Sunday, January 19, 2014

Loon Lake

 Loon Lake 2013.   The credit for this photo goes to Dianne - it is from Instagram

In November I was able to go to my annual quilting retreat at Loon Lake.  This is one of my favourite quilting get aways!  Although I have another little get away with my quilting peeps in the early spring where a very small group of us go to Mayne Island - MIR. But that is another post.

The Loon Lake retreat is run and organized by Krista - of Poppyprints fame. She has been organizing this retreat as well as the day long QBTB retreats for a number of years. And I have been lucky enough to have been going to her retreats almost as long as she has been doing them - but not quite!   Krista's retreat organizing skills are amazing! 

Interestingly enough I was first introduced to Krista's retreats by my husband!  Of course!   Jim was driving back from the village store one Saturday afternoon and he saw a sign at the village hall that said Quilting Retreat.  He - of course - parked the car - walked into the hall and said "My wife is a quilter". Haha. So the ladies at the retreat said - tell her to come up and say hello!  So Jim rushed home and told me I had to go up to the hall and see the quilters!  So off I went and I discovered there were a number of women from my quilt guild there as well as many people I had seen at the local quilt shop.  I chatted a bit and then went home. And then, a few months later Krista had an empty spot that she needed to fill and she thought of me - I was thrilled and I've met the most wonderful group of women over the past 7-8 years. Krista will have a QBTB once every other month or so and I have attended almost all QBTB since that first invite.   Even in a cast and a wheelchair last January I popped up for a visit.

One of my first photos of QBTB - June 2006

Bowen Island Retreat - 2007  

Bowen Island Retreat - 2009 - Show and Tell - Krista and Dianne

Then Krista decide to try her hand at expanding to a weekend retreat. The first few years  the November long weekend retreats were held on Bowen Island at the CNIB Lodge there. It was a nice spot. The little village area around Snug Cove was easy walking distance and had lots of little shops for a Saturday afternoon wander.  There was a hot tub - and deer wandering the grounds around the hall. We went to Bowen Island for three years and then CNIB was making changes and a new venue needed to be found. And since then we have been going to Loon Lake.

Loon Lake - 2010

Loon Lake retreat - Sharon is the only one sewing - Marsha heading out for a walk

I have been very fortunate that life events such as broken ankles  and surgeries and grandbabies being born have all managed to present themselves in such a way that I have never had to miss a year of retreat!  Although there has been things that have tried to get in the way. Jim and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary at a little restaurant on Bowen Island as I was at Retreat and he felt we should do something!  Fortunately it was easy for him to walk on the ferry to Bowen Island and we had a lovely meal and I just took a few hours off from my retreating!  That was 5 years ago. This November we will be married for 20 years!

Loon lake is a really beautiful venue. Although there aren't any little shops within walking distance there are many things about Loon Lake that make it a special quilting retreat. The lodge is tucked away at the very end of a long road up into a B.C. forest - sitting right on the lake. There is a hiking trail around the lake - I hear it's a great hike but I've been dealing with some kind of ankle issue almost since we started going there. The lodge is bright and clean and kind of "wilderness lodge" like with a second floor with a big stone fireplace. The rooms are big and comfortable - all bedding and towels are provided. The staff are wonderful - the food is some of the best I've had at any retreat. The kitchen staff go out of their way to work around the many diets that are out there today - - not for me - I'll eat anything!  Especially if someone else is cooking it. 

 The second floor fireplace and sitting area
Loon Lake 2011 - lots of sewing going on!

It seems that each year a new quilter or two will come to the retreat. There are a few "regulars" that attend all the time and then for various reasons some quilters are not able to attend so new quilters come in their place It's always great to meet new quilters. The past couple of years there have been a few quilters that have come hundreds and hundreds of miles - quilters that Krista has met through her blog and Instagram.  I am fairly shy and I don't follow many of the new blogs. If you have Instagram and search #loonlakequilters you will find a bunch of photos from the last retreat.  They are a good look into what can happen at Loon Lake. 

But I enjoy the diversity of the women in the group and the amazing creativity of the new quilters - well all the quilters - that come to the retreat. The past two years there has been a quilter who is a machine quilter extrodanaire and I have been - wandering over and asking for advice - begging for help - coveting her amazing quilting. Her name is Janet and she has a blog called "What Comes Next". This year we talked about my desire for a quilting table. And I got some great ideas. That will be another post. 

I look back at all the years I have been quilting as a hobby and the quilt guild I belong to and the retreats and classes and workshops I have attended - I have met many wonderful women - and men. But I think that the women that I have formed the closest friendships with -  all of those women, I met through Krista's retreats. Maybe it was because we had those moments where we were all together in one big room - still in pyjamas in the middle of the day - sharing life events with each other - laughing and helping with band aids when a rotary cutter got to close! Or a pair of snips got accidentally impaled in an upper thigh! I'm not really a mushy person and sometimes I think I get overwhelmed a bit with it all and forget to say Thank you - but I don't know if Thank you if even enough at times. The friendships that I formed with my quilting friends goes way beyond quilting and way beyond anything. All they have done for me in the past three years. It's really been amazing!   It's really meant a lot to me. More than I could ever express.

My quilting peeps - The Friday Stitch group

Here we are at APNQ - me in a Wheel Chair with Dianne as my designated pusher!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A new Year - a new cast.

My daughter tells me that the Universe says 2014 is going to be a good year!  And that is the line I'm sticking with this year. 

It's hard to come back to this blog after being away for such a long time and so much has happened since my last post. 

I guess a brief little catch up from where I left off last January.

I came out of my cast and into a boot in last February.   I had as good of a recovery as I could from the triple arthrodesis surgery because the doctor informed us that I would need the ankle joint replaced as soon as I was ready for another surgery. 

In February I was lucky to have a wonderful visit from a blogging friend that I have been emailing and chatting with for the last five years or so.  Kim ( Stillmeadow quilting ) and her husband Tom.  It was so nice they drove all the way up from California on their way back to Minnesota.   Vancouver is not really "on the way". I was just getting out of my boot and getting mobile again so I wasn't such great company.  But Jim and I both enjoyed our first visit and hope there will be more in the future. 

Thankfully by March I was mobile enough that I was able to go to our annual Mayne Island Quilting retreat.  One of my favourite yearly get aways!  With some of my favourite bunch of quilting peeps. 

In April Jim and I put an offer on a boat. A 42ft Kadey Krogen. We had and accepted offer - had the boat hauled out and surveyed. There were some issues found on the survey and we tried to renegotiated the price. The sellers did not want to renegotiate so the offer was withdrawn and we were very disappointed. 

I was doing a bit of quilting here and there. In May I sent two Flags to Boston for  "To Boston with Love" which was started by a quilter I know here in Vancouver - Berene Campbell. She is from the QBTB retreat group of quilting peeps. It was an honor to see my flag hanging up in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston with the hundreds and hundreds of other flags. 

At the end of May I turned 55. Still not back to work with my slowly deteriorating ankle joint.  Also the last day of May was a big day - Jim retired!  Something he had been working towards and planning for 33 years!  

In June we bought a boat!  It was the boat that we had put an offer on in April. The sellers came back about 4 weeks after the deal fell though and we renegotiated a new deal and took possession of the boat on June 1st.  That was a great retirement gift for Jim!!  

Jim and I went to Alberta in June and spent some time with the two cutest grand kids in the world!  

After returning from Alberta - Jim spent the rest the month of June doing some work and repairs on the boat. Fairly minor items but they were identified on the survey as items that needed addressing. 

Finally in July and August - right through until late October actually - we were able to go out on a few trips on our boat. She is a beautiful boat - Kadey Krogen 42 - walk around.  We named her "Phoenix Hunter". We were out for total of 6 weeks on a number of different trips. The Gulf Islands - Victoria B.C. Desolation Sound, The Discovery Islands - north of Quadra Island - Roche Harbour - for a Krog-In. It was a wonderful adventure. Not to many mishaps for novices such as us.  I enjoyed the boat because I could "do it". Very little walking required. I was I able to walk any beaches or shorelines with Jim and Jenny.  But I was still away and on the boat. 

Andrew moved home and was "sort of" living with us during the summer. We enjoyed having him and his pup - Khyber around for the short time. 

As I moved into the Fall my mobility seemed to deteriorate almost daily. I couldn't even walk to the end of our street. Going to any stores - such as Costco was impossible. By October my orthopedic surgeon put me on the wait list for the ankle replacement surgery.  So we had a very quiet Christmas. Waiting for my surgery date right after Christmas. 

January 8th I had a Total Ankle Replacement ( TAR ). So I am freshly post op and right now in the plaster cast and on crutches. The plaster cast will come off January 23 and I will go into a boot. I am allowed to weight bear but I'm not allowed to walk.  I think this recovery will be a bit easier than the last one.  When I came home from the hospital on Friday and set my self up in the bed it was like déjà vu all over again!  I sure hope this is the beginning of the end!!  

I have been do a bit of quilting. 

I made some cushions for the boat. 

So that's an update!