I will admit that I am not the most spontaneous person. My husband is very spontaneous and it is one of the qualities about him I love…and hate. I am a bit neurotic when it come to planning out trips. I like to know all the stops and have my route mapped out including a GPS, mapquest directions, and a detailed list of nearby Starbucks. But that all changed when my friend, Crystal, asked me about doing a shop hop on Saturday. The Northern California Quilt Rush 2012 had started on Wednesday, but she wanted to check out some shops…and so did I. I said sure and we can take the kids. We decided to do just a few and see where the day takes us. So early Saturday morning Crystal, Rad, Zeke, and I headed for breakfast at Bab’s Delta Diner and then a day of shop hopping!! (pictured below is Zeke, Rad, and baby Gracelynn bump)
First stop was home base…Cornerstone Quilt Shoppe. There we received a small collection of buttons. I chose purple, Crystal got pink (since she is having a girl!!!) I talk about how great these ladies are a lot and that is still the case. Love ya ladies!!
Next was Quilter’s Corner in Sacramento. I don’t go up to Sacramento often, but I should. It is a beautiful city and I am a little under an hour away. The employees at this stop were lovely and so nice to my boys. Rad had some fruit on a toothpick and was running around with the toothpoick in his mouth. One of the employees asked him to stop and he got embarrassed and wanted to leave. The woman apologized to me and went out of her way to make Rad feel better. As a parent, I was happy that she stopped the behavior because it was very dangerous. She certainly didn’t have to apologize to me or Rad, but the people there are just that nice:) Another employee helped me find a pencil to mark my quilts. I am very excited about my new find and will report of how it works soon. Shop hoppers received a free fat quarter. I let Rad pick out the fabric. We left feeling really good and the employee that got on to Rad came out to the car with some animal crackers for both boys…that is service! They had a great selection of fabrics and a sizable notions wall. Great shop…probably my favorite shop of the entire hop! I will be back there soon:)
Next was Sugar Pine Quilt Shop in Grass Valley. This is a beautiful area to visit:) The shop was adorable and the people were so nice. They gave shop hoppers a pop top container which I plan to use when I go to classes. I also discovered a book (via Crystal) that I love called Modern Blocks compiled by Susanne Woods. The shop is small, but filled with amazing fabric finds and the samples on the wall showed some really cool classes too. This was a great shop!
Next was Whistle Stop Quilt and Sew in Colfax. The shop is located near tracks in a very cute downtown area. The employees at the shop were very friendly. The gave the shop hoppers some free patterns for a tote, a runner, and a blanket. My only complaint, all the patterns could be found easily on the internet and if I didn’t already have them, it is because I didn’t want them (I guess I was spoiled from the last 3 shops). All in all, it was a cute shop with friendly people and that is what makes a good shop, not the free goodies.
Next was Shared Stitches in Shingle Springs. This was not my favorite shop for two reasons. One, I felt as though they sized me up at the door and decided I was not a serious quilter and they would rather devote their time to people who look the part. Two, they gave shop hoppers mini measuring tapes, but only if you purchased something. I found that shady, but I already had a mini measuring tape (a free gift on another shop hop). I really don’t have much else to say about them.
Next, lunch at Subway….
After lunch we stopped at Thistle Dew Quilt Shoppe in Fair Oaks. This is around the corner from Quilter’s Corner. Crystal and I didn’t realize this until we got off the exit and recognized our surroundings. This store provided us the answer to an age old question…Why did the chicken cross the road?….to get away from my children! Yes, this shop had a flock of chickens hanging out outside…my kids were fascinated. The shop was amazing. They had a myriad of fabrics and kits. Any quilter/crafter could find something they needed. I found a railroad panel for my nephew’s quilt and Crystal found a pink minky giraffe blanket kit for her bun in the oven (due in August!!!). This shop also had $5 grab bags. The bags included 2 yards of various fabrics…fun!! Their Quilt Rush goody bag included buttons of all sorts, candy, and a small ruler. They also had a toy in the store that Zeke played with the whole time…every shop should have children’s toys and books:) Rad had a great conversation with some of the ladies in the back. Great shop for everyone!
On to the Country Sewing Center in Elk Grove. I won a fat quarter here!!! This store was very friendly and they had a really nice selection of fabrics and sewing machines. It looks like a great place to take a class because it is very spacious and bright. Judging by the samples on the wall, they do some really cool stuff! They gave the shop hoppers little pouches. I also got a Kaffe Fassett charm pack. Radek loved this store and had some great conversations with the ladies. Really great people!!
The last stop for the day was Quilter’s Quarters in Stockton. Tiny store, big selection!! The woman stamping passports was sure to show us all the good deals that they had and gushed about the owner. That is always a good sign:) I got a Robert Kaufman “Passage to India panel”. Our shop hop gift was a free pattern and sewing machine needle. I always need needles!! I joined their mailing list because every year on your birthday they divide your age by 2 and that is your birthday discount…awesome!!
That concluded Saturday and we were tired, but we felt good. We decided to skip church the next day and finish the hop in hopes of experiencing great shops and maybe win a basket…fingers crossed!
Day two did not start well, which was sad since we were sans kiddos and it should have been awesome. We started out around 9. Our first stop was Sew So Shop in Yuba City. The store was nice and we got little scissor clips. I had an issue that all the employees were standing around the cutting table ignoring Crystal and I. I assumed that they didn’t need our business and we left.
Next was Debbie’s Quilt Shop in Paradise. This was one of two bad experiences in Paradise. This was a tiny shop that barely had room for two people. The employees were bickering and I started to realize that the shop hop was taking it’s toll on everyone. We got a free fat quarter and got out of there!
Next was Morning Star Quilts. I was hoping for a friendly “hello”. Instead, I got “go to the back” where the girl was stamping passports. She didn’t bother to look at me when she stamped my passport and the water bottles were behind here. I was going to ask for one but she really seemed annoyed and so I decided to wait for the next stop. The other employees were busy in a conversation with what they would do after Quilt Rush was over. It was there that I realized that the worst day to do a shop is the last one. These people were tired and were done being nice. So, we exited Paradise.
We drove to Chico for The Rabbit Hole. The owner was so friendly and the shop was chock full of things! She sent us to the back to get stamped by her husband Jerry (and I got my bottle of water). Jerry was a pleasure and quite the salesman. He showed us all sorts of things including the tie dye clothes they do. Shop hoppers received a small pair of folding scissors. I also bought a kit for an ironing mat and Transfer-Eze. This was a fun shop to check out because they had a ton of fabric and embroidery supplies. Great people, great shop!
In Willows, we visited Quilt Corral. This was a small shop, but they were super friendly! I ended up purchasing some brown fabric from the sales rack for my nephews RR quilt. It was steal at $5/yd!! They also have great classes including a kids class…very cool! Their store also had a little cowgirl bling in the form of a jewelry selection. Love it!!
Then we got to go towards home. We stopped in Winters for Cloth Carousel. Here, we received candy and a fat quarter. I had a great conversation with the employees and they could not have been nicer. The shop is close and I hope to go back soon.They have a great batik selection and I am told they have good classes. My favorite part is that they are located in an adorable part of downtown Winters with some great restaurants nearby.
Our last stop was A Quilted Heart in Vacaville. I took my beginners quilting class here and I love the shop! We got a key chain and took a minute to catch our breath. It was a good place to end our Quilt Rush. Nice people, tasty treats including a very refreshing lemon spritzer!
So what are the lessons learned.
1. If your are nice to me and my kids, I will buy things from you.
2. Don’t shop hop on the last day. Employees are tired and cranky.
3. The best snacks were the veggies, trail mix, and cold water bottles. The sweets made me feel heavy and was not conducive to travel.
4. Sometimes driving 2 1/2 hours away is worth it (Sugar Pine Quilt Shop) and sometimes it is not (Paradise, Ca). You don’t know until you go.
I will leave you with this. Usually my husband would watch the kids and they would not be going to 8 shops in a day (although with a portable dvd player, the trip wasn’t bad), but he was competing in the Survivor Mud Run. He came in 2nd overall!! He got a trophy and a gift certificate to the Stockton fleet feet which meant he was able to meet us in Stockton. Here he is with the boys in front of Quilter’s Quarter’s after his big day:) Rad is holding his trophy and Zeke has his shoes.