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Monday, February 17, 2014

The end of a good effort

On February 10, I had to sadly close the St. Louis Star Inn. I gave it a good try for 3 years and although I had groups that returned every year, I just could not get new groups to come. I tried everything to get people to come. Even offered a free weekend to quilt guild presidents if they could organize 4 other people to come with them. Was it the economy? Was it my location? Was it the size of my retreat center? There are a lot of unanswered questions. The one thing I did know was, that the groups who were lucky enough to come, had a wonderful time, felt a home, enjoyed the comradeship of being with their quilting friends, ate fantastic food, and got to work on their projects in a relaxing and serene environment. (At least that is what everyone told me who came here.) It was a matter of economics. The monthly insurance payment was more than the number of groups who came, so it became financially difficult for me to maintain.

The last group I had was a fantastic group of 6 women who came from Rolla, Missouri. The had been here last year in February when the winter weather was very mild. This year there was snow on the ground and more snow came before they left. Two of the women were only planning on staying two nights, but since it snowed on Sunday, (and because they were having such a good time) they decided to spend the extra night with the other three ladies who were staying. My husband and I really enjoyed their company and he even said that he was glad that THEY were the last group. (Not glad that they were the LAST group! Well... maybe.)

Here we all are at the dinner table for the final brunch (minus one who left early).

This is a quilt that Cindy was working on during the weekend. I can't believe she made all of those nine-patches and one inch squares! It sure is a beautiful quilt.

It's okay, don't be shy, you can show your face!

I don't know who was sadder. The fact that I wouldn't enjoy the company of other quilters in my home anymore or that the groups who did come were not able to come anymore. Either way it was a sad day for all of us.

I have to give my husband Mike credit. I don't know of too many husbands who would open up their homes to a group of ladies who would be staying overnight, eating at his dinner table and somewhat disrupting his daily routine. He is very routine oriented (must have been that Marine Corps training)! Plus, he had the responsibility for cleaning out our eco toilet since we had no running water in the quilt studio! I know this was not a pleasant task for him, but he did it because he knew running the retreat center was something that I enjoyed doing. There were plenty of times that he wanted to say that he didn't want to run it anymore, but he was willing to give up his privacy so that I could give it a good try. He does have to admit, for as much as he might have complained, he did enjoy entertaining the women!

One group of ladies from Farmington, Missouri, who had been to my retreat center 4 times, presented Mike with a wonderful patriotic quilt for his military service the last time they were here. It was something that he never expected and told them that they needed to give it to someone more deserving. Even though he is an extravert and loves being the center of attention, he is very modest about his accomplishments and does not like to be recognized for what he has done. I had to pull him aside to tell him that they made it for HIM and that he needed to accept it graciously which he did.

I feel like I have an empty house, like when my children all moved on and I had empty nest syndrome. (Though I think I was sadder to see the quilters go than my own children!) I have all of these beds with quilts on them that will go uninhabited. I don't know what I will do with all the beds. Maybe keep them just in case I want to try it again? Do bed turning demos?

For all of those wonderful ladies who did spend the night, I have to say thank you for great memories. I made some new quilting friends and will always think of them as family because that is the way they were treated when they were here. I will still be running my shop and hopefully have day retreats/workshops so that people will still come and visit. The Rolla ladies did schedule a workshop for my Yin and Yang quilt on July 28, 2014. Contact me if you are interested in enrolling in the class an to get more information.

Lastly, I want to mention that my schedule is updated on my website, listing all of the workshops and trips that I will be taking. If you are in the same area as I will be, please stop by to see me, especially in Paducah, KY, Columbus, OH, and Springfield, IL where there will be large quilt shows and lots of quilts to inspire you.
Time to move on. Life is always changing! As always, do what you love and love what you do. Toby