It was a Tuesday night back in September 2015, Christie and Carolina suggested a sewing retreat. I responded with yeah thats cool but can I pleeeease sew too. Whilst I love teaching all the time when I see you all sewing and chatting I want to join you!! Christie Blizzard the most amazing young woman was onto it and it was booked within days.
On Friday, 15 July the car was packed and we headed for Toodyay in the Perth hills. Whilst there were some children who shed tears that their mums were leaving, my three were still asleep at 10am and had no idea I was on my way. Still, I kissed their foreheads and squeezed them tight. The drive was picturesque and in usual style my sister-in-law and I chatted the whole way with mum in tow.
The 50km speed zone through Toodyay town allowed us to spin heads looking out for any quirky shops, op shops and bakeries and yes there were all of those.
Avalon Homestead was home for the next few days and I didn’t really know what to expect and was feeling nervous that this group of ladies arriving are trusting our choice for the weekend. We were greeted by Delveen and Peter who showed us around and took us to our rooms. The decor is cottage like and not styled like my house but the place was very clean and spotless.
A massive sewing room awaited us, fresh, new, clean and organised, perfectly equipped for what we needed. Goodie bags that Christie made up for us were set on our tables and we were looking out to a lovely lush green view.
We were served lunch and then the crafting began. The ladies started trickling in throughout the afternoon and although heads were down there was constant chatter.
Im the cook at my house so to be served breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning and afternoon tea was total bliss. I was for once on the receiving end, I now know what’s its like for everyone at home when I call them for dinner and understand why nobody rushes to the dinner table. This is me…”Dinner is readyyyy!” “Hurry up or it will go cold!” “Goodness me, when I say dinner is ready I expect you to get up straight away and eat after I’ve spent the whole afternoon in the kitchen!” This weekend, I did not want to leave my work until I had just finished this last bit, I didn’t mind that dinner would go cold! Our cook Peter took so much pride in his cooking that he didn’t want it to go cold either. The meals were like home cooked meals and there was always plenty of it. They even catered for those who were gluten free.
Shopping in Toodyay? Well yes of course, some of the ladies ducked out for a bit over the weekend and picked up some very cool items. And Christmas shopping? They have the second biggest Christmas shop in Australia, they had everything you can imagine. Nobody made it to the bakery, there was no way we were going to fit it in with all the food. However I do believe they were voted the best Pastie for 2016.
There were 14 of us in total, an amazing group of women, and our hands were kept busy. The chatter, the laughs, the sharing, the pouring of wine, the teaching was continuous. Collectively we made bags, quilts, shorts, aprons, nighties, floor cushions, pants, dolls, quilted zippy pouches, leotards, bodysuits. We used cotton, double gauze, corduroy, piping, zippers, leather, trim, lycra, french terry, quilt batting, embroidery thread, Liberty fabrics. There was pattern making, rulers, brown paper, overlocking, cover stitching, threading, rethreading and sewing. There was the crochet of blankets and knitting of jumpers with jumbo hooks, giant knitting needles and chunky yarn. Each persons personality showing in every project worked on. Well that’s the part I notice…I see so much in ones creativity and thats why I love it so. It must also be noted that the projects we worked on weren’t necessarily something we had practiced and perfected before this weekend. Most of us learnt new skills to add to our inner Nanna-ness. Call it daggy and so old fashioned but this crafting thing is the best feel good hobby and I look forward to many more Miss Mary Retreats.
Special Thanks is owed to the amazing Christie Blizzard whom I would not have been able to do this without. She continues to amaze me with her spunk for life, crafting and work.
Carolina Mondello for giving us the nudge to do this. Carolina makes the most gorgeous quilts and other projects, you can follow her on Instagram.
Debra Hayes for your gorgeous photos and styling in between your stitching and crochet, Debra Hayes Floral
Burnells on Queen Street, Perth…Tracey, John and Brad who support my passion for sewing and converting all you young women to Nanna’s way before you actually are one. We were able to test and trial the Bernina Cover Stitch Machine and Overlocker and loved them.
Craft Bound, Jelly Bean Street & Burnells for our goodie bags
Rob Fomiatti – Remedial Masseur, who massaged our knots away
And to Peter and Delveen at Avalon Homestead who ensured we had a wonderful stay