Rex and I spent Monday afternoon, just the two of us, down at Shutters on The Beach Hotel in Santa Monica celebrating the launch of Jennifer Garner's new craft line for Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store. I really hadn't a clue as to what to expect as far as these kinds of celebrity based functions go, but like most people I adore Jennifer Garner and figured anything she was invested in that had to do with children (and crafting) was likely well worth our while.
Turns out I was right. Walking through the door I was relieved to find the overall vibe was just as I had hoped: warm & friendly. Casual and fun. Made up of an intimate mix of bloggers and grafters, their children, a handful of media and a couple photographers. We snacked on crab cake burgers and chicken wings, mac and cheese, veggie sticks, ahi tuna with fresh lemonade to wash it all down. The food on hand was delicious and we were free to roam the tables at our leisure. Testing out an array of the craft kits that are going to be part of a 100 part series debuting this summer. Rex was easily entertained the whole time and proved especially well behaved. I even caught him mingling with the craft aids and other children while taking special care to finish up each craft he sat down to complete. Thank. God.
Outside we were gathered for a round table talk with Jennifer about the line - where it sprang from and what was most important to her in the initial stages of design. She was lovely. Down to earth, openly engaging. Pretty in a real, and relatable way. In fact within about two minutes I think we all just about forgot any of the imposed Hollywood hype attached to her and her name and became totally focused on the background stories she shared about being raised by a hard working, DIY mom with a serious knack for all things craft based. Her mother made all their clothes and baked all & any treats kept in the house. She joked about her and her sisters being desperate as kids, for store bought Oreos or a box of "Little Debbies"in the pantry, but that her mom never caved. How it's things like that that she appreciates now as an adult. She also described spending many afternoons on the weekends at Jo-Anne's as a young girl with her mother which, for me made this particular partnership a little more appealing than your typical star based, brand product pairing.
Other fun points discussed round the table - because let's be honest, who doesn't enjoy hearing about how the famed spend their downtime - was that she bakes bread for the family every Sunday. A routine in which each of her children come to contribute. Even her three year old son who she says is happy to sit with simple ingredients he is allowed to mix and measure while she ties up the rest. She said that she cooks as much as she can and tries to prep meals throughout the week. But confessed to "never being prepared" on the go, to bumming diapers off other mothers in public and packing her glove box with wipes and necessities instead of lugging around a fully stocked diaper bag (hey, me too!) When asked what advice she might give to new mothers, she gave my favorite answer of the day further securing her reputation as an A list actress with a down home outlook. "Is it OK to say I don't believe in giving advice to other mothers?" She asked laughing, and then concluded that if pressed for a single tag line her standing advice would have to be "go with your gut and lean on your girlfriends." Which tells me right there she's my kind of lady.
We wrapped up the evening back at the craft tables with Jennifer amongst the kids where she chatted with a couple of her real life friends who stopped in to say hello, thanked us all for driving "so far," and obliged all and any requests for photos with her.
Altogether it ended up a really lovely afternoon. Jennifer, a true delight and the line something I am genuinely excited to share here. We came home bearing bags full of a few crafts we hadn't tried, all of which Rex and his brothers are loving. The quality of the wood, the playfulness of design and choice of color and textures are fantastic. But after hearing her talk about how much time she spent ensuring each part of every package lined up with her vision, it doesn't come as any surprise. Her hand and direction are evident in all the well loved details.
So you guys have got to keep an eye out for these fun additions to be stocked on shelves June 21st. With pricing ranging anywhere from 8.99 - 29.99 they make for a fun and practical birthday party gift and with a generous portion of proceeds benefiting "Save The Children" it feels like a win win in every regard.
And, if you do try them out, please let me know which ones you like best? As of now we're partial to the string art kit, the solar light, and hoop hideaway and the sibling blanket. But, with a 100 kits to choose from, the choices feel almost endless.
You can find a little more about the line with Jennifer explaining it here