As I start writing this post, I find myself so overwhelmed with emotions that I'm not sure where to start. My time off from work is very few and far between as far as vacation goes. I work for a very small family owned building supply store and because our staff is so limited, it takes all of our cogs to make the clock run smooth, if you will. I was able to work with my boss to arrange for me to take two days off (I think it has been a few years since I've taken two days in a row off during a work week) so that David and I could travel to Ohio to meet up with a few fellow quilt bloggers. This, for me, was a dream come true. So I will warn you ahead of time, this post will probably be a long one.
For a few weeks now, Julie at Pink Doxies with the help of Beth from Cooking Up Quilts have been working together to organize a Quilt Bloggers International Retreat. International because our very own Canadian friend, Sandra at mmmquilts, was able to make the journey down. So on Thursday of last week, Dave The Quilting Engineer and I started packing our car for our journey north and let's just say the quilting gear bags we packed, out numbered the one suitcase we packed. Two of everything!
|Photo courtesy of mmmquilts|
Several hours later, we found ourselves pulling into the drive of Julie's home and my heart BURST with joy when I saw, in person for the first time, Julie running towards me to meet in a big ol' hug!
**I'll confess right now, I didn't take as many pictures as what you would think a quilt blogger would. I was so wrapped up in meeting everyone and spending time with them, I just forgot to take pictures.**
After saying "hello" to Beth (Cooking Up Quilts), Jennifer (The Inquiring Quilter), and Terry (Terry Ann Hartzell-Insights), we settled in to unpacking. They even saved a table for Sandra and I to share. For some reason they seemed to think we would be attached at the hip :) Dave was on his own.
|Setting up my sewing space, waiting for my partner in crime to arrive. Photo courtesy of Cooking Up Quilts|
|Photo courtesy of mmmquilts. Okay this was after Sandra arrived, but still what the scene looked like.|
Day two would bring much fabric viewing! For transportation reasons, we split into two groups of four. Car one held Julie, Beth, Jennifer and Terry and car two consisted of myself, David, Sandra and our wonderful chauffeur, MacGyver, himself. Our first stop would be Somewhere Sewing in Millersburg, OH.
Upon opening the door we were greeted with rows and rows of fabric, it was a bit overwhelming. David was a man with a plan and set off in search of fabrics to use in his Looking Glass 2.0 quilt and I wandered around aimlessly lost among all the pretties.
David waited patiently to get his fabrics cut, while behind him, a circus of quilting mayhem ensued.
|Photo courtesy of Cooking Up Quilts.|
I thought I was being quite slick about it, but Beth caught me, which made everyone laugh even harder. Poor Sandra and David can't take us anywhere.
|David, Me, Sandra, Terry, Beth, Jennifer and Julie. Photo courtesy of mmmquilts|
After a quick group picture with our loot, we were on our way to our next destination Zink's Fabric Outlet in Berlin. If I thought I was overwhelmed by the first store, I had no idea what I was in for at the second! It was HUGE.
|Photo courtesy of mmmquilts|
I'm so glad Sandra snapped this picture. This is only one corner of the store (one corner!). Somehow I started collecting bolts of fabric and decided to make a quilt to remember the trip. Beth and David were helping to pick things out. THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN! I was running around like a small child, jumping for joy when I found something I liked. I never made it out of this section to see the rest of the store. So, I was super glad when everyone decided to come back after our super yummy lunch at Boyd and Wurthmann.
Our next destination would be Charm, OH to visit Miller Dry Goods. This store is actually made up of two buildings side by side. I fell in love with the friendly atmosphere and all the new fabric lines they carried. I spent some more time helping David to pick out fabrics for Looking Glass (don't worry I bought stuff too).
This picture is followed by this one, where he is saying "really, you just took a picture of me again? I'm trying to work here."
And he was quite proud of himself when he spotted the one and only Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs out in the wild.
And how about a few more shots at the store just for fun.
|Sandra and I, finally together|
|Julie captured this picture of Beth and I. I love this picture.|
Our last shopping destination was a very unique little antique store called Fence Row Antiques in New Bedford, OH. When I tell you this place is off the beaten trail, believe me, I know off the beaten trail. It contained a little bit of everything. For me, it was like stepping back onto my grandparents farm; coal buckets, cast iron skillets, antique quilts, knick knacks and ornaments. There were so many things too look at. The owner was one of the sweetest people I have ever met. She had a lovely tea set up just for us (best peanut butter cookies EVER). One thing I noticed was, when we were checking out, she had a story or memory for every item, it just warmed my heart.
|Photo courtesy of Pink Doxies|
Our evening officially ended with a wonderful dinner at Raven's Glenn Winery.
|MacGyver just loves that sombrero|
David accidently scored wine glasses for all of us. When the waitress brought the bills he asked if there was anyway that we could purchase a (one, singular) wine glass to commemorate our trip. She perked up and said that for $5 we could taste nine wines and get a glass. He explained we didn't really want to do a tasting (it was almost 9 and we both had drank wine with our meals) could we please just purchase a glass to honor this special occasion. She said she would see what she could do. Five minutes later she returned with wine glasses for everyone! A huge thank you to Raven's Glenn Winery! And David, of course.
That brings us to the bitter sweet third day, which would end with all of us going our separate ways. After packing things up at the hotel and checking out, we all headed back to Julie's for a little bit of mid-morning sewing and shenanigans.
|Photo courtesy of Pink Doxies|
All of us immediately got busy with the projects we were working on.
One of which included a group project consisting of two blocks made by each person.
Along with more laughs, we managed to sneak in a few animated quilting and non quilting stories. In this picture David is clearly having a good time with what ever the subject was.
As noon started creeping up on us, we all gathered below for a wonderful lunch prepared by Julie and participated in a open floor discussion about blogging. Our sewing stuff headed back to our car and the dreaded goodbye-for-now's had to be said.
So maybe a few thoughts or things I learned before I close (I know, I've gotten out of control here);
I think the group was horrified to find out I only change my needles when I break one. This little confession came about, after David innocently asked, "how often should one change a sewing machine needle?" Bad, Tish! Bad!
Llamas rock. Llama stories, rock even more and they do not spit.
Julie is an amazing hostess. You cannot possibly leave her with out feeling recharged and excited. Julie, I still have a little bit of your Julie sparkles in my fake mason jar and intend to open that jar and let just a little bit out every time I'm feeling down or lonely.
And maybe a question you might be asking...was it odd for you or anyone else to have your husband as part of the actual group?
No, not at all, at least for me (I can't speak for the group). I love that he was able to have fun, be creative and hang out with this amazing group of artists. Because that is what we are, a united group of artists sharing a love and passion for all things fabric and quilting related (not a group of women and a guy). This felt like a small family. I love that he was able to learn about fabric printing with Julie and laugh and joke and that I didn't need to be included (I was doing my own thing and having a blast). While I was checking out the rest of Zinks with Sandra, he was able to help Beth pick out fabrics. And for him it was an opportunity to learn from a group of some of the best quilters out there, who apparently change there machine needles more often than I do :)
So I think I will stop here. It has taken me almost a week to write this post. I'm not an overly emotional person, but every time I set down to write, I found myself over come with joy because the pictures remind me of all the fun (there just isn't enough words to describe it) and a bit of sadness because I miss my friends. Thankfully, they are only a point and click away.
Today I'm linking up to Let's Bee Social and Can I Get a Whoop! Whoop!