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!!!

And three weeks later…..

YIKES….it has been three weeks since my last post, so let’s catch up a bit.

The first week in November I spent 3-1/2 days at a wonderful quilting retreat for my guild, the Cotton Patch Quilters.  It is a “bring your own project” retreat and I had a great time working on a new project.   But let’s start at the beginning……

Two months ago, I took a class from Gyleen Fitzgerald about her method for piecing hexagons, taken from this book…..

It was a fun day learning a method for machine piecing hexagons.

But, at that workshop, Gyleen showed another of her books…..

Kathy and I both thought that this looked interesting and decided that we would buy the book and ruler and work on this quilt at the retreat.

So, I loaded up two three-drawer towers of scraps and headed to the retreat and quickly set up my own work station….DSC03657

Everybody laughed at me for all of the fabrics that I brought, but several people were borrowing from them before the week was over.

I had a great time working thru my scraps and piecing these easy pineapple blocks….


I did make one change after this first block.   Instead of making the final strip that produced the TINY little triangle, I simply made the previous strip wider….MUCH easier!!

At the end of the three days, my piece was at this stage…..


The really fun thing about this retreat was seeing what everyone else was working on.

There was hand quilting…..


…..  scrap piecing………


….paper piecing…..


…..and LOTS and LOTS of strip piecing…..


It was so fun to walk into the cutting/pressing room and see the buzz of activity!!!DSC03645

And even more fun simply walking up the stairs to the cafeteria three times each day and being served wonderful food!!!

For me, it was a much needed relaxation and then it was time to pack up and head back home again.  Here is a photo of my sad table……


I have been working more on the pineapples during the last two weeks and will show more of that in the next few days.

It’s good to be back to blogging!!!!

Feed and Fabric

During the retreat, several people found the need for more fabric….no surprise there!!

So, we made a field trip to “Patrick’s Feed and Fabric” in Covington.

It was a fun place, with quilts covering all of walls……

photo 1photo 4

….and a large fabric stash in the corner……

photo 2 (2)

A fun place for a visit!!!!

Sound the Retreat…..

Last Tuesday I packed up the car and headed to my guild retreat at the FFA (Future Farmer’s of America) camp in Covington, GA.  It was a gorgeous place, set on a large lake, with comfortable rooms and only a short walk to our retreating room……DSC02160

There were 19 people in attendance and the room was well set up for our work…..DSC02128

….with an adjoining room that held 2 cutting tables (raised to waist height) and three ironing setups.

The dining hall was just up one flight of stairs so we were never hungry.   The timer that was set to remind us of meals was a Duck Quack and we all responded like Pavlov’s Dogs and immediately headed for the stairs!!

Most people brought several projects to work on, but I single-mindedly worked on ONE project…


…..quilting the Aussie Fabric top.

I worked fairly steadily during the 3-1/2 days and actually started doing the hand stitching on the binding before I packed up for the return trip.

I did take one break from quilting when it was requested that each of us piece a block that would be used in a Charity quilt.  This was my block…..


…..and here is the completed top…..DSC02179

There were lots of other fun projects…….


The food was very nice, but way too much,  the fellowship was encouraging and fun and the time went by way too quickly!!

On the drive home, I passed several fields of Rapeseed which is used to make Canola Oil.   They were gorgeous…..


The quilt has been washed, blocked and is now on our bed and we are looking forward to sleeping under it tonight.   I will try to get a good photo of it and post later in the week……