Saturday, July 28, 2007

Eight Shops in Two Days !! - CHAPTER 8

Why is it that you can tell you're near water? No, I'm not talking the Ohio River (ugh!). I'm talking large bodies of water, like the Atlantic, the Pacific, or the Great Lakes. I had that sensation the whole ride to Vermilion, and once we got there, I knew why. Riverbend Stitchery used to be located right in the middle of this delightful lakeside community, but that left Linda with no expansion space, and the shop is now located a little ways back from the lake, on OH 60, behind the Holiday Inn.

Ann was minding the store when we arrived, and she is just a peach. Very attentive and helpful, right down to a hand-drawn map of places to eat.

After finding a few gems in the bargain bins that she kindly brought out from the backroom, we headed downtown. Well, nothing thrilled me more than discovering that Main St. dead-ended AT THE BEACH ! Now, I could live here....

We had a great lunch at the Soda Grill, and then headed back to the shop. And this is where I found my favorite chart of the whole trip! Who knew there was an Oberlin chart called Clambake!

I also admired a stitched model of Kitty Kats' Rocky Shores (#2 in her Birdhouse Row series), and Ann helped me find the seagull and flag buttons that the model stitcher had added. I also picked up Water's Edge By the Sea, Sekas' Watercolor Seashells, as well as a CEC freebie Life is a Beach, with the flip flop buttons for it.

We each got a first-time shopper's discount, and a complimentary tote bag, and we agreed, as we headed south on 60, toward I-71 and home, that Riverbend Stitchery was a wonderful last stop on our marathon shop hop through NE Ohio. We had been in some great shops, and ones that were mediocre at best, but here's a few thoughts (completely random and in no particular order) that we had on the way home:

1. We like a warm, friendly greeting when we walk in a shop.
2. We like to chat, but feel excluded if left out.
3. Fresh NEW models on the wall are a treat.
4. If there's a model on the wall, the pattern should be available for sale.
5. We can't do the math to figure out our fabric, so we assume the cutter does.
6. A business card and/or newsletter on the counter, or included in our bag, is very thoughtful.
7. Recommendations for places to eat in the area make us very happy!

This was a trip we will remember for a long time. Thank you to all my faithful readers who have kept up with my ramblings. And, yes, I have been stitching since we got back, so will have some pics in my next entry.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Eight Shops in Two Days !! - CHAPTER 7

From Broadview Heights, we headed west and along Lake Erie, toward Bay Village, to a shop called Stitches, Etc. Back in Berlin (remember Berlin?) a customer told us about this shop, and since we had eliminated the Blue Moon in Parma Heights (no longer in business), we were ready to add it to our trek.

Naturally, being a transplanted Mainer, I loved seeing so many nautical designs featured in this shop. OK, Lake Erie is LIKE an ocean, right? I fell in love with a stitched model of Seaside Collection by Ray Davenport, designed by Barbara & Cheryl, and snatched up that leaflet.

While we were looking around, the young owner, Beth Gantz, came in and we introduced ourselves. Seems the shop used to be in Westlake, so this is a relatively new location. Beth's mom was a needlepoint designer, and the acorn has not fallen far from the tree!

She definitely has a creative visual eye, and it was an absolute delight to talk with her. She believes there is a definite unfilled market niche (are you listening designers?) and that is charts for beginners. She herself has begun a monthly square motif series (she's up to July), all kitted up, and they are darling! Could not leave without May (pink potted plants on steps) and June (refreshing glass of lemonade with cut lemons). She's done a great job on her web site,too.

After picking up Lavender Wings' Hitchin' A Ride , we were pointed toward Vermilion, and Riverbend Stitchery, our last shop!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Eight Shops in Two Days !! - CHAPTER 6

On this, our second day of shop-hopping, we felt refreshed and excited to continue our drive over to Broadview Heights and Crafty Ewe.

We had been to this shop before, five years ago, when we attended Shelly Hronec's Flag Day event at Just Stitching in Strongsville (see Chapter 5). Unfortunately, we found this shop to be somewhat of a disappointment. The same ho-hum reception of two women chewing the fat (not even stitching!) sent us to the bargain bins in the back (to no avail), and I walked out of there with just the Silk 'n Colors Autumn Honey for CEC's Autumn Acorn.

Maybe that was a good thing, especially for my wallet, and we were off to Bay Village, to a shop not originally on our list - Stitches, Etc., and to a delightful visit with an up-and-coming designer!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Eight Shops in Two Days !! - CHAPTER 5

At around 7:10 pm on Thursday evening (don't worry, they are open late on Thursday nights), we arrived at Just Stitching in Strongsville. Yes, we did take a wrong turn on No. Royalton, and had to resort to calling Shelly to get turned around, but we finally got there!

Having no advance warning that we were coming, it was so sweet to hear Shelly say that she was recently talking about us (we DO leave an impression - LOL), and how four of us had attended her Flag Day Retreat in June of 2002. Yes, Shelly, you can boast that stitchers come from SW Ohio and Northern KY to your shop! That trip five years ago had impressed us very much with how it was organized, how much food there was (we do love to eat, right?), and what a great shop Just Stitching was.

Shelly was the only one there, so the three of us got to chat and catch up (and we're all good at that). She said last year had been "a little rough" business-wise, but so far 2007 was really good. She continues to ship FOR FREE, even with the new postal rates.We're sure going to remember that, right Vickie?

We felt so lucky to have caught Shelly that night, as she wasn't going to be in the shop on Friday, when we were to return to continue shopping (naturally!). She did suggest that, if we wanted fabric cut, to ask Lois to do that first in the morning, before she got busy with other customers.

We both started shopping bags, and then headed off to dinner and a motel. She suggested a great steak dinner at Longhorn's by the mall, and we couldn't wait to get into our room, so we could spread all our goodies out and drool over our loot.

The next morning, we lounged around in the room with coffee, muffins and fruit that we'd brought in the cooler, planned out some fabric needs for already-owned patterns, then headed back over to the shop.

When we walked in, right at 10 am, Lois was just getting her bearings. Our bags were still on the counter though, so, rested and refreshed, we took in all the shop has to offer with fresh eyes. Just Stitching is a spacious shop, with fresh finishes on the wall, dynamic, eye-catching displays, and a super staff. Plenty of room to browse, a table to lay out fabrics and fibers, and a wide selection of embellishments. Your eyes almost cannot take it all in!

This was definitely where we laid out the most cash. Here's the haul: Sisters and Best Friends' Find My Keys (that I'm going to stitch for Vickie for Christmas), LHN's Necessities Sampler, Oberlin's Summer and Autumn (now I have all four seasons), BC's Summer Ewe kit, 28 ct. Lt. Mocha cashel linen for LHN Music & Books, 28 ct. Pearl linen for LHN Blackbird Inn, buttons for SB's Be A Witch, and a hand-painted needle magnet made exclusively for one of the shop's retreats.

Even though we had a ball at our FAVORITE SHOP, we still had the rest of Friday to hit three more shops, before heading home.

We headed over to Broadview Heights, to Crafty Ewe.

P.S. When I told Shelly about this stitching blog of mine, called Crossroads of My Mind, she thought it was so cool, because she often refers to her shop as being at the crossroads (of US 42 and OH 82). You gotta love that!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Eight Shops in Two Days !! - CHAPTER 4

By the time we pulled in to Stitch Piece 'n Purl in Cuyahoga Falls, we were getting kinda tired. And the reception we got there did not help matters. Two ladies, obviously ready to go home and more interested in shooting the breeze with each other than talking to us, greeted us with the announcement that they were closing in 12 minutes ! Like we didn't already know this...

We had gotten a hint from the woman at Blueberry Hill that
S P 'n P had been having "some difficulties," and I guess we figured out why.

In spite of the cool reception, I did manage to find Shepard Bush's Be A Witch and CEC's Haunting Favors , a piece of French Vanilla linen, and a piece of Sandcastle Jobelan. Vickie found a real gem called Diamonds are a Boy's Best Friend , a sports related design that's adorable.

Not ones to let the grumpy people get us down, we were off to Strongsville, where we hoped to see Shelly Hronec, the owner of Just Stitching, whom we hadn't seen in five years!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Eight Shops in Two Days !! - CHAPTER 3

Since we hoped to hit two more stores before 6:00, we rushed off to Akron and Cuyahoga Falls. I was behind the wheel, and battling rush hour traffic was no picnic, but we arrived at Blueberry Hill Stitchery just before 5:00.

This shop is unique, in that it is located in the rear of an office building. This picture is from the foyer and was very welcoming to see. Completely out of breath, we were reassured by the owner that she was taking stock/inventory and would stay open for us past 5:00.

The CEC A Summer Place, which I am currently stitching on, was on display, with all the DMC threads converted to over-dyeds. It was very striking!

I was also thrilled to find two Oberlins for my collection (I have stitched Maine, America, Cincinnati, and Spring), namely Summer and Music, as well as LK's Sunshine Sampler and the new 2007 PS Santa.

She was very apologetic about placing a phone order for fibers while we were there, but we're pretty self-sufficient and enjoyed our albeit brief visit .

At the suggestion of a 123'er, we headed off to Stitch, Piece 'n Purl in Cuyahoga Falls. We were having a blast!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Eight Shops in Two Days !! - CHAPTER 2

Our drive to Canton was the one time our AAA Triptik failed us. Somehow, the exit that they told us to take we missed, and we ended up in Massillon!

Thankfully, we called Diane at the shop, and she gave us great directions over to Inn Stitches in Canton. I think we really brightened up her day, since the skies opened up while we were inside, so, of course, we had to keep cutting fabric!

I managed to walk out of there with a beautiful piece of Jobelan for DT's
Sampler Gameboard, and a great piece of spooky linen for Blue Ribbon's Six Bats and a Witch's Hat.

As soon as the rain ended, we were off again. Next stop - Blueberry Hill Stitchery in Akron!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Eight Shops in Two Days !! - CHAPTER 1

Since July 4th fell on a Wednesday this year, my friend Vickie suggested I take off Thursday and Friday. We then proceeded to plan an 8-Cross Stitch Shop Hop, heading NE from Cincinnati. Relying on an admittedly outdated list of shops from the internet (glad they are going to update that directory now!), and using AAA to build an online Triptik, we found 8 shops we wanted to hit.

We left my house in Mason around 8 am and headed toward Columbus. From Columbus, we headed out on US 62 through Amish country, namely Holmes County, and specifically to
The Stitching House in Berlin, Ohio. This may not have been the best choice of roads, being a 2-laner and pretty slow-moving at times, but we enjoyed the drive, as it rained off and on through the morning.

As we parked the car, the rain burned off, and we headed to the shop. The Stitching House is a nice little shop, right in the middle of downtown. I immediately saw Diane Graebner's Amish Alphabet on display, and knew I needed to buy that pattern, as a nice memento of Berlin. The shop will soon be changing its name to Country Craft Cupboard, when they integrate their yarn department into one store, so they are having Fun Fridays, where you can get some real bargains.

We tried to get seated at Boyd and Wurthmann's restaurant right next door. It being right at lunchtime, though, it was packed with locals, and we walked back up Main St., to Java Jo for soup and sandwiches. Downtown Berlin is very attractive, and it was so tempting to browse the other shops, but we had 7 more cross-stitch shops to visit in the next day and a half. Next shop - Inn Stitches in Canton, Ohio !