Saturday, October 16

Three Retreat Friends and projects

Today, you will meet the last three friends from my recent retreat at Villa Maria in Frontenac, MN. I'll be honest.......the retreat weekend went so fast that it has been kind of fun to stretch out the photos and stories over the past two weeks. Makes it feel like it lasted longer. LOL!

This is Jane Fournier. She was one busy stitcher because she was on a mission to finish a quilt top for a grandbaby! There is nothing like a deadline to get us to finish projects. Right?!!

I met Jane in 2003 when she came to our February retreat. She loved Villa Maria as soon as she came in the front door. It reminded her of her college days and her first teaching assignment. And Jane didn't know it when she arrived that day in February but she was going to meet someone who had influenced her as a young teacher. Here's what happened........

In the lower hallway at Villa Maria, there are pictures of the buildings, the Villa's history and the Sisters/Nuns who have taught or served at Villa Maria. Jane noticed a familiar face and said that it was a Sister who had helped her during a hard time in her early teaching years. She wondered where she was now. Well, I knew immediately this was Sister Marian, a little sprite of a woman who will all enjoyed seeing each time we came to Villa Maria. So, in reply to Jane's thought.....I answered........"why that's Sister Marian and she lives here at Villa Maria." Jane couldn't believe it. She had to find her, so we went to the lobby and asked the receptionist where Sister Marian might be. She replied that she was over in the other building (Ursline Hall) looking at all the ladies quilts. Jane could not get out the door fast enough and I can still see the look on her face and Sister Marian's when they first saw each other. A big hug followed and for the rest of the weekend, the two were together as much as possible. It had been more than 30 years since they had seen each other but if you have ever had a teacher that impacted your life, you know the joy it is to visit with that person.

Jane and Sister Marian got to "reconnect" at more of my retreats but this year, we were missing her. Sister Marian passed away in 2008 but she lived a long and very active, very caring life. I can remember that she would come into the room where we would be sewing or crafting and often sit and stitch with us. One year, she made fourteen little woolfelt valentine heart pins for her Sisters who were in care facilities. She was such a sweetheart and is dearly missed. But isn't it wonderful that she and Jane got to know each in those last years of her life? I just love it when those kind of things happen. :-)

Next up is Gretchen Hughes. She is a retired teacher who now enjoys spending lots of time quilting. She makes lots of big quilts and makes lots of them for family. Lucky family!

I can't recall exactly where I met Gretchen but I think I initially met her because she and Sandy Chapman are good friends. Gretchen and Sandy both came to the quilt retreat at Villa Maria in February of 2003. I think it was that same year that they hosted their first "Sew Close to Home Retreat". They had a nationally known teacher the first couple years, and then in 2005, they asked if I would be the teacher for their retreat and would I please design a project that could be done in a weekend.......really and truly? So I did. :-) And in 2006, they asked me back again and I designed another quilt top that could really and truly be stitched up in one weekend. I've not shared either one yet on my blog but they will make an appearance after Christmas (if not before).
Gretchen enjoys piecing quilt tops but she is also great at embroidery. So is her sister, Bronwyn. Go here and scroll to the bottom of the page to see the sweetest pillowcases she made when we all made quilts and things for Iowa flood victims. The quilt in the phot on the right is a Sunbonnet quilt that Gretchen made. She has also embroidered all the Snowmen blocks that I designed in 2009 and the quilt is finished! I drew all the designs but even I haven't finished embroidering them yet!!! She forgot to bring it so next time I see her, I'll get a picture of her and the Snowman quilt. I can't remember if she did the Angels or not. I'm having some major "Senior Moments" as I write this post!
And the last of the retreat guests is Pat Zoerb. I met Pat as she is a friend of Sandy and Gretchen and came to their "Sew Close to Home" retreats. She made both the quilts that I taught so when I finally pull out those pre-digital camera photos this winter, I can show you what some of those quilts look like!! In the photo below, Pat is really focused on machine quilting in rows. That's blue painter's tape that is marking her quilting "path". :-) Pat didn't have any show 'n tell to share but I wish I had taken a photo of her coordinated sewing machine cover and mat that she has for retreats. It was too, too cute. I need to make one, too. :-)
We always take a group picture on the front lawn of Villa Maria. Look at the happy faces of all of us......................
We look forward to returning again in the spring of 2012. We are going to "change things up a bit" and each of us will take a job and the retreat will become a "community effort". I have some back issues that I need to listen to and gotta quit carting so much stuff all over the countryside. LOL! Oh, but I love it but I am always game for a new plan and this will be fun. I'll still coordinate the room bookings so that will be my role in the "community effort". I'll share more on this as we go along, because I know that some of you might find it of interest if you are wanting to plan a retreat.

I have just two more photos to share. Remember the gorgeous tree I shared in my first post about Villa Maria? Well, that one was taken on Saturday and this one was taken on Sunday, just before we packed up to return home. Isn't it gorgeous?
A professional photographer arrived while we were loading stuff in my car and she took shots of the tree from all angles. It was my daughter, Collette, who noticed some ladies pointing to the front door of the Villa .........................
That glorious tree was reflecting perfectly in the glass doors!! I am so glad that my daughter, Collette said I had to "come and see". At an angle it didn't reflect at all but straight on, it was just beautiful. We really hated to leave but we decided we might just go back, just the two of us and take some mom and daughter time just for us. You won't tell anyone, will you? :-)
Today I will be volunteering at the Scott County Historical Society and it has to do with a quilt display sponsored by the American Quilt Study group. I'll be sure and post about it this evening. The church supper and bazaar photos are coming up later tonight or tomorrow for sure. Sometimes, I'm at the computer so much, I feel like I'm writing a book! Actually, I've turned the computer off for long periods of time this week and have done quite a bit of sewing these last couple days. It was necessary. I needed some stress relief, and uninterrupted time at my sewing machine worked like a charm. :-)


Pat said...

WOW....the photo of the door with the tree reflection is wonderful! Thanks for sharing that and for having us meet these ladies. I loved the story about Sister Marian, too. (Do you have any photos of the two of them together?)

Kaye said...

Thanks so much for sharing your retreat with us. I would have loved to have been there, it sounds like a great bunch of talented Ladies. The Sister Marian story is so nice. Fate ?

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

I know MN is beautiful Sandi, but you sure captured a great shot in the colors reflected by the beautiful door!! Wow!

Maggey and Jim said...

Love the door shot and what a nice looking group of ladies..

sewmeow said...

Sounds like ya'll had sew much fun. Good deal. Loved the tree pictures.

Crispy said...

It was fun meeting all your retreat friends and look at all those smiling faces.

I hear ya about being on the computer so much. I have "forced" myself to be on only in the morning when I first get up at 5am. I get some chores done while I'm waiting for blogs to load and then I have the rest of the day to feed my soul with stitching :0)


Homemade Quilts by Granny said...

Your retreats sound like a lot of fun..nice fall photos...I like seeing all the quilts. Trish

Kim said...

What a fun retreat. The tree in the window is so beautiful.

"Peace can be found in the piecing of a quilt."
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