Kissimmee, FL 2005 Fun Report!

While Hurricane Wilma tried to crash our party uninvited, instructor Jeannette Douglas and her husband Dale, and my husband Michael and I all arrived in Kissimmee safe and sound 3  days before the retreat began. We were all probably overdue for some rest and relaxation and were eager to get started.  Before the retreat even started we were out having fun! 

We had meals at nice restaurants, went on an airboat ride and saw alligators and many exotic birds, we went to Old Town Amusement Park, went shopping, and just enjoyed each other’s company. Jeannette and I, of course, were as excited as all the stitchers who were beginning to arrive ahead of the hurricane. We had adjoining hotel rooms and had fun going back and forth into each other’s room to chat. 

The night before the retreat began I had a little, um, adventure. Well, okay, it was a totally humiliating experience.  Now what would a Stitcher’s Hideaway retreat be without me embarrasing myself?!?  Sigh. You see, the night before the retreat began, I was working in the classroom to get things ready for the next morning.   I was tired, but I swear that had nothing to do with it!!  And I swear I hadn’t had any virgin or otherwise Pina Coladas, either!!

What happened was I got on the elevator and pressed 7 for the 7th floor -- longing to climb into bed in room 709.  As the elevator went up I was engrossed in my thoughts.  I got off the elevator and headed for the room.  For some reason my key card wouldn’t work.  I figured the magnetic strip went dead on me for some reason, but wasn’t concerned because my husband was in the room. So I gently knocked on the door -- it was 11:30 p.m. afterall, and I didn’t want to wake anyone else.  There was no response.  So I knocked a bit louder, then a bit louder. I thought, he must be asleep and can’t hear me.  So I called,  quietly at first, “Michael...Michael...”  No response! Oh, I was so tired.  Oh, I could hear the bed calling me.

“Michael!  I’m locked out!”  I said yet louder.  Suddenly, I heard a sleepy male voice from within reply, “Can...can I help you?”  It wasn’t Michael!!  With horror my eyes shot to the room number and I saw that I wasn’t at room 709, but room 209!!!  When the elevator had stopped I assumed it was at my destination floor!  OMIGOSH!!! “Oh, I am SO, so sorry....I have the wrong room!” Then I bolted for the safety and covering of the elevator, zipped to room 709, and, gee, whattayaknow, the key card worked, and I slipped into my room with my face still bright red!!!  

Oh, why oh why do these things keep happening to me?!?!  (blush)

Finally the day of the retreat arrived.  Excited stitchers waited impatiently in the hallway outside of the classroom for the fun to begin! They burst into the classroom to find Flip Flop design Fun Packs with fun Flip Flop items inside along with stash from  A Whisical Element, Brightneedle, Brittercup Designs, Elizabeth’s Designs, Finger Work, It's Fine-ally Finished, Jeannette Douglas Designs, Just Cross Stitch, Just Nan, Knotted Tree NeedleArt, Kreinik, M Designs, Olde Colonial Designs, Piecework Magazine, Praiseworthy Stitches, Rosewood Manor, Sue Hillis Designs, The Prairie Schooler, The Victoria Sampler, Udder Cream, Weeks Dye Works, With My Needle and, of course, Stitcher’s Hideaway. Some dove right into their Fun Packs, while others started a stash enhancement frenzy as they dove right into all the great items brought in by Jan & Pam of The Someday Shop, and Linda from Needlecraft World.

And as if that weren’t enough, designer Brenda Lowry of “A Whimsical Element” set up a fantastic trunk show for us.  We all enjoyed meeting Brenda and seeing all of her stitched models.  I wish you all could have seen them!  Brenda is working on developing a website, but until then many of her designs can be viewed and purchased at Picture This Plus

The stitchers were from FL, IN, ME, MN, and OH.  It was hard determining who traveled the farthest this time because 3 stitchers from MN lived within about 80 miles of each other!! Thanks to Mapquest, I found that Sherry traveled the farthest and so received many special gifts.  The other two MN stitchers received hilarious feathery flamingo pens!

Like any addicted stitchers, we were all very eager to begin our beautiful class project, the Sunshine State Sampler, which captured so much of sunny Florida. What a beauty! As always, seeing the model is far more incredible then seeing it scanned onto a webpage. The colors were so bright and beautiful, and the packaging Jeannette created for our kits was adorable!! The fabric and accessories were in beautiful bags with little flip flops attached. It was such a treat to even look at the kits!

Stitchers Betty & Joyce with Jeannette and stitched model of Sunshine State Sampler

Jeannette’s designs are amazing. Her  ability to creatively use stitches to convey the beauty of nature is really intriguing.   I keep wondering how she thinks to use this or that stitch to so perfectly capture the essence of what we see around us.  She just really has a gift!  And we learned so much from her!  She not only taught us how to do each stitch used in her sampler, she also shared stitching tips in general. We were definited enriched by our time together with her.  She was so patient and sweet with us, providing special guidance to those of us who were new to stitching on linen, too. We made great progress during our time together.

Peppered throughout the retreat were doorprizes, doorprizes, and more doorprizes!! It was so much fun!! The prizes were donated by Brittercup Designs, Calico CrossroadsEarth Threads, Finger Work, Glory BeeJeannette Douglas Designs, Kreinik, monsterbubbles, Nordic NeedlePraiseworthy Stitches, Rosewood Manor, Stitcher’s Hideaway, Stitchy Kitty, The MonkeyWorks, and With My Needle.  We all love surprises!!

And speaking of surprises, I finally revealed the surprise I had for them -- a little keepsake of the retreat, which I called Flip Flop Fun!

Weeks Dye Works and Olde Willow Stitchery so generously supplied the threads for this project!  Thank you, thank you!!

It was fun to get to know the other stitchers! Some great friendships have begun that probably never would have happened except at a Stitcher’s Hideaway.  Debby from Maine and Mary from Minnesota (below) met at the retreat and had such fun together! Now Mary is trying to lure Debby to the Minnetonka, MN retreat being held next April!  Will Debby weaken?!? We’ll see!!  LOL!!

By the way, Debby had signed up for the Sturbridge 2005 retreat but out of necessity had to cancel.  She was so upset to miss a retreat that she then registered for both Kissimmee 2005 and Mystic 2005!! Now that’s an addicted stitcher!!

Wise guys Brenda & Marge in the back row....

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