Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a Winter Weekend Getaway of Crafting and Learning with hosts Charlotte Lyons (House Wren Studio) and Meleen Dupre along with 12 other women who inspired and delighted for four days straight. I had read about their previous weekend on Charlotte’s blog here and Mary Engelbreit’s blog here and was thrilled when I learned I would be able to attend this particular one. I had never met any of the women who went – but you would never know it after four days of continuous mirth and camaraderie. There is nothing like crafting side by side with a cohort of fellow creators to make fast friendships. I will always treasure the memories forged over wool, burlap, paper scraps and food.
Oh did I mention Food?
We were treated with an abundance of delicious morsels from dawn ’til midnight everyday. Breakfast each morning was an assortment of hot and cold baked and stirred and all scrumptious delights from Meleen’s artful kitchen. From her crockpot French Toast (who knew?) that coalesced overnight to the Four Cheese Polenta with Sauteed Bella mushrooms, pancetta and onions or the homemade meatballs and baked ziti with garlic bread. All of the fare was Comforting with a Capital “C” and fitting a four star gourmet getaway. My taste buds are still reeling from the pampering.
The path from the crafting cottage to the main house was illuminated with homemade luminaria each evening, leading the way into the converted barn of the main house where we shared laughter and conversation before sitting to share a feast at the long wooden table set with love and light. And laughter – did I mention laugher? I have not laughed that much in ages – tears running down my face laughter- the kind that makes your cheeks hurt from smiling so hard! I cherish the parlance that rolled of the lips of women from all parts of the country – charming accents that I long to adopt and friendly phrases that I want to repeat. But most of all, it was the incredibly fast and genuine friendships that were formed that made you long for promised reunion years into the future.
Of course, the point of the weekend was learning new crafts and creating new treasures. Charlotte and Meleen taught us how to do traditional rug-hooking, both with fabric strips on burlap (that would be stripping, then hooking!) and also with wool yarn on monks cloth (the only time monks stripping and hooking go together). It was fun to learn both ways – but I was drawn to the incredible colors of the yarns donated by The Ruggery on Long Island. Charlotte had designed a lovely heart with a scalloped border for us to play with, and I couldn’t help, but let it wander into my own version of heart and vines and all sorts of colors. I will show you the finished product one of these days!
Everybody was able to create their heart with their own preferred colors, and style – and it was fun to see the many different versions that were created. We also worked on a large communal frame with a punch needle type of rug hook which was more efficient – but worked from the reverse of the canvas – I liked the freedom of using the traditional hook on the smaller frames that Charlotte and Meleen put together for us (And John! Thank you John for all your hammering of those dastardly and stubborn thumbtacks!)
We were also treated to a wonderful lesson on making wet wool felted soaps using fresh (literally, milked the day before) goats milk soap and fabulous wool roving from Tammy of Wing and A Prayer Farm. Tammy – she deserves at least an entire post dedicated to her talents – go see her beautiful creations here www.wingandaprayerfarm.com
It truly was a magical weekend – from waking at dawn to a cosy fire and steaming coffee, to tucking in at night in a spindle bed with the heady aroma of delicious dinner and warmth all around, I felt like I had won the lottery of vacations – I am bursting with inspiration and energized to create, with much gratitude to these lovely women of the Vermont Crafting Getaway.
The stove kept us warm all night, and was a space for quiet contemplation before dawn broke through the sky
Our devoted hosts holding a sign that was one of our take-home treasures donated by Barn Owl Primitives in Leesburg, VA.
The Weekend was so refreshing and fun – they are planning the next one May 29 through June 1st. I can’t imagine a nicer way to spend the weekend – go over to Charlotte’s blog and learn more about it here.