Christmas Eve decided to add a little drama this year. Snow storms all month would not wait for the holiday to be finished. We ventured to Hastings to be with Jim's brother and sister's families. My parents headed to Rochester with Dave, who had been dropped off by my nephew Alex. It was nice to have Jen, Jerod, and John with us. Carrie unfortunately had to work.
Last January, I decided to start using up some of my fabric. Luckily Bonnie Hunter has wonderful quilts on Quiltville.com that focus on using your stash. Her Double Delight mystery was perfect for my oriental fabrics. This quilt will go to my parents when quilted.
Lucas and Kevin made a lovely gingerbread house at school last week. It became one of our centerpieces for our Christmas celebration.
On Tuesday the 22nd, Lucas, Haley and I went downtown to the Minneapolis Macy's Christmas display. Santa's helper spoke fluent Spanish, and had a wonderful conversation with the kids. Lucas didn't know what to ask from Santa. One of these years that will change. Haley wanted to give Santa some money to buy toys for others. I told her we would donate toys instead. She made sure to tell Santa of our plans. We dropped some coins in the Make-a-Wish fountain, and then headed with Kevin over to Kare11 news studio in Golden Valley to drop off a load of toys for Toys for Tots. A bit too dark and cold to take photos there. It was nice to see the two of them enjoy giving toys to others. We will do that again next year.
Every year we find ourselves trying desperately to arrange schedules so that everyone in the family can get together for Christmas. This year we nearly made it. Unfortunately Jen's flight from Boston was cancelled due to a snow storm on the east coast. So Jen and Jerod didn't arrive until two days later. Laura was out west celebrating with friends. We were able to enjoy the evening and excitement as Haley and Lucas opened presents. Don't forget Max, our granddog. He was as good as a one year old puppy could be in a house full of temptation.
Now if we could just get Dave, Jim, and Kevin to be awake the entire time!
Each year I attend a quilt retreat at Camp Lebanon, just west of Saint Cloud, Minnesota. Many times, DD Carrie has joined me. I love our time together, even if it is dealing with a difficult quilt pattern. Carrie got a good start on her quilt. I finished another top. This one was out of CW Repros in my stash. Floating star blocks were from a swap. Just took me a year to decided on the setting and border. Finally ready for quilting.
Shipshewana comes and goes so quickly each time. Quilting brought us together, but friendship and this town keeps us coming back. Rosemary's countdown to next Spring's retreat brings us closer day by day. Only 142 days until we hear the clip-clop of the horses again.
Today was our last day in Shipshe. Rise and shine to monkey business, which seems to always happen on Saturday night. Poor Timothy underwent emergency surgery, with many assistants present.
Anyone who has been to Shipshewana before knows that this is their last opportunity to purchase things, as all businesses in town are closed on Sundays. Pat made our list, so we would make sure to hit all the shops prior to our departure Sunday morning.
First stop was the local bulk food store. Another stop at Rise 'n Roll for our final food purchases. Back to town and Yoders, Lolly's, and Rebecca's. We will be able to fit everything in the van. No furniture purchases this year.
One more pretzel at Jojo's. A strawberry shake at Wana Cup, then back to The Farmstead for a bit of sewing. Dinner tonight at Tiffany's in Topeka, followed by our daily jump in the hot tub. As what seems to happen every year, packing has commensed, machines have stopped humming, and quilting has been packed away. Wish we could stay another week, but life calls us home. Good night until we return to Minnesota. It has been a blast!
Days are going by fast here in Shipshewana. Today found us busy quilting, visiting Yoders again, and having dinner at Das Essenhaus one last time. I received a wonderful gift from my quilting friends, a blue and red batik Dear Jane quilt top. I was overwhelmed.
During show and tell in the evening, we presented many quilts to those that are special to us. One was for Rebecca Haarer, a full Dear Jane quilt. It was a complete surprise to her. She has been a part of our Shipshewana family for many years, and we appreciate all she does for the quilting community. Happy to be a part of that.
Yesterday was a full day, even with the rain that just wouldn't go away. Surprised at the number of buggies out and about. A little rain doesn't stop them, so why should it stop us?
Thursday morning we did sew a bit until the urge for a fabric fix hit us. Plus we were told that the quilt shop near Goshen, Calico Point, had the best prices. So of course, we headed half an hour southwest of Shipshe. Yes, they had great prices. No, they don't carry CW Repros. :-(( But I did find a couple batiks that could be used in quilts I am currently making. My first fabric purchase of the trip. That is good for me. I have already been in five other quilt shops without purchases, so like I said, I did good.
Because of our trip to Goshen, lunch was delayed until nearly 2pm. We stopped at the Rise 'n Roll Bakery again for a cup of amazing beef vegetable soup. Then back to sew a bit at the Farmstead.
Driving into town tonight, I tried taking a photo from the car of all the lights in town. It is decked out for the holidays. We had dinner at Lolly's. A first in all the years I have been attending this retreat. Another first was Kris' announcement at the dinner that we could select SIX fat quarters to take as a "thank you" for all our business over the years. What followed was an organized search through all their fat quarter bins in the store for the perfect free fabrics. Thank you Lolly's!
Sun looks like it is trying to peak through the clouds today. Wonder if we will be able to walk to Yoders today.
Raining here today in Shipshewana, but that isn't going to stop us. Already been to the Rise 'n Roll Bakery, which has relocated on Hwy 20 to Middlebury. Carmel cinnamon raised donuts have been consumed along with lots of samples of jams, pickles, and peanut brittle.
Then off to downtown Shipshewana and a visit to Yoders. Quilting department has been rearranged. Still able to find things, especially a fabric made by Thimbleberries specifically for the Shipshewana area.
Finally made it over to Rebecca's, Lolly's, and Jojo's. We will definitely be returning to all three. Home at The Farmstead Inn to relax before sewing begins. So nice and peaceful here. No large crowds. A nice change.
We are settled in our rooms at the Farmstead Inn in Shipshewana. Uneventful trip, no snow storms, no road construction. A real pleasure traveling with friends. Lunch at the Norske Nook in Osseo Wisconsin. Two quilt shop stops at The Quilt Yard in Osseo, and The Quilters General Store in Rockford Illinois. Tired but happy to be here.
Countdown starts. Seven days from tonight we will arrive in Shipshewana, Indiana for the Dear Jane retreat. Days, weeks, and months pass as we anticipate returning to this wonderful place. A time for connecting with distant friends, getting inspiration from all the quilts. Relaxing, shopping, and of course, eating Amish food. Pies, chicken, donuts, definitely not a time to diet.
Time to regenerate, get those quilting juices moving again, and focus on our craft. As we exit the interstate and head into town, the clip-clop of horses pulling buggies fills the air. What a wonderful, soothing sound. Time will pass quickly, another retreat will come to a close, and Rosemary's countdown to the next retreat will begin.