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.