Yikes that a lot of time

In between posts. What is going on with those monkeys? Well, I’ll tell you.  It’s been so stinkin’ busy!  Spring is here.  Well, it’s kind of here.  It keeps teasing us with some sunny days and then some really chilly days and some dry days and some rainy days.  My dear husband is on a kick that we need a big garden which entails us traveling to his mom’s where there is a good-sized plot to more than feed our two families.  However, we had trees to pull and dirt to till and we’re running late on getting potatoes and peas and onions in the ground.  Plus the sows are having their litters which means his mom has been really busy taking care of that too.  Today my plan is to dig up and split some perennials because I had this “brilliant” idea to turn my small front yard into a flower garden.  Please notice the quotes around brilliant.  Here we are about 5 years later and I am finally admitting that I bit off more than I could chew.  I like to garden, but I don’t like to spend all week or every weekend weeding it.  So, it is getting seriously pared down this spring and the plants are finding some new homes and I will have one less thing to worry about so I can get back to quilting!

I know, that all doesn’t sound like enough to keep me away from WordPress, but I do like to sleep at night too.  Well, I also like to sleep in the morning.  Until around 10.  Unfortunately I don’t have that luxury either as my small blonde boy gets up before I do and is anxious to be busy all day.  Today he’ll be my helper to dig in the flower beds.  I’m sure it will be enlightening for both of us.

In the meantime, I’m not really getting any quilting done for myself.  Inez and I have a business where we do long arm quilting and now that it is spring everyone is excited to get out of the house and get their projects done.  To me this is great because then I can find some inspiration in their pattern or fabric choices and that gets me all excited to go home and get some of my projects done.  Only I have all that dirt to move and plants to plant.   I guess I’ll just have to hold on to all that inspiration for another week or two while I get the stuff outside settled down enough so I can have some fun time inside.  Of course I’m only speaking for me.  I think the other monkeys have been just as busy too.

Sandra Dee retired earlier this spring and she hasn’t been busier.  Blanche has also been busy with the wedding and family stuff and has been looking forward to a girls sewing weekend with <gasp!> sewing friends other than the monkeys.  🙂  Inez is off to babysit her grandkids for a week (and may need a week to recover after she returns).  I’m not sure what the others have been up to, but crazy work schedules and family obligations have a tendency to creep up on us when we least expect it.

Don’t worry though – I’m getting the rest of our retreat happenings prepped and ready for your reading enjoyment.  I really just wanted to say that I haven’t forgotten about you and that we’re still here.

Oh, I also thought that maybe we could do something a little fun.  However I have to do some homework on that first and then I’ll spill the details.  In the meantime, put your Creativity Caps on.  They will be required for the fun.

More Retreat Fun

It’s amazing how much we can cram into our time at retreat. Ruby came by to visit us at retreat and arrived there shortly after we returned from the quilt show.  It was so nice that she was coming out to see us, although we were really wishing that she was there for the entire retreat…  Anyway, I have another friend, D, who has a family photo “tradition” where they eat heads.  For some reason I always find the resulting photos funny.  I asked Ruby if she would comply with “eating” Sandra Dee‘s head.  Here they are.

  You can’t tell from the photos, but Sandra Dee is sewing on her machine and not really paying attention to what we are doing.  That’s not terribly surprising.    That night we got to play with the fabric fairy as a couple of our members had to leave retreat early.

Here are our fabric fairies.  Please notice Blanche and Hattie in the thick of things.    These are also our fearless retreat leaders and they do their darndest to keep us all in line, which as you have seen is not an easy job.    A couple of retreats ago they did something pretty cool for our fabric fairy gift.  I suppose I’ve neglected to really define what that is and should do so now.  There is another tradition at retreat where our fearless leaders spend incredible amounts of time trying to find the best item to commemorate retreat.  There have been a wide variety of things over the years from assorted fat quarters to small rulers to pin cushions. Our current crew of leaders has been fairly creative and a few retreats ago asked for some donations of items that we weren’t using anymore.  So, they pilfered their own crafting areas and fabric stashes and then created “quilter’s money” where we could “purchase” and/or trade wrapped and marked items.  It was an absolute hoot and a huge hit.  So, in a similar reprisal the leadership crew decked themselves out for St. Patrick’s Day complete with light-up shamrock glasses and necklaces.  They passed out golden coins that had our lucky number on them. That just determined what order we would get to choose from individually wrapped items.  Here are some monkeys waiting for the rules to be read and for their turn to pick items.    You can see the anticipation in their faces.  They are so excited!  Don’t worry, we didn’t have to wait long.

Here is Sandra Dee preparing to dive in to the prizes.  

And here is Vera running away with her choice.  

Here we are pouring over our prizes.  Hazel, Inez and Sandra Dee checking out what new treasurers they have.

Sandra Dee is always ready to pose for the camera with Vera.

You can’t really tell from these photos, but Inez’s hair is a little tousled.  There was a message therapist at the other building and everyone has an opportunity to take advantage of the opportunity.  However, Inez was gone for quite a while and she came back a little disheveled which made us wonder what really did go on up there…..

For this post, I will leave you with this story.  As Sandra Dee was preparing for retreat she was talking with another friend about how excited she was about retreat and was trying to convey to this friend what it is we really do. Apparently some things got lost in translation because her friend tried to explain to one of her friends that we go out to a cabin in the middle of the woods where we have no alcohol and we just sew and we have to cook our own meals.  Her friend’s response was, you’re kidding right?  We laughed and laughed when Sandra Dee related that to us mainly because they had so much disbelief about it.  Nope, that’s pretty much what it is, but also it is so much more.

The Monkeys go to a quilt show.

So on our second day of retreat we had the opportunity to do a little more shopping at a quilt show all because Inez volunteered to work.  Hattie, Hazel, Sandra Dee, Inez and myself piled into Hazel’s car and headed for the show.  The nice thing about Hazel’s car is that it will fit all of us and there seems like a slight incline so that whoever is sitting in the way-back seat feels like they are sitting higher than everyone else in the car.  I think this makes up for not having seat warmers like the second and first rows do.  Lucky for me I got to sit in the Queen Seat.  I almost felt like I was in the Rose Bowl Parade with my attendants before me.  Ha ha!  Hazel has GPS in her car.  However, we all think we’re smarter than the GPS and are not necessarily following it exactly (don’t worry, we didn’t get lost) and when we would not follow its directions it would give us a cautionary message (and this is where my memory fails me…) that we were leaving a recognized area or some similar language.  This, for some reason, made us hysterical as we envisioned the car with cones  and warning lights on top alerting all other drivers that we were lost by GPS standards.    Of course it happened many times on our way to the quilt show and each time we would add more things that should be on top of the car to indicate our ineptitude for following GPS instructions.  It was a fairly silly ride, but to be expected with the group in the car.

The show was nice – lots of variety of quilts to see and vendors to shop and one thing that was a bit unique was that the final row of quilts at the show were quilts and photos of guild members that had passed.  It was a nice memorial.

The other really cool thing was the trash to treasure booth.  You may be familiar with it under another name like snobby seconds or something similar.  Basically members of the guild donate patterns and fabric and notions and magazines and whatever else is circulating in their sewing/crafting areas that they aren’t using any more and the guild sells them to help raise money for their purposes.  This trash to treasure booth was pretty cool because they packaged things up.  There were coffee mugs with coordinated fabrics in them and baskets filled with all kinds of notions and gizmos and patterns packaged together so there was some mystery as to what you were actually getting.  It was fabulous.  Normally things are just kind of laid out on tables and that’s what made this set up so much much more interesting.  I would like to add that they did really well to boot!

Oh, did I mention that we got boas?  We did and green ones to boot and of course some of us wore them to the quilt show.  Hazel took a moment while we were lunching to pose with each of us and her boa.

 Here is Hazel with Inez.

  Hazel with Sandra Dee.

 Hazel with Hattie.

 Hazel with me.  Of course I had to do something kooky.

I think though, that as much as we laughed on our way to the show the ride home was far more entertaining.  At this point I should admit that I am a Disney-aholic.  Earlier in the month I had read a blog (go figure) and it was about Disney and the upcoming Star Wars Weekend and the new merchandise available.  If you are familiar with Disney you may also be familiar with Duffy Bear.  Duffy Bear has a new outfit for Star Wars Weekend where he is a Jedi Knight complete with a light up light saber.  If you are curious, you can find a picture here.  Of course I thought my son would love that and wanted to order, but had to email Disney customer service in merchandising to find when it would be available for purchase.  On our way back to retreat I was checking my email on my phone and saw that I had a response that they were available and that I should order quickly as they tend to sell out fast.  Of course I had to call.  Of course I am in a car full of monkeys and lots of good-natured ribbing ensued.  It doesn’t help that while I was on hold waiting for the next available representative they were playing the Figment song and I had to sing along.  I then had to explain to the lovely Disney Cast Member that I was riding in a car full of monkeys on our way to quilt retreat after being at a quilt show and she was nice enough to play along.  As I was explaining to the monkeys in the car what I was ordering and placing the order, one of the monkeys pipes up and asks if I could order one for her.  So I have to further explain to the lovely Disney cast member that now not only are the teasing me, but now want to order one as well.  She laughed and as she was increasing my order another monkey spoke up that she would like one too.  Then came the tricky part, paying with my credit card.  Hilarity ensued as some of the monkeys thought they could write my number down and some how tattoo it on their leg so they could just flop their leg up on a counter to pay.  I’m not exactly sure how they are going to make that work.  I’m a little surprised that I didn’t end up ordering one for everyone in the car.

I think I mentioned that Blanche is working on a beautiful wedding gown.  Sandra Dee indicated that she had a veil that she could pass on and had asked her husband to bring it out.  Of course he called while we were shopping at the quilt show so she wasn’t there to meet him.   She did explain where we were sitting and who Blanche was so that he knew to whom to give the veil.  When we returned to retreat, we asked Blanche if Mr. Sandra Dee made it with the veil.  She said yes and that he came it carrying it in two hands (no bag) as though he was holding a giant carton of eggs and kept saying, “Wow, this is really something”.  I don’t think that people really understand how retreat really is until they set foot in the building.  Anyway, he was being supportive of her and even packed her car and a cooler for her.  In the cooler were three beers (which we couldn’t drink because we are at a church camp) and he also packed a basket of laundry because it was there with all of her stuff.  We thought it was funny (and sweet) but mostly we just wanted to be able to drink the beer.  Sandra Dee was kind enough to pose while wearing the veil.  Now you can really see one of the Pretty People in action.

Isn’t she lovely folks?  Of course she is, Sandra Dee could be nothing less.

Since I’ve gotten so wordy, I’ll leave you with one final thing and that was Sandra Dee’s new nickname – Tight Butt (or TB for short).  She claims its because she wears panty hose everyday. So, if it works for Sandra Dee aka TB it might work for you too!

Shopping with the Monkeys

This time while at retreat, we went shopping. I guess that’s not really a rare occurrence.  We occasionally go shopping while we are at retreat and are fortunate enough that there is a nice quilt shop a couple of towns over.  This time we had wind of a new quilt shop that had opened and we were eager to check it out.  So, Sandra Dee, Inez, Hazel, Hattie, and myself piled into a couple of cars and headed into town.  It is a cute little shop and they had a lot of little paper pieced patterns, which as you know is detrimental for Sandra Dee and Hazel.  However, there are a couple of nice things about the patterns.  The first is that some of them are really simple and the second is that they are by a local quilter.  Sandra Dee has a new granddaughter (and by new I mean a couple of months old) and while in the shop found the cutest pattern for a – wait for it – tooth fairy pillow.  We did laugh about how she would be needing that right away.  The shop also had this most gorgeous brown and teal paisley fabric that they were waiting to restock which meant that I couldn’t buy any.  Boo!  After shopping at the quilt shop, Inez and Sandra Dee wanted to stop at the Dollar store for some pretty dish towels as Blanche was going to teach us how to make decorative dish towels using fabric.  If you are having trouble picturing this, you may be more familiar with the ones that have the crocheted tops that you can button or snap over your stove or handles on your kitchen cupboard doors.  Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

We stopped for Sandra Dee to get her dish towels and then Inez decided that since she hadn’t picked up monkey gifts that she would get them there.  That meant that we wandered around  and wandered around and wandered around until she found just the right thing.  Sandra Dee found her dish towels and Inez wandered until she was sure that she had just the right monkey gift.  Then we were headed to the checkout and back to retreat, or so I thought.  Sandra Dee went first I believe and after checking out she proceeded to head over to the clothing rack where she proceeded to find more items and then headed back to the checkout just in time for Inez to finish her check out.  Inez then came over to the clothing racks and while Sandra Dee was checking out for the second time, decided to check out the clothing rack as well.   Then as Sandra Dee was finishing her second check out, Inez was walking back over for her second check out.  Of course that meant that Sandra Dee started to check out another section of the store while Inez was checking out and I was beginning to think that I would never get out of the dollar store.  I think there was another check out apiece and then we were finally out of the store and heading back to retreat where we could once again bask in the glow of each other’s company.

Here is a hint of what we had for monkey gifts at this retreat.

  Inez had finally made up her mind and got us an elephant storage basket and a princess place mat for our meals.  Most of the other stuff is hanging out in the elephant storage basket.  Yep, that is Inez in the background.

  We found these on our machines – who would have thought that there would be Irish monkeys??

  See what I mean about us starting to assimilate our alter egos?  We are really enjoying all of this.

Our first day was full of lots of laughter and hugs and of course there were lots of monkey  yells as we greeted each other and set up our tables.  Blanche was setting up for some serious sewing as she was making a wedding dress for a good friend of hers and I wanted to be careful not to take pictures of it for the blog case the lucky groom finds his way here.  We wouldn’t want him to see what his blushing bride will be wearing on their special day.    Blanche is a great sewer and the dress is shaping up beautifully.

As the day wore on Sandra Dee was working on some soccer pillows and needed a larger seam than our traditional 1/4″ so we encouraged her to measure from her needle and then we laughed when she pulled out a floppy tape measure to mark where to line up her fabric rather than using a solid ruler. Her response was to tell us that 1/2″ wiggly is better than a 1/2″ hard.  Of course that conversation deteriorated quickly.  I would like to say that didn’t last very long, but unfortunately we pretty much stayed there for the rest of the evening.

On our second day we decided to head for another local guild’s quilt show because Inez (who is also a member of that guild) had signed up to work the entrance table and shopping on our first day was just not going to be enough.

I would like to leave you with what the pretty people look like in pajamas.  Allow me to put before you Pretty Person Sandra Dee in her pajamas.