Wednesday, June 27

Let's Ride: Part 1

 Wow. It is amazing how quickly the month of June has flown by us. It seems like just yesterday it was the "offical start of summer" and next week it's the 4th of July!  I'm sure some of you, very dedicated an faithful followers who have probably checked to see if we have decided to share something, anything with you have given up hope on us as it has been over a month since I've sat down to share our shop happenings with you all.  No-we weren't abduced by aliens or anything crazy like that...we've taken our show on the road and have spent more time out of the building it seems than we have in it.  So, without further ado let's get you all caught back up to speed.
Quilt Minnesota 2012.
It is incrediably hard to believe that while we have talked about the event for about a year now it is mearly weeks away.  We have had our fabrics in (shown above) now for about a month or so.  We are just now (literally today) starting to think about and work them.  Remember that you can pre-order fabrics but they can't leave our hands until August 3rd.  I really want to encourage anyone who is liking or interested in the fabrics to check them out and plan ahead because once they are gone they are gone.   Make sure you get some before the hop starts or shortly after it starts because we think you'll get stike out finding many of the prints towards the end of the hop.

"Primitive Pieces" by Front Porch Quilts in Walker, Mn- pattern
This has been a really popular sample as of late!!  It finished about 12" square and is perfect for those Akfield hangers or stands and is a fabulous way to use up wool scraps.
(Pattern: $6.50 ~  Kit: $24.99 w/pattern)

This is a new Under the Garden Moon pattern for a cute scissor fab and scissor holder.
Patern: $9.00

"Let's Ride"  This quilt is always a favorite when we see it at quilt shows and after this past weekend we are pretty sure we need to have a sample in our shop.  The whole picture will be shown on "Part 2" next week 'cuz this one is long enough the way it is!!  So, grab your broom sticks, buckle your seatbelts and Let's Ride

To get you all caught up before our trip let's review.  We are staring in a trip back in time to the middle of May on our trip to Kansas.  We'll spare lots of details as most of you, by this time, have found all of the goodies about the new fabrics/patterns/tools/etc. either during our market party or on those people who actually sit down at their blogs on a regular basis or posted while there!!
The view from our rooms is a bit different than the one we have here at home.  Kansas City is really a pretty city with a nice skyline.  We say that we wouldn't do well living in a big city, but I think we find that the more we go and do and see in big cities in other states the more we appreciate the beauty in the night lights, and building skylines. 
We did decide to go eat breakfast in a park that was close by the last day we were in town.  We were surprised upon our arrival to find that it was a Jaguar car show.  We ate our "power breakfast" food by this cute little guy.
While walking to get to that park for our "power breakfast" we walked past a large Hallmark store.  Hallmark has a big HQ stationed in Kansas City.  This pretty carosel sat outside of their department store inside of this mall we walked in.

We also seen this captain, made entirely out of legos, inside of the mall by the Crayola crayon restaurant. Can you imagine trying to get your lego's positioned to create something like this?!?
Upon our return home we hosted our Market Party and set out the new fabrics by BasicGrey, Kansas Troubles, 3 Sisters, Barbara Brackman, Primitive Gatherings, Renee Nannaman, Sweetwater, and new patterns by This & That, Under the Garden Moon, Gail Pan to name a few. 
We really had an enjoyable evening and hope that those who attended that evening felt it was fun as well.  If you came out to see us that evening and enjoyed a glass of Sangria you can find the recipe on our website.
After our market party we began to prepare for the crazy month of June that we were about to enter into.  Since the start of June we have had LOTS of new stuff arriving into the shop, including christmas fabric (yikes!) and patterns ordered back in Kansas.  We also have taken our show on the road to Fergus Falls, Rochester, and most recently Omaha, Nebraska!
We started our travels in Fergus Falls, Minnesota at their local quilt guild. We were invited to teach our "Crossroads & Variations" pattern and show to do the decorative stitching on the sewing machine using our favorite 12-wt. Sulky thread.  We had a wonderful afternoon with the gals who took the class and were quite pleased to see that all of the gals got their table toppers/wall hangings sewn up and layered that afternoon!!!
It was wonderful seeing the finished projects during show and tell that evening.  It is always amazing to see how choosing different colors for the exact same pattern can completely change the way quilts look!!!  It was such a fun day and we hope that the nine gals enjoy their quilts!
We were also quite inspired by many of the quilts that the guild members showed during show and tell, but this little guy especially got our attention.  One of the gals, whose name we cannot remember, created an apron for one of the men in her family.  Not only had she chose a beer themed fabric for the main apron, but she was thoughtful enough to make a beer pocked on the front for him.  And if that wasn't enough. . .she cleverly added the Red Solo Cup!  It was incrediably creative and cute and oh so fitting on that particular apron.
After our trip to Fergus Falls we packed up and headed to the Minnesota State Quilt Show which was held in Rochester this year.  We had had many ladies come into the shop and ask when or why we hadn't done the show before, and this year thought--why not? Rochester we went.
We had a very enjoyable weekend while in town, and wished that the hours were a bit shorter so we could have taken in some touristy attractions.  We did however, take in the Thursday night first street market which was really quite fun until the pouring rain blew in.  If you are ever in town on a Thursday evening it is really something to check out.  There is lots to eat, drink and take in with vendors selling all sorts of things from scarves and pottery to picture frames and hommade foods.  We also had a very enjoyable evening with Sharon & Becky from Old Alley quilt shop in Sherburn and Janice and Lucy from Firefly Quilt Shop in Mankato while celebrating Lucy's birthday!!
Thank you to so many of you from our home area who stopped in to say hello while you were taking in the quilts on display. It is always fun to see familiar smiling faces while out of the shop! 
This photo was taken just outside of our booth and is a quilt that both of us gals really liked and marveled at how it was put together.  We were stationed in the Exhibit Hall, which was the last room many of you probably visted, and the room with the "grand puba" quilts.
This. Was. Incredible.  That is really all the more I can say about it. No photo can do justice to the piecing and quilting that this quilt had.  Those that attened and saw all of the quilts along the 'showcase' wall will know what I am talking about.  Dare to dream my friends!!
Thank you to Chuck & Christ who thoughtfully brought in a beautiful boquet of flowers to us from their daughter's wedding this past weekend.  Not only have we enjoyed the beauty of the flowers but the wonderful fragrance it's given as well.  It's been a fun conversation piece as well among customers this week as well.

We left Rochester after a fun, full weekend and headed home to reload for the next show.  We added some new samples (some of which I tried to show you at the start of the post, but have given into technology and will leave them here at the bototm!!)

Quite some time ago it seems we showed the "Fall Abundance" fabric by P&B textiles. It was the gorgeous fall fabric with the subtle gold flecking in it.  We now have some eye candy done up with most of the pieces from the line. 
Crossroads Square: hangs in the top middle of the photo.

60 Degree Table Runner: show right in the middle of the photo

5 and a Dime Quilt: shown in the right hand corner

One of the most popular items we've gotten done not only here in the shop, but also in Rochester and in Omaha. 
 This is a brand new pattern, debuted at market by This & That patterns called Pumpkin Spice
It is a really quick to embroider fall candle mat that really shows off the beauty of the 12-wt. pearl cotton Valdani thread.  The patterns are $5.00 and the kit (includes all cotton fabrics) is $14.99

Closer shot of those flowers that Chuck & Chris brought to us!

I hate to start onto the Omaha show without all of the pictures of the quilts we've taken but we only could get Darci's half to upload this afternoon, and Lacey's just flashed error messages.  So, until we get hers off we'll share the first part of our Nebraska experiences. . .and the numerous quilts next time!!
Cool doo-dads by the bridge right before getting into Council Bluffs Iowa

We go out and vend quilt shows occassionally, mostly they are in a 1 - 1 1/2 hour radius from the shop.  The invite to Omaha was a stretch as we have never been that far from home for a quilt show. For anybody wondering it only takes you about 5 - 5 1/2 hours from our quilt shop to get to Omaha Nebraksa.  Now I know some just gasped in shock at this, or had bug eyes by this or you may have said "hmm...that's not bad."  We were in the "Hmm...that's not bad" frame of mind.  (Not so much Lacey at first when we signed up to go to Omaha tho) If you still think we are nuts think about it this way.  Depending upon where you live, (we figure from Clara City) it takes you just as long, if not longer to make it to Duluth.  
Crossing into Omaha from Council Bluffs (the town we scheduled to sleep in) was really pretty.  We were greeted by a large train engine reading "Welcome to Omaha" and shortly there after an impressive display of a big glass dome, which we were informed is the zoo.  (The zoo in Omaha has a fantastic reputation of being one of the best in the country. . .it's now on the list of things to see the next time we go back!!)  There was also a picture-perfect shot of the old Ameritrade park (baseball stadium) which for anyone who follows sports will know that the College World Series (baseball) was being played while were there.  The new location of Ameritrade Park just so happens to be across the road from the Aquatic center. . .which was swimming with the likes of people like Michael Phelps who were partaking in the Olympick Swim trials. . .also started going on while we were in town.
Isn't this kind of cool?  These concreate shafts were spray painted in all sorts of colors and designs.  This was one of the last things you saw before heading across the mighty Missouri into Iowa.
I feel the need to share this as some of you knew where we were staying and are dying to know what it was like.

We were scheduled to stay at the Settle Inn, right in Council Bluffs.  Conveintly located next to all sorts of fun shopping.  The rooms we saw where fun, themed and we looked foward to and laughed with some of you about what themed room we'd get.  This little "night in shining armor" greeted us upon our arrival. . .and departure to a new location.

We left the quilt show at 8:00pm and headed to get something to eat.  We had not checked into our room yet as it was too early when we arrived to pick up our box of Valdani thread.  By the time we got into the room it was almost 10 o'clock and we were ready to hit the hay and get ready for the next day. . .

We booked for thee people in hopes of getting either 2 beds or at least a king sized one.
Upon walking into the room our balloons were deflated to find one, double bed.  While we were sure we could squish into it, we weren't thinking either of us would find much peaceful sleeping.  Darci decided to see what was up as there was really no way 3 people would have fit into that room. (Which for the record did not have a theme or look remotely close to the online photos)

After a 30 minute phone conversation with Errol, (remember that name-it'll appear again soon!) we grabbed our bags and left for bigger and better places.  The time now is 11:00pm.  Hooray to Steve Jobs for creating the awesome Apple I-phone with its map ap that directed us to our new location in Omaha, 20 minutes from where we were currently at.

Just a few miles from our new Hampton hotel we drove past this sign.  With the events of the evening we both lost in in laughter as we passed Bob Boozer Drive.  We laughed on our way to the hotel that night, again the next morning to the quilt show, home again, and again on the last day.  It is probably one of those things where you just had to be there, but we still laugh looking at the picture today. . .

Thank you to for this lovely movie poster.

Anyways. . .let's take a trip back in time to 1996 when the Movie Fargo was released.
Remember Errol?  Well, while Darci was on the phone he interrupted the conversation to say
"Ma'am. Please don't take offense by this but after seeing the movie Fargo I always wanted to know if people really talked like that.  And after talking with you tonight. . .I now know that they do!"

Greeaat.  Errol from Norway thinks we talk funny. 

We often laugh how obvious certain accents are to us.  When someone from the southern U.S  talk to us we think "whoa--they have a southern accent" When we were at market we loved listening to the designers from Australia talk because of that auzzie accent.  We notice the accent when we talk with our friends from Canada. We hear it in phone conversations for pattern orders with ladies from New York.  But us Minnesotans have an accent?   OH YEAH!!

From Errol's account on the phone conversation to the many, many, many comments we had with gals who stopped by our booth we Minnesotans have quite an accent.  We laughed about this topic in the car an awful lot on our journey to and from the hotel, and on the way home how much of a big surpirse this was.  We instantly think of "How to Talk Minnesotan" or of the movie "New in Town" (or Fargo) and think haha...they are just making fun of us. . .or are they?

The other thing tha makes us smile in that photo of the movie poster above is the
"A Lot can happen in the middle of nowhere."

Where are you located?

We heard all sorts of good answers to that question when friends would ask each other where we were from while in our booth.  Mostly the answer back (not from us) was They are in the middle of nowhere or surrounded by fricken corn fields or in no-mans-land.

We hear stuff like that a lot, epsecially during the state hop where we often hear about how anxious people are to get out of the corn fields.  And the fact of the matter is, we live in prime farm land that grows not only corn, but beans (soy beans and etible beans), sugarbeets, wheat and in certain areas barley and peas.

We are located 20 miles southwest of Willmar right on Highway 23.  We are approximately 1.02 miles off of the Highway 23/Highway 7 junction. 

That last sentence makes us smile.  If you have never been into Clara City hearing the words like Highway 23/Highway 7 junction makes us appear to be a big town.  Reminds us of something you'd hear in the cities.  But don't get too excited. . .we are only population 1,200. 

While this typically works for putting us on the map there are many people who aren't familiar with the Willmar area and we think bigger and start off with our travel time from the cities. 

We are about 2- 2 1/2 hours west of the twin cities.

When this doesn't work or other reference points get thrown out we start bouncing around from city to city and distances to distances and our list looks like this:

about 3 - 3 1/2 hours southeast of Fargo, North Dakota

about 2 hours west of Watertown, South Dakota

about 2 1/2- 3 hours northeast of Sioux Falls, South Dakota

about 3 1/2 hours northwest of Albert Lea, Minnesota

about 3 hours southwest of Park Rapids, Minnesota

about 1 1/2 hours southwest of St. Cloud, Minnesota

about 4 1/2 hours southwest of Duluth, Minnesota

and when one stops to think about all of that above. . .it kind of makes it sound like we are indeed out in the middle of nowhwere.  I share this because even though we live here, it really makes us appreciate those of you who hop in your cars and come and visit us on an every-day trip and those who travel the whole state during the state hop.  We know that many of you gals spend a long time in the car before you get to us and we hope that you'll find your next visit worth the trip.

Doesn't our dessert from our Moda supper at quilt market in Kansas look delicious?

Well. . .we invite you to go and grab some dessert, perhaps some Tiraissu and get ready for the quilt we say in Omaha.  We still have SO much stuff to share from that trip and want to save it for it's own special "Part 2" post next week.

We both had really hit a bit of a rut.  There was a lot on our plate and thwoing in a couple extra curve ball with daily life didn't help break us out of it.  Our time the past two weekends spent at the quilt shows in both Rochester and in Omaha has us inspired and ready to create again.  Thank you to all everyone who visited us there and provided wonderful quilts to display--it was really you and your creativity and energy that has helped both of us gals become excited to start sewing again.

. . .to be continued. . .