If you didn't know about the Nebraska Independent Fabric Shops "SHOP HOP", you only have a few more days to hit the bunny trail! The Shop Hop officially began April 19 and will continue through April 29. Thirty-eight shops participate in what is now the 14th annual event with the theme of "Quoteable Quilts Cover Nebraska."
But that's only if you earn 50 points or more...if you earn all 83 points, you'll receive even more goodies - like next year's Shop Hop bag, a $10.00 gift certificate and a chance to win a $100 gift certificate.
Guess who is a three pointer? The Quilting Cupboard in Valentine. A little off the dusty trail, but so worth the stop.
Actually Kathy and Ray Nance of Crete took vacation time to visit all of the stores.
They began Saturday morning and stopped at Syracuse, Auburn, Pawnee City, Beatrice, Hebron, Hastings and headed back home for the night.
Sunday was reserved for the Lord and attending church.
Monday morning they hopped back on the trail and began in Kearney, Holdredge, Arapahoe, McCook, Cozad, North Plate, Ogallala and spent the night in Gering. That was one long day... and a lot of points!
And so it was, early this morning, Tuesday, April 24, they went to Hemmingford and took the long drive to Valentine...more points!
Ray said he and his wife enjoy their time together. They have a Kindle and read to each other in the car and will be celebrating their 35th anniversary next month.
This is their first year to attend all of the quilt shops, and each one has a different FREE pattern they give away to shop hoppers. While Kathy is getting patterns for herself, Ray is picking them up for his mother who is also a quilter.
Kathy has been quilting for the past eight years and is now finding ways to use up her scraps. Meanwhile, Ray enjoys Civil War quilts. He is also a chaplain at Tabitha in Crete. He found some scripture panels and will be doing a little sewing himself, but said he's going to be at it for a few days. "Kathy could get it done in no time."
Kathy said there's no better quilt than a finished quilt!
In addition to the free quilt patterns from each store there is a pattern that shows how they can be turned into a huge quilt, or do a little something different like Quilt Cupboard store owner Susan Stec did - she turned hers into a wall hanging, "In the crazy quilt of life, I'm glad you're in my block of friends," which is pictured at the top of the page.
This is her second year participating in the Shop Hop and she truly enjoys it. There are skinny bolts for sale at 30 percent off - if you buy the entire bolt.
There are snack galore, and included in this year's shop hop bag was a water bottle to keep hoppers' energy level up over the 12 day period.
The Valentine Chamber of Commerce also put together a goodie bag for visitors to the Quilting Cupboard that has some useful items - a pen from Union Bank (to write out all those checks for fabric); and coupons and discounts from Cedar Canyon Steak House, The Ark Christian Books and Gifts, Country Fabrics and Crafts, Janine's Emporium, Quilting Cupboard, Plains Trading Company, Cherry Blossom Paperie, Nails by Becky, Auntie D's Gift and Coffee Shop, Flower Land, Fashions, Rosebud Casino Miche Bags by Berniece Rhodes and Copacetic. Valentine welcomes all the hoppers!!!
Ray said the variety of the quilt stores along the way are all completely different. "No two have the same quilt materials. It has a theme, it could be western with modern or brights, or laid back with Civil War - it's a different character and I enjoy the character the shops take on."
Kathy pokes her head in and says, "Hey...wanna pay?" And off they go to their next destination, Ainsworth.
Since this is Susan's second shop hop it will be interesting to see if more than 170 people - how many came last year - take the time to earn MORE points and visit a unique shop. It might seem batty to drive all that way, but you're visiting a unique city that really does welcome you with wide open arms.
And as you head for your next destination, depart knowing you now belong to a new crazy block of friends!