The New Year Brings Fun!

IMG_1144Let’s be honest, the Holiday Season is special!  Time spent with family and friends is both relaxing and rewarding, but at Vina de Lestonnac it can be a bit lonely.  Sure we get to have fun and sing with the Sisters, but it’s just not the same without groups on property.  Most of our retreat staff gets at least a week if not two weeks off as the retreat center follows the same pattern every year.  This year (as evidenced in my New Year’s Eve post “Winter Wonderland”) we even got five inches of snow in the Temecula Valley and surrounding mountains!

Yes, the holidays are great but it sure is nice to get back to the business of hosting groups!  The sun has been shining and the retreat center is bustling again.  Pictured above is some of our annual hooligans from the ARETOY Quilt shop in Oceanside!  These gals know how to have a great time and make the retreat center lively during their stay.  We look forward to seeing Lynn and the group next January, and for all of the upcoming groups- we’re ready to welcome you back!  Let’s make 2015 the best year at Vina de Lestonnac yet!

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I Needle Therapy

IMG_0914At Vina de Lestonnac Retreat Center we have beautifully maintained grounds, tranquil sitting areas and benches overlooking the Temecula Valley and Wine Country.  And then there’s the animals- From squirrels and rabbits, to snakes, hawks and coyotes, the property just teems with life!  But the very best part about operating a retreat center are the wonderful people that you meet along the way.

Pictured above is Linda Labelson who comes to Vina with her group “A Gathering of Embroiders”.  Linda is experienced in the art of needle work and has been using this outlet as therapy for more than 35 years.  Most of the group had learned their craft at home, and many began before their sixth birthdays.  For Linda, she was introduced to needle work after a debilitating sickness idled her and ironically, the therapy and joy it brings still continues to this day!  Typically, Linda spends about an hour and a half a day on her craft.  That means among friends this week, Linda will complete almost a month’s worth of work in her four therapeutic days at Vina.

The piece pictured above is a 3 x 5 print by the famous painter Klimt called “the kiss”.  The beautiful needle work on this particular piece is so intricate and detailed that at her current pace it will take Linda more than 5 years to complete.  Most of the thread for the piece comes from scraps and leftover pieces of “whatever I can find” according to Linda.  Of course much of the richness in the already completed section shimmers with the Kreinik metallic thread and real gold thread from Japan.  An interesting fact about The Kiss” is that the models used for the artwork lived in Vienna but were all killed in the holocaust.  Linda proudly pointed out three “Stars of David” ornately hidden in the lower and completed portion of the artwork.

I certainly look forward to seeing Linda’s progress when she’s back on property in June with Margaret and the rest of the group!  And how great is it that a Lutheran Retreat Director can gain so much joy visiting with a Jewish guest at a retreat center owned by a 400 year old order of Catholic Nuns?  Heck, three weeks ago we had two groups of young Mormons volunteer to help clean up the grounds and they stayed and had lunch with us.  In a few weeks, we’re likely to have some Buddhist’s out visiting.  Humanity is grand when just given a chance.  And you know what?-  If the world gets to be too much just grab your needlework and head out to Vina!  We’ll be waiting for you.

Winter Wonderland!

IMG_0913The one great thing about being at Vina de Lestonnac in the heart of Temecula Valley, Southern California Wine Country is that we really get a sense of the seasons.  It’s not unusual to hit over 100 degrees in late August at noon, and we frequently get into the low 30’s and even 20’s on occasion in the Winter.  But what is unusual is to get snow as it’s been about 10 years since our last white dusting.

This morning our New Year’s Quilt Group awoke to a New Years Eve present of five inches of fresh snow!  Lori and her Quilters By the Sea friends were treated to real Temecula rarity.  These gals were back in the warmth of the sewing room before long and back to work before ringing in the New Year later tonight.  HAPPY NEW YEAR ladies!