Not cool as in weather because it was hot as blue blazes in Wisconsin, but cool as in a fantastic week of making new friends and sharing ideas with a terrific group of shopowners from various areas of the country, and as always fun activities and learning opportunities with Terry Atkinson. This is the second year I’ve attended Terry’s shopowner retreat; after last year I didn’t think it could get any better, but she and Roseann outdid themselves again this year. I think my friend Patti, who owns Fabric Town in Apple Valley, MN, said it best when she described the week:
To just give you a quick insight to what we do at this retreat….. Laugh, Sew, Laugh, Laugh, Discuss, Laugh, Tease, Eat unbelievable meals prepared by a fabulous Chef, Laugh, Discuss, Sew, Sew, Sew, Laugh, Laugh and Eat again..
Terry always has creative challenges and thought-provoking round table discussions for us and it always amazes me at the “V-8 moments” I have during our discussions. I suppose we tend to get ourselves into a particular mindset and it takes a fresh perspective to free us from the rut…those “I could have had a V-8 moments” are a highlight of this retreat for me.
Sometimes I get to a point that all of my creativity seems to have been drained away by the daily mechanics of owning a quilt shop, and this summer retreat is the best way I’ve found to restore that creative well, and just have fun. We always test a couple of patterns for Terry and the quilt we did this time around was really fun…sorry I can’t share my F-I-N-I-S-H-E-D (!!!) quilt top with you since the pattern is still in the design testing stage, but you’ll see it as soon as Terry releases the pattern in a few months. Here’s just a tiny sneak peek…yes, it’s black and white. Surprised?
Terry and Roseann always coordinate dinner themes with Jason, who cooks our fabulous meals for us, and our last night is a holiday celebration. This year it was Halloween, and this is the tablescape that greeted us at dinnertime…
We were instructed to bring a Halloween gift for exchange…something that reminded us of our childhood Halloween experiences. You can see that all the gifts were wrapped in fun Halloween fabrics and packages. Halloween as a child for me meant the school carnival so I filled my Halloween gift bag with little toys and candies…a slinky, a fun pencil with a smiley face eraser, Pixie Stix, the little wax bottles filled with colored liquid…all stuff that we’d come home with as prizes for playing the games at the school carnival. We also always had a cake walk at the carnival so I included my mother’s recipe for Toasted Coconut Cake, which she always made to donate. It was an evening filled with laughter and funny memories as we all took turns telling our Halloween stories and sharing bits and pieces of our lives. I think we ended up sitting around the dinnertable for several hours, just sharing and laughing and having fun!
There were 18 of us at the retreat, and although several had to leave a bit early, there were a few diehards who didn’t want to leave and stayed until the absolute last second! Back row (L to R) Carol, owner of Batiks Etc. & Sew What Fabrics; yours truly ; Shelley, owner of The Quilted Forest; Cathy, owner of Wish Upon A Quilt; Joyce, owner of Quilting Adventures; Laura, owner of Cotton Patch Quilt Shop; Roseann, owner of Rosebud’s Cottage. Front row (L to R) Kelly Ann, owner of Kelly Ann’s Quilting; Sue, owner of Gruber’s Quilt Shop; Terry of Atkinson Designs, and Julie, owner of Keepsake Cottage Fabrics.
This is a wonderful group of women that I am happy to have as friends and colleagues. Be sure to check out their websites and blogs for inspiration!