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.

Stuff Your Stocking: Coasters, Letter Tile Pendants and Etched Glass

As one of our daughter’s says on the 4th of July, “Christmas is tomorrow!” Pretty close, anyway. Use the week of July 26-30 to knock out a bit of your Christmas list. Or maybe just a gift list for any time of year. Or maybe just some fun stuff for yourself. Either way, each day is packed with multiple projects, and lots of fun!  Pick which projects you want to do each day, or make one of each- it’s all up to you.  Click here for the full calendar.  Please note that this day includes a supply fee.

Day 2- Wednesday, July 27- Coasters, Letter Tile Pendants and Etched Glass

The tutorial at The Cottage Mama for this project calls for scrapbook paper, which is awesome, but I’m thinking about fabric.  Or maybe photos.  I’ll have the messy stuff- Modge Podge and the like as part of the supply fee, so you don’t have to bring that.  Just bring tiles, felt and your choice of medium- whether it be paper or fabric.

Such a lovely gift from Make and Take–  Again, I’ll provide the messy stuff as part of the supply fee.  You just bring tiles, paper and the bail.  I think these are perfect for fun friends, and would be great to have several of on hand.  I also wonder if they would make cute scissor fobs…
These etched casserole dishes by Thinking Closet are not the exact ones we are going to make, but pretty close.  The process will be a little more like this video from Sizzix.  Bring your casserole dishes or other glassware (I want to do this to my crock pot lids), and contact paper.  Again, I’ll provide the messy stuff with the supply fee.

Don’t forget all of your goodies- machine, projects, and maybe your favorite snacks and a sack lunch.  (Or we can order out for lunch- no problem!)

Nonmembers- $36, Members- 6 hours (each day)  Supply Fee- $8.  Click here to register for Wednesday, July 27.

 

Stuff Your Stocking: Stockings, Pillow Mattresses and Sunglass Cases

As one of our daughter’s says on the 4th of July, “Christmas is tomorrow!” Pretty close, anyway. Use the week of July 26-30 to knock out a bit of your Christmas list. Or maybe just a gift list for any time of year. Or maybe just some fun stuff for yourself. Either way, each day is packed with multiple projects, and lots of fun!  Pick which projects you want to do each day, or make one of each- it’s all up to you.  Click here for the full calendar.

Up first- Tuesday, July 26- Stockings, Pillow Mattresses and Sunglass Cases

 

I have made lots of Christmas stockings over the years, and have had a lot of fun each time.  I recently found this method onlie, and I’m pretty excited about it.  Check out Sew Like My Mom for details and supplies needed.  I have a plexiglass stocking pattern that you can use if you would like to cut yours out in the studio.

I love the idea of our grandkids being able to use these at our house when they spend the night or are watching television.  You can easily pull the pillows out for washing, and they can be used as chairs as well as sleeping mats.  I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, and while I can find lots of pictures, there are not so many clear instructions.  Bring a twin sheet OR premade pillowcases OR 3 yds of 60″ wide fabric.  Of course, you could make your fabric… just sayin.
How fun are these?!?  I especially love that the tutorial at Thread Riding Hood offers several different finishing options.  If you choose this project, make sure to go to the tutorial page and check the supply list for the case or cases you would like to make.  If you need magnetic closures or button cover kits or the like, just let me know and I can order them for you.  Remember, 15% off for The Green Apricot members.

In order to make the most of your time, I suggest having fabrics chosen and as much cutting as possible done ahead of time.  Think of this time in the studio similarly to a retreat.

Don’t forget all of your goodies- machine, projects, and maybe your favorite snacks and a sack lunch.  (Or we can order out for lunch- no problem!)

Nonmembers- $36, Members- 6 hours (each day) Click here to register for Tuesday, July 26

The only Juan for me.

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Juan is a Statler 26 longarm quilting machine from Gammill, Inc. This is our first day together.

This is Juan and I on the first day we met.  My husband said I couldn’t name him, but I couldn’t resist.  There is an awful lot of machismo packed in this thing, in all the right ways.  Plus for some reason I keep thinking of a radio commercial from several years ago where one of the voices said something like, “Hello.  My name is Juan, and today I will be your cabana boy.”  It made me giggle.  Every. Single. Time.

So, what have Juan and I been up to during this first week of our relationship?  Well, you may start humming “Getting to know you, getting to know all about you…”

First of all, there are a lot of bars on this thing.  And while I have actually loaded a number of quilts in my time, and Pat from Pat’s Calico Cottage did a great job of training me, I still had a little trouble the first time I loaded by myself.  Thankfully I followed Regina Carter’s advice and got zipper leaders, which meant when I had the quilt back wrapped around the wrong bar, I just unzipped the leader and moved it around the bar rather than having to pin it all over again.  This was especially helpful when I loaded it wrong twice.

I know it is really hard to see what’s going on in these pics, but bear with me and I will explain.  I wanted to try floating the quilt top rather than loading it in all the way, as a number of longarmers I know do it this way.  I got towards the end of the quilt and everything was so loosey-goosey that I thought I must not be ready for floating a quilt top.  Then I went to advance the quilt and realized that maybe it was actually because I forgot to lock down the bar holding the quilt backing.  Yup.  That’ll do it.

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And then there was this.  Yes, there is a reason that longarmers require that backing is a full 4″ larger than the quilt top- all the way around.  At least it was just in the basting seam.

It’s been about a year and a half since I was last on a longarm machine, and I have never used a computerized program before.  This made me a little cautious about the first quilt I loaded on Juan.  I decided to do what was familiar just to get a feel for how the machine moves, and to build my confidence back up again.  I just did an allover loopy pattern, which for me is the easiest hand-guided way to quilt.  Overall it went well, and it was very much like riding a bike after a long hiatus.  Not perfectly smooth, but certainly a reminder that it is totally doable.

Since I have a pretty serious stack of quilt tops that need to be finished, it wasn’t too difficult to find my next project to load on the machine.  I decided this time that I’d better practice using the computer before I forgot everything that Pat taught me.  I chose variegated thread, a busy quilt top, and a busy quilting pattern.  All so that my mistakes might not be so obvious.  I didn’t have a lot of trouble with it, and even managed through a couple of thread breaks in the middle of the pattern without a lot of issues.  It’s about 46″x60″, and it took right about 3 1/2 hours from load to unload, which I felt like was pretty good considering I had never done it before.  Guessing that number will improve over time.

I am really excited about the prospect of manipulating the computer program for more custom quilting, as well as becoming more proficient at hand-guided work.  I have been reading several machine quilting books lately, which is unusual for me as I don’t actually read instructions unless forced!  Kind of like putting a bike together on Christmas day- who needs to read the instructions?  I do.  But only after one of the bike pedals is installed where the seat is supposed to be.  But not this time.  I want to read machine quilting books and manuals the same way I wanted to read every single Anne of Green Gables book when I was a kid.  Over and over again.

Obsessed.

*squeal* Jen Kingwell is coming to Atlanta! *squeal*

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I first met Jen Kingwell a couple of years ago at Fall Quilt Market in Houston, TX.  She was quietly in her booth, surrounded by some of the most phenom quilts I had ever seen.  Circle Game caught my heart hard and fast.  Green Tea and Sweet Beans was there too.  I was just blown away by everything from the fabric selection to the execution.  And Jen.  She couldn’t have been more delightful to chat with.  I felt like saying to everyone I met, “Hey, did you see that Jen Kingwell lady?!?”  I know, totally professional.

At that time I had no idea that I would ever have a studio, much less the opportunity to host this hand-piecing, hand-quilting, crazy awesome Aussie designer for a workshop and trunk show!  Yeah, that’s right.  She’s coming here.  I die.

So, here’s the scoop.  Intown Quilters, the phenom quilt shop in Atlanta, and I have partnered up to bring Jen to town.  All workshops are $165, lunch included, pattern/book required, no machines, limit 20 attendees.  Trunk shows are $20, no supplies needed, limit 40 attendees.  Click on links to register online.  Here’s the schedule:

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Monday, Nov. 2, 10 am-5 pm, at Intown Quilters, My Small World (brand new pattern!)
Link to sign up: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=DAR2ANSPP9RVU

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Tuesday, Nov. 3, 10 am-5 pm, at Intown Quilters, Bring Me Flowers
Link to sign up: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=3QU2J9EYC3SJG

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Tuesday, Nov. 3, 7-9 pm, at Intown Quilters, Trunk Show
Link to sign up: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=LDURJX39T7QVQ

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Wednesday, Nov. 4, at Intown Quilters, Georgetown on My Mind
Link to sign up: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=GWSBBDNP7UNYS

spring fever

Thursday, Nov. 5, 9am- 4pm, at The Green Apricot, Spring Fever from Quilt Lovely
Link to sign up: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07ebczqxdm6612087e&llr=kyej4ltab

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Thursday, Nov. 5, 7-9pm, at The Green Apricot, Trunk Show
Link to sign up: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07ebd0g31m7cbf7733&llr=kyej4ltab

We began with a registration priority list, so these classes have already begun to fill.  Don’t wait to sign up, and if sign-ups are full, be sure to contact Intown Quilters (404-634-6924) or The Green Apricot (770-584-3498) for a waiting list in case of any cancellations, although registration is strictly an online process.  (You do not have to have a PayPal account in order to register via PayPal.)

Okay, so now that all of the nitty gritty is out of the way, is it okay if I just totally have a quilt geek moment?  Will you join me in a bit of a happy dance?  And maybe a little delightful giggle?

See you in November…

Hmmmmm. Green Apricots. And Sarah. Who knew?

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Well, as the story goes, my husband loves green apricots.  With salt.  In late spring he would climb the trees that grew on his family’s property and eat his fill.  He looked forward to it every year as a boy, but he hasn’t eaten any green apricots in a very long time.

This year we happened to have the opportunity to be in southern Utah in late spring.  We were visiting family and taking care of some business, and while we were in town we looked for some green apricots.  And we found them.

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I have actually never eaten an apricot.  Except dried.  And maybe canned.  So this was going to be a new thing for me.  I was surprised at how small they were.  And by how much Jeff enjoyed eating the really, really green ones.

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So I tried them.  A green one.  A not-so-green one.  A ripe one.  I was starting to feel like Goldilocks.  Turns out that when it comes to apricots, I’m a Momma Bear kind of girl.  The green ones were way too firm and tart for me, and the ripe ones seemed to be lacking in flavor a bit.  The right kind were a pretty shade of orange, with just tinges of green.  Right texture.  Right flavor.  Just right.  Like a banana with just a bit of green still left on the skin.

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But all of that is only part of the story.  The trees that Jeff used to climb are no longer in the family, so his brother hooked us up with a sweet friend named Sarah who owns these trees.  Sarah is a character.  Sarah is 92.  Sarah is a smart cookie.

As we were taking pictures, eating apricots, and other such shenanigans in the orchard, Sarah came out and asked why we were so very interested in her apricot trees.  My sister-in-law explained a bit about The Green Apricot, and Sarah wanted to talk to me.  So we chatted for a minute.  Turns out Sarah’s a retired quilter, if you will.  She asked if I had one of those big quilting machines.  I told her I did not yet.  Then she looked at me earnestly with those clear, blue eyes and said, “Well, you should get one.”

Then she said “I want to show you something.  Come on in the house.”

I dutifully followed her inside, where I met her pup and descended into the coolness of a sitting room.  We were surrounded by plants and paintings.  She began to dig through piles of pictures, looking for just the right one.  As she dug, she told of a flood relief effort she had been involved in in the 1990’s.  A phone call here, a smile there, a good natured push in the right direction and this woman had gathered materials and man power to make enough quilts to cover the floor of the Dixie College sports arena.  Six times over.  And, as if that wasn’t enough, found a way to have them all delivered to the correct distribution spot with the Red Cross.  She carefully controlled the slight curl in her nose as she expressed her gratitude for the yards and yards of cotton-poly blend fabric donated for the backing of the quilts.  She told of logistics miracles, and then the pictures started to emerge.  Photos of a woman 22 years younger, with a grin almost as large as the stack of quilts she was standing with.  Who knew?

A few minutes later we said our good-byes, and she looked at me with those eyes and said “Get you one of those machines.”

Well.

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