Sunday, March 19, 2017

March Brazos House Retreat - Luck O' The Irish

Has a month already flown by?  It appears so as I am driving back through the gate onto the Brazos House grounds.  Yes, I counted the cattle guards and somewhere between number 1 and number 5 I made a decision not to push myself this weekend.  Not on projects and not on "stuff."  I am going to try and just dwell amongst friends for a few days.  Pretend that the big bad world is out there somewhere but can't touch me.  It's a plan.  Now, let's go through the gate.

As I drive past the corral, the donkeys are running alongside the car, trying to get my attention and yes, one is braying loudly.  Welcome home.  (Of course this picture is through a window while I am driving --- fun times are starting already.)

A quick look towards the coop shows me that Fatsy Cline has a similar idea for today's purpose.  Chill.  She's perfected the art.  Oh, the patio looks so inviting.  I must make time to sit out here and just enjoy.

As I enter the house, I spot a bucket of walking sticks.  Have these always been here?  If so, where have my powers of observation been hiding.  I may even have to use one during the ten-day visit in May.  Hikes to the top of the property will take place then.

There is even as single red rose waiting to greet me.  Ah, spring.  I can smell ya.  You are on the way.

The room awaits and all I have to do is rearrange a few tables and I'm ready to unload the closet.  Just do it girl.  It won't go away.

I no sooner have everything in place than the door opens and my peeps have arrived.  The next couple of hours are setting up stations and working on nametags.  Before we know it, it's time for lunch and we are off to Babe's.  This is rapidly becoming a retreat tradition.  One I will always love as it is about the only time I treat myself to fried chicken.  Yum.  We have three Babe's "virgins" this trip and that makes it even more fun.

Okay, back to the grind --- oops, fun.  Hahahaha.  It's no grind at all.  I'm back in my own little corner, in my own little world (cue Lesley Ann Warren to start singing) and the nametags are soon all out and it's time to start on a project perhaps.  I packed only two things (plus a group project to prep) to work on this trip after deciding that I'm a crazy person for hauling all that stuff around all the time.

As I'm just getting around to figuring out what to do, Tammy has a TA-DA.  (She skipped Babe's - cheater)  I love the toile looking fabric.

The afternoon continues on with my project being to prep the group project.  Yep, I am THAT prepared.  I look up and I can't believe that it is already 5 and we have visitors at the front door.  It appears that the Brazos House Chicken Coop has a couple of representatives here to see us.  One is an attorney.  Oh my goodness -- we have chickens unionizing.  There is trouble afoot for sure.  The entire demand list is on the video for you to see.  I can't wait to see the response to this.  Debi K.????

About the time the presentation is over, it's time for dinner and then to get started on this whole Irish fun.  Since my guest list this March is almost entirely different than last March, we're doing a repeat of the leprechaun.  That, and I'm too lazy to make another item right now.  Hey, let's call a spade a spade.

As I am not sick to death this week, I take the time to explain and get people started, unlike my drop and run last month.  I love the enthusiasm I see and can't wait to see what they come up with.

Maria has a TA-DA

As does Bonnie - TA-DA - she already has her woolie finished and I love some of her ideas.

Before the evening ends, Maria has cranked out another TA-DA.  How does she do that?

A peek around the room has an impromptu show and tell going on and Phyllis has also completed her woolie.  TA-DA.  They are getting these done right away.  Way to go ladies.

So you may ask what I have been doing this evening.  Adding borders to my Garden Party quilt seems to be the chosen task.  You can read all about this clue in THIS LINK.  I'm liking it.

After selecting fabrics for my backing, I'm saying that's it for day one.  Maria, Rocky, and I bid you goodnight.  See ya'll a little later in the morning.

Well now.  Good morning everyone.  Happy St. Patrick's Day.  I woke up raring to go and have now managed to get my outer borders on my top.  Oooh, I'm a happy girl cos I get a TA-DA this time.

Barbara also has a woolie TA-DA.  This is especially good since she truly dislikes hand work of any kind.

Virginia has been quietly sitting and making pillowcases, but with a little prompting, she does a mini TA-DA as well.  Love, love, love the yellow and grey.  I may incorporate that into my bedroom.  Or a dress.  Or a new car.  Something.

Paula's TA-DA is next.

As I am walking back from ironing the back and binding to my own project, I spot an I Spy rag quilt that Darlene has been working on for some children that were rescued from a terrible situation.  It's wonderful and they are going to love it so much.

I am ready to move on to another project as I can call this one finished as far as I can go.  It is ready for quilting.  Top, back, label, and binding are one pretty package.  Now for my sweet machine to get out of time out.  I have faith.

Since it's March 17th and I'm not Irish and American's celebrate this Holy Day in crazy ways, I guess I'll join in.  Time for a Guinness.  Thank you Maria.

Elisabeth is caught trying to unpack what I can only assume is an incredible mess.  As she lifts out her magnet pin catcher, everything else in the bag decides to make the journey too.

Yep, just keeping ya'll in the loop.

Maria has another TA-DA and while she was making the flying geese for this one, I got her going with bonus triangles.  She now has a ton of them to play with in the borders.  I can't wait to see the finale.

Well, since it's St. Patrick's Day and since everyone is present and accounted for, let's have game night.

LCR has become a tradition at the retreats and although my stash of prizes is getting scary low, I aim to keep it going through the year.  The fun and laughter that it promotes is well worth hunting them down at sales.  Tonight our winners were sitting all in a row.  The magic was in the corner by the window for sure.  First Elisabeth with the fat quarters, then Paula with a jelly roll.

For the last round, silliness ensues and centers around those of us who are not winning a dang thing.

The last round is won by Elizabeth and it is a layer cake.  Now, as I hand it to her and she attempts to take it out of the wrapper and show it off for me, we wind up with a silly threesome of pictures.  It's a ghost thief in the second picture.  Elisabeth???? (Smooth, not Zippy) How far did she get?

I have stalled out working on slippers for the entire evening and have now decided to go to bed rather early.  Remember my new pledge.  Those who stayed up late took this last woman standing picture but I happen to know that it is not accurate for when I got up at 4:30 a.m.  Paula was still up and Janet had just arrived in the room.  Yep, she pulled an all-nighter to finish a top she was working on.  More power to her.  I, on the other hand, slept so good.

Day three dawns and Ms. Virginia has mentioned that she really wants a Featherweight.  I offer her the use of Miss Judy for the day and she happily accepts.

Tammy's morning starts with a TA-DA

And then she does an impromptu lesson in sandwiching a quilt using pvc pipe and a flat surface.  I love these moments and encourage them whenever they show up.

It's Beads of Courage bag day so the supplies are out and people are getting busy on today's service project.  They only take about an hour each and I'm thrilled to see so many in the works.

After three days, it is definitely time to get out a bit.  The day is lovely and it would be silly not to enjoy part of it.  Besides it helps me with my slipper procrastination that is going on big time.

Bonnie is out on the porch so I stop for a quick visit and then make my way out to feed the chickens.  Love the country feel here.

The ladies are quick to come running as soon as they realize treats are here.  Ooooh -- cantaloupe.

Before dinner we gather everyone together for the group picture that somehow managed to get forgotten last night.  It's a nice evening and we have plenty of light so outside it is.  What a super fun group of women and I have loved getting to know each one of them either for the first time or a little better after several shared events.  Back row:  Bonnie, Darlene, Maria, Elizabeth (Zippy), Virginia, Paula, Janet, and Rocky.  Middle row:  Elisabeth (Smooth), Barbara and Tammy.  Front row:  Karen, Mindy (a.k.a. Sharon), me, and Phyllis.  Thank you all so much for a fun weekend.


All right, it's necessary to make at least one trip to the river each trip and I haven't accomplished that yet.  Now seems right.  As I sit and enjoy the peace around me with the songbirds happily making their presence known, I hear happy voices behind me and am soon joined by a wonderful group.  Managing to make the trek down the stairs, it's fun to take pictures from a different perspective.

Rocky and Karen make it halfway down to join me and the others are up at the railing, smiling and watching with, hmmm, let me think of the right word --- angst.

Ahhh, all the happy faces are back together now and the river has been thoroughly enjoyed.  Perhaps I can sew now.

As we return to the house, I can't help but think of how perfect it looks in the evening light as the porch lights come on.  I have to admit, this place sure holds a bit of my heart.  Someday I'll be back in the country again.

When we return, Paula has a TA-DA with her all-night top

Paula also brought a Featherweight that she purchased when I was at a retreat in Temple last month.  My sweet Mister found her a pedal and we are just now plugging it in for the first time.  Fingers crossed for a quick check just to make sure she works.  Oh yay -- she purrs.  All she needs is a good cleaning and some oil.  Woot woot.  I'm so happy for her and hopefully this sweet lady will make an appearance at her next retreat.

Barbara has been working methodically the entire retreat on this circle QAYG project and she is finished.  I cannot tell you how much I love it.  TA-DA

Janet has a woolie TA-DA as well.  The beard on this one is fabulous.  Lots and lots and lots of knots.

Virginia with a TA-DA

Mindy's TA-DA has been her sole project this weekend.  It's huge, pink, and beautiful.

Elisabeth has her own little TA-DA as she usually doesn't work with pieces this small.

As I walk around the room, I see a few things to spotlight.  Karen has worked on the most organized project and is making good progress.

In all the retreats I have hosted, we've not had anyone working on wedding ring quilts and this time there are THREE.  Crazy but cool.  First up is Bonnie's

Then Phyllis's and Darlene's

They are all at various stages of progress but I am in awe of them all.  Circles, or anything like them, are super scary.

Maria with one last TA-DA

As the evening comes to a close, there are only four of us left and sitting in one corner of the room, we laugh ourselves to the point of tears.  All anyone will ever have to say is "Sharon" and we will start giggling.  (No, Sharron E. - we are not referring to you.)  I catch Paula giving someone a back rub.  You'll have to decide who it is as she covered her head as soon as she saw the camera.

Well, that's a wrap for this party.  Tomorrow is another day - or I guess I should say today is another day.  I think it's time for some sleep.  Night from Brazos House.  (Cracked lens camera at work.)

Day four is here.  I know, it's sad.  That means packing up and heading home.  I'm actually looking forward to some time with Mister as I'm leaving in again in two days.  The finished woolies are together for a group shot.  Yes, these little leprechauns want pictures too.  AND we have managed to finished 25 more Beads of Courage Bags.  Woot woot.

The room is clearing out and the middle tables are empty, leaving conversations on both outer sections.  This is a fun time -- things are packed and yet, we just don't want to leave.

Once everything is put away and I've managed to clean out my corner of the world, it's time to say good-bye.

The last four take some time on the porch for a quiet visit and I'm oh so thankful for moments like these as well as strong women to help hold me up when I falter.  Thank you all so much and we'll see you again soon, I hope.

Brazos out.

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