Can you believe it?

I’ve been doing so good all week getting new blog posts us! Just wanted to pat myself on the back a little bit. Thanks for staying with me as I work to make sure that I don’t let this blog become neglected.  To that end, rather than trying to post every day, I will do my best to post at least once a week.  I’m optimistic that once we get through retreat some of the other Monkey’s will write a post or two  as well.  Then you don’t have to listen to me drone on and on.  Besides they have some great stories and talents they could share.

I wish I had some great quilting tips or projects to share, but I don’t.  I have been coming to really enjoy my 31 bags though.  Have you been using any for your quilting?  I have to say that I don’t know the names of all the bags, but I am liking the one that has all the pockets on around the outside.  It has been perfect to take to retreat to carry my scissors and rotary cutter and rulers and all the other little things that I use that are not fabric or patterns.  Plus the straps are long enough to go over my shoulder so I can cart in more than one thing at a time.  I also like the big totes.  I can fit my projects in it easily and the handles make them easy to carry.  They have been so nice that I’ve managed to acquire quite a few of them.  It doesn’t help that one of the ladies at retreat is now a dealer and will bring samples if we ask her.  I’ve also learned that the curling iron pocket is a great travel holder for knitting needles and crochet hooks which is great for traveling.  Besides I always manage to lose a hook and its a little harder to lose a curling iron holder.  At least I hope it is….


Everyone loves a happy ending.

Oh wow, I just realized after my last post that I am WAY further behind that I had thought. Yikes.  Jinkies.  Crikey.  Guess I’d better get to writing!

Well, before I get too far into this one, Blanche has so kindly provided me with a picture of the Chicken Quilt.  You can see why it has stayed with me.  Enjoy!

2005 Challenge Quilt

Well, who doesn’t love a happy ending? Please, please don’t make me explain more of this phrase. I’m sure if you make a trip out to urban dictionary, you’ll get the meaning without my having to explain it to you.  For some reason, this became our catchphrase at retreat.  Some minor explaining was done, but the one who said it knew exactly what she was saying (yes Hattie, I’m talking to you) and was hoping that none of the rest of us caught the end of that conversation.  Lucky for her we did because we laughed about it all weekend long.

This retreat we did more shopping than we normally do.  We headed into town for some local quilt shopping where we watched Hattie walk around the shop with bolts of fabric in her hand and yet emerge from the shop with no purchases.  We’re still not quite sure how that worked out.  In fact, we watched her do it again when we traveled to the next town over to shop at another quilt shop.  This time she was loading up on sale bin fabrics and still left the shop with nary a bag in hand.  We’re not sure where she gets her will power.  I know that I don’t have that kind of will power.

But, my notes are getting messy so I’m sure that I’m getting some of our retreat shenanigans mixed up.  So, I’ll take this time to share some things from my notes while making a solemn promise to make clearer note so I can share better stories with you.

Let me start by sharing that Hattie and Blanche have a role to play at retreat as the Fabric Fairies and it’s always fun to catch them in the act.

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Typically in the fall we are witness to a cross-country meet.  With the windows we have on the porch, we have front row seats to watch.  This year we got a little punchy while we were watching and the conversation made a turn.  I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if we did this on some level.  What did we turn to?  Well, turned to  whether or not we should set up a carnival.  Yes, that is right, a carnival.  Not the kind with rides, the kind with game booths and face painting.  How did we get there?  Well, it was hot and we figured we could sell our bottles of water.  Then we thought, why stop there?  There is a fire pit out there and we thought we could do some roasted marshmallows for smores, only we didn’t have any marshmallows so someone suggested Oreos.  We can warm up the Oreos because I’m sure that would be lovely.

Inez had a pretty good cold this time around.  When she went to take her cold medicine she didn’t read the package and took two when she should have taken one.  Hazel stood at the ready to hold a mirror under her nose/mouth to make sure she was still breathing.  After all, that is what friends do for each other.  Make sure that we are all still alive.

Blanche was heard to say as we were getting ready to watch Grease, that she prefers her popcorn “neat”.  I did mention that it is a dry camp?  I’m sure we would be a lot more dangerous with alcohol.  And of course while getting comfy on the couch, Blanche added that if she sits in the middle, we will all sink to the middle and then we will be spooning.  Hattie quipped, as long as we’re not forking.  She was certainly in rare form this weekend!

We tend to have lots of life sharing discussions which is really cool because while we are all friends bound together with the love of a craft, we all have very different backgrounds and life experiences.  I think because we have such a diverse wealth of information/advice/opinions that it helps make our friendships stronger.  During one of our sharing discussions, Hattie belted out: Keep it clean, keep it bright, keep it in your pants at night.  I don’t know that there was really a whole lot to say after that…

Hazel and I attempted to read a pattern, together.  It wasn’t going well.  It takes two dummies to make a right we said.  Hattie added, then they realize I need to make a left.

Sandra Dee came in with an apron that she had made out of a shirt.

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Isn’t it darling?  It was the biggest hit at retreat.  So much so, that we decided we would write up how we did it complete with pictures.  Of course I still have to get that one blog ready so stay tuned for that!

Lastly, we were missing our Vera.  Very much so.  Vera, this one is for you and of course a copy to come your way because I am absolutely behind on everything!

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Doing my best to Keep On Track

That’s right, I’m doing my darndest to keep up with this blog better than I have recently.  It’s always easy after retreat because we have so much material!  The bad thing is that I take notes and then don’t write enough detail so I have good stories for you when we return to our normal lives.

So, let’s see if I can make this retreat a little better by keeping better notes.  After all, we are gearing up to head to head back to retreat and this time we have added in an extra day.  Yeehaw!  I know, right?  It’s like a miracle or something.  The plans are already flying….  I think that is something that adds to the excitement of retreat, all the anticipation of seeing each other and knowing that we have this sisterhood.

I feel bad that I don’t have a whole lot of quilt related things to write about.  I haven’t had a whole lot of time to do any sewing.  I’m looking forward to being able to really get back to it soon, and I don’t mean just at retreat.  I think that is something that most moms with young children struggle with.  After all, we craft because it’s cheaper than therapy and after dealing with the small people all day we probably need therapy.   I thought during nap times I would be able to get into my sewing room, but Little Red has proved to not be a terribly good napper so that theory kinda went by the wayside.   Ah well, that is the way it is.  After all, we always have retreat and believe me I’ll be cramming as much sewing in there as I possibly can!

So, what will I be taking to retreat?  Well, that is a very good question.  I’ve got some block of the month kits I’ve picked up from Joann’s so I’ll grab one of those to go with me.  Have you done any of these?  They have the fabric pre-cut so really all you have to do is sew it together.  I would like to say that this is a completely wonderful thing.  To be honest, it’s more of an okay thing.  Sometimes the fabric is not as good a quality…like the really thin stuff or the stuff that’s over dyed and stiff.  However, it’s been a while since I’ve tried one so I am curious to see if the new one is the same or better than the old ones.  The die cutting also leaves a little to be desired.  I would rather cut the pieces myself…then any error is on me.  I’m not really keen on having an error right off the bat where I have to skinny up the seams from the beginning.  I guess, ultimately it is what it is and knowing that I am still ready to jump in and give it a go.

They are great for sliding in while you are chain piecing other projects.  Speaking of other projects, I have  a wedding quilt that I need to get going on… and another quilt for a relative in need, and I’ve put this one off for a while.  I also have a quilt for a friend and a quilt for my brother that are both long overdue.  Of course this doesn’t touch any of the multitude of UFO’s that I have sitting around my craft room.  I suppose I had better get cracking on picking a pattern for those two quilts that I need to get going on…since I also need to make a stop at the fabric store to get some supplies.

Well, I suppose I had better go.  Just when I think that I don’t have anything to talk about I find that I am rambling on after all.

Maybe tomorrow I can get one of those past retreat reports completed and ready for some reading.  Wish me luck!

It just didn’t seem fair….

That we were getting ready to run off to retreat and I STILL haven’t caught up on our antics from a couple of previous retreats. So, I thought it might be a little fun to share some more detail on how we all got to be together.  I think I’ve already covered how Sandra Dee and I were totally jealous of Inez and would call out to retreat just to bother her (and this was before we all had cell phones so she would have to stop what she was doing and go to the phone to talk to us about nothing.  She was always so “happy” to take our calls.  After all we asked her all kinds of important questions like What are you doing now?).  She kind of regretted sharing the phone number with us after a while.  Along with Sandra Dee and myself, Ruby started to come along because she was hearing about all the fun the rest of us were having (and I think short sheeting Sandra Dee’s bed was a clincher for her).

Before this particular retreat, Inez had run into Hattie out and about town.  Hattie had been away from guild for a while and had recently undergone a difficult time in her life.  Inez talked Hattie into coming back to guild and also to signing up for retreat.  At this point, Ruby and I had no idea about Hattie and I have no idea where Sandra Dee was or what she was up to.  Inez felt responsible for Ruby and Sandra Dee and myself and made us move out to the porch about this time because she thought we would be less disturbing to everyone else at retreat.  She had also gotten word that Hattie was going to be joining us at retreat and promptly invited her to sit out on the porch with us. Ruby and I were admonished to be nice and gentle with Hattie because we don’t want to scare her off.  It kind of makes us sound like a pack of rabid dogs or wild wolves doesn’t it?  We really aren’t. I believe that we are all up to date on our shots and haven’t recently engaged in any terribly risky behavior plus we all brush our teeth and shower regularly.

Anyway, I think we were so admonished because Inez was going to have to leave us to take her daughter to the airport and was going to be gone for a substantial amount of time.  Thus were we left unsupervised.  The rabid dogs and Hattie.  Poor Hattie.  She never has been the same.  We had quite a fun time while Inez was gone and I think that Ruby and I were just what Hattie needed at that time.  She hasn’t missed a retreat since and is now one of our fearless leaders in charge of the whole shebang.

Blanche came to us about the same time that we were adopting Hattie.  I won’t call it an accidental pairing as I think we were all angling this way and just didn’t quite know it yet.  At this retreat Blanche opted to sit out on the porch at a small table to take advantage of the natural lighting.  Honestly, the porch is a wall of windows.  The light out there is wonderful.  So wonderful in fact that seating can be tricky if you want to sew without wearing your sunglasses.  Blanche  couldn’t help but be encouraged to join in our frivolity.  She had been joining in before, but this time had a front row seat for the shenanigans.  I think she was looking forward to coming out on the porch and joining in our frivolity.  I don’t want to make it sound like those that sit in the main part of the building are not fun people.  They are fun.  We are just noisier and that is why we sit on the porch.  After this retreat, our tribe had grown by two.  Now we were six.  I have to say that what I remember most about Blanche about previous retreats is the chicken tree quilt.  It was some sort of challenge and for some reason it just stuck with me.

While Inez was blissfully ignorant of our activities while acting as a chauffeur, Ruby and I were staying up until the wee hours of the morning where we hit on the idea of sock monkeys.  I have to confess, sock monkeys make me laugh.  Hysterically.  I don’t know why but I do know that when I am especially tired sock monkeys are the funniest thing on the planet, along with singing “She’ll Be Comming Round The Mountain When She Comes”.  The song didn’t really lend us anything usable so we stayed with the sock monkeys.  Visions of super large monkey clings in the windows of retreat with our names on them.  Where would we find these?  Why, at the sock monkey factory of course!  It would be a super fun place to work and everyone there would be fairly happy.  There’s always one who tries to ruin it for everyone.  I know you’re probably wondering what is wrong with us.  The answer is nothing. It was 2 am and we were very tired and didn’t want to go to bed.  Instead we had a bad case of the giggles and focused on sock monkeys.  That was when Ruby and I decided that our slowly enlarging group needed a name and the Monkeys on the Porch were born.  Well, the words weren’t quite in the order but for propriety’s sake I have rearranged them.

Blanche really enjoyed her time on the porch with us at that retreat.  She also has a tendency to bring along her ipod where she can listen to books on tape or music or gentle noise to tune us out when she needs to.  Sometimes we each need a bit of quiet time.  Inez likes to bring a book along and take a nap.  Hattie has her curtains and naps.  I like to stay up late after everyone has gone to bed and watch movies while I sew.  We all have our own thing.  It’s another part of why retreat is so relaxing.  Anyway, this is the retreat where we began our bond with Blanche and Hattie and when we started plotting to have the porch to ourselves where we could talk and express our monkey madness without offending the rest of the building.

How is your Year Shaping Up?

Are you getting lots done?  Are you staying true to your Revolutions?  I found some new strength for mine this month and I’m fairly excited for that.  Now I just need to get the body to cooperate with what the mind wants.  I have faith though, that I will find that balance and make my Revolution a success.  In particular, some weight loss.  My goal, is to lose a pound a week for the year.  Yep, one measly little pound.  I’m hoping that I’ll have a few weeks where I lose more than 1 so I can catch up from the first few weeks of the year.  However, I will take whatever I can get.  After all, that is certainly better than nothing.  My thought is that one pound a week will make the loss easier to keep off.  I won’t bore you with details.  After all, this is my Revolution to stage.

I’m still finding myself continually drawn to those modern quilts that I’ve written about before.  I’m happy to keep finding magazines to satisfy my need.  That and Pinterest.  Ahh, Pinterest.  You are so addictive.

I would love to say that I have been getting tons of stuff done, but you all know me better than that.  I’m on another crochet kick.  That’s hardly surprising. Right now I’m working on finishing Little Red’s afghan and a baby blanket for a friend of my sister who had a baby very early and has now gotten his weight up to 3 lbs!  Seriously, he is doing well and I wanted to do something nice and I figure with the two monsters I have running around it’s going to be faster for me to crochet than to try to sew at this point.  I’ll post some pictures when I get them done.

Otherwise, things are quiet here and fairly quiet amongst the monkey tribe.  To that end, I will leave you with some cuteness.  Happy February and I hope that your Revolutions are going well!


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