week. […]

  2. […] you like to read more about our time at Crafting Community? Head here to read this post and visit Target’s A Bullseye View blog for our interview with Todd Oldham of Kid Made […]

  3. […] a month!  Earlier we were in California and today I’m saying hello there from gorgeous South Carolina! We’ve been on airplanes […]

  4. […] duct tape adventures are continuing as Jillian, challenged by Todd Oldham when we were at Crafting Community to make her Halloween costume this year, has been using duct tape to create an evil queen […]

  5. […] Her dad and I both love going places with Jillian. Last fall she and I traveled alone together to Crafting Community in Palm Springs and I’ll admit that before hand I was a little bit worried about how that would go, just she […]

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