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Sandy Navas
June 5th, 2011, 11:49 AM
I had only been on one bus tour prior to joining a group of quilty girls in Hamilton, MO early Friday morning. That previous bus tour was a disaster, as I had to spend the entire trip listening to someone with a very irritating voice talk on and on ad nauseam for the duration of the trip. My husband said, as I left home, "I sure hope there aren't a bunch of NUTS on your trip."

I had to return home and tell Al, "They were all NUTS on the trip." Nuts about fabric, nuts about enjoying themselves, nuts about just about everything. It could NOT have been a more fantastic trip. Each and every passenger on the bus I rode was a very special quilter with a very special goal. I did not take the opportunity to get to know each and every one (I am basically a private person). But, when interacting at our stops it was easy to speak to each one as if they were long-time friends. Quilters are a very unique group!

Carolyn was our tour guide and her sister Christine came in from Virginia to join us. Carolyn was very knowledgeable of the area and imparted loads of interesting tidbits, historical, funny, and personal about places we visited. She brought snacks, prizes, gifts, and lots of laughter for the trip. And our driver, Ray, was a true asset. Fun-loving, entertaining, and a gentleman to all. (Even though he reacted quickly when I didn't win a prize for shouting out "Quilt Block" and made the comment "Well, I'm just going to walk home." . . . and he pulled over!!!!!) {I can be a smarty at times - mouthy at best . . . }

I have to admit that even though my camera was constantly at my side I am NOT good at remembering to pull it up and snap pictures. I took pictures in Jamesport (the Amish community) and at the Quilt Coop outside Clarinda, IA. My BAD. I'm putting pictures in an album under my profile.

Each shop we visited was unique and a GREAT find. I have to admit that while I left home with a plan of action for my 'stash' acquisitions, that my mind was changed once I hit the first shop . . . alas, I did not purchase anything in Hamilton :-(. My original plan was to lean toward homespun fabrics and purchase enough fabric in each shop to make on block of a Civil War type quilt (patterns to be determined later). I did NOT do this. My second idea was to get fabric for one block from each store to accomplish a BOM that I've been collecting from a site in Florida: http://www.floridacabinfever.com/
. . . and even though my original idea was to make the quilt in red, white and blues (which is basically what my home is decorated in), I wound up gravitating towards greens and golds. So, at each stop I purchased 1/2 yard of three coordinating green/gold fabrics - leaning towards the olive side of green. I tried for one light, one medium and one dark. I also picked up at least three fat quarters from several of the shops that could also be used in the same quilt. I do believe at the end of the day I have enough to make a total of 24 blocks - possibly more using my existing stash. I'll have to take photos and show off my choices.

Would I do this again? A resounding YES - but not for longer than two days. My sister and I left the trip one stop early because we were so close to home and in all honesty, we were exhausted from the travels. I don't think I could have made it another four hours until we reached Hamilton for our return. It was ironic, too, that we passed by my home by less than half a mile and I could have walked home!!!!!

There is so much more I could relate - and I will in another post, perhaps later today.

All in all, I'll rate this trip about a 999,999,999,999 star show! With M*QC making up the first and BEST star of the trip!!!!!!

Thank you, M*QC gals and dolls!!!!!

Sandy Navas
June 5th, 2011, 12:17 PM
I can't go on without sharing some of my remembered stops on the bus tour. We departed Hamilton at 7 a.m. and headed north to Jamesport, MO. Jamesport is a wonderful Amish village that I have visited several times. I had never been in the quilt shop, however. Carolyn divided the bus in half and one side went in to shop while the others snacked on HOMEMADE cinnamon rolls and lemonade. We also were free to wander around and visit the countryside bakery and the country store (where I picked up a sack of okra chips for an on-the-bus snack! YUM!) The fawns in my album were being bottle fed there - they are Fallow Deer that the Amish raise for food. These fawns, though, were being raised for sale to a petting farm. They were so tame and adorable.

All of our travels were on-time or just a bit ahead of time - everyone was conscious of the schedule and we made good time as we headed to Lucas, Iowa. The Lucas Ladies prepared a lunch of chicken salad, chips, fruit cups and brownies - coffee, tea and lemonade were available. There was also a great little antique shop across the street and an ice cream shop up the street a bit. The shop in Lucas is quite large, two huge rooms, and very well organized. I have to say that every shop on our tour was so inviting that it was difficult to leave. We were welcomed as if we were in there every day!!

On to Creston, IA where we were greeted warmly and in addition to finding some extremely unique fabrics, we had some serious laughter when my sister inadvertently dislodged a row of fat quarters into her already over-loaded arms. And, as I deftly attempted to help her return them to their place of origin, I caused the rest of them to fall all over the floor. I think I will send our friends in Creston some baskets or boxes!! We laughed so hard! I know that my sister and I will be driving back to Creston soon as there was a piece of fabric Sis wanted . . . and she talked about it all the way home, kicking herself. "I SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT IT WHEN I SAW IT!!!!!

From Creston we traveled to Exira and parked across the street from Uncle Jerry's bar - enjoyed by someone . . . not me although I may have been responsible. The quilt shop in Exira welcomes you with a bright YELLOW screen door and a wonderful selection of fabrics. In fact, there were even $2.00 a yard fabric, free patterns, and $1.00 FAT QUARTERS!!! A wonderful dinner was prepared by a local church and we dined on a chicken and dressing casserole, fresh corn, watermelon salad and a type of Danish pastry. Also in Exira we visited a tiny shop that had the most spectacular hardwood floors I have ever seen, and Leaning Tree greeting cards for $1.00 each!!! BEAUTIFUL. And, if you didn't visit the little man at the Farmer's Market you missed a wonderful part of the trip. It was definitely worth the walk up the hill.

A surprise visit to a winery was the icing on the cake of the day. Quite a few of us enjoyed tasting and getting to know the folks at the winery. Fascinating!! And then it was on to Walnut, IA where quite a few ventured out into the evening hours and a few of us stick-in-the-muds enjoyed an early night at the Motel 8. I must say our accommodations were fantastic and very welcome at the end of a long, exciting, and invigorating day. I slept like a log and didn't want to get out of bed in the morning even though I was excited to see what lay in store for Saturday.

More later!!

Sandy Navas
June 5th, 2011, 12:38 PM
Saturday Morning, up early and on the road a tad before 7 a.m. Breakfast at the motel was sausage gravy and biscuits or make-your-own waffles, pastries, coffee, juice and/or fruit and cereal. It seemed like it took forever to reach our little Quilt Coop outside Clarinda, IA. The pictures in my album were taken there . . . I said I was bad as I didn't take pictures in the other shops. I would like to do that part of the trip all over again and chronicle the trip better than i did. However, the Quilt Coop is on a farm surrounded by barns and lots of animals, chickens, guinea, sheep, rabbits - and I am certain there were more that I didn't see. Our side of the bus snacked first and had coffee and cookies in a separate building they have set up for sew-ins and classes. My pictures, unfortunately, do NOT do justice to the beauty of the quilts on display there. Like I said, MY BAD! This shop carries a lot of patterns and books, specializes in hand embroidery items and VINTAGE fabrics. While they do have small selection of novelty prints, most of their emphasis is on the vintage and their selection is AWESOME! This is one shop I want to re-visit and definitely will as soon as the projects I have lined up are at least started!! I LOVED THIS SHOP!

My sister and I had talked before falling asleep and decided we would depart the trip in Cameron, MO and by-pass the Excelsior Springs stop on the trip. Since we live close enough to the Excelsior Springs shop we can visit anytime - and we live close enough to Cameron it would save our husbands about 50 miles to come pick us up. Ironically, had we known the route, we could have gotten off the bus less than 1/2 mile from my home!!!!! I even offered to fix lunch if they did stop but Ray wasn't excited about my menu!!! We have visited the Cameron shop several times in the past, but we knew we needed fabric from there to complete our Bus Tour Stash. My only comments about the Cameron shop, other than being warm, friendly and welcoming with a wonderful selection of fabric is - they need to expand. Their shop is warm and cozy but confining. Lunch was WONDERFUL, box lunches prepared by the Hilltop Restaurant from Stewartsville, MO. Fresh iced tea hit the spot with chicken tenders, fresh green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy followed by the most heavenly chocolate dripping brownie!

I must say that it was difficult leaving the bus group because we certainly enjoyed each and every member for the group . . . even though we didn't find out everyone's names and places . . . your mental image 'picture' is forever included in our album of friends. However, by the time I arrived home I realized I was worn out and needed to curl up on the couch and just relax.

Would I do this again? Most definitely if I could guarantee I would travel with such a wonderful group of women! Could I do it again - I don't know if my body could stand any more than a day and a half on a bus - even though the seats were very comfortable. It was always great to stand up and move around once we were at a destination. I don't, personally, think I could do more than two days though.

THANK YOU CAROLYN AND M*QC for organizing this wonderful experience!!!

mrswindy4
June 5th, 2011, 12:53 PM
I loved reading all about your weekend trip, Sandy! I wanted to go on this tour, but I had other arrangements. I'd love to go on the next one, depending on the dates.
Sounds like everyone had a great time!!

dmt148
June 5th, 2011, 01:19 PM
Thanks for the Trip Diary. I enjoyed your memories.

debinmalaga
June 5th, 2011, 01:37 PM
Thank you, Sandy, for sharing your trip with us. I really enjoyed reading about it!

Sandy Navas
June 5th, 2011, 02:14 PM
Pictures of my FART and SEX (see Carolyn's separate post) are uploaded to my album. Some photos are not labeled and my memory may be off a tad on which shop I purchased what fabric from.

SuzyQue
June 5th, 2011, 02:29 PM
Thanks for the lovely update on the bus trip. Now we all know we missed a lot! Sounds like it was a lot of fun! Maybe I can make the next one!

bakermom
June 5th, 2011, 02:33 PM
sounds like a great time! just looked at your pictures, your stash is awesome!

quilter.martha
June 5th, 2011, 03:55 PM
Sandy, you have such a great way of expressing yourself in writing, I feel I was on the trip. It sounds like so much fun. I've never done anything like this bus trip. I'd do it in a heartbeat if I lived closer to that part of the country. Going now to check out your pics.

Loonwatcher
June 5th, 2011, 07:31 PM
Thanks for the wonderful narration. For those of us who live too far away to go on the bus trip, we were able to live it through you. Sounds like a wonderful time for sure. So nice you could share it with your sister.

MaryB
June 5th, 2011, 08:07 PM
What a wonderful description of a wonderful trip, Sandy. I do envy you Statesider girls your accessability to so much great quilting. Thank you so much for sharing.

Mary B.

patticakes
June 5th, 2011, 09:44 PM
Sandy thanks for the great description of the bus trip! Sounds like a busy, fun, fattening time!

RFREE
June 6th, 2011, 10:20 AM
Wow Sandy thanks for sharing your trip. Sounds like you had a great time and I do agree with you 100%.."Quilters are a very unique group".

meemeecyn
June 8th, 2011, 03:50 PM
Welcome, home, Sandy! It was great reading the postings of your trip. You so deserved this get away! You Go "Girl'!!!
Cynthia

Monique
June 8th, 2011, 05:23 PM
Sandy I am so glad you enjoyed your trip and for sharing your memories with us. It would have been a lovely trip to be on and I am a little envious. But I did have my trip for a week to Cincinatti so I am satisfied with that.

Thanks again,
Monique

ccay
June 8th, 2011, 11:47 PM
Sandy-

It was a thrill to have you on the bus and see more than just your face! Thank you for being our official reporter! We ARE going to do it again.....same time next year.....but a different direction. So mark your calendar for the first weekend in June, 2012!

Carolyn

ccay
June 8th, 2011, 11:50 PM
PS: Share your favorite quilt shop with me. email Carolyn@quiltersdailydeal.com

LJ_Tulip
June 9th, 2011, 11:22 AM
Sandy, maybe MSQC should hire you as the official journalist for all their bus tours. What a great chronicle of the trip! It makes me more and more sure I want to join the next tour. Thanks for bringing it to life for those of us who didn't ride along. I'm going look up those pictures next. :)