Friday, October 14, 2016

My Dream Vacation--Meeting Friends

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 
Within probably a half hour of being there, David migrated down stairs with Julie and Terry to give fabric painting a go, while I stayed upstairs with Beth and Jennifer to chat and piece on our projects.

Photo courtesy of mmmquilts.  Okay this was after Sandra arrived, but still what the scene looked like.
The second I saw the last SUV pull in, this barley 5" tall, chubby, gal was running to meet Sandra.  Out of shape and breath (meaning me) we were finally able to hug for the first time.  I even kamikaze hugged MacGyver.  The rest of day one was filled with lots of laughs and ended with dinner at a local Mexican restaurant not to far from where all of us were staying.

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 think someone had just cracked a joke, as I took a picture of Beth, taking a picture of everyone else.

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.

Jennifer had a chance to check out Julie's zipper collection.  There is a back story here, but some of what happens at Julie's stays at Julie's.

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.

MacGyver took one last picture before we left.  I tell you, it's amazing what that man can do with a coffee can, a little paint, paper, cardboard and duct tape, all from the trunk of his car!  Just kidding he used an iPhone, but he's still pretty dog gone handy, sombrero and all.  (He doesn't really wear a sombrero, I'm just trying to add to the mystery and myth of the man we call MacGyver)

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!


Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl said...

I have loved reading everyone's accounts about the weekend, Tish, and I am so glad it was so full of joy for you. <3

Sandra Walker said...

Well you've put big ol' tears in this girl's eyes...sniff! As I've said to so many people, it was magical, and I mean that in a wondrous not sappy way. Loved reading everyone's take on the weekend and I LOVE (MacGyver's sombrero lol) no, seriously I LOVE your fake Mason jar of Julie so true. She is a ray of sunshine and the best hostess ever.

Sandra Walker said...

And I just loved spending time with you and being 'joined at the hip' table shaking away as we had the dueling machines hummin' along!

Ariane said...

You guys seam to have had a wonderful time. I have loved reading about all your experiences. thanks for sharing it with us!!

Bernie Kringel said...

Sounds like a fantastic weekend. I am so happy for the whole group!

helenjean@midgetgemquilts said...

It really seems to have been a fantastic time . I think it's great that dave embraces this so totally . Strangely my husband has that look too when I take yet another photo . - as for needles, I'm with you . I paper piece , I sew, I quilt and I only change needle when it breaks . I can't believe the fabric shops and the choice ! Incredible . And lastly , you never take holidays from work ? The norm when I was working was 30 days plus statuary holidays ....

Julie said...

Tish, I keep having a hard time responding to everyone's posts. I just want to say, yes, yes, and yes to all you and everyone else has said. It was a magical, bonding weekend, and I'm so grateful you were cool when I told you I had a great time with your husband! Dave, Terry, and I had a good time working with monoprinting, if anyone wants more details. ;-)

Now put that vacation day request in early so we can have an extra day next year just to sew. Okay?

Summer said...

Looks like such a wonderful experience ♥

Dave S. said...

Love captured it as close to perfectly as it gets. Take some credit for yourself too. You convinced me to go. I can't accept the level of "credit" for a TRUE "lack of better words". You captured that quite eloquently

Cheryl said...

That sounds like the perfect vacation! I am so glad you got to meet up with such wonderful people and have a great time!

Nancy J said...

This must have been the best time for you all, and those bolts of fabric, how could anyone choose between them? and then another shop to drop into. Love those autumn leaves on the back wall,and a wonderful studio for you all, even another room for more adventures. So glad for you all, book in some time off for the next one.

Jen said...

I loved reading all of your stories about this great adventure! It sounds like you all had such an excellent weekend. I laugh about your needle changing. I am trying to break my own habit of overusing needles, so as a half-way step, I keep all of the "half-used" needles just in case I get a break and don't have any new ones. It's a hard habit to break, but I am getting there though. :)

Stitchin At Home said...

Sounds like the 'family' had a great time...sniff wish I could have been there.

Lisa J. said...

It looks like a wonderful trip! Maybe next year!

Leanne Parsons said...

It looks like it was an amazing trip! I'm with you on the needles, for sure. There are more important things to spend money on, lol. And if it's still working perfectly, why would I change it?? I can't even remember when I changed mine last!

Lara B. said...

What a heartwarming and wonderful time you had Tish! I loved reading about it and hearing about all your shenanigans. I didn't wonder about David fitting in, because it was clear that he's totally having a ball and one of the artists.
Love the sombrero! Adding to the mystery that is MacGyver, Hahahahah!
PS - I don't change my sewing machine needles too often either. :)

Vicki in MN said...

I can tell you all had a wonderful time! BTW you aren't alone-I usually only change a needle when they break too!!

Paige said...

Oh my goodness, looks like ya'll had a fabulous time! Thanks for sharing!

Sue said...

Looks like everyone had a great time! I think it's so great that Dave is coming along with you. It looks like the quilting bug has definitely bitten!

Pat said...

Easy to tell you guys had a blast. So much fun to read about your get away. Now, excuse me while I go change my needle. :D

Cut&Alter said...

It sounds just wonderful! I have only ever been on one retreat in New Zealand and loved every minute. What a great way to spend a few days and make even stronger friendships.

Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

Thanks for sharing. It's almost like we were there with you. Sounds like it was an awesome time.

KaHolly said...

What a great post, Tish! I didn't realize you and Sandra had never met in person! How much fun is that?! Your post gave me goosebumps all the way down to my toes. Looked like lots of fun and am so glad you guys were able to participate! XO

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