Sunday, January 31, 2010

Road Trip....And New Tote

What's better than a Shop Hop? Warehouse shopping of course!

And what a way to end the first month of a new decade - a road trip with a side trip to my favorite fabric manufacturer, P & B Fabrics in Dallas!

Okay, so my new A-1 Quilting Machine customer lives in Stephenville, that's just a little southwest of Dallas right? Close enough for a detour - when fabric calls my name I listen (grin).

Imagine walking through a working warehouse with row upon row upon row of luscious fabric collections begging to jump into your rolling cart. Truly overwhelming to the first-timer but so welcomed to a seasoned shopper!

This was one of my most conservative shopping sprees, I've been known to have several layers on my cart - but after awhile, even the most avid shopper can realize there's just so many places to store bolts of fabric IF you aren't a quilt shop! In my defense, these bolts are for future class samples as well as quilt samples that will adorn my studio wall or in a future booth at a quilt show...and I was a little shy on some brights (grin), and I added to my collection some beautiful black and whites for which I have grand plans!

I just love 'field trips' and watching people do their jobs, ever thought about the fellows that roll your fabric on the bolt, or the gals who pull the orders to be shipped to your favorite quilt shop? Becha' didn't know that they work in an un-air conditioned, un-heated warehouse! Yep, it's hot in the summer and cold in the winter, yet these faithful workers just mill about quietly doing their job, looking up every now and then to the occasional wholesale shopper who has come to pick out their own order. I love going to P&B, everyone there is so nice and helpful. I make it a point to 'swing by' whenever a road trip steers me in that direction!

I've always loved road trips. When I was a child we had the normal 'going to grandma's' road trips. I'll never forget the 200+ miles in our blue VW bug with my sister and I in the backseat. It's amazing the positions a kid can get into riding in the backseat of a bug - sometimes I'd be laying down with my head at the 'don't cross the center' line and my feet up on the window casually reading a book as my sister did whatever it was she did. We'd sing commercial tunes - remember "oh a kid will eat the middle of an oreo first and save the chocolate cookie outside for last" or "zestfully clean...." or "my bolonia has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R" To this day my sister can burst out in song at the slighest reminder of some of those old jingles.

When my hubby and then teenage sons lived and worked on the road, I continued to do a lot of reading or napping. It got to be that if I wasn't snacking to stay awake I was sleeping, and that's when I was driving! The past couple of years I've finally outgrown that, and now can manage driving long distances without nodding off. I've learned to appreciate the solitude, even with others in the car who might be napping, it's a time to think, or not to think as the case may be. It's a time to enjoy the outdoors from the climate controlled atmosphere of my car. A time to discover new things, along the road, or within me. A time to just relax, not answer the phone, not check email, not have to be accountable to anyone for a brief period of time.

Needless to say this trip was no different...and yet it was. This road trip was a time of refreshing for me. Seems sometimes life gets confusing, so many things coming at you in so many different directions, good, bad, indifferent. Just a lot of stuff to process and it can be overwhelming. Behind the wheel on a road trip is a time to leave all that behind and rediscover the adventure of living again. Being spontaneous a little in trying to discover fun things along the way... feeling carefree with the only goal of making it to the fabric warehouse before they closed and making it out of Dallas before the rush hour (grin). The only negative was being in the dark on back country roads worrying about deer. Yep, next time I start out earlier!

We enjoyed getting to know our new A-1 family member, Carla, and setting up her machine. It's always such a joy to me to see the excitement with a new longarm quilter as her dreams have finally come true, this new huge quilting machine has been put together in her studio and now she has the opportunity to learn how to use it to fulfill her desire to make beautiful quilts. It's a passion shared and creates a unique bond, quilter to quilter. Yep, a new family member, a new friend, a new longarm quilter eager to jump past the learning curve and spread her wings and watch that needle fly across the fabric with all sorts of creative designs! Have I mentioned that I love my job!

As we travel across Texas on these A-1 set-up road trips we try to discover local places to eat and not the typical franchises that we find at home. We weren't disappointed in Stephenville!

By far I had the best fillet I've ever had at the Fiddle Creek Steakhouse. The atmosphere was totally Texan as was the hospitality. A wonderful way to end a successful set up.

We were eager to be on the road the next morning as overnight temperatures dropped and we were concerned about freezing rain. A little concerned when I couldn't get the passenger door open due to the rain freezing in the locks, but was able to crawl through the driver's side. I could just kiss whoever it was that invented seat heaters! Oh my, this gal couldn't wait to head south in hopes of warming up! Can't believe I'm such a wimp after living almost 20 years in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee where we had regular snow and occasional blizzards. Now I feel frost bit if the temperature goes below 50 degrees!

Another nice little surprise on the journey home...a wonderful treasure in Huntsville next to the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church -- Church BBQ!

This tiny little building houses the best BBQ and the nicest folks. Very casual, very reminiscent of church pot-luck dinners ... with the exception, it's ALL bar-be-que. Just walking in the door and smelling the smokers outside was enough to work up a big appetite, road trips make me hungry!!

Well, I'm home now and still cold. I'm wishing that since this is the last day of January that it's the last day of winter. Wishful thinking, but I'm hopeful (grin).

Since it's Sunday it's my "day off" and I've enjoyed my afternoon after worship....making another new tote for future road trips....

Penny asked the other day about my press... I bought this one on the recommendation of my best friend in Tennessee. She has a Simplicity Press and steered me towards a company called All Brands I decided I might need one as I have several t-shirt quilts coming up soon and loathed the idea of pressing on interfacing. I chose this model because it wasn't too big and wasn't too pricey.

Here you can see me making good use of the press on today's project - it was so much nicer to steam press the fusible Pellon to my fabric in one giant area in just seconds instead of standing over a hot iron pressing and pressing little areas for hours! I am really feeling spoiled!

So what did I make today? The outer shell of Amy Butler's Weekender Travel Bag It helped that I had previously prepared the cording when I made the Carry All a few weeks go. I had really hoped to finish as there is just one more Sunday afternoon "day off" before the next trip, but alas, I still have to do the lining.

Weekender on the left, Carry All on the right. Pixxie no where in sight. (sigh) I tried, but the poor pup was buried in the Man Cave under two quilts and I didn't have the heart to disturb her - Chihuahua's don't do cold either.

I plan on adding several pockets to the interior and then making several zippered bags to carry my various toiletries on the up coming trip - this time no 'road' just a big beautiful ocean as we cruise south to warmer weather! Ah, but I'm getting ahead of myself...lots to do in the next few weeks...maybe I can steal away a few minutes at lunch this next week to continue working on this project, or blow the quitin' time whistle a little early....tempting!

So I'm closing out the month with the return of sanity. No more focusing on things that can't be changed or understood. Just resting in the fact that everything that comes my way has already been filtered through my Father's hands. He cares for me and wants the best for me, so why should I worry? The worst that could happen would be to die, but as Paul said in Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain....if I die (when I die) I'm going to be with the Lord - see I've read the book, and in the end, we win! Life here is just a journey and an adventure, one that is full of amazement, wonder, and in my studio, endless possibilities! Stay tuned. I have lots and lots of totes and bags planned this year as I've stocked up on lots and lots of patterns and books! Yep, this is the year of the return of the bag lady!


Laurie said...

Oh my, I sure wish I'd been with you on THAT road trip!

fancystitching said...

LOVE the black/white bags. they are so CHIC looking!! I must find some time to check out P&B. I've been to Moda, and I was so overwhelmed with it all I got out of there with a bill of $1.60!!! My husband was shocked. Great post today... thanks for keeping us informed as to your doings... it is always interesting.

Randi said...

I have had that barbecue! It's wonderful. Spent a week in Huntsville a few years ago for my probation officer certification training.

Jon said...

Oh I totally agree that road trips are a blast! This past summer my brother and I went on a month long road trip around the country and even into Canada and we loved it.