What, you mean you actually want me to write on this here blog? I’m shocked! Well, lest you think I’ve crawled into a hole with some big Jane Austen book the past few weeks, I’ll try to do some updating.
Now, I know you’re dying to hear stories of fried genitalia (Maya) and other assorted Missouri oddities, but I’m sorry/relieved to report that the Midwest vacation only offered up pretty typical fare. Well, I did determine that despite being raised by wolves, I seem to have a genetic predisposition to buy those infamous fat quarters, but more on that later.
Let Them Eat Cake!
Shouldn’t every vacation begin with a party? And what better kind of party than a first birthday party? Actually, every vacation should begin with Mexican food and shopping, which of course we did. Ahhh, real enchiladas and empanadas topped off with a mango margarita… let the festivities begin! Anyway, post-Mexican-gorging, we threw quite a fete for the newest addition to the clan, little Drewbie. He got the usual menagerie of noisy toys and even politely showed interest in new clothes. We were really all just waiting for the messy cake diving. There was a little bit of blue icing under the chin, but overall, the kid is just too neat. I was slightly concerned until Miss Hot Pants Mikayla told me she had “plans” for Drew and was going to teach him to make a mess. Can’t wait to see the kids’ table at Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t worry, Sarah, we won’t let him learn too many bad habits… yet.
The main event was followed by swimming at the farm and the usual Graff family pool party. The pool was full. The kitchen table was fuller. Gotta refuel after all that strenuous standing in the shallow and watching the kids splash, right? We followed the “if you can see it, you can eat it” rule, which had nearly everyone digging in the pantry and fridge for assorted treats. Forget fancy party planning around my family. Just pass the chicken salad without green things and hope that the chips aren’t stale.
One Day at Quilt Camp…
Yes, the joke that never seems to die… Anyway, despite umpteen trips to stock up on more fat quarters, we made it to quilt camp. Okay, since my mother is outing me, I’ll give the full count in public for all to see. I’d even show pics if I thought to take them but I left the newly acquired stash in Missouri… far, far away so as not to distract me from that dissertation thing I’m supposed to be doing. Ahem, so, without further adieu, the results of my shopping. First stop: Mexico Wal-Mart… The locusts descended upon the fancy fringe aisle because we just had to make some more of those cute mesh bags. Sick, sick, sick. I managed to get two yards of fabric for bags, which of course is much, much more fabric that I actually needed for the one purse I was planning to make as a gift, but who ever gets just what they need to make one birthday present, right? I mean, that would be just silly… a wasted trip to the cutting table. So, two yards of fabric and 4 yards of fringe beads later… I find the fat quarter section. *cue ominous music*
It was SueAnn’s fault, really, it was. She did one of her, “Oooh, isn’t this cute?” moves and before I knew it, she was handing me four bundles of fat quarters and thinking how cute they would be in a quilt. She basically threw them in my cart. I resisted, I did. I screamed and tried to defend my cart from the evil forces, but who can resist SueAnn? And I have absolutely no idea how two sets of fat quarters for the infamous Turning Twenty beast found my cart. I plead the fifth.
If you laugh, you can’t snuggle under the two quilts I’m planning to make with cool shiny fabric with embroidered designs. So there…
Stop Two: Mexico sewing store… I think it’s called the Sticky Wicket. (I’m sure I’ll get hits on the blog from people searching for porn with that one. I’m not sure what a wicket is exactly, but I think a sticky one probably warrants a trip to the doctor. Ewwww.) I was a bit concerned when my mother began pulling on her brass knuckles and preparing for a throw down as we pulled up. Lesson to the world, don’t ever give Nonie a hard time about her discount store sewing machine. She’ll do very mean things with both her long and short shank. She isn’t MomMom’s daughter for nothing. Thankfully the sewing store ladies (a.k.a. crack dealers) saw an easy target when we walked in the door and piled on the charm, hoping to unload mass quantities of yardage. I managed to escape their siren song with a stash of zippers and some elastic with a drawstring. I know you’re thinking, “What on God’s green earth is she going to do with zippers and elastic?” The answer (say it with me)… “I’m gonna make something out of it!” The zippers are for the cutest little zipper pouches ever seen and the elastic is for the top of my knitted tube top.
Stop right now… No, you can’t get cute little zippered pouches just like this for $1 at Wal-Mart and yes, I will actually wear a knitted tube top in public. Maybe. We’ll see when I get it done.
We stayed in the car for a little bit before yet another fabric fix. Everyone needs to go to two Wal-Marts in a matter of hours, right? Just because I needed to get another set of fat quarters to round out the sets since I’d polished off the stock in Mexico… I don’t have a problem. And then you know I had to get an extra bundle in case I mess up a set. Yes, I hear you snickering. I think this was my only crafty purchase the first round. More later…
Now I get to brag a bit. We headed to the Hickory Stick, a place known for its evil allure, and I came out empty-handed. I’ll wait while you pick yourself up off the floor. No cute Amy Butler fabric. No charming prints with London things. No nothing. Good girl. I even left and went in search of yarn and came back empty handed. Granted, this is only because the store was closed, but still, I survived downtown Hannibal with no purchases. A momentous day…
Believe it or not, we actually made it to camp, set up shop and used some of our supplies. There was actual making something out of all the crap we brought! Unfortunately I can’t get into details yet as I was working on a super secret surprise present, but there was sewing. It was good.
I was feeling rather virtuous in fact, until Marcy the Enabler walked through the door. Sure, she pretends to be a sweet quilter, but I see through that guise. I knew what she was up to when she so sweetly hands me an innocent-looking yard of hip and happening fabric. The twinkle was in her eyes, the evil thoughts brewing. And yes, I fell for it. I got excited. I started planning a purse. I even thought about a gym bag. But who would do something practical like that? Not this chicadee! I knew it was going to happen… plans for another quilt. Like I need plans for more quilts to make… Geez, I gotta stay away from these people. They’re all evil, I tell you, evil.
So quilt camp was quilt camp. We ate too much and laughed too much and sewed too much. Oh wait, I forgot, you can’t do too much of any of those things when you’re at quilt camp. And birthday cake doesn’t count as calories, especially when it has your name on it. After years of abuse, I finally scored my own cake, three of them, in fact. I’ve always liked that I shared my birthday with my grandfather and now I also share it with my nephew. But, this means that my cakes usually read “Happy Father’s Day and Birthday, BobBob… and Leslie.” (That “and Leslie” part is usually scrawled on the very edge with different color icing when someone realized, “Oh shit, we forgot that other one. Is she going to be home for the party this year?”) So I whined and bitched and had more cake than anyone should.
(Feel bad enough, Mom? Should I whine some more? I’m kidding. And I know I’m pushing my limit. Next year I’ll probably get a cake in the face.)
After our usual reverie, the question was posed as to how Ashley and I managed to come out fairly normal, considering our mothers. It’s something we’ve often wondered ourselves. I mean, after the matching cowgirl dresses and bad perms, you’d think we’d need even more therapy than we do. The real answer came out. Our mothers were lost in the fabric section looking for cheap-o remnants to make more ruffles for the bottoms of our hand-me-down jeans and while we were outside in the playpen getting pooped on by the birds we were adopted by wolves who saw that an intervention was necessary. The wolves only sent us back when they thought we could do some good and civilize them. I’m afraid we’re failing horribly.
So, quilts were flying out of our machines, projects were being moved into the “done” pile at an alarming rate, when we were called out of our euphoria with the call of the wild. “Anyone need to go to Wal-Mart?” The drooling began. Granted, it was 36 hours into quilt camp and there was a real need for more supplies. I mean, a desperate need. I was out of fabric! Kind of out of fabric… Basically, I finished a quilt, changed my mind and had to make another quilt. I won’t get into details, but let’s just say quilt #1 is a present which had to be completed by a deadline. I met the deadline and was doing just fine on the completing projects assignment when I decided I needed another challenge and had to get fabric for quilt #2.
Results of late night trip to Wal-Mart: Another set of fat quarters and fabric to complete the gift quilt, 3 fat quarters from the clearance bin, a quilt book, 6 yards of fabric for the new quilt inspired by Marcy, and 2 skeins of yarn. I’m not proud. I’ll admit to my addictions. The yarn and clearance fabric doesn’t count because it was clearance. Really, none of it counts because it was all on sale. The fabric for the pop art/comic book quilt was only $2 a yard, which means I had to buy it because at that price, you just have to buy it. I honestly don’t have quilt books and I’m sure I’ll find some inspiration in there for future quilts. Yeah, why am I justifying? I bought crafty supplies. So there.
And the entertainment while collecting all these supplies? You know some high times are to be had when you’re mixing with Hannibal, Missouri’s finest rednecks in the middle of the night In case we run out of inspiration for our quilts, we got some tips from the locals that are ready for debut on HGTV. I’m pretty sure these locals are ready for their own decorating show, really. He had waist-length greasy grey hair, a wife beater tank top with a confederate flag proudly marching across his chest and the look of champions, cut off acid-washed Wranglers to display his spindly legs coming out of his high top sneakers and tube socks. I know, girls, it was hard to hold myself back. Well, it was difficult until I saw his woman and was scared… very, very scared. Mademoiselle Missouri Redneck was sporting her finest John Deere cap with a bun neatly coming out the back, glasses nearly as big as her face and coordinating cut offs which highlighted her hiking boots and tube socks. I wanted to tell her that even L.L. Bean models look stupid with their shorts and hiking boots, but who am I to ruin her wardrobe? Now I know you’re on the edge of your seat waiting for the tip of the month from the cut-off couple. Get out your sketchbook kids because everyone’s going to want to make their own high end work of art. When you have a basement door that’s unsightly, it’s an easy fix. Just head to Wal-Mart and find your own little version of Picasso. Our decorators supreme recommend a Southwest motif, especially when it’s on the clearance rack as well. (No, there’s no relation between my clearance bin obsession and theirs… none at all.) The project is easy. Just tack up a couple of yards of ugly, ugly, ugly fabric and no one will be able to find your basement door. No one will even think to ask if you’ve got your meth lab hidden behind Pocahontas. Not a friend in the world will hit your stash of Natty Light behind Chief Ugly Material. Of course, it helps to have friends that are missing some teeth and also wear high tops from the early 80s.
Whew, still with me? See why I was exhausted when I returned to Buffalo?
Lest you think this was all of my fabric gluttony, I’ll warn you that Ashley and I closed both Hobby Lobby and JoAnn’s. We made our mothers proud. But more on that later…