Sunday, May 15, 2016

Brazos House - Spring Retreat 2016

What a beautiful day to start another retreat.  Before all the hoopla starts, I believe a walk is in order.  I need to connect with the land for a wee bit and ground myself.  Gain perspective.  Realize just how wonderful this place is to my soul while I am outside as well as inside.

Storms are heading our way and the plants are letting me know that.  Look how the sage is in bloom.

As I return to the house, a small peek into my window creates a calm feeling in my heart.  Oh how I love this place.  It reaffirms to me that I need to pursue finding a haven for my sweet man and I.

Once in the house again, I discover that Ana and Val have been super busy.  Val has completed the back to her bargello by going the extra mile and making more panels out of her leftovers.  That is way ahead of what I did by simply using the sewn strips.  Meanwhile, Ana has been adding the borders to her Ribbons of Love top and it is now a TA-DA.  I simply could not feel happier for her.  What a treat to see my ideas come to fruition.

Time flies and we are soon blessed with arrival of dear friends.  The house is once again filling up and I am ready to go.  The mantle soon holds treasures from both Debi and Sherri.  I am blessed with Sherri as my next door table mate and Debi is across from me this time.  Hmmm -- I wonder what will happen.  As I take a closer look at Sherri's mantle arrangement, it is pointed out to me that her rabbit is unhappy.  Apparently losing his foot was not at all "lucky" for him.  He has an owie.

Jennifer shows me the case she found for her beautiful black 301.  Oooh --- what a great fit.

I am scurrying about making sure people are unloaded, find their rooms, and get a nametag that is updated.  Time is flying rapidly by and soon it is time for our trek into Granbury for lunch at Babe's.  Woohoo.  Traditions are being born down here and I love it.  Yay Deb --- great picture.

Perhaps Jennifer's pic is better?  Unfortunately, she is not in it.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.  Debi has discovered a "left-behind" tray table and is converting it to a mini ironing station for herself.  Yes, she always winds up on the floor at some point.

Machines are starting to hum and beautiful creations are taking place.  Soon, Sarah has the first TA-DA.

Followed up by Ana, who has got her borders on a Bricks and Stepping Stones pattern by Bonnie Hunter.

And the four-patch back that we talked her into.  Yay.

Mister blessed me with a bubble gun for my birthday and it must come out to play.  Of course, no warning can be provided to the recipient.  Yep, I bet Sherri is already rethinking sitting next to me.  At the same time, Shirley has finished a bag already.  I think I will have to call her the bag lady at some point.  She is amazing in her ability to just whip them together.

Many times we have people come to retreat just to be with other women and get a break from whatever is going on at home.  This weekend Lydia is spending her time on a "work-related" project but still wants to be with everyone.  We're so glad she is here and her TA-DA's will take the shape of completed chapters in the course she is creating.  I don't have a picture of just her, but this one shows her hard at work.

Jennifer has a TA-DA

Marilyn has the center of another TA-DA


And people are already at work on the Beads of Courage bags that I told you about in the Mother's Day retreat post.  We will be doing these at EVERY one of our retreats as the "Quilt Sisters" have taken this on to help our community.  Fist up:  Sherri, Shirley, and Sarah.

Yay, Val.  She has been working on something other than borders and has a TA-DA.

More bags from Elisabeth, who is sitting in her new locale of Debi's old spot.  Yes, they traded.

I've spent the day working on sewing mats and Stephanie is plugging away at her hand quilting.  It's looking so good.

I finish off one sewing mat and gift it while the recipient is not looking.

The top that Lori started at the beach last September is now finished.  What a beauty of a TA-DA.  You really have to look close at these blocks.  Some of them are dang hysterical.

As I enter the room, I spot Shirley standing by the back door in her nightgown and carrying her purse.  I think about letting it go, but she is there 15 minutes later and I can't take it anymore and assign someone to take the picture.  Should we caption this, "Going to Wal-Mart"?  Too funny.  I'm pretty sure that this means I am tired.  What shall I work on?  I have to teach beach bags tomorrow so a quick review of those and then I start in on my binding of the sewing mats.  I think we're spending more time talking than anything else tonight.  Let's do the good-night picture and head off to dreamland.

Friday morning, Maria arrives with Rocky and in absolutely no time she (Maria) has a TA-DA.  How DOES she do that?

I'm a teacher.  Yep, kinda scary huh?  Well beach bags are starting to come together and I'm getting my exercise going from one end of the room to the other.  In between steps and questions, I am hand stitching my sewing mat bindings down.  It's all good.

Still more Beads of Courage bags making an appearance.  Our hope is to use up ALL the remaining labels that we have for this go round.  Fingers are crossed.

And still more beach bags.  Ana's took a little more time to get just right and it matches the Wizard of Oz quilt that she finished on the "between" days.

I look up from digging in tubs in my room to see Val outside trying to photo a top.  She is directing Jennifer as to just how to place it and then Jen is trying desperately to get out of the pic.  I hope she was successful.  My shot through the window definitely sees someone crouched down.  Hahahaha.

I round the corner into the main room and find Sherri with her nose about 1/2 an inch from the design wall.  Unable to contain my mirth, giggles spill out.  What on earth can she see that close up?  I am not near fast enough with the camera though and she steps away before I get the shot.

My sewing mats are finished, all the beach bags for this session are complete and it is now Ana's turn to take center stage to teach us all how to do snap bags.  I pull out the fabric I have brought for it and as I hold up one piece, my ENTIRE table tells me not to cut it up.  Now what?  It's a half yard so if I fold it in half, that gives me a pretty big snap bag - fat quarter size.  What could I use it for?  Oh my stars, how about rulers?  That means I have to come up with another half yard of a complimentary color for the inside.  Sherri to the rescue.  She just happens to have a BOLT of tan laying around at retreat.  WTW?  I jump at the opportunity and soon the wheels of creativity are churning away.

Apparently others are sewing while I am busy creating.  Who would have thought?  Another TA-DA by Maria.

And one by Rocky - TA-DA (Oh those tiny black strips)

Sherri takes center doorway with her pink TA-DA while Tammy follows right behind.

It's time to "catch" the eggs thus four of our lovely ladies make the trek to the coop where they find Stan and are able to grab a picture.  I can't remember if he is there this time because of the snakes or if that was another trip out.  BAD snakes.  At least one paid the price for the damage it did.

Our delightful baby guinea hens are no more.  So very sad.

After a superb dinner by our hostess with the mostest, Kay, it is game night.  My daughter and grand daughter are almost here and wish to play along tonight as they drop in for a place to crash.  That means I have to stall the game a bit to delay the start.  Well, that's easy enough.  I simply share my "tinsel tushy" story from last weekend.  Yep, we'll get this game night off to the right kind of start.  Although, one look around the room and I'm pretty sure it was already well on it's way.

I've stalled as long as I can so it's time to start.  Since Jen is bringing fat quarters, we start a dollar round.  First though, people must make up their minds where they wish to sit.

Are we all better now?  Ana has dressed with a bustier outside her clothes and everything is kept inside it, causing people so reach for dollars .  Just what type of activity have we moved into here anyway?

The first round is complete and we have a winner.  Tammy takes home a beautiful jelly roll.  Woot, woot.

We take a quick break while Jen and Bekah arrive and then settle into round two - still with dollars as those are out.  At some point Ana makes a comment that her phone is in the bustier too and is "vibrating".  Okay, I'm done.  Down for the count.  And I was trying so very hard to keep it together tonight.  When I sit up, finally, and attempt to get up to go to the bathroom before there is an accident, what do you suppose is the first thing I see?  Yep, that showed up fast.

I no sooner get calmed down and Stephannie decides to eat her boa.  Seriously ladies?  What is going on tonight?

Tammy wins round two as well and my picture of that one was so blurry that it went bye-bye.  She sure is having good luck tonight.  Will she pull off a hat trick?  We move onto the fat quarters and soon have a wonderful bowl of blue and yellow loveliness which is one by my visiting granddaughter, Bekah.

This is twice we have had a visitor win the fat quarters.  Once before, Tammy's daughter, Katie won them.  Hmmm.  Perhaps we should outlaw visitors.

Another game night is in the books.  What an amazing time with women I absolutely adore being with.  Now, back to the giant snap bag.  I aim to get it finished before bed tonight.

I look up from sewing at one point and discover that there is a massage "conga line" taking place across from me.  Should I get in on this?  Am I sure I want to?  Those faces don't scream "JOY" to me.

Before calling it a night, I manage to complete the snap bag.  Yay me.  (This picture is from the next morning, but still -- it's my TA-DA).  There are snap bags all over the room and to see which ones had pictures taken, you may have to check out the Facebook group.

It's time to shut down.  I'm beat and want to get the good-night picture taken before I lose anyone else that is still up.  See ya tomorrow.

Good MORNING!  It's only Saturday.  Oh yay.  We all still have a complete day to be together.  What kind of shenanigans can we manage to get into today?  Debi decides to start out the day with a "royal" picture to show how FABULOUS we are.  Mariah feels the need to photo bomb us.  Yep, it's gonna be a good day.

Elisabeth has a TA-DA right off the bat.

Debi has started her daily bucket list project and today's item is "Put a crown on a pig."  No joking.  I am in the middle of teaching pop-ups so send my camera along with the crew.  They are indeed successful.  Ya see -- it's not ALL about quilting on our retreats.

Back to the room and Maria has an absolute gorgeous Log Cabin TA-DA

A lesson is going on in the library as well.  Shirley is teaching embroidery stitches to Jennifer M. and Maria.  I'm thinking their new skill will come in handy on our little project in November.

Where is this day going and what am I doing?  I have decided to make a needle book.  Jennifer M. had these at the February retreat and I was never able to get to it.  Today is the day and it is all consuming for me.  Tammy is going into to town to shop and I even have to ask her to pick up a couple of items for me so that I can do it "just perfect".  Okay, I admit it.  I've gone over the edge on this one.

Where is this day going?  And why is it moving so fast?  Before we know it, Kay is almost ready for dinner.  Naturally that means that I have to round everyone up for the group picture and keep them contained in the main room until she is ready to be our photographer.  This is not an easy task, believe me, however I have promised Mister to try harder at it so that he doesn't have to photoshop people in as often.

My heart wills when I look at the picture above.  So many of these women have had such an impact on my life and I know I would not be where I am today without them doing so.  My love for all is real and honest.  Do ya wanna know who is who?  Here ya go.  Back row:  Marilyn, Jennifer M., Mariah, Rocky, Val, Stephanie, Maria, Debi, Sherri, Sarah, Lori, Deb.  Front row:  Elisabeth, Janet, Ana, Stephannie, Lydia, Shirley, and Tammy.  I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this time with me.  Okay, enough mush.  Moving on.

Our newbies this time are Marian, Rocky, Sarah, Marilyn and Lori.  Lori has been with me at the beach but this is her first trip to Brazos.  We are so glad to have all of you become a part of our family here and hope to see you back often.

While the camera is out and the library is straightened up, Debi and I have rounded up ALL the Beads of Courage bags from BOTH retreats.  We have managed to finish them all.  Way to go ladies and thank you, Debi, for spearheading this and taking our group in the right direction.  Now, its time for our last dinner this trip.

After dinner, we have TWO ladies to crown with RUBY.  Yay!  Both Val and Maria will now be on the hunt for their EMERALDS.  Congratulations to both of you.

Earlier today, I cleaned out the liquor tote and found a bottle of Orange Patron.  Three adventurous souls jumped on board to finish it and after dinner, they got their own party started right away.  You go girls.

Meanwhile, the rest of us (and, yes, the Patron girls too) have decided to bring out the milk which was picked up this afternoon in town.  Cheers ya'll.  It's our last night and these are oh so hard to do.

As I take my drink back to the table to finish working on my needle book, I find Sherri on the floor.  "Why?", she is asked.  "Cos that's where the STUFF is," is the reply.  She is on the hunt for something again and the last two times this has happened this retreat, the items were found in her car.  Hmmmm.

It's getting late and people are finally heading to bed.  However, one person has been working steadily all evening on completely her "start to finish" in order to earn the golden scissors for her name tag.  I wasn't even aware she was trying to do this until this evening.  Way to go Sarah.  She did it.  Golden Scissors are on the nametag.  I'm impressed.  It's a wonderful TA-DA -- quilted and bound.

Okay, It's time to say good-night from Brazos.  Yes, there are quite a few still up tonight.  See ya in the morning for our sad day of good-byes.

It's Sunday morning and as always that means saying good-bye to retreat friends near and far.  For many of us, it will be months until we are together again.  For my part -- I truly can't wait.  So, let's start packing it up.  Mister will be here before long and there is one heck of a lot of work to do to get this place ready to leave.

We have an early morning TA-DA from Lori

And a TA-DA from Jennifer M. that I have no idea when it was presented.  I missed this entirely but am thankful for pictures sent my way.

Also one from Marilyn that is simply amazing.  I can't wait to see the finished one.

Maria is one of the last people to stop sewing but she does manage to put this pinwheel beauty together.  TA-DA.

So, I think I had a successful 10 days here.  I have tackled almost everything that was on my list.  Yay.  It's quite a bit.  What do you think?  I also have a nice treasure trove of goodies to take home with me.  (This is not counting all the wonderful birthday gifts I received which can be found pictured in my birthday post.)

Well it's time to call this retreat a wrap.  I'll leave you with a picture of temptation for one of our upcoming retreats.  For those of you attending in November, OWLS will be the theme.  Jennifer M. already has a great start going here.

Well that's it.  Debi and I are saying "Brazos Out"  to everyone.  Next stop:  Surfside Beach in September.  See ya there.


  1. OMgeeeee! Love your post about our retreat, always such a fun read. Looking forward to the next retreat. Thanks Deb!

    1. Thank you, Ana, for always making it that much more fun. Your ideas never stop coming and we all benefit from them.

  2. Loved seeing what I missed with this group. As much as I'd love to do a back to back retreat, I don't have the stamina of our fearless leader, you, Deb!! Hugs, Allison

    1. You could always consider what Debi does. Although the in between days are the most restful. Hugs back.

  3. What a wonderful post! I really enjoyed reading it. Looks like a great group of ladies, and fun, too!

    1. Thank you so very much. WE love it there and have such fun together.