After finishing the September BJP and the October Crazy Quilt Journal blocks early in the week, I spent a day gathering together projects to take to the quilt guild retreat and then the weekend working on them and a little bit more.

Retreat was entitled "Bling It On!" and was held at Our Lady of the Pines, a retreat center run by the Sisters of Mercy in Fremont Ohio. There were forty guild members there, elbow to elbow in one of the center's meeting rooms, which you might think would not be conducive to quilting but there were a lot of pieces started and finished in this weekend, as well as two demonstrations and (for some, not for me) shopping trips to nearby quilt shops. No television and very few bars for the phone or the tablet made for a time with no interruptions, while the beautiful grounds (some 65 acres of gardens) gave one respite from sewing when needed. And luckily, the weather held!

I cleared the decks of a one project and got a couple more started. The completed project was my 2012 Color Palette/Crazy Quilt Journal/Bead Journal Project wall hanging:

It needs a hanging sleeve and a label but, otherwise, it's off my to-do list! Woo Hoo!

Really, all it needed was batting, backing and binding as I had already pieced the top, but after some consideration, I bailed on the binding idea and simply did an envelope backing like I did for my 2011 BJP wall hanging back in January of this year!

One of the favors at lunch the first day was a kit for a very small grandmother's flower garden flower. I stitched mine together:

and after looking it over, realized it matched perfectly with a blue fabric I had brought with me as possible sashing and backing for another planned quilt. So, I decided to use the flower and some blue and chocolate fabrics to make a cover for my 2010 BJP squares, and turn the lot into a book. I hand appliqued the flower to the blue and layered it with batting and chocolate fabric to create the cover.

I need to stitch the 12 beaded pieces to a "spine" that I can stitch to the cover and I will have something that I can display those blocks in, once it has been truly "embellished". This is truly just a work in progress right now --- I have to search out the online reference I had discovered for making a book... and then I will get back to work on it. Meanwhile, it's on the back burner.

The other project I worked on was that "Unstarted Project" that was proposed at one of my first quilt guild meetings - a Chinese Coins lap quilt. I had already stitched a strip set at Quilt Work Day September 14, from which I cut three 5.5" strips before I left. When I got to the retreat, I cut some 1" blue strips to edge each strip and some 5.5" chocolate to act as sashing. When sewing the first blue strip to the pieced strips, I found that one had been mis-cut which meant I had to shorten the pieced strips by 6 ". This necessitated a design change, with top and bottom borders, which I had not planned on doing. Still, by the time retreat was over, I had four pieced strips ready to assemble for the top:

Oh, and my "Bling it On!" challenge block? Bling it On! It won "best use of embellishments" at retreat!

One other accomplishment (for me) this weekend: I managed to drive over an hour to a place I had never been before (*and* back) and NOT get lost! For me, who hates to drive and who can get lost in a closet, that is a minor miracle!

After arriving home Sunday afternoon, I fed three demanding cats who claimed to be starving to death, unpacked my car, and immediately fell asleep catching up on email. Later that night, I took out "Puppy Dog" and put in some time on the second page of the chart:

Now, it's laundry time, the fridge needs cleaning out an the beds need changing out, and I have to kit out the October BJP. Luckily, I won some Halloween-themed fat quarters at retreat so one of them is bound to work for my October butterfly...