As a homeschooling mama of four small folks, my days have a pretty set pattern to them. On a good day, I would call it a soothing rhythm. On a less charitiable day, I would call it relentlessly repetitive. Wake up. Stare into my coffee until my brain wakes up. Work through my morning time routine. If I’m lucky, even manage a shower and make the bed before the kids wake up. Chores & breakfast, then in to school. Squeeze in housework when I can. Get them off to bed, record and plan for the next day, tidy the house, and crash ready to get up and do it all again.
Which is not to say I’m complaining. I am very aware of my position of privilege, and love that I get to spend each and every day with my babies. But my existence outside of child rearing and educating is almost invisible, it can feel at times. Moreso now than ever, my annual weekend away is a sanity break that makes me a happier mama, and a happier mama is a better mama.
Eight years ago, a few of us packed our bags and headed for the border for our very first creative retreat, which very quickly became annual. Since then, we have only skipped 2013, due to the fact I was 6 weeks post-partum with the Beetle Baby, and at the time, our venue didn’t allow babes-in-arms. We more than made up for it with two camps in 2014, one of which the little cutie pie came along with me, thanks to our camp being hosted privately. Truth be told, I’m pretty sure I was only invited to that one for the sole purpose of bringing the baby for Mandatory Internet Aunty snuggles…
Our little band of campers has changed throughout the years, and by 2016, we were a pretty settled group of six, and decided to move away from structured, dedicated retreats, to doing our own thing. We were ready to have more space and flexibility, and by the time we split the cost of a house six ways, it ended up cheaper for us, even if it meant we had to make our own breakfast and organise our own dinners.
This year, we had a house at Angourie, and it had the most picturesque views, and a rather comfy couch where I parked myself for 3.5 days and pretty much did not move. Our chosen house had a four night minimum, and it worked out cheaper to book that and let the house sit empty for the first night, than it was to get something in Yamba that had room for us all for three nights. But, if we had the house anyway… my original plan had been to head off after work Wednesday, ready for a full day of crafting Thursday. With storms predicted, however, I wanted to be over the range before they hit, and ended up on the road by 2.15 or so, and arriving right on dinner time.
With that bonus night and Thursday morning which would normally be dedicated to travel and then waiting for check in to be open, it ended up being a really productive and relaxing camp. I packed rather light this year, and took four projects with me:
1) my crochet blanket, that I wanted to get to the half way mark on
2) my story time sampler cross-stitch, that I wanted to finish the October block for
3) my improv quilt, that I wanted to get the handquilting finished on
4) my BOM Quilt, that I wanted to get basted and start quilting
5) I also took my kindle and hoped to get at least one book read.
By the time Sunday morning rolled around, I had ticked off three of the four projects, and finished the last couple of pages in my book standing up in the loungeroom as everyone else packed their bags around me.
Crochet Blanket: I took 6 colours and thought that would be more than I could manage. I finished adding all six colours and passed the official half way mark on this project.
Story Time Sampler: I hadn’t touched the Anne block before I left, so this was a full start-to-finish project for the weekend. Ideally I would have liked to have gotten some of the framing done too, but I am still happy to have this block done.
Improv quilt: Before camp, I had one and half long runs, and three short runs, of hand quilting done on this quilt. I managed to finish all te hand quilting, and then kicked myself for not bringing binding fabric! I contemplated a trip into Grafton to hit up Spotlight, but a hour each way was a bit too far “just because”, so instead we tried target for sheets, and still no luck. As nice as it would have been to have a full finish, it was still an item to tick off my list. I have been to my local quilt store today and grabbed some homespun to bind it with, so I’m hoping to get that attached this week.
Reading: I set up my kindle next to me on the arm of the lounge and read as I crafted. I will have a full review of this book in my October book report, but the short version is, not bad for an easy holiday read. And it’s another book towards my 2018 challenge tally.
As always, I am completely wiped out, and need a holiday to recover from my holiday! We talked and laughed and crafted our way through the weekend, and now I’m home and unpacked and counting the days until quilt camp 2019. Look for more quilt camp posts this week as I share the gifts that I made for our annual camp gift swap, as well, and I also have a camp memory keeping project I knocked out this morning to share once it’s finished setting and I can film a flip through.