I ran off to Nebraska this weekend to resume a bi-annual tradition with my girlfriend Jen. A tradition that started when our oldest girls were just about 18 months old (soon they will both be turning 7). A tradition that that came out of reconnecting after several years out of touch following college. A tradition started based on our love of quilts, our desire to be quilters, and which has become so much more than just uninterrupted time at our sewing machines. (Though we enjoy that as well.) A tradition from which we had to take a short break because...well we both had second kiddos and sometimes life gets in the way. Those babies are older (and not breast feeding any more) and sometimes life has to just be put on hold for sanity's sake. This weekend Ladies Weekend (LW) officially resumed.
Here's the basics of Ladies Weekend. We rent a cabin for 2 nights at one of the Nebraska State Parks located between Omaha and Lincoln. It makes for about a 3 hour trip for each of us...not a bad commute for a fun weekend. We meet in Omaha for lunch on Friday and shopping which usually consists of quilt/craft/fabric stores, Target, and the occasional stop at the mall if one of us has a specific non-ladies weekend need. (Like we need to return an item at a store there.) From there we head to the cabin.
Meet home-sweet-home for this weekend's 40 hours of sewing/chatting/wine drinking/eating fun...Owen Cabin 12, also known as the Arabian. (In this particular park all the cabins in the Owen "wing" are named after types of horses.)
Having done this a few times, it doesn't take us long to unpack the cars and get set up. The sewing machines, ironing board, and cutting mats are set up. Snacks are arranged in the kitchen, a bottle of wine is opened, tunes a turned on, and the crafting begins.
We originally started these gatherings as quilting weekends. Then we decided it would be fun to do some small, easy projects on Friday night that could be finished in just a few hours so that even if one didn't get a whole quilt finished (because let's be realistic here people), we could at least go home with some sort of finished project. As a result of where our lives are at the moment with families and jobs and the general lack of time one finds she has in her 30s, not one quilting item was brought along this time. It seems they have been traded (at least temporarily) in for projects that can be finished during our stay at the cabin OR with minimal effort once we return home. Jen's first project of the weekend was creating some dish cloths and towels inspired by this tutorial.
Needless to say, sleep is not high on the priority list for the weekend...thus we normally end the first night in the wee hours of the morning (at least I think that's how I would describe 5 am)...but having usually gotten a good start on our projects and lots of chatting done in the process.
On Saturday morning we get up when ever we wake. In my case this particular Saturday it was 9:30 when my bladder thought it was going to explode. After visiting the lady's room, I started heating water for coffee in the french press (yes, we're roughin' it), and headed out to the back porch of the cabin to check out our morning view.
I also wanted to grab some natural light photos (because the cabin is ALL wood paneling which as you can tell from all the indoor photos gives everything a warm, amber glow) of my Friday night accomplishment...the first of the fabric boxes I am making to help organize the sock & pantie drawer in the girls' chest-o-drawers.
I choose to totally complete one box before moving on because my "pattern" is a combo of the instructions from this blog post and instructions found in an Amy Butler pattern book. I decided to utilize fabrics from my pink/B&W stash which I have collected over the years, thus making this project thrifty. (The firmness of the box comes from "recycled" cereal boxes, which we have plenty of with kids in the house!)
In addition to sewing and chatting, food is a major focus of our planning/execution of LW. I do a lot of the menu planning, food gathering, and meal preparation...which oddly enough is more fun during LW than in every day life. We normally eat yummy foods that our families don't necessary appreciate. Like sushi for our Friday lunch (though Jen's family actually does eat sushi, lucky her), lots of gourmet cheeses, appetizer type dips, veggie based soups during cooler weather, yummy pasta's, crusty breads, wine, and of course a little chocolate sneaks in here and there. Need visual proof of the yumminess? Check out our Saturday lunch.
And yes, that is garnishment on the tomato salad and a bowl of thread for decoration.
I also met a new love this weekend. Meet Luca.
Luca is a 98 pound "blue" Doberman our friend Tonja (who lives in Ashland, just a few minutes from the park where we rent out cabin) is fostering (soon to be adopting) through Doberman Rescue of Nebraska. I've never been around Doberman's much, but I would consider adopting one in the future after being around Luca. He's calm, attentive, very much enjoys being in the presence of his people and reminded me so much of Zeke, our Rottweiler who tragically got hit by in Februrary of 2002, that had Tonja not been already planning to adopt him, I would have just loaded him up in the car with me on Sunday. Seriously, that's how hard I fell for him! We got our Rottie after spending time around his parents and never regreted that decision EVEN when people questioned how "safe" it was to own a Rottie. I'd get one again. I could see how Dobies can get the same bad rap After spending time with Luca I am reminded that there are very few inherently "bad/mean" dogs, just a lot of bad/mean owners.
Saturday night/Sunday morning consisted of lounge/PJ pant making. Based on an Amy Butler pattern, we worked on creating matching sets for mommies and their daughters. It's quite funny making the same pant in a range of sizes from 2T to adult Lrg. The girls and I (and actually Jen's 2 girls as I had PLENTY of extra fabric) are all sporting new purple satin Tinker Bell PJ pants. I hope to get a picture of the 3 of us taken soon to share because they really are quite cute...and comfortable. I have more fabric (flannel) that was purchased for a second pair for each of us, but there's only so much time spent at the cabin and we are pros at thinking we can twice as much done as what's actually possible. Unfortunatly we haven't figured how to make it through the weekend without ANY sleep and still be functioning by Sunday morning...though this weekend we got awefully close! I'm hoping I can locate a serger to borrow to finish up the flannel pairs here in the coming weeks. I'm planning to use them for our traditional Christmas Eve gift...a new pair of PJs in which to sleep while Santa is hard at work making his visits.
Sunday morning we have little time before check out. It's breakfast and coffee, showers, repack the cars, and the weekend draws to a close. We say our goodbyes, give our hugs, and drive out of the park in our separate directions. Headed back home, physically tired, but mentally refreshed...and almost always with a few homemade surprises for our little girlies back home.
There you have it. Ladies Weekend 101. Time to start planning our next meeting in the spring!