Drowning in Fabric

Forever cleaning, organizing and creating

Nothing to sew here…

I am in a mug rug swap on flickr. Our theme for this swap is hearts. Because, you know, for Valentine’s day next month. I decided to chance it and try to get my mug rug made since it has to be mailed out by the end of the month, and I am going to lose time having my machine serviced and going out of town. I think my design was heavily influenced by my chevrons that are staring at me, forlorn, from my design wall.

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This is the front of my mug rug and the binding. I am really pleased with it so far. I also FMQ’d hearts in red thread. It went well and looks really cute, I think.

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This is the back. You can see the quilting better here.

I ran into trouble when I tried to attach the binding. I was actually surprised I got this far. It started skipping stitches and looping again while I was doing the binding. So, I pulled it off and took my machine in yesterday morning. I was there soon after opening, hoping against hope he might be able to get it back same day, but he had a pile of machines to work on. So I have a whole week without my sewing machine. I will have 6 days, roughly, left in the month where I and my machine will both be here. That should be enough time to finish up my stack the deck January goal. I wish I had taken my machine in earlier though, so I am not so up against the wall.

I am really thinking about getting a second (better) machine for times like this. Maybe a Janome or Bernina? A good quality machine that can be my main quilting machine and this one can be a backup. The Singer’s been a good machine to me, and has quite a few bells and whistles. It wasn’t cheap either. But maybe it is time for a good quality quilting machine. I don’t know, just something I’ve been mulling over.

Anyway, the service guy is at my favorite shop on Thursdays. So, as long as I was in there I thought I’d have a look around. I haven’t been there in a few months, because the good cotton went away and usually it is many months to a year before it resurfaces. They were having a “year end clearance sale”. They did have about a half a table with some designer cottons. I grabbed a few of them. I wonder if there were more a few weeks ago or if they will be putting out more. Oh well. It wasn’t the piles and piles they have when they are doing the cotton only sales.

my fabric grabs.

my fabric grabs.

So, while my machine is away, I am doing some cutting for swaps. My swap is doing Denyse Schmidt and I am signed up for I spy and Lizzy House swaps. And some drawing/planning for future quilts. And lots of shopping.

I’ve also been working on cleaning. I have been following along the 52 week challenge, more or less. Last week was to clear off the counters. I did ok there, but it really does pile up. I am trying to be better about cleaning up and clearing off daily, though. Especially as we have been battling really bad ant invasion for weeks. I’ve been doing the borax traps that can be found on pinterest, and it works like a charm getting rid of them for a while, but then they came back. 😦 Not in as great numbers, though. So I am hoping as I keep doing this they will get fewer and fewer. I’ve been working this week on our drawers and cabinets. Just the lower ones because I can’t reach the uppers. And I’ve worked a section a day so it doesn’t take too long or isn’t too overwhelming. I probably won’t finish, but any work I do is better than I was.

I am also working on the toys. I’ve decided to divide them up and do a weekly rotation. Less toys out, less toys to clean up, less cluttery looking, “new” toys to play with every week. We’ll see how that goes.

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My Favorite Store!

Oh, I have been waiting a looong time for this. I am about to tell you about what I consider the best kept secret in my state. Sadly, I didn’t know about this place for a long time. Then, I drove by it a million times before one day I finally decided to stop in. Knowing what I know now, I know that if I hadn’t gone in at just the “right” time, I probably never would have stepped foot in there again.

Start digging!

Start digging!

As it was, what I found were tables and tables piled sky high with fabric. For next to nothing. The best I can figure, they buy up damaged, cancelled orders, overstock, end of bolt, etc, and resell it in a less than aesthetic manner for cheap. I frequently find fabrics tagged with fabric.com or other shop cutting labels.

Now, two years ago when I started going there, I wasn’t so much a quilter and I had a very fledgling knowledge of fabric quality and designers. Unfortunately, I bought a lot of fleece and flannel back then because that’s what I thought I would be using. I’ve barely touched that stuff. 😦 Over the months, I went maybe once a week and left with a bag of fabric each time. I paid anywhere from $3 a yard down to 25 cents a remnant once they finally started clearancing out. I began to focus on the quilting cottons and started watching for certain designs and designers. But still, I was mostly buying then for my Ispy swaps and not so much for general quilting. By last August, I had started more quilting and refining my fabric knowledge. I had a better idea what I was looking for. And I was taking it for granted that this would be a constant supply for me.

And then the supply stopped. They changed over their inventory. For a long time it was apparel fabrics. Then upholstery. Then bolts and bolts of just crappy blah cotton fabric. Really bad stuff. Fleece. Then back to upholstery. I was really losing hope that I would ever see my remnants again. I’d had to buy more and more fabric at retail and had gotten into more and more swaps that I was shelling out for – not to mention running my own swap now as well, which carried a monthly obligation. I lamented how I misused the opportunity when I had it. (hear the violins?) I missed my weekly outing.

I would still run in once a week at first… then once every couple weeks… checking.. I was out nearby last week and almost didn’t stop in. I really expected the same ‘ol. But there it was! My wonderful cotton remnants again! I was so excited! And took full advantage. Now, this whole thing is an experience… You have to DIG. And the fabric is heavy. There are all kinds of different weights mixed in. My arms usually hurt the next day. But if you are willing to work for it, you can find the good stuff. It is also a good idea to come back. Things churn and they put more out. That’s why I’d go weekly… but even in the course of my one or two hours searching, by the time I get to the back, the landscape at the front seems completely different. I pull whatever I like, then go through and throw stuff back before I check out. If I leave it, I will never find it again. I spend most of my time there sneezing and sniffling. Everything is different sizes. You can find fat quarters all the way up to several yards ( I got three yards of Joel Dewberry last year for $1 a yard. That was my best find until recently). Some of it has cuts, rips, or writing on it, but most of it is beautiful. I still buy the damaged pieces (sold as-is) if I think I can cut around the damage or it isn’t too bad.

Making decisions

Making decisions

Check out this lady's awesome find! (I got to chatting with her and got a picture.)

Check out this lady’s awesome find! (I got to chatting with her and got a picture.)

 

I usually go in with a plan, but since you never know what you will find, it has to be general. My plan today – I have an animal and a food swap coming up; I have a quilt to make for my aunt that I haven’t even started on, which I am looking for travel motifs for; and I always have an eye out for certain designers like Tula Pink or Lizzy House. I also have to cull through my cart and make sure I am buying both what I want and what I need… not stuff I already have tons of or stuff I think I should get because other people like it. Both can be hard.

Today's Haul

Today’s Haul

Last week's haul

Last week’s haul

 

I’ve come away with some good Tula. I didn’t know about her last year, so I can only imagine what I’ve missed in the past, but I’ve been finding a lot this time around. There’s about a half yard of the pink frog price, a yard of the stripe, and two of the turtles. A whopping 3.75 of the blue frog prince! Plus I got a couple yards of the laminate as well. Lizzy has been really slim this year, which makes me sad. I got a lot of her stuff (mostly 1001 and some Pilgrim) last year. But I did find a couple of pearl bracelets today and some guising last week. Other notable collections: Wrenly, which I love, and am actually having to leave a lot behind because I am hoarding so much of it. Les Amis and Comma, both of which I have wanted and haven’t any of. Some Denise Schmidt, Riley Blake, and Sarah Jane. One lonely Simply Color. Lots of good options for my swaps and aunt’s quilt. But oh, if I could only show what I left behind. 😉

This becomes like a drug. After a few days I find myself itching to go back. Wondering what’s there. What I might have missed. What they might be putting out RIGHT NOW. Thinking of all the people buying MY fabric. There’s no harm in taking a peek. But – I think I need to take a break. Money’s tight these days, and as much as I justify this by being pennies on the dollar…. well, eventually the pennies run out. LOL.

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Wip Wednesday: I love to take a phooooo to graph ~\.

So I have been working again. The new nephew is due any day now. I need to get his quilt done. I am going away soon. I need to get this quilt, my June mystery block and about 5 swaps done and mailed before I go! Wow. Don’t know if the quilt will make it. We’ll see. And I am going to try to get my machine in for servicing while I am away.

Originally, I was going to do a mini tumbler quilt to emulate big brother’s Tumbler quilt. But somewhere along the way I changed my mind. I wanted to use my ABC ispy swap blocks and there are only 26 of those… Not enough, especially for a mini tumbler. So I decided the polaroid quilt might be a good decision.

Some helpful tutorials if you are interested:

Well, I didn’t want to do the itty bitty polaroids that everyone did not too long ago. My swap blocks are 6.5″ and I wanted to use as much of it as possible. And, again, only 26 blocks. 🙂  So, I had to do some math and drawing and stuff. So, in case anyone is interested in making larger blocks, I will save you some trouble. Here is what I did:

I determined what size grid, quilt and blocks I wanted. I came up with 7.5″ blocks in a 5×6 grid making the quilt 35x42ish.
I spent some time trying to decide on paper piecing vs. chain piecing. I went with chain piecing, and I am glad. It is going very quickly.
I cut my 6.5″ prints into 5″ charms.
I cut white strips at 1 inch and 1.5 inches.
Then I sewed the 1 inch strips on the sides and trimmed them even.

White strip chain

White strip chain

Then I sewed 1 inch on the top, and 1.5 on the bottom. I trimmed the bottom to 1.25 and the top and sides to .75.

Polaroids!

Polaroids!

Then I cut the background fabric to 2.5 inches and sewed to the sides, trimmed, and top and bottom.

Chain sewing background

Chain sewing background

I made a 7.5″ paper template, tilted it, and trimmed around it. And that is my block.

Finished block

Finished block

Incidentally, this is similar to the twisted block I made for my son’s quilt, but was a much easier way of doing it. One of those smack your head, why didn’t I think of this myself sort of things. (And I altered the size of those blocks on my own as well.)  It does waste more fabric, though.

Once I finally got started, it was moving pretty quickly. I feel like I say that a lot. I guess I spend way too much time thinking and planning and then finally get around to it. This is where I’ve gotten hung up in the past, and I am learning to work through it. I would just think and think and never DO. And the more I thought, the more convinced I got that I couldn’t (or shouldn’t) do.

Where I am now.

Where I am now.

So, currently, I am halfway through adding the background strips to my polaroid blocks. Hopefully I will make it to sewing them together tomorrow. I ordered some of the mischief fabric that was half off on Fat Quarter Shop last week. They always seem to have the perfect sale on the perfect fabric when I need it for backing. I bought the City Streets backing for the kidlet’s quilt when she had that on sale, and I was just about to go shell out for it at my LQS. The mischief was just so perfect. The blue sold out while I was debating, so I ended up getting the cream and the green (I think. or brown) and some of the plaid for the binding. I think I’ll probably go with the cream for the baby’s quilt, but will choose when they get here. Then I can use the other for another quilt for my baby. Because, you know, I’ve never finished the first one anyway…. and he has totally been trying to steal the tumbler quilt. I’ve had to hide it. I really need to finish one for him. I am also debating embroidering the letters and/or name of objects onto the bottom strip of the polaroid.

I am pondering my mystery block for this month. I think it is the last one. Then my little pineapple will find its way back to me. We will do a reveal. I think I know what I am going to do, but it’s something I haven’t tried before… and I am still trying to figure out if I have (enough of) the right colors. I really hope so. I gotta stop spending…. (not just on fabric, but that isn’t helping…)

New chair

New chair

Here is my new sewing chair. Yay. This is care of my husband’s job’s discards. Don’t be too jealous – it is quite literally the least they could do. At least I don’t have to use a dining chair anymore.

I’ll be linking up to…

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Stash Bash, part 2

The amazing thing about stash bash was that I left with a lot more than I came with… Let’s take a peek at some of the swag, winnings, and stuff!

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Here is my swag and some of my winnings… We got a canvas tote stuffed with neat and useful things, including our stash bash cup, a scrap catcher (in my favorite color – and I almost bought one of these not too long ago – great gift!), some comic boards, a large binder clip, a pad of graph paper, the makings for a zippered pouch from Amanda, truecut adhesive rings, Fat Quarter shop coupon, Art Gallery fabric, Our Epoch fabric, fabric and tape measure from Stash Modern Fabric.

The darling bag was from our pouch trade. It is so well made and like a little clutch purse. And filled with candy! I never did find out who got my pouch. I won a bags, pillows and pincushions magazine and Ruby Star Wrapping book in giveaways.

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Oliso irons were also a great sponsor! They provided irons for us to use. This is a really cool iron. It lifts and sets down with your touch. It took some getting used to to not set it upright, but now I have gotten so used to it, I am forgetting to stand my home iron! The coolest part is the little side filling reservoir for water. It has a spout with a channel, and you can pour it right in without spilling. This is a real change from my little sunbeam I’ve had since college. I was hoping to take advantage of their offer to us, but then I came home to a huge roof mess and that on top of some other family emergencies this month…. we will not be spending any money for a while. 😦

Our leader, Chris, made the awesome pressing boards. That’s on my to-do list for the summer. I think it’ll work great on my new dedicated cutting and pressing table.

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We took a field trip Saturday to the largest quilt store in the state. When I was there for shop hop, I wanted to pick up this Tula Pink dandelion print and the grey DS seeds, both of which are difficult to find online now, but didn’t so I knew I would be getting those (I could find them “cheaper” online, but with shipping and all that….). They also had the green seeds so I picked those up as well. I have a little bit, but wasn’t sure how much and while I am not a FMF fan, I love these seed prints and wish I could have gotten more. They had the Wrenly stripes on sale, and I love Wrenly, but don’t have the stripes, so I grabbed those as well. The darling love birds were in their “yard sale” (cute!) bin and I took the remnants too. They still had their shop hop strips available, so I got those as well. I think I have 5/10 now, even though I only got two during shop hop. We also got a little goody bag and coupon for being there with Stash Bash.

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I did quite a bit of shopping with Beth of Stash Modern Fabrics. She was our onsite vendor, and boy did we descend on her like a pack of wolves when she got there. I wasn’t quick enough to grab some of the things I wanted, but she is local, so I will be shopping with her a lot now! All the Kingdom prints on the right I had preordered. Several of them were possibilities for my Bloom Bloom Pow (I was having a terrible time finding “lights”) and then I decided I just needed the whole collection. She brought a lot of fat quarters to sell at SB, so I got some Tula Pink and Color Me Retro (I am going to need that whole collection too). She offered some fabric for giveaway, and I selected the Sarah Jane prints. (Love the balloons. That has been on my list for a long time. So has out to sea). And, the pink one I don’t even know what it is. I needed it for a project I worked on at SB which I will show off in my next post.

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We played a fun game Saturday night, which was basically gambling with fabric, based on a game called LCR. We started with 6 FQ, contributed 3 to the pot, and this is what I ended up with (plus one of my own, which I didn’t include in the picture). A couple of these were actually donations after the game from people who didn’t want them, or had brought them and ended up with them. I was all about those strawberry stripes, and I have no idea what I will do with them now. There were many many cute things that passed through my hands before I ended up with this. I brought extras, hoping we would play again, but we didn’t get to.

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Shop Hop, part 3

I sat in the car a few minutes trying to decide how to tackle the rest of the shops. Should I bail and go home? Should I start at the furthest or the closest? The three remaining shops were all in the same city, so I hoped that meant they were all relatively close together, cutting down on travel time. I made a choice and told Siri where to go, and she provided me with a route I didn’t know about. I thought I was going to have to drive east all the way back to the highway then head nw from there, but the shop was pretty much due north of the shop I was at, and an easy about 25 minutes on a couple streets straight there. I found it easily with minimal traffic.

Their theme was batty/halloween

Their theme was batty/halloween

This was a nice sized shop too. Lots of batik and reproduction. Mostly arranged by color. Not a lot of yellow. 😦 My yellow search continues… but that’s a story for another post.

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Shop quilt

Shop quilt

This time I found something I was looking for:

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They teach classes AND rent time. They lady spoke with me for some time about it and I took a flyer. I am SO super excited. I am really interested in learning to long arm and want to do my own quilts. Classes are one on one and there is always someone available to help/oversee when working. They are all non-computerized machines. She did scare me a little about how long it takes to do, and how steep the learning curve is. But this year is all about facing my fears head on, right? And, of course, you book ahead of time, not based on time used, so you may over or under book and it all adds up, so I am not sure it is any cheaper than sending out. But it’s mine. This can all get so expensive. Anyway, as soon as I have a small quilt and some free time, I am totally going to schedule a class.

I picked up a few fat quarters for my jar swap because the price was good, but ended up putting them back. So I had now been in and out of 8 stores without buying anything! Unheard of. Their gift bag had candy, thread, a nail file, coupon and pattern.

They had printed directions to the next shop, which was maybe ten minutes away. YAY!

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Shop quilt

Shop quilt

This was another smallish shop. They had a room with contemporary, novelty and sale. The front room had blender and repro. Their baggie had the pattern, candy, coupon, some english paper piecing precuts (people say these are addicting, but it so doesn’t appeal to me at all) and a fat quarter. I did pick some things up here. I actually didn’t hit the minimum dollar amount to get my strips, and had to go back and pick out a few more things. I wish I had gotten one of those charms though. I thought those were darling.

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They had one bolt of Tula Pink on the sale shelf. It was the main reason I bought here. I almost didn’t, but wanted the pattern too and was scared I would regret it if I didn’t. It was 40% off the marked down price, so I kinda wish I had gotten more. The pattern is for a notions bag with a vinyl window. One of the ladies in my BOTM class made one and I have been wanting to, too. I am using a wetbag right now, but am always worried my sharp tools with punch holes in the PUL. Several of the fat quarters are for my I spy swap. The tomatoes, candy, bugs and buttons are for the jar swap. And there are the fabric strips I got for my purchase.

One stop left! Again, not too far to go, and by now I was onto them. I knew to ask for directions.

IMG_0618 How cute is this one? Definitely something to make for the baby.

Shop quilt (I think)

Shop quilt (I think)

I made it! With a little time to spare. I spent some time here, since I was finally able to relax a little. I turned in my passport and got a big coupon to all the stores as the prize. The bag for this shop included the pattern, coupon, a fabric label, and another nail file (seriously – is there some use for these in sewing I don’t know about?!? It was certainly a popular gift bag choice). This was a nice sized shop. The main room had batiks and various designer fabrics and a notion section. There was a large room with novelty and flannel. I saw lots of cute stuff.

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I knew I was going to get the shop fabric here, so I started picking out some other things to get. They had some nice moda that I hadn’t seen before that would work great with my citrus theme. I took it to the cutting table to be cut and asked for the shop hop theme fabric. I asked for two yards, which should have been plenty to get me to the minimum purchase for the strips, but they only had less than a yard and a half. I took what they had and got a 15% end of bolt discount! LOL. I was way under what I needed to get the strips. So I decided to look around for some more fabric. I picked out a few more for the jar swap, the two at the top of the last column (not sure the second one will go with my citrus theme, but we will see) and the cute crabbies that were just calling to me. Plenty of orange and lime, but no lemon still.

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So, I headed home and got stuck for some time in even more construction traffic. I can only imagine if I had done this during the week….

Reflections….

I am glad I did it. At first I wasn’t going to at all, then I was just going to check out a few, and then I had to catch them all. I found lots of shops I didn’t know about. However, there are a couple I do that weren’t a part of it.  I wonder how it is determined who joins. But there are certainly some I will be going back to again, which I would never have known about otherwise. I will Definitely be learning long arm this year! I will also be going back to the first shop I visited yesterday that was huge and had all the designer stuff. Some of the ones over on my side of town, while still far, are good to know about if I get a day out and need to find something. Over all, I still think the shop I go to is the best in the bunch… well, except maybe for the huge shop… maybe it is loyalty or familiarity or maybe it is that they are more my style (though I did like the fabrics in this last shop too). All in all, a worthwhile and fun thing to do.

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Shop hop, part 2

Today I set out after putting the baby down for a nap, around 11:30 or 12. I started with the most southern shop. As I asked Siri how to get there, her answer was “I found a place that matches. It is a long way from you.” So even she realizes how crazy it is to go to these places! A long way to Siri is, apparently, 45 minutes. I probably would have gotten there in a little less time, as I was cruising nicely at 70 or 75…. til I hit my first bout of construction traffic, about 5 miles from the exit. Then we were creeping along at 20 miles or so. I was stressing that this was not the way to start the day. I had a long day with a lot of travel ahead. The return traffic was completely stopped and not moving at all. Suddenly, just before the exit, everyone started moving again (on my side, not the opposite). I saw no construction or other reason for the traffic to have stopped. How annoying.

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A billboard on the highway promised this was the largest quilt shop in the state! That was exciting. I was eager to see it.

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This whole building was the shop.

This place was amazing. And overwhelming. I spent almost an hour just looking around and talking to the workers. I could have spent a fortune here, but managed to escape without buying anything. But I have filed away a lot of the stuff they have here for if I should need it later.

The shop quilt

The shop quilt

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Lookie what I found:

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Unfortunately, they only had Salt Water and Prince Charming. But there are a few prints there I may go back for. I spent some time trying to decide if I should get them, but they were full priced and not cheap. The goody bag for this shop included a tape measure, coupons, and the pattern,

My other fascination in this shop were their long arms:

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Unfortunately, they do not give classes or rent time. When I inquired, I was told that they give a class to everyone who buys a machine. Well… I’d kind of like to know how to use it and if I like it before I go spending tens of thousands and devoting a lot of space to a machine, y’know? But they do provide longarm servixe, which is really good to know. It seems in line with, or cheaper than, other places I have priced, but without the expense and risk of shipping. Their turn around is 7-10 days. All good to know. If I could just get past my hangup with having other people do my quilting for me… but good to know about in a bind and I am sure I will use their services at some point.

I asked for a non-traffic-highway way to get to the next shop and discovered they had printed directions and everything! I still double checked with Siri (I like to see where I am on the route) and headed out to the next place. It was after two by this point. The drive was getting hot and the sun was beating down on me. And even though I was trying to avoid the highway, I was still in a lot of traffic for about half the way. Then, suddenly, everything opened up and the rest of the drive was a breeze.

This next shop was kind of in the last place I would expect to find a quilt shop. That’s all I am going to say about that. It was in a little strip mall. I actually drove by it and had to turn around. Inside, it was cute. Small. Lots of novelty and batik.

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Their theme was pirate and they did a cute job with it. The also had water and gold coins available for free, and other goodies for purchase. I was excited to get the water after several hours in the hot car already.

Some of the pirate theme

Some of the pirate theme

Shop quilt

Shop quilt

They also had a long arm. They also do not do classes or rent. Their turn around is closer to 6 weeks. Nuff said.

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I also took pictures of their jar quilt since we have a jar swap coming up. It kept falling while I was trying to take the picture. I also didn’t purchase anything here (go me!) even though I need some stuff for the jar swap and they had some good options. The bag for this shop was the pattern and coupons.

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The next shop was the furthest away and really in the middle of nowhere. Traffic wasn’t as bad, but it was far and the directions were not good. They told me to turn onto a road that didn’t exist. And Siri had no idea what I was trying to find. So I finally pulled over and called the shop. They gave me convoluted directions that were at least good enough to get me the rest of the way there. This one was also in a strip mall.

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This was a nice shop, but I didn’t spend a ton of time here. I was really stressing as now it was 4:00, I’d been at it for over four hours, and I still intended to get to three shops. They closed at 7. So I tried to get in and out of this one quickly, especially as it is the furthest and most difficult to get to, I figured I would not be a frequent shopper here.  I did win a door prize here, a goodie bag with an applique book and a pattern. Other than that, they handed out their pattern for their quilt block, which I did not get a picture of. At this point, my phone was full and I had to spend some time deleting pictures, and I guess didn’t realize it didn’t take a picture of the block because it was full. It is a log cabin.

DUN DUN DUN…

Will she complete her quest??? Will she buy the shop hop fabric?  Find out in part three, coming soon!!

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Shop Hop, Part 1

This weekend is Shop Hop. Ten quilt shops around the city band together to bring people out of their comfort zone and visit the shops all around the city. And boy, are they spread far and wide. Ten shops, 4 days, door prizes at each shop, and some great grand prizes if you make it to each of the shops. Each shop hands out little gift bags, has a theme and a shop quilt showcased. They also are offering kits, and fabric strips for purchase to complete the shop quilts. (But I didn’t know all that til later)

Yesterday after naptime, I strapped the kidlet in the car and make the hour + treck to our first set of shops. I was absolutely convinced when I arrived at the first shop that I was in the wrong place. It didn’t help that all over the literature it said not to trust the GPS because it takes you to the wrong place. And of course, what did I do? I printed out directions on google maps and asked Siri how to get there. I found myself at, what looked from the outside to be a yard nursery or somesuch. I wasn’t sure if I should even get the baby out of the car, but I went ahead and strapped him into my Ergo (which I haven’t used in a year) and went inside. What I found was a real, old fashioned like dry goods store. They had beans and hunks of meat and candy and fabric. I was wrestling the baby for the phone, so I didn’t get all the pictures I wanted to.

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They had quilts hanging all over the shop. The selection wasn’t large, and quite honestly, not really my style. Lots of what I call “country” colors… muted, lots of calicos (which I like in the right colors), a good batik section. Nothing really modern or designer.  The top quilt in the second picture is the shop hop quilt pattern they gave (though I didn’t know that at the time, I just liked the quilts) and the fabric pattern in the bottom quilt is the exclusive shop hop fabric for the year. I will pick some up at one of the shops eventually.

I got my program stamped, and filled out my entry for the drawing. They gave me a goodie bag. It had the quilt pattern, seeds, a coupon and some candy in it. Then we headed back in the car to go about ten miles to the next shop.

Ok. This time I really did get a little lost. This shop was in a renovated home in a cute little historical district. Siri didn’t really tell me the right spot. I was on the correct road, but wrong location. I don’t know if I drove by it or didn’t go far enough or what, but I eventually looked at addresses and figured it out. It is easy to miss if you don’t know what you are looking for.

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This shop was a little more my style, though still not a Lizzy House or Tula Pink in sight. Excuse the first picture, I took it blind because of the sun. The theme for this shop was black, white and red. They had a whole room just with fabrics of those colors.

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I like the tumbler. I am about to start cutting tumblers for my nephews, but I love the monochromatic. I love the one next to it, too. Here are some other quilts they had displayed:

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This last one is their shop hop quilt pattern. I really like it. The woman at the table in this shop did try to explain about the quilt and the fabric strips, but I didn’t understand that each shop had its own different quilt… I thought I was supposed to collect fabrics from all shops for the same quilt. I got a goodie bag with more candy, some fabric cuts – I think to make a mug rug, and a cute nail file that says something about nail care for crafty hands. We headed back home for the day after that.

This morning I managed to get out during naptime without the baby. I had a list of places to go, including the store and post office, so I didn’t have a hope to make it back before he was up, but took advantage of the opportunity. It is so much easier without him. After a stop at the PO I went out the the shop closest to my home, where I usually go and take classes. I didn’t get a front pic of this shop, since I was rushing and didn’t think of it because it is so familiar.

I went straight to the stamp table (I am very familiar with their stock) and on the way met the sewing machine repair guy. I talked to him a bit (he was real sweet) and told him about some of my issues and got an idea of his schedule. Then I got stamped, filled out my entry and took my goodie bag. This one had the quilt pattern, some table runner patterns, a coupon and a fat quarter.

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Shop Hop quilt

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This is the quilt for the quilt of the month class I am taking

Then I drove about 45 minutes north to the next shop. Their theme was “under construction” and they went all out. They did a cute job.

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Don’t you love the “barn quilt” on the front? There was one on the side too. Renovated homes seem to be a popular place for quilt shops. They had a lot of nice stuff, but still not what I am on the lookout for. Lots of cute novelty, batiks, a 30’s room, and various other stuff. They had a bunch of fabric panels that make up into books. I really spent time going through them and trying to decide if I should get some to make for the baby.

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In the end, I decided I had overstayed my time out and still had a long drive home and needed to get going. I got my goodie bag and headed out.

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This was their shop hop quilt, but I didn’t get the pattern in my goodie bag (which had a candy and a fat quarter)!! I didn’t realize it til I was already on the road. At least it looks like an easy one, but now, after four of these I know what to look out for.

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I thought this was real cool too. I think it is a quilt with little working purses on it. I may have to grab that pattern if I ever go back for the fabric books someday.

I debated whether or not I should even stop at the grocery store and ended up pulling into a smaller store on the way home. Just as I was getting out of the car, my husband called to tell me the baby had just woken up! I couldn’t believe he had slept so long. I was sure he would have been up for some time, and my husband would be waiting for me to get home so he could get back to work.

Well, four down, six to go. So far, I haven’t bought anything! I have done all the shops that can even remotely be called close to my house. The other 6 are spread out all around the west, northwest and south, clear across the city. Places I wouldn’t even think of going on a weekday when I could run into traffic. I really don’t want to have to go both tomorrow and Sunday but it seems like a lot of driving to do in one day. We’ll have to see what happens, but my husband is already on notice that it’s going to be a boy’s day tomorrow.

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Cleaning up the cleaning supplies…

My green focus for the year is detoxification. I want to start moving all the toxins out of our house (and my body) and start educating myself and using more natural choices. I decided I may as well start with the kitchen.

Here is what I use to clean 90% of the time:

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I figured it probably wasn’t perfect and was a lot of fancy labeling, but I was a little surprised to see it got an F from the EWG. I am still not entirely sure why. Most of the ingredients get A. It is the non descript “coloring, perservatives and fragrance” that give it an F. It is unknown if it is tested on animals. So, if my “good” cleaner gets an F…. time for a change. They do have better scoring cleaners, but let’s get down to basics. Then we know exactly what we are dealing with.

I have been doing a lot of research. The most recent blog I have gotten my information from is liverenewed.com, where I am currently following her green in 365 days series. But for this post, I am using 31 days to green clean. If I come across other sites I use, I will link those as well. So, my kitchen is a mess. It was errand day, and I thought no time like the present. So the kidlet and I trekked out today to a variety of places in part in search of cleaning ingredients.

Well, first I stopped at a little new thrift store that opened up down the street. We are mysteriously short on knives, and I have a sudden, inexplicable desire for mason jars. We didn’t find either of those there, but dude had a featherweight. For $5! I didn’t get it. I didn’t think it was worth carrying the item to the car. And further research has shown me that it will probably cost me more to repair this thing than to buy one in working condition. The belt was broken, the cord was frayed and covered in electrical tape, it was rusted throughout, it was missing part of the base. *sigh* He didn’t really know what it was – “an old Singer” that he got in a storage auction that he’s had for years. Ugh. Tell me I need to go back for it!

Then we checked My Favorite Fabric Store. Which has been anything but lately…. If’n they ever start selling the quilting cotton again, I will do a post about them.   But I used to drop a lot of money every week there, and I haven’t spent a dime in months. They are like a big fabric hunt hit or miss. I am actually in withdrawal. It’s been all apparel fabric lately.

Then we hit Dollar Tree. I was kind of surprised they did not have my shopping list items there. No baking soda or vinegar, etc… But what I did find were a variety of microfiber cloths, towels and bar mops.  We are in mid transition to cloth rather than paper products. I mainly use kitchen towels to clean and cloth napkins, but my husband is still pretty married to paper towels – for cooking, cleaning and napkins. I keep trying to encourage him to avoid them, but he keeps buying them. I also got some spray bottles. I have read criticism about using plastic, particularly from places like Dollar Tree, but I am taking one thing at a time. Once I have the cleaning down I will start investigating the containers. For now, we aren’t microwaving it or eating out of it, so I am not too worried.

Cloths from Dollar Tree: $1/1-3, Spray bottles: $1, Parmesan container: I am a container hoarder.

Cloths from Dollar Tree: $1/1-3, Spray bottles: $1, Parmesan container: I am a container hoarder.

Well, now we’d been doing a lot of running around, and I was getting tired of the car seat. I had wanted to go to Goodwill for knives and mason jars, but they were a lot further away (All these other stores were all in the same area) and wouldn’t have the cleaning supplies. So I opted instead to stay focused on our main purpose and stopped instead at Walmart, which we passed on the way back home. Here, I collected baking soda, washing soda, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol (both of which we probably already had, but, you know), natural dish soap, knives (2/$1), and mason jars ($10/12. I can probably do better at thrift stores and will continue to look, but it’s a start).

Vinegar (on hand), Baking Soda: $2.24, Washing Sida: $3.24, Alcohol: $.97, Peroxide: $.88 and $1.23, Dish soap: $2.97

Vinegar (on hand), Baking Soda: $2.24, Washing Sida: $3.24, Alcohol: $.97, Peroxide: $.88 and $1.23, Dish soap: $2.97

I knew we had a big jug of vinegar at home already, and I had trouble finding it at walmart. I also asked no less than THREE people where the Castile Soap is, not including Siri, and they all looked at me like I had three heads. Not only did they not know where it was, they didn’t know WHAT it was. So, I will have to keep looking for that. Once I got home, I noticed my baking soda has a huge gouge in the bottom. You can see some of the loss on the table. I have it in a ziplock now. Oh well.

Here are my new cleaning supplies (s0 far):

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1/2 vinegar. 1/2 water all purpose spray
Baking Soda shaker

Well, it’s too late to clean now! LOL I will let you know how it goes. 😉

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