Ah quilt retreat! There is nothing like it. Four days of sewing, chatting, sharing, laughing, eating and maybe some sleeping. There is lots of humming of machines, questions like “Does this border go with this fabric?”, answers of “I prefer the blue!”, whirring of rotary cutters and even some quiet times of hand sewing. One person can be absorbed in reading directions, two people can be sharing a new technique, three people can be giving an opinion on placement of blocks for a quilt and any number of people an be taking a class on a brilliant idea or some new sewing notion.
A retreat is many things and can be anything to one person. Maybe it’s a chance to finish that project . . . . finally. Maybe it’s a chance to start a new project . . . . finally. And maybe it’s just time, time to sew and sew and sew on anything and everything you have. It’s the freedom to do whatever you want.
Ah quilt retreat! Looking forward to it is a joy. Experiencing it is true heaven. Even the memories of it are a blessing. Here are a few of mine.
This is just one block for a quilt done in appliqué. Can you imagine how spectacular that quilt will be?
This quilt looks like it was woven. And it is made out of flannel. What a coy hug it will give on cold nights.
A beautiful Christmas tree already for the holiday.
A beautiful quilt done in squares. Very modern looking.
Is this too cute? I love the baby penguin!
A wonderful red, white and blue star quilt. Love those stars!
This quilt is big, beautiful and not even done yet. There will be more poinsettias when completed. How perfect will that be?
A quilt of foxes is being worked on here. How adorable!
A little Christmas village just got finished here in this cute quilt.
Several of us took lessons on making stars the Inklingo way. Here are our results.
This spectacular one is made from a zillion little pieces of fabric applied to the background. Isn’t it wonderful?
I love the brightness of this quilt. Must be all those primary colors.
This is going to be a great quilt when it is done. Don’t you agree?
Another very interesting quilt. The blocks are going in all directions. Love the clocks!
This quilt is very soft looking. I bet it is very comforting too.
Here is a special quilt of several blocks of the Lady of Guadalupe. It was made for a special friend. Lucky lady!
This is not exactly a quilt but still a real cutie. It is a wool mat for a platter. It is all done by hand with much embellishment.
A complicated quilt that is very lovely to behold. Can’t wait till this one is done.
This one looks very hard but actually it is the fabric that is printed to look like 36 square blocks. Interesting, right?
This is all I can show you of the marvelous retreat I went to. The best parts are the intangibles. They are the relationships we all have and the history of many retreats and gatherings over the years. They are the hours spent in each others’ company through good times and bad. They are the words spoken between us over coffee, tea and wine, sharing meals, ideas and feelings.
All these things we carry in our hearts until the next time we meet. Be it tomorrow or next year. Nothing is lost or forgotten. Retreat is forever!
This week Mac’s parents have gone to Florida for a little R&R. Gramps and I will have Mac for three days and the other grandparents will have him for three days. Share and share alike we say.
He came with the usual bag of clothes, a stuffed animal and the dreaded electronic gizmos. Although when he is at our house, he likes to use my phone because it has the “good games”.
Immediately upon entering the house, Mac asks for my phone and retreats to his bedroom. (Really the guest bedroom but we call it “his bedroom” while he is here)
This means there is no talking, no interaction, no relationship going on between us and him. This is totally unacceptable to Gramps and me. So we have put a limit on electronics usage in our home and especially no devices at mealtimes.
Instead we do other things. Mac loves to ride his bike, so we do that often when he is here. Good for him and good for us.
He and Gramps have explored the uncharted areas around our house and gone bird watching many times. They always have a tale to tell when they get back from their biking trips.
Gramps and I walk around the neighborhood every evening and Mac either walks with us or rides the bike around. Walking in our little neighborhood means greeting other neighbors, walkers, dogs and children playing in the street. So Mac joins in the conversations and pettings. It takes a while to get around the block but it’s a wonderful journey.
Of course, we play board games too. Our current favorite is Monopoly. Mac always wants to be the banker. I always use the thimble as my playing piece and Gramps always wins. I don’t know how he does it.
One evening we watched “How To Train Your Dragon” in 3D. The best part was looking at each other in those glasses and laughing out loud. We had popcorn and everything. Lots of fun!
The next day we took Mac out in the boat. What a grand day that was! Perfect weather. Perfect water. Perfect company. We did some fishing – caught nothing but shrubs. We let Mac take the wheel with Gramps a couple times, which thrilled him to no end.
We all got wet and wind blown. We laughed. We talked a lot. And Gramps showed Mac the sonar depth finder. (It’s a guy thing)
The last morning, before our handoff to the other grandparents, was designated as “lazy day”, so Mac played electronic games to his hearts’s content. He laid on his bed giggling to himself.
He told me later, “I love my down time”.
Our three days with Mac were packed with fun, conversation, interaction, learning and love. I can’t wait until the next time. I’m already making plans.
So a group of say about 28 women get together for four days. They each have a bag or two or three of fabric. What do you think can happen with that fabric in four days of sewing? Well it was pure magic, my Sweeties! Pure magic!
Look and see what the results are. And feel free to drool!
And so ended our four day quilt retreat. The quilts are the only part I can show you. I can’t show you how much we laughed or how much we talked or how much we cared about each other. I can’t show you the hugging, the touching, the sharing that went on.
The fabric is what draws us together, but the fellowship is what keeps us together. Quilting is the purpose but caring is the glue. A bag of fabric may be the reason we gather but true love is why we stay.
This is the eleventh year that four friends and Gramps and I have gone camping together for a long weekend in the spring. We have known each other for many years. In fact, one friend Ethel and I have known one another since the sixth grade. We have seen all the good, the bad and the ugly in each other many times over.
It started innocently enough with a group camping trip. We traded meals and that’s when we found out that Bill or Mr. Bill as we call him, was a master cast iron chef. He then became our breakfast guru.
Breakfast soon became a bacon lovers delight. Bacon does go with everything, you know! As in bacon and eggs, bacon and pancakes, bacon and ham, bacon and cheese, bacon and potatoes, bacon and . . . bacon. There are so many ways to eat bacon, as we discover each year.
Breakfasts lasted longer each year. First an hour, then two, now up to three hours including dessert. Yes, we have dessert for breakfast!
We have found that breakfast is so spectacular and lasts so long, what with all the courses and talking and more courses and more talking, that we usually don’t plan lunch anymore.
There is a mid afternoon snack. Something healthy, like brownies or cookies. Then a big dinner planned and served by one of us. It’s really just a big eat fest. Hence, the name – Camp Out, Pig Out. It has since been shortened to COPO.
Since Gramps and I are retired, we are the scouting party and arrive a couple of days early. We set up camp, get nearby sites for everyone and test the local sights and cuisine.
On Friday afternoon the other two couples arrive and set up their rigs. I always serve Friday night dinner because I have the time to cook while they are traveling.
This year we are having homemade grilled hamburgers (nothing better!), potato salad, fresh tomatoes, chips, guacamole and strawberry shortcake for dessert. Sound good?
On Saturday morning, of course, is a mega breakfast, Mr. Bill style. Bacon, bacon and more bacon. Yum! After this artery stopping meal, we usually divide up – men go fishing and/or boating, women go shopping.
In other words, the guys head to the nearest body of water, attach bits of fish/hot dog/bait/etc on the end of poles and sit for hours waiting and waiting. This activity is called fishing and men love to do it, talk about it, plan for it and buy equipment for it. Our men are no different.
Every year they go fishing. Every year they catch nothing. Every year they have a great time. Go figure!
The ladies, on the other hand, go shopping or sightseeing or both. We have been to antique stores, quilt shops, historic homes, museums, gardens, gift shops. And we have been successful every single time!
Oh yes, we have never come home empty handed. What glorious things we have found. What fabulous memories we have made. What fun we have had.
For several years now, Ethel has made matching T-shirts for the three of us ladies. One year as we were out shopping in our three identical shirts, I convinced a shop owner that we were triplets out for a day of fun. The other two were exploding trying to keep from laughing and I was having the time of my life.
Over the years, our COPOs have been varied. We have weathered rain, hail, scorching heat, wild fires and floods. We have had sick people, injured people and the forever healthy people. We have tried cooking all sorts of foods (except fish. We’ve never had fish!) and gone out for food.
One year our grandson Mac came with us to the annual COPO. It took about an hour for him to feel comfortable going in and out of everyone’s camper as if he lived there. Everyone became family to him about one minute later. He was fascinated with the super bacon breakfasts. And of course, because he is male, he went fishing with the boys. I’m not sure what he really did all day.
We gals brought treats for him from our shopping trip. It’d seemed only fair. He was nine and he had put up with the fishing thing all day.
Eleven years of these grand memories and here we are again! It’s Thursday night. Everyone will be here tomorrow. Saturday morning will be an eleventh breakfast extravaganza.
Then the guys and a fishing guide will hit the lake for a day of fishing. Maybe the guide will change the day’s outcome.
We ladies are going to a Quilt Show and maybe some antiquing. Whatever suits our fancy at the time.
Saturday evening will be dinner at Myra and Mike’s camper with the traveling tablecloth we use for every meal. Then we build a campfire and sit up late – maybe lil about 11:00 or so. Hey, we’re old!
Sunday am will find us back at Mr. Bill’s with the traveling tablecloth for super breakfast #2. What a way to end a COPO. Total PIGOUT!!!!
It’s Thursday night and I can’t wait. Hope it doesn’t end too soon.
Every time I say goodbye to anyone I adore, I close with “love you”. Every time I end a phone conversation with a family member, they hear “love you” before I hang up. Every time one of my grandchildren walks out my front door, the last words they hear from me are “love you”.
I want all my dear ones to carry those words with them whenever they leave my presence. I want them wrapped in my love and good feelings until we meet again.
For some people, that’s hard to do. For some people, those words don’t just roll off the tongue or come up easy in conversation. For some people, saying “I love you” to their own children is a difficulty.
I think children cannot hear those words often enough. I think they need to hear those words from as many people as possible. I think those words need to be sincere.
Knowing you are loved provides stability and reliability in your life. It develops self-esteem, confidence and pride. Hearing the words of love reminds you of your place in the world, in the community, in the family.
Being told you are loved makes it easier to share your own love with others. You are more likely to love and express that love. It becomes a full circle of loving begets being loved begets loving, etc.
My family knows I am going to begin and end every conversation with love words. It’s a known fact. It’s expected. If it didn’t happen, they would worry about me. Something would be wrong.
It has now become a tradition, a habit. Something comfortable and familiar that passes between two people. If it didn’t happen – if the words were not spoken – they would be missed. There would be a hole. The relationship would be changed.
But we don’t forget. We speak the precious words to each other every chance we get. Every time. All the time. Love you. Love you too. And the relationships stay strong.