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In The Right Place, At The Right Time!

img_1127I am rarely in the right place at the right time. I am usually a day or two or an hour or two off the mark, but not this time. This time I was at the right place at the right time for an awesome sale at Joann’s Fabric. Despite my continued vows of purchasing no more fabric, I decided to shop this sale and I am still super excited about the deals and savings that I got, so let me tell you the story.

It was my day off and I was running some errands, when my phone chimed that I had a text.
The text was from Joann’s Fabric telling me they had a special offer just for me. Usually, I ignore these texts, but I was waiting in a line, so I decided to actually read the text.

The sale was for $20 off a $50 purchase of any regular or sale priced purchases from 4:00pm until closing that day only.

img_1136Wait a minute, that was an awesome deal!

$20 off of a $50 purchase is very close to 50% which is half price. I quickly pulled up the Joann’s app on my phone and searched the current ad. And there it was, 50% off licensed prints.

YES! 50% off the regular price plus an extra $20 off at the register? Lets go shopping! I would have no problem spending $50.00. And what made this sale even more sweet was that I was already in town and it was close to 4:00pm so it would be no trouble to swing by and pick up some beautiful new fabric to add to the stash!

img_1150I made the husband come to Joann’s with me. I also made him download the Joann’s app and coupons on to his phone. I figured that he needed to take advantage of this awesome sale as well, didn’t he? We headed down the licensed print aisle and quickly filled the cart with bolts of fun Peanuts and Star Wars prints. We then headed to the cutting table where I made a pile of bolts for the husband and a pile of bolts for me that would add up to just over $50.00 each.

Since I had instructed the husband on what and how much to have cut, I wandered off to the fleece while the husband was getting his img_1159pile of fabric cut. I found some licensed no-sew fleece blanket kits on sale for $9.99. There were several Peanuts and Star Wars blankets in the piles but I had already selected the fabric for my $50.00 purchase, so I would not be purchasing any no-sew fleece blanket kits this time.

After the cutting of our fabric purchases was done, we checked out and headed for the car. As I was reliving the savings I had just gotten again to the husband I was bemoaning the fact that I had not got any of the blanket kits. That was when the husband surprised me by saying “Well, go back then.” What?!? Go back and buy some more? What about the coupon? I only had one coupon! I looked on my phone and the coupon said it was still valid so I turned around and went back in the store.

img_1120I picked up 5 blankets and one package of dollar stickers to add up to $50.00 and headed for the register. I held my breath as the sales associate scanned the coupon on my phone. The register took the coupon and sold me my 5 blankets for $30.00 making them $6.00 a piece. What a savings! I was beyond excited! I hurriedly headed to the back to get 5 more blankets for the husband to purchase, but the husband stopped me.

Ok, ok, he was right. I had just purchased a ton of fun fabrics and now 5 blankets, and that was enough for today.

img_1141Ever since this experience, I have more carefully read the texts I receive from Joann’s, but none have been for the fabulous savings I received from that particular text that I got at the right place at the right time.

But now instead of reading more texts and planning my next fabric shopping adventure, I need to get busy sewing all of the fun fabric I purchased from this sale. So, stay tuned to see what fun things I make from all of it!

Until then, sew forth and sale on!

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Bye Bye Baby So Long – Part #2

This is a continuation from my previous blog post regarding the first time I have sold any of Amigurumi creations.

P1010766Three sales stood out for me that evening. The first started when a lady took an interest in T-Bone, my skeleton. My heart jumped with anxiety. When the lady asked how much, little beads of sweat, popped out on my forehead. Could I actually sell T-Bone? The voices in my mind erupted. NO! Tell her “Sorry, he is not for sell, just for show.” or I could give her an outrageous price and just scare her off, or just grab T-Bone and run away were some of the things that went through my mind. But, after calming those voices, like Snoopy, I asked the lady for a reasonable cost for my time and materials and she agreed. I was still not certain that I wanted to part with T-Bone at this point though so I began to talk with the lady. I learned that she was a fellow knitter and crocheter and owned a yarn shop where T-Bone would live on display. Phew! What a relief it was to know that T-Bone would be in a good home. She would take care of him and I now had some money to buy enough yarn and stuffing to make myself another skeleton.

P1040460The next memorable sale that night was to a young girl about 7 years old. She looked at all my amigurumi’s carefully and then asked what she could get for a dollar. I explained to her that I really did not have anything that I could sell her for just a dollar, but she continued to study the amigurumi’s and I started to look around for her parents. I did not see them anywhere, but after a few more minutes, she left.

She came back a few minutes later with $7 in ones and some change, and the question was asked again, “What can I get for this?” So, I asked her what she wanted. And as she was studying the display some more, I started asking about her parents, and I came to learn that her parents owned a restaurant down the block. After some thought, she decided that she wanted one of my one-eyed pocket pal monsters. How much? I looked at her $7 and said “How about $2?” I had sold the other pocket pals that evening for $5, but this was unique sell so I lowered the price for her a bit. She quickly grabbed the monster and holding up the remaining $5, she repeated the question, “What can I get for this much money?” After getting her a bag, we started to pick though the table. She decided to purchase a couple of other small amigurumi’s at a discounted price.

P1020517Now with only $1 left, the question was asked again. What could I sell her for just a buck? I then spied the two little bean monsters that I had made a long time ago and were not my best work. “How about a little monster?” I asked. She agreed and was trying to decide which one of the monsters she wanted for her $1 when I picked them both up and tossed them in her bag for her. A huge smile crossed her face as she was peeking into her bag at her purchases. As she started to leave, I called her back and told her that for being one of my best customers of the evening, I had something for her, and I gave her one of the small ghosts I had made for Halloween decorations. As I dropped the ghost into her bag, she grabbed me around the waist and gave me a big hug. My heart melted. At that point she could have had the whole table. It did my heart good to have someone want my amigurumi’s as much as she did.

IMG_1659 - Version 2The last sale that I want to mention from that night was my made by my sister, bless her heart. She and my two nieces came to my show to support me and purchased several of my amigurumi’s. Although I did give her a good price on them, I still felt guilty charging her money. They are family and I should have just given the amigurumi’s to her and my nieces, but they wanted to pay for them to support me at my first show.

DSCN0483At the end of the night I had sold about 1/4 of my amigurumi’s that I had brought to show. I was surprised by which amigurumi’s sold and which ones did not sell. No one wanted Porcine the pig or Paulie the Penguin? As surprised as I was I put my remaining amigurumi into three bags and packed them away in the trunk. The next day, we stopped by some friend’s to visit them. The conversation turned to the show and the sales of my amigurumi’s.

These friends had not seen all the amigurumi’s that I had made recently, so I retrieved the three bags from the car to show them off to them. When my friend fell in love with Porcine and her husband liked Corny, the candy corn guy I made last year for Halloween, my friend asked if she could buy these two amigurumi’s from me. Sure I said, but would you like any of the others? Her response was yes and she proceeded to go through the bags and wanted to purchase all the amigurumi that I wanted to sell. She said she is always looking img_0248-1for gifts for nieces and nephews and neighbor kids. So after this final sale, I came home with just one bag of amigurumi’s left. And I now have just enough fingers to count the number of amigurumi’s that I still own.

I have very mixed emotions about the selling of my amigurumi’s. I am sad that I have parted with them and I won’t be able to look at them daily, but also so happy that they are being enjoyed by others too. Plus, I have still great memories of making them, and now will not feel guilty when I purchase more yarn and stuffing to make more in the future.

So all in all I would call my Art Show Sale a sweet, but somewhat sad success!

Until next time, crochet forth and sell on.

Bye Bye Baby So Long – Part #1

IMG_1665Last month, I was asked to be the featured artist of the month, displaying my amigurumi’s, for a downtown business during their monthly art walk. I did not have to sell my amigurumi’s, just display them as art works, but I could sell them if I wanted to. As I looked around the house at the many amigurumi’s I had made that still needed a home, and seeing that I needed to purchase another bag of stuffing after completing Kevin the Moose and Porcine the Pig, I decided I would sell some of my amigurumi’s if anyone was interested.

I wandered around the house gathering up all the amigurumi’s I had recently completed. The pile included the amigurumi’s that I considered mine, like Roxie and Red the cows, Sara the dinosaur, T-Bone the skeleton, and the DSCN0300 - Version 2husband’s ninja army. I did not really want to sell MY amigurumi’s but they would be nice to have in the display as fill in’s so I stuffed the pile of amigurumi’s into four garbage bags. I had no idea what to price my amigurumi’s for, so I priced them based on the supplies that would be needed to make them again, and how complicated each one was to make, plus a little extra cost for the ones I did not want to really part with. I also decided to have a raffle for a Snowman blanket that was made many years ago, and to give the proceeds from the raffle to a local charity. The last preparation for the show was to make a portfolio of my work so people could see what I do. I decided to include some of my sewing projects, the little dresses that I have been sewing, some baby sleepers and blankets, and some of the kid’s t-shirts I have made in the portfolio. I would not have these sewing items in my art display since I just had a small display space, but if someone was interested in them, I would certainly be willing to sell them.

DSCN0302The day of the show, I arrived early, excited to set up my display. The husband thought it would be best to set my display up on the sidewalk in front of the business rather than inside the business and I agreed. The weather also co-operated and was a gorgeous fall day for an art show. I purchased some 12 packs of soda pop to make a stair stepped display for my amigurumi’s and then I covered the boxes with some fabric to make it presentable. With my amigurumi’s all out on display, I waited for potential customers to walk by and view all of my lovely creations.

DSCN0215After a few passerbys, my first customer arrived. He was out walking his dog. Guess which amigurumi’s caught his eye? Yup, you guessed it, Snoopy and Woodstock. If I sold only one item, why did it have to be a Snoopy? He wanted to purchase the last Snoopy that I had made and the Woodstock who was supposed to go with the other standing Snoopy that I had made and brought for the show. Whether this Snoopy was officially mine or needed to go to a good home, when the idea of parting with him was on the line, he immediately became MINE and I really didn’t want to let him go. When the man asked me how much, I gave him a higher price than he probably needed. Now it wasn’t a preposterous price or anything, but one I thought was higher than I would get for a crocheted Snoopy. But what shocked me even more was when he said very simply “Sold” without even trying to bargain with me! What? My Snoopy! Not my Snoopy! What had I done! I could not part with a Snoopy! The husband took the money from the man and I placed the Snoopy and Woodstock in a bag for him. Tears started to well in my eyes and I could not believe that I had sold a Snoopy that I had made to a stranger. What on earth was I doing? Oddly enough, this man seemed to understand, but then what did I expect from a fellow Snoopy fan? He explained how excited he was with his purchase and that he was going to take them right home and place them on his desk, easing some of my separation anxiety. As he walked away, I could tell the Snoopy and Woodstock were going to a good home.

P1040374Over the years I have given away many of the amigurumi’s I have made, and I have never had any problems parting with them before. I guess this was because I knew who they were going to or I had made a specific item for a specific person. This was different though. I was selling my work for money and had no idea who was taking them or if they would be in a good home or not. But, after I watching the Snoopy and Woodstock leave, the selling of my other amigurumi’s became easier. In fact, I had to use a little salesmanship at some points during that night. “Hello there! You look like you need a penguin?” “Don’t pass by without seeing the dragon!” Some sales were easier though, as “I just MUST have that monster! It’s so CUTE!” came from one customer that stopped by. And away she went with a homemade monster amigurumi. And so it went on into the beautiful fall evening…

I have more to say about the art show, but I will stop here for now. Stay tuned for part 2 of this post!

Until next time, crochet forth and sell on!

To Live and Buy in LA

IMG_1659I Love LA!

The lights, the beaches, the entertainment, the movie stars, the glamor, the shopping! Oh yes the shopping!

Of course it was shopping in the fashion and garment district that in LA that I loved the most!

I recently journeyed to Los Angeles, CA to attend the 56th Annual Grammy Awards show and the Grammy’s Tribute to the Beatles show, and then the next day the husband took me to the LA Fashion/Garment district (LAFD) to do some fabric shopping. Wow! I was in heaven! Even with as many times that I have been to LA over the years, I just hadn’t previously made the time to go and see the downtown LA fashion district. I had done a little research before I went on where I wanted to go and what I wanted to see, so I had some idea of what I was in for, but it was still very overwhelming. The beautiful rolls of fur, satin, silk and lace that lined the streets in every direction for as far as the eye could see made my mouth drool and my head spin like a top. My creative mind swirled with idea after idea. I was ready to shop, ready to buy and ready to create something ASAP!

IMG_0002-1From my research I knew I wanted to go to Michael Levine’s, so I decided to start there. It was a fun store but it was a little disappointing to me from what I had heard about it. It was a nice fabric store and the prices were reasonable. You could find pretty much any sewing item you needed. But, for a bargain hunter/stash collector, this was not the place for me. So I next made my way across the street, and headed for Michael Levine’s Loft.

IMG_1715On my way to the Loft, I stopped at a shop that had $0.99/yd satins displayed outside. I needed some of these satins for some current projects that I was working on. And while I was purchasing several yards of several different pieces, I found a fabulous knit for the husband a shirt but I did not want to pay the $7/yd even though it was a big name designer fabric. The shop owner said he would go down to $6/yd and I’m sure I could have got him down to $5/yd, but I just could not pay that price for fabric to stash in the closet, so I past on this fabric and I am glad I did. Because in the LAFD you just never know what you might find if you look hard enough!

IMG_1722We made our way into the Loft, and I was in bargain paradise. All fabric at the Loft was in big card board boxes and you have to dumpster dive to see what there is. All the fabric in the Loft is sold by the pound for $2.50/lb. I dived right in to see what treasures I could find but after several boxes, I could see that the husband, although being a real trouper, was starting to waver, so I decided I was done. At least I thought I was until I just happened upon a scrap piece of the the $7/yd designer knit fabric from the other store.

Now the hunt was on!

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Even the husband got involved in the hunt at this point. After digging though several more boxes and finding a couple more scraps, and it was still not enough to make the husband a shirt, we decided to call it quits on the hunt. But as we started to leave, the husband spied the desired fabric in another box, and this was a big piece of more than 2 yards in length that would be enough for him a shirt. I ran and grabbed the scrap pieces, which were about 3/4 yd each, plus some snowman lace and some black satin lace for lining, and headed for the scales to check out. I now have a little over 3 lbs of fabric, about 7 yards in total for just $7.50! Or just slightly more than the price of 1 yard of the same fabric from the store down the street. I was so excited! Not only was I going to get a shirt for the husband, but I would still have plenty of scraps for all kinds of kid’s clothes, as well as the snowman lace and lining, which was so light that it was practically free!

IMG_1718After leaving the Loft we continued to make our way down the street, and as we did I touched so many different gorgeous fabrics along the way, especially fur in styles and colors I had never seen before. I had already purchased way more fabric than I needed, because I really didn’t need any, so I started to bemoan the storage of my purchases. Why had I picked up that snowman lace? What P1040004was I going to do with it besides have it live in a box?

But then the husband said, “Why don’t you put it over some velvet and make a Christmas dress for the little neighbor girl.” I don’t know if he had this brilliant idea before seeing the next store, or if the idea came to him beforehand, but the next store had some beautiful crushed velvet for $1.99/yd. I promptly purchased what they had left on a roll of black. This is going to be a beautiful Christmas dress for the little neighbor girl. I just need to get it made now, in between my other projects and before next Christmas rolls around.

IMG_1731At this point both I and the husband were getting tired, and the purchases that the husband was being a dear and carrying around seemed to be getting heavy. And even though we had only been on one street so far today, and only in a fraction of the many stores we had walked past, we were ready to call it quits, or at least that’s what I thought until I saw the next store with nothing but notions. As made our way across the street to go and see what the notion store had, we passed a shop selling fleece so of course I just had to stop there too.

Outside the fleece shop they were displaying all of the different sporting teams fleeces, so we stopped in really quick just to see what they had. The salesman told us it was $10/yd for the fleece. That was not a bad price for licensed prints. He then mentioned that inside, the fleeces, although not licensed prints, were $6/yd. That was a great price so I had to step in just to see. The entire wall was covered with rolls of fleece 4 and 5 rolls deep. There were so many different prints, dogs and baseballs and monkeys and princesses. I started to pick out everything that I wanted and then I stopped. $6/yd was a great price but was more than I wanted to pay for fabric just to live in the stash. Seeing that he was losing a sale, the salesman piped up that if I would purchase 20 yards of any print, he would sell it to me for just $2/yd.

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What?!? $2/yd?!? SOLD!

As I began to pick out all the different prints I wanted, I happened to glance over at the husband and saw a tear in his eye. He did not want to tell me no, but he was not sure how I was going to get 200 yards of fleece home or where in the stash 200 yards of fleece was going to live. And he was right. I really, really, really did not need any more fleece! I have barely sewn up any of the fleece that I already own and so I put the rolls of fleece back and we headed towards the notion store once again.

The notion store was great, full of thousands of buttons and threads and zippers and lace. I was very unprepared to shop at this store though. I have white zippers for sleepers but did I need pink or blue or yellow? I need separating zippers but what sizes and what colors? I use three buttons on every shirt I make for the husband but what color or size would I need next? What color of thread do I need for my next project? What is my next project? My head was still spinning and I was feeling faint. So, I purchased some various buttons in sizes and colors that I use often and we left.

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Finally totally exhausted we headed back to the car, but not without a stop for a world famous LA Bacon Dog on the way! If you haven’t ever had one, it’s a bacon wrapped hot dog with grilled peppers and onions usually cooked on a cookie sheet on top of a shopping cart scattered everywhere throughout LA’s downtown street corners.

In the end I had a wonderful first time shopping at LA’s garment district. And I plan to return there again some day soon. I can already hear the monkey fleece calling me back!

Happy New Year 2014!

Wishing you and yours peace, joy, serenity, and happiness in the coming new year.

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Yes I know this is the year of the ‘listicle’ or Top 10 Lists, but I’m not going to waste my time or yours by posting one for you like everyone else will do in their end of the year blog posts. I’ll leave that up to David Letterman who can do a far better job than I can. I also won’t bore you with any ‘selifies’ of myself for that matter, because lets be honest here, you really have better things to do than to look at that!

Instead, I will leave you with a photo collage of some of the fun things I did throughout the year of 2013.

I had a very busy year as you can see here:

2013.collage

There was plenty of sewing, mending, altering, crocheting, costume making, designing and crafting, laughing, crying, and gnashing of teeth to be done as usual around here.

It was a lot of fun and I sure learned a lot. I hope that you were entertained and learned something new too by reading all of my crazy adventures this past year!

Cheers! And here is to an even better coming new year!

Mother Dough – The Obsession Begins

When you make sourdough bread, you start with a piece of dough left over from the last unbaked loaf as a starter for the next loaf. This is called the mother dough. And when I was opening the boxes of the stash in my big ‘Fabric Stash Organization and Cleanup of 2013’ project, I have found the first piece of fabric that was ever placed in my stash. It is a piece of cotton, 2 yards in length, with tiny camels on it. It was the piece of fabric that started my fabric stash in the first place, or my mother dough as it were.

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P1020984When I was in college, I needed a job to pick up some extra cash to help pay for the expenses of going to school full time. And so, back in the day I found work at a discount fabric store named the $2 Fabric Store. My mom had taught me to sew when I was just a young girl and I had entered a few sewing projects as a member of my local 4H club. And now that I was a newly married bride, and a full time student and poor as a church mouse, I was trying to remember all that she had taught me as quickly as I could. I was doing this so that I could make some clothes for the husband,  and so we didn’t have to pay the outrageous clothing prices they wanted for clothes in his size at the local Big and Tall store. I understood the basic process of sewing and I had recently purchased some fabric and was in the process of making the husband a shirt from it, but I had not bought any more fabric than I needed to complete that project, and I only had the piece I was currently sewing together.

I of course knew about the obsession to buy and store extra fabric that people develop when they start sewing, but I certainly had not been swept up by it at that point in time. The other ladies that I worked with at the fabric store were quick to snag any new fabric that came in and caught their fancy, and I remembered my mother buying fabric to tuck into a box for later, so I did not find their behavior odd at the time, but it just wasn’t for me. Then one day while at work, some of the fabric had been marked down to just $0.50 a yard and the ladies were going nuts over it! It was at this time that I got caught up in the fabric purchasing frenzy and I bought this first 2 yard piece of fabric just to store away for later. And so I put my dollar in the register and took my purchase home. Even though at the time I had no idea what I was going to do with it.

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P1020986Purchasing the fabric was fun. I got a little kick from it and the ladies at work were so excited to see me purchase the fabric since I normally did not buy into their mania. So, I figured that the next time I saw a great deal that I just couldn’t pass up I would do it again. So, I soon spent another dollar and purchased another piece of fabric, this time 2 yards of cotton with panda bears skiing printed on it. It was just as much fun to purchase as the first piece of fabric was and the second piece of fabric was soon placed with the first piece.

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I quickly learned that fabric purchasing was highly addictive. I began to look at the other fabric in the store and think about what my next purchase would be. I started to agree with the other ladies that I just had to buy another piece that next payday. It was not long before the next payday came and I had purchased my next piece of fabric, 2 yards of purple and green plaid printed fleece. I loved the piece and wanted to make a shirt from it. I had even paid a whole one dollar per yard for it! Outrageous! This was the start. Now I had 3 pieces of fabric in my stash. I now had yardage of fabric on hand. I could make whatever I wanted whenever I wanted without going to the store and making a purchase first. And so it goes.

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P1020987And even now, somewhat ironically, I still have these original 3 pieces of fabric in my stash. I laughed when I came across them while I was sorting through my boxes. After 20+ years, these three pieces of fabric that I had originally purchased so long ago are still living in a box, sitting in the stash just waiting for their turn to be picked and made into something fun.

As I looked at these three pieces, I thought to myself, “What were you thinking? Especially that purple and green plaid fleece. It’s just awful.” Needless to say those three pieces quickly made their way to the depart with pile, but in the end I had pulled them back out. Doesn’t the little neighbor girl need a dress with camels or skiing panda on it? Plus the purple and green plaid isn’t that bad. I should make me the shirt I wanted, even if I never wear it, just to say that I have a shirt from the third piece of fabric from my stash that I purchased all so long ago. It’s all so nostalgic of course!

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P1020992Speaking of nostalgia, I found one more piece of fabric that brought back a million memories for me. This piece of beige cotton with fudgecicles printed on it is very old. It is the remnants from a blouse that my mother made for me for my first day of school in the first grade. I remember the blouse having elastic at the neckline and she also made me a pair of brown polyester pants to wear along with the the blouse. The final piece of the outfit was a matching purse from the brown polyester, lined with the fudgecicle fabric. The purse had a ruffle on the flap made from the fudgecicle fabric and a fudgecicle pocket on the front. I thought I was quite dashing in this ensemble at the time!

A few years ago, my mother was parting with this piece of fabric and I quickly took it from her. It needed to come home and live in my stash. Now as far as a piece of fabric goes, it is not a very high quality piece at all. It’s a very thin and loose weave, and it would not be the first fabric I would pick for a project. And I would not have bought it had I saw it at the store, but it still holds a lot of memories for me, so I keep it tucked away in the stash if for nothing more than nostalgia’s sake. I need to do something special with it, but I am not sure what that exactly is yet. So, for now, it continues to live in the stash to provide me with some fond memories of my childhood’s past.

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“It is strange how we hold on to the pieces of the past while we wait for our futures.”
― Ally Condie

I put a Curse on You, You evil Fabric Sale you!

Joann’s last sale featured some basic sewing supplies I was running low on, so I decided to take a journey to the sale. Before we left, the husband handed me an emailed coupon for 20% off my purchase including all regular and sales prices. Excited at the thought of saving even more on the supplies I needed, we headed for the store.

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When we got to the store, my list of needed supplies was quickly put in my pocket as the first rack of fabric was all leftover holiday prints 60% off. 60% off was a great price but then add my 20% off on top of that and I was in sale heaven! I quickly filled the cart with bolts and bolts of wonderful fabric which included holiday Snoopy and Mickey Mouse in both cottons and fleeces. After the cart was too heavy to push, I made my way to the cutting tables to have it cut.

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On the way to the cutting tables, I passed the licensed prints, at 40% off for the sale. You can do the math, 40% sale plus 20% coupon. How much more can I fit in the cart? How much more can I fit in the trunk of the car? How much more can I fit in the stash? Without answering these important questions, several more bolts of precious fabric made its way to the cutting table with me.

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After spending a fair amount of time at the cutting table, the husband, who is a real trooper, reminded me of the list of supplies that we really came for. It did not take long to pick those up and then we were off to the registers.

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After ringing up my piles of fabric and needed supplies, the young man behind the register handed me a coupon for 30% my total purchases for next week. The husband about burst into tears and I started to plan my trip to Joann’s next week to shop the sales again.

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And yes I do have to keep reminding the husband that if the apocalypse happens in the near future that I will always be able to trade fabric for food. If it wasn’t for that, I’m unsure he would let me continue to purchase more and more fabric for the stash.