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Monday, March 28, 2016

Amy Bradley Class

When I heard Amy Bradley was teaching a class in Holton Kansas at Quilting on the Square, I couldn't sign up fast enough.  I love this woman's patterns.  They are so much fun and so happy.  I love art that makes me smile and humor shines through all her stuff.

Amy specializes in blanket stitch applique which is my favorite form of applique so of course I had to take this class.  There were about 22 women in the class and the lady from Colorado didn't make it so I traveled the farthest.  Cool.  We were supposed to bring our sewing machine so I hauled my big Janome 300 miles and a block down the street just to find out we probably wouldn't need a machine. The only downer all day.  Luckily one of the clerks carried it down stairs for me.  

The facility was roomy and well lit.  It was a very nice huge classroom.  Such a great facility for a quilt shop.

Amy brought 6 or 7 of her quilts including the camper quilt which was the pattern I'd brought with me.  She spent the first hour or so explaining her process and how to use her patterns.  I did pick up a valuable tip in the morning class.  She told us about adding an additional layer of white muslin with fusible to the back of fabric you can see through to the background fabric.  I'd never thought of that before.  I knew I was going to learn some new stuff in this class.

After her lecture, we traced and cut and snipped and ironed items together based on the placement sheet in her pattern.  She also gave us a good tip to do the placement of pieces in sections.  

After a yummy lunch catered by Quilting on the Square we had another lecture.  Amy talked about the way she does blanket stitch.  I learned that when she comes to sharp points she turns off the blanket stitch and straight stitches around the point.  WHAT??????   Brilliant!!!!!!  I also learned that she cheats corners and makes sure her stitch ends right in the corner.  Then when she is in the corner she takes a diagonal stitch into the fabric.  Amazing.  I've been doing blanket stitch applique for about 6 years and I've struggled with corners since I started.  Not any more!!!!!!

I chatted with some of the ladies while we were cutting and tracing and heard that there were two quilt shops in Lawrence KS right across the street from each other.  Sarah's Fabrics is supposed to pretty good sized with lots of fabric and Stitch on Needlework Shop which is smaller but has wool and more needlework projects.  Armed with that information, I decided this would be a stop on the bus trip. 

It was a really fun day.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Bus Trip Scouting Trip Part 2/ Amy Bradley Class

When I was scouting shops for the the bus trip in February I stopped at Quilting on the Square in Holton KS and found out that they were having a class taught by Amy Bradley on March 12.  I couldn't sign up fast enough.  I love Amy Bradley's stuff.  I've done Sleepy Acres as part of a group project.

I've bought several others but they haven't made it to the top of the to do list yet.  I asked several friends to join me at the class but it seems  this was a very busy weekend for a bunch of people so I was on my own.  I decided to check out some shops that were possibilities for the bus trip this fall.   I left home at 5 a.m. on Thursday because it was a 5 hour drive to Wichita and I had a bunch of shops I wanted to check out.

The trip didn't start off as planned.  My check engine light came on as I drove down my street.  I checked the manual and since the light wasn't flashing I decided it was okay to drive it.  It crossed my mind that I could use mom's van but it was 5 a.m. and I didn't want to wake her up.  I do try to be considerate once in awhile.

I made good time and got to Hen Feather's Quilting and More at about 10:30 a.m.  Cute shop.  Bright and cheery.
They had some really nice samples.  A couple I was tempted to buy, but I don't need any more fabric, patterns, fabric, notions..... so I didn't succumb.  Yay me!!!!!!  They have a wide variety of fabric types including a nice selection of batiks.

It was a pretty nice size shop with ample parking so it is a good candidate for the bus trip.  The bus trip will be there the day before their shop hop starts so they should be stocked up with cool stuff.

A few miles away is a Quilt Sampler 2014 shop called Material Girls.  I LOVE THIS SHOP.

 It is right up my alley.  Bright, modern fabric. amazing samples (their quilter is outstanding) and lots of variety.  There are great brick walls in this shop and really high ceilings so the quilt samples can be hung full length.
 The clerks were very helpful and attentive.  They even had a sample made of hand dyes to tie in with a book they had on using your hand dyes in projects.

What???? I think this might be the first time I've seen hand dyes in a fabric shop.  So lovely. Plus they had this gorgeous McKenna Ryan quilt hanging in the shop.

How could you not love this quilt.  McKenna is so amazing. This shop is going to be on the bus trip, no question.

The third shop in Wichita I visited was Picket Fence Quilt Co. It is a nice shop in a small strip mall on the west side of town.  They carry some yarn as well as quilting fabric.  There was a nice variety of fabric types.  Lots of samples and a very friendly owner.

There were some patterns I'd never seen before that were very cute.

I really liked the cute teapot block of the month quilt that they had designed in house.

Don't think I'll put Picket Fence Quilt Co on the bust trip not because there was anything wrong with this shop I just don't want to do all three shops in Wichita, I'd like to mix things up a little bit.  It is worth a visit, though.

So bye bye Wichita and off to Newton, KS to check out Charlotte's Sew Natural.

This shop is such fun.  It includes 3 store fronts in the quaint downtown area of Newton.  It is wall to wall sewing stuff.

Great fabric, some wool, tons of notions, lots and lots and lot of patterns and books.  I think this shop has something for everyone.

In one of the store fronts they have hand made gifts for sale as well as their classroom.  The owner wasn't there at the time of my visit but the women in the shop were very helpful.

They had tons of cute samples on the wall and it seems that the store just kept going on  and on.  They had some lovely embroidery and colors were everywhere.

Their fabric choices were wide and varied.  I'm excited to take the bus trip to this store.

 By the time I left the store I was getting hungry so I bopped across the street to this charming little deli/bakery in the hopes they would have a vegetarian sandwich available.  OMG was that a good decision.  The egg salad sandwich was so big I could only eat half of it and it was wonderful.  This might be a possibility for a box lunch on the bus trip.

Next stop on my whirlwind trip was McPherson KS and Stitches Quilt Shop.  Another lovely little shop in small town Kansas.
 I liked the look of the shop with lots of wood and those wonderful high ceilings that let full size quilts be displayed.  This shop had an really beautiful quilt on a bed in the front of the store.
 I was tempted to make that quilt but it called for 40 + fat quarters and I decided I needed to use some of the stuff I already have in my stash.  Have you heard me say that before?  This store was mostly muted colors, with brown blue and green being very prominent in the shop.  There were several samples in the shop that I was drawn to and the owner was very nice.

There was a whole line of fabric with muted blues and grays that I was really drawn to and hadn't seen before.  I just love discovering fabric I've never seen before. I'm thinking this shop will be on the bus trip but they are on the cusp.

Back in the car, I was headed to Junction City KS to visit Quilter's Yard.  This is a nice little shop that sells Pfaff machines.  They had one sample that I love, love, love with ombre fabric.
I already own the pattern but this was done in some really nice colors.  The rest of the shop was fine but nothing special and I think it is a fairly new shop so they are probably still building up their inventory.
 The owner was busy helping another customer when I was there so I didn't get much attention but it really wasn't her fault.  The other customer was pouring her heart out.  It won't be on the bus tour.

All About Quilts in Manhattan Kansas was my last stop for the day.  My butt would be glad to get out of the car.

This shop is a little dark but has tons of cool fabric and notions.  It is a fairly good sized shop with a wide variety of fabrics.  I loved a few of the sample quilts and they had the patterns and fabric of the samples.
That is always a good thing.
There is a retreat center in the back that you can rent out for $800 for a weekend that sleeps 14 or 16.  Not bad.  The owner was very helpful and I like all the women I spoke to while there.  I don't think we'll be able to work them into the bust trip but they are worth a stop if you are in the area.

I was so happy to get to the Super 8 in Holton.  I was lucky to get a room as there was a wrestling tournament in town.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

New Closet

I am so excited.  I asked my Uncle David to help me make the closet shelves I'd been thinking about for a couple of years.  Back then I had my old dangerous stairs ripped out and replaced with new modern stairs.  It had to be done since I'd fallen down the old stairs several times.

I sold most of the parts of the old stairs on craigslist but I kept the treads from the old stairs with an eye toward using them as shelves in my closet.  Now that I'm retired I'm trying to complete all these projects that have been on my todo list for a while.  The deck, done.  The cupboards in the basement, done.  Take the carpeting out of the guest room, done.  The closet shelves were the last project.   

The shelves were going to supported by plumbing pipe.  I'd been pinning them for a long time and I used powerpoint to draw up the plans.
So now I had a plan and I was on the hunt for the piping I needed at a reasonable price.  I checked out Lowes but they couldn't cut the pipe and thread it shorter than about 18" or 20" so they were out.  I then went to a local plumbing supply shop but their prices were a little high for cutting some of the custom lengths I needed so I found Essential Hardware and ordered the galvanized pipe I needed.  They had all the lengths required and their price was very reasonable.  I got enough hardware to do two 6 shelf units for about $145.  

I was planning to paint the pipes myself but my uncle is not nearly the procrastinator I am and he was ready to go so he did the pipe clean-up which entailed soaking them in some kind of cleaner to get the oil off them.  Then he spray painted them with a hammered black paint I got from Walmart.  They looked great.  

So now it was my turn.  I had to clear out the closet and paint the walls before he put up the shelf.  The clear out was a herculean task.  I've lived in this house for 10 years and I've never cleared out this closet.  Not good.  I found stuff I'd forgotten I owned, hence the reason for the new shelves. 

So once all the stuff was dumped in my bedroom, I painted the closet this pretty shade called Skater's Pond from Home Depot.  It is sort of a very light silver, gray.   I love starting with a clean slate.

I finished painting at about 9 p.m. and my uncle showed up at 10 a.m. the next day to install the shelving he built.  Nothing like waiting till the last minute.  

David was so prepared he had the new shelves installed in about 1 hour because he brought everything he needed.  So unlike his niece.  When I do projects like this I usually have to make several trips to the hardware store.  Turns out my measurements were a little off so we ended up with 5 shelves rather than 6.  I think the error occurred in my measurements of the t-bracket and the fitting on the pipe.  

I'm thrilled with the way they turned out.  Just the way I had envisioned them and they were so easy.  Of course, I'm saying that but my uncle did all the work.   He said the worst part was planing the old steps.  I didn't mind at all that they had some marks on them.  It gives them character plus most of the shelves would be covered with clothes.  Here is the restocked closet with much less stuff than it started with.  So happy!!!

The other up side is that Christian Associates is going to get tons of clothes.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Bus Trip Scouting Trip

On Friday Feb. 12, I delivered my daughter to the Kansas City Airport to fly back to Los Angeles.  I loved having her here for 5 days.  Even though I only saw her a couple times a year when she lived in the L.A. area, I just dread having her go back to Australia.  It is so far away and the time difference is difficult.  However, I am looking forward to visiting her in Melbourne later this year.

Since we were up in the area, Mom and I decided to check out some potential quilt shops for the bus trip we are planning in September.  It will be Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday Sept. 27, 28, 29.  After we dropped Bre off at the airport, we headed to Topeka to spend the night so we could be there to start our scouting trip first thing in the morning.  We did happen upon a fun diner for dinner, Spangles.  I had a very good grilled cheese and mom loved the chili.  I just love diners and the 50s retro vibe.

We had a little time to kill on Saturday morning because the first shop we were checking out didn't open until 10 a.m.  We started out at Stitching Traditions in Topeka.

 The shop was well stocked and had lovely, lovely fabric.  They also had some really great project bags that mom wants me to make with some of the vinyl left over from last year's bus trip project bags.
 The prices were a little steep for fabric running $13 to $14 per yard on the ones I checked out but I really did like the accessories and they carried lots and lots of patterns that were very well organized.  In addition to that they had some really great samples hanging in the shop which is always a plus.
 The shop wasn't huge but they did have a lots of fabric and it was beautiful.  Not sure if we'll make them a stop on the bus trip but if you are in the area they are definitely worth a visit.  Oh by they way, the shop is worth seeing if for nothing other than the cute yorkie mascot.

Next we hopped in the car and headed up to Holton KS to Quilting on the Square.  This charming shop is on the town square which I almost always find irresistible.  There are really high ceilings in the shop which means quilts can be hung so you can see the whole thing.

 I love that and this shop has some amazing samples of Jacqueline de Junge quilts that are breathtakingly beautiful.
 A beautiful high schooler who works in the shop made one of these quilts and had a feature article on her in one of the quilting magazines.  Astounding.  Jacqueline is going to be teaching some classes there in the fall which seems to me to be a coo for this little shop in Kansas.  They also have several Amy Bradley quilts hanging and I'm excited to be taking a class from her at Quilting on the Square in March.
 Turns out she lives not far from there, who knew???   The shop had some great block of the month quilts on display and I snapped up a panel with Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens because I think it is so cool this blockbuster super film had a female hero.  Love it all day.  This shop is definitely making the bus trip itinerary.

Next we were off to Leavenworth Kansas to visit Meadows Quilting and Sewing.
 Of course I liked this shop a lot as it specializes in bright and modern fabric.  Another shop with really tall ceilings so full size quilts were hanging in all their splendor.
 They even had a Tula Pink quilt on display which I just loved.  That Queen Elizabeth selfie fabric is one of my favorites.  They had some really nice patterns and books all pretty much concentrating on modern quilts.
 I have to say this shop was right up my alley but we probably won't put it on the bus trip itinerary since we try to visit shops that will appeal to everyone and this shop was pretty specialized.  I however, plan to make a return visit one of these days.

The next leg of the trip took us to Peddler's Wagon Quilt Shop in Parkville MO.  I wasn't allowed to take pictures in this shop which is too bad because it is very charming.  It has a cabin feel to it with all the wood.  They have great quilt themed jigsaw puzzles throughout the front of the store and a good selection of fabric but where this shop excels is in the pattern department.  They have hundreds and hundreds of patterns.  I was tempted to buy 4 or 5 but I didn't succumb since I'm trying really hard to use what I have at home.  I did get a couple of yards of fabric since it was on sale for $6 per yard.  The shop had a nice variety of fabrics and it is in the running for one of our stops on the bus trip because both Gana and Janice recommended it.

The last stop of the day was Prairie Point Quilt & Fabric Shop in Shawnee KS.
This was another great shop and will definitely be on the bus trip in September.  It is in a strip mall and is a nice big open store.
 There are huge amounts of fabric to choose from and they have some really cute embroidery patterns that I'd never seen before.  Both mom and I bought embroidery patterns by Blueberry Backroads.  The shop was well lit and had some lovely samples hanging around.
 While we were they about 5 women were staffing the shop and there was no shortage of help.  All very friendly and helpful.