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Posts tagged ‘journal’

In Search of a Retreat

I was invited to join some quilters I know to a retreat. What is a retreat? I had no clue. Never having been to one, I was a bit nervous (TERRIFIED actually). I’ve never been to a girl’s slumber party or anything of that nature. I’ve heard of them but the opportunity never presented itself. The only people I’ve ever shared a room with was my sister, daughter and mother.

Abby, who runs the place and everyone in it.

Abby, who runs the place and everyone in it.

I was told they would sew all day long except to eat and sleep. How was I going to fit in with my vision limited to a few hours of good sewing time at best? I almost backed out.

In the dining room the wall hanging welcomes you to your meal.

In the dining room the wall hanging welcomes you to your meal.

My friend, Emily, picked me up at 9 a.m. and drove another woman I had never met and myself the 45 minutes to Vancouver, Washington. I met Emily a few months ago and she and all the rest of the ladies going are quite well experienced quilters. I am not. We shall leave it at that.

More tools and inspiration.

More tools and inspiration.

The retreat began with an introduction to the quilting room. There were only eight of us which gave each of us an entire table to ourselves. We could really spread out and we did. Machines were up in a flash and suitcases set aside for later. The room was simple but filled with everything necessary.

Any size, shape or style was available and most were needed.

Any size, shape or style was available and most were needed.

Fabric by the fat-quarter or the bolt and even scraps should we need them were in every corner. Books, magazines for ideas and inspiration, and quilts hung in any spare spot that didn’t have a design flannel board. There were cutting tables, tools and ironing boards already set up for us.

Just a small sample of what was there.

Just a small sample of what was there.

We won’t mention the copious amount of snack foods, coffee machines, (drip and Keurig) tea and the list goes on. So will my words in this post, so bear with me please.

a scrumptious concoction created by our hostess

a scrumptious concoction created by our hostess


home made banana bread

home made banana bread

This place was the home of Nancy Fosburgh. She had stopped by to rent the barn for more space to manufacture her traveling ironing boards for quilters as the business had outgrown her garage. Nancy is a master quilter and instructor. She ended up leasing the whole house and the barn set on 10 acres. Nancy takes care of it with a little help from family and kind friends, many of whom are avid quilters as well.

Nancy fixed our toilet herself

Nancy fixed our toilet herself

Nancy is one of those women that make the energizer bunny look like a slacker. A strong, single mother of three now adult children, and an entrepreneur, her avocations have become a dream come true vocation.

Where the work and fun happen.

Where the work and fun happen.


A lovely walk to the house for dinner and rest

A lovely walk to the house for dinner and rest

The food Nancy prepared for us was phenomenal to say the very least. I must admit here that I’m a fussy eater. Childish, I know, but too true. I turn my nose up at so many things, though I am more open now than ever before. I will tell you I ate asparagus this week for the second time in my life. It’s the first time I liked the taste. Nancy was experimenting on us and can continue to do so forever on me.

Nancy's simple quilt we can pattern some charity quilts after.

Nancy’s simple quilt we can pattern some charity quilts after.

I went to bed one night aching from the amount I could not let pass me by. Scones and Devonshire cream, German pear pancakes or egg casserole with fresh fruit for breakfast, lunches had everything from sandwiches all homemade to soup. I was still groaning when we came in from sewing for dinner but I turned nothing away. Everything was homemade and scrumptious. If this quilting thing doesn’t pan out for her, the cooking thing surely will. I’d like to volunteer to help write her cookbook.

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We also learned a new craft from one of her volunteers, Linda. Round boxes made of paper. We all worked hard on those too.

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My fellow quilters were so patient with my learning curve and even took a square that I could no longer look at and finished it for me. I found a walking friend to keep working the kinks out and enjoy the beautiful scenery. No one complained that I was first each night to retire to bed with my journal.

Emily's selvedge quilt. Made of strips from the edges of fabric

Emily’s selvedge quilt. Made of strips from the edges of fabric


They come together in such a fun way.

They come together in such a fun way.


Emily finished 36 of these to be appliqued and then joined and quilted

Emily finished 36 of these to be appliqued and then joined and quilted

You really get to know people when you share a room. Half of us liked the window open so we shared a room, those that did not, shared another. There was no rowdiness at bedtime. We’d had our wine at our machines as we worked and bedtime was for rest.

4 of us with the window open for a great nights sleep

4 of us with the window open for a great nights sleep


Another of the bedrooms. Too cute.

Another of the bedrooms. Too cute.

Our favorite pot stirrer, (picture an imp) managed to keep us on our toes and giggling. Patti would point out near invisible threads left on the ironing board so someone (the culprit who left them behind) would make a big show of getting out the blue tape to make sure it was properly cleaned.

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I don’t know about other retreats but this one brought some real bonding.

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I know there are writing retreats, spiritual retreats, spa retreats but I don’t know that any would have all the elements that this one had. I witnessed a vast amount of comradery, creativity, generosity, and fun.

Arlene on Bottom Left made these for granddaughters musical. We thought it would be fun to pray for more wine.

Arlene on Bottom Left made these for granddaughters musical. We thought it would be fun to pray for more wine.

Would I do it again? In half a heartbeat. What is your idea of a retreat?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Another Year

Halloween was the one year anniversary of my blog. I wasn’t sure I would last, especially with titles. What in the world had I got myself into?

I started this blog to try to find others who might offer insight and suggestions into my very odd illness. I’m four months shy of three years with the most unusual display of Bells Palsy. My face looks pretty good now and I’m starting to be able to drink out of cups and glasses without a straw sometimes, but dizziness and the lack of balance still make everyday tasks difficult. Boy, do I have real empathy for those with invisible illnesses.

If you happen to be over sixty, get your shingles vaccine. I didn’t because my mother was certain I’d never had chicken pox so we all assumed, (there’s that word again), that I was immune. All three (chicken pox, shingles, bells palsy) are from the same virus. I’d nursed my brothers and sister through chicken pox as well as my own children. When my son had them three weeks before high school graduation, he was certain he would die from them. I was pretty worried myself. His younger sister got them a week later with a much milder case. If I’d had chicken pox, how could anyone miss it?

After one year, no one has stepped up to say they have experience this or anything similar. What did happen? I found some wonderful bloggers doing some really great writing as well as other interesting things. I don’t want to give them up by giving up. Every day, I learn something new and often from someone new. I still don’t know how to find bloggers. Thankfully, they seem to find me. Bloggers are helping me learn the technology of blogging. They also help to remind me each day to count my blessings.

I keep a gratitude journal just for that purpose; writing each day the best thing that happened. I don’t miss a day finding that one bright spot. Some days it’s the post that made me laugh out loud. Some days it’s knowing there are others out there I can relate to even in our differences. Writing is what we all have in common. I keep so much to myself in a personal diary. I’ve learned that keeping a journal, a diary, and blogging are all different forms of writing. I do all three. I hope to learn to write more in-depth and more creatively.

Thank you fellow bloggers. You have taught me so very much. I’m not sure what direction I will take from here. It’s time for reflection.

Learning without reflection is a waste, reflection without learning is dangerous. ~ Confucius

From my heart to yours,
Marlene