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??

Getting ready to create


Sometimes it seems that it takes me longer to get ready to create than it does to actually create.

For instance, on Saturday I wanted to do some work on a  project that I am working on.  Unfortunately, when I entered my studio it looked like this…..

_2211662 The first step was to clean things up again, so I…..

– picked up the bits of fused fabric, clips of paper and general trash

–  emptied the trash can

– moved the stray pins to the pincushion

– moved the scissors and rotary cutters into their proper drawer

– moved the rulers back onto the wall

– put all of the loose thread spools back into their boxes

– moved all of the fabric boxes back onto the shelf.


FINALLY…onto the creating (which I cant show right now), but here is a sneak peak


_2221667 _2221666

SO…..after 2 hours of working in here, this is what it looks like now……


This obviously begs the question of “why did I bother to clean it in the first place????”

Engage the Calikulus

My husband and I are great fans of “The Big Bang Theory”, a sitcom about 4 super smart nerds and one “normal” girl.

Have a quick watch and see if you can figure out what Sheldon is doing? (Sorry you have to watch the ad first)

I knew IMMEDIATELY as it is a technique that I have used for many years.  When I am stuck on something quilt related, I will leave the room and then quickly move into the room, throw on the light and take a fast glancing look at the  piece on the far wall.    It is amazing how many times I can immediately see which of the fabrics are out of place or which fabrics I should use for borders.

Anyway…..does this make me a geek….I certainly hope so!!!!  And I hope that it works for you too!!!

Thoughts about creativity

I have been thinking a lot about creativity in the past few days. The reason for this is that I have completed several projects recently, including a charity quilt that turned out MUCH better than I expected…..I forgot to photograph it but will put one on in the next couple of weeks.

Also, this time of year is a slower one for my profession and I am actually looking at having time to quilt and I cant decide where to head with it.

When we were in Portugal in early June, I took lots of photos of stairs….some just simple, short staircases, some long and windy and some even circular. As I have thought about these photos I am realizing that I would love to try a series of quilts using stairs. BUT, the bottom line here, is that I am scared to start it!!!!


I have been trying to look thru some of my older, forgotten books and came across one by Andrea Balosky called “Transitions…Unlocking the Creative Quilter Within” (published in 1996). It does not contain any patterns or instructions, although it does have a nice selection of quilts to get your creative juices flowing. Instead, it has lots of pages of text where the author is doing her best to motivate you to get up and get going. There are wonderful tips and lots of “you can do it” pep talk.

As I have read thru her steps to creativity, I have realized that I already do many of these earlier steps, including recognizing inspiration and researching the idea. But I am intimidated by the later steps including “inviting impulse and intuition” and “playing”..,…really….I’m allowed to play???

However, I love Phase Three…. “Just Do IT”…..I think that she had that idea long before Nike took it as their slogan.

I recently read a quote by Walt Disney that said “The best way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing”. So, my goal for this weekend is to just BEGIN!!! Stop cleaning my studio, refolding my fabrics, cutting my scraps…..and just BEGIN.

Hopefully I will have something to report at the end of the weekend…..but if not, there is always next weekend!!!

Thanks for reading my ramblings!!!