Thursday, July 22, 2021

Stitch Supply Retreat 2021

 I looked back in my previous blog posts to see exactly when the first quilt retreat was that I attended, back when we referred to ourselves as "Grubers Girls." I started attending the second year of the retreat, so my first year was in July 2011.

Back row: Doris, Michelle, Rene', Terri, Amanda Jean, Mary, me and Stephanie
Front row: Toni and Shelly

This is how I ended the post from that year:

"We traveled from all over to spend time with each other: Wisconsin, Missouri, California, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Georgia, Florida/Montana. People are always surprised to hear that I have close friends from blogging and emailing, and I know they are thinking 'friends' with little air quotes around the word. Nothing could be further from the truth. We were ten women who shared a common bond. We laughed, ate, shared our lives, sometimes shed a couple of tears, were blown away by the creativity we saw, and were inspired by each other. I have strengthened bonds with those who invited me, and have formed new friendships that I know will be long-lasting. Thanks to you all. I hope we can do it again next year."

And next year we did it again. And every year after that until 2020, when of course nothing happened. Over the years, one or two couldn't make it for various reasons, so we just had fewer friends together.

This year came with major changes. First of all we changed retreat centers, from Grubers in St. Cloud, MN, to Stitch Supply in Altoona, WI.  Along with that, for the first time we added three new friends to the mix, and because they were good friends of some already attending, they blended in seamlessly. 

I will start by saying that if you ever have a chance to retreat at Stitch Supply, do it! Ann, the owner, has thought of every single detail to make the stay there seem both luxurious and comfortable. From the moment you walk into the door, you know your stay is going to be special. 

The kitchen and dining area. Don't you just love those lights hanging over the tables?

And the famous mug wall. I wish I had a mug wall in my kitchen...

There are four bedrooms, each able to sleep four. I roomed with Amanda Jean and Brianne, and like every year at retreat, sleep under one of Amanda's fabulous quilts. Each room had a lovely private bathroom as well.

There is a living room (Ann also added a quiet meditation room for yoga, massages, etc.)
I want to make a cross-stitch/pegboard piece of art like this...
Outside was a nice table and chairs. The weather cooperated so in the evenings it was nice enough to sit outside without humidity or bugs.

And the sewing room. A completely well-stocked sewing room with Uplift tables (I now also want one of those tables in my sewing room!), lots of design walls, cutting mats, rulers, kitchen area with full-sized refrigerator and bathroom), and a connecting door to the Stitch Supply quilt store--very handy. :)

We ate most of our meals at the retreat center, and only ventured out for two evening meals. Mark said he would have a hard time eating there, but that's what happens when you are from Minnesota--there is a rivalry with Wisconsin. Anyone up for Tater Tot Bacon Mac 'n Cheese??

One evening, Rene' and Caroline made beautiful charcuterie for dinner.

Stitch Supply still isn't open full time, doing most of the business online. But on Thursdays it is open from 10-3, and then we also had a one-hour appointment for private shopping on both Friday and Saturday. And remember that handy connecting door to the shop? Maybe a little bit too convenient. :)

And the sewing...
Caroline brought along this luscious lace. She is French and makes her own bras! That was super impressive.

I didn't accomplish too much, although high productivity was not on my personal agenda--I just wanted to soak up being with my friends after missing last year.

I did work on these blocks, which will be part of a quilt called "Time Out" as I have taken them to so many retreats, put them in "time out" and on to the next retreat, etc. Now that I have this many done, I'm beginning to like what I see.

I also began a print/solid version of Delta Breeze using the Blooming Bunch fabric line by Maureen McCormick of the Brady Bunch. I purchased a few different background fabrics at Stitch Supply and I'm really happy with this one so far.

There were a few show-and-tell past projects as well.

Brianne's fabulous Anna Maria Horner color fade quilt.
Mary's beautiful Sonnet quilt in shades of brown and butterscotch.
Doris's house quilt where there are nine personalized houses (mine is the bottom row in the center--so cute). I would love to live in a neighborhood with each of these friends in real life.
Another amazing quilt by Doris.
And "happies"--little gifts we give to each other. I can't tell you how precious these gifts are to me, and how happy they make me each time I see or use them.
Brianne also included a chocolate chip cookie the "size of my head," as my grandchildren pointed out when they saw it, and some homemade biscotti, which I saved for my trip home and made the travel day much sweeter.

Mary always includes her wonderful homemade caramels, which amazingly I shared with grandchildren when I got home. 

I have become a fan of 3 mm felt and made these little bowls.

We always dress up a little more one night and go out for dinner. This year it was Saturday night.
Have you had cheese curds? These were ordered as an appetizer and they were seriously larger than golf balls!

It was also Doris's birthday. Brianne and Stephanie made a secret excursion to a local bakery for a variety of sweets for later in the evening.

There was a white board in the sewing room where we posted the daily agenda. And of course time just flew by.

As always the time with these women is way too short. The words above from my very first retreat capture the same feelings I have ten years later. These women are my tribe. They have changed my life and I will love them forever.

L to R: Pam (@purduepam), Brianne (@baker_brianne), Doris (@madebyabrunnette), Mary (@maryonlakepulaski), Caroline (@caroline.jg), me (@liveacolorfullife), Stephanie (@stephiepeterson), Rene' (@renecreates and @craft.table.orlando), and Amanda Jean (@crazymomquilts)

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Really Random Thursday, 7/8/21

We have a collection of signs on part of our fence in the backyard. We recently added to the collection, and I thought it might be fun to look back at some of the signs already there. 

This is the sign that started the collection. It belonged to my Uncle Ernie, who was a farmer and probably used feed from Albers. Mark purchased it at an auction.

Signs have come from different places--auctions, antique stores, one or two from Ebay,  one or two from someone's junk pile during city clean-up. 

This stop sign came from a store in San Francisco. When the city would remove old signs and replace them, the old signs would go to a store at the end of Pier 39, and proceeds would go to a women's shelter. Aaron grabbed the stop sign for his dorm room in college, although he was not allowed to hang it in his room without proof of purchase.
The railroad sign came from a local antique store.
We have a few old license plates.

This one has an interesting story. First of all you need to know that more often than not, our last name, Wiens, is misspelled. It is pronounced "Weens" so it is often spelled Weins. 

We were visiting Mark's family one summer and driving around on a Sunday afternoon when we noticed this sign outside, and a guy standing nearby. We stopped and Mark told him that our last name was Wiens, and offered him $20. The guy apparently thought we might be related to Alex because Mark was able to snag this really large sign for such a small amount of money. You will notice that it IS spelled incorrectly...

Haha. We never have thin ice...

This is from Minnesota. The mosquitos don't pay attention to this sign there, nor do they pay any attention in California.

We got the Eugene/Milton sign at an auction. We have looked and looked. We have no idea where this is from. We thought Milton might be a small town near Eugene, Oregon, but nope. Maybe that's why we were able to snag it. We also do not know the first name of the Wiens running for state senate, but he or she was for all of Minnesota. :)

You gotta love an official sign with a misspelled word.
This is probably my very favorite sign, also purchased from the store on Pier 39 in San Francisco. It makes me really wonder where this sign was posted...
And in honor of the past year. As if we would ever forget...
Aaron and Christa are redoing their swimming pool. This required jackhammering and chunks of concrete that needed to be removed. Aaron had done his share of working the jackhammer the night before, so this happened the next day while he was at work. A friend ran the jackhammer, and Mark, Christa and Levi removed concrete. I provided breakfast burritos. :)

When the pool was finally drained, we followed the water to see how far it went. It was actually a couple of blocks before it emptied into a drain. But along the way we spotted this little guy. We have never seen a falcon (at least I think it's a falcon) in the neighborhood before so this was kind of a treat.
A gorgeous sunset.

A week ago Sunday, we were in a lunch meeting at church after the morning service. A guy who used to do our yard came up to us and said, "You might want to go home and check to make sure your house isn't on fire." Um, WHAT??? We live just a couple blocks from church so I got in the car and drove home. On the street before ours there were two fire engines and the battalion chief. I could tell that our house wasn't the one on fire. But nevertheless, I turned down our street and this was in front of our house. The fire was burning shed in the yard kitty-corner to us, and the firemen were attacking the fire from two sides.
When I arrived there, the fire was mostly out and there was just some smoke remaining. The neighbor next to us was the one who called it in. This is what it looked like at its worst. So scary. The homeowner was not home at the time, so it's a good thing that (a) our neighbor was home and (b) firefighters were even available--they have been swamped with the July 4th fires, grass fires, etc.
I bet you are wondering what caused it. The owner of the house is a contractor. He had been refinishing his deck and had left a brush to soak in some paint thinner. In the sun. With our heat, it got so hot that it started on fire. Which is a good reminder to all of us doing DIY projects at home. It could have been devastating. As it was, he lost his shed and a lot of his tools melted.

I've still been sewing, Summer Sampler blocks mostly, from 2019 and 2021.

I took a little detour from sewing and did some book folding. I used a thrifted book, and beyond that it takes a pattern ($5 on Etsy), a metric ruler and a pencil. And some time...


Have a great weekend.