Tuesday, March 24, 2009

AWOL '09 Photos, Update

I mentioned last week that I was attending the 2009 AWOL Retreat over the weekend. It's held at the CA Vines 4H Center at Ferndale, which is about twelve miles west of Little Rock. (I completely enjoy the drive out there!!) It's a beautiful place surrounded by trees with an absolutely gorgeous pond. The facility is just perfect for a quilter's retreat. We will also hold our Quilt Arkansas 2009 retreat there this September.

The AWOL (Arkansas Women on the Loose) weekend retreat has been held in March for several years now and is beloved by it's attendees. This year we had thirty in attendance. That is to say, we had 29 women and one male of the species. That would be Jim, our beloved friend, devout quilter, and honorary member of AWOL. We consist of a very diverse group of personalities with equally diverse talents. Being with them, in my opinion, is the ultimate way to spend a weekend. I'm already looking forward to next time!

We arrive on Friday afternoon, get our lodging rooms, then head down to the large and lovely room we use to "work" in for the duration of the weekend. We DO work, make no mistake, we are there to complete work we can't seem to get done at home because we have to cook, clean, answer the phone, tend to family matters, etc. You know - the usual drill. At AWOL, we can work on what we want, when we want, how we want and the whole time we get to be with like-minded folks who are our friends. Lots of sewing machine whirring, steam irons steaming, rotary blades singing, while fabric is taped to walls "to see" how things are coming along. Opinions on what to do next fly around the room, snacks shared, stories too, with LOTS of laughing...my favorite part!

We try to work all night...but you have to close you eyes sometime, so few of us ever make that goal. I try my best to do it.
So, we have our three meals a day prepared for us while we happily sew away Friday night, all Saturday, and Sunday til 5:00 p.m. It's a very wonderful experience and no matter how tired we are late Sunday afternoon, we never want it to end.

I am posting several photos to help you "see" what it's like. I wish I had taken a photo of the room before anyone got there, but I wasn't the first to arrive this year. By the time I arrived the room had already undergone it's transformation from a perfectly empty, clean room....to total chaos...just the way we like it. Very stimulating!!!

There is my great friend, Jim. He's working on a quilt you wouldn't believe. I will try to get some photos of it one day and post it for you...it's going to be his best so far, it seems. He's our resident "over-achiever!" But don't get any ideas...he's not always this quiet!!! Notice the bunny in the photo....that's my place. I always take lots of handwork, which is my specialty and I don't like carrying around a sewing machine. The bunny was for FUN. Jim and I joke around a lot...mostly bickering amongst ourselves...the group puts up with us and we laugh a lot, whether they do or not. Kelley and Brenda shared our "spot" too, but this photo was taken after Brenda left. She was celebrating her 23rd anniversary also, so left early. If you go to her blog, nevertoolatetohavefun.blogspot.com, you can read what she has to say about AWOL!

There's Kelley. She was making a black and white quilt....just wonderful. She's so much fun..no matter what we are doing.
Ok...here's a complete "studio" set up. That would be Carol Ann's little piece of heaven right there. She even transports the drawers with her "stuff" in them from home. Notice the floor. Carol Ann works with jibbles and bits...which means there are always thousands of tiny pieces near her. Mary Ruth is here, lost in thought. Actually, I tried to catch her unaware, then she turned, smiled and I got a hug. Love that Mary Ruth. She tells the best stories. She has eighteen grandchildren!! One of them is Phoebe. She is here ironing. The youngest one in attendance. She worked very hard the whole time. I think she learned a lot about how much older women (and one man) can accomplish when they set their minds to doing something. And, we, of course, enjoyed having a younger person in the room....especially one actually interesting in what was going on around her. Her mom was there too, three generations of women. Very cool!

A good time was had by all. We had friends from everywhere....one from Hawaii, two from Texas, plus we Arkansans from Little Rock, Searcy, Lonoke, Hensley, Russellville, Morrilton, Maumelle, Jacksonville, Austin, just everywhere. What fun!!!

"Arkansas Women on the Loose" sounds like a riot. It is and what fun! Can't wait til next time. Pat

PS. I will be showing you what I worked on in a post later in the week. And, to LEI, you won one of the little books I was giving away in the last post....I need your mailing address, my friend!! The books will be in the mail tomorrow!! Thanks to all who commented!! (IF you wonder if one of the winners was YOU, just check the comment list on the previous post. The first ten commenters got one!)

Also, I nearly forgot this, but thought you should know - my friend, Kelley, cleaned her iron while at AWOL. Curious as to what she was doing, I asked, of course. She was cleaning it with one of those Mr. Clean Magic Eraser cleaning pads. You know what...it worked. So first thing I did when I got home was try it. So, okay...maybe I let my iron go just a tad too long, so I used the Magic Eraser, then also used one of those little sanding sponges put out by "Main Stays." I got mine at Walmart (you can find them in the sandpaper dept.)and use them for all kinds of cleaning, brass, metal, etc. It doesn't scratch, it's so fine. (If you can get them, you should stock up - our Walmart has quit carrying them...darn it!) Anyway, the soleplate of my iron is now spotlessly clean and I'm sure if your iron is not as far gone as mine was...you can get yours totally clean using only the Magic Eraser. How cool is that? Thanks, Kelley!!!

Another tip - (can't help it!!) is to use petroleum jelly to clean your gunked up mascara wand. You know how messy they can get. Just put some petroleum jelly on the brush part with your fingers....rub it with a paper towel til all signs of the jelly are gone...and the bristles are clean as a whistle. All that mascara just wipes right off your fingers too. REALLY works!! Ok, that's it for the day...see you soon!


BrenWall61@gmail.com said...

You say it sooo much better than I do, but if anyone wants to go to nevertoolatetohavefun.blogspot.com they can see some outside views of the area. Pat thank you for sharing space with me- it was the best retreat I have ever been to.

Gayle said...

I love quilting retreats! Thank you for sharing the photos. :-)

Anne said...

Your retreat sounded like a lot of fun. Great photos. If I would have known, I would have stopped by to visit from Benton.

NickiLee said...

Pat, What a ball you all must have had! I can tell by reading your words that you really enjoyed your Retreat and that fun way had by all. Mine is only 28 days away - I hope I can pull it off as well as yours went!

Tina Marie the Willow Witch said...

Hi, stranger.... Sounds like you had a good time. Thanks for the tips, cant wait to ungunk my mascara wand!!! here i just throw it away and by new, shame shame on me...

supplies overflowing! said...

I have never heard of quilting retreats. How great for all of you! And how cool to have those 3 generations of women there!

I am going to try that Magic Eraser on my iron. The way that little thing works - and the different things it can work on - is amazing!

A Bit of Heaven

A Bit of Heaven
An original designed wall quilt with my vision of heaven on earth.