Early, early last Thursday morning, Samantha and I packed our bags and Charlie into a rental car and took off on a girls’ road trip. We drove up the eastern edge of Oklahoma and straight across Missouri and stopped for the night just across the Illinois state line outside of St. Louis. Friday morning, we headed even further north through Illinois, across the northern tip of Indiana and into Michigan for a weekend meet-up with a group of mamas who I’ve known online for years but never before met in person! This group of ladies all belong to the board, Diaper Sewing Divas, which is a lovely community of moms who sew diapers and lots of other things for their little ones.
I was so incredibly excited to get to meet Jamie, my close friend for years and my former business partner. Through a series of events (blessings, really!) she was able to travel down from Canada to the US to join us. We chat online everyday, but we have only talked on the phone a few times. One of the first things she said to me was, “You sound so American.” Hee-hee. I think I’m supposed to sound American! It was such a joy to get to actually hang out and talk . . . in real life! (Jamie shared the story of her adventure on her blog here: Jam Side Up: An Adventure in the US.)
AmyJ, another wonderful online friend, and her girls also shared our suite with us. (Pictured above are me, Amy and Jamie.) Amy’s girls are so sweet. Charlie just adored playing with them, especially in the cupboard under the sink!
On Friday evening, we all slowly arrived at the hotel and visited, played and swam in the hotel pool. Saturday the whole group met at a nearby park for a picnic lunch, conversation, playing, knitting and some baby-wearing lessons from Dawn who is truly the queen of babywearing! (I’m so excited that I know how to get Charlie wrapped on my back now!)
When the picnic was over, a few of us wandered over to Ivelise’s Yarn Shop in Benton Harbor. It is a such lovely shop with a great selection of yarns and a warm, welcoming feel. Samantha left with several skeins and a few patterns. (She actually knitted a whole scarf on the way home! I’ll have to show it off later, though.)
Part of the group met for dinner at Panera. The photo at the very top of this post was taken there as we were finishing up.
Back at the hotel after dinner, we gathered in the meeting room for some games, knitting and, of course, more conversation! I actually had the privilege of planning the games, and I think everyone enjoyed them. (At least they didn’t complain.) We started the evening with each mom pinning two I-Spy squares to her shirt with a safety pin. Each time you said the words “kid” or “kids”, you lost a square to the mama who caught you using the word! A few moms lost their squares right away, but we kept the back and forth exchange going until we were wrapping up our time together. The winners were the two who had the most squares at the end of the evening. (Pictured below are Gina and Amy with their squares still attached and Beth with her empty safety pin!)
For our second activity, we each brought a yard or two coordinating half yards of fabric wrapped for a fabric gift exchange. (Here’s Katie opening the fabric that I wrapped for the exchange in recycled brown paper with selvage “ribbon”.)
Our final game required a bit of preparation. I took a night or two ahead of the conference to go back through our sewing board and choose pictures of items in the show-off forums that I thought were fairly recognizable. I copied each picture, blew it up and glued them randomly on a trifold display along with a list of the names of the board members who made the items. Each conference attendee tried to match the names to the items they created. Two of the moms actually got every one correct!
The winners of our games took home one of my patterns or one of these mason jars that I packed full of sewing notions and tied with more selvage ribbon.
Sunday morning, we had breakfast together, snapped a few last pictures and said our teary good-byes. The weekend went by way too fast! I can’t wait to do it again! There are already plans being made for a second conference next summer.
Samantha and I continued our girls’ road trip with a couple of days in St. Louis before heading home, but I’ll wait until tomorrow to share about our time there.