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.


Vickie said...

Wow! Such gifts!! Fabulous.

Anonymous said...

Hi Meari,

Sounds like everyone had a good time and of course that is why this retreat is sooo popular here on the coast. Your grab bag was interesting and really had tons of goodies in it.

Dee in TN

Melissa said...

A VERY successful retreat for sure!!! One day I'll get there :)

Denise SA said...

Looks like you had a fabulous time lovely exchanges

Katie said...

You mean stitching happened too? LOL Great pictures! It was so nice to see you again. We've been stalkers oh I mean friends online for so long. I agree I love the exchanges too.

Vicky L said...

What a great retreat! Wonderful gifts! Your grab bag you received was very different and unique. WoW! Alot of people at the retreat and from Scotland too!
Great start on your Happiness piece. I am working on part 2 this week, since part 3 will be coming out I think on Friday. I would love to attend to one of these retreats someday.

cucki said...

Wow so much fun and very pretty gifts..
Love x

Mylene said...

A great post Meari!
Thanks for sharing all the pics, looks like all had fun at the retreat!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good time was had by all. Nice grab bag too and that stuffed witch really was stuffed, indeed!

Thanks for the updates and pics, really did enjoy them.

Chris G

Faith... said...

Looks like lots of fun! What a cute grab bag you made and what an awesome pinata you received! Broomhilda certainly was stuffed full! Cute finish.

Anonymous said...

That looks like a TON of fun! I may have to join you next year. :)

Karin in MA

Shelleen said...

I was so glad that you went this year and we finally got to meet.

Anonymous said...


You do make it sound like a fun time!

Donna in TN
where it is foggy this morning

Kay said...

Love all the photos!!! Looks like it was a great time! Love the finishes and exchanges as well!

Chris said...

Such great fun and friends! Your exchange and bag are fabulous. Sigh... I need a stitchy getaway....

Anonymous said...

I decided to wait to read all three parts together...lol

What a fantastic sounding retreat. Your pictures are wonderful, Meari. Thanks for sharing your weekend.

Sandy in NM

Berly said...

Wow, great retreat!!!

Anonymous said...

Your retreat sounds great, and it seems to be a lot of fun and a great way to meet some of the stitchers from on line.


MaryT said...

Meari really great update maybe one of these years I'll get to do the retreat:) I love the ornaments especially the little snowman.

Mary Louise in IN

Carol said...

I really felt like I was right there with you, Meari--great report on the retreat along with great photos :) Sorry you didn't get the box, but the witch was filled with lots of wonderful goodies! Enjoy :)

Bette said...

sounds like you had a wonderful time. Makes me want to go next year.

Kathy Bradford said...

I was so sad I didn't get to gothis year and meet you SO that meand I will be well next year and you have to come again so i can meet you in person

Anonymous said...


That seems to have been a wonderful stitching getaway!



Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great time was had by all that had gone to the retreat.

Such lovely prizes and exchanges.


Anonymous said...

Sure enjoyed reading your blog Meari, sounds wonderful. I have never been to a stitching retreat, maybe some day:) Really cute ornament exchanges also!

Jennifer M

Natasha said...

WOW! thank you for your awesome posts on the Retreat. I sure enjoyed reading your account of the retreat.

I was there as a newbie this year
and I was kind of sad I did not take part in the exchnages. I did go up and look at the Grab Bag table to see all the lovely "bags" and yours was the first one I spotted. I loved the fact that you took the time to stitch something on the bag, it made it even more personalized :)

Next year I will surley take part in all the exchanges. I was seated next to you the whole time well a few chairs down.

Have a great day!!

Pam in IL said...

All I can say is WOW, what a wonderful retreat! So much fun and beautiful stitching. I love the changes you made the little ornament.

glenda said...

Holy cow! Such amazing fun. I hope to be able to attend something similar in my lifetime :) So glad you got to go! The stitching, people, gifts, exchanges...all sound wonderful!