Sunday, February 5, 2017

Brazos House Hearts and Hands Retreat #1 - Feb 2017

It feels as though it has been forever since retreat.  In reality, it has been less than three months.  That IS a long time right?  At any rate, today is the day.  I start a 10 day stretch and am super stoked to be doing so.  Am I prepared?  Well not as much as I could be, but I'll make it happen.  Let's get this party started.

With this being a longer time away from home for me, Mister drops me at around 7:30, helps unload and then is off to work.  I have 2 1/2 hours to get set up.  Woohoo.  I love this time alone here.  I can work at my own pace and slowly move from spot to spot, preparing as best I can to make it comfortable for all those who will attend.

Once I have the main room set up, the bedrooms under control, and a little something eaten, it's time to make my own little corner of the world as amazing as I can.

I have brought my Sew-Ezi table this time and it gives me more space than my card table while allowing me to use a shortbed 301 instead of my longbed.  Something new for retreat.  Please welcome Danielle and Barbara to our event.  They will be gracing my tables the entire time.

I am ready and not any too soon.  The house starts filling and can you believe it?  Maria has a TA-DA already.  You go girl.

I decide to settle into my corner and bind, bind, bind.  I have a quilt and 12 mats that need binding attached.  It won't happen without starting.

So, for this and future retreat entries, I am going to stick to mostly the pictures of projects - with a few fun shots thrown in.  Many times the pictures, wonderful as they are, are in the category of "what happens at retreat, stays at retreat" and I'm going to treat that with a little more respect.  I won't be perfect at it, but I will try a bit harder.

More TA-DA's -- from Maria and Susan.

I managed to do what I had hoped and all the bindings are attached.  Now to hand stitch.  Lots of it.

A quick peek around the room gives me a few pretties to share.  Debi has been working on her En Provence blocks.

Just across the table from her, Marcia has been working away on items for her annual craft show.  This time she is adding fabric to kitchen towels and making them so that they hand.  She is such a crafty lady.

Across from me Eveline has some beautiful colors going together and then I spot a block on the design wall.  Ooooh, this is going to be so pretty.

Continuing around the room, Kitsey and her gorgeous table housing her 301 have a lovely stack of blue/white being worked on.

Meri is working on a bag that screams, "give to Deb, give to Deb."  Just kidding, but dang, it's gonna be amazing.  Bags scare me.

Our first day has totally flown by and it is already after midnight.  I'm being a fuddy duddy and making Maria go to bed as she is still recuperating from surgery.  I don't want her to overdo while here.  That means picture time.  What lovely and fun ladies these are.

Good morning.  It's day two and I'm ready for the woolie project.  This month we have love birds -- well two birds anyway.  Debi and I decide to do the instructions for the Beads of Courage bags and the woolies all at the same time so that people can work on both at their leisure.  Yes, as always, charms are involved and this spurs people on.

The day goes along and either there aren't any TA-DA's or I have missed them.  It happens.  There is just lots of fun, chatting, laughing, and sewing throughout the room.

It's game night and I'm ready.  Where is everyone else?

I don't think they understand how serious this is.  I have quite a few new people this go round and apparently didn't realize how important this is to me.  HAHAHAHAHA

I know, I'll send the Bobbin Fairy to get them.  Doesn't Val look great?  This is her costume from Houston last fall and I absolutely adore it.  She looks simply amazing.

Well, it worked.  The room is now full of people and guess what?  After 16 retreats and 3 games per retreat, I finally won.  I now own a bazillion red/white fat quarters.  YES, I even own "the" red one.

Absolutely there is a story behind that.  Nope, not sharing.

Right next to me, Marcia wins the next round (newbie) and Paula follows up with the last one (another newbie) and now you see why it was so amazing for me to win.  Usually our newbies have all the luck.

I have spent the majority of my day working through a portable portfolio project and by the time I am ready to call it a night, I have it finished.  Whew.  I love it and have four more to make during the 10 days, but the first one is always the hardest, right?

Darlene has brought a cute little lady to share with all of us.  She is just so sweet.

I spot this one on the floor and have no idea who it belongs to.  Bad Deb.  Susan also has this one on the library floor trying to get her layout perfect.

Maria, who has just been sewing away, has another TA-DA.  It's a big un.

And another day is in the books.  As you can see, I didn't make it for the picture.

Day three starts with breakfast and morning entertainment.  Two of the baby donkeys are being gifted to a family in Oklahoma and are being prepared for their trip.  They are not that interested in meeting their new family.

At one point, there are three adults, three fences, and several dogs helping out.  They have no idea that there is an audience in the kitchen giving play-by-plays of the entire thing.  Gotta tell ya, those donkeys are mighty sneaky.

So, here is where I'm gonna share some funny pictures.  Meri was thoroughly convinced that if she didn't look at me, I wouldn't take her picture.  She has no idea how I handle things.  However, Debi does.

There ya go --- now you're looking.

Oh --- thought I'd share just how hard everyone works.  Bingo time!

Rocky has THREE cards going at once.  Did that help?  I don't think the Bingo leader knew that.  Hahahaha -- gotta love pictures.

Debi's En Provence is coming along.  She has opted to make two lap size instead of a single large one.  Two gifts that way.

So, as I was squaring some fat quarters for a backing, I kept trimming strips and setting them aside.  One of our ladies - no names mentioned - had been saying that quilting just looks too hard for her.  No way she could sew straight lines quickly.  It seemed like the right time to test her.  I grabbed some paper from a magazine on the swap table and my cut off strips, handed it all to her and gave a quick lesson in string piecing.  Away she went with wine and new skill to learn.  After many attempts to manipulate the strings in unique ways, she had a block to share.  Yes, she called it her "Punishment Block" but I'll let that slide.

Butterflies by LeeAnn on the wall.

A few glimpses around the room.  The design wall has Leanne's modern project in process and the back table is covered with beads by Mary Roo.  We are so thrilled to have her and her talents with us.  She also does the beads that the Beads of Courage program uses.  How cool is that?  Glass blowing at it's finest.

Leanne with a TA-DA.  She started this one at my house a year ago.  Nice.

Tracey's TA-DA.  With the new Kaffe wovens.

It's almost dinner time and that means group picture.  What a great group of women once again.  Back row:  Rocky, Leanne, Val, Meri, Maria, Debi, Marcia, Darlene, Me.  Front row:  Tracey, Pat, Gail, Paula, Eveline, Susan, Lydia, and LeeAnn.  Thank you so much for giving me another memorable weekend.

And, of course, we can't forget the newbies -- Look how many there are!  If they were new to Brazos, it counted.  Back row:  Paula, Meri, Darlene  Front row:  Pat, Susan, Tracey, Marcia, Susan, Leanne.  I hope you all fell in love with the Brazos House as much as I have.

Dinner time and, well, sometimes there just aren't enough outlets in the kitchen.  Whipped topping on the bathroom sink.  Whatever works.

I have spent my day putting together a back for a quilt and the label.  That sure doesn't seem like much does it?  See the colors -- same as the "punishment block" -- I'm still giggling over that one.  I now have another quilt ready for finishing.  That's a good thing, right?

After dinner, Maria has another TA-DA.  This woman is a machine, but she does gorgeous work.  Love the cool cats.

Val with a TA-DA

And Paula too, TA-DA

Spotted on the wall.  Val's 3 dimensional wonder that she is moving on with.  Someday.

Beside me -- Lydia's super cute applique block.  She's in a block of the month and staying current.  That's kudos to her.

We still have needle book supplies so Paula decided to give it a whirl.  I think she did a great job.

After an ALL-DAY adventure, Eveline has a TA-DA.  It turned out oh so cute.

I've spent the rest of the evening cutting Garden Party Clue 1.  Yep, It would be best for me to stay on top of the group Quilt-A-Long, even though we know my history of staying caught up is not the best.  I'm gonna give it the old college try.  I think I can, I think I can . . .  Several others in the room have  moved on to their woolies.  Love it -- hand works allows for time to chat and create bonds of sisterhood.  Nothing better.

Maria (shall we call her red/black girl?) with another TA-DA

And good night.  Yep, I made it this time.

It's Sunday.  Everybody sigh all together now.  That means that this wonderful event must come to an end.  I've gathered all the woolies (in their various stages of finish) and am thrilled that so many are working on it.

Gail has worked all weekend on a pillow challenge for her guild and it is finished.  I LOVE it. TA-DA

And the back

Oooooh, woolies being finished.  Eveline TA-DA

Eveline then decided to layout her friendship blocks.  I love the layout but have sad news.  The blocks were left behind as she packed up and went home.  Drat.  I guess she'll work on them at the next retreat unless she wants me to send them to her.

As we wander around the room, a few other things were left too.  Funny -- I have a purple bag, green fan, finished flimsy, extra fabric, and a stack of blocks.  Nope, not all from the same person.  Crazy.

Paula Woolie TA-DA - she stayed until 3:00 p.m. to get this one, lol.

Well that's about it.  It's just me and Val now and for the next few days.  I get to work on my Garden Party units  for a short time and then we decide to take our "egg catching" duties seriously and head out to the coop.  Debi will be oh so upset if we don't have fresh eggs for her when she returns.

It's also good for us to get out and walk a bit and actually very enjoyable.  These ladies love to see us as treats come too.

The rest of the evening is spent cutting out parts for slippers and portable portfolios.  This is JUST the soft and stable that needed to be cut.  What a mess.  Time for bed.  And another great retreat is in the books.  I had a blast and met some terrific new ladies that I can't wait to see again.  Fun times ahead.

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