Thursday, September 30

"Flavors of Fall Retreat"

This is Villa~Maria where my daughter and I hosted our quilting retreat ..............
It's a beautiful building nestled in the woods near the little town of Frontenac, Minnesota. It was a former Catholic girls school that now serves as a retreat and conference center. It is one of the most peaceful places I have ever had the privilege to visit. To be able to spend the weekend there with friends and fabric is a real gift. :-)
Speaking of gifts, I always leave little gifts in each of the rooms. Everyone got a little sack tied with ribbon that contained some goodies.....and then a few caramels tied up in Halloween fabric.....and a welcome card. My roommate was Jane. And yes, I made a goodie bag and welcome card for me, too. :-)
If you double click on the photo, you'll see that the card says "Flavors of Fall". I fussy-cut the pieces from the fabric in the photo below, then used fusible web to iron them on the cards. The fabric has been in my stash for some time and when I came across it a couple years ago, I knew it would be the theme for our next retreat!
With a theme of "Flavors of Fall", you know it means food is on the agenda. Collette and I prepared a warm, comfort meal because that's what we think of when Fall rolls around. The days get shorter and I love to put something in the crockpot or a casserole in the oven. So that we could enjoy a comfort meal at our retreat, I prepared the ingredients at home and then we used the crock pots to cook it.
Once we had the meal going, we set up the sewing room. While we were doing that, friend, Connie, began making the beds. The Villa is dormitory style and each guest makes their own bed but when I began hosting my retreats, I liked the idea of making up the beds before the guests arrive. Connie offered to help and I was glad to say "yes, I would really appreciate your help".
Everyone had arrived by 5:00 p.m. so we moved up our dinner hour so we could get to the business of sewing! We also moved up the dinner hour because the chicken noodle hot dish had cooked much faster than expected. It was a little "crusty" around the edge but still tasted pretty good. It was served up with the rolls you see on the left.
There was also a Tuscany Chicken soup concoction that was pretty tasty. I think it was the favorite of the two hot dishes. I'll share the recipes for both dishes and the bread
in a post next week. There were other tastes to go with our meal.......

carrots and veggie dip, sourdough bread (from Coburn's in New Prague that was delicious!), a lime jello concoction (I refer to some of the things I make as "concoctions" because I don't always use recipes.....I like to experiment), and lots of cookies!
My daughter, Collette, found the cookies and they had a design pressed in chocolate on them that resembled Villa Maria. How sweet was that?!!
When I'm shopping for my retreats, I am a dedicated "clearance/end of season" shopper. I am able to find all sorts of things to use for decoration, plus plates, napkins, etc. and all are bought when they go on sale. I'm able to do this because I set the dates for my retreats so far in advance. I only host a retreat about every year and a half so I have lots of time to find good buys! Sometimes I find things I can re-use, like the recipe box that held our tableware and a maple syrup pot that holds flowers (sorry they are artificial). The apples are fake but there were real ones on our snack table upstairs. There was apple juice to go with our meal, sodas, or one could make a cup of tea. :-) To add to the good smells, there were cinnamon and pumpkin scent candles from Yankee candle that were lit at each table. I love YankeeCandles !!! Sometimes, I tuck a candle in a favorite scent in a drawer just so I can open it and smell the deliciousness. :-)Here are the happy faces of my retreat friends.....left to right in the photo above......
Deb, Jane, Sandie, Gretchen, Pat, Sharon and Laura.
And in the photo below......left to right......
Connie, Yvonne, Carol, Arlis, Sue, Carol, and Collette. We were all ready to eat and just very happy to be together!
While the retreat I host is held south of Red Wing, MN, not one of us is from near that area. Most of us are from the Minneapolis area or just southwest of the cities. Sue moved to Iowa a couple of years ago but returns often to join us in our stitching fun. We all gather at the Villa because it is a place that my church women's group went to for retreats. I loved it then.....back in the early 1990's and I still love to retreat at the Villa today. I'll tell you more about each of my friends in my next post. We are all connected by quilting, of course. :-)
After dinner, there was a bit of clean-up and then it was time for a doorprize. I had marked the bottom of one of the little Halloween wrapped caramels with an X and someone would win a fat quarter pack. Only thing is that my X was so well hidden that the winner, Connie, missed it. When I asked if anyone had an X on their candies, everyone said no. Well, I knew different because I made sure that Collette and I didn't get it, so everybody checked again. And there it was.............
Connie is pointing out how tiny the X is but it earned her the fat quarter bundle so she's happy. Who isn't happy when there is fabric involved? :-)

Everybody got busy sewing, except Collette and me. I was pulling some fabrics for a Saturday project and while I did that, I asked Collette to crochet me a Perle cotton chain for a Halloween bead necklace. I never learned to crochet or knit. I am so glad that my daughter can crochet!
The finished necklace will show up in the next post, along with pictures of everyone sewing. Nobody stayed up really late. We were all anxious to get a good nights sleep so we would be ready for a full day of sewing on Saturday. :-) I was so excited to be at the Villa that I couldn't fall asleep. Happens every time on my first night at retreat. I caught up on lost sleep on Monday. :-)
More retreat fun in my next post. Plus, there's a fall giveaway coming up on Friday so stay tuned!
Sandi

12 comments:

mehagen said...

Love the beautiful pictures from your retreat! Everything is so colorful. Can hardly wait for the recipes. The food looks yummy!!

Kathy said...

What a great place. Your food looks delicious.

Pat said...

That does look like a wonderful place. Do you need to do all your own cooking while there?

Crispy said...

Wow what a wonderful building!! The food and decorations are very inviting. I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone was working on :0)

Crispy

Stitched With Prayer said...

Sandi, I love the pictures and can't wait to see more! Everything looked great, including the food. I just don't think a homemade soup can be beat! The Villa where you host the retreat looks absolutely gorgeous. What a great place to get together, and what better reason to gather together than to creat beautiful treasures, and share in lots of friendship laughter and fun! Thanks so much for sharing! Oh, about that crocheting, LOL. My mom taught me to crochet when I was 7 yrs old, but neither of my two daughters took any interest in it at all. Their needlework love is Counted Cross Stitch. Who taught your daughter to crochet? Big Hugs...

Maggey and Jim said...

Loved hearing about the retreat.. My neice lives in Richfield and we have been that far. Sounds like lots of fun.
Maggey

Dee M said...

What a great group, Sandi. Looks like lots of fun and great food.

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

Lots of happy faces. What a great place to be together. I love catching up. I am a hit and miss reader these days but I can't miss your blog.

Micki said...

Looks like you all had such fun! I haven't been to a retreat in a long while.
Micki

annemarie said...

What fun - I really enjoyed these pictures. You and your daughter are certainly wonderful hostesses!!

Beth said...

What a fantastic building and all your photos look so good. You and your daughter are a wonderful hostesses. Can't wait to see more.

agypsyangel said...

That place is gorgeous.
It looks like you all had a great time.

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