Souvenirs

Like some of you, when I go on vacation, I don’t always bring back your typical souvenirs. Instead I seek out fabric stores and bring home precious yards of wonderful fabric. This last vacation was no exception, but what was the exception was the amount of fabric I was willing to transport clear across the country.

For this vacation, we made our way to the north east coast of the US. We visited Harrisburg, PA, Hershey, PA,  Lewisburg, PA, Lancaster County, PA (Amish country), Baltimore, MD, Washington, D.C., Arlington, VA, and Philadelphia, PA. We had a wonderful trip, although it was very hot while we were there and I got to see many historical sites. I have never been to this part of the country, so I was amazed to see the large forests of trees with cities and farms cut out of the middle of them.

Our first day was spent in Hershey, PA where I ate way, way too much chocolate. Once we left I didn’t think I would ever eat chocolate again. I did enjoy the museums and learning how a candy bar is made. That evening I entered my first of three Pennsylvania (PA) Fabric Outlet Stores in Lemoyne PA, next to Harrisburg. Wow, what an amazing store. There was an entire wall of buttons, another wall of trims and laces, another smaller wall covered in zippers, and fabric everywhere. There was a lot of upholstery for sale, but also plenty of apparel fabric for me to shop and all at awesome prices. You know me, the bargain hunter, I spent a lot of time shopping the $0.99 per yard fabric. I was going nuts shopping until I remembered that it was only my first day there and that I had to get all my wonderful treasures home somehow. (As a side note, and I tried to keep this in mind the whole trip, was the fact that I have a closet overflowing with fabric already.) We also stopped by the Walmart in Swatara, PA for some essentials which of course meant a trip to the fabric department.

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The next day was off to Lancaster and the surrounding small towns of Amish country. This area was filled with beautiful homes and farms, with lots of corn, soybeans and tobacco growing in the fields, plus a quilt shop on every corner. After checking out several quilt shops and seeing some awesome quits and beautiful quilting fabric, it was time to find a real fabric store. It took some looking around. These stores were not on the beaten tourist path, but that did not stop me. I found two. One in Intercourse, PA, that was a half book store, half fabric store, but it still carried some gorgeous fabrics, one of which I bought to make me a shirt, and another store in Bird in the Hand, PA that had quilting fabrics on the top floor and apparel fabric on the bottom floor. At first, I did not see the bottom floor and told my husband that they lied about the apparel fabric on there sign out front, but he directed me to the basement where I bought a piece of fabric for him a shirt. This business was for sell, which got me thinking about how fun it might be to live in this little town and sell fabric. Lancaster was where I visited my second PA Fabric Outlet Store. It was as amazing as the first one, so I had to buy fabric from them too. They were also having a sale and if you brought in a coupon you could draw a ticket for a discount off your purchase. I only drew a 5% off ticket, but with the already discounted prices, the extra 5% off was just a win.

The next couple of days I went fabric-less. We traveled to Lewisburg, PA to visit my niece and her family. (You know the nephew I always talk about, well they are actually her kids, so my great nephews, but it makes me feel too old to admit that very often.) We had a great time visiting and playing with the kids. It was great to see them. My niece offered to take me to Walmart to look at fabric, but I told her I could take a break on fabric shopping for a day. (Mostly because I already had half a trunk full.)  The next day we journeyed to Baltimore, MD where I did not purchase any fabric, but had a great time seeing the George Washington Monument, the inner harbor plus taking a boat harbor tour. The next day it was off to Washington D.C. We only had one day to see all of our capitol so there was not even time to think of fabric shopping. We visited many monuments, the Capitol building, the White House, and the Arlington cemetery, where we were privileged enough to see the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier.  We also did the night tour of the city and I highly recommend doing that if your visiting Washington D.C. as the monuments at night look awesome.

The next day took us to Philadelphia, PA via more of Maryland and Delaware. Let the fabric shopping begin! Our first stop was on 4th street, also known as Fabric Row. Yes, the majority of the stores on this street were fabric shops. I wandered through several of the shops but spent my money at, you guessed it, the PA Fabric Outlet Store, my third of these on this trip. Of the three, this shop was the smallest but was still packed with fabric, notions and great deals. Then we took a long car ride through some small one-way streets to Jomar on the outskirts of the city, and it was well worth the trip. I have read several blogs about Jomar and how much people love to shop there. I see now why this is true. When we entered the store, I headed right for the fabric department, and was a bit overwhelmed by all the fabric and the deals. I made my way through the store feeling and touching all the wonderful fabrics at super prices, until I hit the $1.00 per yard section. At this time I sent the husband for a cart. (I want to mention here that the husband was and is such a good sport to spend his vacation in fabric shops with the wife.) As I shopped the $1.00 per yard section and filled my cart until I made my way to the $0.50 per yard section and had to revaluate my purchases in the cart, all the time trying to remember that I had to get all this home somehow. I bought several  knits for both the husband and I shirts, sports weight fabric for pants, even some stretch velour for baby sleepers. I was in fabric heaven. (By the way, we did do some site seeing, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and Jim’s Cheesesteaks, in Philadelphia and did another night tour which was great.)

As with all good things, I began to have some buyer’s remorse as I packed my fabric purchases into the suitcase. I had planned for this and had arranged our luggage so I would have a suitcase just for fabric, but I began to worry about the weight and started to pick out which pieces of fabric, I would sit on in the plane and which I would leave at the airport if my luggage was over weight. Luckily when the skycap placed my suitcase on the scale, it was 49 lbs and I did not have to give up any of my treasures. I was a little disappointed though, if I had known I had one more pound, I could have bought one more yard. (The husband rolls his eyes.)

Now with all this great fabric from all the summer trips, I am really ready to get sewing. It’s going to be a busy fall and winter! Stay tuned.

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