Restocking The Stash: On The Road With IPB Living, Chapter 1

Today was the big day — time to hit the road for our “Restocking The Stash” trip out to The Attic in Arizona! After several weeks of giddy anticipation, we were in a full-on state of high-level pommerdoodling when this morning finally rolled around. All that stood between us and our carefully mapped three-day assault on the Valley of the Sun was a mere trans-continental flight. Pfft! Child’s play!

We left Philadelphia at a perfectly reasonable midmorning time, made a bit less reasonable by the fact that none of us slept a wink last night (yes, heading out to The Attic is, for us, an awful lot like Christmas is for seven-year-olds), and after five shockingly uneventful and quick-moving hours, descended on our target.

It should be noted that it seemed to us today that the whole world was as happy as we are that we’re on vacation. First off, after years of driving around the entire Philadelphia airport to get into the short-term parking garages, we took a wrong turn this morning and discovered a route that is a zillion times easier, and ended up with the best parking spot we’ve ever had at the airport. Then the flight crew spent the last hour of our plane ride getting on the speakers and congratulating each other for various life accomplishments. There was the “Let’s all give a hand for [Flight Attendant X], who got engaged last night!” announcement, followed by the “Let’s all give a hand for [Flight Attendant Y], who is celebrating a belated birthday today!” one, followed by the “A flight attendant will be going along the aisle now collecting service items. Please hand over empty bottles, cans, wrappers, credit cards, jewelry, engagement rings…” one. Then the driver for the rental car shuttle inadvertently had the entire bus in stitches as he explained how rental car returns work, but at a level appropriate for “Sesame Street”. Pookie remarked that it felt like she was living in the first part of “The Truman Show”, when the entire world is ridiculously perfect. Schnookie agreed, and suggested she expected either musical numbers or Muppet synchronized swimming routines to break out at any moment.

In our new incarnation as photography hobbyists, we were super-excited to have an opportunity to take some pictures at the rental car mall, where they have these cool suncatcher sculpture thingies in the clerestory windows. No, we’re not afraid to look like tourists. We’re also, as tourists visiting a place we used to live in, disappointed to report that the temperature today was depressingly unimpressive. The most sweltering high we were able to document was just 108. Pathetic, Phoenix. We know you can do better than that.

We’d like to say that our first stop immediately off the plane was The Attic, but we’re not going to lie — we were starving. Even though we’d packed hilariously heavy snack bags filled with pounds and pounds of candy for the plane, we needed some real sustenance before we could shop. Oh, and some cold drinks. Five years away from the desert leaves a girl unprepared for how thirsty this place makes you. We hit the shining beacon of every IPB road trip: McDonalds. And once we’d procured their finest meats and cheeses (or, more accurately, their finest potatostuffs), we gave a French Fry toast to being on vacation and on the verge of returning to the most wonderful place on earth.

And that most wonderful place on earth? Is just up the street from the McDonalds. It might look unassuming from the outside…

… But inside it’s a slice of heaven.

It’s probably corny to say it, but a trip to The Attic is like coming home for us. We had a big round of hugs with Jean, who was specially outfitted in her new Brett Favre Jets t-shirt, then caught up with everyone’s gorgeous projects. Then it was time to let the awesomeness of The Attic wash over us. We tried to document it, to give a taste of the shopping experience, but it’s hard to get everything. For starters, the shop is brimming with beautiful models of all kinds of projects. Most importantly, and the main focal point, is the famous Wall Of Samplers:

We aspire for the walls of Maple Hoo to look like that someday.

As you wander around the store, there are tons of other displays, and our favorites are the seasonal ones. There’s the Christmas “mantle”…

… and the Thanksgiving/Halloween fall corner…

… not to mention the 4th of July/Americana corner that we didn’t photograph because we were so busy picking up a kick-ass chart (more on that tomorrow).

Another favorite target for us is the display in the center of the shop of the current featured designs.

This part of the store is trouble, because you could safely just ask for one of everything in there, and, by the time we head home on Tuesday, we probably will have picked up exactly that.

There are areas of the shop we didn’t even hit today, as this was just our cursory first-wave attack. It can be almost overwhelming trying to make sure you’ve seen everything, and we all managed to pick out small projects to start with. After an hour or so of poring over charts, we moved on to the supplies.

And oh! The supplies! You want fibers? The Attic has every fiber you can imagine. Why, here’s just some of the cottons on hand:

Wait, you like overdyed cotton floss more? Great! Here’s the tip of the iceberg of those:

What’s that? You prefer silk to cotton? Great! There’s a whole wall of overdyed silks, all of them mouth-wateringly beautiful!

We didn’t even bother trying to get a picture of all the regular silk threads on hand — we’ll get to that on our second-wave trip. In the meantime, are you looking for cute accent buttons? Well, there are stacks of boxes of those, each more adorable than the last:

And what can you even say about the beautiful stitching tools on hand? Pookie’s scissor collection has already been documented here, and it’s fair to say that The Attic is the pusher who got her addicted in the first place. Beyond the vast array of gorgeous scissors, there are dozens of ornamental thimbles, etuis, little baskets and catchalls, measuring tapes, rulers, and the items that most caught our eyes today: handpainted autumn-themed floss winders:

Oh, and did we mention that The Attic is unimaginably well-stocked with linens? Because they are. There are racks and racks of linens in a rainbow of glorious colors, counts, and vintagey hand-dyed looks; here, in the middle of the linen section, a view to the left…

… and here’s the other side of the aisle:

You could probably take a week just to fully appreciate the linen selection, but we were running out of time today. After a few hours of feverishly pulling charts and putting together threads and linen for just a few small projects, we checked out with a modest bag of swag, ready to spend a day regrouping before making our big restocking run. Today was just a nibble. Monday will be the real feast.

We were by this point utterly exhausted. Almost deliriously so. In fact, we ended up going ridiculously far off course as we tried to get to our hotel because none of us could remember exactly where in Scottsdale it is. Fortunately, we had one of those amazing August skies to distract us; it’s so beautiful to see the big clouds piling up behind the McDowell mountains.

At long last, we found the hotel, checked in, and dragged our sorry carcasses to our rooms, just in time to collapse into bed for some long, hard naps. We were all a bit disoriented and cranky when we woke up, ready to go up the street to Blue Burrito, one of our favorite cheap-and-easy restaurants from back in the day when we lived here. Before going out, though, Pookie took the camera onto the patio of our room to shoot the lawn and trees in our immediate surrounds.

Then, being novice hobbyist photographers, we left the camera in our room when we went out to pick up dinner. And, of course, were greeted outside by the most glorious sunset-tinted clouds and a giant rainbow. Naturally. We should have known, on a day where we expected big song-and-dance numbers to break out at any moment, that there would be a rainbow.

At any rate, after more hijinks trying to figure out from memory where things are located, we managed to retrieve our dinner. We fell on our burritos like we were starving, and further supported our theory that some of the best vacation meals are the picnics you bring back to your hotel room, to enjoy at the end of a long and tiring day.

Now, with our bellies full and the first chapter of our travelogue written, we’re feeling the three-hour time difference. We’ve got a hard day on the docket for tomorrow, rife with sleeping in, lolling around and stitching, and then dinner at the Roaring Fork. And maybe some Muppet synchronized swimming routines!

9 Comments

Filed under Away From Home, Bonanza!, Celebratory!, On The Road, Pins and Needles, Pommerdoodling, Stitching, Worth Selling Your Soul For

9 responses to “Restocking The Stash: On The Road With IPB Living, Chapter 1

  1. MY HEAD JUST EXPLODED.

    God help me, now I’m going to have to avoid Arizona lest I spend my savings in this place. This place is amazing.

    I am so pommerdoodling for y’all! And this is just a taste for you?!?!

  2. Wow. I think I’m in love with those buttons. They’re awesome!

  3. Don’t get me wrong, the store is amazing. Fantastic. Rad. BUT the real star in this post is the burrito. Since our move from southern California to rural New York state the number one thing my family misses is authentic mexican food, especially burrito’s. My sister and I call a real burriot a ‘baby diaper’ referencing the heft, tight roll and moist tortilla that you find in a good burrito. Gross, I know. But I don’t care! Those look like some very good baby diapers!!!

  4. Meg

    I’m glad you guys are having a great time! And glad you had such a nice airport experience since that is, uh, shall we say unique, among people I know who’ve travelled recently. I love it when the flight attendants are silly. One of my fondest plane travel memories–which, granted, is damning with faint praise–is having a flight attendant who sang the landing instructions to the tune of “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain.”

    And those burritos look delish (although I think Erin just killed my desire to have a burrito in the near future). :D

  5. wow! No wonder a trip there is an IPB holiday. :) I think I’d go into some sort of shock in a store like that, and become unable to make any sort of decision. And I LOVE that they use shutters to hang some of the samplers! That is so, so cool.

    Then, being novice hobbyist photographers, we left the camera in our room when we went out to pick up dinner. And, of course, were greeted outside by the most glorious sunset-tinted clouds and a giant rainbow. Naturally.

    My favorite trick is bringing the camera, while the battery is in the charger plugged into the wall. Nothing like going to take a few photos of a gorgeous sunset in, say, Cape Cod, or maybe AGAIN in Bermuda, only to find that you lugged your giant camera and have no freaking battery.

    And those burritos! In the artsy light of the desk lamp! Yum!

  6. Erin, “baby diaper” is TOTALLY the right description for a mongo burrito like those! Mmmm… baby diaper burritos. That’s something we definitely miss on the East Coast, although Pookie’s already planning a few swings into NYC in the next few months so she can pick up some Burritoville (*cough*whenwegotoTSalon*cough*); they do them right there.

    Meg, that’s pretty hilarious about singing the landing instructions! I’m honestly stunned that our flight went so well yesterday — I had been looking forward to this vacation so much that I was starting to get vibes that I was setting myself up for a fall. Thank goodness it didn’t work out that way!

    Nothing like going to take a few photos of a gorgeous sunset in, say, Cape Cod, or maybe AGAIN in Bermuda, only to find that you lugged your giant camera and have no freaking battery.

    NOOOOOOOO! That’s awful! Although it happened to us on a hockey road trip last year, that we’d managed to take 10 billion pictures out the car window, but when we got to the game and discovered we were just a few yards from the team benches, the battery completely died. Our new point-and-shoot takes regular AA batteries, so we’ve made sure we’re lugging around about 45 pounds of spares. Heh.

  7. hg

    YAY! Attic attack! I’m so excited for you! I may even bust out a piece and start it. I’ll start while Hada’s napping so I can be productive for a few minutes! I can’t wait to see the inventory you bring home to Maple Hoo.

  8. Woo hoo! New project!! WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

  9. Lartainymat

    One of my old buddie from classes and me planning for a one 30 days trip to Lahore at the end of December. Searching for a low-cost rent or lease a car (with driver) for 1 or 3 weeks

    We will be renting the automobile for the very first time in Pakistan. We are pretty concerned. What are the important things we should remember? Drive will only be limited by Lahore or different cities of Punjab

    Might anyone please suggest us?

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