Freebie Friday

In the aftermath of our Shop Hop, it has emerged that next to the discounts the thing our hoppers liked most about the hop was the freebies. Everyone seemed to be looking for the freebies. So, in my blog during the shop hop days in addition to sharing who won our door prizes I also shared several links to freebies that were available to you on the World Wide Web. Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to check those out and are ready for a new freebie.

“What kind of freebie?” I hear you asking. How about a free magazine? How about two or three free magazines? It seems that e-magazines are popping up all over, and I even subscribed to the McCall’s Quilting online version myself. But, to be honest with you, I’d still rather have the old-fashioned paper version in my hands to flip through over and over (and over) again. That means that each time I visit one of the bookstores in Huntsville I look through a copy of McCall’s Quilting knowing full well that I have the same thing sitting on my computer at home…unopened. Yes, the file that I’m sent for each new issue sits unopened and waiting for when I feel like I have a few spare minutes that I want to sit in front of the computer and stare at it just a little while longer. The plus to having a hard copy is I can sit in my favorite easy chair with my feet up, have my tall glass of ice water and my favorite Dove chocolates by my side. Much, much, much more relaxing I think than sitting in front of the computer screen. So, when my online subscription runs out it is very unlikely that I will re-subscribe. I’ll go back to getting my hard copy through the mail and hope that it doesn’t sustain too much damage as it travels to my mailbox.

OK…enough of that. You’ve shown so much patience in waiting for me to get off my soapbox and share the links to those free magazines I mentioned earlier. Here they are! The first is for Kona Bay’s Asian Fabric magazine that was originally available only in print. Issues 26 and 27 are now free for viewing online. When I first started reading the magazine online I didn’t realize that you could make the type larger but you can in the event that your eyesight is failing like mine. There are several patterns in each issue that you’ll want to look over as well as several interesting articles that will take you to places many of us will never get to see in person. At the end of the publication there are some delicious looking recipes, several of which I bet you’ll want to try. If nothing else, learning to make carrot flowers and cucumber barrels will help to make your next entertaining effort special, not to mention unique.

The second online magazine that I wish to share with you is an Australian one whose name just happens to be Online Quilt Magazine. Between these two online magazines you’ll be well traveled once you’ve read through them. The September issue has an interesting mystery quilt article beginning on page 15 which has you cutting whole blocks into two pieces and sewing them back together again into a different block all together. I can see myself making different blocks than the ones shown, cutting them into two parts, and sewing them back together again just to see what I get. I’m more than a bit intrigued by this idea I’m afraid.

Here’s the August issue for you to enjoy as well. That should help keep you busy for a while. I’d so hate for you to run out of things to do.

Now, how’s that for being frugal!? All you need to spend here is a little of your time. You just never know what you might end up with once you’ve spent a little time with a good magazine.

Until Next Year…

Our second annual Shop Hop is officially over! Were you able to visit all the shops you intended to? Some folks visited here more than once during the hop so I expect it might be a while before we see them again. Hopefully, it won’t be too long, but I bet it won’t be before the end of the month.

While our physical shop hop has ended you can still enjoy some great freebies by going on a blog hop sponsored by Quilting Gallery. Once you go to their site just look for the Autumn Block Party button on the right hand side. Click on that and you will discover and learn about designers you may have not heard of as well as be able to enjoy a free 12” block from each of 45 designers over the coming weeks made especially for the Block Party. There will be three different designs posted each week along with three different deals of which you may wish to take advantage. So far there have been designs posted for three weeks (nine blocks) so you’re a little bit behind. Choosing a block to start with won’t be easy. I’ve had a little time to think about it though, and I think I’ll start with Hide-n-Seek by Shelly Pagliai of Prairie Moon Quilts. It is sooo cute and absolutely purrrfect for this time of year! Best hop on over there pronto! You won’t want to miss anything!

Now, back to our local shop hop. I owe you two door prize winner names – one from Friday and one from Saturday. I wish I could give everyone something special, but then that might take the specialness out of winning if everyone was a winner. All in all we had eight winners in this shop, and I’m guessing the other shops had multiple winners as well. It would be nice to compile a list of all the winners and see how many folks actually ended up winning something.

Okay…without further ado the winner for Friday was drawn by Miss Martha when she came in Saturday morning. Yes, I forgot again. Our Friday winner was Heather St. Clair. Congratulations Heather! The winner for Saturday was drawn by Victoria after she came in from playing at a wedding in Tuscumbia. The name she drew was Rhonda St. Charles. Congratulations Rhonda!

We’re open to feedback on your hop experience. Tell us what you liked and what you think could be improved upon. Tell us what things might entice you to hop again, or hop at all, next year. Did not having a specific pattern to pick up at each shop bother you? Did having smaller prizes from each shop bother you rather than having one or two big prizes? Did you visit a shop that you’d never been to before, or did you stick with the shops you have frequented in the past? Was sufficient time given to allow you to get to all the shops you wanted to visit? Since this event is meant to get your creative juices flowing for the long winter months ahead, we want to make sure that you were sufficiently pumped after you left the last shop on your list. If that didn’t happen for you please let us know what to change so next year will be even better.

OK…I can’t stand it…How about one more winner? If you leave a comment before 9:00 p.m. CST Saturday, September 29 answering some, or all, of the questions above I’ll randomly pick a name from those who comment and award one last prize. Put your thinking cap on and help us make future shop hops well worth your time and effort to participate.

Shop Hop – Day 6!

Only two more days to hop from shop to shop and save! What are you waiting for?! There’s no time like the present, and if you put it off too much longer you’ll miss out on the savings, the freebies, and the door prizes! I know you don’t want to do that. I’m absolutely sure you don’t want to miss out on anything at all.

Speaking of door prizes…I forgot to post who our winner was yesterday, but I’ll catch you up right now with both yesterday’s winner and today’s winner. Believe it or not, they are both long time members of our Thimbleberries Club. Yep, I drew a clubber yesterday and yet another clubber from the basket today for a total of three winning club members. What are the odds of that happening?! Wouldn’t it be something if the next two names drawn are also clubbers? I’d have to put that in a record book somewhere I think.

Before you shake your head in disbelief, nope, I’m not cheating. I count to 60 while swishing the little papers around and around in our basket and whichever piece of paper my hand hits when I reach 60 is the one I pull out. Absolutely no peeking or anything like that. I guess it just pays to be in our Thimbleberries Club in more ways than one.

OK…the winner for Wednesday was Marilyn Haendel, who lives just down the road, and the winner for today is Deb Saska who visited from Alabama. Getting Miss Marilyn’s surprise to her won’t be hard at all, but I’ll have to mail Deb’s surprise as she doesn’t get to visit very often unfortunately. Congratulations ladies!

We’ve enjoyed the shop hop on this end because we get to see folks that haven’t visited in a while. It’s always fun as well to have folks who’ve never been here before drop by without even knowing about the hop. Can you think of a better bonus than finding yet another quilt shop in your travels that…SURPRISE! is having a sale and giving away prizes? I bet it’s like hitting a double jackpot on the Wheel of Fortune. Not only do our visitors go away with great fabric, book, and pattern finds, but they go away with a little gift and the opportunity to win something else. I’d say that puts the icing on the vacation for a quilty person…wouldn’t you?

Have you had a chance yet to check out the new AQS mystery BOM I mentioned in the previous blog? Well don’t forget to do that, and while you’re at it here’s another freebie for you. I ran across this one while looking for something else (happens all the time to you too I bet). We don’t do Halloween, but we do do pumpkins and cats so this BOM still works for me. Go to Peck’s Pieces and scroll all the way down to June 30 to get to the beginning of the BOM. Of course, in the scrolling process you’re going to run into some other patterns that I bet you just might want to save. I did! There’s a cute Pound Puppy style pincushion on August 31 and a pirate hat pincushion that was posted for International Talk Like a Pirate Day which was yesterday. Did you know that? I knew it was coming up but missed it myself. Alex Anderson didn’t miss it though. She likes talking like a pirate. You can watch her and The Quilt Show crew do just that. Go to the Daily Blog and scroll down until you find yesterday’s date. After you watch the crew keep scrolling or you’ll miss the lesson on how to talk like a pirate from Ol’ Chumbucket and Cap’n Slappy. It’s a hoot!

If you’re not a member of The Quilt Show you need to be. It’s well worth the cost, which is minimal considering all you get out of it. You can’t believe all that you’ll learn from this one website. Yes, you can get brain overload if you’re not careful. Plus, there’s always a great BOM for members which would cost much more by itself than what you’ll pay for the membership. Who knows, you just might meet someone, or lots of someones, on the site who becomes near and dear to you. Now that’s priceless!

Shop Hop – Day 4!

We’re on Day 4 and going strong! Hoppers are beginning to get an extra opportunity slip in the basket because they’ve been to at least three shops so far. Don’t forget to have your list of shops stamped, punched, or initialed by the shops that you visit so that either Kat at Quilter’s Combo or I can give you an extra slip to fill out for the door prizes.

Our winner today is a long-time supporter of the shop and one of our faithful Thimbleberries ladies. She is the one and only Pam Edmonds! Pam, I’ll hold your prize until club next month unless I see you again before then.

One of the things that I think everyone likes about a shop hop is the opportunity to not only win a special door prize but to get something absolutely free just for showing up. In the spirit of freebies, I thought I would share with you the link to a new modern mystery quilt. If you visit the AQS blog you’ll find the six part Modern Mystery Quilt designed by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr authors of Quilts Made Modern. The first part has already been posted and the second part will be given on Wednesday, September 19. Actually, it’s there already because I just checked. Each Wednesday thereafter you can go to the AQS blog and get a new installment of the mystery quilt. It’s way to early to have any idea of what it’s going to look like when complete, but look it over and challenge yourself to try it, especially if you tend to lean toward the more traditional patterns. You never know, this might be just what it takes to expand your quilting horizon! Best of all, it’s FREE!

Shop Hop – Day 3

The weather today was not very conducive to shop hopping, but we had several brave souls who journeyed out in spite of the rain. Personally, had it not been for having a shop to run I would have preferred to curl up in my favorite chair with a good mystery book and a hot cup of tea over getting out in the rain. Rain has never been one of my favorite things so I find it odd that I like umbrellas for some strange reason. Maybe it’s because of their protective feature (?). I tend to gravitate to very decorative umbrellas which is why I was thrilled to see the new umbrellas with designs by Paula Nadelstern, Deborah Kemball, and Laurel Burch. So far I’ve only ordered the Kaleidoscope design by Nadelstern but hope to soon get some of Laurel Burch’s designs in here as well. You know how we love all things cats…the brighter the better!

I also tend to gravitate to patterns that allow me to make umbrellas. Dancing Umbrellas by Edyta Sitar is one for example that I’m looking forward to making along with her Rainy Day Trio. One of these days I’m going to get my scraps in order and start making umbrellas! At least I won’t have to worry about my scrappy umbrellas getting wet or turning inside out because of the wind.

So, what is it that you’re looking for as you hop from shop to shop? Are you looking for specific fabrics to add to your collection or are you just buying whatever strikes your fancy? Having a plan is always good, but allowing oneself to indulge a yen every now and then is good too. Then again, you do need a balance where fabric buying is concerned or you’ll find your stash contains a lot of what one quilter termed “WOW!” fabrics and not enough of the “supporting cast” fabrics.

A couple of years back I read an article in a magazine by a quilter who had turned her nice but inadequate stash into a stash that she could actually go to and pull a complete kit from any time of the day or night. Being able to do that at night is especially good given that most quilt shops aren’t open at midnight on a regular basis. Anyhow, this quilter, I do so wish I could remember her name, said she divided her budget into an 80/20 split. After she had sorted her stash by color she started buying the colors that she didn’t have or had very little of from the 80% portion of her budget while still allowing herself to spend 20% on those WOW! fabrics that you just have to have. She said that like any diet if you deprive yourself of buying those WOW! fabrics you’ll fall off the wagon and go overboard on them eventually. Buying a few every now and then allowed her to not feel deprived while she bought the other fabrics that are definitely needed in a quilt but not always as fun to look for or to buy. It took her two years to get her stash to the point where she could go to it any time, day or night, and pull what she needed for a quilt. When she depleted a particular color she would buy that color on her next trip to the quilt shop. Treating her stash as she would her food pantry saved her valuable time allowing her to focus on actually making quilts rather than just shopping for the materials to make a quilt. It also helped to turn over her fabrics more often so that if she ran out of a particular print she was more likely to find it still in stock.

After I finished reading that article I realized that I as a shop owner needed to look at my shop’s stash in much the same way. It is way too easy to buy those WOW! fabrics when the sales rep comes to visit. It is much more difficult, but always necessary, to buy the fabrics that will allow you to enhance those WOW! fabrics. In other words, you cannot buy one without having to buy the other, unless of course you just want to buy the WOW! fabric for stroking purposes only. That’s allowed of course, but if you’re not careful you’ll spend all your time stroking those fabrics as opposed to actually using them. I guess nothing, except maybe a husband now and then, says you have to use those WOW! fabrics, but wouldn’t you rather see them in a beautiful quilt than see them sitting on a shelf feeling neglected, never understanding that they were bought for their beauty more so than their functionality? By all means, use those WOW! fabrics, just don’t forget to buy the supporting fabrics that are needed to help them shine and look their very best.

OK…enough philosophizing. You want to know who today’s winner is I bet. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out that the only reason you visited here today was to find out the name of the winner in hopes that it was you. Well, if your name is Barbara Jennings of Pulaski then you’re the winner! Come on in Barbara as we have a nice prize waiting just for you. If you’re not Barbara then don’t despair. We still have several days of hopping left so hop on in and put your name in the basket if it’s not there already. You might just see your name in print the next time you visit this blog.

Time to Start Hoppin’!

Have you started hopping yet?! We had several hoppers yesterday, some from Nashville who didn’t know about the hop, but they do now, and even more hoppers today. Oh my aching back…knees…feet…why don’t I just say BODY?! But it’s aching for a good reason so I’m not complaining at all.

I must apologize to those I told I would share in the blog yesterday who our door prize winner was for Friday because I didn’t do that…obviously. I ended up driving to Huntsville yesterday afternoon and upon our return I got into pulling fabric for some kits that had to get made. When 9:30 p.m. rolled around I headed upstairs to put my feet up, yes, they were aching then too, and didn’t once think about the blog or the need to be informative. So, tonight I will correct that omission and tell you whose name was drawn for yesterday as well as whose name was drawn for today. Keep in mind that the earlier in the hop you visit the more opportunities you have to win because your name stays in our basket until the hop is over. That means if you came yesterday you still have six more opportunities to win!

Winner for Friday, September 14 – Carol Bobo
Winner for Saturday, September 15 – Becke Siejack

Congratulations ladies! If you haven’t been able to get out and hop around yet you still have all of next week including Saturday. If you need a reminder as to how our hop is going to work just click on the newsletter tab at the top of the page and you can read all about it. Of course questions always arise so feel free to contact us if you’re unsure about anything.

Speaking of questions…a couple of questions have been asked that I’ll answer here so you’ll be in the know from this point forward.

Question #1 – What’s the point of a Shop Hop when there’s no special pattern to pick up at each shop?

Answer: The point is to have fun hopping around with like-minded fabric lovers as well as save some of your hard earned cash in the process. No, we don’t have a special block to be collected from each shop, but that’s really a good thing because if you’re unable to make it to each shop for whatever reason you won’t be missing a valuable block pattern whose absence would ruin the end result of the fabulous quilt you could have made otherwise.

Question #2 – Why is there no great big grand prize like a sewing machine or some such?

Answer: In order to offer such a prize the participating shops would have had to pony up a good chunk of change in order to buy a machine or other spectacular item. Given the current economics we didn’t want to put the shops in a position of not being able to participate because the extra funds weren’t available. Besides, having the opportunity to win something at each shop you visit makes your chances of winning something greater than just the one chance to win a machine. Besides, how many machines does one person need anyhow?

Question #3 – Why were some shops in the area left out of the hop?

Answer: When we put together a list of local shops we tried to include all of whom we had knowledge. Some shops had already planned on being vendors at the Athens guild quilt show (which you can still catch tomorrow) and didn’t feel they could do that and cover their shop during the hop too. Others never got back to us with a reply and we had a deadline of April 1 for getting the information to The Quilt Shop Navigator for publication in their book and online. No, we didn’t leave anyone out with malicious intent. Maybe if there’s a shop hop next year a shop not included this year will be able to participate while some of the shops this year will not. Only time will tell…

Please feel free to submit any other questions to us via e-mail. We will try to answer each and every one in a timely and thorough manner.

I think that will be all for tonight. I’m ready to go put my feet up again and watch a couple of episodes of Last of the Summer Wine. Love the scenery as well as the quirky characters. Makes me want to go sit on the side of a hill, soak up the view, and have a snooze with them sometimes. Problem is, I’d have to walk to get up that hill, and I’ve already got tired achy feet. Thank heavens I have a good imagination and can envision myself being there from the comfort of my favorite armchair.

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