Inspiration and talent surrounded me for the past three days with at Little Eden Camp in Onekama, MI at the “Common Threads” quilting group’s Fall 2015 Retreat. These ladies are amazing! I had so much fun getting to know all these creative women and seeing all the projects they were working on. The scenery was amazing, both inside and out, with fall colors still on the trees and a nip in the air.

work roomThe workroom was full and overflowed into the dining room there were so many of us wanting to be a part of the fun. I was stationed in the corner of the dining room at a table with Leslie.  This picture is the main workroom that was busy and cheerful, full of busy quilters completing projects they had brought for the three day retreat.

There were drawings for door prizes, applause when someone completed a project and lots of chatter going on while they sewed, so the room was always abuzz with excitement. You could feel the creative energy flowing throughout the room whenever you walked in from another area.  Ironing stations were set up around the perimeter of the room so every inch of the room had something going on.

repair manWe had several demonstrations throughout the retreat that taught us new techniques, offered tips and tricks to caring for our machines or using new tools.  Lonnie Graham from Crossroads Quilt Shop shared some tips for maintaining our machine.  Lonnie had a table set up in the main entrance of the lodge and worked on our machines.

Did you know that Elias Howe invented the sewing machine?  He had to go to court to protect his invention from Isaac Singer. The case lasted from 1849 to 1854 where Howe defended his patent and eventually won and he received the royalties he deserved from the sales by Singer and others. Howe also patented an “Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure”in 1851.  It is what we now know as the zipper.

“Contrary to popular belief, Howe was not the first to conceive of the idea of a sewing machine. Many other people had formulated the idea of such a machine before him, one as early as 1790, and some had even patented their designs and produced working machines, in one case at least 80 of them.[3] However, Howe originated significant refinements to the design concepts of his predecessors, and on September 10, 1846, he was awarded the first United States patent (U.S. Patent 4,750) for a sewing machine using a lockstitch design. His machine contained the three essential features common to most modern machines:

  • a needle with the eye at the point,
  • a shuttle operating beneath the cloth to form the lock stitch, and
  • an automatic feed.”

flamingoI loved this technique that was shown in one of our many demos.  This was a kit that Rogene, one of our members, did and featured a flamingo done with a layering technique using “fussy cut” fabrics (shown in the closeup).flamingo closeup    She explained the process and all the layers involved in creating this beautiful quilt.  It was a kit designed by Laura Heine that included all the fabrics to make the front of the quilt.

Here’s a closeup of the fabric so you can see the details. This is known as “fusible collage technique” which I want to try some time.  If you are interested in this, I found a video that explains this technique and you can order this kit and others via Laura’s website.  The flamingo kit is available here.

landscape Thursday morning with treeThe landscape was beautiful and I was able to get some pictures of Little Eden campgrounds for you to enjoy.  I like to take breaks from sewing every hour or so and get up, stretch, take a walk and take time to enjoy my surroundings, no matter where I am. While I was at the retreat I had lots of beautiful scenery to enjoy.  Little Eden is located on the shores of Portage Lake and Lake Michigan is just beyond.  I took several pictures looking from east to west.  I love this Black Willow that framed the view to the east.

black willowThe trunk of the Black Willow is so textured, it gave me inspiration for a future project perhaps. Check out the bark of this tree.  Apparently I’m not the only one that loves this tree.  I guess so many people asked about it the camp decided the tree needed a sign to identify it for future visitors.

reedsWillows love lots of water and are a great feature in the landscape but also keep the area by the marsh from being to water logged.  The ground was squishy as I got closer to the marsh, but the view was to nice not to explore.  You can see the view to the west was framed by the marsh grasses and the plumes of these plants that had interesting form and texture.

sunsetI’m not sure if the other ladies noticed the beautiful sunset as the daylight waned in the distance, but I did and captured it the best I could on camera. Every day is a gift and every sunrise and sunset is a reason to celebrate life.

The first day was cloudy and rainy, so the second day at camp with the sunshine and the beautiful colors at sunset was a blessing that I cherished.  For a few minutes it was just myself in nature drinking in the fresh air and the miracle of life.  Have you thought of something you’re grateful for?  A great way to de-stress in a hectic life is to think of at least three things in your life that make you grateful.  Positive thoughts do impact your overall health and negative thoughts will entice illness.  Be as healthy as you can be…think positive.

tree lit with sunThe last day at camp the sunshine was spilling it’s light onto the trees and appear to light them up with fall colors.  On my nature walk on the last day I was mesmerized by the reflection of the sun on this tree.

the beach Thur morningThis was down by the beach area, but it was way to cold to swim in the lake.  I’m sure there are lots of campers that enjoy the sun, sand and swimming in the summer months.  Don’t you love how blue the sky is in the fall?  Even though I donned a jacket instead of a swimsuit, I could enjoy the beach at the camp, nonetheless.

home againThe drive home along M-22 from Onekama to Arcadia was beautiful with the leaves on the trees bursting with colors but I was glad to be home.  Here’s my driveway through the woods to my little piece of heaven.  I only live about 15 miles away from Little Eden camp and some of the most beautiful views in the United States.  I’ll take you for a fall color tour drive soon that will take your breath away.

goodiesCamp was fun and I had lots of goodies to bring home and enjoy.  Each of us received a gift each day, thank you Mary for making the handy case for a Tide stick.  It will come in handy when I miss my mouth while eating.  The Christmas ornament was handmade and we each got one.  I also won a door prize that was filled with a fat quarter, coupons, a finger light to light your handstitching and a ball of yarn along with a pattern.  I also one found three magazines for free on the “take me” table.

Thanks to all the ladies that made this camp a wonderful experience for all of our group.  I can hardly wait until next year!


Did you know that M-22 has been voted one of the most scenic routes in North America?  Tim Allen thinks so too.

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