Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: Day Eight on the 2019 Quilt MN Shop Hop, 5 Shops, 406 Miles, Time Spent with Tu-Na Helper–Priceless

We spent a wonderful weekend in Kalamazoo with our son, daughter-in-law, and three very busy and smart grandchildren.

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I saw this critter hanging on my grand-kids’ playhouse. My ten year old grandson, who was playing in the sandbox, educated me when I questioned what it was. “It’s the exoskeleton of a cicada,” he said nonchalantly. I was appalled at it’s massive size and ugliness even if it no longer contained a live body. Two things came to mind: 1. If that thing had jumped out of the air conditioning unit at me on day 5, this story might have had a different ending. 2. I never knew what an exoskeleton was until I was in high school.

The baptism went well. The baby was super cute and adorable. As the pastor held her during the baptism ceremony, she “told” us that she didn’t like to be separated from her mama. After the church service, we ate brunch at a restaurant called Anna’s House.

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This patchwork chair was in the entry. There was a 45 minute wait. Unfortunately, the entry was packed and we waited outside.

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This regional restaurant’s decor is refreshingly bright and modern. It’s decorated in modern retro 50’s with white walls, and dividers sporting vintage pitchers and coffee pots.

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It even has a toaster wall! 

It was hard to say goodbye to the kids and head for Minnesota to finish the hop and then home to North Dakota.


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Flowers found outside our hotel room in Kalamazoo which happened to be next to Field’s Fabrics. Of course, I went in and found another fur option for gnome beards.

We made it through Chicago going the same route as we had come, through the middle of the city, and then spent the night in Stillwater. There is a very nice quilt shop in that city, well, at least we went to one a couple of years ago on the hop. But you know Tu-Na Helper’s motto—If they’re not on the hop, we don’t stop—so there was no exploring that shop or anywhere else around Stillwater this morning. 

Tu-Na Helper: “Are you sure we only have 4 shops to go?,” he asked as he turned on the routing App and studied the remaining route.

Me: “Yes,” I replied, “Sauk Center, Wadena, Perham, and Fergus Falls.” 

Tu-Na Helper: “Wait a minute. Did we go to Alexandria yet?” 

Me: “What?” I  grabbed my passport and checked. “No! I missed one.” Sure enough, I had missed one. Missing a shop has always been a fear of mine right along with leaving a shop without getting my passport stamped. 

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Here’s Tu-Na Helpers pouch at one of the shops. It contains his passport, patterns, and 5″ squares. Mine was yellow. They were very handy and kept their contents in good shape and kept them together. We received these several years ago (before blogging days) as an incentive from the Southeast region. We’ve used them all the years for this reason except last year when I forgot them.

After we left the hotel, we made our way to Trader Joes to pick up our staple items of coffee and granola.

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This is only one-fourth of what we bought.

We bought a lot as it’s over 450 miles from our house in ND to the nearest one and this has to last until we leave for AZ in November. We’d already stocked up with several bags of Michigan Cherry coffee at Meier’s before leaving Kalamazoo.

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It’s hanging out in the freezer with Tu-Na Helper’s fish he caught in Alaska this summer. We inadvertently bought a bag of decaffeinated. Now, what am I going to do with that one?

With our groceries safely tucked in the trunk, we started on the last leg of our journey arriving at Family Fabric Shop in Sauk Centre. They had just moved into a new downtown location last year but I hadn’t had a lot of time on last year’s hop to look around before the shop was overrun by a bus full of eager shop hoppers. I was surprised and saddened to see a FOR SALE sign displayed in the window as we parked on the street across from the shop. We talked with the owner and found out that the shop would be closing soon; another one bites the dust (I’ve been listening to a lot of Queen on the radio lately).

With our passports stamped, we got back into the car and drove to Dawn’s Quilt Shop in Alexandria. I took a chance and bought a yard of fabric that I thought might match the robots I had bought earlier on the hop from Hannah Johnson’s in Duluth. That first piece was well-hidden somewhere in the car or else we might have retrieved it to make sure.

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It’s a perfect match!!

We also checked out of the Central Region here.

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We each received a plaid kitchen towel, Minnesota cookie cutter, Minnesota wool trivet, 6 cookie and bread recipes, and 2 candies.

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Salted Nut rolls are one of my favorite but I am not sure I’ve ever had a Nut Goodie before. Both of the candies are made in St. Paul, MN and both were yummy!

We had almost driven away when Tu-Na Helper checked his passport. He had the shop stamp indicating he’d finished the region but not one in the store spot so he jumped out and ran back inside the shop to have that taken care of. He didn’t want his passport to be disqualified for that technicality if his should be drawn for the Alaskan cruise prize. 

Only three shops left and it was still early in the day. We’ve had a couple of close calls on previous years coming in at the last minute to the last shop—like this one that felt like the Amazing Quilt Race part one here and part two here. We were relieved that there would be no close calls today.

After stopping at Hometown Crafts & Fabrics in Wadena and then Bay Window Quilt Shop in Perham, we headed for the last shop for this year’s hop.

With a sigh of relief, we drove up to Quilter’s Cottage in Fergus Falls and checked out of the North Central region.

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We each received a bundle of 12 assorted fat quarters.

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These will be great stash builders.

And with a great sense of accomplishment, we checked out of the state leaving our passports behind to be entered for the Alaskan cruise, along with all the others who finished hopping around the entire state.

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Here’s the front of my completed passport. I took a picture of it before she stamped the completed the state portion on the bottom.

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Here’s the inside of my passport. How different it looks now than when I started on Day one.

I still hope to win the trip but Tu-Na Helper was telling everyone along the way that he gave up and went to Alaska by himself earlier this summer on a fishing trip.


After visiting with our youngest son in Fargo, we grabbed supper at Burger King and headed for home. By now we’d been listening to that audio book (Along Came a Spider) in the car for quite a long time. Each time I thought it was finished, the plot would thicken and the story continue. The book finally came to a conclusion just as we turned onto our driveway and just as I finished sewing the last seam on the last hexi that I had brought along on the trip.

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Here’s all the hexi flowers done and waiting for the next step in the project.

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I finished stitching together everything I had brought with. Why are there only parts of flowers? This summer I did what every quilting grandmother does when the grand-kids are riding along in the car on a three hour car trip and need something to keep them busy; I gave them a sewing lesson. I threaded needles and handed them back to my grandsons; ages 4, 8, and 9; and showed them how to sew the hexis together. They spent the next 40+ minutes happily and quietly stitching away. No one was injured except for one little finger poke. They got to keep what they sewed. My very astute, oldest, grandson detected the difference between Tu-Na Helper’s and my parenting styles. “Papa didn’t let us eat ice cream in the car but Tu-Na gave us sharp needles to play with.”

We breathed another sigh of relief as we pulled into the garage. We’d driven 2,815 miles* on this year’s Quilt MN Shop Hop trip. As I got out of my seat (we had not stopped to stretch during the final three hour trip from Fargo), I brushed all the threads and snippets of fabric from my clothes. Glancing at Tu-Na Helper who was watching me, I bent down to pick them up off the floor of the car. 

Tu-Na Helper: “Some people have trouble with dandruff. You have trouble with thread and fabric.”

The End

Or should I say The Beginning? As I now get to sort, organize, and play with my new finds.

*We did not include the mileage to and from Michigan. We figured the mileage as if we continued from the shop at the end of Day 7 onto the shop at the beginning of Day 8.

A Look at the Loot for the Day

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Five free patterns and 5″ squares of Quilt MN Shop Hop fabrics.

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I couldn’t resist 3 yards of sky from the clearance section, 2 half-yard cuts of other masculine pinks, a half yard of florals, and a yard of robot circuit board fabric.

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Since I need some Steam a Seam 2 for the applique, I bought 2.5 yards, and lastly a whimsical Christmas paper-pieced pattern book.

Don’t miss out on my other 2019 Shop Hop posts:

Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: 8 Days; 59 Shops; 2,815 Miles on the Quilt MN Shop Hop and Stories to Tell!

Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: Day One of the 2019 Quilt MN Shop Hop; 6 Shops; 599 Miles; Only 53 Shops Remaining

Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: Day Two of the Quilt MN Shop Hop, 9 Shops, 528 Miles, Only 44 Shops Remaining

Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: Day Three on the Quilt MN Shop Hop, 6 Shops, 282 Miles, Only 38 Shops Remaining

Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: Day Four of the Quilt MN Shop Hop, 10 Shops, 252 Miles, Only 28 Shops Remaining

Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: Day Five on the Quilt MN Shop Hop, 8 Shops, 366 Miles, Only 20 Shops Remaining

Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: Day Six on the 2019 Quilt MN Shop Hop, 9 Shops, 245 Miles, Only 11 Shops Remaining

Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: Day Seven on the 2019 Quilt MN Shop Hop, 6 Shops, 137 Miles, Only 4 Shops Remaining (or so we thought)

Or the Shop Hop posts from prior years: 




What I Learned Today:

  1. Time spent with Tu-Na Helper is priceless.
  2. I never did find the 9 yards of backing fabric for the auction quilt.
  3. I have a lot of work ahead of me to organize, put away, and sew up all the wonderful new fabrics I purchased.
  4. I need to start sewing in my sleep. I think I’ve said this before.
  5. Purchasing fabric and using it are definitely two different hobbies.
  6. I am good at those two hobbies; I’m probably better at one of them than the other.
  7. I need to read labels better.
  8. Don’t wait to do something as the moment may pass and the opportunity will be gone…forever.
  9. Tu-Na Helper reads my posts. I had to edit Day 7’s post when he announced to me that I had two errors after it had already published.
  10. With my shop hop stories completed, I can finally get something else done around the house and start playing with my new fabric.
  11. The end of something can also be the beginning of something else.
  12. I have a wonderful friend who is also a great cook.

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    She invited us over last night to try her new creation, Zucchini Lasagna made with thinly sliced zucchini instead of pasta. It was delicious! I ate two pieces. Thanks, Sheila!

Question: Do threads seem to follow you, too? At one hotel on the route, Tu-Na Helper pointed to the floor ahead of us and said, “Look, they’ve left a marker showing us our room.” Sure enough, there was a strand of thread on the carpet right in front of a room door that just happened to be ours. One day (three years ago), he swept the kitchen floor and took a picture of his findings. My sewing room is in laundry room in the basement. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I don’t need to say anything more.

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At this time I am not affiliated with any of the items, products, services, or shops that I picture or talk about here on Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats. I just happen to like and use them.

Thanks for stopping by and do come again.

Karen, Tu-Na Quilts

Linking to:

Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter

17 thoughts on “Tu-Na Quilts and Travels: Day Eight on the 2019 Quilt MN Shop Hop, 5 Shops, 406 Miles, Time Spent with Tu-Na Helper–Priceless

  1. karenfae

    threads follow me every where and dear daughter is the same this morning on the porch I was working on hexies and Melanie came over for breakfast and stitching on the porch hexies for me cross stitch for her and she asks is it ok to drop my thread on the porch 🙂 what do you think!


  2. Cathy

    What a whirlwind trip for y’all!!! Thank you again for the fun and thorough posts documenting all your travels! And yep, I do seem to have threads all over me and some I don’t find right away!!! Get some rest and enjoy sleeping in your own bed!!!


  3. JanineMarie

    Another fun ride-along with you on your hop! I do have to say I sat up and took notice about your detour to Michigan, and squealed (not out loud because that would alarm my husband) when I saw that your destination was Kalamazoo ( I spent most of my growing up years there) and that you stopped in at Meijer’s. A sweet detour for the baptism, but had to have been a grueling part of the ride! My husband is forever pulling thread off of me when we leave the house. They bother him but I wear them proudly. And I only vacuum between projects. It gives me a real sense of accomplishment.


  4. Kathleen McCormick

    You made it! I love that you and Tu-Na Helper have such a good time together. It is funny how it is so easy to miss one on these trips. Alaska would be wonderful and if you don’t win you may have to make a quilting cruise to Alaska trip – with or without the helper – as he did his alone. HMMM Partners in Design Alaska cruise????


  5. piecefulwendy

    First, I want that chair. Second, the circada story made me glad I wasn’t drinking anything while I was reading (is it unladylike to snort-laugh?). Third, I’m with you on 5 & 6. Fourth, and last, welcome home! Have fun with all those goodies!


  6. Rochelle Summers

    I so enjoy this virtual blog hop and will miss these arm chair adventures. Mostly I miss your posts the rest of the year. No matter how much I try to leave the clippings elsewhere, I am wearing them whenever I leave the house. I guess I could follow the trail back home!! My son-in-law is cleaning my car for me every other week. I’ll have to ask him how much he gets in trimmings from the seat and floor. My husband gets even, though, He tracks in hay and grass! That lasagna looked yummy. Glad you are home safe and sound. And it is wonderful that you and Tu Na Helper travel so well together.


  7. Leslie Schmidt

    Whew! I’ll bet you’re glad to be home.That’s a long time to be on the road. I’m sure it was a nice break to be able to spend time with family. That restaurant looked really cool. I hope the food was as good as the decor.
    You got a lot accomplished as you were driving, or should I say riding. And your timing was great.
    You two must be world class packers, what with all your luggage plus all your purchases, including groceries, in your Prius!
    Have fun with all your goodies. Too bad you couldn’t find the backing fabric you wanted.
    I think I’m going to re-read all your posts so I can refresh my memory about all the neat shops you visited. I don’t think I can talk my husband into attempting this feat.
    Hopefully, this will be the year that you win the cruise. I would think the odds would be in your favor by now.
    It seems as though someone flipped a switch and now it’s autumn. Won’t be too long before you head to Arizona. Evidently, the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting the Upper Midwest is going to have the worst of the winter weather. Supposedly, we will be getting a polar vortex in January with temps of -40°!!!!!!!!!! Smart move to go to AZ.


  8. Barbara Mitchell

    Welcome Home! What wonderful fabric you have added to your Hobby! I recently went to a different Annas restaurant in Grand Haven….I was so impressed with the decor…and the food was yummy too! I have so enjoyed reading your blog…my husband thinks your husband is a saint…you 2 are a great match💕


  9. thedarlingdogwood

    Love your adventure! And what fabulous timing to finish your book AND last hexie as you pulled into home! So glad you let the grandkids sew. I haven’t given my son a needle yet but he does use the machine with me sometimes. Sounds like you had a fabulous hop!


  10. Bonnie

    You’ve never had a Nut Goodie Bar?!? One of K’s favorites. He put a recipe in our family cookbook as a homemade replica – check it out sometime~


  11. KJ

    Thank you for such an entertaining travelogue. I enjoyed the trip, except for the critter in the air conditioning.I bet it is good to be home, for the time being. I can’t be away from home for longer than 4 days, ideally 3. I miss my kitties too much, and just being home and on whatever schedule I choose every day. No, thread does not gravitate to everything I wear, but kitty fur does. Enjoy petting all your great purchases.


  12. inquiringquilter

    Love reading about your adventures! Those hexies are beautiful. Will they be a quilt or a runner? Thanks for sharing on Wednesday Wait Loss.


  13. Demaris Soso

    Another successful shop hop is in the archives. It was a fun and interesting ride with you, So sorry that so many shops have decided to close their doors. Maybe some new ones will open up. We need to get some of the younger mothers interested in quilting. You have written the stories very well and I was right along with you all the way.
    I also enjoyed reading the comments, they were very interesting. I think that is a good idea to plan a quilting tour to Alaska, tit for tat you know.


  14. Sheila M Herman

    Will another year of success – never stop my friend. Life is short, keep doing what you love as it helps make the world go around. Love so much that my lasagna is now famous.



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