1. Start the New Year quilting in Napa with Sandy Klop of americanjane.com
Side note: Don't you just love it when you accomplish things on your "list"? (Please see http://97thingstodobeforeiturn97.blogspot.com/ for the ultimate in accomplishing things on your list). Of course it helps if you write the list AFTER you have accomplished something. This is a secret little trick I learned from my above mentioned sister who has 5 lovely children and is a list maker extrordinaire. A tad on the OCD side, (and I mean that in the nicest way! If not for people like my Dear Sister there would be untidy rug fringe and kitchen drawers not-all-the-way-shut everywhere!) my sister makes a list of "things to do" every night before retiring. THE LIST is always very neatly written with each item numbered. She religiously crosses each job off after completing it. One day in my young mothering days, no doubt up to my eyeballs in unfolded laundry, half naked babies running around in diapers and single socks (why only one sock? This subject merits it's own blog someday), my DS revealed the secret of feeling good about oneself at the end of each day- Sit with your list and instead of fussing about what DIDN'T get done, start writing down what you DID do, numbering it and then crossing it off. At the end of the day, you feel better when you have more things crossed off....and you start writing tomorrow's to-do-list.
Anyway, Sandy runs a quilting retreat a couple of times a year where 25-30 women sign up, stay in hotel rooms and sew in a conference room with the Queen of Quilting. This year everyone brought their own projects-quilts they were working on and their sewing machines. And accoutrements. (Please go directly to Paris to La Drogerie to see the ultimate in accoutrements!)You have never seen so much STUFF. Every modern quilting tool, ruler, thread, fusible interfacing and scissors, rotary cutters, irons, laptops, books, extension cords, power strips, etc. (You know how much stuff you have to bring with you when you have 3 kids under 5 and you take them all to Disneyland? That's about how much stuff you need to bring for only yourself if you go to a 4 day quilting retreat and want to get something done!) And fabric. Lots of fabric.
Sandy and I shared a suite at the beautiful Embassy Suites Hotel in Napa. We've been roommates before on various trips to France, Ohio, Newport Beach etc and we get along well, respect each other and go to bed at a decent hour so we can get up early and accomplish wonderful things. We've also worked together for about 15 years and we love bouncing ideas off of each other, talking about our men, our kids and trips we want to take so we never run out of conversation.
This trip started on January 1st, 2009.
Thurs, Jan 1- Sandy picked me up in her PT Cruiser, we loaded my machine and stuff and drove to Napa, went right to the "Pinot Noir" conference room that was to be our workroom for the next 4 days. Of course there weren't enough tables, so we found more, set them up, chose our corners, unpacked our projects, set up our machines, cords and ironing boards and started sewing. We were well into our individual projects as the 24 other ladies trickled in from noon on. We all sewed until 7:30pm and then went to "The Red Hen Cantina" for dinner. Well, 12 of us did. I can't really recommend it. The margaritas were watery with too much ice and I ended up paying $9 for a $4.50 chicken taco (which is always what happens when we try to split a dinner bill with a ton of people). I was glad to get back to the hotel and sew for another hour before retiring....
Friday, Jan 2- Power sewing day. Sandy and I were up, dressed and breakfasted before 7:20am. We had to wait for the hotel lady to let us into our "Pinot Noir" conference room at 7:30. I guess we were eager to get on with our projects! Ladies trickled in all morning, I think the last one arrived at 10am. We all sewed all day. Literally, all day long. I didn't even stop to eat. Good thing for me that my Handsome Man (HM) was picking me up for our 8pm dinner reservation at Hurley's in Yountville. I CAN recommend Hurley's. Lovely, fancy casual (well that's what I call it when you can wear Seven jeans and high heels with a cute top), I had a perfectly prepared filet mignon, medium rare, and we had a fabulous glass of Jessup Cabernet. Great to visit with HM who was (I think) a little put out that I was ditching him for 4 days to sew! Good thing we live just 35 min from the Napa Valley so we could still have our Friday night date...but, since he had to drive back home, he dropped me off at 9:45ish at my hotel where I went directly to the work room to find it full of the ladies who were still busily sewing. I worked for another hour before going upstairs to sleeep...
Sat, Jan 3- Panic is starting to set in! I woke up at 7:15, brushed my teeth and ran down to my sewing machine. I HAD to finish the log cabin quilt I'd been working on for the past 4 days as it was for HM's bday on the 7th. Sewed all day on it. It seemed to take forever. HM was scheduled to come up and stay the night, do dinner and some wineries Sunday am and the retreat is OVER Sunday at noon. I raced to get all the blocks done. Ran up to get beautiful so I could be picked up by HM to go to the Chandon Winery for a champagne tasting before they closed at 6pm. Started to relax because I was mostly done with the quilt and I was whisked away like a princess for champagne and a stay in a beautiful suite at the Villagio in Yountville, dinner at Mustard's in Yountville, and champagne breakfast Sunday morning. We did have to go back to Napa to get my machine and all the stuff before noon, but got right back on track heading to Rutherford, Calistoga, St. Helena etc. My favorite winery visit was at Frank Family (their Reserve Cabernet is one of my all time favorite wines), but the wine tasting building at Duckhorn was just beautiful and HM loved all the antique duck decoys in the lobby. (ftr= for the record: favorite wine within my price range is Orin Swift's "The Prisoner")
Am I rambling on? Here's picture of the birthday quilt. And dang if I didn't get it done (machine quilted, bound, washed with the label pinned on) on time for him to open at 6pm on the 7th. I think he loved it. (even if it was a little damp when he received it!)
Dang. I wanted the pictures at the end, but I just can't figure that out right now...
PS...the log cabin is pretty easy for any quilter, but a log cabin is the only thing HM wants that he doesn't already have. So I gave him the version that is within my reach. For his birthday. On the 7th. The End.