Sunday, September 13, 2015

Spring Retreat Recap

Sorry for the delay in posting, things are a bit crazy around here at the moment.  Now...where were we??  Oh, that's right, I said retreat was up next.  It's a bit strange to write about the last retreat with the next one looming on the horizon but I'll do my best.

I always start planning retreat by coming up with a theme and an idea for a project.  Then I make sure I can flesh it out and that I can come up with enough ideas to make it viable as a theme.  After that I contact a designer to see if they would like to design something to fit the theme.  I never start the actual process of making or buying things until I have all that nailed down.  Otherwise it's a bit like putting the cart before the horse.  So for our Spring 2015 Retreat I found a quote from an author that called to me regarding roses and thorns.  Based on this quote I named the retreat "Will you accept this Rose?" which of course is the tag line for the reality show The Bachelor/Bachelorette.  I had ideas for for rose themed ort containers, scissor fobs, etc...had it all planned out.  Now you can't just willy nilly take a quote from someone famous and use it without permission so I tracked down the publishing house (the author had no contact information anywhere) and sent an email requesting permission to use the quote in a cross stitch piece.  And then I waited.  I waited some more and then I put my dang cart before my horse and started making the ort containers that I make for each retreat based on said quote.  This is what they looked like:

I sent a second and then a third email requesting permission and still didn't hear a thing.  Finally I had to reach the conclusion that this theme was going to have to fall by the wayside.  I was running out of time and the designer was running out of time.  But now I had 40 rose themed ort boxes ready to go (this is where the cart before the horse comes in) and I didn't want to just toss them aside so I needed to come up with an idea that incorporated the already made boxes.  And while I was standing in the shower pondering the issue, inspiration struck! (I come up with the best ideas when I'm in the shower, give it a try sometime!)  The ort boxes already represented a reality show so what if reality shows were the theme???  And that my dears is how Reality Bites came to be, it described how I was feeling to a "T"!   I came up with the idea for a sampler that had different motifs in it that represented Reality TV shows past and present.  But I didn't want them to be obvious to the casual observer.  I wanted it to be like a secret code, similar to the quilts that were used to direct the runaway slaves to freedom or the hidden meanings behind Quaker motifs or different types of flowers or the hidden messages that were stitched into needlework by POW's in WWII.  Here's an excerpt taken from an article by Patrick Barkham in The Guardian Sept. 2, 2011 that talks about the POW's if you haven't read it already.  It's very interesting!

I was quickly able to come up with 18 different motifs to represent 18 different reality shows.  I was then able to come up with ideas for the rest of the items for the goodie bags we give to the retreat attendees and before I knew it I had it all ironed out and was able to contact our designer to see if she could work with the idea.  Thank God she was able to roll with it and she designed a beautiful sampler that perfectly fit the theme!  Thank you Beth from Summer House Stitch Workes! 

After months of planning, plotting and production it was finally time for Retreat!

When the ladies checked in at retreat they were each given a pizza box.

Why a pizza box you ask?  Did you know there was a reality show about an Italian restaurant and pizzeria called the Capones?  Me either until I did my research.  Inside the pizza box was the Reality or Illusion chart, fabric and floss to stitch it and a tray (made by the mister) for mounting the finished sampler.

If you look closely there is a little microphone charm attached to the fabric that represents the reality show called The Voice.

Also upon check in our reality stars received a name badge. I think this one is pretty self explanatory.

Finally, they also were handed an Amazing Race envelope which contained an explanation of the theme and also included a list of 36 different Reality Shows. The ladies, if so inclined (this was an optional activity) needed to figure out which 18 of the 36 shows were represented in the sampler.  I heard a lot of grumbling about how "I don't watch Reality TV"  but for a bunch of ladies that don't watch Reality TV, they sure did well guessing which motifs went to which shows!

Timsey and Shannon with their stuff
Goodie bags were given out Friday night after everyone was checked in.  

This year the goodie bags held a Needlebook that was made by Sue V., one of our retreat attendees.  The map fabric represents The Amazing Race.  Thanks again Sue!

The bags also contained scissors, a scissor fob, a highlighter, stitch starter, candle snuffer, cupcake candle, stick pins, emery board, mug mat, needle threader,  and a bottle of water.

Some of the items represented reality shows:

Candle Snuffer ~ Survivor because they snuff your fire when you are voted off the island
Stitch Starter ~  stamped knife fork and spoon for all the cooking shows
Emery Board ~ represents a nail file which one needs when one is Escaping from Alcatraz
Cupcake Candle ~ Cupcake Wars
Bottle of Water ~ can’t survive Naked and Afraid without water!
Scissors ~ Project Runway
Mug Mat ~ The fabric had a Television Set on it

Some of the items (the scissors, stick pins, needle threader, highlighter, and stitch starter) were meant to be placed in the Needle book.

Here's a better look at the scissor fob.  I took a picture of the finished sampler and used portions of the picture for the fob.  

I made the stick pins to go in the needlebook but couldn't figure out how to keep people from poking themselves until that happened so I made the little matchbook to hold them.

 Saturday morning we held an arm knitting class taught by Jolene (in the pink shirt)  When class was over we had a finished infinity scarf.  In theory anyway!

Plenty of stitching was done too!

There were some finishes too!

Shannon even finished the retreat piece!  Over achiever!!!!

Saturday night is always shop night at spring retreat.  After supper and before the shop was opened we tallied all the sheets that had been handed in by those participating in the guessing game of Reality Shows and had a non-participating person pick a number between 1-40 just in case of a tie. Surprisingly, given the number of people that said they couldn’t possibly get any answers correct, most guessed at least 10 correctly! With 15 correct answers each, we did end up having a two-way tie between Roxy/Denise (they worked together) and Timsey with the tie breaker going to Timsey. She received a $25.00 gift certificate to the shop.  

Sunday we opened the shop up again for an hour or so before we began packing it back up. Last minute purchases were made and then everyone stitched and visited until lunch. After lunch the out of town ladies began the process of packing up and heading home. It never seems possible that four days have passed so quickly. By 3:30 pretty much everyone was on their way home and we were packing up the extension cords, the leftover snacks and loading our cars. Another retreat over but the fall retreat is looming on the horizon and it won’t be long before we are all together again! 

The project when finished :

And for those that might want to try their hand at guessing the shows here is the list given to the attendees. 18 of them are represented in the sampler. 

19 kids & Counting...the Duggers
American Pickers
American Chopper
American Idol
Big Brother
Cake Boss
Dancing with the Stars
Dirty Jobs
Dog the Bounty Hunter
Dog Whisperer
Double Divas
Duck Dynasty
Fear Factor
Gold Rush
Honey Boo Boo
Iron Chef
Jersey Shore
Kate Plus 8
Pawn Star
Project Runway
Real Housewives of Atlanta
Real Housewives of Orange County
Real Housewives of New York
Say Yes to the Dress
So You Think You Can Dance
Storage Wars
Super Nanny
The Bachelor/Bachelorette
The Biggest Loser
The Celebrity Apprentice
The Voice
Toddlers & Tiaras
What Not to Wear

I gotta get some cleaning done so have a wonderful Sunday Everyone!

Take care till next time!