Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Seaside Stitchers Retreat

Last Weekend we attended our annual Seaside Stitchers Retreat in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It is hosted by Meg Thompson Shinall of The Flower Thread Company. Each year we do a sampler based on the *moon names*. So far we have done Wolf Moon, Lenton Moon, Snow Moon, Pink Moon, Full Flower Moon, Strawberry Moon, Buck Moon, and this year is Sturgeon (or Fish) Moon. I originally missed the first three but have the kits and will catch up with them some day.

My *weekend* started on Tuesday evening when Kiki arrived at my house. We spent the evening stitching and catching up and doing last minute things. Wednesday morning arrived and we finished packing up the car and headed out. The trip was at a leisurely pace, a stop for lunch and we arrived at the hotel about 2 pm only to discover that my power chair wouldn't work. Thanks to the wonderful bellmen at the Hilton we got it into the Bellcaptains' office and went to check in. The room wasn't quite ready so we sat in the lobby and met up with Bunny and then with Carol and caught up with the new *retiree*. Upon reaching our suite we were met with the most beautiful view! The ocean and the beach were gorgeous! Bunny and Kiki decided to make a quick trip to Wal-mart (when have we ever gone anywhere and not hit the Wal-mart? It's a tradition, right?) and I rested a bit. I got in touch with The Scooter Store and arranged for someone to repair my chair. I was stitching peacefully when suddenly an *alarm* started going off. I began looking around trying to figure out what it was. I decided it must be the alarm on the clock that someone had set for p.m. instead of a.m. so I got up to turn it off--only it didn't turn off. I kept looking for the cause of the annoying sound and finally determined that it was coming from outside. Just as I went to close the door it stopped. I sat back down to my stitching again and, of course it started back up again! We later discovered that it was the safety alarm on the electric scaffolding from the construction site! That evening Kiki, Bunny and I ate in the hotel resturant and had a great time with George, our waiter.
On Thursday morning Kiki and I decided to just hang out and stitch and rest and wait for Angel to arrive. Although we were getting a bit worried since we had not heard anything at all from her. Little did we know that she had stayed up late the night before making Zucchini bread for all of us!--and she had forgotten her phone charger, so her cell phone had died! But she arrived safely. We were joined for a visit by Nancy Hall and Carol and got a chance to find out about Nancy's move and new *job*. We touched base with Nan and Carla and then we went down to Meg's room for some wine and cheese and the preview of the Fish Moon projects. They are wonderful and we couldn't wait to begin! I then met the repairman and he reaired my chair for me. For those that wondered about the problem, he replaced the battery and the battery charger. Then we decided to go out for my *annual fish dinner*! It was wonderful (Kiki and Angel--remember I did apologize!) Then back to the suite for some stitching and *itching and a birthday party for Angel and me. It was great. I got some wonderful things as did Angel. I got a portable CD player for my car (This has been on my wish list for a very long time!), some pastic organizers for both beads and stash, a yard of Belfast linen (now I can finally start my French Alphabet Sampler), some of my favorite Crystal Light, a wonderful flavored Tea, the latest Monica Ferris novel--Sins and Needles--, a new Tacky Bob, and Angel and I shared a beautiful and delicious birthday cake. It really was a wonderful treat. I had already received a wonderful rolling organizer from Tracy which holds everything I need when I travel and was using for this weekend. I really like it when my birthday goes on for a week!!
Friday morning arrived bright and early to sunshine and warm temperatures and the ocean breeze and sounds . It was glorious (until the construction noise started back up). We stitched for a while and then Meg, Barb, Nancy, Alta, and a couple more people--sorry I can't remember everyone-- joined us in our suite for an impromptu --oh, what is the word?--(mini class helping us with problem areas from past classes). Then Angel, Kiki and I went to McAllisters for lunch. I had never experienced their baked potatos and all I can say is *ummmmmmmmmmmm*! Angel and Kiki dropped me back at the hotel and made a run to Michael's. Then we were joined by Bunny and stitched and rested until time for the *weekend* to begin. The class started out with *goodie bags* from Meg, Jennifer, and Bunny! Thank you all so very much! We began our Friday night project, chose our Secret Pals, and had show and tell. Susan R received a special gift for travelling the furthest (Oman)--a beautiful quilted tablerunner made by Beth. And Diane recieved another for coming the least distance (Myrtle Beach). And then Carol received the shock of her life! That's a story left better told by Beth or Carol! (But Beth, I will be happy to *babysit* your box anytime!) We had a wonderful time. Then we went back up to the suite where we stitched some more. Kiki and Bunny went to bed but Angel and I stayed up talking and stitching until about 1:45 am. I finished my Friday night project with my usual *personalizations*! Thanks, Meg ! The needlebook is perfect!
Saturday arrived early--too early for some of us-- to a wonderful warm sunny day and once more the class began with treats from Beth, Angel, and Tracy (who was not even there!) Thanks so much ladies! Secret Pal gifts began showing up throughout the day and these were all so fitting to the recipients. I don't know how it worked out that way but somehow each one seemed so perfect. We began the day with introductions and receiving our kits for the sampler. We began our practice pieces and in spite of the *slowness to catch on* for some of us--namely this mad stitcher--we managed to persevere and I finished my candlering/band and it is now residing on my mantle! I plan to make some more of these--maybe for Christmas presents! We broke for our group photo and a delightful deli style lunch. Then back to class to discover more treats from Meg.
During the afternoon break some of the ladies decided to go to Build a Bear Workshop but I chose to go rest a bit and I finished up my candlering. When I went back downstairs to the classroom at 7 pm I found someone was sitting in my place! There was Mr. Rip-it! A *Frog* surgeon, dressed in scrubs, xray in hand, and birth certificate in place. Perfect for me as most of you know I am a retired Operating Room nurse. He was a gift from Kiki and I do appreciate it so very much! He has kept me company for the last few days! Although I think I am going to exchange the xray for a seam ripper--it seems more appropriate! Nancy H and Carol had devised a game *Go Fishing* and we had a great time. Alta did the list for the Tote search this year and she did a fantastic job--making it very fair for all of us. Thanks, Nancy, Carol, and Alta!
Many of us just didn't want the evening to end because we knew that the next day would bring our Seaside Retreat to an end.
Sunday morning arrived--again with beautiful skies and warm temperatures-- and I am glad to note that the construction crew honored the Sabbeth! Some of us began our day with devotion and then our last class time together this year. We got those last minute instuctions from Meg, revealed our Secret Pal identities (thanks, Alta, I love my gift!), settled up with the shop and unfortunately had to say our goodbyes. Thank you Meg for another wonderful retreat!
Packing up and loading the cars took a little while but soon we were on our way home. Angel, Kiki, and I had lunch at Logan's Roadhouse (another first for me) before heading home. Once again on the road our trip was uneventful and leisurely and we arrived here in Chesnee at about 6:15 pm. Jason helped unload the car and was introduced to Mr. Rip-it! Kiki spent the night here with me so we sat and relaxed and stitched a bit and reflected on the wonderful weekend. We went to bed very,VERY early (for me at least)--10 pm--and got up Monday morning feeling more rested. Kiki left for Monroe (and work) and then I-----did absolutely nothing!!!! As I told Kiki, I think I enjoyed this Seaside better than any that I have attended. The first couple I was alone and only knew Nancy H and Angel. Last year I was in a lot of pain and discomfort. But this year I am remembering more and more of your faces and names and am making new friends. I was more rested and had better accommodations for my needs. And I felt totally more comfortable this year. I am already looking forward to next year.
I want to acknowledge the wonderful new friends I have made this year and welcome to our Seaside retreat. Jennifer--it was great finally putting a face to a name. Harriet it was wonderful meeting you and getting to know you better. Anne, it was great talking with you and working on our *hitching* together! Kerry it was great finally meeting you and realizing that you are the same Kerry from the Chatelaine BB. Diane it was great renewing our friendship and realizing that you, also, are on the Chatelaine BB. And Kathy, sorry we didn't get a chance to get to know each other, but welcome to our group and I hope to see you again next year and get to know you better. I hope I didn't miss anyone.
Once again I want to thank Kiki and Angel and Bunny for making this weekend possible and pleasureable for me. Thanks, to Carol, Nancy, Nan, Alta, and Susan for your kindness this week. And thanks to all of you who were concerned about me and offered your help. If I have forgotten anyone please forgive me. I appreciate everything that each of you have done for me and just for being my friends.

Signing off for now. Happy Stitching!

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