As you know by now, one of the things we do for our retreat is prepare gift bags that are placed on each bed before guests' arrival. Each is full of the fabulous goodies donated by our generous sponsors. There is always one extra which we offer here as a giveaway.
To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment here - on this post only - and we will choose a winner July 3rd. Here's the scoop:
Tammy at Wing and a Prayer Farm has become an integral highlight of our retreat weekend. She bakes for us, shares her farm, flowers and her handspun wools as well as cheers us on with every fiber of her dear heart. She made these fantastic little pincushions for each guest. How we love Tammy!
Pam Garrison designs and makes a multitude of beautiful things and is well known for her art journaling. She and Amy Hanna are leading an art journaling retreat in Italy this fall. There are spaces available still. I wish I could go! She gave our guests postcards, a darling stitchable sampler and a bouquet of posies.
Amy Hanna is a jewelry designer and author whose work has a timeless elegance. She incorporates vintage materials into each piece. We love these little charm bracelets she made for each of the guests. She is co-teaching with Pam on their Italian adventure this fall.
Jenni Bowlin is a designer and manufacturer of unusual, charming paper accessories for journaling, scrapbooking and crafting. We love this collection of ephemera she sent along. The ladies had so much fun using her graphic black and white vintage pieces in their handmade books.
Syd McCutcheon is a painter and master crafter living in California. For years, she has led a cooperative art center where she teaches painting and sells her work. She is leading a retreat to Oaxaca, Mexico this fall. (I want to go on that one too.) She made everyone little felt flower pins.
Sugartown Greetings is a division of Wild Valley Design, the family enterprise of Lindsey Smith. Her darling graphic cards are sweet, simple and super cute!
Maggie Natarelli of Raised by Design made a pair of geode magnets for each guest. We had a chuckle when a few ladies thought they were earrings. Wish I'd gotten a photo of that. Maggie is an up and coming designer, foodie, blogger and etsy seller. (And my daughter ♥. Love her. A lot.)
I made needlebook kits for the guest bags. Took all day for me to do it, but I finally got the nerve to cut up this old cutter quilt. It was the right thing to do and the kits have instructions and bits inside to make a creative folding needlebook.
Some of you asked in the last post what was Vermont Snow. Meleen made this yummy treat for each guest (I'm sorry there wasn't an extra for the giveaway - or for me). It's a pretzel dipping sauce with the flavors of Vermont maple syrup and more.
Our greatest thanks to the kind folks who help us make our guests happy. They were so delighted with everything and we appreciate your kindness so very, very much!
Like the two before, our spring getaway was completely wonderful. The prettiest weather we have had yet. Seems we have a rhythm to it now. The days and nights flow together in a sweet organic way, each one memorable for the little and big events.
We did so many things.
Making art in the art room, batiking on the porch, dyeing fabric in the yard. Eating, eating, eating and sipping coffee or wine as we got to know each other better. Afternoon adventures to the farm where Tammy shared her largest and littlest loves with us. We took turns holding Samson, the brave, sleepy kid. We watched Fred shear the sheep and tell his scruffy anecdotes of life on the road as a visiting shearer. Home again there was late night crafting in the art room, early-bird tag sales with John, day to night cooking with Meleen.
Looking at the image of Tammy's handmade nesting ball, it strikes me as a perfect metaphor for our cozy gathering. Fourteen different women contributed their own stories, skills, laughter. Each one brought something unique and lovely to the group and each one took away something cherished and new to weave into their lives at home.
It was fantastic. All of it - just so much fun.
And of course, there was always pie!
Next one is this fall: September 25-28. edit: We have added a second date/weekend. September 18-21.
Write to us at fallvermontgetaway(at)gmail.com to be on the contact list. I'll be back soon with a post about our generous sponsors and a giveaway!
We have another great group arriving from all over the country and we have LOTS of things to do and see. And eat. Dreaming of Meleen's home-cooking and Tammy's pies!
Inspired by spring and all the lush colors, we will be playing with batiks. Dye baths. Melted wax. Layered colors. The unexpected and experimental. I think everyone will enjoy the process.
I know I am!
Back soon with news and photos of all. Follow us on Instagram @housewrenstudio and the IG group pool is #meleenandcharlottesvermontgetaway. (I know - so, so long, but it will show all the different guests' posts too!)
Finally, I just have to tell you to go see this. Seriously, the very sweetest thing, in every way imaginable.
Spring inspires lots of stitching here. Some days, it's just pulling all the pieces out to see what I have finished. Other times, it's looking at the unfinished stack. There are always ideas for new designs. The brighter colors of the season outside make me want to pull out the thread. Or the pen.
I was lucky enough to be invited out to LA to teach at Kim Caldwell's Downton Affaire at the Biltmore Hotel. My class was a stitchable sampler themed to Downton Abbey.
The class kits included Cosmo thread which I adore and so do my students! Such glorious colors and texture in this outstanding collection of Egyptian cotton floss.
The event was one of the best I've ever attended. Kim did an amazing job with every thoughtful detail. Her attendees and teachers were treated royally start to finish. Mine was the first class of the first day and the ladies had to start stitching at 9 a.m. Although I feared there would be some concern about the stitchwork ahead first thing after breakfast, they actually found it relaxing and enjoyed stitching while getting to know each other. Just what we hoped for!
While out in California, I connected with friends and added a few days to the trip. So much fun and such great weather.
Back home again, the spring colors are even brighter. Everything is blooming and the sky changes color and mood all day long. The thistle feeder looks like a candy dish full of lemon drop goldfinches. It's grey skies cozy here today with soft rain. Good day for stitching or baking.
Wishing you all a very happy Mother's Day. It's my favorite day of the year. xo
Thanks for all the comments and entries for Marcie's felt pin kit. They were so interesting to read, to imagine all the backyards in different parts of the world. The winner is Susie Q thanks to Random Number Generator. I'll send the kit out to you!
Our spring retreat in Vermont is almost sold out. Just one spot left. Maybe it's yours! Please write to us at fallvermontgetaway[at]gmail.com and I'll send the info to you.
Here at home, I'm trying to do more sewing in the studio, cooking in the kitchen and wandering out in the world. Always something new to discover this time of year. The goldfinches are a thousand times more yellow today!
Before I say anything about this fantastic book, I should start by telling you that Marcie is my neighbor and friend. I've known her for several years and can't say enough about her engaged and intent spirit, generous, caring nature and all around adorableness. And I love her blog! I am so excited for her - for this opportunity to share her authentic point of view and knowledge though her first beautiful book. (I mean, watch that trailer about the book on her site! You'll see!)
The first time I met Marcie, she was with her two daughters. They were collecting materials for a nature craft they would later make together at home. Everyone in our village is accustomed to the site of Marcie and her girls walking through town, stopping to visit with everyone on the way, adding some found treasure to a basket of bits, inspecting a nearly bursting flowering tree branch, spying a new nest up high, sounding out a familiar birdsong. The delight in her everyday life is enthusiastically shared with all of us - something marvelous and inspiring to behold.
I'm honored to be the first stop on her blog book tour kicking off today with the launch of This Book Was A Tree. The full schedule is posted at the end of this post and also on the site. What a great endorsement and line-up of bloggers!
To the book then.
It's like taking that walk with her. Start to finish, Marcie talks the reader through a series of projects, thoughts and inventive ideas to help us explore the natural world we are surrounded by. Consider the everyday events occurring in our yards. Where does the chipmunk scurry to? How does a crow make and use tools? What am I listening for when the world gets very quiet? How can I make the natural world more relevant to my family? Given her background in science and art, she opens the secret door to knowing so much about who we are because we understand the natural world a little better. Dig in, find out!
There are instructions to make a terrarium, a seedbomb (!), a bee coop and a perpetual ecological calendar. Make a nature journal from an upcycled book, turn that old sweater into something pretty and hip. There are suggestions for any number of ways to engage our creative selves. A modern handbook for outdoor and personal adventuring.
For our winter Vermont retreat, Marcie generously made little felting kits and felted pins for each attendee. There was an extra kit with a finished pin which is offered here as a giveaway. Leave a comment about your favorite backyard critter or outdoor discovery. A winner will be chosen and I'll send it out next week.
“Marcie Cuff makes nature even more fun than the way you find it. This is a book about imagination and creativity—and getting dirty. The projects in This Book Was a Tree remind me of the dozens of ways we can all connect with the natural world on a daily basis. And since Marcie writes from the heart, you can just feel the satisfaction and even joy you’ll get from connecting a little bit more with the world around you. She has ideas that everyone can try alone or with friends or family. She’s going to make a lot of lives simpler, happier, and more plugged in to the world that’s all around us.” —David Yarnold, President and CEO of National Audubon Society
The end of winter is in sight although it doesn't feel like it today. It was 66 degrees two days ago. Today it's 20 something. C'mon, spring!
Meleen and I are figuring out the last details for our spring event. This time we'd like to explore the art and craft of batik dye-resist as the main focus of our crafting weekend. There will also be other crafts, a trip to the farm to visit Tammy and her lambs, adventures to town and the usual fantastic time sharing all that we do.
Oh - it will be spring tag sale season.
It's time for us to begin sign-ups for the spring getaway May 29 - Jun 1. We have a list gathering through our email address - fallvermontgetaway(at)gmail.com. Would you like to join us? Write to us there and we'll be in touch with details. Only 12 spots.
Click here and here for posts about the last two events- both sold-out weekends full of good times.
One of these days it's going to be spring. I swear it.
A bit of sunshine arrived yesterday in a new publication out of the UK called Hoop-La! Such a pretty magazine all about embroidery. I love the way my project feature looks inside.
I'm working on the stitched sample for this design. It should be in the shop in a week or so along with the other designs you have been asking for as well.
Like everyone this winter, I've been hibernating in a deep snowdrift for the past few weeks. Digging out slowly, but so very ready for sunshine and warmth. Daffodils, ranunculus and colored bits of thread certainly do what they can.