Friday Favorites: Bungalow Quilting and Yarn

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Welcome to Friday Favorites!

This is the first in a series of posts focusing on some of my favorites.  Each Friday I will shine my spotlight on a person, place or thing that draws my attention.  I hope you will find them of interest and perhaps check them out for yourself.  Enjoy!

There are so many fabric shops that can tickle the quilters fancy. This particular resource, located in Ripon, Wisconsin, is known as Bungalow Quilting and Yarn. Located in a cute little bungalow filled to the max with oodles of irresistible fabrics, yarns, books and notions, it’s a shop you just can’t miss.

Bungalow is well-known for their interesting classes. At the top of my to-do list is the one that teaches how to make your very own umbrella You simply must check this one out.

If you are ever in the area, stop by and visit one of my Friday Favorites.

 

Boomerang Cats!

About a month ago we sought out and found a new home for both our cats,

Mayor Tom
Mayor Tom
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Jerry Blueberry

Both my husband and myself have schedules packed with obligations. After seven years of living with us the lack of personal contact seemed like it was taking a toll on the boys so we felt it necessary to seek a home that could provide more companionship. Tom and Jerry came to us as a “bonded” pair which meant if you bought one of them you had to buy the other one as well. This also meant that where one went the other would go.

About four weeks ago we found what we thought was a suitable home. The couple that took them were excited to fill a void recently left by the death of their dog. So I packed up their kennels, litter boxes, rugs and food and transported them to the mutually agreed upon location. Tearfully I made the exchange saying goodbye to my buddies for one last time, or so I thought.

I received a message from Tom & Jerry’s new caretakers expressing the desire to return the cats to my possession. For various reasons the arrangement was not working as they had thought. After trading several messages back and forth a meeting time and place were once again chosen.

My youngest daughter and granddaughter made the trip with me to retrieve Tom & Jerry. With very little fanfare the ownership of Tom and Jerry was once again transferred back into my hands. My daughter helped me load the boys and most of their belongings into the car and away we went. Before leaving the, now former owners, expressed their regret for the arrangement failing.

I had purged my home of everything related to the care of cats when Tom and Jerry had left so other than what they came home with I needed to fill in a few gaps. On our way back to my home I made a very brief stop at a local big box store to acquire the much-needed items. After returning to my car we drove the final leg of our journey.

Upon arriving at our destination I first carried each cat inside, then their belongings. After opening the doors to their carriers they both sauntered on out as if they had been gone for only a short time. Not even Sadie paid much attention to their return.

So…just as a boomerang returns back to the person that released it, so too have Tom and Jerry returned. I call them the boomerang cats!

 

It’s Going To Be Close!

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My daughter and I have occasionally participated in the Wisconsin Shop Hop. It’s an annual event occurring during the month of June encompassing 50+ quilting shops all over the state. To visit each merchant it would take days of traveling and thousands of miles. Typically we manage to visit 4-5 shops. Finding time to extend ourselves beyond that has been difficult.

This year, however, was the exception. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying that we managed to visit every shop on the tour. Good heavens, I think I would need my head examined if I were to contemplate tackling that challenge. Our goal was much more realistic. Visiting all of the shops in one whole section was the plan. That’s 14 irresistible opportunities to snag the best and very latest morsel of fabric, sure to please any quilters pallet.

We began our journey at 9:00 a.m. with loads of enthusiasm, a detailed map, money in our pockets and the determination to successfully attain our goal. The rules of the Shop Hop required the participating businesses remain open until 6:00 p.m. Somehow we thought 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. was enough time to achieve our goal along with a stop for nourishment and refreshment.

One by one we methodically checked off the shops on our itinerary. As the day wore on, the miles racked up and our pockets became lighter, our energy as well as our enthusiasm faded. What started out as fun had morphed into a mountainous climb. Since we are not ones to admit defeat, quitting was not an option, although the thought did cross our minds.

Late in the day it became obvious the miles yet to travel and the number of shops yet to visit were greater than the hours left on the clock. With that realization came the sense of defeat. The light at the end of the tunnel just wasn’t coming quickly enough. It was obvious that finishing what we had set out to do was going to take one more day.

The merchant at the last shop we visited encouraged us to attempt one more stop. She informed us the distance between hers and the next was short. Her encouragement provided enough adrenaline for us to press on. After completing our purchase we swiftly headed back to our vehicle. We set off in the direction we had understood the shop to be. Miles passed before we realized we had made a wrong turn. The reality of our mistake hit us hard. What little enthusiasm we had left escaped like air from a balloon. All that was left was the ride home and the reality that we had missed our mark.

The ride home was at first quiet. We were, after all, exhausted. But as we progressed the thoughts of adding one more day to our adventure were tossed around. Just because we were not able to reach our goal in one day didn’t mean we couldn’t accomplish what we had originally set out to do. A good nights sleep was sure to refresh our spirits and provide the shot in the arm we would need to visit the remaining shops.

The second day of our Shop Hop was tackled at a much slower pace and as a result way more relaxing. As we were to discover it actually was a blessing to have not reached our goal on the first day. One of the shops we had missed turned out to be a real gem. We had never been to the shop before and were amazed to find it only 30+ minutes from home. The fabric selection fit our tastes perfectly. How sad it would have been to have hurried through in order to meet our One Day goal.

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Our 2014 Wisconsin Shop Hop excursion came to an end after traveling well over 300 miles, visiting 14 shops and acquiring wonderful specimens of fabric. With that accomplishment came the satisfaction of qualifying for the drawing of a prize, and the discovery of new and exciting opportunities. With the experience we gained, plans are already being made for the 2015 Wisconsin Shop Hop. Our plan next year will be to divide our travels into two days. Who knows what mischief we will get ourselves into.

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“Chillin With My Gnomies”

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Time Flies When You’re Having Fun, or Should I Say Time Flies?

It’s been some time since I last entered a post. So many activities have been taking place I barely had time to think. So sorry that this was one of the past times I had to let rest. All that matters is that I’m back and ready to resume my ramblings.

Being a city girl living the fast paced life it’s often hard to slow down. The daily grind of multitasking doesn’t stop immediately. It takes a bit of time before one finds themselves exhaling. The slow but gentle glide to total relaxation begins the all too important sense of relief; that pause that refreshes. It’s that moment of inactivity when you realize how busy you have been; how tired you have gotten. It’s when those furrows in your brow begin to soften and the smile you once had begins to return. Oh how often we forget to take time to smell the roses; to enjoy life for what it should be.

I recently took just such a pause. It was on one of our annual excursions to northern Wisconsin that I once again found my sense of peace. We shared the respite with one of our daughters and her husband. Oh and of course our traveling companion Sadie. Now mind you it wasn’t a trip void of adventures. We did our share of sight-seeing and our part to keep the economy running. The pace, however, was much slower, more relaxed.

During the process of decompressing I enjoyed listening to and observing the natural beauty of the world around me. I am grateful for the time I had to relax and unwind. I left that quiet sanctuary feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever life had waiting for me. Before we part company let me share a few photos of my excursion.

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Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to unwind and recharge. Now let’s get back to work.

Its Quiet Here

My sewing room has been very quiet this week. Why, you might ask? Well I’ll tell you. My hubby is on vacation. Now no grandiose destinations were planned. A simple stay-at-home vacation was on our agenda. We’ve been spending most of our time in a state of leisure. A few short trips were planned to run errands and a bit of shopping but not much else exciting has taken place. The highlight of our day today was a visit to Starbucks. Our plan was to pack up our iPads and a word search game along with two markers and head to the local Starbucks to relax, sip an endless cup of coffee and entertain ourselves with the items we had packed.

With anticipation we did as planned. My hubby, as is typically the case, drove us to the coffee shop. When we arrived is was darn near 1:00 p.m. One would think the lunch crowd would have dissipated leaving ample room for our planned adventure. Walking up to the door we could see inside a sea of patrons busily occupying the limited seating space. A decision had to be made. Do we order up our beverage with the hopes that somehow someone would pack up their belongings and vacate a suitable table, or do we turn around and reformulate our plans.

Option # 1 was the choice we made. After placing our order we lingered at the coffee bar awaiting our beverage as well as the ultimate answer to our question. Whom would leave? This was the one time we hoped our order would take too long. You know, just long enough for a table to open up. As the line ahead thinned out and it was at last our turn to receive our steaming hot cups of coffee, we turned one last time with that hopeful stare directed toward anyone that might happen to turn in our direction. Perhaps if they saw the longing in our eyes they would instantly pack up their belongings and graciously direct us to their table. Well all the wishful thinking in the world was not going to make that happen. Not one person received our subliminal sound waves. Nobody moved. There were a few spots where a table meant for four were occupied by just two souls. I suggested we occupy the two empty chairs but my hubby was not at all interested so we left.

The weather outside was not at all conducive to an outdoor excursion. It has been cold and rainy all week. If it had been warm and sunny we could have found one of the local parks and continued our little adventure there. The only option left was to carry our coffee to our car and head home.

When we arrived home my hubby announced he was going to set up our own coffee shop right here in our own home. While I tended to a few items he rearranged our living room furniture. When I returned he had moved the couch and coffee table in front of our gas fireplace. On the table he had placed our steaming hot cups of coffee as well as our iPads and the other items we had taken to Starbucks. I thought it cute that he had taken the effort to arrange a cozy and inviting area to relax and carry-on with our experience.

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To those that are new to my blog I must tell you we share our home with two cats and a dog. Anytime we slow down and relax all three of them find it necessary to join us. This little coffee sipping extravaganza was just as inviting to them as it was to us. On the couch to my left rested Mayor Tom, our Maine Coon cat, on the floor in front of us was our tabby cat Jerry and resting comfortably on a love-seat throw pillow was our little princess Sadie. Just as with Starbucks all of the available seats were taken.

Although our relaxing afternoon of coffee had not gone as originally planned, we had a quiet little coffee shop right here in our very own home. What more could we ask for?

I’m Sick and Tired

This voice has been silent, not because I haven’t had anything to say, because I certainly have, but because I’ve been on a much needed break.  After participating in the whirlwind blog hop frenzy I decided to take a breather.  During my mini vacation, if you could call it that, I’ve been on a roller coaster of health related issues.

My first so-called adventure arrived on December 17, 2012 under the disguise of a gastrointestinal upheaval.  That explosive episode put me under the weather until December 20, 2012.  On December 22, 2012 we left for a four night, four day Christmas getaway with two of our daughters and their families.  We had a wonderful time at a cabin in northern Wisconsin.  Before leaving on December 26, 2012 our grandson, whom our oldest daughter refers to as “groceries,” confided in my husband, “I’d vote for going there again.”  Those words warmed our hearts and brought a wonderful finish to our holiday.

By December 28, 2012 I felt a tap on my shoulder.  When I turned around to acknowledge the gesture I was greeted by the cold virus.  To-date I’ve focused on outrunning its symptoms in hopes of preventing an indwelling.  Until yesterday I foolishly thought I had outsmarted the germs.  While I wasn’t paying attention they slipped in and took up residence.  Now I’m being hounded by the echo of footsteps.  The footsteps are those of my husband.  He’s following me around the house with a warm cup of his special tea.  Although its taste leaves much to be desired, a little honey helps soften the bitterness, he swears by its effectiveness.  That steaming cup of brew now rests in front of me.  I will follow his orders and, under protest, consume its entire contents.  Who knows, perhaps it will bring about a healing that will put to rest the barrage of germs attacking my body.  I’d really like to step into 2013 healthy and raring to go.  Healthy or not I’m at the starting line ready to go.

A Change of Seasons

The mercury in the thermometer today tells me it’s 36 degrees Farenheit outside.  Only three months ago we had a forecasted temperature of 102.  Contrast the two together and you get a difference of 66 degrees and for me that’s quite a change.  I am almost always cold.  When the mercury begins to dip below 70 I just have to put on a sweater.  Today is one of those days.  Because the air outside is cool I thought it might be fun to share a post I wrote way back in July but never released.  Hope this step back in time brings some warmth your way.

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July 6, 2012

Excessive heat is the forecast for yet another day in our community.  Accu.Weather.com tells me the mercury will rise to 102 degrees Farenheit.  That’s HOT!!  Not allowing the outrageous heat to inhibit my movement I ventured outside to partake in a small excursion to Brodhead, Wisconsin.  Our destination was the JAVA House and Harvest Moon.  The purpose for my husband was a planned meeting with one of his customers.  My intention was monkey business.

Java House, as you might assume from the name, offers its customers a full array of coffee options as well as many other beverages both cold and hot.  Not to be outdone by other coffee houses they also have pastries to compliment your beverage.  A lunch menu is also available.  I can say from personal experience that the coffee, pastries and lunch offerings are wonderful.

The interior is furnished with an eclectic collection of mismatched vintage tables and chairs.  The walls of the establishment sport an exposed brick.  The bricks appear to be original to the structure.  Adding to the ambiance is a gas fire-place, which is obviously not in use today.  Attached to the coffee shop is a gift shop called Harvest Moon.  Harvest Moon is crammed full of “primitive” themed collectibles.  They have rugs, old furniture, signs, candles, garden art, quilts, table runners, jewelry, etc.  Harvest Moon is an adorable little shop with much to thrill the lover of vintage American decorations.  Both the Java House and the attached Harvest Moon are delightful!  Stop by some time for a cup of java and sit for a spell.  I’m certain you will find both of them well worth your time.

We arrived at our destination early only to find a small hand-written sign notifying customers that,

due to excessive heat and lack of air conditioning

they unfortunately would not be open.  Me being a “rule follower,” assumed that the sign was correct.  I read the sign out loud to my husband and waited for his reaction.  Assuming that we would leave I was prepared to turn and head back to our Chevy pickup.  My husband is not a “rule follower.”  He bends them as far as he can and as often as he can.  He was not about to assume the sign was accurate.  Rather than turn and run he climbed the stairs and tugged on the door.  Imagine my delight when the door to the establishment swung open.  We cautiously walked inside as my husband announced to the barista our dilemma.  She was puzzled at our encounter with the notice because is was her belief all signs had been removed.  You see yesterday they did indeed have to close because not all of their air conditioning units were operational.  The lack of adequate cooling had allowed the temperature inside to reach 97 degrees.  Obviously the heat was unbearable for both the employees as well as the patrons.  The small hand-written sign was not meant for today.  With the confusion over we gladly chose to stay.

My husband and I had arrived early so we had plenty of time to select and order a beverage as well as a pair of scones.  Being we were the only customers in the building we had the pick of the tables.  I chose a large table facing a window.  The generous expanse gave me plenty of room to spread out my laptop and belongings.  My husband chose a separate table suitable for himself and his soon to arrive customer.

As soon as our order was prepared we each retrieved our food and headed to our respective tables.  My iced coffee and scone were wonderful.  Sometimes I get so excited about being away from home that I forget to slow down and savor my purchases.  Today was especially a challenge because aside from my burning desire to put fingers to my keyboard there was this little bird chirping in my ear suggesting that I take a walk through the attached gift shop.

I announced to my husband that I would soon be en route to the other half of the building.  He smiled and told me to have a good time.  It was nice having someone else present because that meant I could safely leave my belongings without being concerned about theft.  I’m sure my face sported a smile as I quickly walked past my husband.  I slowly browsed through the small, cramped aisles gazing in every direction, absorbing as much of the merchandise as possible.  Often I paused to examine items carefully.  There were several that could have easily been added to a shopping basket.  I resisted though not wanting to spend any money, much to the disappointment of the establishment’s owner.  Having successfully resisted all temptations to make a purchase I turned and headed back to my table.

By the time I returned to my belongings my husband’s customer had arrived and their meeting was well underway.  I unpacked my laptop and began typing this post.  My fingers sailed over the keys as the words poured out of my mind.  Sometimes it’s so easy to put on paper what I have to say and sometimes it’s like pulling teeth, long and grueling.  Before long my story was complete and my husband’s customer was on his way out the door.  I carefully gathered up my things, packed them in their appropriate places and joined my husband.  He finished drinking his beverage, then took his dishes to the tub set aside for dirty dishes.  We made one last look in the direction of our tables making sure we had not left anything behind.  Once certain we were leaving with everything we had brought we walked toward the exit and left the building.  Another excursion had come to an end.

I’m so glad you took the time to share with me my recant of my excursion.  Let’s make a date to meet again soon.  Have a wonderful day!

Another Finished Project

I’ve been very busy since last Wednesday quilting and binding my Colorado daughter’s lap quilt.  If you recall, last week I shared a picture of the quilting project I brought home from Colorado.  I wanted so much to have it finished by this week for three reasons.

First of all I wanted the chance to share it with the local quilt guild last night.  They meet once a month so it was now or never.  The second reason was to include the lap quilt in this week’s WIP post.  The third and most important reason was to return it to my daughter as soon as possible.  Now that it is all finished I can’t wait to send it off.  Hopefully my daughter will be as thrilled with the final outcome as I am.

So what do you think?  The pattern is Atkinson Designs’s Yellow Brick Road

I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced.

Home Again

Welcome!  Last Friday I told you we were taking a trip to Colorado to visit with one of our three daughters.  Well I’m happy to say we made it home safely.  I’ve been spending the last few days resting up and stowing away our gear.  Today I finally got around to chronologically arranging my receipts.  As I sorted them I thought what better way is there to recreate our travels than by sifting through a pile of receipts.  They obviously have a tale to tell.  From the receipts I compiled a list of our favorite hideouts.  Here’s the list I came up with.

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Restaurants

Extreme Pizza

Five Guys Burgers and Fries  Their French fries are to-die-for.  However, be cautions when ordering them.  The small order is enough for a party of four.

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill  Very, very delicious

Omelets Etc, 1616 South Eight Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Wonderful, wonderful omelets and pancakes.  A must visit.

Toast  First time I ever ate at one of these restaurants was in Chicago.  Really great food.

Wahoo’s Fish Taco  They have unbelievably fabulous food!  We were lucky to dine at Wahoo’s twice during our visit.

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Gifts and Antiques Shops

Gatherings Furnishings & accessories for your home.  We found this neat little shop on our last visit to Colorado.  We just had to include it this time as well.

Littleton Antiques & Such  Great little shop with loads of vintage finds.  In my search for tea cups, saucers, tea pots and even a child’s little tea set I hit the jackpot at this shop.  Definitely a must see.

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Great Places to Purchase Gourmet Food Items

Savory Spice Shop  The BEST place to buy organic spices, blends, flavorings, etc.  Although they offer online shopping the preferred method is an in person visit.  How else can you taste-test their wonderful concoctions.  Savory Spice Shop’s Taco Seasoning is always on our shopping list.

The Chocolate Therapist  If, like me, your favorite food group is chocolate, then you MUST visit this store.  Yum, Yum!  Note:  as I am typing this I am sampling a small bag of their Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Seeds.  Also making the trip home with us were Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels, as well as the following four chocolate bars:  The Purist (72% All-Natural Dark Chocolate), Extreme Therapy (72% All-Natural Dark Chocolate With Organic Cacao Nibs), Super Hero (72% All-Natural Dark Chocolate With Whole Almonds And Tart Dried Cherries), and Blue Suede Shews (72% All-Natural Dark Chocolate With Blueberries And Cashews).  From my list of purchases perhaps you have detected that I am a fan of dark chocolate.  Dark chocolate is not the only chocolate they carry.  They have many fine offerings in the milk chocolate arena.

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Fabric Stores

LadyBug Hill Quilts  Great little fabric store tucked away in Colorado Springs.

Nana’s Quilt Cottage, LLC  Of course a trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to local fabric stores.  This shop is run by a very sweet lady. Although her shop is small in size she has it packed with tons of patterns and wonderful fabrics.  She even carries an inventory of unusual sewing accessories and supplies.

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Well that’s a wrap.  I’ve just taken you on a whirlwind tour of my all-time favorite shops in the Colorado Springs area.  I hope you’ve enjoyed it.  Why not at least visit one of their websites and see for yourself.

See you next Friday.