Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Crafty Mamas Retreat

Last week a fellow fiber crazed mama and I left our kids with our wonderful husbands and rented a room at an Inn in the Alberta Arts district of nearby Portland. We wanted to go away to the beach or someplace exotic for our crafty retreat, but my friend Katherine had to be on call, so we had to stay near Portland.

Each day was spent sleeping in with no kids to wake us, and wandering around town with yarn in hand, I crocheted everywhere we went, even walking. Each evening, after we retired to our cozy room I worked on journaling and collaging my Right Brained Business Plan, as Katherine finished up a number of half finished projects she had already started for her children, including the baby she is expecting very soon. I forgot my phone charger and my computer would not connect to the internet at the inn, so I was forced to completely disconnect, which was a good thing.

Day 1, Monday: We both arrived in the evening at the hostel/Inn where we had reserved a room. It turned out to be right across the street from Collage, a great little craft store. I got on their mailing list years ago and often fantasize about going to one of their classes, but had never actually been to the store. As soon as we were settled into our room, we went over to explore Collage, and got a number of ideas for future projects. But since we had packed an entire large suitcase and a very large basket filled with all sorts of craft projects for the week, we managed to resist buying more. Then we began wandering down Alberta St., trying to pick a place for dinner. As we passed the Close Knit yarn store, we noticed a sign in the window, "Knitting and Cocktails every Monday night". Just 2 blocks up, tacos you could never imagine, and a group of friendly strangers to share the yarny love. Okay, I was the only crocheter, but that's typical, and they were very welcoming.

Day 2, Tuesday: Slept in. Trip to Scrap, the local non-profit store that resells donated craft materials. They now have "Yarn Bombing Kits", little bags fills with scraps of partially knit or crochet projects that have been donated, and a small ball of yarn to stitch them together. I LOVE this idea, and had to buy the Giant kit for next week's yarn bombing I am heading up for our local Fiber Arts Festival. The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering Alberta St., checking out stores, and relaxing on the porch of our inn where I made Lavender Wands with the bucket full of lavender I brought along, pruned from my neighbor's yard just before I left. My sister came down for the evening which was spent soaking in a hot pool and dinner at the Kennedy School.

Day 3, Wednesday: Katherine had plans with her family that morning, so I took the opportunity to find a nearby coffee shop where I could connect to the internet and get caught up on a little work and emails. Then I spent a lovely afternoon with my friend Melissa, who is helping me with my Rowan's Milk project and Survey. She is helping me work toward putting together a brochure on Lactation After Loss to make available to hospitals, midwives, and other caregivers who work with women who have lost a baby. Once we had both returned to our hostel, we enjoyed a quiet evening of home-cooked food and more getting crafty on the porch and in our little room.

Day 4, Thursday: Another busy morning, Katherine had to go into work, and I visited the nearby coffee shop again, to email in my last deadline for the month. Once my mind was free from deadlines, we went to visit another local yarn store, Twisted, where I am planning to begin teaching this fall. We had time to just hang out and crochet (or knit) without worrying about running home for the kids or keeping a little one out of the yarn and buttons (my 2 1/2 yo loves buttons). I was suddenly inspired to pick some yarn and design a new dress for my daughter. Later, my sister came out again to check out Last Thursday on Alberta, which was one of the reasons I suggested we stay there, so we could enjoy the crazy atmosphere without having to drive home. So many artists vending their wares, I found little fairy wings to take home to my daughter and air plants for my son to add to our Fairy Garden.

Day 5, Friday: Before we headed home to our families, we packed ourselves up and went to The Waffle Window for breakfast together. Then I spent the afternoon running a few more errands and visiting a friend who works nearby.

We did a bit more shopping and not quite as much crafting as we would have if we'd gotten away to a beach retreat or cabin in the woods. But when you normally cannot do any shopping without a get-into-everything 2 year old or I-want-everything 7 year old, kid free shopping can be quite a treat as well. And we did dream up a number a future projects... I did not get around to spinning (good thing I brought my Navajo spindle instead of my whole wheel), but Katherine did some needlefelting and finished a stuffed animal for each of her kids. The time away gave us time to reflect on the past, dream of the future, and come back out our families rejuvenated. I highly recommend it!

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