Monday, 20 October 2008

relax. or not.

Another craft weekend. Full of blissful relaxation combined with frenetic activity, which was, somehow, still relaxing.

I may have run out of superlatives to describe this happy communal crafting gig but boy I am no less enamoured of these retreats than I was when we started way back when. And the company, as always continues to make me think and learn, get inspired, feel all warm and fuzzy and make me laugh so hard I darn near wet my pants and pass out from oxygen deprivation. Oh and eat and drink more than enough and sleep not nearly enough. Thanks to Di, Suse, Janet, Sue, Maria, Cath, Jill and SallyRose my drinking, oops I mean crafting mates.

So lucky for you I have something new to rave on about.

On this our seventh craft weekend we have added to the love by finding the last word on craft retreat venues.

To be honest I hesitate to share this with you in the way one guards with one's life the bestest ever sponge recipe on the eve of a CWA get together because I WANT TO KEEP IT ALL TO MYSELF. But because I am so generous and because the secret is quite frankly too good to keep I'm going to tell you all about craft nirvana.

If you live a long long way away from Melbourne avert your eyes now lest envy render your life pointless.

15 reasons to love Sew Journ:
  1. your host Jan not only makes really really nice quilts and blankets, she has left one on each bed and a couple strewn about the place to ensure you can be wrapped in handmade love every moment of your stay.
  2. there are separate sleeping and crafting cottages so you don't need to pack all the work away for meals or for post meal relaxes in the lounge room.
  3. there's a proper kitchen with nice glassware, crockery , stainless steel cookware and sharp knives. And a dishwasher.
  4. there's flowers in house. Live ones.
  5. the studio comes equipped with the most fabulous enormous mobile work tables that can happily fit 6 sewing machines or lay out and cut a whole garment's worth of fabric.
  6. the decor is a delightful mix of understated tasteful basics with wonderful hand made and retro flourishes - like a real home instead of the glorified caravan aesthetic most venues have.
  7. rather than the standard op shop rejects, the beds are all comfortable and come with doonas (as well as the aforementioned quilts - this was my favourite).
  8. the studio has its own toilet and kitchenette with an urn and fridge and glasses and mugs so you don't have to drag yourself those 15m back to the house for a cuppa or a wee and lose valuable crafting moments.
  9. Lancefield is only an easy hour's drive from Melbourne. I only knitted about 5 rows on my stole on the trip!
  10. Lancefield is also a really nice town with an excellent bookshop (scores for both Amy and Wil there), an op shop which was well utilised by our group, a bakery which makes silver award winning pies in the National leagues (I had one for lunch and it was great), and a number of other establishments well worth a look if you need a craft break.
  11. and if you feel like a craft break and can't be bothered leaving the property, there are countless craft books and magazines, the odd trashy mag and some lovely gourmet mags to flick through whilst sitting on the verandah of the studio or cottage or under the vines in the garden in a wicker chair.
  12. the studio has such good lighting that you can work late into the night without stabbing yourself with a needles. But since the studio is also thoughtfully equipped with its own supply of wineglasses you may be in no state to work with needles after 5pm anyway.
  13. there are electronic locks so you don't need to organise keys or remember where they are or spend ages looking for them when you lose them or get half way back to Melbourne before you realise they are still in your handbag.
  14. the studio also has cutting mats, 2 ironing boards with good irons, proper gas lift chairs and couches for more relaxed lap crafting.
  15. Jan has her own blog. She's one of us! It feels particularly good to be supporting people who are enriching the crafting community in so many ways.
Now there's other reasons too, as I am sure will keep popping up in my mind, but I am out of blogging time for now. Suffice to say even if you've never considered a crafty retreat before, if you live in or around Melbourne, it is time to get your arse in the sling. It is so good in fact that we're going to up our annual quota of retreats from 3 to 4, and there was much talk of extending our weekends to three days, and even the odd joke about week long retreats. Believe me, I'll be fanning those flames.

And just before I go here's what a weekend in crafting heaven can bring (rather hurriedly photographed sorry).
I'd like to post more about these pieces because some of them are significant departures for me, and one at least was a total disaster reclaimed and then turned into an experimental idea that I'm still thinking through, but not today I'm afraid. I'm off to attempt to reproduce the dinner a crafty lady served up for me on Saturday night that I just can't get out of my head. Wish me luck!

PS the super easy lace biscuit recipe can be found in this post here.


Judy said...

Wow! That looks like a really nice get-away!

Di said...

That really is an amazing place - heaven for crafters! I am glad that you had such a great weekend!

JustJess said...

OMG - that place is just what I need! Brilliant! Can't breathe so excited!!!!!!! Thanks for link - looks like you were super-productive - great new wardrobe.

Jan said...

Thanks SO much for your lovely comments - it's great to know people are enjoying Sewjourn as much as I hoped they would!

ThirdCat said...

oh. my. goodness.

may your week be as productive as your weekend.

Suse said...

I was EXHAUSTED today!

Happily so, though.

Janet said...

me too. all that relaxing can be rather tiring. but oh, wasn't it just fabulous, can't wait for the next round!

Stomper Girl said...

It sounds sew good!

Simmyb said...

Hey Sooz,

Guess what? Your blog was mentioned in the Saturday edition of The Daily Telegraph under a bit where they mentioned where to get craft inspiration. Thought you might like to know. I was reading it and saying "I know that girl"!

leslie said...

that looks so amazing!

angelasavage said...

Wow, Sooz, is this where we're going in February? - Looks like crafters' paradise! And maybe it's just me, but I can't even tell from the photos which garment was a disaster!

Micha said...

What a fun retreat! I am quite a ways away from Melbourne and you're right... a tad bit jealous :)

Di said...

Well put (as always). and Wow- you managed to find enough time to do the green(ish) linen knit too!!!!

Ren said...

I love your blog even though I am not a crafter like you. I think I like it so much because your crafting reminds me of my childhood. Until I was 15, my mother made ALL my clothes! And the sad thing is, I so didn't appreciate any of it... I don't have anything that she made me. Isn't that sad? The last thing she made me was the dress for my year 10 social. She's 76 now, and her eyes are not so good. She used to collect fashion books and I would be allowed to pick any outfit I wanted, and she would make the pattern using old newspapers. I should learn to sew.

Peta said...

I wanna go!!! Love your new clothes.







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em.s said...

I just love Sewjourn. How good it is?? Your projects are fantastic. Clothes will be my love of 2010 :)