Monday, August 29, 2011

Wish we all could be California girls...

We never tire of hearing the stories behind your visits to Homestead Hearth, and we are constantly surprised by the reasons you come to town.

Last week these two California gals (ignore the incorrect date stamp on the photo!) motored into Mexico on their way from St. Louis to home. Ginger (left) agreed to navigate while Bev (right) drove her newly purchased travel rig. The best part of their story? These two wanderers know one of our California BOM buddies, Jan, and were positive Jan would be jealous of their visit.

"Really?" we said. "Let's see."

While Ginger and Bev were shopping we snapped a photo, attached it to a cryptic email, and seven minutes later the phone rang.

"You guys will let anyone through the front doors, won't you?" our friend Jan laughed.

We passed the phone to Bev and Ginger, and the trio had a good chat before the California girls hit the road again.

It must have been the week for transporting vehicles. Later that day another customer told us she and her husband were driving a Jeep back in the opposite direction. They'd started in Oregon and were closing in on their home territory of Indiana. Thankfully they were able to squeeze in a bit of time to head our way.

"This is my first visit," our customer said, "but my husband has been here before. He was on the motorcycle that time, and he brought me back a collection of fat quarters."

She and her friends divvied up the loot (a fat 1/16th for each of them) and created a personal challenge. Her resulting Dresden Plate quilt is now on her bed--and the wallpaper on her phone!

Whether you are traveling via one of our BOM's like Gone to Texas...

are preserving historical travels like Grant's March...

or are physically on the road, don't be surprised when we ask you about your travels. The tales you tell brighten our day as we share glimpses of simpler times.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I thought I'd do more quilting when I retired from teaching. I thought I'd do more quilting when I started working for Dolores and Sarah at Homestead Hearth. Apparently I've spent WAAAYYYY too much time thinking and not enough time stitching. How do I know? Well, the third Civil War quilt, Civil War Journals, will be starting in just a few months and I haven't finished this year's offering yet.

In fact, here's the progress I've made on this year's quilt, Civil War Chronicles.

At least I know where all the blocks are--safely stowed in the very same bags they were packaged in!

When I signed up for the BOM I had the best of intentions. But when January disappeared and February arrived, I told myself ,"That's not so bad. Two months? You can easily catch up." When Valentine's Day slipped into St. Pat's and then Easter was quickly followed by Memorial Day I told myself, "You'll have plenty of time this summer." Now that summer is closing in on Labor Day, I took myself by the ear and said, "If you don't kick it into gear, Sister, you're never going to get this beauty done!"

The final straw came this past weekend when our Sunday School class issued a challenge to quit procrastinating. Each member wrote out a sticky note detailing one item she'd been putting off. As an added incentive the notes were hidden in our lesson book with the expectation we'd have made some progress by the time our lesson arrived on our chosen hiding place.

"I want the LAST page!" one of the members announced. "Now I'll HAVE to do this," another muttered as she placed her reminder after a chapter heading. "ACKK!!" I thought. "Now everyone will find out what a dawdler I've been!"

Peer pressure can be very motivating, so Monday morning I began...

As I expected, the hardest part was getting started. Once I had my tools assembled cutting everything out was a dream! The drawings were large enough that I didn't even need to hunt down my reading glasses, and the simplified sketches were just what this professional-grade Procrastinator needed.

Now that everything is out where I can see--and sew--it, Month #1 is well on its way. My goal is to keep chugging along on what I've begun, and start Month #2 next Monday, Month #3 the Monday after that, and so on. If I miss a Monday, no worries. I'll just push it back a week--and hope my sticky note is still a few chapters out.

Are you a procrastinator? Have you missed out on some of our programs because you delayed? We have had multiple phone calls from Stars and Sprigs fans who were thrilled to see a second offering of that popular BOM.

So, are you procrastinating? Need a kick start? Leave a comment detailing one of your long-avoided projects and let us help you get started enjoying your stitching and simpler times.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Road trip anyone?

The other day I overheard a customer asking Dolores how many bolts of fabric we had in the store.

Her reply?

Over 10,000.

Far too many for us to get every one on line--and here's Ollie guarding recently delivered boxes holding even MORE bolts.

If you haven't been to our store in Mexico, Missouri, lately be sure to allow extra hours when you come for a visit.

For example, you'll want plenty of time to enjoy the Civil War section. We have numerous bolts sorted by color, several of our newest arrivals grouped by designer, and we even have one entire platform dedicated to the prolific Jo Morton. At the farthest end of this section you'll find a rainbow of blenders as well as the first two quilts in our Civil War series: Civil War Tribute and Civil War Chronicles.

In the center section you'll find colorful batiks, sale items, and plenty of Wind & Willow mixes to tempt your tummy. There's a shopping cart filled with bargain fats ($1.50 each), remnant bundles, discounted patterns and trims, as well as a variety of flavored coffees we'll be glad to grind on site.

When you stroll on over to the left side of the main floor you'll be dazzled by Japanese fabrics, cheerful 1930's reproductions, and eye-popping brights. This is also our area for modern prints, seasonal offerings, and child-centered lines. And scattered throughout the store you'll see books, candles, kits, and fat quarters galore.

Looking for Whimsicals? We have a large selection nestled in the hallway downstairs. Can't live without Kansas Troubles? Sneak a peek at our varied collection as you head upstairs.

Not a fan of stairs? No worries! Our elevator may not be the fastest, but it will get you to the second floor with no worries. Once you reach the heights you can browse through our plaids, homespuns, hand-dyed wools, and stitchery items.

So, what are you waiting for? You know you want to come. Clear your calendar, gather your friends, and head down the highway straight to our door. We can't wait to see you! Come enjoy a visit to simpler times.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

When you're not a quilter...

Not everyone who walks through the front door of Homestead Hearth is a quilter. Some of our visitors are very patient friends along for the ride. Some of our visitors are trying-to-be-patient children who have seen their fill of fabric. And some of our visitors are spouses who have a tolerance for fabric. Need we say more?

When any non-quilters arrive, we point out our gift items, food mixes, eateries on the square, and the antique store next door. For those who choose to remain in the building and wait, we bring out a chair, something to read, and a faithful companion.The other day Harvey decided to keep the spouse of one of our quilters company. Both of the guys enjoyed the latest issue of The County Register while keeping an eye on the front door. Ah, the joys of sharing a dog's life!

But sometimes spouses never set foot in the building. Sometimes they go for a walk while their partner shops--just not usually across the country.

"He's a retired anthropologist," Carole Fairbanks explained, "and says certain stages of life require a rite of passage. In his case he decided to walk across the United States."

Bill started his walk at Los Osos, California, in July 2009. Since Carole is "doing him a favor" by driving his support vehicle, Bill has encouraged her to take advantage of the many quilt stores along their route.

While Bill walks, Carole visits fabric stores or spends her time stitching at their hotel. Throughout the spring and summer they follow the lure of the open road, but when Thanksgiving nears they head back home to rest over the winter.

When will they finish? It's hard to tell. Visiting with folks along the way has caused a variety of detours to see some amazing things, and as Carole says, "This trip has grown like Topsy."

On the day we met Carole, the weather was hot and she was scheduled to pick up her 74-year-old strolling spouse close to Novelty, Missouri.

"He tells me his route when he leaves, and he tells me where to pick him up. He tries to select a place where I can turn around and where he can easily be seen."

Has the duo ever missed connections?

"Just once," Carole said. "He was on the other side of the median where there was a garden, but he saw me."

And the Fairbanks will be watching for each other for some time to come.

"We'll finish in Boston," Carole explained. "They claim every Fairbanks in the U.S. can trace their ancestry to the Fairbanks House, so that seemed a fitting destination."

Want to know more? You can follow Bill and Carole's journey by going to the following link:

Even if you're not up to walking across America, you can create your own "rite of passage" through quilting. You've probably already stitched a gift for a special birthday, a long-anticipated graduation, a milestone anniversary, a bittersweet retirement, a brand-new baby, or a wonderful wedding. Why not share your magical moments with us? Stop by the store, comment on this post, or share your creations on Facebook. We'd love to share your creations in celebration of simpler times.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Off Season

Have you ever wondered what snow ski resorts do in the summer? Me either. But a few days ago I happened to attend a wonderful brunch at Seven Springs Resort in Pennsylvania. After my group finished stuffing themselves to the gills, we opted to take a quick stroll before climbing back into our cars. That's when we enjoyed a closer look at a ski resort during the off season.

As we strolled onto the balcony outside the dining room we enjoyed listening to a live Bluegrass Band performing for the families splashing in the pool. As we looked up the mountain we watched a variety of age groups riding the lift to the top.

At first I thought the passengers were merely enjoying the view, but then I noticed a few of the visitors coming back down. Some of them were making their descent on the Alpine Slide--a descent of nearly 2,000 feet, seated on a tw0-wheeled sled. But what about the rest of the lift riders? I decided I'd have to get closer if I was ever going to find out.

I'd seen glimpses of bicyclists racing down a dirt path, but hadn't given a thought to their ascent. Silly me, I'd assumed they were riding up one side of the mountain to come roaring down the other. Not so! Wherever the trail began, I discovered that it ended at the entrance to the ski lift.

As I watched, helmeted riders would slide to a stop, gather their bikes, and wait in line to catch a ride to the top. Before long here they would come again, barreling down the mountain with a cloud of dust behind them. Fun? Maybe for some, but my crowd was content to stand to one side and watch.

All of this summer fun at a winter resort got me to thinking. What do quilters do in their "off season?" If comment heard in the store during recent weeks are any indication, many quilters travel:

"We're on an eight-day trip visiting shops featured in back issues of The Quilt Sampler."
"I'm headed to babysit my four-year-old granddaughter in Florida."
"We're coming from Indiana to watch our grandkids show goats at the 4-H Fair."
And on the stories go...

Once in a while someone in our summer crowd of travelers just happens to bring along a little Show-and-Tell.

We were thrilled to have Judy Murphy (soon to be Hayes) of Jacksonville, Illinois, share her gorgeous interpretation of a design from Barb Adams and Alma Allen's Women of Grace & Charm. Thank you, Judy, for sharing your work!

As you can tell from the bottom of the photo, Harvey and Ollie thought Judy's fine work deserved a closer look. Inspecting customer creations is just one of the activities the Bulldogs have enjoyed, and both dogs have been very busy during these warm summer months.

Harvey has been enjoying his summer vacation from college by spending time greeting customers at the front door.
Since Harvey has taken over the doorman duties, Ollie has been branching out.
He even tried to convince Lori and Dolores (left to right) that he could assist customers at the Penney's catalog desk. Let's just say they have placed his application on file.

So what do you do during your quilting off season? We'd love to hear your ideas--and we may even borrow a few--as we enjoy traveling and stitching our way to simpler times.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

One easy as falling off a horse.

They say any election can be won by one vote, and guess what? That's what happened here this week. In our last post we asked which of our new programs got your juices flowing the most. Christie managed to put "Are You Kidding Me?" into the winner's bracket with her single cheerful post. Thank you, Christie, for your BIG vote!
We got a few chuckles the first day this program became available. Our weekly email newsletter had barely hit the Inboxes when the phone rang. A customer on the other end of the line said she wanted to sign up for one of our programs.

"I'd be happy to help you," Lori responded. "Which program would you like to order?"
"Are You Kidding Me?" the caller responded.
"No," Lori said. "I just need to know which program you'd like so I can take your registration."
"Are You Kidding Me?" the caller repeated.
"No, I'm not kidding," Lori said. "I really do need the name of the program."
"That IS the name of the program," the caller responded. "It's called 'Are You Kidding Me?'"

Well, that may not be exactly what happened, but Lori and our customer certainly had a good laugh over the phone. A few days later we shared a laugh with a customer in person.

While the rest of the family roamed the store, one of the members took a seat next to my cutting table. We got to chatting about quilting and traveling, and before long she shared the purpose of their travels.

"We're in town for a wedding," she said with a smile.
"A wedding?" I said. "Family weddings are the best!"

Before long we were sharing stories, and a soon she confessed that her brood liked to sing old songs. She mentioned several familiar titles, but there was one tune I'd never heard of: I Can't Get Off of My Horse.

"Is that really a song?" I asked her.
"Sure is," she told me, and as she walked out the door she sang it to me.
And thanks to Google, I can share the lyrics with you!

I always wished that I could be a cowboy
A riding and a roping where the wind is free
But now I don’t want to be a cowboy
Cause look what's gone and happened to me

I can’t get off of my horse
All day and night I ride among the cattle
I can’t get off of my horse
Cause some dirty dog put glue on the saddle
On the saddle, on the saddle
Some no-good, ornery, thieving, cussing, cattle-rustling, dirty dog put glue on my saddle

Someday they'll bury me out on the prairie
Out among the sagebrush where the skies are blue
But when they dig a hole for me to rest in
They'd better dig it big enough for two

Stop by the store, send us an email, give us a call, or comment on this post. Share a chuckle, repeat a story, or sing us a song. We'd love to hear from you on our journeys to simpler times.

Monday, July 11, 2011

We're baaackkk!

Have you missed us here in the blogosphere? Did you think we'd forgotten you? The last time we cyber-chatted here in Mexico, Missouri, we were covered with snow. Remember?

Fast forward to this morning. Now that the thermometer is about to blow its top those cold days are mighty hard to remember.

As this local sign shows, today is already a scorcher. There's nothing like hitting the mid-80s before lunch to get the blood (or is it sweat???) flowing. Thank goodness for Sonic Happy Hour and air conditioning!

Mother Nature certainly hasn't been very friendly to our Show Me State this year. Winter's mountains of snow turned into Spring's overflowing rivers and streams. When the days grew warmer the cicadas descended upon our neighborhoods and nearly deafened us.

As spring turned into summer we had nightly thunderstorms, but the cicadas finally went away. Thankfully our town has been spared the tornadoes and destruction our friends in Joplin and Sedalia have endured. We've also be spared the flooding, so we really have no room to complain--about the weather anyway.

So what do we have room to complain about? As usual, we have too many ideas and not enough time! If you've been keeping track of our web site, you've seen all of the marvelous new temptations coming through our doors. There are so many choices, it's hard to know where to begin!

And, just in case you missed it, July 1st was a very important day at Homestead Hearth. It was Olli's first birthday!

Ollie didn't have cake or ice cream (at least not at the store), but he did celebrate by watching out the window, napping in front of the fan, and greeting all of our visitors. Happy first birthday, Sir Oliver Winston!

If you didn't get a chance to celebrate our Number One Greeter's special day, why not take some time right now? Pour yourself a cold drink and spend a few moments visiting us online. You'll enjoy the breather and the chance to savor simpler times at Homestead Hearth.

P.S. Let us know which of our newest projects you like best, and we'll report the top vote getter in next week's blog.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Some of our favorite guys...

We thought the snow had become nothing but a painful memory, but we were wrong. More snow showed up last Thursday, and if the almanac is to be believed there will be more snow for us in March. We'd share our thoughts concerning this forecast, but if we didn't choose our words carefully we'd have to pay the pig.

Thankfully the weather hasn't dampened the spirits of some of our favorite guys...

Travis and Gary always walk through our doors with smiles on their faces. Thanks guys, for keeping the fabric and supplies coming!

Two of our other favorite guys...

...took a little time out while we humans enjoyed our lunch. Harvey (right) had come home from college to visit, and Ollie was very thankful for the company. When these furry friends weren't busy greeting the public they found ways to help around the store. Ollie even gave Lori a hand--or paw--getting a quilt back on display.

You can't tell from these photos, but two other smiling faces stopped by for a visit. Thanks Glenna and Brian for sharing your wonderful work. We always enjoy seeing what you've been up to!

So when you're out and about come see us. Bring in your "snowed in" projects for a little show-and-tell and say "Howdy" to our hardworking friends as you make the journey to simpler times.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snowed In, Snowed Out

Normally we would post a view from the store, but today you're seeing the world from Sue's front door. As you may have discovered we're not at the shop. Sorry to hear that? So are we, and it may be a day or two before we're able to answer any phone messages or emails. Why?

Blizzard Warnings

State of Emergency

National Guard called out

This morning the local news station showed photos of National Guard Hummers fueling up at neighborhood gas stations. That was all the confirmation we needed that today was a good day to close the store.

So what are we doing instead? Probably the same thing you're doing--sewing, eating, sewing, napping, sewing, snacking, sewing, checking email, sewing, flipping through magazines, sewing...

and enjoying the view from indoors where it's nice and warm.

Sadly, our animal friends are not as lucky. The squirrels have been frantically digging through the snow to find their acorn stashes, and the birds are emptying the feeders as quickly as we can fill them.

Hopefully, you had time to stock plenty of necessities before the blizzard reached your area. Around here the store shelves were pretty well picked over. Milk coolers were empty and bread racks were bare. But as we all know, quilters do not live by food alone.

The next time challenging weather is headed your way be sure to pick up plenty of needles, thread, and rotary blades along with a new pattern or magazine, a fist full of fat quarters, and an extra yard or two for binding that project you're bound to get done.

For the next day or two we'll be holed up at our sewing machines waiting for the roads to be cleared. You too? Why not share what you're working on? Leave comments and photos we can all enjoy.

When the storm slows down be sure to give us a call or check our website before hitching up your dogsled team to head our way. In the meantime, stay warm, stay safe, and enjoy a restful day enjoying simpler times.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Show-and-Tell. Don’t you love it? Whether Show-and-Tell is a scheduled event at a guild meeting, or an impromptu showing at one of our cutting tables, we’re all big fans of Show and Tell.

Terri dropped by before Christmas on her way to the Lake of the Ozarks for some relaxation and stitching time. Her wonderful quilt was ready for binding, and she was generous enough to share it with us.

Featuring postage stamp blocks created from pre-cut strips, Terri set this lavender lovely together with sashing from Homestead Hearth fabric. Aren’t the feathers beautiful? Thank you, Terri, for making our day!

As you know, all of the quilts hanging in our shop are copyright protected so no photos (from cameras or phones) are allowed. To enjoy the tiniest of details you'll need to sneak in a visit for your own Show-and-Tell.

When you walk in the door you’ll notice that Lori and Deanna have been busy on the ladders hanging many quilts throughout the store. On the Civil War side of the shop you’ll find last year’s Civil War Tribute on the bed. Its 2011 sister quilt, Civil War Chronicles is displayed on the wall. Want to create your own? We have patterns available for Tribute, and just a few spaces open in our Chronicles BOM. Contact us and we’ll be happy to set you up!

Aurelia’s Journey, the delicious cheddar reproduction of a Pennsylvania antique, is gracing the wall just past the fireplace. After you enjoy the blocks in person, pick up a copy of our book so you can create your own.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner you’ll want to savor the romantic sentiments stitched from the Civil War love letters of Adelaide and Charlie. Both the blue (with embroidery) version and the red (with pinwheels) are hanging next to one of the cutting tables.

Show-and-Tell. You know you’re ready. Don’t give in to cabin fever! Hop in the car and come see us. Come gather some inspiration from simpler times.