We’ve returned from our sixth consecutive year of participating in the Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop. Tu-Na Helper survived another year of hopping with me. And do I ever have stories to share.
Starting bright and early in the morning (Monday), Tu-Na Helper and I (well maybe only I) will be singing:
♪ 59 Quilt Shops on the Hop,
59 Quilt Shops.
Drive up to one. Lay the cash down.
58 Quilt Shops on the Hop ♪
We’ll be starting in Winona and working our way around the state. If you happen to see us out and about, do stop and say hi. We’d enjoy talking with you.
Visitors from 45 countries have stopped by Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats and have left approximately 600 comments. I’ve replied to almost all of them, except for the ones caught in my spam filter. That’s taken a bit of work and my husband can vouch for the fact that I’ve spent a good chunk of time sitting at my computer. I’m flattered to have almost 200 followers already. Those are pretty good statistics considering this blog is only eight months old.
Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a special linky party for bloggers to post their five top posts. So here’s my year-end review highlighting some of the top posts.
I introduced myself on my very first post Tu-Na? and explained the significance of that name. I have my five year old grandson to thank for that inspiration. It was a real “light-bulb” moment.
This summer, my husband and I traveled around the entire state of Minnesota visiting and shopping at 72 quilt shops on the annual Quilt MN Shop Hop. I wrote about our adventures such as going for a sailboat ride and some of the delicious meals we ate. Each day I featured a quilt shop (two shops on Day Six of the hop) on this blog. While I could have chosen any of those posts (after all I met some very nice shop owners and staff who were more than just “Minnesota nice”), I chose Tu-Na Travels: So Where’s the “Loot”? because it was very fun to write. I could think of no better way to introduce all the stuff I bought on the hop than pretending to be a pirate. After all, some of it was such good buys that I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I can honestly tell you that I was rolling on the floor laughing out loud (for real) as I wrote and then read aloud this post. My husband even had to come to my desk to see why I was laughing so hard.
My husband guest wrote a post Tu-Na Travels: Tu-Na Helper’s Side of the 2016 Quilt MN Shop Hop telling his impressions of the trip and why he went along on it. Yes, he was lovingly nicknamed Tu-Na Helper since I put him in charge of photographing the shops while I interviewed and shopped.
Anne’s Flower was my first block that I designed. There is a free pdf of the pattern and a tutorial available at Tu-Na Quilts: Presenting Anne’s Flower. When I first received the invitation to join the Cloud 9 Block Hop, I wasn’t sure I wanted to accept the challenge. Basically, I was worried that I couldn’t design something. My daughter-in-law encouraged me to give it a try and I am so glad I did. I was definitely working outside of my comfort zone but I think it turned out well. I think I’ll be making more of these.
Life was very busy this fall as we tended to an abundant apple crop. The post Tu-Na Eats: Apples, Apples, and More Apples gives you an idea of what we did with all the apples that we harvested. By the way, we are still eating apples and our oranges are now starting to turn color.
What I Learned Today:
- Picking only five posts is very hard to do since I like all the posts I’ve written or I wouldn’t have included them on my blog.
- Sometimes it’s nice to “toot one’s own horn” because it may go untooted otherwise.
- I’ve “met” some really nice people through this blogging community and I thank you for reading my posts, following my blog, and leaving comments. I am so glad you stop by and I hope you’ll come back again.
- Eight months sure went fast.
Question: Tell me about your greatest accomplishment or memorable moment from this year. Here’s your chance to “toot your own horn,” too.
We checked our mailbox after returning home from a recent trip and found this interesting package.
While we didn’t win the Grand prize trip to Alaska or one of the twenty $100 shop hop gift certificates for completing all of the shops on the 2016 Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop or any of the regional drawings from several of the sections, we did get this prize for finishing the state. Just in case you missed it, click here and then click here to read about our adventurous last day on the hop.
My husband and I were among the 99 people who traveled around the entire state of Minnesota July 29-August 14, 2016 visiting ALL of the 72 participating shops. Those were pretty good odds to win the big trip but just not good enough for us. My husband reminded me that winning wasn’t the focus of the trip. He was right but it sure would have been fun.
What I Learned Today:
- The 2017 Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop is only about 9 months away (July 28-August 18, 2017).
- I better start sewing faster to justify needing to go on it again.
- Winning is fun but losing is disappointing.
- I have many good memories from our 2016 Quilt MN Shop Hop trip and that’s the best prize of all.
Question: What have you won or lost recently?
Linking to Can I get a Whoop Whoop and Main Crush Monday (buttons on the sidebar).
This is the last of the loot from my 2016 Quilt MN Shop Hop trip. Although these were things that weren’t on my list, they still followed my plan to like all that I buy. I couldn’t leave them behind so I splurged.
I’m sure it will be of no surprise to anyone that I found and bought cloud fabric. I was captivated by the Minnesota skies and took lots of sky pictures. You can see some pictures here on Day Two, Day Five, Day Six, and Day Eight.
I can’t have sky without including some water.
One can’t have sky and water without having some little rocks. I really needed this before and didn’t have it so I decided to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
I grew up on a wheat farm and had been eyeing this one since the collection was released. I almost bought it at one shop on the hop but decided to let it stay on the shelf. The next day, I heard it calling my name from the clearance section of a different shop. How could I ignore that?
Along the way I found some prints to add to my orange, brown, and green stash. How could I resist those coffee beans?
When I saw the fabric with dots, I saw sprinkles and I thought it would make cute ice cream cone or cupcake quilt blocks or a pincushion or two.
I already have slices of watermelon fabric in my stash and found these two pieces that would make a fun picnic quilt with it.
Here’s more great fabrics I found.
These were just too cute to pass up! I’m open to suggestions.
Just before I left home on the shop hop, I started a project using a green leaf fabric from my older stash. After cutting all the pieces, I decided it was just too thin to use so I found these two leaf prints on the hop. Since I couldn’t decide between them, I bought both.
Here’s the remnant I found on Day Six. I’m sure I’ll be needing a good quality gingham for a future project.
I’ve now decided that these two fabrics will become a pillow.
Here’s the Amazing Grace fabric that I’d given up hope of ever finding again. I previously bought 4 yards for a quilt back but you and I know that 4 yards isn’t nearly enough for a larger quilt. I was ecstatic to find 4 more yards of it on Day Six. Now I know I’ll have enough.
The following pic shows my all-time favorite fabric splurge on the hop. At the time of purchase, I had no idea what it might become.
Now for some non-fabric splurge.
I splurged on the Mini Dresden Plate Template. I purchased this larger template at the same time as the Tiny one that I wrote about on So Where’s the Loot.
That’s all folks! I have no more loot to show you; it’s all been revealed. It was a fun trip and I’ve enjoyed telling you about it. But wait, I’ve planned a bit more fun.
Up Next: A guest post by Tu-Na Helper (my husband) regarding his thoughts and impressions of the shop hop trip.
What I Learned Today:
- Decision making is difficult for me.
- I made a lot of purchases on this shop hop trip.
- I definitely shop faster than I sew.
- The past two posts have been embarrassing but I’ll get over it.
Question: Do you plan first and then buy or buy now and plan later?
Linking to Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
and Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
This post continues with my journey on the 2016 Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop. In case you want to catch up with all the fun and frivolity, click here to find a link to the free and almost free loot and click here to find a link at the bottom of the page to all the posts about the daily top shops on the hop posts. Now on with the loot disclosure.
This fabric line is a one-time only printing. When the shops run out, it is gone forever.
I said in a previous post that I prefer the hunt and find method to pre-ordering this fabric line. It’s the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
This approach doesn’t guarantee that I’ll end up with any of this fabric collection, but then again, it is exciting.
This year I was fairly successful in finding what I wanted.
It’s always interesting to see which fabric is the most sought-after fabric from the collection. Which will be the one that quilters chase after and regret not buying more of?
This year there were several: the mosquitoes and the colored fish were gone in a few days.
Since the colored fish were sold out, someone came up with a brilliant solution to use fabric crayons to color the plain fish. After posting this idea on the Quilt MN Facebook page, it then created a shortage of the plain fish.
From the Quilt Minnesota Facebook page, many people are still looking for the orange and brown hash too. I was also successful in catching some other cute fun fabrics from this collection.
The 2016 MN fabric line had 26 prints, a panel of 4 blocks and a pictorial stripe. While I didn’t get some of each of them—I never intended to, I did get what I liked and wanted to use.
My husband spied a quilt that he liked at one of the shops. I decided he deserved to have one after going with me on this trip. So I’ll use the colored fish and several other prints from this collection to make a special one for him. I also have a couple of other quilt patterns in mind for this collection.
What I Learned Today:
- I’d better start sewing a lot faster.
- Mosquitos on fabric are a lot nicer than mosquitos on the arm.
- Maybe pre-ordering isn’t such a bad idea (Nah-probably not going to happen).
Question: Do you shop faster than you sew or sew faster than you shop?
Beth at Cooking Up Quilts for Main Crush Monday (Button on the sidebar)
Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts for Let’s Bee Social (Button on the sidebar)
Cynthia at Quilting is More Fun than Housework
Was it just my own mom, or did yours, too, prolong the agony on Christmas Eve? Before we could open gifts, we had to have every dish, pot, pan, and cookie sheet washed, dried, and put away. There were a lot of them because she had been making Christmas cookies all day long.
I’ve read from your comments that a lot of you have been wondering and waiting patiently for me to unwrap and reveal my loot from my 2016 Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop. Click here to find a link towards the bottom of the page that lists all the posts about that fun trip.
Let’s see just what snagged my line and made me cast my credit card to be netted and put in that cool treasure chest pictured on my last post. First up is the FREE STUFF! ’cause we all love FREE!
Each of the 72 participating shops provided every shop hopper with an 8″ finished pattern designed by their shop.
Each shop on the hop also gave each hopper a 5″ square of the 2016 Quilt Minnesota Fabric.
Here’s some close-ups of my favorites. Did I take the bait or keep on swimming by? You will find out on the next post whether I was able to catch any or regret not having pre-ordered. I can’t reveal all my woes or I’ll have nothing left to write. In the meantime, I have loads of free and almost-free stuff to reveal.
All of the participating shops on the hop were also participating in the Row by Row and I used this opportunity to collect the patterns from all….
In an effort to keep organized in the beginning of the hop, my husband and I each used a gallon zip-lock plastic bag to hold our patterns and fabric squares. We were delighted to receive this vinyl and canvas zippered pouch as our first incentive prize as it held our patterns and fabric squares nicely. We could be seen emerging from the car with the pouch in hand heading straight for the shop door.
Hingeley Road Quilt Shop in Floodwood, MN went above and beyond in providing us hoppers with patterns. They’ve published several quilt pattern books and gifted each hopper with a 40 page book which includes 15 quilt patterns including one that I have my eye on to use with those new Quilt MN fabrics. This was in addition to their fabric square and 8 inch block pattern! Thank you Hingeley Road Quilt Shop. I look forward to seeing you again.
Many of the stores provided us with bottles of water, coffee, fruit (bananas and cuties), snack mixes, granola bars, chips, cookies, candy and chocolate. We appreciated those sweet little treats for us weary shop hoppers. Some of the shops also gave us fun little freebies to take.
There was a shop that included a thank-you with my purchase.
The Metro section was giving free charms with a $10.00 purchase and I netted some.
The incentive prizes from each section were a really big catch.
It’s official; we are now part of the SWAT TEAM!
Now onto the really good deals that seemed ALMOST FREE.
The best deal I found was at DeAnn’s Country Village Shoppe in Litchfield, MN. They were having a sale in their demolition room (clearance). So for just $3.00 per yard (that’s correct—no typo), I was able to catch two excellent quality backings for quilts. However, this could also be the “fish that got away” as I wish I would have bought even more!
I was working on a project before we left and this text print would be perfect. So I reeled it in and said I’d take all that was on the bolt! It was a whopper at 8.5 yards.
In case you’ve been thinking that I’ve just been lying around resting since we got home, I will let you know that I now only have 3 yards of that text print left.
But that’s another upcoming post with an interesting story that I will warn you will require a box of tissue.
I only bought 3 fat quarters on the trip this year compared to the 125 I bought last year.
Each store in the Central Section had a special Dollar Ditty promotion. If you spent $10.00, you could purchase the promoted item for just one dollar more. I purchased some of them. Since the policy was one ditty per person, I did what every devoted quilter would do. I divided my purchases in two so my husband could also buy some.
Finally, some of the stores even gave us “invitations” to come back. How can I say no?
Coming up next: A look at which of the 2016 Quilt Minnesota Fabrics didn’t get away. But first I have some zucchini that needs freezing and now the crab apples are ripe enough for making jelly.
What I Learned Today:
- Free is always fun!
- Life is too full of regrets. Fabric at $3.00/per yard is an incredible deal. I should have bought more. Next time shop more so there are less regrets.
- I still worry about perfect seams.
Question: What was the best deal you ever found?
Tuesday to Connie at Freemotion by the River for Linky Tuesday
and Sew Cute Tuesday
Wednesday to Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts for Let’s Bee Social (button on the sidebar)
and Silly Mama Quilts for Work In Progress
and Friday with Busy Hands Quilt for Finished or Not Friday (button on the sidebar)
and Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?
Hi-ho, thar buckos!
’tis be Cap’n Tu-Na tellin’ ye that I have th’ loot counted, ‘n safely stowed.
Thar’s much more thar than I thought. ’tis just taken much longer than expected. Be back in a day or a pair wit’ th’ first ‘o th’ loot from me 2016 Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop to show ye. In th’ meantime, here’s a couple a pictures to whet ye appetite!
In addition to taking lots of pictures, I’ve had a pressing project to work on, too.
And these giants need some tending. The garden produce got out of hand while we were gone.
Stay tuned for Part Two of “The Loot—The Free and Almost-Free Stuff” coming up soon. Yes, I came across some really good deals—so good, in fact, that they made me think I was a pirate; I’ve got the credit card debt to prove otherwise! If you haven’t caught up with all my Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop adventures, you’ll see the list here.
What I Learned Today:
- The cooler holds more than I thought.
- The cooler made a good storage place after the garden produce was left at my daughter’s.
- Receipts add up faster than I thought.
- 380 pictures of loot are a lot to weed out and edit.
- The loot—it’s almost embarrassing.
Question: What do you do with overgrown zucchini?
Linking Sunday to Cynthia at Quilting is More Fun than Housework for Oh, Scrap!
VERY IMPORTANT!—If you haven’t done so, you might like to read the first part of Tu-Na Travels: Day Nine on the Quilt MN Shop Hop: 503 Miles, 6 Shops, Diamonds Would Have Been Cheaper! so you know what’s going on and then come back to finish reading the ending here. (click on the title in this paragraph to go there)
Here’s all my posts about the 2016 Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop, just in case you need to catch up as you won’t want to miss out on any of those daily adventures and top shops on the hop posts.
Tu-Na Travels: Day One: 635 Miles, 8 Shops, Blew the Budget Already Featuring Quilt Haven On Main in Hutchinson, MN.
Tu-Na Travels: Day Two on the MN Quilt Shop Hop: 507 Miles, 10 Shops, Made a New Budget Featuring Old Alley Quilt Shop in Sherburn, MN.
Tu-Na Travels: Day Three on the MN Quilt Shop Hop: 152 Miles, 5 Stores, Forget the Budget Featuring Bluffview Quilt Shop in Winona, MN.
Tu-Na Travels: Day Four on the MN Quilt Shop Hop: 258 Miles, 8 Shops, Car is Filling Up Featuring Eagle Creek Quilt Shop in Shakopee, MN.
Tu-Na Travels: Day Five on the MN Quilt Shop Hop: 232 Miles, 12 Shops, The Tires are Bulging Featuring Quarry Quilts and Yarns in Sandstone, MN.
Tu-Na Travels: Day Six on the Quilt MN Shop Hop: 261 Miles, 9 Shops, Wishing We Drove a Truck Featuring Timeless Treasures Quilt Shop in McGregor, MN and ABC’s of Quilting in Grand Rapids, MN.
Tu-Na Travels: Day Seven on the Quilt MN Shop Hop: 354 Miles, 5 Shops, Credit Card is Smoking Featuring Cabin Quilting in Cook, MN.
Tu-Na Travels: Day Eight: 466 Miles, 9 Shops, Credit Card is Having a Meltdown Featuring The Old Creamery Quilt Shop in Randall, MN.
Tu-Na Travels: Day Nine on the Quilt MN Shop Hop: 503 Miles, 6 Shops, Diamonds Would Have Been Cheaper! Featuring This is Sew Broadway in Crookston, MN.
Now on with my adventurous journey.
The door closed right in front of me. I grabbed it and pulled hard hoping that it was still open although it was after the mall’s closing time. Miraculously it was not locked even though the clock said it was 5:05pm. That’s 5 minutes past the mall’s closing time.
My husband had gone to another door but that one was locked already. I held my door open and waited impatiently for him to catch up. We were now running down one hallway and then another looking for the quilt shop. Because of construction around the block, we were forced to park in an unfamiliar area and our bearings were off. Nothing looked familiar in this mall.
It was silent in the building. There was absolutely no one around. Were we in the right place? Frantically, I called The Quilted Ladybug hoping that someone would answer. When she did, I asked where they were located in the mall.
And then I looked up.
There I was right in front of the shop. We’d made it and they had waited for us!
Thank you to The Quilted Ladybug so very much for waiting for us! Otherwise, we would have had to wait to check-out until noon the next day or head for home and not finish the shop hop.
While we were driving to the shop racing against time (but not speeding—well, not too much), I called The Quilted Ladybug in Moorhead to let them know that we were expected to arrive 5 minutes after closing time. “No problem, We’ll wait for you,” was Lisa’s cheerful response. “The outside doors will be locked so just give us a call and someone will come and let you in.” Thankfully, the mall door I tried was still open.
I have to admit there were several shops along the way that we called to ask if they would be around a few minutes before or after closing time.
We didn’t bother to call shops if we would have arrived more than 15 minutes after their posted closing time. I did make it worth their extra time by making purchases at their shops. I never had difficulty finding something to buy.
So where’s all my “loot”?
Look for lots of pictures of my one-time only, special edition, never to be printed again, 2016 Minnesota fabrics; many solids for my grandson’s Minecraft quilt; thread; patterns; and some fabric I bought just because “I liked it” coming soon.
But first I need to rest a bit and look at what’s in the picnic cooler! ???????
What I Learned Today:
- It’s (life) is all about the journey.
- I have a terrific husband (but I already knew that).
Question: What’s in your picnic cooler?
Linking on Wednesday with:
Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts for Let’s Bee Social (Button on the sidebar)
Linking on Friday with:
Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop
The Quilt Journal for TGIFF
Myra at Busy Hands Quilt for Finished or Not Friday (button on sidebar)
Linking on Saturday with:
Caroline at Sew Can She for Show Off Saturday
Diamonds may have been cheaper but definitely not as much fun as this trip has been.
“Take a deep breath and relax,” my husband said. “We only have 6 shops to visit today and then we are done. It’ll be an easy day.”
It’s been a long, tiring but happy trip. Our car is loaded with quilting fabric and patterns that will take me some time to organize and put away. Today should be the last day of our 2016 Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop. Little did I know that it would be leading up to an unplanned Amazing Quilt Race at the end. Will we finish or not?
The first stop on today’s route would become my pick for today’s top shop on the hop.
The shop, This is Sew Broadway, is owned and operated by a father/daughter team. Jenn was away attending to a bus trip of quilters when we visited but I did get to talk to Robin, her father. Click here to go to their website for more info.
When we stepped into the door we knew they were waiting for us shop hoppers. Although we didn’t do any camping this trip, I did buy some MN fabric with campers on them.
Initially, Robin and his wife started the quilt shop in 2010. Sadly, his wife passed away in 2012 leaving him to operate the business with his daughter, Jenn. This is the fifth year This is Sew Broadway has participated in the Minnesota Quilt Shop Hop.
Originally, the building had been a grocery store and then served as a corporate office for Montana Dakota Utilities. When Robin purchased the building, it was in need of renovation. The apartments were not livable. He removed three layers of flooring to expose the original flooring.
The new rubber roof was under construction when severe weather opened up the roof flooding all three stories. In an attempt to dry out the building, they had to gut more walls. This extra work revealed unopened cereal boxes hidden in the walls. Obviously, through the years when the building had been a grocery store, the boxes had been pushed off the back of the shelves through an opening into the inside of the wall. Some of these boxes are on display in the shop.
Robin does the sewing machine maintenance and repairs at the shop and says quilters should not to be afraid to turn the dials and change the settings on their machines to adjust and set the tension. “Learn your machine,” he advises. He also advises new quilters to start with the basics and get a good foundation of techniques.
As we were talking, a customer overheard our conversation and added this advice for beginning quilters, “Do one project at a time.” I should heed that advice but I think it’s already too late for me.
Robin also had advice for someone wanting to open a quilt shop. He cautioned, “This is not a 9-5 job.” According to him, new shop owners need to be prepared for the amount of work and the number of hours that are required to make it a viable business. He said it most eloquently, “It ain’t always greener on the other side of the septic tank.”
When you visit This is Sew Broadway ask to see those cereal boxes, but leave the milk at home, and tell them Tu-Na sent you.
Continuing on our journey we finished the North Central section and received our fabulous fabric prize.
We only had three shops left to visit and then hand in our stamped passports at the last shop in order to be entered into the drawings for some amazing statewide finisher prizes. I checked the Quilt MN Shop Hop brochure for the shop hours of the last shop in the town about 40 miles away. “They close at 6 today,” I told my husband.
What a relief not to feel rushed. So we leisurely shopped the two quilt shops in Detroit Lakes and then stopped for root beer floats to celebrate our soon-to-be finish. After all, it had been quite a journey and we wanted to celebrate. Back in the car, my husband remarked that there was a lot of traffic on the road for a Saturday when everyone should be at the lake already. “Saturday!” I exclaimed as I reached for the brochure again. “Oh, no! They close at 5 on Saturdays!” My husband was not happy…
So the unplanned Amazing Quilt Race began as my husband and I tried to get to that last shop before the mall doors closed. The GPS on his phone said we would arrive at 5:05 but there was construction ahead. When we finally parked in the lot, I ran to the entrance. Someone was leaving the building and I wanted to catch that door before it closed and locked behind them. But I was too late. The door shut just as I reached for it.
Did we finish or did we not? Tune in tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion of the Amazing Quilt Race!
What I Learned Today:
- Wait to celebrate the victory until there is a victory to celebrate!
Question: Do you work on one project at a time before starting another? Or do you have multiple projects in progress?
Linking Tuesday to
Connie at Freemotion by the River for Linky Tuesday
Cynthia at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework for Oh Scrap!