Looking for Some Mojo

Mojo isn’t really the right word. It denotes magic and spells and charms and such. I don’t really need all that. I just need a little fire under my butt.

Nothing is wrong, and really life is pretty under control these days. But to be honest, that hasn’t been the norm most of my life, and I’m finding that it’s a different experience to keep motivated and moving forward without stress and fear pushing the pedal to the floor while I try to steer through life’s obstacle course. You know the law- an object at rest tends to stay at rest.

This doesn’t mean I’m doing nothing. Far from the truth. I’m just not moving as fast as I used to, and while I feel an increase of peace, I also find a decrease in excitement. Shouldn’t there be a balance?

I’m behind on a lot of projects. I think I’ve mentioned before that at the end of 2017 I made a list of my unfinished projects, which I am still not sure I recommend doing. I was abhorred at the number. And still am. To the point that I don’t even think about buying any supplies unless it’s related to helping me finish something I’ve already begun, and I certainly am not starting any new projects- unless it’s a gift and can be done fairly quickly from start to finish.

I’ve completed about 19 projects since I took inventory late last year, and some are pictured in this post. Some of those were new projects- begun and finished for a specific purpose such as gifts and the like.

But the list is still very long. Which is daunting. So, I’m writing this post to remind myself that really, I’ve been doing good, and marking things off the list. And that is something to be excited about.

So, Angela, if you are reading this, I am telling you to be encouraged and pick up the pace. A sense of accomplishment is important to you, so look forward to posting about the next list of finishes. You’re gonna be SO glad you did! And it’s going to feel SO good to give those good gifts to your kiddos and their families. Stay the course, lady. You’ve got this.

10 Donuts and a Wedding

I recently traveled to Galveston, Texas to meet up with a few gal pals for our friend Safieh’s wedding. I flew into Hobby for the weekend and met up with Nisha and Marcia, then later caught up with Mari.

I was really looking forward to seeing my friends as we don’t all live near one another and maybe see each other in real life about once a year. But even though I was looking forward to the visit and the wedding, I had some anxiety about it. Not to get too tied up in the details, but I often struggle in tight social situations- the smaller the group, the more I struggle. And a wedding. Another trigger as I am terrified of missing social cues. It’s not usually visible to others. It’s just me making myself crazy.

But as soon as Nisha and I settled in near baggage claim with our hand sewing while waiting for Marcia to arrive, I started to relax. There were hugs and discussions about yogurt and the quilting industry. Then Marcia came and there were more hugs and smiles and, “Oh, I like your top! Did you make it?” In no time we were in a weekend groove, and I felt myself relax.

We had a rental car and an afternoon to kill, so of course we began the hunt for donuts and yarn. And this is how I knew I was with my people.

We stopped at a most delightful yarn shop- Park Avenue Yarns. I behaved and didn’t buy anything since carrying around my UFO list has been keeping me in check these days. But I wanted to. Oh how I wanted to!

Through the weekend we managed to hit five donut shops. Yup. Five. And we didn’t just get donuts. We got kolaches. Good kolaches. It is just wrong to go to the Houston area and not eat my weight in kolaches. Hey, Google- are donuts and kolaches Whole 30 compliant?

That evening we headed over to the first of the weekend’s events and finally got to see the bride. Safieh is always gorgeous, but wow, she rocked that red dress! It was good to see Ross, and his parents hosted such a great party at the Bryan Museum in Galveston. I loved meeting everyone, and I loved the artwork. (Can you see the three Andy Warhol paintings hanging behind Safieh?) But the highlight of the evening for me was the toast offered by Ross’s dad. Marcia and I bawled like babies.

The next morning we headed to the bride’s hotel room with donuts and Starbucks in hand. (We would have had kolaches, but I think I ate them all.) We chatted about everything from tinted lip gloss to the dress while the bride’s soon-to-be sister-in-law nimbly moved around Safieh like a hair and makeup fairy. A fairy with arms and legs for days, but at the same time kind of wispy. Safieh was cool as a cucumber, as they say. People came and went. Pictures were taken. Laughter. Jewelry. The bouquet arrived. Add something blue. Safieh was light and smiling, and so was I.

After a while we left her to the business of getting ready for the photographer and gathering everyone at the church. We headed to lunch, an afternoon walk on the beach and some hand sewing and knitting at our Airbnb.

The wedding was just lovely. Safieh looked absolutely stunning, and my favorite part was watching Ross watch her come down the aisle. Just the sweetest moment. After the ceremony, we headed over to Ross’s parents home for the reception. I think Safieh must have put in a special order for the weather because it was beautiful. Perfectly comfortable temperature. And that sunset.

The next morning was brunch, and some more time to kill before our flights. We headed to the last of the donut shops for the weekend, then caught an afternoon movie. Once back at Hobby, we sat once again with fabric and thread and yarn in hand, all the while surrounded by luggage and sad that it was coming to an end.

I didn’t catch a pic of Nisha working, and I stole this pic from IG, but here is the latest pattern release from Brimfield Awakening- a quilting venture she and Kim started together. Learn more by clicking here.

This was Marcia’s project- a lovely sofa blanket made from locally dyed yarn from Park Avenue Yarns.

And here’s my project- just a little something for Safieh and Ross. I knew I wanted to stitch an ampersand as a wedding announcement, but had trouble finding one I liked until I found this one. I modified the colors to ones that reminded me of Safieh. I loved making it and want to do something similar again, but it was a hard lesson in getting older. It is so much harder to see these days, and when I held the piece in more light, I realized I should have been stitching with more light! Next time.

I left Houston relaxed and filled with happy memories. I’m so very grateful for my life. For every single minute of it.

Knit Along, Baby!

Or, maybe it’s a baby knit along? Or maybe a knit along for babies? It’s so much work to come up with a catch hook. Just sayin’.

So how about we just get to the point. (If you want to skip the story, scroll down for important dates.) Do you see that super cute tiny human up there in that pic? She’s the latest addition to our family, and I’m totally using her cuteness to draw your attention to the buttery blanket she’s modeling!

I first saw this Baby Gradient Kit by Feza Yarns at the beginning of October and fell in love with the softness of the yarn and the fineness of the knit. She won’t stay small for long, so I dropped everything and got to work. I finished it in about 3 weeks, and it was both relaxing and rewarding to work on. Plus, she loves it.

I really wanted to make another to have on hand for any future babies in our family, so I got with my friends at Intown Quilters Fabric & Yarn to get another kit. I ended up buying two, because, well, two.

I’m so excited!!!! The kind of excited where I want other people to be excited, too! So, why not join me in a knit along? This is a fabulous project for starting off the new year. It’s a relaxing, easy knit, and with a little encouragement, it can be a pretty quick finish.

So here’s the deal- visit Intown Quilters Fabric & Yarn and/or The Green Apricot on Facebook or Instagram (@intownquilters @thegreenapricot) to see how to earn 15% off of your kit and be entered into a drawing for a $40 gift certificate at IQF&Y. (Opportunity ends 12/25/17.)

Then, cast on your first row on 1/20/18 and get to knitting! The kit includes 4 cakes of hand-dyed viscose/cotton yarn and the needed pattern, which is basically a garter stitch edging with a stockinette body. Each section is intended to gradually change color from one cake of yarn to the next. I didn’t follow the color change in the pattern for the one I made for our granddaughter, but I will for the next one.

And how about an incentive to finish? Post a pic of the first completed section on or before 2/3/18 with the hashtag #iqfykal and tag The Green Apricot/@thegreenapricot (so I can find it) and IQF&Y will have a reward for you! We’ll keep going every two weeks, and before you know it, you’ll have a completed bit of seriously soft and sweet on your hands. It might even be difficult to give it away.

IMPORTANT DATES:

12/25/17 Deadline to earn 15% discount and enter drawing.

1/20/18 Cast on!

2/3/18 Finish first section!

2/17/18 Finish second section!

3/3/18 Finish third section!

3/17/18 Finish!!!!!!

Stay tuned for more info, and be sure to check out both Intown Quilters and The Green Apricot on social media.

The Getaway Gang

The Green Apricot hosted two retreats in 2017.  One coincided with QuiltCon in Savannah, GA, and planning for it began two years ago.  The other was just simply a getaway to take a breather at the end of summer and beginning of fall.  This one was a little more last minute, and while based a great deal on the fun time we had at Tybee Island in February, it was intended to be more low-key and have better accommodations.

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The Fall 2017 edition of  #thegreenapricotgetaway was located at a resort in Crossville, TN called Fairfield Glade.  I think you could call it a mixed-use property, as it is part resort and part community.  There are people who live there full time, but there are also a number of condominiums, and amenities ranging from golf courses to walking trails, from horseback riding to swimming, from medical facilities to a spa.  It’s located just off of I-40 about an hour west of Knoxville, and while the property is huge, I was surprised that not many seem to know about it.  It is not explicitly a retirement community, but it is definitely retirement friendly.

So, a few months ago I reserved 6 condos and got to work planning.  I knew that the condos were not big enough for all of us to sew in, and I reserved the classroom in the community center for three days.  I ended up limiting the attendance to just 12, including myself, because I was concerned about having enough room for all of us to be comfortable sewing in the classroom.  Each person had a 6 foot table, and there was plenty of room for 3 cutting mats and 4 irons.  Perfect size, and no electrical problems!

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Not everyone knew each other before the retreat, but the beauty of a small group like this is the opportunity to chat on a more personal level with other people in our sewing community.  There was a wide range of personalities and ideologies, and it made for some fascinating conversations throughout the days and nights.
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Machine name tags helped with getting to know your sewing neighbor, but putting them on the handwheel certainly made them more entertaining.  If you don’t believe me, just try it sometime.  I had prepared and brought several games to play throughout the getaway, but in the end decided to keep things simple.  We had several gifts donated by Rana from Sewn Into the Fabric, some of which were part of daily treats, like this dang cute pumpkin pin cushion called Big Delores, and some were drawn for.

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One game we did play was to find the blue Peanut M&M.  Before heading to the retreat, I sorted 12 pounds of Peanut M&Ms by color, and hid a blue one in one of the jars.  The one to find it won the first prize of the week- a Seymore Bones kit from Rana!  Kris didn’t miss a beat and immediately dumped out his jar of M&Ms and found the blue one…

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That started the drawings that went on throughout the retreat.  Kris drew the name of the next winner, and then also drew what prize they got.  We had another Seymore Bones kit, three copies of “Simply Strings,” also by Rana, and several boxes of Wonder Clips by Clover.

I didn’t get pictures of every project that was made or worked on, but I got a few.  Here’s just a snippet of what some of us were working on…

During the planning process I found that I was less than excited about catering options, so I decided to cook for all of us.  Preparing food for 12 can seem daunting in some ways, but really, I come from/have a large family, so I am pretty accustomed to cooking for a crowd.  I don’t consider myself to be an especially impressive cook, or excessively healthy, but I feel like I do okay in the kitchen and I have learned a lot about improving my own nutrition over the last several months.  I checked with everyone for any special needs, then set a menu based on meals that I’ve made for my own family before.  Most of the shopping had to be done ahead of time, so my car was incredibly weighed down on the drive to Crossville!

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We ate at my condo because, well, I hate food near fabric!  Snacks are okay, but it really does bug me to sit in front of my machine with a plate of food.  The sewing room was just under a mile away from the condos, so most of us drove back and forth for lunch and dinner.  But the weather was PERFECT for a walk, as well.  I served the same way I do in my own home- countertop buffet style.  I also dislike a lot of garbage, so we used real plates and glasses and I washed cloth napkins between each meal.  I very much enjoyed cooking for everyone, and with a little preparation it wasn’t nearly as much work as it could have been!

Monday:  Lunch- Green Veggie Minestrone with salad bar; Dinner- Acorn squash with sausage, apples, and kale, roasted broccoli, and salad

Tuesday:  Lunch- Salad and sandwich bar; Dinner- Lemon rosemary chicken with brown rice, roasted asparagus, muffins and raw veggies

Wednesday:  Lunch- Sandwich and salad bar; Dinner- Pork roast and apples with roasted mixed veggies and raw veggies

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Several of us also took a minute or two to visit some of the local establishments, like Little Blessings Quilt Shop in Crossville, and Gina’s Bernina in Knoxville.  This fabulous yarn shop was just a few miles down the road from the resort, and I was glad to have the chance to stop in at the Yarn Patch.  It’s a lovely shop, to say the least, and I didn’t have to look to hard to find something to take home with me.  I was especially impressed with the person working there, who I assume is the owner.  She handled her customers beautifully- gently guiding them as needed, and letting them wander as desired.  It really was a pleasure to shop there, and I hope to support this shop again sometime in the future.

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And just like that, it was all over.  The weather was wonderful.  The accommodations were perfect- including the enormous mirrored bathtub/shower in every unit- haha!  But the best part was the company.

Until next time…