Shops and Vendors we love

shops we visit and vendors we recommend

Time Flips – Calendar Tips

Yes, my friends, the wool calendar really can flip. Right now it doesn’t need to flip because there is only one month on it. But, it can flip! Because WE found a flipping stand! [insert happy dance!]

Excuse me a minute while I have a little celebration with Colorado Sister via Skype.

It’s a real flip stand!

I discovered Bless My Stitches, a wonderful quilt shop in Murphy, North Carolina. And Karen, the shop owner, was so helpful when I asked about stands. She pointed me toward her source, Ackfeld Handcrafted Wire. Their website is HERE.

Ackfeld Handcrafted Wire


Takes up much less room than the red stand I first started with


The web site recommended this second little clip piece. I’m not sure that it is entirely necessary. But for some pieces it will be good to have.


Magic stock number: 31522 Magic stock number: 30702

Now when we post the February calendar pattern I’ll show you how to make it flip!  Can’t show you the flipping without showing you the new pattern. So, patience, my dears.

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Mountains of rest and Miles of Fun

Every one of us has a special place where we find rest and refreshment. The Colorado mountains – and the high plains next to them – are that place for me. So Husband of the Year and I soaked up some time there recently and I thought I’d share the highlights.

Historic buildings, artesian shops and light snowfall … perfect day in Manitou Springs!


Daffodils and snowflakes – that’s Colorado spring!


Eating tiramisu with a chocolate spoon – delectable indulgence!


Dietz onstage at a old fashioned melodrama?!? only to help someone take a picture!


Afternoon coffee by the fire! THAT is vacation!


What every good trip must have – a quilt shop! Nana’s Quilt Cottage in Manitou Springs, CO.


Some inspiration found in a class sample. Maybe it would work for lilacs, too? Their website is HERE.


If you get this far out onto the high plains you have already passed your last chance for a potty break for at least a few dozen more miles – says the voice of experience.


Dad reading us a book of cowboy wisdom. “If you find your self in a hole the first thing to do is STOP DIGGING!”


Family Sunday dinner out with Dad (and his Iwo Jima hat) is like traveling with a celebrity!


It took some talking, but I finally got a picture with my big brother by the perfect sign!


Family work day at Dad’s – good times working together!


And it always helps to have a brother-in-law who has skills – and a willing heart.


Of course there was time in Sister’s quilting studio – pondering the story behind the Perrine quilt – found used as batting inside another quilt that our great grandmother and her sister made.


A quilt show with the Colorado sister – what could be better? More on that in a future post.

Hope your Spring is filled with some rest and fun, too.

Categories: Shops and Vendors we love, Sister isn't answering her phone, so I'm telling you ... | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Sister Road Trip – Bitter-sweet

The geographic distance between us makes us thankful that we no longer rely on the Pony Express to trade packages. And the distances give us a growing affection for the Wright brothers and the “flying machines” legacy they left us all – especially as we needed those machines to rendezvous in St. Louis in order to drive into Illinois for a family funeral.


Uncle Bruce – history lover, story-teller, outdoorsman, bibliophile…

We sisters love every minute we have together but this trip was bitter-sweet in the face of losing our one-of-a-kind Uncle Bruce. We say he was one of our very own Second Hand Lions (if you’ve seen the movie you will understand this even better) because of the grand adventures and extraordinary fun he and our Uncle Bob always concocted for us and our cousins – and later, for our children.


Some of the cousins from Texas, Florida, Colorado, Illinois, Arizona. Others were too far away to come – like in the Middle East. And we missed them.

Uncle Bruce was a gifted cartoonist and held Lincoln in high regard.


His “Little Bear” Lincoln Bear shirts were prized possessions for us!

It’s a great loss for our family. And for everyone who knew this kind, devoted, fiercely patriotic Marine Corps veteran who loved his family and his Savior.

Huddling together in the winter weather reminds us that family closeness is important in this cold world!


We were all born Graham girls. These dear aunts have offered many kindnesses to us through our lives.

He loved to hunt – sometimes with his binoculars and camera and sometimes with bow and arrows. So the cousins banded together to honor him with an arrangement that held arrows.


The other sister and I determined to get one of those arrows to our dad, who at age 94 was unable to attend the funeral for his youngest sibling. The problem with going from concept to reality in this case was due to the fact that the arrow wouldn’t fit into either of our suitcases. After brief consultation we decided it wouldn’t work to convince TSA agents that one single arrow doesn’t really qualify as “dangerous” materials. They are funny about stuff like that.


The arrows were a personal touch.

Now, I’m including this instructional episode because I’m sure that sometime in the future many of you will need to know how to solve this dilemma.

Should we cut the arrow so that it fits into the suitcase? Neither of us happened to have a saw with us. So we hatched a late night plot to mail the arrow home to the Colorado ranch – if only we could find a mailing container that would fit an arrow. This took us to the wrapping paper aisle at the large chain “general store” and also involved the taping of Styrofoam cups to each end to prevent the arrow from poking through.


Step #1 – Make sure the wrapping paper roll is longer than the arrow. Use thread to measure if you don’t have the arrow in the store when purchasing the wrapping paper.



Step #2 – use plastic cups to protect ends of wrapping paper and then insert the arrow.



The post office lady didn’t think it strange at all that we would be mailing wrapping paper to ourselves.



The arrow hit the bull’s eye – undented and intact. Success!

It worked! The arrow – an important memento for our dad – is safely in place! What sisters can accomplish we when concoct together!


Small town often hold big treasures!

And on the way back to the St. Louis airport we took a quick detour to find Quilting on Aisle 3 in the little town (with some great Victorian houses) in Virden, Ill. We got some hot tips from Trudi about the heat activated pens they carry and discovered that the three friends who run this shop are willing to do custom quilts! You can find their web site HERE.

The quick trip made me conscious once again that our time together here is so brief and so fleeting. We do well to soak up the pleasure of every minute.


Farewells touch us deeply.

And now we are home safe and sound – and so is Uncle Bruce!


The uncles always “keep the light on” so we knew we were always welcome! Makes me homesick for our real Home!

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Stitching Stop: Fabrics Galore

FL Sister id tag

Our summer road trip was the BEST TRIP EVER! And there in front of me was another undeniable example of just the right thing at just the right time!

main sign sm

Fabrics Galore and Quilting Store

We had supper plans with friends but what would we DO in the meantime?!?!

Problem solved. After all …

wanna quilt sign sm

See what I mean? It was just my kind of place!

Set just off the main highway that runs through this small town in the Georgia mountains, Patricia opened Fabric Galore and Quilting Store (and a new chapter in life) just a few months ago. Her shop has all the right ingredients for success. You’ll find a large classroom and a variety of classes …

… great display ideas

bed frame sm

I can see this in my studio!


giant gold button sm

You can never go wrong with buttons! Especially big ones.


pie safe sm

I really wanted to take the pie safe AND the fabric home with me!

… lots of natural light combined with a wide range of colors and styles of fabric

shelf of color

a rainbow of possibilities


better sign sm

Well said!

… friendly, knowledgeable assistance and assistants …

Rise cutting table sm

Meet my new friend, Rise (ree-sa).

… fun promotions like this spinning wheel for Tuesdays …

Tuesday spinning wheel

Now, this is addictive!

… and a welcoming, helpful host.

Patricia and doll2 sm

Store owner, Patricia Squire

So, if you are in north Georgia (or east Tennessee or south North Carolina – they are all close by) look for the giant thimble and spend some time (and money) at Fabrics Galore and Quilting Store. Their website is HERE.

sign2 sm

Who can resist a beckoning thimble?

I don’t think I mentioned that this road trip actually started 40 years ago. The Dietz and I exchanged vows on a hot June afternoon without having any idea about what it would really take to keep them. To celebrate the heavenly intervention that it took to build what we enjoy today, we took this road trip on trolley cars, by the ocean, through historical forts, aboard river paddle boats, and finally over winding mountain roads. I think we will call this journey …

Adventures Galore and so Much More!

giant red button sm

I couldn’t resist one more button.

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Great tools make life easier!

FL Sister id tagThe words The Dietz most dreads to hear are “Honey, you could totally make that!” And because my confidence in his many abilities comes to the surface so often, he has developed a sure fire, safe guard response. “I would LOVE to do that but I just don’t have the right tools. You need great tools to do something like that.”

However, I have noticed that he is really good at finding great tools for the projects that spring from his own priority list. Tools like:

tools1mowerchain saw

wheel barrow

Now, least you think I such got some random photos off the internet, I want to tell you that I am currently at the end of a two week trip west and while I’ve been traveling The Dietz has been sending me photos of his treasure hunting at garage sales (except for the lawn mover). He is accumulating quite a stash! I’m thinking I need to get home quickly.

However, the up side is that I have learned to use that same rationale in the quilting studio.

Great tools make great things happen!

Whenever some great tools come through our lives, we Sisters will pass along a recommendation on our Tools page.

45R-thumb $25Ergo Cutters

Martelli MinMiter SETMinute Miters

FMHoop%20pairTHMQuilting Hoops

Be sure to click on over to that TOOLS page to find some tools that will ease your stitching life!

(You can get these from us by sending an email  – – to place an order.)

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Inspirational Wishes

CO Sister id tag

While doing DEEP research (shopping) at the local quilt store, Insprirations (which is 35 miles one way from my home), I was thrilled to see what the new owner has accomplished in one short month.  Check out her FB page and if you’re in Colorado, make her shop a stop!

shop 2

This particular visit included a trunk show and lecture from fellow quilt designer, Karla Eisenach of Sweetwater.  We have known her for….well, never mind how long.  That would reveal too much.Karla-webShe gave an” inspirational” trunk show and encouraged us in our design journey.   What really made the connection was how much we are drawn to Karla’s fabric for our designs without intending to be.  We had chosen some random fabrics months ago to use in the last project from Mother’s Medallion Line. Behold it turns out to be a lot of  “Wishes” from Sweetwater. idea-board-fabricSo make your wishes come true (and your sister’s) by completing a simple project using Sister’s Choice quilt block.  This newest pattern will hopefully keep your ideas coming.

idea board for blog

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Stitchin’ Stops along the way: Marietta, GA #2

FL Sister id tagI might as well just say it: Mountain time is never long enough and leaving the Georgia cabin is never easy. But, the chance to explore new quilt shops on the way home eases the transition back into the real world.

This time the path my phone gave me from the interstate to the shop was a little tricky. (Ok, I admit that my navigational skills caused us to back track twice. In the end, we parked in a side street and I called the shop only to find that we were at the wrong side of the right building! )

Don’t know how I missed the sign for Red Hen Fabrics ,

sign  sm

but the extra trip around the block was worth it once I got to the entrance.

Red Hen entrance sm

I was delighted to see how they carried out their chicken theme because of my own kitchen chickens, and also because I belong to a quilting group by this name. on the counter sm

dinner sign sm

painted window sm

  on the fence sm  tools sign sm

Chickens, Chickens everywhere!

But, I was there for fabric and they did not disappoint. I disciplined myself not to linger at the beautiful greens.

greens sm

I only paused briefly at the black and white section.

(This was hard because there is a black, white, and red project on the drawing board as we speak.)

black sm

Most of the time, I was texting pictures of their Civil War reproduction fabrics

civil war fabric  sm

and messaging with the Colorado sister as we plan for a coverlet soon to make an appearance as part of our Mother’s Medallion Collection. And I found just what I needed.

(Wait until you see what Sister2 posts about this Hands All Around project. Beautiful results!)

The added touch in this large shop (with a wonderful open long arm/classroom space) was their collection of small, antique sewing machines.

sewing machines 2 sm

sewing machines 3 sm

sewing machines 1 sm

This is a stop we’ll make again!

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Stitchin’ Stops along the way: Idaho Springs, CO

FL Sister id tagEvery once in a while I just need a dose of the Rockies. So this summer as we drove back to the airport after a family wedding, we took a two-day detour into the mountains.  And, what do you know –  we just “happened to find” quilt shop along the way!

Rockies in the distance  sm

Seeing the Rockies on a near horizon is the epitome of  ANTICIPATION to me.

I can hardly wait for the smell of real pine in the air, the sound of wind through the Aspen trees (i.e.Quakies), crystal clear steams, perhaps a quilt shop …

tunnel sm

I knew we were getting close when we went through a couple of tunnels.

(It’s family tradition to honk the horn at this point.)

Idaho Springs sign sm

When we saw the sign for Idaho Springs, we knew we were close to the B&B and, what do you know …

Quilt Shop Sign sm

a quilt shop just happened to be right down the street – and it was OPEN!

Hen House Quilts sign sm

Those of you who have been in my kitchen know why this name caught my attention.

It was anticipation fulfilled! Bolts of brights and reproduction Civil War and the newest lines. I got some soft, light flannels for kitchen hand towels.

Hen House owner, Linda Feidler sm

Linda Feidler and her 2 silky soft companions shared a warm welcome (One of the little guys was camera shy.) and let us ask lots of questions about what quilters in the Rockies are asking for. We’re planning to chat again at Quilt-A-Fair in Longmont this fall.

Here’s a Hot Tip from the Sisters: If you’re passing close to that part of the west, you’d give yourself a treat by stopping to visit The Hen House in Idaho Spring, CO.

Becky by the stream sm

The Florida Sister says “Happy Summer!” – from Colorado!

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Stitchin’ Stops along the way: Marietta, GA #1

FL Sister id tagAs we drive toward a Georgia mountain cabin, The Husband gets a phone call from the friends we are to meet. “The road ahead is blocked because of an accident and the traffic won’t clear for a while so we might as well stop here for a bit rather than just waiting on the road. Why don’t you check that smart phone and see if there is a quilt store close by.” I knew I was a genius when I married that guy!

“Take 2 turns right and one turn left and we’ll be at a Little Quilt shop. [Drive 2 miles.]

OH.MY.GOODNESS. It’s the Little Quilts shop!”

front of store 1 sm

“Well, Bec, that’s where you told me to go. You said you wanted to stop at the Little Quilts Shop. We followed directions to The Little Quilts Shop. We came to the Little Quilts Shop on purpose. Why are you amazed that we are at the Little Quilts Shop?” Poor guy. I’m not always clear, I guess.

True. True. But, you need to know that this isn’t just any Little Quilts shop. We’re at THE Little Quilts Shop!”

Little Quilts sign sm

“OOOOkay.” He’s not completely getting it. “So this may take more than a little bit. Right?” Now he’s getting it!

front of store 2 sm

Somehow in all the years of using and loving their patterns, I never took the time to note the address of The Little Quilt Shop and I’d been driving past it on the way to the cabin for – well, a while.

Inside I found …

mock penny rug sm

beautiful wools

(including this great idea for a mock penny rug made from fabric on cardboard that is laminated to protect it from heavy wear),

tea towel smdelightful red work supplies,

children's corner sm

a wonderful area dedicated to fabric and projects for children.

(which I especially loved because of the grandchildren I’m sewing for right now.)

  Welcome from  sm

And I found a warm welcome.

I left with some patterns and fat quarters to share with the Colorado Sister.

When it arrived she called me to say, “OH. MY. You were at THE Little Quilts Shop!

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A Superlataive Day: Unlikely Treasures and Kim Brackett

It turned out to be a superlative day. And I’ve just got to tell someone about it.

Not just good.

Not just gooooood.


The move-in ToDo list was getting checked off. I had long since taken care of #1. Unpack boxes. And I had moved through #11. Set up utilities. #15. Find new doctor. #24. Change mailing address on 5,436 accounts (Of course that’s a slight exaggeration but you get my drift.) FINALLY, today I had worked my way down to the reward for checking off all of the previous achievements.

#357. Visit new quilt guild.


My new friend, Neville Peterson (a Keepsake Quilts contest winner), took me as a guest to Pensacola Quilting Guild. And, in keeping with the superlative nature of the day, they were having their garage sale after the business meeting – which was very smoothly run, I might add. I joined the guild, signed up for a class,  bought some treasures: two big, antique wooden bobbins, some always-valuable muslin and osnaburg linen, and some wonderful grey fabric.

(The bobbins are destined to become lamps in our Sisters booth at southern quilt shows. You’ll see they grey in the Wedding Wishes collection which we will unveil in just a couple of weeks.)

This really was unfolding as a superlative day!

Thoughtful, gracious Neville had been telling me that her favorite place to buy fabric was at a hardware store. (I know, I doubted her, too. But, she knows way more about quilting than I do by a long shot.) And when she stopped on our way home to show me the A&E Hardware/Pharmacy/Fabric Store, it was clear that she had not overstated.

Kind of like a general store, only better. This place is an uncommon, unlikely treasure in an unexpected place.

See what I mean about superlative day? And there’s more.

In addition to the wide variety of fabric and buttons and trims and tools, at the back of the shop I found Nancy Troyer’s custom machine quilting studio! Just the resource I need when the ideas arrive faster than my production level. Her work is wondrous and she is Miss Congeniality.


But the superlative-ness kept coming. Nancy introduced me to fellow shopper and quilt designer, Kim Brackett.

She lives just down the road a bit and blogs at Magnolia Bay Quilts. You can meet her at her blog here. You can find her wonderful books here. Kim is creative, friendly, and welcoming. Hope our paths cross again soon!

Truly this is the stuff superlative days are made of!

In a new place where much is unfamiliar, it is so good to find myself in places that are so sweetly, freshly familiar. And it is nothing less than superlative to have time with Stitching Sisters who offer such a warm welcome.

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