Sewing Retreat

A quick selfie with Danielle (c) and Anne (r) to kick off our “Janome Girls’ Sewing Retreat!”

Last week, I experienced the restorative power of friendship and laughter with two dear friends who came for a sewing retreat here in my mountain studio. Words are simply inadequate to express how much this gift of time and the safe space to open up, be silly, creative, and truly authentic meant to me. We talked, we laughed, we sewed, and we visited the quilt show, Road2CA for a day in nearby Ontario, CA. 

In the booth at Road2CA, Sam Fung showed off an amazing project he created entirely of colorful zippers!

Janome dinner out! From left, Nancy Auch, Sam Fung, yours truly, Anne Hein, Danielle Ross, Amy Meek and Katy Mitchell.

At the end of a fruitful day of seeing gorgeous quilts and shopping in the vendor hall, we enjoyed dinner out at a fantastic Chinese restaurant with the Janome sewing educators and Regional Manager that same evening. Oh, what fun!

Back at the cabin, the three of us decided to make the new Teddy Tote by Sew Many Creations. (If you’d like to make your own Teddy Tote, you can buy the pattern by simply CLICKING HERE.)

We sewed zippers…..

added creative accents…..

….and used a variety of decorative stitches to add extra pizazz to our totes!

I particularly enjoyed the number of different presser feet we were able to employ to accomplish different tasks. I used the M foot to use an overcast stitch to finish inside seams, the zipper foot (I absolutely LOVE the design and ease of functionality of Janome’s zipper foot!) and the G foot and Utility Stitch #4 was a revelation to me for the most perfectly beautiful topstitching ever!

Rest assured, we had all kinds of ‘help’ from the resident Quality Control Managers, although some fell asleep on the job. 

Cheeto made sure to keep all the pages of the pattern nice and tidy beneath him!

Miss Tater was never far from Danielle, wherever she went.

On Friday, even though it was quite cold and blustery (but very sunny!), we visited the village for a yummy lunch at the Belgian Waffle Works (we unanimously agreed they have the world’s best-tasting waffles; light, crispy, yet melt-in-your-mouth-soft!) and then went for a ride on the Lake Arrowhead Queen! It was such a fun and relaxing, “touristy” afternoon out!

Back at the cabin, we got back to work on our totes and accomplished quite a lot despite fits of giggles, silliness and sharing funny stories along the way. 

When she wasn’t cat napping, Miss Tater kept a close eye on Danielle’s progress.

When any small fabric parts or pieces went missing, they could generally be found underneath Cheeto.

We worked on each step together and felt such an amazing sense of satisfaction at finishing these amazing sewing totes! They are roomy, sturdy, and have plenty of pocket space and storage. 

But the very best part? For me, it was the sheer happiness and restoration I felt after a long spell of a quiet life lived tucked away in the mountains since Kent moved to Australia. It felt so wonderful to connect with true friends and to share our love of creativity, friendship and passion for sewing on our Janome sewing machines! 

I used a cute little Janome button that Anne brought with her for the closure. Perfecto!

I loved using the Janome 100th Anniversary fabric combined with two of my Solid-ish colors (Cherry and Smoke) as the accent fabric pieces.

We finished a bit ahead of the end of the weekend, so we each made a little “Bitty Bag” to hang on the tote. Perfect to hold extra presser feet or needles, or even earphones!

The best part? My bag was Cheeto approved! He seems to think he fits perfectly (he actually does!) and that I made this tote to carry him!

Anne had a fabulous idea I want to share. She suggested we use permanent markers to sign the inside of our totes to mark the date and event of our special Janome Girls’ Retreat! We took it one step further and added fun quotes and things we giggled about all weekend, so whenever I open the tote, I will be reminded of those fun things we shared and laughed about until we almost couldn’t breathe!

The thing I learned going forward is that I need to carve out time for weekend sewing retreats with friends. It’s not a luxury, it is a necessity and one I haven’t allowed myself the time or space for in my schedule in years past. That changes here and now!

So….who’s up for the next Janome Girls’ Sewing Retreat?







  1. THANKS so much for sharing about your wonderful retreat together!! There is nothing like good friends spending quality time together doing what they love.
    I know how much you must be missing Kent!!! Sending lots of love and hugs to you!

  2. You gals are so adorable. I wish I could meet you and and join in on the friendship, laughter and (bonus) learn from you! God bless!

  3. What a fabulous weekend. You definately earned the relaxation and fun and friendship. After being alone the memories of this time will keep you company. How is Kent doing in Australia?

    That tote looks so handy-I might have to make one.

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