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!
I remember when I was a teenager and my little sister wanted to tag along with me. Back then, I didn’t like it. Fast forward many years and now it’s a different story; it’s lots of fun to have her around now. When my sister asked if she could come with us for a day, we were able to make our route work and let her tag along.
The three of us: my husband, my sister, and I, left her log cabin early to get to the first shop by opening time.
Along the route, my sister pointed to another quilt shop as my husband kept on driving past. “What’s this?” she asked. “If it’s not on the hop, we don’t stop?” Well, that’s the way it’s been on our trip. We’ve driven past quilt shops (and also thrift stores) and we don’t stop unless they are part of this year’s quilt hop. What’s interesting is that she used the exact phrase that we had been saying during the whole trip! I guess, sister’s do think alike, too.
My husband and I completed two sections today; we had stopped at most of the required stores earlier in the week.
9 fat quarters of solids from the East Central Region and a vintage-looking lunch box from the Central Region.
I thought I was dreaming when we happened upon my pick for today’s top shop on the hop.
Starting a quilt shop had been a dream for this mother/daughter team. They would drive by the old creamery building located off Highway 10 and think about the potential this historic building offered. When the chance to buy it became a reality, they worked hard to fulfill their dream of a business incorporating their three loves: quilting, knitting, and food.
I contacted Linda and Janelle, the owners, to find out more about their unique building. They said the historic building was in horrible condition when they purchased it. You can click here to go to their website to see pics taken during the major renovation. They hired a carpenter who let them finish projects in the evening to help save some money. They said “We started renovating in December 2011 and finished June 1st at around midnight!! In preparation to open on June 2nd! We should have given ourselves a little more time, but looking back, we may have not ever been ready!! It has been a labor of love that is still going strong.” This shop is beautiful and I could have spent even more time and money there.
When we visited, the owners had already gone for the day and had left the shop in Ruth’s capable hands.
Where ever you look, quilt samples are on display.
You will find a large variety of traditional and modern quilting fabric at The Old Creamery Quilt Shop. There are Civil War prints as well as lots of bright modern fabrics.
Linda and Janelle offer this advice to beginning quilters: “Take your time and enjoy every piece. Quilting is therapeutic. If you have set a deadline to finish your project, be sure you have given yourself plenty of time so you don’t get burnt out. Choose simple. Make sure your first project is not too difficult! We don’t want you to get discouraged on your first project!”
If you are thinking of opening a quilt shop, they suggest having a solid business plan and patience. “If you have the drive and enthusiasm, your dream can come true like ours did!” Thanks, Linda and Janelle. That’s good advice!
They also operate the coffee shop and yarn shop which is found just across the hall from the quilt shop inside this wonderfully restored historic building. Their three “WONDERFUL part time employees, Ruth, Eileen and Mary” help them out. Maybe if I lived closer, I could work there, too.
Janelle has quilted more than 300 quilts since the shop opened in 2012. The shop’s longarm studio is located upstairs on the second floor. They provide longarm quilting services for quilters and also offer longarm classes allowing quilters who’ve taken the class to rent time on the longarm to complete their own quilts. The second floor is also used for classes and has a large ballroom with a stage that is rented for Yoga every Friday, the knitting group, a community theater, aerobics classes, and expos.
View of the spacious upstairs and a yoga class in action. Pictures used by permission from The Old Creamery Quilt Shop.
When you visit The Old Creamery Quilt Shop, plan to spend lots of time there and be sure to have a cup of coffee. Oh, and tell them that Tu-Na sent you.
What I Learned Today:
- Little sisters can be lots of fun when they get older.
- Dreams really do come true (with a lot of hard work and maybe just a bit of luck).
- If it’s not on the hop, we don’t stop; even when my sister is with us.
Question: What is your dream?
Linking on Monday with:
Beth at Cooking Up Quilts for Main Crush Monday (Button on the sidebar)
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt.
Continuing to drive around the entire state of Minnesota on this quilt shop hop is kind of like a marriage. We made the commitment in the beginning and we are going to see it through to the end.
Have you ever been around someone who is so positive and happy that no matter how tired you feel, you just start to feel energetic and happy and good about yourself?
Diane, the owner of Timeless Treasures Quilt Shop in McGregor, is just that sort of person. This quilt shop has been in business for 13 years. Click here to go to their website for more info.
Diane has been quilting for 25 years. She says “Life is wonderful. I’m so lucky.” However, I think the quilters living in this area are the lucky ones.
Prior to starting her business, she became very sick. During her recovery, her husband asked her, “If you could do anything you want, what would you do?” Because she loved quilting, her answer was, “Open a quilt shop.” And so she did. “I’ve met the best people in the world in this shop,” she tells me.
Diane’s advice for beginning quilters is to enjoy the process, accept that you will make mistakes, and just let yourself have fun with it. Her advice for aspiring quilt shop owners is to realize that there will be times that you will get discouraged and to develop “stick-to-it-ive-ness.”
Diane is not the only person working at Timeless Treasures with an infectious smile and personality. Dakota has worked at the shop for only three months. She’s made 10 quilts and is already designing her own patterns. Her advice to a young person looking for summer or part-time work is to, “Get a job at a quilt shop. You’ll meet some of the best people.”
I contacted Dakota later and she had this to say about her experience working at Timeless Treasures. “I absolutely love everyone I meet at the quilt shop and getting to know all the ladies in the hop has been the best thing to happen to me! Everyone of them brightens my day a little more! And I honestly love my job more than anything! Diane is the best part of my day and she appreciates everything I do for her which makes me love her even more!”
I left that shop a lot happier and with a smile on my face because of these two. When you visit Timeless Treasures Quilt Shop, tell them that Tu-Na sent you and be prepared to leave with a skip in your step.
Because sometimes things are just too good to pass up, I have a second top shop on the hop to share today. Continuing on the journey, we came upon this building in Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids is also the birthplace of Judy Garland; at least that’s what the sign said as we came into town.
This quilt shop opened in 2000. When we visited, the owner had left the shop in Linda and Megan’s capable hands. ABC’s of Quilting offers a longarm service for others and has an online store sending orders around the world. You can click here to visit their website and learn more about them.
Linda and Megan’s advice to new shop owners is to always remember to smile. Megan advises new quilters to keep going and try new things, and not to worry what others think. “Don’t worry about making mistakes.” Linda emphasized.
We continued towards Duluth as we had 4 more shops to complete before day’s end.
As we traveled along the North Shore looking for a hotel, we soon discovered everyone else had decided to come here for the weekend. Finally, we found one remaining room at Two Harbors and it offered a free round of mini golf.
It just wouldn’t be right to leave the area without a stop at:
And we just had to have a piece or two of Betty’s pies. Click here to learn more about Betty’s Pies.
And then it was back to our hotel room for a good soak. After all, the only hotel room left when we checked-in was the honeymoon suite.
What I Learned Today:
- Smiling can be contagious.
- No matter how often I hear “Don’t worry what other’s think,” I still worry.
- Eating out is fun because someone else does the dishes.
Question: Who or what makes you smile?
The alarm rang at 4am signaling that our adventure was about to begin.
By day’s end we had traveled 635 miles, visited 8 quilt shops in Minnesota, and bought many yards of Minnesota fabric.
The first shop was 250 miles away from home. When we arrived, we filled out our passports.
Each shop on the hop will stamp their spot. We will also receive a pattern for a specially shop-designed block and a 5″ square of the Minnesota fabric.
I love road trips as there is so much to see while traveling. Each day on the hop I will choose one amazing shop to showcase here. Picking today’s featured shop was difficult as I had many favorites from which to choose.
And then I found it!
Quilt Haven on Main in Hutchinson, MN will be celebrating their 4th year in business in November. Learn more about them here. This is the third year they have been participating in the hop.
As I entered the store, I could tell this was a place with some interesting history.
When I visited, the owners had left the shop for the day in the good hands of their employees: Marcie, Connie, Linda, and Karen. After talking with these gals, I knew they were partly responsible for putting and keeping the “fun and inspiration” into this shop.
The building was built in 1913 and initially housed a furniture store. However, my husband remembered there was more to this story and I pressed Marcie for more information. She, rather reluctantly, said that furniture stores in that era were responsible for making caskets. Yes, caskets had been made downstairs in this building.
Later, the building became the design studio for Lynette Jensen of Thimbleberries with an attached Thimbleberries store. The store and design studio closed in 2012. However, Lynette continues to design for RJR. Sometimes customers ask the staff at Quilt Haven if they still carry “Lake Life,” Lynette’s fabric line.
When visiting this shop, be sure to look up at the original tin ceilings which are found throughout the building including the basement. And don’t forget to look all around at the beautiful quilts on display on the street level as well as upper level.
Speaking of the upper level, Quilt Haven on Main offers “Laughter in the Loft” on the first Friday of every month. The girls will tell you that Laughter in the Loft is the free open-sewing time that is sure to inspire you to create in the presence of friends. Be sure to call ahead ((320) 587-8341 or (888) 843-8215) to reserve your spot as they are often filled. I know if I lived closer, I would be there often to sew and share.
When you visit Quilt Haven on Main, take a walk up and down the “Scarlet O’Hara” staircase so aptly named by Marcie.
Marcie, Karen, Connie, and Linda will welcome you to this shop and help you find fabric for every project you have in mind and even some you don’t. But then again, with so much variety to choose from, how can one resist adding some to your stash?
What I learned today:
- 4 am is really early.
- Whatever I forgot to bring with, I can buy along the way. My husband assures me that they have stores in Minnesota, too.
Question: Have you been to Quilt Haven on Main? If you do visit, tell them Tu-Na sent you.
Plans are underway for my husband and I to travel the entire state of Minnesota in a few days. The MN Quilt Shop Hop is beginning! Read more about it here. For the third year in a row, we will visit over 70 shops, get our “passports” stamped, enter to win prizes, earn some incentives for completing each section, and buy some unique quilting fabric—ok, probably buy a lot of quilting fabric.
Last year we spent 11 days traveling 4343 miles visiting 70 shops resulting in a fabric bill that was larger than our gas, food, and lodging combined! In my defense, we stayed at the homes of several friends and family members along the way, carried a cooler in the car for lunches, and drove a Prius which averaged in the mid 50s mpg.
So how does one prepare for this event? My husband has entered all 73 shop addresses into a computer program and it’s been churning to give us the best route. The problem is that I closed his computer last night and he had to restart it all over this morning.
I’ve located the cooler. Why do we carry a cooler for lunches? Even with extended shop hours during the day, there isn’t much time to find a restaurant to grab a bite for lunch and still be able to get to many shops before they lock their doors for the night. In the evenings, we enjoy finding a local restaurant and eating a delicious meal but during the day, we snack out of the cooler and from the snack bag: cheese, yogurt, peanut butter, trail mix, and some fresh fruits and vegetables.
I have my cell phone and charger in case I need to check with a store regarding their closing time. Several times in the past two years that we’ve done the hop, I’ve called ahead as the GPS says we’ll arrive a few minutes after closing and they’ve been nice enough to stay open for us until we arrive. Of course, I do reward their extended time by doing a bit of extra shopping. Yes, we use a GPS and my husband’s I-phone and, sometimes, we even have to resort to a paper map. We’ve been directed to dead ends, found ourselves miles off-course, and been re-routed by detours. Last year was the year the entire state seemed to be under road construction as even our detours were detoured. Eventually, we found our way to the shops often joking about having arrived by way of “the scenic route.”
I’m bringing my running shoes. This year’s goal is to complete the hop in 8 days or less. This will require me to do a bit of running and fast shopping. I’ve got my list (and my mom’s list): Aurifil thread, more 1930 repro fabrics, solids for a Minecraft quilt for my oldest grandson, and, of course, some of this cute Minnesota fabrics.
The fabrics pictured here are just some of the special fabrics printed just for the hop. See the rest of them here. Which ones will I find and which will I let get away?
All that’s left to do is load the car and drive…a lot!
What I learned today:
- I left my favorite rolling suitcase at my winter house.
- My husband says, “You need to have a plan for the fabric you will buy.”
- I plan to like all that I buy.
Question: Have you ever gone on a shop hop? Tell me about your shop hop experience.
Your comments are appreciated! Click on the title of this post if you don’t see the comment box. I respond either by email or here on the blog. Thanks.
Beth for Main Crush Monday (button on the sidebar)
May 15, 2016
“This is getting hot enough!” my husband, Mark, declared early last week. He was referring to the 106° temps we experienced the day before in the Phoenix area. So we loaded up the car and headed north for Dakota to our other home: the “apple house” as my grandson calls it since we have an apple orchard.
A cold front beat us there. “It’s not cold. You just think it is,” Mark said as I checked the outside temperature as we pulled into the driveway. “46° is cold,” I informed him. In my defense, I was still dressed in capris, a short sleeve shirt, and Birkenstocks.The truth of the matter is that I’ve become acclimated to the warm temps found at our “orange house”: our Arizona house affectionately labeled by that same grandson since we have an orange tree in our yard.
This spring in Arizona we witnessed a large variety of cactus flowers come to life and then fade. As we drove out of town on our way north, we happened upon this 25 foot tall Saguaro with its crown heavily ladened with buds and blooms.
I shall miss seeing the Saguaro cactus. Since I first set eyes upon them over 20 years ago, they have intrigued me: looking like sentinels standing and patiently waiting for their marching orders.
The Sonoran Desert (Phoenix is located in the upper part of it) is the only place on earth where these giants can be found.
What I learned today:
- Home is where your heart is and where you keep your stuff: this stuff still gets mighty dusty when no one is around for 6 months.
- Dorothy∗ was right: there is no place like home.
∗in the Wizard of Oz