Monday, July 28, 2014

home again

I went on my 5th annual Gruber's Retreat last weekend and it was awesome!!!! I thought it was a good time to start a few new projects, since I've been so good at trimming down my WIP list lately.
I started another (this is my 3rd) Little Connections quilt using the fabric line Dreamin' Vintage by Jeni Baker. I added a bunch of fabrics from my stash and a few from the store, too. It's an easy pattern that I like to sew up because the blocks allow the pretty fabrics to shine. It goes together quite quickly and that's always a bonus!
I'm adding a bunch of blocks from the blue and green color way, too. It'll be interesting to see how this one comes together. I was thinking of making 2 separate quilts, but I think it might be one big (bright) quilt. We shall see!
We had some samples of flatter by soak at the retreat (thanks Jacqueline!) and it was fun to try them out in real life. I've seen a bunch of people talking about this spray starch alternative on Instagram, so I was curious to try it firsthand. I have to say, it was wonderful to work with! It's very light (starch wise) but it still did a great job of pressing the fabric. It smells amazing! I liked it a lot. Some of my friends may or may not have used it as body spray as well. Yes, it's that good. I think I would have a difficult time buying this for myself for everyday use (because I just can't get the frugal out of this girl), but I can see buying it for my friends as gifts. Funny how that works, huh?
Every year we exchange happies. This year there was a wonderful batch of goodies from my amazing friends. There is SO much talent in this group. And thoughtfulness, too!
edited to add: the tutorial for the bottom pouch, which is called the sleeping bag pouch, is here.
A mega pin cushion was also one of the happies, but it's so large it needed it's own photo! A pin cushion with pockets? Genius!
edited to add: this one is called the mega pinnie by bluepatchquilter
This was our group this year:
Front Row, L to R: Cindy, me
Back Row, L to R: Rene, Doris, Toni, Mary, Terri, Stephanie
I'm so thankful to call these ladies my friends!!!
Only 347 days until next year's retreat! :)
When I got home, I walked in the door to my sweet husband cooking my favorite dinner. My kids were happy. He had bought me a present....AND the house was clean, which is probably the best present of all! (I think I need to go away more often. Ha!) I have a lot to be thankful for. I am so very blessed!
 
Happy Monday to you!

31 comments:

Tanya Quilts in CO said...

What a treatI you had a fabulous retreat and came home to your favorite dinner and a clean house. It does not get much better than that!

Quilter Kathy said...

OH my goodness.. a wonderful retreat with quilty friends and a loving homecoming... doesn't get any better than that!!

Terri said...

It was SO awesome to spend the weekend with you and the rest of our tribe at Retreat this year. I missed you all so much. Thanks for your help in giving me a boost on many of my sewing projects. I'm addicted again! I loved seeing all your show-and-tell projects, and watching you put together your Little Connections blocks. I've never used a spray starch for quilting, but I'm hooked after trying the Flatter and Soak sprays all weekend.

asf said...

How lovely! I so enjoy your blog. You have a wonderful tone - very kind and inviting. You know do much yet remain humble. Thank you very much for sharing your wonderful work and a bit of your life. Is there by chance a pattern for that great pincushion? Or for the cool zip pouch in the foreground that curves along the zipper? Thanks again, I love your blog.

Sherry said...

What a wonderful, happy post. So glad you had a great getaway & a warm welcome home. Love all those happies and that Little Connections quilt is going to be awesome!!

Diane said...

Sounds like a fun time. Love that giant pincushion!

Jeneta said...

What a fabulous gift to come home to! I am just so thrilled whenever someone cooks - I don't even care what it is (as long as I'm not cleaning up after them!). Haha - I can totally relate to the 'flatter' thing. I seem to be like with my sewing too. I have decided that I need to make quilts for my own family and not everyone elses!!

beets+birch said...

loved the blocks with the stripe!

have never heard of 'flatter'. i'm the same way, would buy as a gift for other's but go without myself. why are we programed like that????

wonderful happies! what treasures!

and brilliant indeed on the side pocket of the pin keeper! must keep in mind.

nice homecoming too! the good times just kept rolling.

i'm a new follower, great blog and you do beautiful work

Fran said...

Lucky you, looks like a wonderful time!

Kay said...

Wonderful. A good time away with stitching friends sounds perfect. I am very impressed with your husband too, I expect an incredibly messy house and hungry kids if I am away. x

margaret said...

how lovely to have spent time with a great bunch of friends, quilt looks good, maybe I will try a few blocks like these and lots of lovely goodies too

Tina Short said...

Hi, sounds like you all had a great time at your retreat and making that wonderful quilt which I'm sure will give great comfort to the recipient.
Had to reply to the comment about the Megga Pinnie pincushion. Its a free pattern by Sheila from Bluepatchquilter. I use mine all the time, its so handy.

Lorna McMahon said...

Nice to hear you had a wonderful time at the retreat... And a warm welcome home. Lovely photos!

Mary Huey said...

Looks like a great retreat -- love the "happies". Can you comment on Best Press compared to "flatter"?

Suzanne said...

Fun times with great folks, lovely presents too. What special thing did you add to share the happiness?

Melissa Corry said...

Sounds like a fabulous weekend and what a lovely surprises to come home to ;)

ConGhin said...

What a great retreat - it sounds like you are recharged! I'm particularly fascinated by the pincushion. Is there a pattern available for it? What is it stuffed with to hold its great shape?

Thimbleanna said...

A wonderful retreat picture -- and YAY -- Ms. Stephanie is alive and well -- I hope you gave her a little pep talk about blogging LOL!!!

Anne said...

Sounds like a wonderful retreat with lots of sewing and good company. One of the things I love about blogs is seeing the connections. While I "know" you through your blog and book, it's fun to see not just one but three of my Mid Century Bee mates at your retreat. Cindy, Mary and Rene. Cindy and I will actually be roomies at QuiltCon. Maybe I'll meet you too if you're there.

The Calico Cat said...

Have you used Mary Ellen's Best Press? Assuming yes, how does it compare to the Flatter?

& I've seen a homemade recipe for Best Press online...

Karen said...

So much fun to spend time with friends--especially all of them busy chatting, quilting, laughing! With your insanely busy schedule, you've earned it! Kudos to your husband--he's a keeper!

Sheila said...

Love your version of my Mega Pinnie, thanks for featuring it, I have had a lot more interest.

amandajean said...

Mary Huey,

Best press definitely is heavier on the starch. It leaves the fabric stiffer than flatter does. Flatter is very gentle in the starch department but helps to smooth out wrinkles and smells so good. It's SO hard to describe it, but I hope that helps!

AJ

amandajean said...

Suzanne,

I gave everyone in the group a spool of my favorite color of auriful thread...number 2600, the most perfect color of gray ever, if you ask me. :) I made little happy flags to go with them. I'll have to send you a pic!

AJ

amandajean said...

ConGhin,

I added the link to the person who wrote the tutorial. it is filled with polyester fiberfill.

hope that helps!

AJ

amandajean said...

asf,

thanks SO MUCH for your kind comment. I appreciate your positive feedback more than I can say! I have added the links to the post. I hope that helps!

AJ

amandajean said...

The Calico Cat,

Yes, I have used best press just a bit. I have a hard time comparing the two, but I tried to a few comments above. I hope that helps! :)

AJ

Linda said...

I clicked on the blog links to the lovely retreat ladies and found Doris's blog and determined that she must be the one you made the quilt for - did she like it? Thanks for the link to the pattern. Love that quilt.

Yesterday after I saw your pincushion and before you added the link, I googled "mega pincushion" and the Mega Pinnie came up and I was referred to Sheila's website. When I found her tutorials, alas the pattern was "temporarily unavailable". I emailed her and she graciously sent it to me!

Thanks for including all the links to everything - that takes a lot of time! :)

My favorite part of your post? Hubby cleaned house, made dinner, and got you a gift. I pathetically teared up reading it. I have one like that and wouldn't trade him. ;)

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Suzanne said...

Thanks, Amanda, for adding all those links!

FlourishingPalms said...

Your Little Connections quilt is darling. I simply adore seeing all your scraps! Do you ever sewing anything that's made with a few planned fabrics? Thanks for the link to the big pincushion. Our MQG chapter is planning a swap in December, so this is definitely going onto my "possible" list. I'm happy for you to have enjoyed your Gruber's retreat. Those are some pretty neat gals that you hang out with.