Tuesday, September 13, 2016

First Beach Retreat - Surfside 2016

The September beach retreat in Surfside, Texas has finally arrived.  Dang, but waiting a whole year for things sure seems to take a what feels like a year or so.  I have prepared my gifts, packed the ingredients for some fun baking, and FILLED my hallway with supplies and "stuff."  Now to sit and wait for Lydia to pick me up.  Will everything fit?  I even have things stacked on the front porch from a late night shopping trip last evening.  Call me crazy, but we NEED this stuff.

Once Lydia is here, we load up her van as quick as possible and are ready to hit the road.  Look out Surfside, here we come.

One of the wonderful things about riding with a friend is the conversation it affords us.  We have a chance to reconnect after a time apart and I, for one, am oh so thankful for that opportunity.  The miles are racking up and we are nearing Houston when rain starts descending upon us.  The last time I was in Houston, the same thing happened.  Is this a pattern?  I certainly am hoping against a yes answer there.

Once we get to the beach house, it is CRAZY as people get unloaded, find a spot to roost for the next four days, and stop to rest while the sweat pouring down our backs has a moment to dry up.  Ugh -- Everyone will need  shower tonight.  Didn't Surfside get the memo that we were coming that way?  Dang, it's hot down here.  Let's get out of the house and go find some dinner at the Red Snapper Inn.

When we return, more have arrived and the house is dang near full.  Upstairs the sitting room has become a den of iniquity with pajama clad card players.  Run.  Very.  Fast.  They may try and coerce you into the loss of something.

I mean, seriously, with card holders like this --- your fabric may be in jeopardy.  Meanwhile, downstairs has emptied out a bit.  I think everyone is pretty dang tired tonight or it just may be a momentary lull.  Whatever the reason, I want to take advantage of it and get some pictures to show the incredible number of vintage ladies gracing our tables here.  It is 301 and Featherweight heaven.

Day two dawns with a wonderful sunrise.  Jennifer and I are the only ones out taking advantage of it, but it is indeed pretty sweet.  I have to admit that this sets the tone for the day ahead.  Beauty first thing makes beauty stay at the top of our minds all day.

One of the sweetest things we see down on the beach is a mama sandpiper attempting to teach three little ones the ways of the world.  I have just seen the short film "Piper" in the theaters and so sit back filled with wonder and amusement at the same time.

Ah yes, mustn't leave out Jennifer.  It's fun to have someone to share these beautiful moments with.  Now back to the house and perhaps some sewing.  I'm not sure about myself but am betting that others will already be at it.

Once we are inside, Jennifer quickly gets to work on a Halloween project.  I LOVE the chaining fun.  Someone has determined that the day start with mimosas.  Who am I to argue.  Bring one on.  Let's get this day going.  Besides, working on charms needs fortification.  Everyone knows that.

Our first official meal of this retreat is lunch and the kitchen crew is already at work.  Glenda and Shirley are fixing a wonderful chicken salad and I cannot believe how hungry I am all of a sudden.  This is the first time everyone is together for a meal and I run for the camera to get the first group shot.  Hmmm.  Apparently we have more people than chairs.  How did that happen.  Oh -- people have taken chairs off to their stations.  Oh well, find a spot on a sofa or at the bar ladies.  We will each get a turn to do so.

Quick, while they are all at the table, grab a picture of the work room.  Yes, we are indeed sardines but everyone is working together well and loving the sisterhood we all have.  Woohoo.  We have even discovered that we can do handwork upstairs and after lunch that is where I find Jennifer as she is deboning shirts.  It appears that my camera has focused on her today.  I wonder why that is.

While we are up there talking, Irene comes up to show us her TA-DA.  It's gorgeous and I am reminded that if I wish to have a moment of my own, it will require some sewing.  Dang, there is always a catch.

Oh, just so you know.  Jennifer and I are not the only ones she finds to share with.  It's a full room.

The water is calling this afternoon and the call must be answered.  Therefore six of us make the trek out and bask in the warmth of the Gulf.  Yep, this is why we come here once a year for retreat.  Ahhh.  (Some choose not to swim, but to draw in the sand instead.  No names mentioned.)

While in the water, I take advantage of the new camera Mister bought me.  What a fun picture of where we are currently "living."

Upon our return, Ms. Val has a TA-DA.  I have watched her work on this bargello at oh so many retreats.  The binding is complete.  She deserves a huge high five.

Shirley is also taking advantage of the beach air and doing her handwork out on deck.  Others, are inside and don't know just yet what they are missing.  I'm betting they will be enlightened soon.

After dinner, it is party time.  Some people (cough, cough Sharron) have been waiting to concoct marvelous drinks down here.  I, for one, have been waiting what seems like an eternity to try what they have come up with.

Blue drinks are on the menu.  The exact name of them is not sure but we believe they are Blue Hawaiians.  Sharron makes them by the blender full and I think each batch is a wee bit different from the one before it.  No one seems to care in the least, especially me.  Dang, these are oh so yummy.

Somehow, even with all of this going on -- TA-DAs take place.  This one is Mary with a Bricks and Stepping Stones by Bonnie Hunter.  How DID she get that done so fast?  And where is my sewing machine?

Jennifer Smiley has a TA-DA as well.  I really need to sit down and sew.  Are those ALL Kaffe fabrics?

Finally, I settle in and work on my Allietare blocks, finishing them AND the setting stones throughout the evening.

Sherry is putting together the cutest baby quilt and has hit the border? stage.  I like it so much.  Keep going Sherry.  You can do it.

Irene also has managed to complete another top.  Her Razzle Dazzle is ready for TA-DA.  I love it so much and that is the end of another day.  It is way after midnight and I just can't hang with the night owls this go round.

Good morning Day Three.  I have been given permission to wake Debi so that she can enjoy the sunrise with us.  After doing just that, I am off to the beach.  What a perfect day to be there.  The light is amazing and as I join Jennifer once again, we are not disappointed.

How fun is this?  Friends, a sandy beach, and a glorious sunrise.  I'm not sure we truly stand in need of much more.

We all stay down at the water until the color subsides.  It is a great time for memories to be made and we are joined by a couple more early birds.

At one point, I look down into the water and am mesmerized by the color reflecting from it.  Can this really get any better?

Yep, it can.  We are, indeed, chasing the sun this morning.  Oh how wonderful.

One last picture before returning to the house.  TOES.  Stop laughing.   Of course, toes.  What were you expecting?

As I am the first to leave the beach, I spot Marcia having a wonderful early morning swing under the house.  She loves this spot and I really can't say that I blame her.  Now, if the bushes were just trimmed a bit - the view would be amazing.

Today's breakfast crew must have had a dress code the no one else was aware of.  I can't wait to see what wonderful deliciousness they come up with.

Throughout the day, our Beads of Courage project gets underway and people truly get into productivity mode.

Find a spot, curl up, and have fun.  It doesn't matter what the goal is.  Perhaps it is to beat another level of Candy Crush.  (With data, of course, as there is no wifi here.)

I grab the neighbor dude and ask if he will come over to take our group picture while I have everyone corralled for a brief moment.  ANYTHING to save Mister from photoshopping people in.  He loves that oh so much.

The pic turns out dang good and here is the first group:  Back row - Glenda Reynolds, Leanne Wise, Val Venable (peeking), Theresa Irving, Mariah Alpers, Marcia Eich, Elisabeth Stillson, Britney Dressler.  Middle row - Mary Silver, Gail Pettigrew, Debi Kendrick, Jennifer Marshall, Jennifer Smiley, Sherry Yeakel, Irene Hafer.  Front row --- Shirley Hart, Sharron Evans, Deb Hayter (on the ground), Elizabeth Herman, Lydia Blalock.

We also have the beach shirt crew so a picture of all the shirts together is required.

It's time for the days' swim and this time we have more participants.  I have given my camera to Sharron and so we start with a farewell picture.  Hahahaha --- that is what Sharron thinks it is as we are all going to be eaten by sharks for sure.

The water is even more amazing than yesterday if that is possible and just hanging out  becomes harder and harder to leave.  Finally, I have to check on the house and say my goodbyes.

After dinner I decide to take a stroll down the beach and give my sweetie a call while doing so.  The sunset plays along nicely and I take a few minutes to practice the photography lessons that Mister has painstakingly given me the past few years.  Oh yeah.  It's a gorgeous evening and I do not wish this walk to end even a little bit.  Check out this picture of the abandoned houses on the beach.  I LOVE it so much.

As I turn to head back to the house, look what is heading my direction.  MY PEEPS.  Ah, what a beautiful sight to behold.  Some are finding sea glass along the way and others are just "on the beach" for an evening walk.  The tide is out and we can almost get all the way to the jetty.  Debi and I manage to have all the elements come together at once for a really nice picture together.
Yep, gonna keep this one.

One of the coolest things on the beach tonight is the moss on the rocks.  What do you think?

Once we settle back in at the house, Sherry has finished the center on her baby quilt and I am still in love with it.  Turquoise and yellow are simply lovely together.

Another day has ended and  I am off to dreamland.  See ya tomorrow.

Day four and the sun is rising giving us a beautiful scene once again.  With the Chasing the Sun mystery in full swing, am I focused on these a bit too much?  "Sunrise, sunset -- swiftly flow the days."

It is the last full day for this group of retreaters and some have had to leave already.  I have a few "tweeners" attending during the week and with the departure of a couple already -- two are having the chance to arrive earlier than expected.  Woohoo.  While we will miss Gail and Britney, Leanne has been left all alone and the Sherri/Ana duo will fill that gap.

Breakfast is mini quiches and I have to say --- they are very, very yummy to the eyes.  I can't wait to try one.

Debi has a TA-DA and the colors here are so cheery that I want to order some fabric just like it.

Before everyone starts packing up today, I wander the room and try to get little bits of what everyone is working on.  There is so much diversity and fun going on.  Check out these pics:

I catch Val outside trying to get a picture of all of her TA-DA's at once.  Some of which I didn't get a picture of the first time around.  When she isn't looking, I snap a picture too.  All of these are in the DONE column for her.  Lovely, simply lovely and the best backdrop possible.

Today's swim group becomes a  marathon.  I am not joking.  At least four stay in the water for FOUR hours.  In the words of my husband, "Women be crazy."

Shirley has a GIANT TA-DA.  We look for the perfect spot to spotlight it and I make a mad dash down the stairs to shoot the picture.  WOW.

TWO of our lovely ladies have achieved Ruby status and therefore, must be crowned this evening.  I am SO glad we all dress for this auspicious event.  Congratulations Elisabeth and Lydia.

Elisabeth also has a TA-DA this evening.

The remainder of my evening is spent in the kitchen working on cinnamon rolls for breakfast tomorrow morning.  I am in the process of making 4 batches.  Call me crazy, but everyone is gonna love these to death.

Smell that yeast!  Oh yeah.  I'm not sure why Debi looks as though she is an evil person up to no good, but let me assure you that the dough was in no way compromised by her.

I DID manage to forget a few major tools when packing for this adventure.  Since the kitchen has tile counter tops, I need a smooth surface to roll out the dough.  Aha -- a cutting mat upside down will do.  Now for a rolling pin.  I got it --- Pimms to the rescue.  And, of course, something to cut the dough.  Does anyone have thread with them?

Just because it is a quilting retreat does not mean that baking lessons cannot take place.

This group typically hates the last night at retreat to end and this time is no exception.  Machines are quiet and conversation is everywhere.  The wagons have circled and time spent with one another is being treasured.  These women truly own parts of my heart and I am always so happy when they are around.

It is 1 a.m. before the rolls are finished and Lydia sneaks out of our  room to be the taste tester of the gluten free batch.  She proclaims them ready for everyone else to enjoy.

I am beat and about ready for bed but want a few more pictures.  Sherri has her Chasing the Sun going already and Irene has one more TA-DA.  WOW -- she has been a machine while here.  Where has my motivation run off to?

Time for some shut eye ---

Day five and the bustle of people leaving is well under way by the time I crawl out from under my sheets.  A quick glance outside tells me that the sun is already up, BUT it is still a beautiful picture to start the day.

The weather is changing rapidly today and even though these pretty ladies thought they would get one more swim in, it didn't happen.  Oh well --- beach babes upstairs is a good pic too.  Others are extending breakfast as long as they can to sit and visit with the "tweeners".  I wish this group could ALL stay for the week.  This has been the most amazing four days.  What an absolute feeling of love filled this house.

Oh NO ONE wants to say farewell.  Standing and talking extends it for a bit and then the hugs begin.  For most of us, we will gather again in November.  Others will meet up at another time.  Thank you one and all for the best beach weekend ever!


  1. You are absolutely right, it was the best beach weekend ever!

    1. I know, right? So glad you were able to make the trek from Canada. You certainly enriched our weekend.

  2. That was awesome!! Great post. Hugs, Allison

    1. Thank you -- next year you will be with us.

  3. Would love to come to one of your retreats. How do I find that information

    1. The retreats for 2017 are currently booked full but I always have a stand-by list and many times all who are on it find a spot during the year. Please contact me through the Facebook Group Our Quilt World.

  4. You take the most amazing photos of the morning sun!

    1. Thank you so much. My hubby is a photographer and a wonderful teacher. Nature does the rest.

  5. Ah, the love is gently seeping from these friendships to all of we readers. What a wonderful retreat. Makes me want to be there too. Maybe one day in 2018 since I've read 2017 is all booked. Until a future time I'll bask in shared love thru the Quilty World blog.