Talk about a gift that keeps on giving.
For Terry Russelburg’s 50th birthday, the Philpot woman asked for an experience instead of a traditional gift, such as a pair of slippers and matching robe.
“I’d like to go somewhere to sew for a few days,” the quilter told her daughter, Jaime Martin.
That was in February 2009 — right after the ice storm that plunged the region in the dark and deep freeze for days. The Philpot area was without electricity for up to two weeks, so the family was jonesing for some fun.
Martin planned a sewing weekend at her family’s lake house at Rough River.
No men allowed.
The weekend was filled with laughter, late nights and lemon cake. It was something every mom dreams of.
Family came. Friends of family came.
“It’s like a girls’ weekend,” Martin said of sewing weekends. “I have my best friend. Mom has her best friend. The girls have their best friends.”
Up to 25 attended the first year. Only about four of them knew how to sew, but after two days of making quilt tops, they knew far more about bobbins and seam rippers.
Everyone brings food and fabric.
The TV never turns on all weekend.
The party has evolved into a much-anticipated annual event. Regulars start calling a few months out to learn the date.
At some point, an autumn sewing weekend was added to the mix. It takes place at a Philpot house Russelburg inherited from her grandmother.
“It’s the lake house without the lake,” Russelburg teased.
Her 11-year-old granddaughter, Layla Martin, who is Jaime Martin’s daughter, has attended every sewing weekend. At the first one, Layla was an infant.
About four years ago, Layla’s best friends, Ashlie Hayden and Katie Hagan, joined the sewing circle.
“It’s like a two-day slumber party,” Ashlie said.
Layla has made up to 10 quilts. Katie has sewn six, and Ashlie has pieced seven.
In a day and age of YouTube and Facebook, the trio looks forward to these electronics-free sewing weekends. They love the food and fun, and they enjoy sleeping together in a large closet.
Up to 20 people stay the night during sewing weekends.
Russelburg and Martin plan to keep the tradition going forever.
“I can’t imagine us not doing it,” Martin said.
Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, email@example.com