Etz Chayim Creative Sandbox Playday - July 2019

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Congregation Etz Chayim

4161 Alma Street

Palo Alto, CA 94306

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Refund Policy

Refund Policy

No Refunds

Event description


Calling All Artists, Writers, Crafters, and Those Who Wish They Were!

Etz Chayim's Creative Sandbox Playday is a half-day to come together with other creatives and get stuff done on your own creative project. This community event is open to the public!

As a professional creativity instigator, author of The Creative Sandbox Way™, and host of the Creative Sandbox Way podcast, I hear from people all the time that the biggest obstacles they face are, first, carving out the time to get to their creative work, and second, getting past the "I'm not good enough" gremlins that inevitably pop up.

Creating in isolation is so hard, so let's do it together!

Together we are unstoppable!

I've been hosting 5-day Creative Sandbox Retreats for six years now. The smiling faces you see in the photos here are all happy Creative Sandbox Retreatants.

Pam sharing her beautiful watercolor at Creative Sandbox Retreat 2016

Etz Chayim's Creative Sandbox Playday is the "day camp" version of Creative Sandbox Retreat!

It's a half-day co-working retreat to work on your own creative project, where the time is already carved out, you'll have a dedicated work space at a table to work on whatever you want, and you've got the energy of a whole bunch of other creatives all working together in companionable silence to charge you up.

What Happens at Etz Chayim's Creative Sandbox Playday

We will:

  • Open with a Creative Catalyzing session to scare away the self-doubt gremlins and Comparison Trap gremlins (some of my Creative Sandbox Retreatants say this is their favorite part of the entire retreat!)
  • Share our intentions for what we'd like to accomplish in our time together
  • Have 3 hours of structured (silent) work time (bring headphones and your own music source if you want music!)
  • Close with a facilitated sharing of what we worked on

Amy sharing her collaged book cover

Who Is Etz Chayim's Creative Sandbox Playday For?

This half-day retreat is for you if you...

  • are a writer or poet (or simply want to write!)
  • are a watercolor or acrylic painter, illustrator, or other visual artist (or simply want to paint or draw!)
  • are a calligrapher (or simply want to try calligraphy!)
  • are a knitter, crochet-er, or other needleworker (or simply want to play with yarn/thread!)
  • are a collage artist, papercutter, scrapbooker, or crafter (or simply want to play with paper!)
  • don't really know what you're doing, but simply want to come play! (I'll have a ton of art supplies you can try out and play with!)

This half-day retreat is also for you if you...

  • are just getting started doing creative pursuits
  • are an experienced artist (maybe even a creative pro), but feeling stuck
  • are feeling lonely
  • are having a hard time carving out time for your creative thing
  • would like new creative friends, who "get" you

Who Is Etz Chayim's Creative Sandbox Playday NOT For?

Because we will all be in one room together, this half-day retreat is not for everybody. This Playday is NOT for you if you...

  • require solvents in your work (they give me migraines)
  • make sounds that might be distracting to others in the course of your creative work (i.e., composers, musicians, podcasters, etc. Sorry!)
  • require large amounts of space to move around (i.e., dancers)
  • don't like to be with other people

Come create together!

Gremlin in a paintbrush cup!


Non-Etz Chayim members pay $25. Your fees go to cover yummy snacks, and a stash of art supplies for anyone who's at a loss for what to do.

Etz Chayim members pay only a small snack & materials fee. Find the member discount code in the Etz Chayim eBulletin, or contact me directly if you're a member.

What to Bring:

  • Whatever tools & supplies you need for your creative project
  • A portable light + extension cord, if you want one for your work
  • A brown bag lunch + any special (nonalcoholic!) beverages you want on hand for the day (NOTE: because this is a synagogue, no pork products or shellfish are allowed in the building)
  • Your big, open heart!


  • Etz Chayim has a huge, free parking lot!


Our official start time is 9:45am, but you may arrive as early as 9:30am to set up your work station.

9:45am - Introductions + Creative Catalyzing Session

10:45am-1:45pm - Creative Sandbox Work Time

1:45pm-2:30pm - Sharing + Goodbyes til Next Time

Creative Sandbox Retreat 2017


How much space will I have to work on my project?

We'll be sharing large, folding tables, so you'll have half of a 6- or 8-foot table to spread out on.

What if I need to stand while I work/use an easel/have some other special need?

No problem — just contact me, and we'll figure it out! melissa@melissadinwiddie.com

Is the work time totally silent? What if I need music when I work?

Our work time is designated as "silent/no-talking" time, so that people who need to concentrate when they work don't have to worry about being pulled away by tempting distractions. But you are more than welcome to bring headphones and an iPod or other music player!

Do I have to stay for the whole time?

You'll get the most from the experience if you do, but you're an adult. How you use your time is up to you.

Can I bring friends?

Please do!

I don't know anyone who's going. Will I feel super-awkward?

You may feel awkward walking in (I always do, whenever I walk into a room where I don't know anyone!), but I'll have a hug waiting for you, and I'll do my best to make any awkwardness you feel coming in well worth your while. :)

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

You can email me at melissa@melissadinwiddie.com

What's the refund policy?

There are no refunds for this event.

Randi sharing her mosaic heart at Creative Sandbox Retreat 2016

Come create together!

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Date and Time


Congregation Etz Chayim

4161 Alma Street

Palo Alto, CA 94306

View Map

Refund Policy

No Refunds

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