Packed and ready

In Tuesday’s post, I expressed that I was getting ready for a retreat but didn’t have ANY ideas of what to work on while there.

Since quilters are SO helpful, I was not at all surprised by the number of comments and suggestions that came in. And, they were GREAT comments….

Most expressed the view that they wanted to keep things simple so that they could stay involved in the conversations……

…..without losing focus and making mistakes!!

For the same reason, many suggested that all of the cutting be done at home….

Anna provided a great visualization exercise…. “Try this: Sit down, breathe, and visualize yourself there…Ask yourself, what would give me pleasure making, finishing, and starting there? Can I concentrate on difficult tasks while with others? Do I focus? What is the expertise the others will bring? Anything I can learn from them? It must be fun not stressful!

Isn’t this a great way to think about our retreat time!!!

Several people suggested that I fill LOTS of bobbins before I leave!!

Lorrie reminded me to take something that I could actually finish so that I would feel as if I had accomplished something.

Probably my favorite comment came from Linda…. “I always take too much stuff to retreats. I think I can get 3 projects done but I never do! And, I don’t have stuff precut either.”

Somehow I think that Linda and I would get along well!!!

The bottom line here is that, as I read the comments, ideas started emerging and now I have PLENTY to work on.

Firstly, there is the scrap quilt that I mentioned in the last post…..

Then my eyes landed on the block exchange that has just ended. Maybe I can get that quilt finished….

It will certainly add some brightness to my day!!

How about the baby quilt that I am planning…..

And finally, there is the design idea that I posted about from the Tower of London. Maybe I can play with the marbled fabrics that have been in my stash for close to 30 years…..

Finally, I will take all of my scraps so that they are available just in case some new idea POPS into my head.

So, thanks to all of you, I am PACKED and READY to go…..

Stay tuned for updates from the field!!

Retreat….try it!!

These past two weeks were a creative retreat for me and it has been such an encouraging time!!

Michael was planning to return to Mozambique for almost two weeks and, since I wasn’t going along, I planned 13 days of creative FUN while he was away. BUT, the new COVID variant meant that countries were closing down and we didn’t feel comfortable sending him to Africa, not knowing if he was going to be able to get back home easily.

So, our plans changed.

I would love to say that we both smiled and said “it’s okay” but we were both SO disappointed and actually grieved on the day that the tickets were canceled.

On the morning that he was to head for the airport, we unpacked his carefully packed duffel and started making plans for how we were going to make the most of our time.

The first decision is that we would not have any meals that required more than 20 minutes of prep time…..PERIOD!!

Secondly, Michael was going to spend time thinking about the book that he was researching and also looking for new outlets for his amazing creative writing skills.

Thirdly, I was going to keep a schedule closer to my “alone-time” schedule….ie….no gym time, later nights, working in my studio at night rather than just watching TV.

And it worked!!!

The first morning I went out to walk and hit a podcast talking about efficiency versus effectiveness. That was all it took to start the ideas pouring into my mind. I kept stopping to send myself emails and finally realized that I wasn’t getting ANY aerobic exercise so started using SIRI to send them for me.

When I got home, I spent some time planning projects and “brain-dumping” all of my new ideas.

Then it was up to the studio!!

Over the next weeks, I will show the projects that I accomplished during this time, and over the next year, you will see some of the ideas that I now have in mind for my website and for the blog.

Yesterday it ended…..

I started back to working in my office and doing all of the normal things that we do in our household.

And that is okay!!

But, I wonder…..

Did I really need to wait until I had a 13-day period free before I could feel creative?

What would happen if I planned a 5-day creative retreat every few months?

Or maybe just a 2-day weekend retreat every two months?

I have a lot of flexibility in my work schedule and maybe I could organize those times with little or no CPA work and LOTS and LOTS of creative time.

Maybe this has more to do with mindset than it does with time….

I really felt empowered during these 13 days. But what was different????

It was simply the mindset that I WAS creative and that I HAD TIME to be creative.

So, the question is simple…..

What are we waiting for??

Quilt Retreat update…

It has been almost two weeks since our retreat, but I did want to show you some of the work that was done during the time.

We had 17 people present….

and each had our own 9-foot table to set up however we wanted.

We were served three meals a day and just had to walk down one flight of stairs to get to the dining room.

It was HEAVEN!!!!

I enjoyed working on my two projects which I have talked about previously but REALLY enjoyed seeing what some of the others were working on.

One of the first “finishes” of the week was my friend Linda, making this fun baby quilt…..

She went on to make 5 wonderful blocks that will be the start of a Quilt-of-Valor…..

I offered to take them and turn them into a quilt top and I am REALLY looking forward to playing with them….maybe add some log cabin or strip blocks to them…..we will see!!

I loved this scrap quilt, especially the border….

…and this one is the perfect way to highlight wonderful fabrics….

Pat and Mary were both working on the same quilt, in almost the same colors, so it was a bit of a contest to see who would finish first…..

Both quilts looked great…..

Rosie was working on these highly thread-painted blocks……

I can’t wait to see exactly what she does with them!! I know that it will be amazing!!!

And these improvisationally pieced blocks will be the start of a great quilt…..

There were several QOV tops finished….

….and lots of other projects!!

When I got home…..

….. and returned everything to its rightful place in the studio, I sat down and made a list of what I took so that it would be easier to pack next time (and maybe I wouldn’t forget my cutting mat!!). I also made a note on my machine table to remember the legs…..

It was a great week and I am already looking forward to the next retreat in May!!!

Retreat roundup

This has to be the saddest picture at any quilting retreat…..

…packed up and ready to go home…..

….especially when it had looked like this for the last four days…..

Isn’t this a fantastic room??

We had a marvelous time of quilting and the finished products were flying out the door. Here are a few…..

This quilt was “almost finished” but she ran out of the blue fabric. Of course, there was more at home!!

There were also a number of new projects started and there was quite a bit of this going on…..

The really fun thing about quilting in a large group like this is that there is ALWAYS someone who has an opinion or a great idea for you to try!!!

There were numerous Quilts-of-Valor started/completed during the days including this piecing nightmare….

….and there is not a single unmatched point in this top….

…something to aspire to!!

Finally, my poor roommate, Linda, pieced hundreds of half-square triangles and was still smiling afterwards….

….but her quilt is going to be marvelous…..

It was a MARVELOUS few days with some great friends…..

I will leave you with a shot from the great outdoors….not that we spent much time there!!!!

As always, I am already looking forward to the next retreat!!!

Another fun day!!

Today was day THREE of our five day retreat and I can honestly say that the 17 attendees are making the most of the time.

There were a bunch of finishes…..

Rosie made this quilt for charity….

Carol Ann finished this modified log cabin….

Judy finished this super happy quilt…..

….and Sara added this happy fabric quilt…..

Sue finished this flannel quilt for her brother……

I started the morning making backings for the two quilt tops that I finished yesterday and then turned to the Angela Walter’s Quilt-A-long that I was FOUR weeks behind on…..

….more about that tomorrow on “Free-Motion Friday”……

AND….there is another day and a half left at the retreat….HOORAY!!!!