My name is ReAnn Scott and many of you might remember that I was the co-owner of STITCHES, Great Fiber Getaways. For almost 25 years, my partner Carol Neuman and I offered ‘sewing vacations’ and hands-ons workshops thoughout the world – and US to fiber-holics.
We my husband of 30 years passed away in 1997, I pack-up and moved to NC. I settled on a mountaintop in Penland, an hour’s drive from Asheville AND home of the famous Penland School of Craft. What an amazing place to live – surrounded by some of the most famous craftsmen and women in all the US. Pottery, jewelry, weaving, textiles, iron, wood – it was amazing. I went there to find peace and resolution to a 30-year marriage that wasn’t suppose to end the way it did. But after a year of ‘screaming at God’ from my deck overlooking 100’s of miles of mountains and forests, I came to realize that life can and must continue.
Carol and I had also owned and operated a very successful meeting and event planning business in Minneapolis for over 15 years. Our most successful event was an “Artist/Designer Studio Tour.” When I realized that I was literally surrounded by artists I decided to start a business that would promote the work of my neighbors and ART SAFARI was born. For 3 years I offered guided studio tours of the artists who lived and worked in the mountain commuties surrounding Penland. At the request of the Asheville CVB, I expanded into the Asheville area and could then bring large convention & meeting groups to the artist studios located in the metro area. It was so much fun and I met so many wonderful people from all over the world.
But….I was lonely. The 4 years of living alone gave me an opportunity who I really was – not just the wife, mother and business owner, but who “I” was. I also sewed what and when I liked – day and night – without worrying about disturbing someone else. My sewing also changed. No longer did I need to wear ‘corporate clothes.’ I cleaned my stash of suite fabrics and really loved sewing designs by The Sewing Workshop, Diane Ericson, Sandra Betzina and Loes Hines. Comfortable clothing with a great twist.
But then, my best friend from my hometown of Danville, IL emailed me that because our HS reunion was fast approaching, I needed to go to Classmates.com and register. Of course, once you are there you just have to scroll through the list to see who else has registered, where they were and what they were up to. I found a name I hadn’t thought of in almost 40 years – Dave Hutton. We had dated – for fun – but I had been madly in love with his best friend. I took a chance and dropped him an email.
To make a long story short, we ‘found’ each other. After hours of emails, long distance phone calls, long-distance dating, David retired (he much older than me – 2 years!) and moved from Chicago to Atlanta, where he lived on a houseboat on Lake Lanier for 2 years. We got ‘engaged to have fun together for the rest of our lives’ on Christmas day of last year. One cold, snowy day on the mountain, he then read an article in the Feb 04 issue of AARP about retiring to Mexico. The next thing I knew we were on a plane to Guadalajara and a little town called Ajijic located on the largest Mexican inland lake, Chapala. And we both fell in love. David came back and put his boat on the market. I came back and thought. I had a beautiful home I loved, a thriving business I also loved and wasn’t due to get window’s social security for another 2 years. So he decided to move and I would visit as often as I could for the next 2 years.
But once back at work I realized that life is full of surpises, some good, some bad, but we just never know what tomorrow will bring. I went for an extended visit in August and September and we found a house we couldn’t live without. Overlooking the lake with great mountain views (we’re at 5,500 ft.) and a great area to add a pool and casita (guest house.). We snapped it up and I ran home to put my house on the market and sell the business. I packed up and we drove down on November 15th in my new little Jeep which is perfect for the tiny cobblestone streets that make up the ‘centro’ of our village. Now when I say village, think a small US town that has an influx of over 50,000 North Americanos each winter – many of whom then realize they can’t leave paradise and retire here full-time, as well.
The local market offers ribbons and some thread, but the ‘quilters group’ was nice enought to let me tag along last week for a fabric shopping trip to Guadalajara – only 25 miles away. WOW! Mexican women love to sew, or have their own seamstress, and the choice in fabrics are just as good as NYC. Of couse, the prices are a little higher, but the quality and quanity is the same. One street has over 20 fabric stores. I’m in heaven. What they lack in woolens (we really don’t need them as the average year-round temp is 72) they make up for in magnificent silks, linens and cottons. Though I had an enormous stash in NC that I just had to down-size before I moved, I sold mostly my woolens. What they don’t have is a good selection of notions and good quality thread. But I just learned I can order off EBay without paying duty. I’m all set.
So the guest bedroom now has a large corner dedicated to my sewing. I bought yards of colorful manta (heavy cotten) to make shirts and pants and curtains for the caista. Life is good –
I was lucky enough to find a man who not only loves me, but who shares my entire youthful memories. His son, my two boys, and his 84 year old mother all came for our first Christmas in our new home. They all thought that playing golf in short sleeved shirts and shorts was great, the food delicious and the Mexican people kind, generous and friendly. A perfect place to viist during the harsh winters in Minneapolis,, Denver & St. Louis
Well, I would that that’s a long enough introduction, wouldn’t you. I look forward to catching up on the latest sewing news and techiques. I have my Threads send here – though it normally a month late in arriving. And I hope to hear from those of you I have met over the years and lost touch with. A group here is already planning a trip to the Houston Quilt Show and I’ve been invited to go along…who knows, I might even try making a quilt instead of pants the next time I sit down at my machine.