December 30, 2013
Itís almost New Yearís Eve -- and you know what that means? That means that the 2014 Alumni Winter Escape Retreat and the Alumni Addicts Day are now open for non-alum to register! If youíve never been before, well, youíve just got to come! Hereís a look at some of what took place at the 2013 Alumni Retreat!
And now, my friends, I leave you with these words of wisdom. Remember that friends donít let friends stitch drunk. Please stitch responsibly this New Yearís Eve, and may all your stitching dreams come true in 2014.
December 24, 2013
YAY! Itís Christmas Eve! And in our house we celebrate Christmas! All the presents are wrapped, goodies are made, and tomorrowís Christmas dinner is prepped.
Tonight Michael and I will be celebrating at a Christmas Eve Service at our church. Iíll be playing piano for a group of 2nd grade girls who will be singing ďWhat Child is This?Ē and playing other carols for the service. The church is beautifully decorated for this special occasion. There will be an inspirational message, and then we will join together in a large circle with candles. The room will be slightly darkened and a solemn hush will fill the sanctuary. From one candle, representing the Light of Christ come into the world, we then light each candle. When all candles are lit, we sing ďSilent NightĒ together. For us it is a beautiful tradition of reflecting on the true meaning of the holiday.
Afterwards, Michael and I are sure to spend time relaxing by the light of our Christmas tree listening to music, talking and reflecting. We really enjoy our tree. Many of the ornaments have special meaning for us, marking our 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. Christmas together. There are ornaments from places we have visited. There are 4 new Disney ornaments purchased during our trip this month to Disney World -- oh, boy -- what fun we had! We each have some ornaments handed down from family. And then...well...we probably have some of the oddest ones youíve ever seen! LOL!
We also have a creche made by my mother on display. It is just about the same age as I am, and is greatly treasured by me. She used to own a kiln and so she fired these herself and painted them.
Just before bedtime we sneak away to fill each otherís stockings, and then off to bed we go.
On Christmas morning we open our stockings while still in bed. For breakfast we have a traditional Maple Danish that I make, along with chunks of cheddar cheese and steaming coffee. Then we dive into our presents.
Family and friends will begin arriving before noon and weíll have a delicious dinner with yummy desserts, followed by presents for the children. The adults usually give baked goods to each other, and then we settle around the fireplace and talk, play games, watch old movies, and just enjoy each otherís company before each family group heads for home.
This year our gathering is a little smaller, since we have had to say goodbye to my much-loved father. Missing him is a reminder to love and appreciate those we do still have with us all the more. I guess itís a way of feeling like they are still with us.
The older we get the more we find our memories are sometimes bittersweet. We have now lost the older generation that once hosted these festivities and loved and cared for us in so many ways. We miss them, but we also canít help smiling as we remember their endearing qualities and recall funny stories about them. Just thinking of our Christmas Eve Service reminds me of last year at this event when my Dad, who was profoundly deaf, belted out each Christmas carol in his funny tone deaf way, much to our amusement! And this picture of Dad, Michael and me will forever bring a smile to my face!
As we remember each loved one that has now passed, itís a bit like getting a hug from them as we recall the part they played in our lives. We are thankful and appreciate all that they have meant to us over the years and all the many things they have done for us. And now Michael and I are the older generation! We are not sure how that crept up on us, but it did! We hope that the younger generations will have fond memories of us one day and enjoy many laughs at our expense!
Whatever holidays you celebrate this season, I wish you and yours the very best and merriest ever.
May your stitches be perfect and plentiful in 2014!
November 26, 2013
Thanksgiving is right around the corner now, and as I think of the many things I am thankful for this year, I think of the wonderful retreats and all the great stitchers I have come to know through them! We have learned so much together and had so much fun! In February we had the Alumni Retreat and two days and nights of stitching, in July Jeannette Douglas taught us how to do her beautiful Patriotic Sampler, and in October Thea Dueck taught her Mystic Christmas Sampler at two back-to-back retreats. Our times together are a treasured sweet memory.
The 2013 attendees were blessed by generous donations from123 Stitch, A Sweet Stitch, Bush Mountain Stitchery, Calico Crossroads, Celebration of Needlework, Chrisís Collection, DMC, Elizabethís Designs, Giulia Punti Antichi, Glory Bee, JBW Designs, Jeannette Douglas Designs, Kreinik, Lavendar Wings, Morning Glory Needleworks, Nordic Needle, Praiseworthy Stitches, Rosewood Manor, Stitchy Kitty, Tempting Tangles, The Prairie Schooler, ThreadworX, Trail Creek Farm, Udder Cream, Victoria Sampler, Weeks Dye Works, With My Needle, and two friends of Stitcherís Hideaway, Karen Capello and Denise McLoughlin. Thank you all so much! You are truly appreciated!
This year we lost my wonderful Dad, but even in that sad loss there is so very much to be thankful for. He will be very much missed, especially during the holidays, but we are very thankful for his life and all he meant to us and to so many others. I am thankful also for the many stitching friends that rallied around me during that time of loss. You warmed my heart even while it was breaking, and helped it to mend.
Every Thanksgiving morning in our Town of Manchester, CT, the 5K Manchester Road Race takes place. It attracts huge numbers (over 15,000 runners this year). Because my Dad volunteered at the road race for many years, they are dedicating the race in his memory, and also in memory of Dr. Ed Kelly, who I also knew from when he was a professor at the UConn School of Pharmacy. They each have banners with their pictures hanging up on Main Street. My Dadís banner is across the street from the former Watkins Brothers Furniture store that he owned and managed for 35 years, and from Manchester Hardware where he worked for about 20 years. Dad was very well known in town. Here is a write up about him:
R. BRUCE WATKINS
The Manchester Road Race lost a dear friend and staunch supporter on August 4, 2013 when long-time volunteer R. Bruce Watkins died.
Watkins, 91, volunteered at the road race from 1946 through 1990 and served as one of its primary timers for 18 years. A graduate of Manchester High School and Tufts University, where he was on the track and football teams, Watkins served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. He won two Silver Star medals and a Purple Heart for his heroism during combat in the South Pacific Theater.
After the war Watkins returned to Manchester where he owned and operated two businesses and was very active in civic affairs. He played an instrumental role in the road raceís reorganization after World War II and assisted by timing the race or tabulating results every Thanksgiving for more than half a century. He served as the honorary chairperson at the 1985 Manchester Road Race.
ďBruce Watkins was one of those quiet but exceptionally diligent workers who kept the Manchester Road Race going every Thanksgiving Day for decades, ďsaid Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee. ďWe mourn his passing, but we are extremely grateful for everything he did for the road race.Ē
So, as a result of this dedication to my father, our Thanksgiving morning will be quite different this year! We will be at the Start/Finish line in some sort of VIP trailer. How exciting! You can just imagine that with over 15,000 runners it is quite an event! When the signal is given and the runners take off, it is a sea of bobbing heads for block after block - as far as your eyes can see and farther! The serious runners are always at the front. Itís amazing to me, but the ones that return first -- after running FIVE MILES -- make it back in about 20 minutes!
After the race my family will be coming to our house for a delicious Thanksgiving Dinner. Today I made our traditional Corn Pudding Casserole, Sweet Potato (Yams) & Apple Casserole, and 2 loaves of Pumpkin Bread. Tomorrow my husband will be making his own recipe of fantastic stuffing and will be preparing the bird. Heíll be making up mashed potatoes, too. Right after the bird comes out Iíll be roasting some asparagus in the oven, seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. Others are bringing pies and other goodies. I sure am looking forward to this Thanksgiving Day!
I wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving filled with warm thoughts of the many things you are each thankful for!
November 2, 2013
We had an absolutely fantastic time at the two Stitcherís Hideaway retreats in Mystic, CT in October! WOW!!!!!! We learned so much from instructor Thea Dueck! You should just see how awesome we did on our stitching!! I think Iím so cool now because Iíve mastered Doves Eyes -- ha-ha!
And look who visited us at our Christmas Theme Retreat! And what a jolly old elf he was!
We had wonderful doorprizes and Fun Pack goodies from 123 Stitch, A Sweet Stitch, Bush Mountain Stitchery & Framing, Chrisís Collection, DMC, Elizabethís Designs, Glory Bee, Guilia Punti Antichi, Jeannette Douglas Designs, Kreinik, Lavender Wings, Nordic Needle, Praiseworthy Stitches, Rosewood Manor, Tempting Tangles, The Prairie Schooler, ThreadworX, Udder Cream, Victoria Sampler, With My Needle, and two friends of Stitcherís Hideaway: Denise McLoughlin and Karen Cappello. A big thank you to each of you!
Show Ďn Tell was fabulous! Cynthia finished her Patriotic Sampler from the Sturbridge 2013 retreat!
Our ornament exchange was great! We saw a lot of creativity!
Iíll be sharing much more about the two Mystic Retreats in future Fun Reports.
And now....letís get on to the big news of the day! I have just opened up registration for the Stitcherís Hideaway Alumni Winter Escape (February 20-21, 2014) -- along with an additional day of stitching for Alumni Addicts (February 19) who just canít get enough!! Woo-hoo!!! Itís going to be held at the Publick House in Sturbridge, MA this year so that we will have loads of extra room. Iím looking forward to it so much! Oh - and registration is open first to Stitcherís Hideaway Alum until January 1, 2014, and then if there are still openings it will be open to first-timers.
I hope you can join us in February!
September 6, 2013
I am very busy right now getting things ready for the two Mystic retreats! We are going to have so much fun!!!!! We have a Christmas theme for these retreats and instructor Thea Dueck of Victoria Sampler has designed her gorgeous Mystic Christmas Sampler for us. What a great way to get a start on the holidays!
If you have been gnashing your teeth because you missed registration for the Mystic One retreat, I have good news for you. I have some late openings! Contact me right away if youíre interested. Also, there are still some openings in the Mystic Two retreat. Donít miss out!!
Chris of Chrisís Collection, who has provided stash enhancement at so many Stitcherís Hideaway Retreats, has made the decision to retire! WOW! Iím happy for her, but will certainly miss her at the retreats. The great news is that she will still be setting up shop at the Mystic One and Mystic Two retreats coming up in October and will have great sales for us!
Iíve been working on plans for the Stitcherís Hideaway Alumni Winter Escape Retreat. This year it will be held at the Publick House in Sturbridge, MA where we will have a lot more room. This will mean we can have more people Ė so plan on inviting your stitching buddies! Also, at the request of many of the alum, Iíve added an optional third day for us to stitch our fingers off. The retreat will be held Wednesday-Friday, February 19-21, so mark your calendars! Iím still working out details but hope to open registration on October 1. I have not yet posted any further information on this retreat on this website, but will soon.
And YES Ė we WILL have stash enhancement at the Alumni Winter Escape! Maeann and Gary from Bush Mountain Stitchery will be setting up a fantastic shop for us! Woo-hoo!!
See you at a retreat!
September 4, 2013
Hello, my friends -
Iím sorry to be sharing some sad news, but my dear old Dad that I have written about so many times and who many of you met at retreats, passed away on August 4th. He had some serious bouts with illness since I last wrote and I was very busy helping him through them. He was on Hospice because he had some underlying medical conditions that could have ended his life, but in the end it was not those conditions that led to his passing. We instead woke up to the sound of him falling down a flight of stairs in the middle of the night. His injuries were not survivable, and he passed away the following evening. Surprisingly, he had very little pain.
I promised Dad long ago that I would always be honest with him, no matter how hard the truth might be. And so I went to him and told him that he was in the hospital, that he fell down the stairs, and that he badly damaged himself. He understood his situation. He was not in pain or afraid. He said to me, ďThank you. Youíve always been so good to me.Ē A short time later I heard him praying, ďThank you. In Jesusí Name, Amen. In Jesusí Name, Amen.Ē Those were his very last words. They were a heartfelt ďSo Be ItĒ at the end of a life well lived.
When word got out about his death, we were contacted by the U.S. Marines about providing a full military graveside service in his honor. I had expected the flag ceremony, taps, and gun salute, but what I wasnít expecting was the presence of a riderless horse, an honor that is reserved for fallen leaders. I canít say how much this touched me. My Dad was a true WW II hero. His military service shaped not only his life, but that of his entire family and so many others that had the pleasure of knowing him.
And so, my friends, I have entered into another chapter of my life Ė life without Dad. We were his caregivers for four years and now my husband and I are adjusting and slowly figuring out what our new normal will be. This is why I have been rather absent here in the News Room, and Iím sure you can understand. His sudden passing was a shock to us. But now we are focusing on moving ahead with our lives and making them good ones, just as Dad wanted for us. He had set a wonderful example of how to live a good life, and we learned so very much from him. I will always be thankful for my wonderful Dad.
April 4, 2013
Iím so excited to tell you that I have enough registered already for Mystic Two to definitely hold the retreat!
In addition, some stitchers are switching over from Mystic One to Mystic Two to join some friends, so that means I currently have 2 openings for Mystic One. There are 2 more stitchers willing to switch to Mystic Two in case there are some more who can only attend on the dates of Mystic One.
Also, I have just posted the Fun Report for last Octoberís Spooky Retreat! Sure took me long enough, huh? LOL! I was thinking about it tonight and realized that right after that retreat we got hit with Storm Sandy, my Dad had surgery and went through a really tough time of recovery and Iím his caregiver, then the holidays hit, then I got laid up for weeks with an illness, and then suddenly I was running the Alumni Retreat in February! No wonder Iíve been feeling like Iím continually playing catch up! Now I need to quickly get to work on the Fun Report for the Alumni Retreat before anything else crazy happens!!
Iím so happy that so many of you will be able to attend the Sturbridge and Mystic retreats this year! What great opportunities to take classes with such excellent designers and instructors!!
See you at a retreat soon!
March 15, 2013
How exciting!! I opened registration for the Mystic One Retreat on March 1 and it is already completely filled!!
Fortunately, Thea has agreed to teach a second retreat on Monday & Tuesday, October 21-22. As long as there are at least 15 that register for MYSTIC TWO weíll do it! Registration has now officially begun for Mystic Two!
If you are only able to attend Mystic One, let me know and I will add you to a wait list. Once I have the minimum needed for Mystic Two, I will see if any in Mystic One can switch to Mystic Two to allow some of those on the wait list to get into Mystic One. Right now I know of 3 that would be willing and able to switch from One to Two.
Also, registrations have been coming in for the Sturbridge Retreat with Jeannette Douglas as instructor of her wonderful Patriotic Sampler! The classroom at the Publick House can hold many more than at Mystic, so at this moment there is still room for more to attend. Donít miss out on this wonderful opportunity!! Itís a perfect time to take in some of the fun events going on during that week in the area.
See you at a retreat soon!
March 1, 2013
The Stitcherís Hideaway Alumni Winter Escape Retreat was last weekend and it was a blast! We shopped and stitched and ate and laughed for 2 days and nights! LOL! Iíll be working on some photos of our time together to share with you soon. What a great start to this yearís Stitcherís Hideaway Retreats! And what a year itís going to be!
Registrations have been coming in for the Sturbridge Retreat and they are from very excited stitchers who canít wait to spend 2 days with Jeannette Douglas working on the Patriotic Sampler! We are going to have a great time!! There are still some openings, so join us if you can!
I have great news! Iíve just posted information about the October 18-19 Mystic Retreat, including a photo of the class project! Instructor Thea Dueck of Victoria Sampler has outdone herself with a design in keeping with this Christmas-themed retreat: Mystic Christmas Sampler. LOVE it! My plan is to open registration on Saturday, March 9th, so get ready!
See you at a retreat soon!
January 12, 2013!
Itís been very exciting to see registrations come in for the Sturbridge 2013 Retreat! There are quite a few newbies attending, and a number of the attendees are traveling long distances to get in on the fun! Iím not surprised -- itís a fantastic project and a great time of year to make the trip and enjoy the area.
Jeannette Douglas has sent me a photo of the framed Sturbridge Retreat project -- Her Patriotic Sampler. She has a wonderful framer!
At the request of attendees, at this retreat weíll also be having an optional stitching exchange with a Patriotic Theme! Those who would like to participate will stitch something patriotic and finish it as an ornament, pincushion, fob, framed piece, etc. Participants will gift wrap their patriotic stitching to exchange with others.
In other news, the Alumni Winter Escape Retreat filled up very quickly after my last email and there is now a Wait List of people hoping to get in. Iím looking forward to this reteat SO much. I am fighting the urge to start packing NOW! LOL!
Itís so nice to see everyone in the middle of what can sometimes be a very long winter. There are 7 non-alum joining us this time and Iím looking forward to meeting each of them! One of them wrote and asked if it was true that they could stitch in their pajamas -- oh, yes! Bring it on if you dare! The hotel is used to us!
I still smile whenever I think of the first Winter Escape Retreat. A big snowstorm came in the night before, but we all arrived the night before and were snuggled in safely at the hotel. It snowed like crazy and the hotel was practically deserted. We had the place pretty much to ourselves. As we stitched we could see the snow continuing to fall outside the classroom window. The food was all brought in for us and we were just so snug and happy stitching our fingers off for 2 whole days! Sweet!
Now that the holidays are over, Iím throwing myself into catching up on some of my WIPs (works in progress). Hereís hoping I get a lot done!
See you at a retreat!
January 1, 2013!
Happy New Year to all!
What better way to begin the New Year then to open registration for the Sturbridge 2013 retreat! Jeannette Douglas has designed a wonderful patriotic piece for us. LOVE it!
There are some great events taking place before and after the Sturbridge Retreat so be sure to read about them on this link. You just might want to add a few days to your away time to take everything in!
As of this morning, there are just 4 openings left for the Alumni Retreat in Mystic, CT on February 22-23, 2013 -- and as of today Iím officially opening it up to non-alum. Come get in on the fun!
Hereís to a wonderful New Year full of stitching adventures!
Read 2012 News Letters