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Behavioral Economics

make0016IMG_3913I stopped buying fabric remnants at Walmart a while back now because the remnants at Walmart are only discounted 20% off. When the price of fabric at Walmart used to sell for less, it seemed like the remnants with the 20% off discount was costing very little money at all. So, even if it was a little less or a little more than I needed or not quite enough for what I had in mind for that specific project, it was easy to purchase them anyway.

But, when the price of fabric went up at Walmart, the extra 20% off the remnants price just didn’t seem like it was that much of a discount. To me the remnants cost still seemed to be expensive in my mind. It made you stop, think twice and look carefully instead of just tossing the remnants in your shopping cart without much thought about the cost.

IMG_3908IMG_3909Now it does matter to me if the remnant is too little, too big, or doesn’t quite match what I had in mind. The illusion of saving more or getting a deal on the remnant pieces just isn’t there anymore, so why not get exactly what you want and need cut directly from the bolt?

Recently while doing some shopping at Walmart for items other than fabric, I ended up purchasing almost every remnant my Walmart had. Why, you might ask? Let me tell you why…

My local Walmart was prepping for it’s inventory, and I just happened to be at the right place at the right time for once. All of the remnants in the bin had been marked down to clear them out before their inventory. Most of the remnants had been marked down to a half of the 20% off price. That was about a 70% savings off the regular cost. Some of the remnants were not IMG_3910IMG_3911marked down quite by half and a few were marked down more than a half. Regardless of whether it was more or less, the remnants were a great price and I did not hesitate toss almost all of them from the bin into my cart. I think the only thing I left in the remnant bin were a couple of pieces that I definitely knew I would have no use for, like a small piece of vinyl and some cheap fleece.

I hauled my treasures home and I have had a great time sorting and matching the pieces with other fabrics in my fabric stash and creating a sewing project for each piece that I purchased. I am so excited about the remnants that I purchased that I’m not even planning on storing these remnants in the stash. Instead, I want to get them sewn up right away.

So, I guess that is my cue! I had better get busy sewing! Winter is coming…

Until then, Sew Forth and Remnant On!IMG_3917

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Covering The Board

IMG_3802My ironing board is old. Well old for an ironing board anyway. I am still using my very first ironing board that I purchased nearly 30 years ago! Of course, the ironing board cover has been replaced many times over that 30+ years. An ironing board cover can only have so much iron-on interfacing glued to it before it needs to be replaced. And each time I replace the ironing board cover, I wonder if I should just replace the whole ironing board instead of just the cover.

IMG_3800I ask this because the cost of a nice cover is about the same as an new inexpensive board with a cover. The question I ask myself every time I buy a new cover is “Have ironing boards technically changed over the years and gotten better to where I am missing out on something by not buying a new board?”

So, this time when it was time to replace the cover, I decided to purchase a whole new ironing board and see if I have been missing out on anything over the years.

IMG_0894While standing in the middle of the isle of Walmartia, I found that I had three choices (i.e. three prices) to choose from. I decided to start at the lowest of the prices. I purchased the least expensive ironing board and took it home. Unfortunately, this ironing board was not inexpensive, it was cheap. To start, it only stood on two pole legs and it was very unsteady. It teetered this was and that every time I pushed my iron across the board. I had to keep catching it to keep it from falling over as I ironed.

IMG_0899The cover on this board was super thin with no padding at all and it was drawn tight around the board with a thin string and a clamp. The board itself was not a solid piece of metal either. It was a metal mesh desk with giant diamond holes in it with an attached outside edge. The diamond mesh was very bumpy to iron on, but the lip made by the attached edge caught the iron and interrupted the ironing process. Plus, this board had a very narrow tip end to the full size of the board, giving me less ironing space where I iron the most. This ironing board was certainly not a replacement for my current ironing board, so undaunted I tried again and back to the store I went!

IMG_0893This time I purchased the middle priced ironing board with higher hopes. It was just a little more expensive than a new cover for my old board was, and this ironing board had two legs in each direction, so I already knew it was going to be superior to the cheap ironing board I had previously purchased. It still had the diamond mesh board top, but I was hopeful that it would be made better and have a better cover, plus it had accessories. This ironing board had an iron holder at the end to give you more board to work on and keep the iron from tipping over when not in use. It also had a shelf on the legs.

IMG_0900This ironing board was certainly steadier than the last board and it did not fall over with the pressure of the iron moving back and forth, but the edge of the mesh top still had a lip. I might not have noticed the lip so much if once again, this ironing board did not have the same thin, non padded, tied on with string, cover that the cheap board had. If I kept this board I would immediately have to replace the cover. So, it was up to the accessories to “wow” me into replacing my old ironing board with this one.

I’m sorry to say, the accessories did not “wow” me. I am sure that for some, the shelf attached to the legs of the board is the greatest thing ever, but for me it was not. My ironing board has to be movable and with stuff stacked on the shelf, this board became unmovable. So, for me, the shelf would never be used. Plus, I don’t need another shelf to stack stuff on.

IMG_0897The next accessory was the iron holder. This holder is a great idea in keeping a hot iron from becoming a hot burn. But, what I found was that the holder created more work for me when ironing so I would never use it. When I iron, I mostly use the top half of the board, so I had to take extra walking steps to place the iron on the holder. It did not take long to tire of – iron, take two steps to set the iron on holder, take two steps back, move the garment, take two steps to pick up the iron, take two step back to the garment, and then repeat these steps. Simply put, my iron was not at arms reach, so if I kept this board I would not use the holder. Since the accessories did not work out for me, I saw no reason to replace my current ironing board with this board either.

IMG_3797Upon examining the highest price ironing board at Walmart, I found a duplicate of my current ironing board. Walmart had two styles of the this price ironing board. The first was the same diamond mesh board as the lower priced boards and there was no way I was purchasing that one even if the cover was thicker and nicer because of the previous issues with the mesh boards. The second board looked just like the ironing board I currently have at home in the sewing room, except that the cover was not as nice. So, why spend the money for a new ironing board when it was exactly what I already had?

IMG_3798I guess nothing new and revolutionary has occurred over the years to improve the ironing board. With my new knowledge of ironing boards, I decided I would be keep my same old ironing board and replacing the cover.

As I looked at new ironing board covers, I learned that they are the same as new ironing boards. You get what you pay for with the lowest price covers being thin, non padded and string tightened and the higher prices ones being thicker, padded and velcroed on. With what I had learned from my ironing board experiment, I went ahead and purchased the higher priced, thicker, padded, velcroed cover. The new cover fits my old ironing board great and I am back to ironing on my latest sewing project. Stay tuned to see it soon!

Until then, sew forth and iron on!

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…

a long time ago SWDuuh Duuh da da da Duuh Duuh da da da Duuh Duuh dun-dun-dun-duuuuh…

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…

I BECAME A STAR WARS FAN.

It was in May of 1977 when my love of all things Star Wars began.

As I watched the action of the original Star Wars movie on the big screen of our small town theater, the Force moved over me and I was hooked for life…

I wanted to join the rebel forces immediately and be lead by Princess Leia to defeat Imperial Forces of Darth Vader, the Storm Troopers on the Death Star. I wanted to stand side by side with Luke Skywalker and feel the force flow through me as I applied Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lessons to become a Jedi Master. I wanted to interact with the coolest robot droids ever, R2-D2 and C3PO. And who didn’t have a crush on the handsome and rugged Han Solo or want to fly the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca?

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It was a few years later, but still very much a long time ago in a galaxy far far away when my love for Star Wars increased when I said “I Do” to the husband who, believe it or not, was an even bigger Star Wars fan than I was!

And, it was still a few years after that big event that Star Wars would have a HUGE impact on my sewing, embroidery and crocheting skills.

 

R2-D2 Embroidery Design

This is the very first hand digitized design that I ever made! R2-D2 for my Husbands Shirt.

My first sewing and crafting Star Wars adventure began with the purchase my first embroidery machine a long time ago. And even though I now had the tools to put any design that I wished on any of my sewing projects, there was sadly a lack of pre-made Star Wars embroidery designs for me to purchase. This lack of embroidery designs was the beginning of a whole new sewing and embroidering adventure for me, learning how to create my own embroidery designs.

The Force was not strong with me at all as I began the task of digitizing my very first Star Wars designs, and I made a lot of mistakes along the way. But as time has passed, I have grown skilled in the Force and my digitizing skills have improved to where I have a very nice selection of Star Wars designs to call upon whenever the need arises.

Occassionaly other sewing Star Wars fans have appeared with some of their own embroidery designs to help increase my selection. I won’t bore you here with the details of how to create your own embroidery designs, but if you want more information on how to do that you can click HERE for my “How to digitize your own custom embroidery designs” post.

Star Wars Miscellaneous Embroidery Designs

Some of my current Star Wars Embroidery Designs!

Over the years, I have created, sewn and stitched many items for the husband and family members with Stars Wars designs embroidered on them. Many of these were made way before the days of blogging, so sadly I have no links for you to read about them, and for that I am sorry.

My favorite Star Wars sewing project so far though is the gray Darth Vader shirt that I made for the husband to wear while we were at a Star Wars Weekends event at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studio’s Park in Florida. img_0901

DSC06157And my sewing ego about burst as the husband received compliments on his custom made Darth Vader Star Wars shirt from several of the actors of the Star Wars movies while we were there including Anthony Daniels (C-3PO). Click HERE to read about the making of that shirt and click HERE to see my hand crocheted Domo Kun Plush having a great time while at a Star Wars Weekends event. And for an added bonus, click HERE for some sewing advice from Han Solo.

han-solo-300x240It wasn’t until 22 years after watching the first movie in 1977 with the release of Star Wars Episode 1 in 1999 that I was finally able to purchase my first piece of Star Wars fabric. It was a cotton print of a flaming Darth Vader helmet on a black background. I had wonderful plans for this fabric when I purchased it, but it was quickly brought home and placed in the precious fabric stash unused and that is where it still lives today.img_3405

But, the second piece of Stars Wars fabric that I purchased, a fleece remnant with Darth Vader on it, was used to make the nephew a blanket with when he was a youngling. And the Force was strong with this blanket. It was the first blanket that I ever crocheted and edge around and it was the beginning of my crocheting and amigurumi making adventures. To read more about this blanket, click HERE. Since then, I have always purchased Star Wars fabric whenever and wherever I could find it.

star-wars-force-awakens-official-poster copyToday, “As The Force Awakens”, you can find item from the Star Wars Universe like R2-D2, C-3PO, BB-8, Rey, Finn, Captain Phasma and Kylo Ren, everywhere including in the sewing and crocheting world.

Over the last year, I have seen Star Wars sewing blog posts pop up everywhere as the Force is again re-embraced by the younglings. There are many new Star Wars related designs made with gorgeous new Star Wars fabrics to be seen and read about everywhere I turn.

Star Wars Fabrics

A few of the MANY Star Wars Fabrics I now own!

And I now see bolts of wonderful Star Wars fabrics lining Walmart and Joann’s shelves every time I enter their stores (And, YES, before you ask, I have purchased a fair amount of this fabric to live in the stash.).

And the latest thing I have seen is the new Star Wars Amigurumi crochet book and kit (And, YES, before you ask, I have already purchased that kit too) to let you crochet all your favorite Star Wars Characters for yourself.

SWCrochetBookNeedless to say in the 38 years since my “first awakening to the force” Star Wars sewing and crafting has come a long, long way. Far beyond the days of me struggling greatly while trying to digitize my first Star Wars designs because nothing else was available.

I am very excited for the new Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens movie to open on December 18th. I certainly won’t be the first person in line to see the new movie, but I might be the second :-).

I would like to be one of the first to start sewing and crocheting with the new fabrics and patterns that the buzz for this new movie has created, so hopefully you will see some fun new Star Wars projects from me on here in the very near future!

Until then, sew with the Force and crochet on! And may the Force be with you always!

 

I’ll Never Fall In Love Again!

Screen-Shot-2013-11-05-at-9.01.40-AMYou can see it from across the fabric store and there is a whole wall displaying it…

You’re drawn to it and it is so soft, fuzzy and warm, and some of the cutest designs ever are printed on it…

You MUST buy some and, as a general rule, its on sale…

Of course, I am talking about polar fleece and everybody just loves this fabric! Everyone it seems except me. Dare I say it out loud, I may not be in love with fleece or enjoy working with it as much as everyone else on the planet seems to be.

And here is why.

I, like everyone else, love the idea or the concept of fleece fabric. And who wouldn’t? It’s soft, warm, fuzzy fabric with no fraying, no shrinking, it looks good on both sides, it has some stretch but not too much stretch, and all the other fun features that fleece offers a sewer. What isn’t there to love? But, after sewing the last girl’s fleece jacket and starting my next sewing project with fleece, I’m not convinced that it really is all that easy and wonderful of a fabric to work with.

When I first started purchasing fleece fabrics, I planned to only make blankets with it, and who cared if the blankets were a little off grain and the print wasn’t perpendicular, or that it can’t be easily ironed or caused several headaches when sewn with the serger due to the amount of bulk.

DSCN2567For the blankets I was making, I did not give these concepts a second thought, so I was in love with fleece just like everyone else, and I bought any and all I could get to hide in the stash for future projects I had dreamt up. When I decided that I wanted to expand my skill set a little bit and make more than blankets from the fleece, I was at a point in my sewing skills where I did not worry about grain line, or matching designs, or ironing seams. So for the first couple of fleece projects that I made, I just cut it out and sewed it up, and I was still in love with fleece.

DSCN2575 (1)As my sewing skills have advanced over time, I am now far more concerned with thing like grain lines, matching the designs, and ironing the seams. So, when it was time to make the latest girl’s fleece jacket, these things were foremost on my mind. As I cut out the pattern and the froggy’s and rainbows weren’t straight, making it difficult to cut on the grain line and match the designs up, working with fleece became more than just cut and sew.

DSCN2572Looking at the piece of fleece, there were spots where I had to move over 21 inches from the edge of the fabric before I could find a good spot to cut. This was crazy! I decided that the froggy piece of fleece was just flawed until I started my next fleece project. Although not as much, I had to move 9 inches from the edge to get the footballs and helmets to line up.

Does all fleece suffer from this problem?

DSCN2563If it does, I’m going to have to watch WAY more closely when I buy fleece for pieces that I only have to move over 9 inches rather than 21 inches, or hopefully I can find some fleece that I will only lose a couple of inches on the edge. Plus, I’m going to have to buy extra fleece to accommodate for the lost fabric. I wanted to make my latest project a size large but had to switch to a size medium when I lost the 9 inches along the edge.

DSCN2566I turned to the Internet to see if I was alone in my wavering love of fleece, and from what I was reading, I was alone, everyone else seems to love fleece, but I did find several article titled, “How to sew fleece.” So, maybe you just have to learn the skill of sewing with fleece, just like learning to sew knits, furs, silks, actually any and all other types of fabrics. Maybe after learning some lessons about sewing with fleece, I will then be completely in love with fleece like so many others are.

Well I ldid learn a lot from the articles that I read on how to sew fleece, and I am excited to try out some of the things that I learned.

Luckily, I have my next sewing project involving fleece all cut out and ready to sew, so stay tuned to see how it turned out!

Until next time, sew forth and hopefully fall in love again.

An Ode to Yarn

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No! No! No! No more fabric!

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Since my dreaded trip to the stash, I have purchased very, very little fabric recently. We even made a trip to see Mom and Dad, where Mom showered me with pieces of fabric she was parting with, and I only took 4 small pieces, not the usual 4 boxes. Mom and I even made a trip to the Walmart fabric department and I did not buy any fabric there at all. I am proud of myself for this but I quickly realized that the pride was in vain, that my habits had not changed, that I was just substituting the purchase of fabric with the purchase of yarn.

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My acquisition of yarn is really not my fault. Well not this time anyway…

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There are really two culprits to blame for the piles of yarn that are now accumulating next to the piles of fabric. The first is Walmart. My local Walmart just went through a remodel. Luckily, the fabric department wasn’t discontinued, but in the process, many skeins of yarn went on clearance. The clearance skein’s were mostly speciality type yarns which saddens my heart as I realized that my local Walmart would only have the basic Red Heart yarn styles and colors from now on. So, with this in mind, I started to buy. I felt that I had to stock up because my Walmart would not be carrying these yarns any longer. When Mom and I went to her local Walmart, I had to check out their yarn too and I found that they were also clearing out selected yarns as well. So, once again, I just HAD to buy it. So, as you can see, it is really not my fault. I had to buy the yarn while I could.

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The second culprit is my mother. Upon arriving at her home, she pulled me aside and said, “Look at this.”  She had purchased 5 skeins of Sensations Boucle pattern yarn at the local thrift store for $3.00 a skein. “You can have this if you want it.” For that price, I could not leave it. I quickly handed Mom the money and ran my new treasure out to the car before she changed her mind. It is now sitting in my pile of yarn, waiting for its turn to be crocheted into something amazing.

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Oh, what have I done?!? I might as well go back to buying fabric if I am going to replace it with yarn.

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Help. Please. Someone.

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Well you know what they say. The first step to solving the problem is admitting that you have a problem.

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So here goes: “Hi, my name is Lanita and I am a Fabriholic and now a Yarnaholic and I need help…”

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Does anyone know any local Yarnaholic chapters I can join?

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Well until next time…

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It Spoke

It spoke and I ignored it. It spoke louder and I turned away. It yelled and I walked away. It screamed and I ran. It’s haunting voice chased me and I hid. It found me and I broke. And then I bought more fabric. Horror of horrors!

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Since the trip to the stash that brought on such a negative emotional response in my previous blog post, I have avoided even the temptation to purchased fabric. I have even been to California a couple of times and I did not even stop at M & L Fabric. Once I stopped in but did not buy any fabric, not even one inch, not even thread, zippers or ribbon. But, while shopping at Wal-mart the other day, I decided to stop by and see what they had in the fabric department. Now, it has been a long time since I have bought any fabric at Wal-mart. The fabric department at my store has taken a turn for the worst recently and I just have not found anything I liked, but not this time. To make matters worse, I couldn’t just buy 2 or 3 yards, no, I have to buy 10 yards of this incredible fabric. In my defense, I could see so many things made from the fabric, a fancy jacket, a simple dressy shirt to wear to concerts, even a black dress. I can’t picture the fabric made up on me, but it spoke and so I bought.

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While I am confessing, I bought 5 yards of fleece from Fabricmart.com. It was on sale and I watched the video of the fabric multiple times before I clicked the buy button. I really do not like to purchase fabric from the internet. I am a hands on person. I want to feel the fabric and see the drape, but I was swayed by the sale and clicked the purchase button anyway. The fleece is not quite what I expected but it was close enough. If I had seen this fabric in the store for this price, I would have purchased it too. I can see several things made from it. So, I am not unhappy with my purchase in the end.

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Well, confession time is over and it is time for me to get back to the cutting table and sewing machine. These pieces have made their way to the stash, but as they entered, a couple of other pieces made their way out and are in the process of being sewn up into wonderful new things I will write about later.

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.