I've been slacking....
Feb. 7: Have you ever been to a stitching retreat?
Nope. (That was an easy one to answer!)
Feb. 14: Do you like to buy "chartpacks" that include charms, buttons, and/or beads or do you prefer to gather all materials yourself?
I must admit, I'm partial to chartpacks, especially for charms and buttons. It can be more affordable, is usually more convenient, and in cases where I'm not going to stitch something right away, it guarantees that I'll be able to find/use the "correct" doo-dads (since companies go out of business, change their product lines, etc). As for beads, I have a lot, plus mine are nicely sorted - the ones included in chartpacks are often all jumbled together in a baggie, and it can be frustrating trying to figure out which colors are which. It is also easier to substitute with beads than it can be with specific charms and buttons (ie, swapping one brand/size/shade of blue bead for another is easy.....trying to find a little specialty charm that is the right size and shape is NOT so easy).