It's here! It's here! The Chicken Retreat is finally here. It seems like it has taken FOREVER for this date to arrive. I mean, it's been a year, but still. A year! Has it really ONLY been a year since I met this wonderful group of women. Wow.
After my usual "drop Mister at work" routine, I am off to Rainbow, TX and the wonder of Brazos House. My heart is happy and I KNOW others are doing the same thing. We simply cannot wait for this to start. As I cross the cattle guards, a calm comes over me. My happy spot is just down the road. I am the first to arrive and have time to set up cutting tables, ironing boards, design wall, and anything else that is in our closet. I also get my sled treats on the tables, lights on, and the warmth from the room now says, "I'm waiting." Who will be the first to join me? My corner of the world gets organized - it has to this time as I am sharing it with Kelly. Poor girl.
Glenda and Shirley arrive and hugs all around as the room starts filling up. Almost EVERYONE is arriving early for this retreat and love is filling the room. Jennifer presents me with an amazing shirt that brings tears to my eyes. How cool is this?
I start working on name tags while others are setting up all around me. The camaraderie of this group cannot be overstated. It is like a family reunion.
After multiple trips outside to unload cars and fill the room with enough "stuff" to open our own sewing shop, I call TIME. We are off to Granbury and Babe's for lunch. I'm starving and so looking forward to fried chicken. I guess I should let you know that Glenda decides to take the scenic route on the way there, prompting Jennifer M. to text and ask me if we are going to a different Babe's. Yep, memories being made already.
We have Babe's virgins in the group and Sharron is the one who voiced sadness that she missed a previous trip. She's pretty happy now. Debi and Theresa meet us here but have already had lunch --- seriously ladies? They order dessert in front of everyone. Now, I have to be honest here -- I have NEVER had dessert at Babe's. I'm always just too dang full.
The opportunity to just visit, eat, and fill our wells with one another makes this a perfect time. So perfect, in fact, that it needs to end on a high note. Or a musical note at least. The Hokey-Pokey is soon coming over the airwaves and as the leader of this group, it is a must to drag people out to participate. Yes, it's a chicken retreat and we are at a chicken house but I am saving the chicken dance for later. Since I am in the picture, it is stolen from someone else - I think Jennifer M. It appears that Debi and I are either the only two who are correct or the only two doing it wrong. Hmmm.
Alright it's time to get down to business. Back to Brazos we go and I discover double Ribbons of Love quilts being bound. Oh -- my heart is going to burst this weekend. What fun.
I settle in and get my borders on my Friendship quilt. Yay, an accomplishment. Gotta have one of those every now and then.
The pull of going to retreat is strong. However, occasionally so is the pull of work. Poor Debi.
Everyone is busy working away. I gotta take a few minutes and grab some photos before I get caught up in another project and forget to. Here's Shirley -- that's concentration.
Now Fawn is a different story. I'm not completely sure she is awake and/or having fun. After I take the picture, I give her a hard time about it and only minutes later she informs me that she was out of bobbin thread and didn't know it for all of that. HAHAHA.
Pretty Ms. Sharron in her homey little corner and a glimpse of the room at work. Yes, it does happen every so often.
The afternoon gals arrive and with them is my daughter, Jen. Her first item of business -- ALWAYS -- is to feed animals and put her in retreat mode.
Speaking of animals -- while I am out with her, the chickens come a running. Have you ever seen a chicken run? Hilarious.
After my little outdoor adventure, I head back to the machine and finish up my backing for my Friendship quilt. Gotta say -- I LOVE IT. Making use of sewwww many things that were sitting around. Ms. Allison helped fill in the last little bit of fabric for me and that is another aspect of retreat that is so incredible. Ask and ye shall receive.
Sharron has a TA-DA ---- I gotta learn this modern stuff. I think I like it more and more each time I see it. Keep it coming ladies.
It's getting late and I have kept the wolves at bay long enough. The scrap table is now open -- let the feeding frenzy begin. (My only regret is that I didn't get a picture of the tableS before it began. The were in an L shape with oh so many goodies.)
Marti has a TA-DA - both front and back --- loving these vibrant string blocks.
Now, back to work ladies. I return to my table to find this:
I think finding her under tables is becoming a habit. I seem to get a picture of it each retreat. However, there is a slight chance that since she is under MY table and Mister's money is right there - hmmmm. HAHA --- no worries though. Never with my retreat gals. She is in fact, winding bobbins -- or at least trying to.
Okay, the waiting is now officially over. It has been all day and everyone is chomping at the bit. We are going to do the Christmas block exchange. I put it off as long as I could in the hopes that everyone would have arrived. Oh well. LOOK at these beautiful blocks. I simply can't wait to start sewing. Seventeen future quilt tops are laying on that table. Let's go.
Oh, before I forget . . . Since we were doing a chicken quilt for Kay, we decided to carry the theme throughout the retreat. Debi is our Chicken Queen and she has devised a fun game to play. I gave her the chicken that Mister found at an estate sale last spring and if you find it in your chair, you have to select a task from her basket. Of course, I am not exempt. Here is my task along with my reward.
The TA-DA's continue with Lucille's Log Cabin:
Jennifer's Flower Boxes:
Sherri's beautiful leaves:
And into the wee hours with only Allison, Maria, and I left, Maria's Friendship quilt:
However, before we call it quits at 4:20 (a new record for me), Miss Sharron has mentioned a tutu more than once this past year. Thus, she now has one. Thank you, Jennifer M., for helping me out with this one.
It's now time for the three of us to say good night.
It is, admittedly, a short night but this is retreat! This is not a time for sleeping. One might miss something. First thing, Ms. Allison has received the chicken and is discovering her task. Joyce has the first TA-DA for today with her Quilt As You Go top and Kelly and I haven't even gotten out of our jammies yet.
Way to go Joyce.
It appears that somewhere there might be a naked sewing machine on the premises
Ms. Allison has the first Christmas Ta-DA
It's not all fun and games at retreat. Sometimes we even learn new things. Jennifer M. just learned to web and here is her first top using that technique. We now have a bunch of finishes. TA-DA's to Lucille:
Debi K. and Sherri. We are off to a great start.
Several of the women participated in my mystery, Ribbons of Love, so after a Show and Share, we took them outside for a nice photo. I LOVE each one of them. Thank you Jennifer M., Lucille, Jennifer S., Allison, and Marti for trusting me on this. I love you all.
The Crazy Chicken Ladies are to be found about the grounds either actually helping out or just playing around.
Sometimes, ya just gotta get out of the house. This was one of those times.
And the tops just keep on coming with Maria and Fawn doing a TA-DA
Jennifer finished her webbed top and it looks great and also has her Christmas top TA-DA. WOW.
THE group picture without anyone missing for Mister to have to photoshop in. Yay us! Back row left to right: Jennifer H., Jennifer M., Allison, Glenda, Maria, Kelly, Marti, Debi K., Sherri. Front row left to right: Lucille, Sharron, Jennifer S., Debi H., Stephannie, Shirley, Fawn, Joyce. Center floor: Theresa. What a wonderful group of ladies and I am so thrilled to call them "friends".
Right after our picture, Lucille has her "task" to complete. She has to teach a dance. This moment is just too good to pass up;
After dinner, I finally have my Christmas top finished. I make so many extra blocks and a pieced border ahead of time, but I am just ecstatic over the way it turned out. It will look scrumptious on my bed this next month. TA-DA
Oh YAY! Game night has arrived. I have to admit that this is my MOST favorite part of retreat. We have such a great time and laugh ourselves right to tears and fast bathroom runs. I am wearing my tiara and Joyce doesn't have anything on her head so I give her my hat. Yep, good move. I also pass my camera to the opposite side so that I can have some pictures of everyone. Jennifer M. decides that a selfie of her is the best way to start and then enlists help in the next one.
After awhile, the LCR game becomes sillier and sillier. Tears, people, tears. Watch the camera play this one out:
Is there a reward for all of this. Well, of course there is. We take these games dang seriously. Two delicious Jelly Rolls went to Jennifer H., and Shirley while the bowl of yummy fat quarters walked away with Allison. What an absolutely wonderful time.
Whew --- can we get serious enough to sew now? Let's try. Starting out with a TA-DA - start to FINISH (quilted and all) at retreat is Kelly:
At this point, I give up and call it a night. It's only about 1:00 a.m. but I am toast. While I happily snore away, Debi K.'s borders are on and Jennifer S. has her TA-DA
Shirley and Glenda respectively:
Kelly also has her moment -- I missed a ton. That is the last time I go to bed early.
It's a new day and guess what? We don't have any power. It went out at 5:30 a.m. and as a result everyone is just kind of hanging out. Maria, Allison, and I have an impromptu pajama party in their room while others stagger around looking for coffee. Even though there is not any power, we make do and since Maria has to leave early this morning, everyone is drug out into the COLD and WIND for a crazy group picture. Whose idea was this anyway? I don't have a single good shot. It is what it is. Fourteen out of 17 have at least the centers finished already. Remarkable.
I did say it was cold out right? Oh and Super Maria had to say good-bye. So sad.
Everyone either goes shopping or finds handwork to keep themselves occupied for the remainder of the day. I think my mind thought that my camera wouldn't work either since it stayed firmly on my table as I worked on blinging out name tags on nearby tables. Here is mine after 7 retreats.
Glenda does a share of a previously finished quilt. Oh goodness, isn't this pretty?
Allison takes a few minutes and a spot in the sunshine to teach us about Suzy's Magic Binding. I am definitely going to have to give this a try.
After 8 hours, we have power again and everyone is trying to make up for lost time. We do, after all, have projects to finish. And within no time, we have another TA-DA. Joyce has her top finished.
Glenda has completed her Grand Illusion top --- she was determined to finish before me.
And Allison completes a memory quilt, both front and back.
I have not tried one of these yet. I know my granddaughter wants one so I am thinking another learning curve is coming my way in the near future.
Speed demon Joyce has finished a table runner and Jen has several items to share - her Christmas top and the top/back she finished from a previous jelly roll win.
Sharron finishes her top -- YAY!
Allison has a TA-Da with a finished friendship block top from our very first retreat together. I barely remember writing on that block. Meanwhile I have been busy working on a project for my sweet granddaughter, Ophelia. Once I finish, yes it's late - witness the empty room, Allison and Sherri have play time. "What is it they are playing with?" you ask. This.
Everyone has given up except Debi, Jennifer S., Glenda, and I. Debi is trying oh so hard to complete her Ribbons of Love clues and doesn't want to stop while Jen is close to a finish too. I, meanwhile, am trying to get my Grand Illusion center together.
Jen is successful and shows us a gorgeous top.
I manage to get my top webbed and then cruise the room for some pictures. It is now just Debi and I but we are fading fast. Jennifer M.'s pincushion is downright scary to me at this time of night.
Debi and I give it up at 3:45 for a few hours of sleep. Not many though, as we both are determined to have tops when we leave tomorrow.
Sunday morning sadness is hitting. After 3 hours of sleep, I am up and back working on my top. I have to stop now and then for good-byes and memory moments.
Mother/Daughter pairs are always fun at retreat. One of these days Jen and I will get a nice picture taken of the two of us while here. Feelin' the love.
Stephannie has her Christmas top TA-DA before packing up to head out.
The weather has done a bit of a change. Just check out Princess Sherri and it will be evident.
Just moments after this, she showed her first item to be made by buying fabric with no specific purpose. Yay. Jennifer S. also has another finish. She is just a machine this weekend.
Jennifer M. has webbed her Friendship quilt and I actually have my Grand Illusion top complete. Whew. Time for me to start packing. The room is getting dang empty -- too many good-byes and many of us are already counting down til February. For others, it is a bit longer before we are together again.
It's so hard to leave here and this is the latest we have ever stayed. I would rather just stay put but know that Mister is probably starting to worry. I'll leave you with this image of a smile that warms my heart. Thanks to all for a WONDERFUL weekend and I appreciate all the support and love I received. I am so grateful to a group of women who jumped on my Christmas quilt bandwagon. EVERYONE finished a top. How cool is that? What a treasure you all are to me.