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Ideas and inspiration, Meeting notes

How to craft a craft club: Our first tutorial

This past weekend, most of the members of Ladies Craft Beer Society gathered to celebrate the impending arrival of yet another LCBS baby (this will make baby #6!)

Even though it wasn’t an official LCBS meeting, there was, of course, a craft.

It’s been a long winter, and after the shower we all realized how important our monthly gatherings do to help us reconnect. The crafts are always fun (if not always a smashing success), the beers are cold and delicious (if not always universally enjoyed, because one or the other of us seems to always be pregnant), but the one running constant is the friendships we’ve built along the way.

LCBS-babyshower
Ladies Craft Beer Society, or Ladies Carrying Babies Society? (Photo credit: Elizabeth)

If you’re looking for a good excuse to make new friends or grow the bonds of your existing friend group, may we recommend starting a craft club? It’s really easy.

Here’s our very first tutorial —

How to Craft a Craft Club

Membership

Your club should consist of  friends and acquaintances you admire and/or would like to get to know better. Obviously, we’re a ladies craft beer society, but you don’t have to stick to that formula, if you know some men (or non-gender conforming individuals) who would have fun wielding a glue gun and a can of beer.

Feel free to reassure any dubious invitees that they don’t have to be particularly crafty or creative. It’s just fun to play around, get a little messy and experiment with different projects.

Our members also periodically invite guests to meetings, which is always fun.

Meetings and dues

Each month, members take turns hosting. The host selects the craft (usually based on a seasonal theme, though not always. Pinterest is, of course, our go-to source material for craft ideas.) Pro tip: We have found over the years that short, easy crafts (or at least ones that you can start at the meeting and take home to finish) work best, because we’re often busy talking and eating for so much of the meeting.

The host is also responsible for acquiring supplies and setting dues for that meeting (just to cover supplies.) We try to keep most of our crafts to $10 or less per person.

You could set up some sort of supplies account and have everyone pay an annual dues to cover all crafts, but we’ve found the à la carte approach to be the fairest and easiest way for everyone to just pay for what they can actually attend. We also periodically end up with “stash buster” type crafts where we use up supplies previously purchased and left over from other crafts.

Sometimes we’ll ask attendees to bring their own scissors, or glue gun, or item to upcycle for the craft. Speaking of bring your own…

BYOB

We also pick a beer theme each month. This could be a beer style (such as “farmhouse ales” or “sour beers”) or a theme like “brewery you’ve never heard of.” And while “craft beer” is in our name, sometimes the weather is just too nice not to make sangria. Of course, if your friends are more into wine, or tea, or kombucha, you can adjust your club as appropriate.

Everyone usually brings a six-pack and/or a snack to share. Usually the host ends up with a fridge full of leftover beer and at least two types of hummus to sustain her for the next week. It makes up for all the paint stains and glitter mess.


That’s it! We told you it was easy.

Stay tuned, because our first meeting since launching this site is coming up soon. We can’t wait to let you in on one of our meetings!

In the meantime, be sure to follow us on Instagram (and check out #ladiescraftbeersociety for some of our member posts throughout the years.)

Meeting notes

Best of 2014

Going forward, we’ll be posting meeting updates that highlight our monthly crafts and beer features. In the meantime, here’s a highlight reel from the first four years — starting from 2014. Special thanks to Melissa, Nicole, Emily, Cuoghi and Cari for their Instagram foresight (and willingness to share.)

String Art – June 2014

Hosted by: Reanna

General instructions via SnapGuide

Bring your own: Hammer

Beer theme: Summer beers. Mexican lagers and pilsners, plus sangria because Reanna got a bunch of free wine!

 

Homemade Limoncello – September 2014

Hosted by: Emily

General instructions via Gizmodo

Special considerations: Takes a month to stew

Beer theme: Farmhouse ales and saisons

2014-09-06-limoncello-lp
Homemade Limoncello. Photo credit: Nicole

Decoupage Cork Coasters – November 2014

Hosted by: Reanna (but a special field trip to Platform Beer Co.)

General instructions via Instructables

Bring your own: Old books/magazines

Beer theme: Platform, baby. We mostly stuck to Esther to celebrate the season. We only broke one glass 🙂

Crafty Secret Santa and DIY holiday cards – December 2014

Hosted by: Cari

We also made Christmas cards for a 6-year-old girl with a terminal illness who requested “a lifetime of Christmas cards.”

Special considerations: We set up a Secret Santa, and gifts could either be craft supplies, a crafted gift, or a craft beer. Spending limit was $10.

Beer theme: Platform, baby. We mostly stuck to Esther to celebrate the season. We only broke one glass 🙂

That’s a wrap on 2014! Stay tuned for the next recap soon.

The Ladies of LCBS

First things first

ladies-craft-beer-society

When I started Ladies Craft Beer Society four years ago, I never envisioned it would become such an important part of my life. (Its very premise is about as low-key as it gets: We gather together to drink beer and make something to take home. It’s like those free classes at Home Depot where your kids can make a bird house, except we’re the kids, and there’s beer.)

But LCBS, as silly as it sounds, is also a tremendous source of support and friendship for me. When I started it, I was wrestling with that weird, mid-20s feeling of settling into the place where friendships are hard to maintain. With a demanding job, a new house, a husband and a Netflix account, it was easy to fall into the routine of answering “omg so busy” whenever anyone asks how you’re doing. But I was feeling a little lonely and disconnected and just couldn’t figure out how to make friendships fit into my life in a way that made sense to me (an admittedly socially awkward, mostly introvert).

Ladies Craft Beer Society started out as a dare to myself. I would commit, out loud and to a group of women I admired, to hanging out on a regular basis. I would let them into my house–the one I neurotically cleaned for hours and hours and hours as an outlet for my social anxiety any time I had people over–once a month, and let them into my life and start getting comfortable with being more vulnerable.

I decided to frame the club around crafting to give us something to do that didn’t require homework (here’s looking at you, book clubs).

I invited friends and acquaintances I had met through various jobs, at uncomfortable networking events, through my husband, and even a high school friend or two, to get together.

And I decided we’d also drink seasonally and thematically appropriate beer at each meeting, because I’ve always preferred it to wine (and let’s be honest: 28-year-old me’s solution to social anxiety was to drown it. In beer.)

That first meeting went better than I expected. There was the getting-to-know you chit-chat, there were nametags, there were snacks. There were also sweater mittens, which turned out to be way too hard of a craft to tackle in a couple hours. We were just getting acquainted when the night started out, but by the time the last thread was snipped, we were united in our hilariously ill-executed sewing project.

mitten
A mitten, in theory. (Photo credit: Melissa)

When the first guests arrived at the first meeting of LCBS, I wanted everything to be perfect. When they left, it was the first hint of a lesson that the mistakes and the admitting we had no idea what we were doing were what made the night fun, and what made me feel connected to these women.

In the ensuing years since that first meeting, I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with imperfection. I never would have guessed my silly little club would become so important to me, and I’m so excited to–along with my esteemed fellow members–finally share it with you.

Cheers!

Reanna K.

(That’s me below dodging an aggressive butterfly at a meeting in the summer of 2014.)