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 vote...as 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.