Oct 30, 2013

PALS Stitching at the Beach - Part Four

Ooops.  I know I said Part Three was the last installment, but I forgot a few things.  So here goes...

#1  -  This card was in our hotel room.  Notice the part I highlighted?

We threw the towels on the floor for the maid to take.  For two days, dirty towels laid on the floor where we left them.  Having worked in the hotel industry for six years, I was disappointed in the maid service we received.
#2  -  Three times I had to go to the front desk to get a key card that worked.  Granted, the first time was my fault, sort of.  I didn't know you couldn't put the key card and cell phone next to each other.  The phone affects the magnetic strip.  The third time the card didn't work, I walked across the parking lot to the front desk shoeless (because I originally walked out of the room without shoes to run down to the conference room to get my camera).  They gave me a new key and said if it didn't work to call them from the elevator.  Guess what?  Had to call them from the elevator.  A maintenance guy came with a master card to let me in.  Apparently, he didn't believe me the key didn't work because he insisted on trying it for himself.  Do you think he brought me another card?  No.  He offered after he opened the door, but I said I'd get a new one in the morning.  Did I mention it was almost midnight?  I was tired and irritated by that point.  I mean, really?  Three times cards didn't work?
There were quite a few designers at the retreat.  They shared the conference room with us stitchers.  This was part of Praiseworthy Stitches booth:


Other designers and shops included Hands On Design, Summer House Stitche Works, Dixie Darlin/Foxwood Crossings, Down Sunshine Lane (of course!), and a couple others I can't remember.

I had some good conversations with Cathy at Hands On Designs.  We talked finishing ideas.  I received her Fall ornament in the exchange.  She designed the cutest ornament in celebration of the retreat.  It came with little turtle and seashell charms.

I debated on getting the Simple Gifts-Courage sampler by Praiseworthy Stitches.  In the end, I gave in.  I kept looking at the display piece and I couldn't resist.  I also got Snow Pals.  I thought it would come in handy for an ornament exchange.

The Eggstraordinary Egg kit came free with the above purchases.  It comes with everything needed to make a needlebook, pincushion, and scissor fob.  The chick is an ort container!

Foxwood Crossings had a lot of wonderful designs.  I bet I looked at her table displays three different times.  (If truth be known, I admired the Praiseworthy Stitches table just as often)  I walked away with several Foxwood designs.

They had an entire little tree covered in sled ornaments.  So cute!  There are nine different designs.  I loved the Sled Friends.  The little penguin is adorable.

There were a couple of tables set up for stitchers to bring stitching stuff they no longer wanted and other stitchers could help themselves.  I brought home a few things from there, too.

Never be the last one to enter the room as the group photo is to be taken.  A lot of fingers pointed at me and naughty "boo" was directed my way, lol.

Do you remember Flat Stanley from grade school?  My college alumni association has their version of Flat Stanley.  His name is Scooter.  Alumnists are encouraged to take photos of themselves with Scooter and send them in for the alumnist magazine.  This was my first photo op with Scooter.


Before the retreat I had a finish, but couldn't show it.  That's because it was a belated birthday gift for my PALS roommate, Sue.  I was really happy to have finally met her and Laura.  Sue loves owls, so I made her a trifold sewing book:

Designer:  Kinkavel Krosses
Fabric: 18ct Fiddlers Aida
Floss: DMC
Okay!  I'm really finished with my retreat updates this time.  Thanks for following along. :)  As you can tell, I had a really good time.

Oct 29, 2013

PALS Stitching at the Beach - Part Three

Okay, okay!  The "Stitching at the Beach" part is finally here.  :) 

Over 100 ladies from all over the U.S. temporarily emigrated to Myrtle Beach, SC for a few days of stitching, laughing, and comaraderie. There were even ladies who came from Scotland and Canada.

I had the pleasure of meeting Sue and Laura.  I've "known" Sue online for years so it was great to finally meet her face-to-face.  Both were awesome roommates, too.  I met Katie a few years ago at another retreat.  It was *so* great to see her again.

Sue, Laura, Me, and Katie
Another person I met for the first time is Shelleen.  She was the first person to comment on my blog when I started it eight years ago.

I participated in three of the exchanges.  If you ever go to the PALS Stitching at the Beach retreat, you definitely need to participate.  It is so much fun!  The Fall and Halloween exchanges were held on Thursday night.  Here's the piece ornament I received from Cathy in the Fall Exchange:

The ornament I stitched for the exchange can be seen HERE.

The most fun exchange was held on Friday night:  The Grab Bag Exchange.  Participants were required to bring a "grab bag" of stitching goodies (needles, floss, accessories, fabrics, beads, etc. but not patterns or kits) worth $25.  The cost of the container was not to be included in the $25 requirement.  Many ladies went way above and beyond the requirement.

All the grab bags were placed on long tables where participants could peruse.  The exchange itself was done like a dirty Santa exchange where you could steal someone else's "grab bag".  We couldn't look inside so stealing was based on how what the grab bag looked like.  There was a nice wood sewing box that lots of ladies wanted, including myself.  I had no idea how I would get it home on the plane, but it sure was fun stealing it from other people, lol.  It ended up being the most stolen bag of the night.

Remember this?

I stitched it for the grab bag exchange and filled it with all sorts of stitchy goodness.  Of all the grab bags, mine was voted as the "Most Creative".  Believe it or not, the judges were men.  I was totally surprised, considering there were many creative grab bags.  I received a prize, too!  I picked this gorgeous fabric and gift card as my prize.

As I mentioned, the sewing box grab bag was so popular.  I was so close to "winning" it but at the last moment, someone stole it from me and I was left with the remaining grab bag on the table. 

Meet "Broomhilda"!

She was a pinata filled with stitchy goodness beyond belief.  I joked that it was the bag that kept on giving, lol.  Here's what she was filled with:

Laurie in NY came up with this creative grab bag idea.  Thank you again, Laurie!  Those M&M's are white chocolate candy corn flavored.  They really do taste like candy corn!  Incidentally, Laurie and I were stealing the sewing box from each other several times before someone else ended up with it, LOL.

The Christmas Ornament Exchange was held on the last night of the retreat.  Participants could stitch as many ornaments for the exchange as they wanted.  Some ladies stitched 10-12 ornaments!  That meant they went home with the same amount of ornaments.

I only took one: 

When it was my turn to choose an ornament, I chose the one Katie stitched.  She did a great job of finishing it, too.  (Thanks again, Katie!)

I took several projects to stitch at the retreat.  Ya know.... It would make sense that a lot of stitching would get done at a retreat. Right?  With every retreat I've been to, I never get as much done as I originally thought I would. Too much socializing?  Nah...

I spent the bulk of my stitching time working on Japanese Garden.  I almost have the third stork finished.  The over-one stitching takes forever.

Even though the Thinking Positive started a couple months ago, I kitted it up and saved it to start at the retreat.  While sitting at the airport for three hours, I almost finished Part One.  I decided to change the colors of the lettering which is why I didn't finish it.

Laura worked on her Lizzie Kate piece.  By the end of the retreat, she had it almost finished.
Sue started a new project, Peridot Fairy.  The fabric is more of a mottled black/gray, but looks blue in the photo. 
Does it count as a retreat finish if I finished it on the bus trip home?  I probably would've finished this when I was still in Myrtle Beach, but....  I had to frog everything I stitched during my airport layover on the way to the beach.  When I sorted the colors, I what I thought was "gold" was actually "light brown" and vice versa.  I had most of the face stitched when I realized it.  Rarely do I like how the backstitching is on the little ornament kits, so I changed it.
Original Kit Design

My Version
Fabric:  18ct Seafoam Green Aida
Fibers: Unknown Cotton
Designer: NMI Needlemagic Inc
As we all know, the fabric that comes with the kit is very tiny.  I swapped it out with a larger piece of seafoam green fabric (it looks white in the photo, though).
That concludes my series on the PALS Stitching at the Beach retreat.  If you've never been to one, I highly recommend it.

Oct 27, 2013

PALS Stitching at the Beach - Part Two

Since I had never traveled to the East coast or to South Carolina, I wanted to do a little siteseeing.  I decided on a couple of excursions.  When I was young, every week my family would watch the TV Show, Ripley's Believe It Or Not.  In Myrtle Beach, there is a Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum.  I thought it would be fun to go.

Considering how big the building looks from the outside, I thought there would be more exhibits than there was.  For the price, I was disappointed.  However, there were a few neat exhibits.
HUGE Transformer 
Dog made out of nuts an bolts.
Portrait of Lucille Ball made of puzzle pieces. 
Thor and Ironman Exhibit

There were other exhibits but they weren't that interesting.  Honestly, I've been to better museums than this one.

The second excursion I went on was a Jeep Safari Tour.  "Safari" is a bit misleading, lol.  It was a 3 hour tour and during the jeep ride, the theme song to Gilligan's Island ran through my head.

First, we drove through Murrells Inlet which is where Blackbeard lived.  The tour guide told us stories about pirates that hid in the area while they looted the ships that traveled along the shorelines of South Carolina.

Next, was a drive to Huntington Beach State Park. After the death of Anna Hyatt Huntington, the land the park sits on was donated on the condition it would become and remain a state park. after the death of Anna Hyatt Huntington.  Anna's husband, Archer was a noted scholar of Spanish culture.  He built Atalaya for Anna as a wedding gift.  The castle is now a national historic landmark.  It's too bad the tour guide didn't take us to it.  We only saw it from a distance.

The park is home to several bird species and other wildlife.  The tour was lucky enough to spot a few alligators.  Could you imagine walking upon this guy?

At the park, we were able to get out and stretch our legs.  Despite the overcast skies, the beach was beautiful.

We then drove to a true southern plantation (now an inn and golf course).  The land still has miles of rice fields, slave quarters, and the "big house".

Remember the oak lined driveway of the southern planatation?  We drove in and out on one of those oak lined driveways.  Just like in "Gone With the Wind."

From there, we went to Pawley's Island.  Apparently, South Carolina gets very hot and humid in the summer.  Back in the day, residents would leave the main land and go to Pauley's Island because it was cooler there.

This was a church built for the Gullah slaves.  The Gullah people are the descendants of the slaves who worked on the rice plantations in South Carolina and Georgia. They still live in rural communities in the coastal region and on the sea islands of those two states, and they still retain many elements of African language and culture.

Plantation owners would come from the rice fields to these "gazebos" on their boats.  The gazebos sit across the road from the island homes.

The most interesting part of the tour was the trip to All Saints Episcopal Church. 

All Saints’ Episcopal Church was one of the most significant Episcopal churches in the South Carolina lowcountry in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Its first congregation was formed in 1739, and the church has been located at this site since then.  The tour guide told us there is someone from every war the U.S. has been involved in is buried there.  He showed us the grave site of a Revolutionary War soldier.

The cemetery dating from 1822 is located primarily to the south and west of the church. The majority of the monuments are simple slab steles sculpted in either marble or granite but the graveyard also includes table-top tombs and sculptural monuments.

The above grave marker is called a cradle grave.  Cradle gravestones frame the plot and look much like a cradle without the legs, which is how they get their name.  One end is larger and more prominent, like a headboard and the other end smaller, resembling more of a footboard.  Most of the time, these type of markers were used for children.
The most interesting resident of the cemetery was Alice Flagg.  The tour guide told us her ghost often appears in the cemetary and people have sworn they have seen her apparition.  Raised in South Carolina aristocracy, she was expected to marry someone of the same calibur.  She fell in love with a commoner and seemingly died of a broken heart.  Her brother had her buried beneath a headstone with just her first name because he was furious that she had disgraced the family.
A complete account of the entire store can be seen HERE.
That concludes my excursions of the area.  Part Three will be coming soon!