Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Dyz' shop, Blossom's, and Drunken Bunkin'

I had so much fun last weekend! I can't believe I'm just now getting around to telling about it. I'm always tempted to tell every detail in chronological order. "...and then I put on my pink t-shirt--you know, the one with the little bleach mark on the front that I only wear for yard work--and then I started looking for my shoes..." I'll try to curb that tendency and just get to the good parts.

First, Annie and I hit Deb's new glass shop in Sherwood. Wow. What a perfect hangout. If you asked Deb about it, she'd tell you she's still moving things around, getting organized, buying showcases. She knows what it will be, and so she sees it as unfinished. What I saw was a wonderful, bright space full of tempting art supplies, glass so pretty it's almost edible, gorgeous finished pieces (such as this one), and lots of women laughing, having fun, and appreciating one another. Deb has created the kind of supportive, inspiring atmosphere in which her customers can be free to experiment and be their most creative. Anne and I were excited to find out more about the workshops the shop will offer. We're hoping to put together a YaYa glass adventure some time soon. And we enjoyed meeting Terry Williams, who teaches classes at the shop and who so needs to come play with the AREtsies. It was such a great environment, I can't wait to go back and spend some time getting my hands dirty.

Thanks to one of Deb's customers, we were able to head directly from the shop to Blossom Quiltworks, also in Sherwood. This place is one of Scarlett's finds; but, since Scarlett wasn't joining us until dinner, we had to figure out how to get there on our own. Even though we did our best to follow the directions, we got lost. But weirdly, we still ended up right in front of the quilt store. I'd already checked out Blossom's on line, so I had an inkling about their inventory (and some of the fat quarters I was hoping to scarf up). Seeing it all in person was a whole other thing. Talk about high energy! One of the owners, who was behind the register when we arrived, became a tour guide when we said it was our first visit. She showed us each room and explained the contents, she introduced us to everyone, she invited us to help ourselves to drinks and snacks in the kitchen, and she let us peek in on a quilting class that was just ending. I felt welcome, to say the least. But then, as I browsed, I got to eavesdrop on the interactions between the regulars and the staff. Everyone was so upbeat, encouraging, and supportive. No wonder this place is a hangout. Someone came in seeking flag-themed fabric for a charity project. Even I knew where to find it, thanks to the tour. Someone else came in to show off her just-finished first quilt. The staff gave her great feedback and then invited everyone else in the shop to celebrate. "Come here and look what she did! Isn't it marvelous!" I got totally fabulous fabric, a dose of upliftment, and a horrible credit card total. And I'll be back. Probably this weekend.

We met Scarlett and her friend Julie for dinner. Then Scarlett, Anne, and I headed to my house to meet Stacie for Drunken Bunkin'. As I predicted, there was neither much drunken nor much bunkin', but what a great night. We looked at one another's inspiration books by fabric-collage, applique, and quilting experts. We also took inspiration from a set of quilt blocks Scarlett is designing that will become a kind of portrait quilt for her brother. And we sifted through each other's fabric stashes and scraps. Before long, we were off and running--each to create a fabric collage that could be mounted on a 5"x5" canvas.

I put together a square-in-square (in imitation of Scarlett's blocks) from bright prints and fused a sunflower onto it from another bright fabric. While I sat down to blanket stitch around my applique with gold metallic thread, the others got their turns at the sewing machine and iron. I was awed by what everyone came up with, all from the same starting place. Anne's scraps magically turned into a stylized tree on a pieced background of prints that suggested earth and sky. Scarlett created a panel of three strips in bright greens and turquoises. The center strip included a huge flower, which became the basis for her first adventure in beading. And Stacie--always brilliantly graphic--combined black-and-white patterns and a solid, deep gold in an eccentric pattern, over which she planned to applique a cat image from one of Scarlett's scraps.

Anne and Stacie gave up about 1:00 a.m. and headed home to sleep in their own beds. Scarlett and I stayed up till about 3:00, watching a video and stitching. Then we surprised each other by getting up at the same time the next morning--about 8:30. Each of us was sneaking into the living room to do a little more stitching without waking the other. So we made a pot of coffee, put on a DVD Scarlett brought that detailed hand-applique techniques, and stitched away until it was time for Scarlett to head back to Ft. Smith.

I haven't completed my piece yet. I've gotten distracted with preparing promos to send to our street team leader to be included in goodie bags for Toad Suck Days. And slamming out some Mother's Day cards so I can get them into the shops next week. But I cannot wait to get back to it. I'll be sure to post the results--and the other Drunken Bunkers', too, if they'll let me.


idyll hands said...

Ahhhh - I want to live near you. You go to fun places and hang out with cool folks. We NWArkansas crafters seem to stick to ourselves. I'll have to change that.

*goes to change that*

casserole said...

I had so much fun this weekend! Thanks for hosting, and thanks for posting such an awesome recap! Thank you for helping me cut into my "good" fabric. I'm still blanket stitching around my tree picture.