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Crafty Getaways

CHERYL TEVIS 03/10/2013 @ 2:11pm Cheryl has been an editor at Successful Farming since 1979.

When the thermometer dips below 0°F., there's no better coping mechanism than seeking out the warmth of kindred souls.

Women's craft retreats are a hot, year-round trendWomen enjoy learning in the company of other womenA retreat enables them to scale to new heights of a favorite hobby and to carve out a precious block of time to do itThe most popular retreat pastimes revolve around scrapbooking, quilting, weaving, spinning, knitting, and beading.

Kelly VanVliet and Beth Jackley (pictured above) gathered with 14 other women for a 12-hour crafting retreat in The Nest, the refurbished upstairs of Hen & Chicks Studio, a Conrad, Iowa, Main Street business owned by Heidi KaisandIf anyone forgets to pack supplies or fabric, it's a quick trip downstairs to the first-floor quilt shop.

Kaisand is the former editor of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine, and she is also a Creative Memories consultant. 

Hen & Chicks Studio recently hosted its first Pinterest party"The women chose four favorite Pinterest projects, created them, and took them home for free," Kaisand says.

Hen & Chicks Studio is located about an hour northeast of Des Moines, IowaThe next 12-hour crafting retreat is March 9To sign up for a newsletter, to check the monthly classes, or to find out more about booking a six-day retreat, call 641/366-3336 or visit henandchicksstudio.com.

A year ago, Patty Meads-Hanson hosted a Girls' Night Out at the Farm open house at Memory Lane Crafting Retreat, near Orangeville, IllinoisThe recently remodeled farmhouse accommodates up to nineIt has a fully equipped kitchen with two ovens.

"The workroom is a beautiful, south-facing room with plenty of light, overlooking a pond and the working farm," Hanson says. 

Orangeville is about an hour from Madison, Wisconsin; Dubuque, Iowa; and Rockford, IllinoisIt's less than three hours from Chicago, Peoria, or Milwaukee.

"We have suggestions for day trips and local restaurants," she says"We find that guests enjoy being on a working farm and watching the combining or haymaking."

To learn more, visit memorylanecraftingretreat.com, call 815/868-2363 or email memorylanecr@gmail.com.

In its first year, the Czech Inn Bed & Breakfast and Retreat near Hayward, Minnesota, has attracted scrapbookers, quilters, and milestone birthday celebrationsJoe Pacovsky grew up on a nearby farm, and after working as an engineer in Wisconsin, he is returning to his roots to tend a small farm and cattle herdHis wife, Katherine, a former nurse, had no farm background.

"Joe is 100% Bohemian, and that's why it's called the Czech Inn," she saysKatherine, whose family is Irish, says she's enjoyed learning how to make her mother-in-law's recipes for kolaches and other ethnic treats.

The new mission-style home, furnished with antiques and modern comforts, is in a wooded setting that can be enjoyed from a lovely patio

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