A different kind of day.

I find my mind drifting toward Texas today.  I’ve never been there and not sure if I will ever make it there, but my mind is drifting there as folks are struggling to survive and pick up the pieces of their lives.  I’m sure many of you are trying to stay in touch with family and friends who may be affected.  Hopefully you are hearing mostly good news.

We always wonder what we can do to help.  The Red Cross is taking donations and the minimum online donation is $10.  There are lots of other ways to help as well.  Donating blood is a good way.  Supplies will be surely needed – clothing, hygiene, medical, food, and school items.

I would love to include links, but the only one I feel comfortable sharing is for the Red Cross.  It would be safest to check with your local churches, schools, and communities to see what kind of assistance effort is underway.  Unfortunately, there are those out there that would take advantage of the situation and funnel any relief efforts into their own pockets.

As you consider what kind of donation to make, think of things that others may not such as underwear and socks, toothbrushes and toothpaste, razors and maxi pads, formula and diapers, deodorant, aspirin, bandages, bars of soap, bottles of detergent and dish soap, even Lysol wipes and kleenex.  I’m sure that you will have your own ideas as well.

It’s just somber today, but there is a chance to do something good.  There is always a chance to do something good.  Go out and be kind to one another and maybe by asking at your church or school you will find yourself in the middle of helping in the relief effort.

Also, if you do find yourself getting involved, please share your story.  You never know who you might inspire to do similar things.


The Monkeys visit a jail.

The monkeys have all been pretty busy this summer but after our trip to Paducah we made some serious plans to have our own retreat.  We all calendared the dates and got our plans together.  This was to be our first foray into our own retreat separate from our guild organization and including just ourselves.  The potential for it to be awesome was very high.

I don’t want to string you along – it went so well that we have calendared 2 more retreats with plans for  a repeat trip to Paducah in 2019.

Everyone was able to make it and we kept our minds open as we were at a new venue and weren’t sure how things were really going to work out.  I don’t mean that to sound negative, however at our pervious location we had a method to our set up and we were used to that space and equipment.  Hattie found a place for us that worked out splendidly.  We stayed in a place called The Slammer and they had never had a group like us before (and I mean that in every sense of the word) and they were interested in how it would work out for us.  They were very accommodating for all our anticipated needs (that we provided through Hattie) and we had the basement all to ourselves.  They even helped us carry our stuff in and out.  Hopefully it will encourage them to have more groups like ours (as long as they don’t interfere with our dates!).

I should set the stage a little bit.  The Slammer is a bed and breakfast that is in an old jail. The front half is where the sheriff lived and the jail is in the back half and there are bedrooms (normal, not the kind with bars) on the second and third floors.  I was a little worried about how it would feel to be staying in a former jail, but it really was okay.

See, I told you there were jail cells.


There was even a drunk tank.  See how nicely posed we are in the drunk tank with our sock monkey covered bottles of wine?


I can see you are a little curious about why we have sock monkey covered bottles of wine.  Somehow, some way, we started a tradition where we bring monkey gifts to retreat.  Sometimes they are silly things, other times they are practical usable items.  You really never know.  Hazel brought us all a bottle of wine in those super fun sock monkey covers.  I did mention silly right?  I brought these.  They are supposed to hang on your wine glass.  As you can see his name is Brad and he just kinda hung out wherever.  They were too funny to pass up.

Here’s a little glimpse of how we had things set up.


I know we are in the basement, but there were enough overhead lights that it really didn’t matter. We were prepared with Ott lights but most of us never really used them.    Seriously, that’s how decent the lighting was.  We had two cutting tables and two ironing boards and maybe the round tables they had there weren’t ideal, but don’t worry we have plans for the next time!

The folks at The Slammer took excellent care of us – if you want to check out pictures of the place (including the bedrooms) you can visit their website here.  There are lots of photos of the bedrooms and the kitchen and such.  Oh, yes, there is a kitchen.  Every morning like magic there was breakfast.  Hot breakfast.  The best part was we didn’t have to cook it or clean up after.  For dinner, we took turns making a meal and it worked out splendidly.

For lunch, we went adventuring.  We hit the local Mexican restaurant (and stumbled on $2.99 margaritas), and the local diner, and the local Chinese place, and a coffee shop, and antique stores, and a boutique, and an auction.  I can hear you asking when we had time to sew, but we really did make time for that.

We also made time for this:


In our previous retreat place we were not supposed to have alcohol (it was a church camp so completely understandable), however it is nice to have a glass of wine (or two) in the evenings.

It was wonderful that we were all able to be together again.  I really can’t say enough about the time we spend together.  Retreat was amazing and the space was perfect and with a few tweaks we will have it all configured the best way for us.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures of us enjoying ourselves.


We all had a great time.  Really, the folks at The Slammer were very accommodating and made our first retreat on our own a big success.  If you are looking for a place to have your own scrapbook/quilt/<insert other craft here> retreat, this is a nice place to have it.