1 Northern Canada is starkly beautiful in December. While it was cold, only 6-degrees below Fahrenheit, all the locals said it was very pleasant!
2 When I got off the plane, our driver, Paul Somersal, brought me to the Radisson hotel to get lunch. I found this adorable elephant in my room.
3 After lunch, I went to MacDonald Island Park to look at the venue and make sure all of my supplies arrived in good shape. It’s the largest indoor community center in Canada, and is getting bigger!
4 The next morning, Martha arrived. We were dressed warmly!
5 Here is Martha with Paul Spring, the president of Phoenix Heliflight, who was to bring us to Martha’s tour of the Suncor facility.
6 They even had a helicopter ornament on their tree!
7 This is Daisy, Martha’s amazing hair and makeup stylist. We all had to get weighed to determine how much fuel the helicopter needed. Thank goodness the results were kept secret (from us…)
8 Of course Martha loved the dogs in the hangar – and they loved her!
9 Here is one of the pilots at Phoenix. He accepted an invitation to the craft demo that night.
10 Each helicopter is custom-painted with its own phoenix.
11 This is the copter we flew in.
12 Paul gave us a short safety lesson.
13 Martha is so at home in a helicopter - she has flown many times. I was a little more nervous, but Paul was a great pilot.
14 The snow blew up considerably when we took off!
15 Fort McMurray from the sky.
16 It was a gorgeous view!
17 This is MacDonald Island at the intersection of the Athabasca River and the Clearwater River. It is the northern tip of the city.
18 These are the Athabasca oil sands. Suncor is one of many companies that remove the oil from the sands.
19 Once they have removed the oil and replaced the sand, they reforest the area.
20 A view of the refinery
21 Once Martha and Daisy got off the helicopter to take a tour of the refinery, I returned to town with Paul to get ready for the craft.
22 I got to sit in the front seat of the helicopter. The window went from above my head to below my feet! It was exhilarating, not scary at all.
23 Back at MacIsland, I set up the wreaths in the demo hall.
24 We showed all four of the wreaths from Martha’s column in the December 2013 issue of Martha Stewart Living.
25 I set up her demo table, making sure that she had all of the supplies and tools.
26 She demoed two wreaths - the Gold Leaf-Sticker Wreath and the Green Ribbon Wreath.
27 We had great supplies from Martha Stewart Crafts!
28 And beautiful ribbon from Masterstroke
29 The tables were ready for the crafters to arrive. 3 Ring Circles sent plenty of the circle wreath forms – enough for everyone!
30 The crafters were all set to craft!
31 Martha loves her audiences, and took the previous photo. I was making sure she knew where all her tools were.
32 Martha really enjoys events like this one. She told some great stories.
33 The first step was to paint the wreath form gold.
34 Daisy crafted, too!
35 Everyone was really excited to be there.
36 As the audience painted, Martha showed them how to make the ribbon wreath.
37 The crowd was very industrious.
38 I really enjoy listening to Martha in small venues like this one. She has so many great anecdotes to share.
39 The pilot we invited proved to be a very good crafter.
40 After the paint dried, everyone added their gold leaf stickers. It’s an easy craft and very beautiful.
41 After Martha showed everyone how to tie the perfect bow, she glued their bows onto their wreaths. Everyone lined up for that!
42 Having Martha's personal touch on each wreath made everyone really happy.
43 No one minded the wait - they were thrilled to get a moment with Martha!
44 After the craft, the audience was presented with a lovely cocktail party.
45 After cleaning up the craft, I attempted curling – a sport I never knew about and found to be really fun!
46 This is a view of the swimming pools at MacDonald Island Park. The enormous facility holds many activities including ice skating and hockey, curling, an indoor water park, an indoor playground, dance, volleyball, wall climbing, and cultural and artistic events. It’s quite the community center!
47 Martha spoke to a small group of VIPs in one of the rooms in the Fort McMurray Library. It is a beautiful, expansive, and well-cared-for place.
48 And then later, many more people came to hear an interview with Martha.
49 She was interviewed by Carolyn Goolsby, the Library Director.
50 After the event, we all returned to the Radisson for dinner. We had eaten every meal at Prime Social Kitchen, the excellent restaurant there, and the chef asked Martha what she would like for dinner. We dined on lamb chops with silky mashed potatoes and broccoli. It was yummy!
51 With a lovely bottle of wine, it was a perfect meal.
52 Daisy does not eat meat, so she enjoyed a lovely piece of salmon.
53 I was really hungry – it had been a long day!
54 Martha looked lively, even after many events.
55 The chefs who prepared our dinner - The kitchen is run by Executive Chef Mark Hobson, on the right.
56 Dessert was a bubbling apple crisp in a skillet with vanilla ice cream and caramel – comfort food at its best!
57 This is the new automated security at Toronto airport. Our red-eye flight was delayed in Toronto by heavy fog in New York. Martha, Daisy, and I slept on a big red upholstered sofa in the lounge in the airport. After quite a successful and busy time in Northern Canada, we were ready for a nap.