Each spring and each fall, Tracey and I venture off to the ‘states’ for our annual Birthday Outing Day. And when I say day, I really mean it. We left at 7:45am yesterday and we returned home at 10pm. Paul can’t imagine how we can spend that much time shopping, but I’m sure most of you ladies can!!
It’s a crafter’s delight and it isn’t hard filling time at Mary Maxim’s, Joanne Fabrics and what we refer affectionately to as Hobbly Lobbly,. A few years back, Anita, Jody, Tracey and I decided to take a day trip and then the day trip extended into a two day trip with an overnight stay. Anita and Jody mentioned that they had never been to Hobby Lobby and that pretty much sealed the deal for us; Tracey and I were excited to join them on their virgin visit of this fantastic store. In one of our many pre-trip emails -- one of us --who shall remain nameless -- accidentally, and in her excitement typed, “I can’t wait to see Hobbly Lobbly”. The name has stuck with us ever since. On this particular, trip I insisted that one of our first stops was a dollar store. I immediately went to the party section and selected 4 different coloured rolls of curling ribbon. Made our purchase, got out to the car, took out the cross stitch scissors and proceeded cutting all the ribbon into 6 inch strips and grouped them all together with one of the cuttings. No one could figure out what I was doing and I said… get us to the next store and by that time I’ll be finished. So we arrive at the store and I handed them all their own colour of ribbon and I said, “Now, put these in your purse and every bag you purchase, pull one of the ties out and tie your own colour onto the handle. That way when we unpack at the end of the trip, we all know whose bag is whose and we don’t have to open everything to sort it out” It was a fantastic system and I’m sure you can only imagine the number of bags that filled Anita’s van after 4 women shopped for two days at craft stores.
Yesterday's adventure with Tracey and I started out somewhat comical. We planned to leave early, head straight to Cracker Barrel for a hearty breakfast to get us started and then hit the strip of our favourite stores. Each time we head out on an adventure we stop and get what we hope is a lucky lottery ticket and Tracey has been on such a winning streak lately we thought that should be our first stop. We stop, Tracey gets the ticket and as she hands it to me to sign we burst out laughing. As I had reached over to take the ticket we discovered that I had my shirt on inside out! We pull out of the parking spot and swung around to the back of the building and she said, “Where are you going?” I said, “Back here to flip my shirt around” – at which point we discovered the truck driver unloading a truck and so I promptly turned around, scooted across the road behind ‘Scotty’s Fish and Chips’ because at 7:45am – no one is eating fish and chips. I started to undress, a car drove past and between the laughter Tracey said, “Why don’ you just wait until we get to Cracker Barrel” Meanwhile I’m thinking…’Sure.. because what are the chances of us being called into a Random Search at the border crossing.” Lucky for me, that didn’t happen this time, but it has happened to me twice now. Randomly. Twice. Go figure.
We arrive at Cracker Barrel: first stop – the washroom. Flip that shirt around! Have a quick browse, eat and go back and browse some more. The first browse through allows the opportunity for a 30 minute window to think about what you want to buy. No "30 day think about it" rule applies at Cracker Barrel. You see it, you better pick it up quick because it might not be there in the next 30 days. So we allow the "30 minute rule" at this location. Ladies, I know you can relate. If there are any men reading – you’ll never figure it out, so best that you just get over it now.
We go to the restaurant, notice the special on the board and proceed to our seats. We get settled in and our lovely, perky, young and friendly server immediately asks if we want the special. “No thanks, we’ll take a look at the menu” The response was, “take your time – I’ll be back in 1 minute.” She left - Tracey and I looked at each other and burst out laughing and she said, ‘Take your time Bonnie, you have 1 minute” . Now for those of you who have been to Cracker Barrel for breakfast, you can’t even get through that delicious menu in 30 minutes! I believe it is because it is set up this way on purpose to allow for the 30 minute rule. So…anyway… I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t see the combination on the menu so the lovely, perky, young and friendly waitress kindly accommodated my taste buds. We were too busy eating our breakfast to take a picture of all the food, and we filled our bellies while we contemplated our 'first browse' purchases.
About ¼ of the way into our meal, our lovely, perky, young and friendly server stopped by to ask if everything was ok, was satisfied with our mumbled “mmmm hmmm” – slid the meal check under the edge of our plates and said, “no hurry at all, here’s your check”. We tried not to choke to death as we laughed with food in our mouth because that really would have put a damper on our shopping excursion. First find of the day, Tracey was excited to find a purple purse - on sale!!
Holy Cow, it’s only 10am and we’ve still got 12 hours to go. I better speed this story up.
- First stop – a Dollar Store. I had mentioned to Tracey that I was looking for something in particular and can’t believe our luck when we found it only 20 seconds into the store!
- I discovered a deal: at the local US grocery store – Chiclets gum is 39 cents a package; Dollar Store has 6 packs for $1. Woo Whoo, I saved $14.00 (I needed lots – will disclose later)
- Leave Dollar Store – Tracey walks away without her purchase.
- Get to car – Tracey discovers her $1 card was on sale for 50 cents. (p.s. why isn’t there a cents’ symbol on the keyboard?)
- Organizing our money, receipts etc as we are sitting in the car: Tracey exclaims “this money has a smell!” I said, “I notice that too, must be the ink” yuck
- Next step – get out the hand sanitizer.
- Next stop – Mary Maxim’s – Can’t disclose what we bought due to secret Santa gifts etc, but suffice it to say: there were fantastic finds and enormous savings involved. Killed at least 2 hours just in this store. Tracey spent much of the time teaching me about yarn, and I spent much of the time picking up all the things that my cape kept catching on (note to self – leave the cape home next year)
- Tracey was on a mission for buttons to finish her latest project (reveal will be posted before Halloween) and I was on ‘mission impossible’ for frames for two projects that are odd sizes and I think we’re looking at custom framing now (groan…was hoping to do these on my own) :-(
- Found some pictures with fantastic verses: Bonnie forged them for Tracey to cross stitch – watch for those upcoming reveals… LOL
- I’m drawn to Bling. Anything that blings or sparkles – I’m all over it. It’s kind of like ADD. I can be looking at something – bling will be on the other side of the room and my eye immediately goes in that direction. I asked Tracey to take a picture of this lovely display that will be housed in my new mansion upon collecting the winnings from our lucky lottery ticket. (Hint: Kathy G – your daughter might be interested in this display)
- Next stop: Hobbly Lobbly. Where to start? Go left, go right, go straight, circle the outside and wind your way back through the middle? Or start at the back and work your way front or start at the front and work your way back. Conclusion: start at the front and work your way back - circle the outside and wind your way back through the middle until you are at the back again and have to work your way to the front to the cash registers – Good plan. This allows for the 30 minute rule several times because it takes you about 6 rounds minimum.
- Half way through Tracey says, “We better get another cart” What the hell were we thinking in the first place? Note to self: Never start with one cart! – Although it does allow more time to hit a few extra rows on the way to the carts and back again.
- We stopped to look at a decorative sign, read it again. And by the third time I said, ´What the hell does that mean anyway?” We bitched about that for awhile and concluded that signs that require that much thinking don’t belong at Hobbly Lobbly. Then I decided that I am going to carry post-it notes in my purse at all times and leave them all over stores, all over the country side with my comments on them. Next time you are shopping and you see a comment on a ridiculously worded sign – you’ll know I was there!
- Found some buttons, but still leaving the option open for the perfect ones – Reminder: Tracey – cancel that on-line order that has been backordered for 8 months now and you are still waiting.
- Screamed when we found some ‘perfect’ Christmas gifts. Loud enough to startle some, but not loud enough to alert security.
- Tracey went in the direction of yarn and I went in the direction of hoops. I needed a small hoop to replace the one I’ve been borrowing from Tracey for weeks now. Found a hoop!! Also found Tracey 15 minutes later, coming around the corner with every colour hoop you can imagine on her arm,(for a minute I thought she had mistaken the jewelry section) and she exclaimed “Found the hoops, what colour would you like?” I pointed to the hoop in my cart, she laughed and headed back to the hoop section to put them back.
- Found some neat ‘hoop-tape’ for cross stitchers to put on their hoop so that fabric does not slip; adhesive on one side, grip on the other, guaranteed not to leave residue on the hoop or material. One package left… too narrow for our hoops and Q-Snaps – on another mission for hoop tape now. Must involve Anita and Jody on this mission. More eyes needed.
- Tracey found a new friend at Hobbly Lobbly. Each time Tracey finds an item, she likes to compare it to the others ones that are the same to make sure she has found the best one; no cracks, scratches, dents or bruises. Tracey has a good eye for this. Upon turning the corner of one aisle, we almost bumped into a lady who had set down several large Santa’s off the self and onto the floor – so she could compare them. Immediate connection; I think they exchanged emails and phone numbers when I wasn’t looking.
- Every purchase at Hobbly Lobbly was anywhere from 40-65% off; we were happy. And the only two items that were full price – we got to use our on-line 40% off regular priced item coupons. Wooo Whooo
- Time for a break and a Star Buck's ‘mini-orgasm’ – Tracey got a hot chocolate and a pumpkin spice mini bunt cake and I had a Vanilla Bean drink with a lemon-cherry coffee cake. YUM
- Tracey has been searching at Staples for clear plastic, zip up envelopes so she can ‘Kit-Up’ some cross stitch projects. No luck in Canada, and guess what store just happens to be next to Star Bucks? Found the envelopes AND they were on sale. Success times two!! We both cashed in on that find.
- Off to Target we go. I in search of our traditional Christmas pajamas for the girls and Tracey on a mission for the latest Martina McBride CD that has bonus tracks ONLY at Target.
- It’s about 6pm now and we’re off to Kohl’s. Both of us on a mission. I picked up fuzzy pj’s for me – and carried them around until I found the dressing room. Wasn’t happy with the fit, or the fact that all the fuzz was now…all over my cape and pants.
- Final stop: Joanne Fabrics. One last look for the perfect buttons and one final attempt for ‘hoop-tape’
- Upon reaching this final destination – Tracey went to get out of the car only to notice this….
- Joanne’s was the only unsuccessful stop of the day. Other than the laughter of the disheveled dog in the pink leopard print cape.
- Heading home to Canada now… hoping we don’t have a long wait at the bridge because we’re getting hungry now!
- No line up, but we did get pulled into Customs. Not sure if we got pulled in because of the many hours out of the country, or the fact that we had the nerve to interrupt the customs officer that was gabbing on the phone when we pulled up to cross. Groan, but oh well. Well worth the savings and finds for the day!
- Stopped at Stokes Inland for a yummy bowl of Cream of Broccoli soup and a dinner entre to end the day.
- Dropped Tracey off and headed home and right to the tub for a good long soak. Nodded off several times in the tub and decided it was time to call it a day before I drowned. A GOOD Day!!
Cant’ wait until NEXT YEAR! Anita and Jody – let’s see about rearranging your schedules. You missed out on way too much fun!