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…

The Green Apricot Getaway- Fall 2017

When: October 1-5, 2017

Where: Crossville, TN

What:  BYOP Retreat

How Much:  $375 per person (Limit 12)

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Crossville, TN is located on the Cumberland Plateau in the Appalachian Mountains. We’ll be there at the beginning of October, and the temps should be mild and the leaves beginning to change color.  This retreat is literally about getting away- away from the noise and busyness of everyday life and slowing down for a bit of selfish sewing.  We will be staying at a 12,700 acre resort that boasts of golf courses, riding stables, indoor and outdoor pools, multiple lakes and other activities including massage services (swoon).  There are restaurants on site, and several more to choose from just a couple of miles away. But who cares about all that?!?  We are here for the sewing…

BYOP– This is a Bring Your Own Project style of retreat.  Plan on starting something new and dedicating a solid several days to working on it.  I will be working on the Stag Nation quilt by Sewn Into the Fabric, and I will gladly teach it to whomever wants to join me.  Or, bring a project from home that you want to finish up.  We’ll have access to one large common sewing area for three days, and there is also plenty of room for cutting, sewing and relaxing in the units where we will be staying.  There will be enough room in the common area for all attendes to have their own sewing space. Please do not bring personal irons or cutting mats to the common sewing area, although you are welcome to have them in your unit.  

                     

Shown above: Stag Nation by Sewn Into the Fabric

Accomodations– Mulitiple 2-bedroom units with full kitchens, washers and dryers, dining and living room space.  Units are located close to one another.  No housekeeping will be provided during the retreat.  

Food– The Green Apricot will provide lunch and dinner while in the common sewing area Monday through Wednesday.  Some staples will be provided in each unit, but all other meals will be the responsibility of the attendees.  Grocery stores and restaurants are all just a couple miles away.

Travel– Travel is not included.  The closest international airport to Crossville is 110 miles away in Nashville.  Please keep this in mind while planning.  

Check In/Check Out– Check-in begins at 5pm on Sunday, Oct 1, and check-out is at 10am on Thursday, Oct 5.

Fees, Deposits and Canellation Policies– 

  • Fees include accomodations for 4 nights, sewing space, lunch and dinner for three days for each person.  Payment in full without incurring a $100 fee is due August 15, 2017.  Final payment is due September 15, 2017.  If the reservation is not paid in full on September 15, the reservation and all fees are forfeited.
  • Registration requires a $200 deposit per person that is nonrefundable, but is transferable with approval by The Green Apricot. 
  • Cancellations before September 15, 2017 are fully refundable, less the deposit. Cancellations after September 15, 2017 are not refundable.  Remember, you can transfer your reservation to someone else.

 

Click Register Now to reserve your choice with the appropriate deposit.  (Please note that you are not registered if the deposit is not paid.)  Because of system limitations, it is possible to overbook.  If that happens, and I am not able to honor your request, I will refund your deposit promptly.  Reservations are limited to a total of 12 people (including myself).  After the reservations have been confirmed, I will send a link for the remaining balance due.

Please let me know if you have any questions before you register.  You can email me at thegreenapricot@gmail.com, or text or call 770-584-3498.

She’s ba-ack… No, not Poltergeist-

It has been so long since I blogged last that I am not sure I remember how!  Good grief!  Where to start?  I suppose it depends on what you are working on, but I’ve found when it comes to walking, scrapbooking, genealogy and writing, it is usually best to start where you are.  So, here goes…

IMG_4141[1]The Stash Bash.  Yeah, you heard me, I got to go.  Jealous?  Well, you should be.  It was stinking fabulous.

So, first, you must know that I couldn’t have been more anxious about this event.  I found these gals online through Instagram, but I did not know a single soul that was attending.  You know how this normally goes, most of us don’t go to things like this without a sista.  Or two or three.  I went alone.  Not only that, but I had the dates wrong on my calendar and almost showed up two weeks too early.  Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), I emailed the host, Chris Warnick, to ask about directions the night before I almost packed up and headed to the event.  Her return email politely informed me that the Stash Bash would take place on April 24, not April 10, and could I please reply and let her know that I was aware of the correct dates?  Oy.  Way to introduce myself.  “Hi!  My name is Angela, and I am the idiot that can’t figure out what day I am supposed to be here.”  Thankfully I live 15 minutes from the venue and didn’t buy a plane ticket.  Or start a 12 hour drive.  Or whatever.

IMG_4103[1]So, once I got the dates figured out, I packed all my shtuff and headed over to the Calvin Center.  This was the view we had from our workroom, which I totally appreciated on the first day, but honestly, barely noticed after that.

IMG_4101[1]And this was where I “slept”.  We had a choice between bunk rooms and hotel-ish rooms, and I chose bunk.  Partly because it was cheaper, and partly because I wanted to check out the quilts on the other bunk beds!  Besides, you don’t go to quilt retreat to sleep, so I actually prefer this kind of set up, albeit a bit on the primitive side.  Sadly for my roomie, I had a touch of something-or-other and ended up hacking all night, which of course she said didn’t bother her one bit.  She was kind.

IMG_4104[1]Then there was swag.

IMG_4152[1]Then there was more swag.

IMG_4113[1]Then there were snacks to go with the swag.IMG_4226[1]All from all those guys.  Yeah, tha’s what I’m talkin’ about.  Are you an Instagramer?  Check out #thestashbash (not #stashbash, although there are some good looking mustaches on that one) and #sponsorlove.  Then go buy stuff. IMG_3279[1]The plan was to work on this little nugget, but you know what they say about the best laid plans, so that didn’t happen.  So, what did happen?

IMG_4228[1]This happened.  The Sew Together Bag by Sew Demented.  (You may click here to buy the pattern!IMG_4161[1]Now, in case you didn’t notice, let me tell you a few things about this bag.  Number one- it’s a bag.  I don’t do bags.  Number two- it has zippers.  I don’t do zippers.  Number three- it has 4, count ’em, 4 zippers.  Did I mention I don’t do zippers?  Let’s just say I now know how to do these zippers.  And I really loved making this bag.

So, in case you’re keeping track, I was wrong about dates, miserably nervous about going alone, and didn’t get anything done that I had planned to work on.  Well, that’s about where the list of disappointments ends.  (Except that the really nice guy that used to be the cook at Calvin was gone, which was pretty sad, but I didn’t go there for the food.)

I had a fabulous time.  I mean fabulous.

I learned a lot while making that bag, including that it was actually possible for me to make a bag, with the right teacher.  In fact, I may even make another one.  Maybe even a different kind.  Who knows, I may become a bag making machine.  Or not.  Either way, by the end of that project, I believed all of that bag making business, and I wouldn’t have without Kristi McDonough’s guidance.  She is awesome.

IMG_4158[1]Then there was my roommate.  And my table mates.  And my dinner mates.  And all the rest of my retreat mates.  I laughed, and I laughed, and I laughed.  There was no drama.  When I said “hashtag” they knew what I was talking about.  When they spouted off names of designers and I didn’t know who they were talking about, they seemed to be okay with it.  No one seemed to care that we were in a room full of creators that varied from 12 IG followers to well over 2,000 IG followers.  And I was finally able to define what it means to me to be a “modern quilter.”

IMG_9823Honestly, for a long time I have believed that “modern quilters” were defined by two things- age and style.  I stand corrected.  From what I saw at the Stash Bash, I’d have to say that it is way more about technology and community than anything else.  There is just something almost explosive about how technology has facilitated a flow of creativity and know-how that we have never experienced before.  It changes the way we see the world and ourselves, thus changing the way, and even what, we create.  What a fabulous time to be a quilter.

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To flange or not to flange- what is the question?

Okay, so this might be the first time in my retreat going history that I have finished a quilt within a month of the event. I mean really, I still have quilt tops from past years I haven’t finished yet, but this one? It’s done.  If you read my earlier post, you know that this pattern is “Urban Cabin” by Atkinson Designs.  You also know that I never seem to purchase patterns and fabric at the same time, so I don’t normally have correct yardage.  This is the perfect example, hence the 1″ piano key border, and the leftover 10″ squares on the back.

Urban Cabin- Retreat quilt

It’s probably because I have the added pressure of there being a purpose for this quilt- I want to give it to my sister-in-law.  I find that having a real purpose usually spurs me on a little more than just for the fun of it.  Although, that should be a good enough reason as well!

Urban Cabin flange

I do a lot of improvisational quilting, mostly because I am usually ill prepared, or I just don’t want to do it that way.  This time, I only had a stack of 10″ squares and a smallish bundle of 2 1/2″ strips, plus just barely enough of the dark brown for the background.  This led to a problem when it came to the binding and all I had enough left to use were the 2 1/2″ strips.  I couldn’t put them right up next to the piano key border- it was just too much.  So, I dug through the scraps of dark brown and found that I had just enough left to make a 1/4″ flange to break it up a bit.  Worked perfectly if you ask me.

Urban Cabin back

I had a few 10″ squares left, so I dug through my bins to find just enough of these other fabrics to put together a back.  I really love piecing backs, and I really hate not using ALL of the fabric I have purchased.

So, as if a finished retreat quilt wasn’t enough to puff up my pride, I also am pretty dang pleased with the photo editing I learned how to do for this post.  By golly, I will figure out all this new fangled technology.  After all, improv is my thing.

Retreat! Retreat!

Each year a few of my quilting buddies and I head on over to a little local retreat center owned by a church.  We look forward to this every year, and it is always a lot of fun.  It just lasts for about 24 hours, which is perfect for our little group.  We arrive Friday afternoon and are out by late Saturday afternoon, perfect for those who can’t get off work too early on Friday, and those who want to be home in time to be prepared for church on Sunday.  Our meals are provided by the retreat center, but there is always lots of snacks and treats to help keep away the sleepiness that starts to set in at about 1:00 am!

So, today’s post is a little bit of a photo album of our retreat, but also features a pretty cool quilt, if you ask me!  Enjoy!

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Ruthie (my machine) and I are all packed and ready to go.  You can tell I’ve done this a few times because there is a lot less crap this year than in times past!  I can’t believe how much stuff I hauled out there the first year.  For one night.

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This is the cabin we stay in.  It sleeps up to 40- 20 on the top, and 20 on the bottom.  That’s right, bunk beds!  There are 7 bathrooms and 10 showers, plus a small kitchenette including fridge and microwave.  We don’t prepare meals here- we head on over to the cafeteria where our chef makes fabulous fare, and we are quite pleased not to have to worry about dishes!

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This is our chef.  He is such a nice guy, and seriously, the food is wonderful.  I am always so impressed by the fact that he gets a little creative.  No ordinary chicken dish for this guy- try grilled chicken breasts with fresh herbs and some-kinda-fabulous sauce.  Yeah, it’s that good.

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The cabin is set up perfect for a retreat like this- large space in the center with tables for sewing and cutting, with bunkrooms and bathrooms on either side of the main room.  We don’t go to retreat to sleep, but we do try to make sure that the ones that want to go to bed a little earlier are in the same room, and that the ones that are planning on just taking a nap are in a different room!

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(This is me, by the way!)

(This is me, by the way!)

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Our retreat involves a mix of projects from home as well as a project that our illustrious guild president picks for us each year.  As you can see, there was a lot going on this year, but the quilt of choice was “Urban Cabin” by Atkinson Designs.  I really liked this pattern for a couple of reasons.  It has a lot of size options, all of them generous, and as long as you pay attention, it goes together really quick.  You can use a jelly roll, or not.  I, of course, didn’t have the correct yardage, and had to do a little improvisational quilting.  Big surprise.

Not only did I not have correct yardage, but I also did one set of my blocks incorrectly (truth in blogging you know).  Notice how one set of blocks looks kinda like a “7” and the other set of blocks look kinda like a backwards “L”?  Well, my “7” is supposed to look like a backward “7”, and this is one of those blocks that you can’t just turn around to make it right.

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So, what did I do?  I just made all of them the wrong way and called it good.  Can you tell the difference between mine and the others?

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I didn’t have enough of any of my print fabrics to make a proper border, so I decided on 1″ piano keys.  I almost finished my top…

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The other thing I love about retreat is checking out everyone’s bunks.  They don’t know it, but I sneak in every room to see what quilts they’ve got on their beds this year!

(I love this picture!)

(I love this picture!)

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(my bed)

(my bed)

Retreat was definitely a success this year- relaxing, but I got a lot done. Laughter with my friends, but none of the drama. Good food, but no dishes.  A few tears, but a whole lot of comfort.  I love these girls- so many of them are the salt of the earth, and I am grateful to be part of such a great group!
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Can’t wait to do it again, but next year I am not sitting under the vent- too dang cold!  And, I will remember my first aid kit-

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