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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Not The Day I'd Planned

Yesterday I'd had quite a day planned.  My friend Sue K. was talking about Terry Pratchett and how much she admired him.  I've never read any of his books and thought I might give him a shot.  He wrote 40 books set in his discworld and just figuring out a good place to start reading is cause for debate.  How could I have missed out on this phenomena for so long.  So I was headed to a couple of used book stores and a few quilt shops that I'd found on the Row By Row site.

First stop was Gatsby's Used Book Store, a nice shop and I asked the young man for the Fantasy/Sci-Fi section.  He pointed it out and went to move a cart that was in the way, I backed up and ended up stepping on his foot.  Mortification!!!!!!!  I apologized profusely and he was very gracious about the whole thing.  They didn't have any of Terry Pratchett's more than 40 books which was very disappointing but there are a few more used book stores in the area to check out.  I apologized to the clerk one more time on the way out.

Then I headed over to the first quilt shop on my list, Tranquility Quilts in Cypress.  Closed!!!!!!  It had been on the Row by Row Experience map but apparently it had moved recently to Buena Park and according to their website they were closed on Tuesday so that was a complete bust.  I found out later in the day that apparently they were now closed entirely.  I had been to the shop previously and it was a nice little shop.  Nothing special but nice.  It struck me as odd the last time I was there because there was another shop just down the road a couple of miles and a large discount fabric shop within a mile that carries a huge selection of quilting cotton.  I wondered how two quilt shops could thrive in such a small area.

Next stop was The Quilting Cupboard just down the same road a few miles in Garden Grove.  NOOOO!!!! This one had moved too, to Placentia which was like 20 miles away.  Two strikes.  ARRRRRGGG.  I used the GPS to find other quilt shops in the area and came up with Bear Quilts which was also in Garden Grove.  I had been there a few years ago, it didn't have a ton of stuff but I was getting desperate so off I went.  I parked and headed into the shop which had no sign.  It took just one look in the door to figure out it wasn't a shop anymore,  They were now only doing long arm work.  With my head hanging down, I headed to the car and was probably headed home since this was strike 3.  Three shops not one open.  How did this happen!!!!!  As I was pulling out a gentleman came out from the shop and gave me a list of shops in the area.  Obviously I wasn't the first to come calling.

There was one shop, Soft Expressions on the list that was fairly close by in Anaheim.  What the hell, I'd give it another try.  I was forewarned that it had very little fabric but tons of notions which was fine with me since I'm not really in the market for fabric right now.  I think Soft Expressions is primarily an internet shopping site but they do have a small show room with almost every notion imaginable.  They had a bunch of books which were 40% off and I scored a couple of those.

There were 30 or 40 bolts of fabric on deep deep discount.  Rulers, stabilizer, and needles were abundant.  I scored some acrylic inks which I'd been hoping to get since I'd seen them on Quilting Arts.

There were some scrapbooking supplies as well and the prices were all a bit lower than I'd seen in other shops.  Not sure I would hurry back unless there were some specific things I needed but it was worth the stop.

Now I was within about 7 miles of The Quilting Cupboard's new shop so I decided to get in the car and drive some more.  It was worth it.

The shop was very bright and sunny with some lovely patterns and samples.

They had a nice selection of batik, a few patterns I hadn't seen elsewhere, and a really cute witch pattern that they had made up in several ways.

I bought this pattern to make my own pop-up trash can.  I do have to say I was less than impressed by their Row by Row design but then you can't have everything and the price was right.

After I was done, I got a pizza at the place next door which was very yummy.  It had Alfredo sauce and mushrooms and onions.  Then I hurried to get on the road so I could beat traffic.  This is definitely not Kimberling City traffic.   So what started out as a pretty bad start ended up an okay day.  How can I complain when I got to visit a new quilt shop?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Quilt Shops and Great Food

Had a really nice day yesterday.  I dropped Bre off at work and then headed to check out some quilt shops since Orange County has quite a few shops in a relatively smaller area.

First stop was Piecemakers which I've been to a number of times before.  It is a lovely lovely shop with many many gift items and antiques as well as fabric, yarn and an impressive embroidery section.

This shop is known for the calendars they publish every year with an elaborate applique quilt pattern featured in the calendar.  I found two older calendars that I liked and decided to get.

All around the shop, which is huge, there are probably 50 or more 14" squares and all the original patterns are available to purchase for $3.00.  I had to have 3 of them.  In fact they have a whole book and file cabinet full of these patterns.  Really really unique and lovely.  In fact that is how I would describe the whole place, antiques, a tearoom and beautiful display fixtures. There isn't a ton of fabric but  inspiration is the store.

I chatted wit Karen Fraser who was teaching a thread painting class for hand embroidery.  The work was astonishing and many of the examples around the shop were award wining pieces.  So so pretty. There were so many beautiful embroidery materials that I really hadn't seen in other quilt shops.  Oh and by the way upstairs there is a shopping area with small unique little artists' "shops".  You need to check this place out if you are anywhere near Costa Mesa.

Next I drove over to Flying Geese Fabrics over in Tustin.  It is in a really charming little downtown area and the shop has dedicated parking which is huge in Southern California.  I'm so sick of looking for parking.  I really miss Missouri's ample parking (among other things).  The shop had bright and sunny fabric all over the place.  There were some charming pillows that had a small printed vintage picture in them.  I had to have a kit for a Christmas pillow and a Halloween Pillow.

I was pleasantly surprised by the number of patterns that were created by the shop.  It is always fun to see things that you haven't seen anywhere else.  They had one pattern that I bought which works as a tote and then turns into a sewing machine mat with pockets, a pincushion and a thread catcher. Genius!!!!!

 They also had some really cute patterns for Christmas ornaments.   There was a nice selection of fabric, not huge but ample.  Also plenty of samples for inspiration.  I loved the Halloween panel they had cut up and made into pennants.  It is worth a visit.

Orange CA was the next stop to visit the Orange Quilt Bee shop.  Turns out I had been to this shop before and I loved it.  I think it was my favorite of the three shops I visited yesterday.  The quilt samples are abundant and they are happy beautiful quilts.  Right up my alley.  They had some bag patterns I'd never seen before so bought one and was extremely tempted to get another.

Kits were available for many of the quilts that were hanging which is always nice.  Nothing irks my mom more than to see a sample hanging in a quilt shop but none of the fabric or patterns are available.

The owner heard me asking for permission to take pictures for the blog and she came up to chat about my camera and taking good pictures of quilts.  Very informative.  There were a number of fabrics I found tempting but I'm really not in the market for more fabric right now.  This store did have a fairly large selection of batiks.  Both Orange Quilt Bee and Flying Geese Fabrics had Row by Row patterns so I added to my collection.  I spent more money than I should have but what the hell, you can't take it with you.

Bre finished work early so we went for lunch at this place near her office called Seabirds Kitchen in Costa Mesa.  It is a totally vegan restaurant with amazing food.  I had a deep fried avocado taco and a mushroom and cabbage taco.  So good and one of those places that reminds me I'm not in Missouri any more.  We hung out for a while and ran a couple of errands before heading up to L.A. for dinner at one of my favorite spots in all of the city, Tito's Tacos.  You walk up to the window and order and the 15 or so servers take the orders and assemble them.  The lines are huge because the food is great and cheap.  They have the best ever cheese enchiladas. .  These aren't for those wimpy vegans or healthy vegetarians.  Greasy, yummy, perfect enchiladas,   Oh gosh it was such a great day.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Baseball, Ant Man, and Christine

Well I had a lovely weekend and it all had to do with my friend Christine who came down from Oakland.  She arrived Friday night and we headed over to Veggie Grill for dinner.  That is one of my favorite places in Long Beach to eat.  In fact I think I've eaten there 5 times in the two weeks I've been here.  Talked all through dinner to try and catch up.  We've know each other for 19 years and it has been a couple of years since we hung out together.

We sat in Bre's house and chatted until way past our bed times while we tried to stay cool in the unseasonably warm weather southern California is experiencing.  We got an early start on Saturday morning which is rather unusual for Christine.  She is so not a morning person but she had her head on enough to suggest going to The Grammy Museum which was so much fun.  There were costumes from The Supremes, Michael Jackson, and Taylor Swift.

I loved the videos of Grammy performances, acceptance speeches and special awards.  There were nice snippets of music from 4 decades and I also really enjoyed playing some of the percussion instruments they had available.  It was much more fun than I was anticipating.

After lunch at Smashburger, Christine was very gracious and suggested we go to a quilt shop so we headed over to Sew Modern which I hadn't been to before.  I really liked the shop.  It was bright and airy and although there weren't a ton of samples on the walls they had a couple of bag samples that I just loved.  

There was almost a whole wall of solids so the color selection was amazing!!!!!!!!  They also had a pretty nice selection of patterns and books.  In fact I bought a Doctor Who Tardis quilt pattern.   GO DOCTOR WHO!!!!!!

They carry Cotton & Steel which I am attracted to but haven't yet purchased. They also had some linen and some silk.  The down side of this little shop was that I got a $68 parking ticket.  (Don't worry mom I'll take care of it.)  Is this the most confusing parking sign you have ever seen?

We had another couple of hours to kill before we went to the Dodger game so we headed over the Giant Robot store and it turns out that the Museum of California Art where Christine works had just curated a show featuring Giant Robot artists.  Check out this video of the show.  She enjoyed seeing where some of the art went after the show.  I enjoyed checking out all the cool toys.

We headed over to Dodger Stadium detouring around some protest or other.  We sat in the very top row above the third baseline and both of us liked the seats.  It was really really hot for about the first 3 innings and then it cooled down a bit.

 The game was great with a bunch of homers and hits and the Dodgers won.  I ate a huge, gigantic slice of pizza and a large bottle of water for the small fee of $12.50.  Geez.  So now the Dodgers can be checked off the bucket list.  We stayed a little while after the game to let the traffic clear out and watch Back to the Future on the Jumbotron. They let folks sit on the outfield on blankets to watch the movie. Such fun!!!!!

On Sunday we tried to enjoy the Long Beach Flea Market but the sun was relentless so we gave up after about 3 rows.  Mimi's for breakfast was air conditioned and we didn't have to wait 2 hours like we would have for the place on the water, plus the muffin was amazing.  Then we drove by the Queen Mary to kill some time before the start of the Ant Man movie.  Both the car and movie theater were air conditioned which was a major priority.  Ant Man was a blast. Christine and I loved it.  So funny and great computer graphics in the fight scenes.

After dinner at Coco Renos which is another favorite place to eat, I dropped Christine off at the Long Beach Airport.  It was a terrific weekend.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Santa Monica Pier

On my way to California, I found out my friend Barb from St. Paul was going to be in Laguna Beach to see Pageant of the Masters.  I called her right away to see if we could get together.  I've known Barb for 33 years.  She was my podmate when I returned to work at AT&T after maternity leave (Bre just turned 34).  We have been friends ever since and although I don't see her very often we play DrawSomething on a regular basis.

When we were planning our day, she mentioned that she and her friend Jean didn't have a car so I offered to drive if there was somewhere she wanted to go.  Turns out Jean had just turned 66 and they thought it would be fun to take her picture on the Santa Monica pier at the end of Route 66.  I gulped quietly and said sure that sounded like a fun day.  The reason for the gulp was California traffic, I would have to drive about 20 miles south to pick them up and then 50 miles north from Laguna to Santa Monica and then back the same way.  I drive 140 miles around home without blinking an eye,  that is just part of living in the middle of nowhere. But 140 miles in the LA area is serious business.  Timing would have to be perfect.  Luckily it was perfect and with 3 of us in the car we got to take the carpool lane which is always a plus.

We arrived in Santa Monica at about 11:30 a.m. to a beautiful sunny day, found parking about 6 blocks from the pier, and maneuvered our way through the construction area to the pier.  It was pretty crowded but not as much as weekends, thank goodness.  We all three marveled about how wide the beach was at that location and how beautiful everything was.  We checked out the tourist shops and huge boardwalk.  I pointed out where Cirque du Soleil sets up in the winter.  Bre took me there a couple of years ago.  Barb had found a souvenir shop she liked on line and we finally found it at the end of the pier and on the way back Jean stopped to pick up t-shirts at Bubba Gump.  Turns out "Forrest Gump" is her son and grandson's favorite movie.

I had an errand to run in Santa Monica as well.  There is this company call Lush that hand makes soap and shampoo.  I love their bath gel called Happy Hippy which has this wonderful citrus smell and makes my morning shower a little slice of heaven.   They have a store on the Santa Monica Promenade and we headed over there to pick up a couple of things.  I take my hat off to these two ladies.  They weren't distracted by all the stores so we went down the Promenade with no unplanned stops.

 By this time we were starving and started looking at the available food options.   As it turns out I had just been in Santa Monica the day before to have lunch with Bre and her friend Andrew and we ate at this great Mexican place, Lula Cocina Mexicana.  It was delicious and only a mile away so we decided to head over there.  The food was great and the Avocado Cheese burrito I ordered was as big as my head.  Oh it was good!!!!  I think Barb and Jean enjoyed their meal as well since there was nothing left on their plates.

We arrived back in Laguna Beach about 4 p.m. and then Barb and I went over to check out the art festival at pageant of the masters.  I found several artists I really liked but everything was way out of my price range.  Rich Graves did these awesome panoramic action photos.  The bike one really grabbed me since Bre is so into bikes right now.

I love art that makes me smile and Full Moon Clay with their retro comic book type sculptures hits the mark on that one.  I love all of the work they had on display.

 Scott Moore was another artist that really caught my eye.  He has a very realistic style but paints whimsical objects like the one on his card of the little man sitting on a table with donuts, and coffee.  So much fun and so much talent.

One of Barb's favorite was Molly Hutchings who did watercolors of quilt type patterns.  Really really pretty.

Barb has been coming to see Pageant of the Masters for about 14 years and knows her way around Laguna and the Pageant.  She talked it up so much that Bre and I are talking about going to see it before I go home.  In the "lobby" of the outdoor amphitheater there are a bunch of tables under a huge canopy of different colored mesh tarp thingys.  So it is nice and shaded and there was a cool breeze coming off the ocean and we sat for a while to catch up.  It was such a lovely day.  Hopefully I've convinced Barb to come visit one of these days.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Fair

Yesterday was my daughters birthday and she was really excited to take me to the Orange County Fair which is one of her favorite things on earth.  She has been known to go up to 10 times during the fair's month long run.  Her favorite part is the food especially the grilled corn on the cob which I can now affirm is a wonderful thing.  I also really liked the Australian potatoes, which Bre informed me are not really from Australia.  However, they were yummy and Australia should take credit for these beer battered slabs of deliciousness.

She sent out an invite to a bunch of folks on social media (aka Facebook and Instagram) to join her in celebrating her birthday at the fair and 10 of the funnest folks ever showed up.  Keeping them headed in the same direction was like herding cats but then it is the same way with my friends at a quilt show.  I do have to give the kidlet cudos, she made sure we got to the pig races just in time for the start of the festivities.  The show was very entertaining and I cheered loudly for our section's pig whose name escapes me.

Bre and I made a beeline for the craft building before meeting up with her friends so I could check out the quilt exhibit.  There were a few really nice quilts but for the most part the show and tell at Table Rock Quilt Guild is better than most of the quilt on display.  I really liked the Yellow Submarine quilt which was not only a fun quilt but very well executed.  I think it was my favorite at the show.

I also loved the Doctor Who quilt which is currently one of my favorite shows on TV now.  The pillows were done in counted cross stitch.

This quilt won first price in the machine category.  Sorry for the poor quality of the picture but take my word for it, the quilt was really lovely.

I'm a big big fan of bright colors so this quilt had me at hello and impressed the judges as well since it won in the handwork category.

I saw this art quilt and thought my mom would really like it.  In the picture the gray face jumps out at you right away but in person I didn't really see the face until my daughter pointed it out to me.  This made the quilt extremely interesting to me as well as it just being lovely.

To wrap up the evening, Bre decided the die hards should walk 100 more miles (at least it felt like that to me) to take an old fashioned selfie at the photo booth way on the other side of the fairgrounds. At the time I was thinking she was nuts.  We all had cameras why not just have someone take our picture all together since there is no way we were all fitting in that booth at once.  But as usual the kid was right, the booth was way more fun.  The first go round we tried to all fit in there at once which didn't work at all.  The second set of shots Bre and I started out and then each of the other three couples jumped into the booth in turn.  Those shots turned out to be so much fun.

 I had a great evening and would gladly go back again even though my dogs were barking by the end of the night.  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Road to California Day 3

I'm Here

Have to say I really like the Sleep Inn where I stayed both in Flagstaff and Amarillo.  Nice hotel rooms with a great shower and really really good pillows.  I think pillows can make a huge difference in the way we sleep.  The rooms were exactly the same and both had a hot breakfast although I left too early to take advantage of in Flagstaff.

Flagstaff is such a pretty place with all the gorgeous pine trees and when I left at 6:00 a.m. it was only 61 degrees.  I love cool mornings.    However by the time I got to Kingman it was 97 degrees which was pretty miserable.  Thank goodness for air conditioning in mom's van.  However, my daughter doesn't have air conditioning at her house or her car and it was in the low 90s this afternoon.  We bought the stuff to make a poor man's air conditioner with a cooler, a fan and some pvc pipe.  Keep your fingers crossed that this will work.  

I really don't like the drive between Kingman and San Bernardino.  The towns are few and far between and so bathroom breaks and gas stops have to be planned well in advance.  I think I'll go through Phoenix on my way home so I can avoid the long expanse of nothingness.  Although I did get off I-40 and go through Laughlin NV which was surprisingly pretty considering how brown everything is.  But I didn't stop.  I was in a hurry to get to Long Beach and avoid L.A. traffic.  No quilt shop stops today.  But I'm guessing the few towns on my route weren't big enough to support a quilt shop.

Mom called in a panic while I was in Arizona because my Volt that I left for her to drive wouldn't start.  Not sure what I could do from 1400 miles away but it turns out I solved her problem.  The car was on, it is just so quiet she couldn't tell it had started.  I just told her to put it in gear and she would be good to go.  Don't get the wrong idea, my mom is a great driver, but since the Volt is electric it has a few quirks that normal cars don't.

I got to my daughter's house at about 2.  YEEHAW!!!!!  Got some great hugs from the kidlet, then headed to one of my favorite Mexican places in Long Beach, Coco Reno's.  Oh gosh the blackened mushroom tacos really hit the spot.  It is so easy to be vegetarian in California unlike Missouri where grilled cheese is often my only choice. 

I'm so happy to be out of the car.  Still have about 5 more discs of the Harry Potter book to listen to on the trip home which is something to look forward to.  The Kimberling Area Library was nice enough to let me check out the audio book until the end of August.  Gotta love small town perks.  We are so lucky to have this library in our little town.

I love spending time with my daughter.  She is so entertaining and fun. When we were at Target buying supplies she struck up a conversation with a chatty clerk.  Turns out she was from Missouri and had retired from AT&T after 33 years.  Such a small world!!!!!   It is going to be a great trip.  Tomorrow night the Orange County Fair and my girl's birthday!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Road to California Day 2

Well I was on the road out of Amarillo by 6:15 a.m. and it was beautiful to see the sun rise in that big expanse of sky.  It was so pretty seeing the big wind turbines and the sky had this really beautiful haze that was pink on the bottom, then white then blue.  Really lovely.  I've been listening to the Harry Potter book 7 on the drive which really makes the drive more enjoyable.I got to Albuquerque by 10 a.m. just in time for Hip Stitch to open. 

I love this shop.  It is so fun and right up my alley with it's modern fabric like Cotton and Steel and unique patterns like quilters cotton shoe laces!!!!!! Of course I had to buy that pattern.  In fact I spent more in this shop than I have in any of the other shops on this trip.  There isn't a huge selection of fabric but I liked almost everything they had.  There were patterns that I'd never seen before like the laminated Cotton Catch All.  Of course I had to buy that.  Also bought a couple of Cooling Neck Wraps that were already made up.  My daughter doesn't have air conditioning so I figure they will come in handy over the next couple of weeks.

They had this great Halloween fabric with little skeletons.  That I just had to own.  

I spent way too much money in this shop but then Susanne was so nice and the stuff was unique so as all my quilting co-dependants say "YOU HAVE TO BUY IT WHEN YOU SEE IT!!!!"  Plus when I showed her my "Everything in its Place" bag she owwed and ahhed and said she was going to order the patter right away.   Did you know show and tell is my favorite part of quilting.

I asked what other shop I should see in Albuquerque since I only had time for one more before I met my friend Cathy for lunch and Susanne recommended "Quilt Works" and she also handed me a list of all the other quilts shops in the area which she had put together for visitors.  How nice is that?  I already had Quilt Works loaded in the GPS so I was off to my next shop.  I did learn something on this trip.  It really helps if you put all the digits of the address in the GPS,.  If you don't you can be 100 blocks away from your real destination.  Lesson learned.

When I finally arrived at Quilt Works I saw the most beautiful quilt which I think was done by the local guild.

All those hot air balloons are so appropriate for the Albuquerque area because of the big fiesta in October.  I used to be a hot air balloon pilot so I have a special place in my heart for them and the detail on this quilt was amazing!!!!   The children at the bottom were entirely thread painted.  I'm guessing the background fabric was hand dyed.  I hope to be that good at dyeing one day.

Quilt Works was a very nice store.  Much bigger than Hip Stitch with lots of panels and samples hanging all over the place.  The staff was very friendly, in fact I learned a new way to do binding using the purple thang from a gentleman who was just finishing up a beautiful shop hop block quilt.  There was tons of fabric and some really really cute patterns.  

I almost bought my friend Twyla a Helen Hedgehog pattern but then I was pretty sure she already had it so I passed. (I found out later in the day that she did already own it).   If I had been so inclined there was at least one kit and a few patterns I would have bought but I blew my wad at Hip Stitch.  I did get half a yard of cute fabric with bicycles which I just couldn't resist.  Since my daughter is a cyclist, I'm drawn to bicycle fabric.

Next I was off to Jason's Deli for lunch with a friend I made in my ballooning days, Cathy Luenenborg.  It was great to catch up with her and get a couple of hugs.  She is just such an upbeat, inspiring woman.  If I lived in this area, I would want to hang out with her all the time but I would have to get in much better shape since she likes to hike and do all kinds of outdoor stuff.

I stopped in Gallup at their local shop, Gallup Service Mart.  It is a small shop that has some fabric, sewing machines and vacuum cleaners.  They have a very nice selection of Native American, and cowboy fabric and  I was intrigued by this folded Star of David pot holder pattern but I came away from this shop empty handed.  

Back on the road I listened to more Harry Potter until Bre, my daughter, called and we talked for about an hour which really made the drive enjoyable for the last hour.  Finally told her goodbye as I was driving into the hotel parking lot.  A quick burrito for dinner and my day was complete.  2 down 1 to go.