Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fantastic Retreat Weekend

I spent this past weekend in LaPorte, TX at Ronda's retreat house - And Sew It Began-Pieceful Stitches - with 14 of my quilting BFF's.  We arrived on Thursday afternoon, left on Monday morning and in between we laughed, joked, shared, sewed, shopped, dined out, snacked and basically just had a fantastic time.  Some people machine sewed, some rug hooked, some hand appliqued, some did English Paper Piecing and some did a little of everything. Ronda and Cynthia (from Houston) played hostess and even cooked for us.  Thank you Cynthia for the delicious shrimp gumbo and chili.

Here are some photos from the weekend:
  First  up - a photo from Hobby airport - it's Rodeo time in Houston!

  Next - a photo of the whole group in front of the house.  The house was a Sears craft house from the 1920's that Ronda and her husband David bought and remodeled into a retreat house- 4 bedrooms, each with their own bathrooms, living room, dining room, kitchen and separate craft room (this they had built in the backyard). Check out Ronda's blog for info on the remodel and build.
BACK - Cynthia, Gloria, Katie, Anjie, Lynn, Denise, MIDDLE - Sara, Tami, Wynette, FRONT - Me, Paula, Donna
 Ronda with the quilt block sign that David made for the house.  It's in the front yard.

I made a special request and got to share the Red Crinoline Quilts room with Sara and Tami (mother/daughter).  Ronda's version of our Carolina quilt hangs on the wall and Long Road Home was on my bed. Quick note - fabulous, comfy beds and great linens!!

Friday was a shopping day and some of the group went off to Alvin and did some antiquing (and brought back some fabulous finds) and the rest of us went to Painted Pony n' Quilts to do a little shopping (some of us visited the shop a couple of times that weekend!).  We had a great time and bought a few things we just had to have! Here's Donna, Anjie and Cynthia with their purchases (and my bag too).  I snapped a quick picture of the RCQ pattern section - it still surprises me when I see our patterns in a store!  Then it was on to Mainly Drinks for lunch and back to the house to get some sewing done.

In between shopping, antiquing, dining out and visiting, we did manage to get some actual sewing done.
Anjie's Star Block exchange - she made one of each set so she had a sample for later.
Paula brought her EPP to share.  Katie finished about 4 of her Lucy Boston blocks.  2 are shown here with the light blocks around them.

Gloria worked on a new wool BOM, some rug hooking and cross stitch.
Ronda's Hostas from Judy Niemeyer. 

Lynn's rug hooked Santa - all done!!
I finished all of the blocks for Tanner Crossing.  Wait until you see the actual setting!

Ronda also shared our Star of the West pattern that she made in purples. Yummy!  I hope she checked that it went back in the house and not in one of our suitcases!!  There was some oohing and ahhing over this one.

Paula came on Saturday to spend the day and brought a couple of her new fabric collections to share - Latimer Farm for our new BOM, Davenport Garden (still in production/design) and Historical Stripes for the next quilt I will be making.  I only have a picture of Historical Stripes and yes it is all stripes!

I arrived home on Monday afternoon, unpacked and started thinking about my next retreat - this weekend!  I'm picking up Paula at the airport tomorrow afternoon and we are headed to Camp Blanding for another retreat.  The projects are packed - Tanner's Crossing (now that the blocks are done, Paula can arrange it and I can start sewing the top together), Historical Stripes (fabric all cut for the blocks and ready to be sewn), and Star Block exchange (this needs to be done by the September retreat, so I had better get busy!).

Well, there's still a lot of packing to be done tonight and I want to be able to watch the Season Premiere of Survivor (the only reality show I watch), so that's all for now.  I'll take some photos as we work through this weekend's retreat to share with you next week.

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

On the Road, Again!

Well it looks like 2015 is shaping up to be another traveling year.  January started off very nicely with almost the whole month at home and time to work on RCQ quilts, but the beginning of February changed all of that! Paula and I were scheduled to go on Quilter's Emporium cruise on the Carnival Magic, but unfortunately Paula's mom developed pneumonia and she had to back out.  I was tapped to be the teacher and our dear friend, Phyllis Anderson (author - Diamond Quilts from Landauer Publishing) was able to join me. Now I have plenty of classroom experience, but it has all been with children and this was my first time with adults.  They were wonderful (and very kind and gentle- LOL) and we had a great time. We made some wonderful new friends, visited some great places (Key West and the Bahamas) and by the number of umbrellas in the picture, apparently had a number of fruity drinks!!
Our home away from home for a week!
Lots of umbrellas = lots of fruity drinks or generous bartenders!!

I've been home for a week and a half and tomorrow I leave for LaPorte, TX and Ronda's new retreat house - Pieceful Stitches.  Gloria organized a group from Jacksonville and we're going to christen the house!  I can't wait.  This is a great group of ladies and we will have a fantastic time.  I'm also a little excited about maybe getting some Tex Mex for dinner at least one night.  I need my queso and of course, a margarita.  Plans are in the works for a trip to Painted Pony Quilt Shop, also in LaPorte.  I'm back home again next Monday and then it's off to our Camp Blanding retreat for the weekend. Same great group of ladies and about 100 more!!

In between all of the traveling I've been working on finishing some projects.  All the baby quilts have been bound and some have even been sent off to the babies!!  I received some help on one of the pillowcases I was making for my nephew from my 12 year-old niece.  She is taking a sewing class in a free period at school and she has asked me to help her.  She's come by a couple of afternoons and we've made headbands and a couple of pillowcases.  She is really enjoying the whole sewing thing and I am so glad!  It is so nice to see someone so enthusiastic to learn.  She has a list of projects she would like to tackle and last night she added a quilt to the list!  YAY!!!  Future Quilter of America!!!

Paula has been designing all sorts of new fabric collections and as the fabric arrives, I've been making the quilt she designed to go with the fabric.  We've made two quilts using the Border Companions and if there was time I think we could make a new quilt using each of the 15 borders.  I shared the Blue and Grey quilt already - pieced, quilted, bound and off for its photo shoot - and then I completed a re-do of Old Abe using one of the border prints as the sashing.  It's is also pieced, quilted, bound and heading for it's photo shoot.  It's hard to take a good picture in the house, so here's a close up of the border and some of the blocks.  We replaced the eagle stripe with the border stripe and it has a totally different look.
Old Abe re-do with Paula's Border Companions
The next collection that came in was Tanner Crossing and that's the quilt that's going with me this weekend.  I've done all of the prep work for the blocks and have even completed 3 of the blocks.  I'm hoping to have all of the blocks done and ready for Paula to arrange for Saturday at our retreat.  Next on tap is Historical Stripes.  Paula has designed a new template for this one and I'll get my demo this weekend.  This one will probably go to the Camp Blanding retreat with me.  And just when you think there's a moment, another collection arrives and this time it's the fabric for our 4th Block of the Month. Oh and in between all of this, we were editing the manuscript for our book!!  Yes, we are writing a book with Martingale Publishing Co.  We are so excited!!  It will be in your local quilt store in October, 2015 - more details to follow, as we get more details!!
Tanner Crossing collection - another pretty stripe in this one too.
Center star blocks

3 blocks done! 27 to go!

The suitcase is calling!  I had better start packing soon because I have a 6:30 AM flight and have to leave the house at 4:30 AM.  All I can say about that is UGH!!!  I'll share pictures of the retreat house and what everyone was working on when I get home.  A lot of the girls will be doing handwork - EPP, rug hooking, cross stitch and probably some wool applique.  I'm bringing my machine, of course, and maybe some EPP.  I need to get some more of my 6 pointed stars finished!

March is also shaping up to be a busy month - Dallas Quilt Show, new fabric collection and Block of the Month quilt!!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen