My entire staff has left town. Everyone except Patty, who has concert tickets for tonight. The shop is open our regular hours 9:30 - 5:00 and we also have a booth at the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show which is 10 - 10 today and 10 - 6 tomorrow and 99% of my staff is gone. It is an understatement to say that we are spread a little thin. I'm going to be exhausted on Monday, but it is worth it and it is my own fault.
Each year for the last several years my Christmas gift to The Quilt Company staff has been a sewing weekend at a retreat center in West Virginia. Rather than squeeze it in to the holiday rush, we book it for March when the staff can go and have fun while I hold down the fort here at the shop. I should have checked the calendar before agreeing to the Home Show, but it is what it is. I'm not superwoman, even with help from my Husband and son, I needed to call in help from retired employee Rose who understands the value of the get away weekend for the girls.
I know, I know, I'm a great boss. The truth is, I couldn't do all that I do without the help of these fun loving women. Believe me, having to work with me all year, they have earned a weekend away! This is the group photo they sent earlier today.
The retreat center has a nice open sewing room where they each have a table to themselves. Rooms are dorm style, but the best part is the food. Sarah, the young woman that runs the place is a trained French Chef and she serves the meals on china, in the dining room of the main house. You wake up to a cooked breakfast, sew until lunch, more sewing until dinner and then if you aren't too stuffed to move, you sew even more until you can't keep your eyes open. They sent me this photo of Jane's blocks arranged on the floor. I'm not sure Jane has gone to bed at all!
That might sound a little like a sweat shop atmosphere to some people, but if you are a quilter, it is heaven and naps are optional. Being able to push yourself back from the table after a fantastic meal that you didn't cook, grab the left over wine and head for your sewing machine instead of a kitchen full of dishes is a real treat in my book. And don't forget the laughter. When these women get together there is ALWAYS laughter! It is good for your soul. They learn things about each other, they tease like sisters and they laugh until their sides hurt. And they get a lot done too! This is the photo that they sent of Missy's first project. Missy is the resident over achiever!
If you have never been on a retreat weekend, grab some friends and start planning now! There are church camps, colleges, YMCA and scout facilities as well as retreat centers that are built specifically for sewing groups that would love to have you use their space. Some are more luxury, some are more rustic, but if you are traveling with a group of quilters I can almost guarantee that any of them would be fun!