Gotta get into the hang of this….

When I took this on I didn’t realize that a blog could be so much work.  I mean first I have to remember to log in here and then I have to come up with good stuff to write about.  Today I want to share my latest favorite quilting book with you.  It’s called Cozy Modern Quilts: 23 Easy Pieced Projects to Bust Your Stash by Kim Schaefer.  So far I have made a table runner and place mats, a quilt and I’m 2/3 of the way through another quilt from the book.  The only critique I would offer would be some pressing directions to make things snug together better.  I’m really getting into the modern quilts.  I also have Quilts Made Modern 10 Projects, Keys for Success with Color & Design, From the Fun Quilts Studio  and that has been fun to go through as well, but I haven’t made any of those quilts yet.  I think it will be more a book for inspiration, at least for me.  If you are looking for some fun quilts to do that will get you out of your box, I would start there.

I should mention here that the picture on this blog is not the entire group of Monkeys.  I don’t know that I have a picture of all of us together.  I think that the one below is the best I can do.  Inez wasn’t with us at this particular retreat, but she is represented by a blow up doll.  You’ll have to stay tuned for that story and believe me, I have lots of pictures from that!  The only ones missing here are Vera and Hazel, but they weren’t Monkeys yet and you can find both in the blog banner picture.  I’ll let you guess who is who for a while.


The first prank.

Sometimes back story comes in handy.  I’m not sure that will be the case for us, but you will get some back story nonetheless.  First off, we are all members of the same quilting guild located in the midwest.  I’m sure that really narrows it down for you.  We have varying levels of expertise and a wide variety of likes.  You could say we are an eclectic group.  Since I’m your hostess, you will get many things from my perspective.  The first of which will be my first time at retreat. Mainly Sandra Dee, Ruby and I were jealous of Inez for being gone from work twice a year for a long weekend with nothing to do but whatever quilting project she wanted to work on.  Did I mention that some of us worked together?  Consider that a fun fact that will be on the test later.  Sandra Dee and I decided to take the plunge and join the Guild simply so we could attend retreat.  It had nothing to do with any of the fabulous teachers or extensive library or combined experience of its members.  It was all so we too could leave work twice a year and go to our version of Walden and work on whatever our little hearts desired.

At our very first retreat Inez allowed us to sit in the main room with everyone.  There were some folks on the porch, but they were not very rowdy.  They just liked all the windows and the view.  After this retreat, Inez relegated us to the porch.  Apparently we are a little loud and rowdy.  At this time our charity project consisted of making pillowcases and we made them by the 10’s with fabric from our stashes.  If you are looking for an easy pattern for pillowcases, you can look here:   We tend to use the roll it up and the one with piping and our measurements are 3/4 yd and 1/4 yd.  Just in case you wanted to do some too.  If they are done in seasonal or kid friendly fabrics they make great gifts or wrapping for a gift.  Also they are a great way to transport quilts to and from Guild for show and tell.  At any rate, Sandra Dee set out to accomplish two things:  1. Make pillowcases,  2. Make a paper pieced Bernese Mountain Dog from a purchased pattern.  Sandra Dee <loves> to paper piece.  I say that with heavy sarcasm.  When she started to get the pattern out Inez and I told her that she needed to make a fabric key to keep her fabrics straight, especially since some the pieces were only as big as my fingernail.  The fingernail on my pinky that is.  Let’s just say that she got much more done on the pillowcases than she did on the Bernese Mountain Dog.  However, it was at this retreat that the trouble began.

I have to say that Sandra Dee did start it all, at least this time.  It involves the ironing board and the spray option on the iron.  She would repeatedly spray me in the back while at the ironing board.  At first it was accidental.  After the first time, the giggling gave her away.  I will admit to threatening her with the aerosol whipped cream over the hot fudge sundaes that were our dessert that night.  She did retaliate with more iron spritzing.  It was at that point that another guild member slyly stepped in and suggested short sheeting her bed.  Those who think that quilters have no sense of humor haven’t been to one of our retreats.  The trouble was that I had no idea on how to short sheet a bed and put a call to my husband.  It was an interesting conversation with him wanting to know what we were really doing but being the good sport that he is, he explained what I needed.  The main difficulty was that Sandra Dee had not yet made her bed which made it a tad difficult to short sheet.  Finally, when I could take it no longer, I made her bed complete with short sheets and went back to sewing.  I have no recollection of what projects I was working on at this retreat.  Since it was my first one I did pack them like I wouldn’t see home in a month.

The rule at retreat is that when the first person goes to bed, they shut out the lights and close the door to the bunk room.  The rest of us are to be respectful of that and use flashlights to find our way to our own bed.  It is also recommended that you bring ear plugs if you are a sensitive sleeper.  As usual Sandra Dee and myself were fairly late in going to bed.  Inez opted to go in a little earlier to get settled for the show.  Ironically, there was a lady with a book light in the bed next to Sandra Dee who had fallen asleep with said light on.  At first Sandra Dee couldn’t figure out why she couldn’t get all the way into her bed.  I could hear her rustling around and was doing my best to keep from laughing out loud, but hearing  her forcefully whispering “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you” proved to be more than I could stand and I had to flee the bunk room to the porch where I laughed until I cried but fortunately did not wet my pants.  Sandra Dee came strolling out minutes later laughing.  I did offer to help her remake her bed so she could get some sleep and she told me that she had gotten her bed stripped when the lady with the reading light woke up and shut off her book light leaving poor Sandra Dee standing in the dark holding all of her bed sheets.  She did manage to get her bed remade in the dark and we spend a good half hour in paroxysms of laughter.

That was all it took.  We were hooked.  Retreat was glorious and while we may not have accomplished much aside from learning how to short sheet a bed and display to the other quilters at retreat just how bizarre we can be, we haven’t been banned and we haven’t really missed a retreat yet.  Inez did decide after this retreat that we needed to arrive early so that we could claim the porch and be as non-disturbing to the other members as possible.  Thankfully, they do take us in stride and often play along.