Small Town Living and Shopping Out of Town

Notice in my bio how I flaunt living the good life near the US-Canadian border. Most of the time this is true. When I think of living in a small town, I’m glad, proud and a bit flaunty about it. There is less stress, less traffic and, unfortunately, less stores.

To go on a shopping spree I must leave town.

The trick for a successful shopping spree is planning. I’ve done this a few times, and make a list of all the things I want to look at, and possibly buy. Once I told Dad, he surprised me by handing over a flyer with some items circled for me to pick up. My mother asked me to get only one thing and I accepted she let me off easy. Bossman offered to drive and carried a list in his head. We were ready. What could go wrong?

We drove 2.5 hours to Kelowna to get everything on all our lists. First few hours everything went smoothly, much too smoothly. Bossman and I upgraded our cell phones, picked up Dad’s stuff, and walked the mall, relaxing and having fun.

The time came for buying some embroidery floss for a cross-stitch project. I needed several colors and started pulling them from clearly marked bins. A nice selection all arranged one beside the other, leaving ample opportunity for the wrong color to fall into the bin next door. Because I’m in a hurry, tired, and the only one that wanted to be in the crafts store I wasn’t as careful as I should have been, and didn’t check the numbers on each the DMC threads. A little voice even suggested that I take a look, but noooo I refused. Why listen to the little voice? What does it know? Why does it even exist?

Ignoring the little voice, I didn’t think about it again until I looked at my floss after getting it home.

I landed up with three colors I all ready had and zero colors for my special project–Mom’s birthday gift.

I normally take bumps like this in stride. If you heard anything to the contrary ignore it. Really, Usually I’m fairly calm. I don’t rant or go on and on about anything. …hmmmm, where was I? Too many of one color and missing the colors I really, really needed. So that left shopping on line. Floss is usually about fifty cents a package. Even if its marked up it still isn’t that expensive.

But it is all relative, right?

I find an on-line store with everything I could possibly want. It’s in Canada, so no over the border issues. It is for all kinds of needlework so there is a rainbow of DMC floss waiting for me. All I have to do is choose the colors. I did, feeling myself fill up with happiness. I could finally finish the cross stitch I started for Mom and give her her present, late as it is.

I saved two cents on each floss. Wow, I thought. Knowing I was getting such a deal, I cemented my new method for buying floss deep into my psyche. I have found a way to keep myself in floss for the rest of my life. Then they charged me a dollar for each packet for delivery. Say, what?


I paid twice as much as the floss was worth, but it’s done. Its a gift, and the cost, especially for a homemade gift, doesn’t really matter. But I think the story is pretty good and I plan to tell it when anyone asked about Mom’s new trivet. Even after all I did to make this happen, it is still worth it.

Here’s a little look at what I’ve done so far.


The two things near the top corners are supposed to be hummingbirds, but without the colors I need they could be anything. I’ll post another picture in a couple of weeks after I have finished.

Do you have any projects on the go? Any stories behind them you’d care to share? I’d love to hear about it . 🙂

36 responses to “Small Town Living and Shopping Out of Town

  1. I think I am never fully prepared when it comes to shopping, I would like to think if I had to drive as far as you do I would be, but I know myself better than that and I just know I would forget something and remember half way back home.

  2. I live in europe and I often buy things online. I’ve bought a few things form the US where the price for the actual product was cheaper, but then with the added shipping costs, it doesn’t matter that much anymore. I also got charged duane costs a few times which add half of the price. So nowadays I don’t buy the many things online from overseas anymore, because sometimes it’s just not worth it.
    Luckily many things we can buy close by, but there are some things you just can’t find in a store or there isn’t a store close by. I would love to live in a place you like do, although I can imagine the shopping trips can take a while.

    • I like getting away for the day and I save up so I don’t put myself in debt. The first few times I did this I was more than exhausted. The bright side was Bossman, my son, coming with me. We talked, got closer and that alone made the trip worth it.

      If you have someone nearby that you care for and are losing touch with, traveling toward something festive like a shopping spree is perfect setting to reach out. 🙂

  3. I knew they were hummingbirds right at first glance! Beautiful! I love crafts and have done some cross stitch myself, but prefer working with plastic canvas. As for lists, I write very detailed ones, but there have been a couple of times that I’ve gotten to the store and realized I left the list on the kitchen table 😦 Oops!

  4. As someone who hates shopping and I do mean hate it..I love to shop online but the trick is shop smart, get free shipping. Sometimes those little voices are very, very

    • I was only making a six dollar order, hence no free delivery. But I think I’ll put in more of an effort next time round. 🙂

      And about the little voice–I so get it and forget it when I need it. 😛

  5. I’m liking my town, because it has almost a small town feel but I also have two grocery stores, a movie theater and the library within walking distance.

    Sarah Allen
    (From Sarah, With Joy)

  6. Wow, it’s beautiful! You’re very talented 🙂

  7. Goodness, what you have to go through for a shopping trip.

    I grew up in a small country villiage where we had to drive a half-hour to the nearest town. No where near as long as you, though. Still, when my parents, who still live there, come to visit me in London, they’re always so excited to visit the big shopping arcades and order take away dinners just so they can experience the home delivery.

    Just love your needlepoint project. Looking forward to seeing the finished thing. My Nana used to do lovely projects like this, and I’m sorry she passed before she was able to teach me the skill.

  8. Oh my…I haven’t cross-stitched in years but I’ve done the exact same thing as you–grabbed dupes instead of what I needed. I love looking at the floss in real life though–all the pretty colors. A dollar a packet to ship? Really? That’s outrageous!

    • Silly me I paid it because I wanted to give Mom her gift.

      Love to see some of your work sometime. Let me know if you post any. 🙂

      • I’ll take a few shots if I get a chance. I used to have several of them hanging on the walls but we got bored of them. I went through a sampler period in the early nineties. Problem is…I still know where all the mistakes are and my eyes go right there. Perfection is a myth!

        • LOL so true.

          I’ve given all my work away. I love the idea of personalized gifts, but now that you point it out. I don’t have to look at my mistakes again. LOL

          Looking forward to the pics. 🙂

  9. jenniferbielman

    I am not a big shopper but I hate when I have to drive out of town for something. I don’t even know why. I like getting everything where I live, it feels comfy.

  10. aww yes small town living, I can understand that. Lived in NYC and moved to a small town about 3 years ago, was quiet a change. To go to a mall I have to drive an hour away, luckily we how some small cities near by. Lovely project by the way!

    • A bit of a culture shock going from huge city to small town. I’m glad you are enjoying the quiet life.

      I can’t wait to finish the project, don’t want Mom waiting forever and a day 🙂

  11. I live in a small city and whenever I have to go to the capital city (an hour away by bus) I make a list of everyhting I have to do and shop, however, I always forget something and I ALWAYS come back with a headache.
    BTW, I love how the gift is looking so far 🙂
    Have a great week, Ruty@Reading…Dreaming

    • Ruty!

      I had no idea we had this in common. I love to visit, get what I want, and get the heck out of there, hopefully without the headache.

      Thanks for saying so. The pattern caught my eye because Mom loves hummingbirds. 🙂

  12. What a lovely picture! Looking forward to seeing the finished project, and I’m sure your mother will love it! While we don’t live as far away from shopping as you do, I’m still not used to the lack of options or the late opening times. We moved from Northern NJ to a Southern small town and I’m still surprised that stores don’t open until 10am and are closed on Sundays!

    Terri @ Alexia’s Books and Such…

  13. Oh my gosh, I’ve been there. Even the part when you think it’s OK ‘cuz the internet store saves the day, with a huge dollar sign… I laughed out loud with your story, it was descriptive and funny and I so empathize. Great Share!! I love the floss work!!

    • Thanks. The story continues. I put the wrong address on my order, and am trying to fix it. This project is going to take more than floss to finish.

      I need to be stubborn too. 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by, hope to see you again.

  14. Aha, the cross stitch piece is beautiful. Your mom will love it. It’s all worth it just to see the smile on her face when you give it to her.

  15. I love living in a small city. I live in a single tax colony on the Gulf Coast and it’s full of artists and authors.
    I just recently was in the Hobby Lobby store and couldn’t resist a sweet cross stitch pattern. It’s been many years since I’ve done one and I’m looking forward to it and fearing it at the same time. LOL
    Glad you finally got your floss!

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