Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hop Hop Hop Day One

I loved every minute of the Yarn Around the 4 days shop hop. I brought my daughter Mairin with and she was a great help with navigation and spotting fun stuff in all of the stores.  It doesn't hurt that she loves to knit and crochet!

 We left Manitowoc at 6am Thursday the 12th and arrived in St. Paul around 11:30am.  Then we checked into our hotel in downtown St.Paul and figured out where we would spend our first day.  We decided to get four shops in that first day:  The Yarnery, Darn.Knit.Anyway, Lila & Claudine's, and A Sheepy Yarn Shoppe.

At The Yarnery we found a friendly staff, great selection of yarns and tools, a nice sized classroom, and a great selection of books and patterns.  They are located in an area with ample shopping and dining all in walking distance of each other.

Darn.Knit.Anyway was super friendly, their classroom was large, they had a lovely fabric selection and a cozy sit-n-knit section.  They had cute duct tape flower pins/hair clips and a stunning duct tape dress at the entrance.  We loved the layered displays of sewn and knit items and the exposed brick and loft atmosphere of the shop, with views of the river behind the shop.  The parking was ample and right off the street.

Lila & Claudine's was an explosion of color.  We really enjoyed their talent in display.  They are a gift shop also and everything comingled so beautifully.  Most of the gift shop items were on the first floor.  In the lower level they had a large classroom and colorful sitting area.  If you showed your Lila &Claudine's receipt at the next door coffee shop you could get 10% off  on your drink purchase.

Our last stop of the day was A Sheepy Yarn Shoppe.  I found out from the owner that she had purchased her store and moved into her present location across the street from the original store some years ago and that the previous owner had moved to Manitowoc, WI and opened a yarn shop there.  I was so amazed when she told me this because when I first moved to Manitowoc, I found The Sheepy Shoppe my first week in town.  She has since retired and closed her doors, but what a story!!  There were two classes in progress when Mairin and I stopped in.  The class in the front of the store was working on a specific project, though I don't remember what it was.  The class in the back of the store were working on a variety of projects like shrugs and felted clogs.  The store was bright, easy to shop and had a great selection of pattern books including Rowan and Anna.

That sums up day one. We loved all the special yarns and the great patterns and the charms.  I loved that they worked  the food drive  into the shop hop.  Every shop had a great flow system for checking shoppers in and stamping/punching their passports, making the donations and distributing charms, and handing out the patterns and limited edition yarns.  They all had wonderful finished samples worked up in their shop hop pattern and at least 3 of the shops had a crochet pattern available also.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


I was searching Pinterest to find some bars to make for a luncheon at our church and ran across these  They were delicious.  I don't like Snickerdoodle Cookies, but these bars, YUM.

So I titled this post sunshine and shared a sweet bar recipe, but ugh! Life has not been so sunshiney lately. I hope it is just a sugar overload.  I have felt so immobilized this week with financial, homeschool,business,...everything! Mostly, it boils down to a big heap of organizational work.  It has been two steps forward and one step (or more) back and I am tired of it all at the moment.  Everytime this happens, of course, it means changes are coming and I know things will get better. I feel though, that I have been repeating this process, ad nauseum, for seven years and never reaching my goal because some new change comes along and I can't finish what I started.  It's the process that is so annoying.

  So this week I scored this hutch at my local Goodwill, and I am thrilled because it will get me a little further to one of  my goals.  I now have a place for books, jewelry,towels, sheets, and office supplies.  Yay!!

  Part of the disorganization is always working with piles because I have no suitable furniture.  My husband and I have gone round and round on the furniture need issue, hence, no furniture.  After 20 years of marriage, I should realize that he digs his feet in during the planning and decision phase but once the decision is made he always loves the result.  That is exactly how it went this week.  I explained again that it has been seven years with no office or bedroom furniture and we really need something now that this bedroom addition is finished.   So when I found this hutch I called him at work and he agreed it was a great price.  $100 got me dovetail joints on the drawers and they are completely made of solid wood. The entire piece is solid wood! There is inset glass in the doors and center drawer glides. It isn't the style I was going for, but it is solid and the present finish is doable until I decide on something else.

The next piece of furniture needed is a portable or hidden office like this:

This is the Incognito Mocha Compact Office from Crate and Barrel  for $999.  I have to find a cheaper alternative.  I have thought of using two base cabinets for a kitchen and putting a counter over them to make a desk.  I would take the bottom skirt off the cabinets and put decorative feet on them.  I am doing something similar in the bathroom.  I found two 12" wide upper cabinets at Lowe's. One was on clearance and the other was from the scratch and dent section with minor damage.  They are identical unfinished oak fronts and particle board for the rest of the construction.  The legs I purchased are too tall so they will have to be returned and shorter ones purchased.  I have to decide if I want to veneer the sides so that I can just stain the whole thing to match the trim in the bathroom.

This week I will be getting ready to do a little R&D for the yarn shop I want to open.  I am going to visit 14 different shops to see how diverse and similar they are and how they compare to what I wish to accomplish with my store.  They are well out of the area I live in.  Very Excited about this!!

The yarn shop idea has been in the making for 10 years now and two LYS have opened and closed in that space of time.  That makes me worry about the financial ability to maintain the shop.  I think my vision is different than the previous LYS had, but that does not guarantee success.  From a financial and retail standpoint, opening a yarn shop is not very lucrative.  So, we are making this decision as carefully as we can.