Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The retreat MUST go on

 I have to say that I was a bit distracted yesterday. Thanks to everyone who scrambled to do some research, and we have TWO retreats booked. I had planned on four retreats for this coming year, and I need to book at least one more later in the year, but with all the prep that I had to do yesterday, I could only manage to deal with two of them. A lot of e-mails went back and forth. 

I'm happy to report that I'm EXCITED about the new places and well, I can't wait to get there. 

Here are the two that I've booked space at. The first one is called Retreat at the Farm. It looks like a beautiful property - a large sewing room with loads of windows! We're going for a weekend, not our extended weekend, but thankfully, the same weekend we had scheduled was free. PHEW!!!!

The second space is in Muskoka, and the house looks huge and beautiful, with HUGE verandas on the outside. Let's hope it's not black fly season, but there's a beautiful glassed-in porch, so we're good either way. This one is called Seams Appropriate

Thanks to everyone who helped out with the research, and have a look at those sites. If you are interested in a quilting retreat but don't know of one, send me an e-mail. I have a few other people, and if we can get eight together, we can go!!! 

I feel better today, knowing that that is organized, but I'm still going to miss Fireside Retreat. This is the second quilting retreat that has closed down. The first being Quilter's Misbehavin in Bracebridge. It doesn't matter - as long as there is a retreat to go to - I'm in. Perhaps we should just pool our resources and buy the retreat house?? That would be fun! Where's my winning lottery ticket? 

And for those of us that can't make a retreat at this moment, don't forget that there's the Virtual Retreat this weekend. From the comfort of your home and from wherever you live, you can have fun with a group of quilters. I'll post the links tomorrow, but it's Saturday evening from 6 to 9 PM and Sunday, from 10 AM to 8 PM. It's loads of fun - I get lots done, and I get to visit with friends, and we get to meet new people as well. Stop by and say HI!!!

I can't say enough about how Zoom has brought quilters together during the pandemic. Guild meetings, quilt shows, sewing days, you name it - quilters have embraced this technology, and we're getting together. A pandemic is NOT going to get us down!!!

Between the research and phone calls, I madly prepped for two presentations. I have three today, so it's going to be a crazy day again! Each time I tweak the presentation to make it better! I'm getting very good at whipping up a video and inserting it into the presentation, editing photos, and I'm darn quick about it, which is very helpful!

Speaking of photos, this is what I've done in the last couple of days when I've had a few moments. I will say that NONE of this is urgent or has a deadline. Of course, when I think I'm going to be ahead, I work on stuff that I shouldn't be, so I have to sew like mad to get the homework done!! My own worse enemy - Yep!!! Guilty as charged. 

I got all the arcs for that Double Wedding Ring quilt trimmed!!! That was a lot of trimming, but I had a couple of Zoom calls, and while I sat and visited, it was the perfect thing to do. 

The trimmings from the Double Wedding Ring arcs

And here they are!!! All trimmed, so it's onto the next step now, but that'll have to wait until next week. 

The units are trimmed

I was on a roll, so I dug out my version of this same quilt and saw that both Unit A and Unit B needed to be trimmed. 

Unit A before trimming

I'm happy to report that ALL the arcs are now trimmed and ready for the next step. In case you are wondering, I'm making a much smaller version of the quilt for myself. 

Unit A is now trimmed for my version of the same quilt

And I dug out this basket of color-sorted supplies. It's for a reason, and you'll have to wait to see it. I'll be working on this little project tomorrow morning. Everything is cut and ready to sew - by HAND!

 A basket of color-sorted odds and ends

Hey Sheila!!!!  I got this note when I picked up a book from the library earlier this week!!!! That put a smile on my face! What I love is that a simple little note like this can brighten up an otherwise bland day. So don't be afraid to say HI to a stranger or write a note for someone. It can make their day!!!

A note from Sheila at the library

And I had a few adventures during my walks the last couple of days. I think people in the neighborhood must be reading my blog. Do you know how many people STOPPED for me at an intersection or a driveway? It was getting creepy!!!  But I truly appreciated the gesture (the law) and gave them a flat palm which is a thank-you sign. But it was unnerving, to say the least. However, I won't be letting my guard down any time soon. 

I fell yesterday morning when walking the dogs. It was a BRUTALLY slippery morning, so the walk moved to the forest and was shorter than usual. I was fine - I landed on my butt and my wrist, but all is fine. I don't think I even got a bruise from the fall. But just goes to show - that you must be on your guard ALWAYS. While I love the warmer weather, the above-zero temperature causes the snow and ice to melt and freeze - the sidewalks are not fun!! Stay safe!!! Wait until later in the day when it warms up, and the ice has melted. 

I have also been working on these blocks - when I shouldn't be!!! 

Look - there are four more blocks done!!!

Four more scrap blocks

And another four!!

More scrap blocks

Wait - there are four more!!

And more scrap blocks

And even two more!!!!

And two more!

There is ONE set of two blocks left to sew together. I didn't have time this morning as I had to get a homework assignment written and sent out. Maybe tomorrow. I'm happy to report that even with the fiasco that occurred to these blocks (totally waterlogged when we had the last leak in the basement), I never lost ONE piece!!!!

The last set of scrap blocks

Here's the stack of finished blocks. I'll have to get Summer Moon sewn together so I can put these on the design wall. That might be a good job for the Virtual Retreat - finish Summer Moon. 

All the scrappy blocks so far

Here's the stack of prepped stuff sitting on the cutting table. I have to laugh when people say, "how many projects do you work on at one time?" Well, in this stack alone, there are probably TEN projects, never mind the one on the ironing board and the other projects that are done for this month, and so they are put away. Why work on one when you can work on many??

Prepped sewing for the retreat

Let's hope that today is a bit calmer and quieter - HA - I already know that's not going to happen as with those three presentations that have to be prepped and some homework assignments that still need to be written, time is of the essence. 

OH - the audiobook? It disappeared with 14 minutes left!!!!  I know - I was like, WHAT????  So I have to get the book back so I can listen to the last 14 minutes. I might even reread it as it was very complicated, and I know I missed some key points. That's what happens when you listen to an audiobook without paying close attention to the plotline - I missed some stuff. 

So I must get myself organized and off to start the day. I don't even have time to think of something for you to clean today! You're on your own. Honor system, or just have a day off!

Have a super day!!!!


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Long Time Gone - Part Two

 With a very HEAVY heart, I let you know that Fireside Retreat House will be sold this year. I received the bad news last night. NO!!!!!!!  I know they took a beating last year with so many cancellations because of COVID. Well, we did our best to keep them afloat and rented the house FIVE times at four nights each time. 

BUT - it wasn't enough, and with the sketchy year ahead of us, I'm sure they are anticipating a very sketchy year this coming year. Oh - this is terrible news. My heart goes out to Emma, who put a lot of time, effort, and thought into making Fireside Retreat a wonderful place to spend with friends. We don't even get a chance to say good-bye to the house. 

However, we must move on as our next scheduled retreat was SIX weeks away. I was looking forward to getting away. Now - we weren't sure that we were going to get together at that time, but there was hope. 

Now we're on a tear to find another place and FAST. Unless the place has good Wi-Fi, I'm married to my schedule. But if there's Wi-Fi, I can do my presentations from anywhere! 

I'm asking HELP from all of you. If you know of a retreat house or even a property that would be good for rental - I need to know. 

I've found Farmer's Wife, Farmer's Daughter, Seams Appropriate - but if you know of any others, let me know. Or a house that we can rent - I prefer a quilt retreat, so there are tables, etc., set up, but at this point? We might take anything!

Holy - that threw me for a curveball last night. I'm not surprised, but I'm terribly disappointed, but I completely understand. 

And now for something a bit more uplifting - the rest of a Long Time Gone homework. Sorry -- I don't have time to make comments on the blocks, but they are all WONDERFUL!!!!  Do you see how organized I am? I've got all the names and in alphabetical order! I had no choice to do that to keep everyone organized. 
























WOW --- that's an amazing show and tell, and I may have missed one or two, and I know that there's about 1/3 of the class who didn't submit homework this month! YES -- we are a big class. I don't have time this morning to make comments on all the blocks, but have a close look at them - they are fabulous, and I can't wait to see all the quilts when they are completed. 

Here are all my blocks for Long Time Gone, including the new blocks we had for homework this month. Oh boy -- I keep trying to add in a different value of orange, and it keeps failing miserably. I need to swap out those light oranges in that plus block. 

My Long Time Gone blocks

Whew -- so many emotions today. Shock at my favorite place going up for sale. Anyone want to buy it to continue it as a retreat house? And looking at the wonderful Long Time Gone blocks and trying to finish an audiobook before it disappears at 9 AM this morning. That's why I HATE having too many books on loan at one time - too much pressure. 

The next book is due in nine days which is loads of time to listen to the book. 

So - what do you want to clean today?  I've got a good one that was suggested by Helen Anne. What about all the USELESS apps on your hone. If you're like me, you have pages and pages of apps, and I never use them. I think all the ones I use are on the front screen and placed in GROUPS. So get out your smartphone (and your iPad) and continue to delete those text messages - they do take up storage!! And get rid of the apps. 

If anyone else has an area of their life that needs to be cleaned up, let me know, and I'll add it to the list. 

Have a super day!!!!


Monday, February 22, 2021

Long Time Gone

 I have loved Jen Kingwell's quilt patterns for a long time, and I had even started one but never got too far. It appears that I am not alone! I'm currently leading a huge group of quilters through Long Time Gone, hosted by Thimbles and Things

All I can say is that I think we're all going to become Jen Kingwell's groupies until we've made all her quilts! Watch the blog for more details, but I have a funny feeling that there will be ANOTHER class once we settle on the pattern. If you want to check out Jen's patterns, here the link to her website. Actually, that's the link to her booklets. There are other patterns on the web page as well. It appears a few patterns are missing, so - well, the next task will be deciding on which pattern to go with. It's not going to start until the fall, so there is NO PANIC!!!

Let's have a look at the homework from this past month. Oh my -- this is a super creative group of quilters. I learn so much from them as I do in most of my classes. And here's the thing - if you see a colorway that you love and you're regretting that you didn't do the same thing - keep that idea in your back pocket for your NEXT project. 

I'm not sure I'm going to have time for all the photos today. The homework was to make nine courthouse step blocks and the one larger block called Jacob's ladder. NO - it's not the traditional Jacob's Ladder that we know, but that's what it's called in the book. 

These blocks are super cheery and bright. I love that each courthouse step block is a different color. 


Betty joined the class late and has managed to catch up!! 


Bonnie has made great progress in playing catchup as well. Look at the values she added to her courthouse step blocks. 


These are Brenda's blocks. I love how the Jacob's Ladder block brings her colors together, and those pinks look amazing!!!!


These are Carol's blocks. She's got a floral fabric that she's incorporating into all the blocks. Again - that Jacob's Ladder looks so different. 


These next two pictures belong to Cathy, who is using a classic blue and white combination. 


Notice how she changed up the values in the Jacob's Ladder block. Some of the lights are now dark and vice versa. Love it!!!


Here's a totally different look by another Cathy. These blocks are so warm with the fabric choice. What's nice about this or any other quilt - you can make it your own. And most of us are using what we have in our stashes!!!



Cindy didn't send me her log cabin blocks, but this looks amazing!!! Notice how many people made the smaller blocks within the Jacob's Ladder as one block (same coloring), then added them together. 


I love what Diane did with the courthouse step blocks. They get sewn together in groups of three, so she's got a green group, a beige one, and a red one. 


And here's her Jacob's Ladder block. 


Heather has a dramatic look happening in her blocks. What I love is if you go back and compare some of the blocks, you'll see different things pop out because of the choices of color and value. 


Here's another classic blue and white combination from Helen Anne. This is totally from the scrap bin. Now I shouldn't point it out, but there's a wee design element with the Jacob's Ladder block. We have strongly encouraged her to keep it. I wonder if she does. 

Helen Anne

These blocks belong to Jana. This is a super colorway. It's got a very modern vibe to that coloring. 


This next set of blocks belongs to Jennifer. A nice traditional feel to these ones. Again - it's based on color as the blocks are the same as everyone else's. 



Judy is a modern quilter, and well, she went wild with her color choices and her background fabrics. 



Kathi has a very soft and beautiful palette going on with the teals and purples. 



That's all I have time for today. That's not even half of the group. But isn't that fun to see so many different colorways, so many different takes on the same blocks that change just because of the values, the color choices, and sometimes a design element. 

I love it!! I love the show and tell from all these classes, and well, this might be a week filled with lots of show and tell as we had our UFO group on the weekend as well. And then there are more classes coming up this weekend. Oh yes -- lots and lots of stuff happening and hopefully enough time to get it all done! 

I've got some follow-up to do for the classes that have already happened, and I hope to get some of that done this afternoon. 

And guess what? There's a virtual retreat this coming weekend. How the heck did that creep up so quickly. Can you believe that it's the last week of this month. Oh boy - M's birthday is coming up fast!!
The Virtual Retreat is Saturday evening (Feb 27 from 6 - 9 PM) and all day on Sunday (10 AM - 8 PM). I hope to get a LOT of sewing done during that time!

OK -- so I don't mind the cold and the snow, but I have to say that I'm ready to get it over with. I see there is more snow this morning. Seriously??? But at least it's warmer! 

Now let's get back to cleaning. How about that hall closet? It's almost time to go through the hat, scarves, mittens, and jackets. What do you wear? What do you no longer wear? Perhaps put it in a bag and get ready to donate it when you can do that. 

Well, I'm out of here. Got a super busy day starting with Monday sewing. Thank goodness, I don't have to clean the car off and brave the crazy road conditions. I just need to pop downstairs and fire up the computer!!!

Have a super day!!!!