Thursday, July 4, 2013

Cecilia's Samplers in Branson

I think I've recombobulated finally after a wonderful trip to Branson, Missouri, to participate in one of Cecilia's Samplers cross stitch retreats.  This was my first big retreat away from my local stitching crew (if you call Portland/Vancouver local.)  Everyone was so welcoming and it was so much fun visiting Cecilia's Samplers shop. It would be a touch dangerous living so close to such a well-stocked shop. I'd never been to Branson before, or spent much time in the midwest, so there was a whole new culture and cuisine to take in.

I was very fortunate to have my buddy Cathy Habermann (of Hands On Designs, and formerly CherryWood Designs) there to make it the best ever. She picked me up from the airport and helped me make the most of the whole weekend. It was wonderful to talk to her about different aspects of design and production, saving the most philosophical topics to discuss on our balcony in the evenings over a beer.  She taught a finishing class where, even though I've done this easel technique before, I still picked up some great tips. I got to see a number of her pieces there at a mini-trunk show we put up, and I was in awe of all the beautiful finishing techniques she uses. Well, after all, she is a professional finisher and a great teacher! And might I add, just a wonderful gal to hang out with.

I didn't pull out the camera much with the stitchers, as it seemed like everyone was already snapping pictures right and left, but here are some of the photos I took.

Cross That Canoe - designed specifically for this Summer Camp themed retreat.
It's based on a quilt block called Crossed Canoes.
I used Cathy's expert finishing tips to make the easel when I got home.
Cecilia's had a wonderful fabric department. These are some of my stashing finds.
I'll need to see how available they still are before using them in any
designs I might be publishing, but I couldn't resist them.
More stash: 3 from Plum Street, a new PS card, colored storkies & more.
Cathy made a special design/kit for the retreat called Happy Camper.
I'll have to stitch that up soon to commemorate the event.
Little snips. One of the events is a grabbing frenzy where we all clawed through
tables full of those tiny pieces left over when custom cuts are taken from yardage.
Unlabeled and unknown, these will be great for tiny personal projects.
It was so neat to see how many people had brought along some Ink Circles charts to work on, or that they had recently finished.  A few people were also working up their versions of the Roll Your Own Mandala project.

A Cirque des Coeurs finish

Cirque des Triangles underway

I have no idea how to describe the town of Branson - something like a cross between Disneyland, Hollywood, and Vegas. These are all pictures from the main strip.

Reagan.  JFK was around the corner.
Although many places were truly damaged by a tornado last year, and
were still sitting there roofless, Ripley's just looks like it was hit.

I'm not a big country music fan, or I would probably recognize these faces.
I like the castle on the left. :-)
Bad shot from a moving car (Cathy was driving, don't worry) but
it's not everyday you see this sort of thing.
Or this.
Or giant chickens.
Giant plaster animals and music seemed to be the norm.  They had 12 Irish Tenors
down the street and this place with 3 Redneck Tenors.
I found even places that weren't trying to be funny were funny.
Lots of places for mini-golf, bumper boats, go karts, roller coasters, bungee.
And a yellow submarine.
We kept busy enough stitching, eating, and shopping at Cecilia's that we didn't go out to any of the evening shows, but the town offers so many venues one could be entertained fifty different ways.

Cheers to Cathy and to Margaret and her staff at Cecilia's Samplers! I hope everyone had as much fun as I did.


  1. I really like the Crossed Canoes & the Double, Double leaflet.

  2. Me too!!! I really like the crossed canoes and the Double Double.
    The little lion and lamb look sweet too. Glad you had such a happy time, you deserve a nice break where you don't have to work!