Friday, April 18, 2008

Ranch Respite

I am back after several peaceful days at my quilting retreat at the Bishop's Ranch. Actually, I was back home every day, opting as I do to attend as a "day tripper" so I can attend to family matters and appease a bit of guilt for the pure fun I have along the way! As always, the time at the ranch was fun and inspirational and filled with laughter and friendship.

Our group was lucky enough to be one of the first to set foot in a brand new pavilion which is large enough to house all of us retreat-goers in one big room. It was lovely, with lots of light and space and many windows with glorious vineyard views. The photo above shows the view out the window near me....Lovely, yes?

Once again, the absolutely best part of the retreat was spending time with such wonderful women. I love getting the time to spend with some of my favorite people, and this time I had the great fortune to get to know several really fun and interesting newcomers -- two of whom were children's librarians in their former lives. Plenty of book talk ensued!

I took tons of pictures, which I've not even had a chance to sort out. But I wanted to share my contribution to our challenge. We revealed our challenge quilts a few nights into the retreat, and what a great time we had! There were about 15 participants, and each quilt was wonderful and remarkably different from the others.

My contribution brought down the house, I'm pleased to report. I introduced my piece by saying that I'd tried to capture the spirit of sisterhood and camraderie and bonding that we developed at each retreat, and to do that I'd chosen to illustrate something that we all appreciated. And then I revealed this:

For the sake of the newcomers, I described how last April we watched from the dining room at each mealtime as construction guys worked on roofing the pavilion, then under construction. There was one fellow who seemed to preen for us all thru lunchtime. There was one lunch in particular when all the kitchen workers came out into the dining room to see what the hysterical laughter was all about!

For the challenge, we were all required to use the pink/red Kaffe Fassett floral print (doesn't it make a great Botticelli-like shell from which David can rise?) and the green stripey hillside fabric. I also pointed out that my piece incorporated an unusual element -- I used magnets sewn between the layers of fabric so that David's shorts could be removed for a peek at the fellow in all his -- ahem -- glory.

You can imagine the catcalls. David now resides in the Ranch kitchen, to keep the dedicated kitchen staff company. I figured that this was such an inside Ranch joke and I wouldn't be exhibiting him elsewhere -- so he stayed behind to entertain the folks who feed us so well each time we're there. They were all vastly amused and hugely pleased to gain custody of him.

Yes, I sewed. I got most of the way through a kind of complicated pieced quilt using the Dolly Madison star quilt block, for a quilt I will call "A Woman in the White House."

But now I'm in a whirlwind of cleaning and laundry and packing as I prepare to chaperone C's 6th grade class on a field trip to Yosemite this week. I am very much looking forward to it. It'll be quiet here next week, so you'll know I'm hiking and taking pictures and herding 6th graders.

Meanwhile, I'll leave you with another peaceful ranch view.


  1. I love your quilt!!! Inside jokes are so fun and this one seems perfect for the location and last year's experience. I'm sure it will bring joy to the Ranch for years to come. :-)

  2. You're such a wild woman! And a brilliant one at that! the magnet in the shorts! My morning is starting out on the right foot!

  3. Your David quilt is simply marvelous. The flower shell, the hard hat, the magnet... Perfect.
    How nice of you to leave him in the kitchen in celebration of sisterhood.

  4. This is hysterical. So glad you left it for the staff to enjoy. I so miss this retreat.

  5. I bet that kitchen staff loves you!

  6. Am I guessing it is now displayed permanently sans shorts?! Brilliant idea.