Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Surf, Sun, Sweet Tea & Stitching

This week I took a trip that was 30+ years in the making.

Topsail Beach, Topsail Island, a NC barrier island was my family's vacation destination while I was growing up. As the youngest of 3 girls, I spent that precious week growing through those awkward pre-teen and teenage years and enjoying the freedoms of endless walks on the beach with a good friend and enjoying the independence that seemed to come each year in this sleepy, family friendly beach town. 

I dropped in on family vaca's a few times as a young adult with my "boyfriend" and then later when he became my husband. At that point in my life I was too busy trying to figure out who I was (an issue I still work at btw!) and how I fit into my world, to make new beach memories.

Last summer, I joined my sisters in Topsail to celebrate a milestone birthday (you know, the kind that end in "0") of my middle sis. I was pleased to see that while times have changed the island and hurricanes have, in some cases, made permanent changes to the geography, the beach of my youth was pretty much still there. While on this trip, I decided it was time to come back with my own family, on my own terms.

Let me tell you, getting to the beach when you live smack dab in the middle of the country, can be interesting, but this was an important year to do this. The last 3 summers have been spent on the road traveling the jr. tennis tournament circuit. With Chris off to college this fall and Billy thriving in his group home, the family dinner is a rare occurrence.

Topsail welcomed us with perfect weather. We swam, collected seashells, walked to the piers, saw dolphin, climbed all over a battleship, saw an alligator, went on a ghost tour, played tennis (next to the ocean, how cool is that), and ate more fried shrimp than is probably legal. I failed to make my boys lovers of sweet tea, but I had 22 consecutive meals with my family, and that made it all worth it.

What about the stitching you ask? I did some of that too. I forgot to bring a little
clip-on light (which will never happen again!), but I did get some of my "homework" done. I have the first installment of a year long series due to Cross Stitch & Needlework magazine. Monday morning starts the mad dash to get market releases finalized.

I wrote this blog post while waiting 3 hours in the Raleigh airport. Since coming home, it has been market prep central. I will be posting more stitching related pics in the next few weeks so first enjoy a few beach shots. I know I will look back at this post next February when it is freezing outside!
 
Happy Stitching!
Cathy
The view from our balcony...just a quick hop down the stairs to have feet in the sand!
 
Chris doing a little night surfing! He was OK until he stepped on something "that moved".
 
Me reading on the beach! Heaven!
 
Me with Chris & Billy. Here we are in Wilmington waiting for our ghost tour!
 Fun tour & no ghosts followed us home (that we know of!)
 
Walking around Wilmington we came across this empty lot with a fence covered in keys.
We were able to find out that it was an art installment.
There are over 4,000 keys attached (people just add their own).
 
 
A cool panoramic shot under one of the piers. Most of the piers I grew up spending time on have been destroyed by hurricanes. I read up on the history of these piers & I realize how lucky I was that I got to spend time on some of these icons of the beach.
 
Sunset on our last evening. We were on the narrow south end of the island so we had front & back views of ocean & sound side.
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

It's sunny outside, I have a cup of coffee, a view of my neighbors lovely gardens (gardening=not my forte), Wimbledon on the TV, and everyone is still asleep...this is called 'me' time!

I was going to stay off the computer today as I spent a loooong day charting & designing yesterday. My husband left for work & pretty much found me in the same place when he got home. (I did take a break to shower!)

Today I will keep it to mostly pictures. I enjoyed a great retreat at Cecilia's Samplers Summer Camp in Branson last weekend. I thought I had more pics...I sure know I posed for a lot! Here we go...

This year's theme was Summer Camp. I designed this Happy Camper piece (who wouldn't be a Happy Camper with a smore??). I taught a class to 30 willing participants. They learned about the joys of directional fabrics, sticky scissors, and twisted cord. (I also learned never to kit a class with directional fabrics again!)
 
I've known most of these Omaha ladies for years! Every day they wore a different blinged out t-shirt! I love getting the pic before the pic..."where should we stand?...I want to be in the back, I'm short!...take one with my camera too!..." 

Here's Tracy in front of the shop...this place is awesome...this woman is awesome! The ladies at Cecilia's all popped into retreat at different times & even delivered supplies when we didn't want to get out in the heat. Tracy (of Ink Circles) is one of the most genuine people you will ever meet. She puts such thought and care into her artwork and cross-stitch designs. Our industry is much richer for having such a talented person in its midst. (she has a pretty wicked sense of humor too, which I can really relate to!)
 
Sorry for dark picture...these fun ladies greeted us when we got there & pretty much shut the place down every day! 
 
 

Show & Tell! Some stitchers even brought me their finishing show & tells! They made me so proud!

I love going to retreats...you see all the cool gadgets we use (and find out about some new ones...loved this lamp/magnifier)
 
 
Another reason to go to retreats...meet your Facebook friends! I have a lot of new stalkers friends to keep in touch with!
 
 
Pam was everywhere with the camera!
 
Tracy & I with Margaret!
 
 
Made it back home, safe & sound. Huge thanks to the ladies of Cecilia's. To the stitchers, thanks for the chats, the sharing, the laughs, coffee...lunch...dinner, the late evening brew comparisons...and squirrel!  
 
 
For something completely different...Snowglobe Snowman! I designed this fun guy for Cindy (& her mom) of Fancimats & More. They are having a Shop Hop this month & he was in honor of her annual Snowman contest. Have you seen the pics of the entries on facebook? I wouldn't want to be the judge! (I think Cindy is making the pattern available, but you must contact her!)
 
 
That's all for now...have a fabulous 4th & stay safe!
Cathy