Saturday, May 24, 2008

Jo-Ann & Barb's Excellent Adventure - Day 8

After spending the day in the room with a quick break for lunch at the Cracker Barrel we were off to meet Debbe and Paul at John's Plain and Fancy Diner in Quakertown, PA. They have the new Juke Box at the booths except these days it's a CD Box!

We said our goodbyes and headed off to Wal-mart for some last minute purchases then back to the hotel - and I didn't get lost for a change.

FYI - Debbe will be at Cock-A-Doodle Quilts teaching punchneedle and her amazing applique critters on Friday October 24th, 2008 and Saturday October 25th, 2008. Details will be in the next newsletter.

Back to the hotel to pack - in the background you can barely see the quilt top I'm working on taped to the wall. I have one row done - didn't get as much done as we hoped but at least we got something done. Isn't that always the time I am only taking hand work! (That's what I always say) We're planning on packing the car tonight so we can get an "early" start in the morning??!!! We'll be back in Toronto tomorrow night and we're both looking forward to getting back to our own beds.

This is our last post from On The Road with Jo-Ann & Barb! Hope to see you all soon at the store.......

Happy Quilting!

Jo-Ann & Barb

Jo-Ann & Barb's Excellent Adventure - Day 7

a Got a relatively early start this morning and off we went to Lancaster County, PA. We ended up at The People's Museum in Intercourse and had a lovely buffet lunch at the Harvest House close by.

From the window of the restaurant we watched as an Amish farmer baled hay manually with his team of mules.

Even in Pennsylvania they have weird signs. I mean honestly, if you see a car coming would you actually try to turn???!!!

The countryside is absolutely gorgeous, this is really God's Country - miles and miles of farms and small towns and Barb laughing at me because I keep driving around in circles - it is so easy to get lost here.......thank heavens for my OnStar!

We definitely need a bumper sticker that says "We stop for Quilt Stores". On the way to Debbe's for dinner, we stopped at The Quilted Cat and Greenery and of course we found something to buy! And we were late for dinner but only 15 minutes. Dinner was wonderful! Paul (Debbe's husband) delighted us with a lovely salad, Beef Stroganoff and the most SINFUL Chocolate Cake from Wegmans. Debbe's house is filled with her wonderful quilts as well as other amazing crafts including needlepunch. She gave Barb and I an extended lesson in needlepunch which we will be happy to share with all of you. We picked out some more patterns (which you can check out at Debbe's website and we are bringing home a couple of sample quilts and a vest.

We needed milk on the way home (for the morning Starbucks) so we decided to take Paul's advice and go to Wegmans. He should be the National spokesperson for Wegmans - there's a story behind this. I met Debbe 10 years ago when I came for one of her quilt camps and Paul was the chief cook and dishwasher! He raved about Wegmans and took all the campers on an outing one night at around 11 p.m. to see this amazing store. It really is the ultimate in food shopping - they even have a model train in their bulk food candy department.

Barb and I had no problem spending money there. I admittedly got lost on the way but OnStar saved the day yet again and MR. G. (our little dude who seems to be stuck in our radio) got us pointed in the right direction.

We made it back to the hotel at around 1:00 a.m. laden with all kinds of goodies and even some stuff for the store. Saturday we are planning a day of Sit and Sew and then meeting Debbe and Paul for dinner at John's Plain and Fancy in Quakertown.....we will continue to keep you posted on our great adventure.....

Happy Quilting!

Jo-Ann and Barb

Friday, May 23, 2008

Jo-Ann & Barb's Excellent Adventure - Day 6

Leaving New Jersey ...

New Jersey has this thing about lefthand turns. You can't do it in the normal way. You see the sign above everywhere and when you first see one, it certainly makes you scratch your head! What the heck does it mean?? You have to go past where you want to turn left and exit to the right where you are directed around in a circle until you end up facing in the direction you would have been going should you have made a normal left hand turn. Make sense?? It's all very confusing. Did you also know that it is illegal to pump your own gas in New Jersey? Very civilized we say!!


In typical Jo-Ann and Barb fashion, we overslept this morning and had to hit the ground running to get moved out of the hotel and on the road. Whose idea was it to bring this much stuff with us?? We got the car packed up and headed off ... but not before Jo-Ann got one more Crystal Diner fix. We stopped for a quick bite of breakfast (even though it was almost lunch time) before heading off to our meeting to fondle new fabrics for the store.

We saw some stunning new collections and ordered many of them for delivery over the next few months. Be prepared to be bowled over ... we chose some amazing fabrics! But we aren't going to tell you about them just now but trust us, you will love them. :-)

After fondling fabrics and being WOWed for almost 3 hours, we headed off to our next hotel near Allentown, Pennsylvania. We unpacked the car and then went for a bite of dinner in the hotel diningroom. After dinner it was off in search of a quart of milk for our in-room coffee. We somehow managed to find ourselves on a dark and windy road out in the country. Ooops!! Milk was finally located just a half block from the hotel.

We set up our "sewing room" and each of us did a bit of sewing while watching TV. Jo-Ann called Debbie Konchinsky, her friend from Critter Pattern Works. They gabbed for awhile and we got some tips for places to visit tomorrow. Debbie very kindly invited us to her home for dinner tomorrow evening. It will nice to finally meet her after admiring so many of her patterns and quilts in the store. She also designs needlepunch patterns (we carry those in the store too) so I'm hoping she'll give me a lesson on how to do it. I'll let you know tomorrow.

Time for some sleep now as there are many quilt shops that we want to visit in Lancaster, PA on Friday. Stay tuned for news of our further adventures.

Happy Quilting!

Barb & Jo-Ann

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Jo-Ann & Barb's Excellent Adventure - Day 5

Jo-Ann has set the car to autopilot and we ended up at the Crystal Diner yet again for breakfast this morning......but we finally got a picture as the sun was out! That's Jo-Ann holding the door open for about the umpteenth time since we got here!

The food is great but the desserts there are to die for. They do all their own baking on the premises and this stuff is really hard to resist. We had the Strawberry Cheesecake (Amazing!!!) the first night but have managed to steer clear since then.
Then off to Quilting Possibilities to say Hi to Lori who we missed yesterday and bye to Jim and Debbie and of course Jo-Ann found some fabric and a book she doesn't have yet......Eleanor Burns - Victory Quilts. At that point we discovered we had a nail in one of the tires - better now than on the highway and a major blowout so off we went to the garage......
It didn't take too long and they found a screw in another tire so Jo-Ann had to buy one and repair the other one. Within an hour we were back on the road. Toms River is about 5 minutes (as the crow flies) from the Atlantic Ocean and we were not about to miss a walk on the beach so off we went to Seaside Heights........

The most stunning purple flowers grow in the dunes.

You can see the dunes and the boardwalk here and in the background is the Amusement Park with a roller coaster, ferris wheel and old fashioned merry-go-round. There's also a shooting arcade with all the great prizes. It officially opens this coming weekend.

I would like to present you with the Atlantic Ocean. It was a great walk to the shoreline, the sand was a little cold on the feet ........

After trekking along the beach a little more shopping was in order so off we went to the Seagurt Mall where they had a great Marshall's and none other than a gaggle of Canadian Geese. Jo-Ann's cousin Fred told us that they used to be able to shoot the Canadian Geese down here but since they started breeding in New Jersey they are considered New Jersey wildlife and it is illegal to shoot New Jersey wildlife.....No wonder they moved!!!!

It was then time to go pick up the seven quilts Jo-Ann brought as gifts (I finally broke down and helped her finish sewing on the labels), and meet Helene and Fred for a farewell dinner at the Lobster Shanty which sits right on the water in downtown Toms River, it was a lovely meal and afterwards we went back to their house for dessert (we were so stuffed) and coffee and then said our goodbyes........

Tomorrow we leave Toms River for Pennsylvania and a side trip to see fabrics for the store. I can't wait......and since I talked Jo-Ann out of buying a new sewing machine she has money to spend on more fabric.......

We'll let you know what's coming.......

Happy quilting!

Barb and Jo-Ann

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Jo-Ann & Barb's Excellent Adventure - Day 4

Hi everyone!

We're getting a complex here! Woke up this morning to a lovely sunny day and within half an hour, when we were ready to leave the room, the rain had started! Barb checked the weather forecast and they are calling for rain until Thursday then sun for the weekend! Hmmmm! We leave New Jersey for Pennsylvania on Thursday......

You will never guess where we had breakfast this morning! (and dinner tonite) - you're right! The Crystal Diner and it was great! I promise a picture tomorrow - rain or shine! We headed south today to Quilting Possibilities in Forked River. I haven't seen Debbie and Jim in 4 years and I blame her for putting the bug in my head to open a quilt store so it was fun catching up with them. They just got back from Quilt Market in Portland, Oregon and we had lots to talk about. Check out their website at where you can see great pictures of the store. I've been visiting Quilting Possibilities for the past 10 years, every time I come down to visit my family.

We then trekked off to the Ocean County Mall to check out the book store where my cousin Helene works (got a new Barefoot Contessa Cookbook that I can't wait to try) and Bath and Body Works and to get our daily fix of Starbucks. By that time it was pouring rain so we decided to go back to the room and sew.......Barb is stitching away on her Featherweight as I write this. As soon as I finish this blog I am back on label duty - ugh! This will teach me to label as I finish a quilt which I truly believe in doing but never seem to get done........

So, until tomorrow,

Happy Quilting!

Jo-Ann & Barb

Monday, May 19, 2008

Jo-Ann & Barb's Excellent Adventure - Days 2 and 3

We apologize for not posting our day two adventures last night but we had some technical difficulties and couldn't get an internet connection.

We left Binghamtom, NY on Sunday morning after a delicious breakfast at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant. It was a cold, drizzly and foggy day as we headed south through the winding roads of the Pocono Mountains. Despite the less than ideal weather and driving conditions, the scenery was quite spectacular. Barb thought I had taken more than a few wrong turns as we passed signs for Moscow, Belfast, Nazareth and Bethlehem - but we were right on track.

Our first destination was New Hope, PA, a quaint little town (very reminiscent of Niagara-on-the-Lake) on the banks of the Delaware River. Lots of quaint little shops, eateries and galleries populate the narrow streets. We wandered around in the rain for a little while and then went to Starbucks for a "fix". Here are a couple of pictures from New Hope.

Jo-Ann showing the bridge across the Delaware River which leads to New Hope's sister town Lambertville, New Jersey.

A view across the Delaware ...
that's a beautiful condo complex
overlooking the water and
Lambertville's Church steeple.

One of the many houses on
the main street in New Hope.

From New Hope we continued on to our final destination in Toms River, NJ, arriving about 5:30 pm. The rain had finally let up -- at least for awhile -- allowing us sufficient time to unload the car before it started up again. It took two FULL luggage carts to get all of our paraphenalia into the room!!

After a rest and a little unpacking, we headed out to Jo-Ann's favourite eatery -- The Crystal Diner. The last time she was here it had been demolished and she was sooooo excited to find that it has been resurrected. We had a delicious dinner and then headed over to visit one of her cousins and family and had a lovely visit with them. We even got her cousin Helene interested in doing Sashiko.....we left her one to work on!

We returned to the hotel about midnight after a short drive around town so Jo-Ann could show me where she grew up and went to school. She was shocked to see that her grammar school was GONE!!

A good night's sleep was in order after a long day of travelling so in typical Jo-Ann and Barb fashion, we fell into bed around 3:00 a.m.


Jo-Ann pulled out the Quilters Travel Companion and started calling around to quilt stores to see who was open (alot of quilt stores close Mondays here). She finally found one open in Pennington, NJ, about an hour drive. It was ..."...worth the drive to Pennington". The quilt store was fantastic and there was a yarn store and beading store on either side. BONUS!!

The Woolly Lamb (delicious yarns
and needlepoint supplies) was
on the left and the bead store
was on the right! NIRVANA for
craft addicts like us.

After this lovely outing a trip to Starbucks was in order and then the drive home which included a stop at Michael's -- they have such cool stuff. Barb (of course) bought more yarn which is added to all the other yarn she doesn't have time to knit and Jo-Ann bought yet more beads.....for a surprise project she wants to try! If I say anymore I'll be in BIG trouble!!!! and you will never guess where we ended up for dinner -- The Crystal Diner.

The rest of the evening (we finished dinner at 9) will be spent stitching - Jo-Ann is stitching on labels. She needs to have 7 done by Wednesday night to give to her cousin for family distribution (and finally colouring her hair......). Barb has started knitting a baby sweater (this is added to the baby blanket (unfinished) her brother's sweater (still unfinished)......and you guys all thought this was gonna be a vacation!

We have a great day planned for tomorrow and will post more then. In the meantime,

Happy Quilting!
Barb and Jo-Ann

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Jo-Ann & Barb's Excellent Adventure - Day 1

Greetings from the road!

Jo-Ann and Barb are on the road to New Jersey on a fabric buying trip. Yes, we are looking for new fabrics to bring to you during 2008.

We left Toronto at 4:00 pm Saturday and headed for our first stop in Binghamton, NY. Thankfully we had no delays at the border and just sailed through. I'm sure the guy wondered how we could possibly have so much stuff piled in the back of the car for a one week trip! You just know we didn't leave without sewing machines and many quilting projects to work on in our spare time.

I am writing this just after midnight from the "delightful" Quality Inn in Binghamton. Jo-Ann booked hotel rooms for the rest of our trip but not for tonight. How were we to know that this is graduation weekend for the State University of New York? There's not a hotel room available, except this one, within a 100 mile radius. We're so tired that any bed was looking good! It was a bonus that they have wireless internet service we could write this blog entry.

Tomorrow we will continue on to our destination -- Toms River, New Jersey. From there we can visit all the places on our agenda ... fabric suppliers and some great quilt stores. Can't wait!!

So stay tuned for our further adventures. We'll be blogging every evening and we hope to have some photos to share with you too.

Until tomorrow ....

Barb & Jo-Ann

Monday, May 12, 2008

RJR French Flowers Have Arrived!!!!!

French Flowers designed by Pamela Mostek for RJR was inspired by a trip to France and a wonderful textile tour where she saw so many gorgeous vintage textiles......"and...contrary to many of our preconceived images... those designers from yesterday were not afraid of color! Instead of subdued and middle-toned colors, we saw vibrant purples, oranges, acid yellows and, so many fabulous reds."
Pam wanted to recreate the overall red look and sure got it right!
Come in and see for yourself how gorgeous this fabric is........
There's lots more that's new and we'll be posting it soon! Happy Quilting, Jo-Ann and Barb

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Spring Newsletter

The spring newsletter is finally finished. It's already posted on the website. Email copies will go out tomorrow and the printed copies should be in the mail by Friday. Lots of new classes and new teachers ... something for everyone. Sign up early so you won't be disappointed.

A HUGE shipment of new fabrics has just arrived. All we have to say is WOW! WOW!! We'll post some pictures for you in the next few days so check back again soon.

Leave us a comment if you're reading the blog so we know that you are visiting.

Happy spring everyone!
Barb & Jo-Ann