Monday, April 19, 2004

The Magic of Retreats...

I’m back from a truly wonderful weekend up at Camp Wildwood with the most amazing bunch of ladies. This was the 28th retreat (they are held twice a year) and though our numbers were smaller than the fall version, 57 of us still had lots of giggles, stitching and fun!

Friday’s weather was horrible with snow and sleet. It certainly wasn’t as bad as anything the brave gang heading to Myrtle Beach this year faced, but since the fresh snow was covering up some of the muddy areas, a few cars got stuck on the camp roads or getting to the cabins.

The main lodge was toasty warm with a fire going by the time we all got our chairs, tables and lights set up in our little circles. My friend Sue and I were up on the stage again this time. It’s a fun place to site because you can look down and have a great view of what people are working on. It’s only about 8 inches higher than the floor...but I’ve always known that a few inches can make a BIG difference!

The food was fabulous again and WAY too tempting! One of the best parts about being away at this retreat is that the meals are all prepared for you, so you can just concentrate on stitching, napping, relaxing, going for a walk, chatting, reading or all of these whenever you feel like it.

I often get a chance to sit at one of the picnic tables and do some designing. This retreat was no exception. When I design up at retreat, it hardly feels like work because I am surrounded by such creativity and laughter. Many of the ladies had fun peeking at what ornament will appear in this year’s JCS Ornament Issue ahead of time. I also finished one of the designs that I plan to launch in Columbus, so that needs to get off to a model stitcher as soon as I transfer it into the computer! It was also wonderful to see how far one of the ladies has gone with her own dream. Tracey had some marvelous button embellishments for the little craft sale we had at the fall retreat and has since gone on to not only produce buttons to sell to shops, she has even designed two amazing patterns that feature her products. I’m sure that stitchers outside the Maritimes will be hearing about Fiddlestitch Cottage as she continues to build her dream. Now if I can just get Debbie to put her gorgeous cross stitch bags on Ebay....

Saturday and Sunday were gorgeous weather. The sun and warm temperatures melted the new snow and I got out for an hour long power walk. Saturday nights are fun because we all try to stay up as late as possible to get stuff done before the “last day”. That’s when we do all our door prize draws and get into silly things like glow-in-the-dark glasses or bad jokes. Sunday mornings are bittersweet. We share a time of fellowship and stitch almost frantically, knowing that after lunch we will all pack up and head home. Just before lunch we do a gift exchange and it is always amazing to see how creative stitchers can be. The fall retreat is an ornament exchange, but in the spring, it is a stitched item, so we had everything from pillows and bookmarks to scissor fobs and candle wraps. We even raffled off a stitched bag that many of us had worked on to raise almost $200 for Cancer research.

It was such a restoring and recharging weekend. It is almost impossible to describe a retreat experience to someone who has never been to one, but I know that I always come back feeling more in love with stitching than when I left, more inspired than rested and more thrilled that this is actually part of what I do for a living! If only it weren’t 6 months until the next one!!!

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