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Some Places Should Have Warning Signs

Welcome to Bill’s.


What? A warning sign, you say? Yes– something like “You’re likely to spend a lot of money here and add a lot of fabric to your mile-high pile”. Bill’s Hardware & Simply Unique in Ozark, Alabama. One building, two businesses. It’s a place I can’t believe I didn’t know existed…. until my embroidery machine needed repair several months ago. After quickly browsing the Viking website I found a certified technician in my area:
“Simply Unique– Ozark, AL”.
Hesitantly I called expecting to find someone repairing sewing machines in their garage, instead I spoke with a very kind woman named Paula. She was going to be in the shop until 1pm so off I went, fast because it’s not exactly close to my house.
You know what they say about books, about how you can’t judge them by their covers? Well, you can’t judge Simply Unique by it’s cover either. Paula’s husband owns Bill’s and she’s tucked in the back corner. Unfortunately, during this outing she was in Dallas at a Viking convention.


It’s the only fabric store I’ve ever been to that I think my HUSBAND would love. Look, they even have straw hats… I’ll be sure to take him with me next time. If only Bill could speak to him in Spanish.

While you’re there you can pick up anything from entredeaux & cotton batting to nuts, bolts, Quikcrete & tires. I think for our family it could be a “one-stop-shop”.


When you step in the back of the store the scenery changes drastically.


It’s a little more feminine in the back.


And colorful too.


Oh the colors.


And the patterns & books.


And inspiration… it’s everywhere you turn.




It’s a dangerous place… at least for me.

We came down from our fabric high on the way home with a sugar high. Me & Raiger in the backseat with candy is also very dangerous. I love candy. Not chocolate. Candy. Sour patch kids. Chewy sprees. Gummi worms. Giant sweet tarts. Nerds. Hot tamales. Mike & Ikes. Bit ‘O Honey. Air Heads. I can’t buy it for myself because then my kids will eat it and I don’t want them to have it. Maybe that’s why I like it so much… Mom, did you deprive me of candy as a child? Anyway, I was a big girl and shared my candy with Paige. Mary Grace {in the carseat} is thankfully too young, we didn’t have to share anything with her. She just worked over that water bottle the whole time while we recovered from our shopping excursion.


The restaurant supply store is also a dangerous place for me. When I walk into these type places I say, “I’m NOT going to buy anything!” But then it happens and I see something I absolutely can’t live with out. Erika and Marla were here this week and I had the pleasure of introducing them to my weakness. I will go ahead and make myself feel better by saying that they too are weak. So I didn’t leave with a lot but I did leave with some AWESOME cups. Like the ones you get at Pizza Hut. I got giant ones for the adults and little squatty ones for the munchkins. When the man at the store told me they were hard to tip over I threw my hands in the air and said, “OK fine… I’ll take 6 of ’em!” He also said they were good for cocktails. I don’t really drink cocktails but if I did, I’m not sure I’d want it from a plastic cup… but I’ll take his word for it. Maybe after 5 or 6 cocktails you wouldn’t care what you were drinking out of. They looked more suitable for chocolate milk to me.


I picked up that chocolate swirl effect from Arby’s. Do you like it? The girls thought it was super cool. Then I watched them dip their hands in their milk to “stir” it. Next time I’ll be sure to serve it with spoons. John Martin doesn’t get chocolate in his milk. But maybe soon… you know, 3rd child. The girls didn’t know chocolate milk existed until their “Mom” {aka grandmother} introduced them to it when JM was born. That stinker!


We are thoroughly enjoying our summer. For my recollection I want to record what the little ones are up to:

Morgan has mastered the back flip I was dreaming about and also a front one {all underwater, nothing too fancy off a diving board, but still great for a 4-year old}. I’ll see if I can capture her on video doing her tricks to share.



She’s full of spunk & sweetness. Just this week we’ve noticed her using more adjectives in her sentences and she’s much more expressive with speech. Wednesday night Justin was trying to get the kids out the door for church and kept saying, “Come on guys, we need to run to church!”

As they were hurrying out the door Paige, with a very concerned look on her face asked Justin, “Daddy why we not takin’ ouw car?”

He responded, “We are, what are you talking about?”

She said, “You said we runnin’ to chuwch”

Kids. They. Are. The. Best. And very literal.

John Martin: Loves me. And I love him. He’s still a little fireball; gets mad easily and beats his head into the floor. I am assuming that soon he will realize that it hurts and stop. But he’s a smart little creature and gets my attention every time he does it. Trust me, it’d get yours too! He is scooting around the furniture but not walking yet. He likes to get dirty and MUST have a bath every night. He loves his sisters and gets so excited when they play with him. He’s our only picky eater and what he doesn’t like he throws {hard & fast} onto the floor. Including his sippy cup. I could eat him alive.


Good night!

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  • LeslieW.
    June 11, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    That looks like GREAT fun! I wanna see what you bought! I love the red florals in that first shot of bolt close ups! Very cool store.

  • Tomara
    June 11, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    I just found your blog (as suggested by Google Reader). I read a few posts and thought "Neat. I think I'll follow it for a while and see what she's like." That was this afternoon. Then I read this post and went "OZARK!! That's where I live!!" SO funny! We just moved here in March (hubby's military). I dabble in sewing (and baking and scrapbooking and photography) so I think I'm going to have to go find Bill's. Such a small world.

  • Miranda
    June 11, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    I want a store like that in Kentucky!! How beautiful are those fabrics?! I'd be weak in the knees too. Love your writing style and your pictures are gorgeous, as always.

  • Amanda Thrasher
    June 11, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    You are a hoot. Sounds like you don't do cocktails—but after I finally get your brood and my brood at the beach together and then get Erika and Chance to join us I know i will succeed at getting you to imbibe. looking forward to the day……YOu are a gem and your chillun' are lucky to have you.

  • Amanda Thrasher
    June 11, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    You are a hoot. Sounds like you don't do cocktails—but after I finally get your brood and my brood at the beach together and then get Erika and Chance to join us I know i will succeed at getting you to imbibe. looking forward to the day……YOu are a gem and your chillun' are lucky to have you.

  • Cara
    June 11, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Bill's Hardware looks like absolute heaven to me. I live smack dab in the middle of hustling, bustling Southern California, and we don't have anywhere with such a wonderful fabric selection. Heather Bailey! Sandi Henderson! Amy Butler! I would need some smelling salts. Would love to see the fabrics you picked out and what you are going to do with them πŸ™‚

  • Elizabeth
    June 11, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Do you carry around your new camera for all these pictures? I have the same camera and it's just kind of bulky to carry along with all of my daughters things….

    Love the running to church thing. Too cute!

  • The HoneaBees
    June 11, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    I am so glad that Ozark is on the other end of Alabama from us. I would buy too many things from the fabric store and my hubby would enjoy Bill's too much. I gasped when looking at the pictures. I LOVE fabric!
    That place would be the only time you would see me and my husband shopping together.

  • MyLittleHappyPlace
    June 11, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    I think JM sprouts a fresh handful of (beautiful, flaxen) hair with each pic you show!
    So, so wonderful – every single bit!

    I'm dying to know if any of those colorful fabrics might be something I could find online…did you notice if they were made by anyone I can look up? Amy Butler for instance?

    Oh! My mouth started watering at the mention of sour candy – YUM!

  • Ford Family
    June 11, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    oooooooooohhh! I am on the way to the beach (PC) tomorrow & I am just about to have to google the hardware store…that fabric is candy to the eye & I am hoping I can convince my friends to let me stop!! (Maybe if I promise to make them something they will let me! HA!) Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚ Precious, precious little munchkins!

  • Amy
    June 11, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Darby- the next time you and Tami go to this store you have to let me come along. Tami told me about you finding it awhile back but I forgot about it until now. So whenever you need an excuse to go- let me know.

  • Tina
    June 11, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Looks like a neat place with some pretty fabric. I'll have to check it out..not that I sew!

  • Jenny
    June 11, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Do you have the book "Blueberries for Sal"? It is one of our favorites and perfect for your adorable munchkins!

  • Blueprint Bliss
    June 12, 2009 at 4:25 am

    Bill's sounds interesting! Love the fabric choices… I also LOVE sour patch kids, nerds, large chewy sweetarts, gummy worms… the list goes on. I would choose it over chocolate any day.

  • erika
    June 12, 2009 at 4:40 am

    It was your pregnant sister who recommended that cup as a cocktail glass, not the guy at the store. πŸ™‚
    Not that I do cocktails these days, but the plastic cup just seemed to be the right size.
    Love you, see you TOMORROW!!Can't wait!!!!

  • Jen05
    June 12, 2009 at 4:48 am

    What a neat store! They seem to have a great selection for such an unassuming place.

    And my son does the same thing with his food and sippy cup. It's a good thing they're so cute πŸ˜‰

  • the heller family
    June 12, 2009 at 4:57 am

    I am tempted to make a little (big) road trip for this store! I would not even have to drag my husband in. The fabric choices are amazing and I think I could dig around in there for days. I am glad you guys are having such a great summer!

  • Kendall Boggs
    June 12, 2009 at 5:02 am

    i HAVE TO GO THERE!!!! I think those mini-Boden dresses are crying for that fabric!!! (i'm actually going to create that dress that I showed you into a short little swing thing with a one button back.) Rick rack around it with some little bloomers.

  • Abby Maddox
    June 12, 2009 at 5:09 am

    What a great post! As close as the Maddox's are to Ozark, I am going to HAVE to hit up Bill's next time we are home. I LOVED EVERY FABRIC you took a pic of. And that little JM in the last pic…I mean, I don't know how you haven't swallowed him whole.

  • Dianne
    June 12, 2009 at 5:43 am

    All three kids are so precious. JM is a real boy…been there and done that. My sweet 27 yr. old son was a bear to raise but oh, what a sweetie now! Enjoy every minute!

  • Melissa
    June 12, 2009 at 5:44 am

    Oh, it was so funny to read your comment about the chocolate milk! We didn't let Matthew have chocolate milk until he was 3! We were afraid he'd quit drinking regular milk. Turned out, now he actually likes regular milk better anyway. Luke, however, still has not had the privilege….

  • Amanda @ Serenity Now
    June 12, 2009 at 5:54 am

    Hi, Darby! I was drooling over all the beautiful colors in the fabric section of that store. πŸ˜‰ My oldest didn't know about chocolate milk until her uncle Mike came home from college for the summer…thanks, Uncle Mike. πŸ˜‰ Your kids are so cute!

  • Kellie
    June 12, 2009 at 6:08 am

    Loved that post – and glad that store is FAR FAR From me – I love stores like that when you get anything and everything in one place!!!! I, too love candy – anything fruity and gummy or sour – I've eaten at least 4 bags of sour patch kids on this trip to Mobile to play tennis! – CRAZY!!!! Your little ones are too cute – makes me miss mine at this moment!!!!! 3 year olds are fun fun fun – will say anddo anything – and I can relate to everything with JM -Henderson is a great baby, but can throw a tantrum in a second to get my attention! LOVE.THEM!!!!

  • Elizabeth
    June 12, 2009 at 6:10 am

    I second Jenny – Blueberries for Sal was one of my family's favorite books! Another good "food" book is "The Maggie B"

  • Megan
    June 12, 2009 at 6:17 am

    You are my new hero. I only knew about Hancock and Walmart for fabric. And the sewing machine store here in Enterprise. Now I'm off to explore this one! Thanks!

  • Jessica Ranjbari
    June 12, 2009 at 6:17 am

    I'm so jealous of that great fabric store – I love all of the Amy Butler, Heather Bailey and all of the others I saw. I would be tempted to buy everything as well. Good thing it's several hours away from me πŸ™‚ Your children are so sweet – love the pics!

  • Rachel
    June 12, 2009 at 7:05 am

    Candy! Yes, I love me some candy!

    And that store, my husband would never be able to drag me out of that place, assuming that I took him with me. I'd keep it a secret for a VERY long time!

  • The Newlywed
    June 12, 2009 at 7:08 am

    Your little ones are so precious! I love the car comment by Paige! Your post really reminded me that it's summer (if only I wasn't sitting in this office alll day)!!

  • Lauren
    June 12, 2009 at 7:12 am

    I will definitely be going to Bill's next time I'm in Dothan to visit the fam! I have just started sewing and it looks like I could find A LOT of accessories there. Were those Michael Miller fabrics? They are gorgeous.

    My daughter acts like JM – throwing food, sippy cups, getting mad at the slightest things. Only she is 18 months old and has now resorted to biting her classmates at daycare!

  • tag
    June 12, 2009 at 7:18 am

    I am a first time commenter, but I have to say how precious your sweet family is! I love your blog! I love seeing how your raise your kids, serve our Lord, and are so genuine. Thanks for being a great example!

  • The Harris Family
    June 12, 2009 at 7:33 am

    LOVE that store, I could get into some trouble in a fabric store! PS- I too share your love of candy not chocolate…candy! YUM! I literally hide from my child to eat it! haha!

  • Shar
    June 12, 2009 at 7:48 am

    You are blessed, girl. Those babies are just too darling. Happy Birthday and happy weekend with your sis.

  • Mrs. Davis
    June 12, 2009 at 8:09 am

    I do not have kids yet, but when I do I hope they are as precious as yours! What a CUTE family!
    Have a good day!

  • Natalie
    June 12, 2009 at 8:10 am

    oh goodness i think im having a mild heart attack. i wonder how far ozark is from mobile?

    yikes i would spend our life's savings in that place.

    happy bday!

  • Terri T
    June 12, 2009 at 8:29 am

    I live in Auburn and have been searching the area for a restaurant supply store with no luck. May I ask where is the one to which you are referring to?

  • Jessica Ranjbari
    June 12, 2009 at 8:30 am

    happy birthday tomorrow Darby!! have fun celebrating with Erika πŸ™‚

  • Chandra
    June 12, 2009 at 8:42 am

    This is my new favorite blog!! Love your writing, photos & recipes. That fabric would be hard to walk away from…love all of it!

  • Laura
    June 12, 2009 at 8:47 am

    I for one can't wait to see what you do with all your spoils! Too fun!

  • La Maison Fou
    June 12, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Great blog, and Happy Birthday to you as well, found you on your sister's blog! I love the photos that you have and the simple pleasures of you & your families life. Also, I was at a store yesterday "Atwoods", a ranch & farm store picking up horse treats but your store with the great backroom reminded me of the man store I was in yesterday.
    Have a good day & BD

  • andi
    June 12, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Oh the fabric fruit….LOVE IT! I will head up there next week…oh the fabric. Oh to sew. This place just might do it to me. Where is the restaurant supply store? I would like to head over when they stock?

  • The Carrolls
    June 12, 2009 at 8:56 am

    I love candy like that too! I have an addiction to Runts and we don't buy them either because the kids would eat them. I love all the fabric that store had. Gorgeous. Too bad I have all boys!

  • Katie
    June 12, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Your kids make me want to have kids…they are too precious. Maybe you could raise my kids too…that way they won't be little punks πŸ™‚ Love the fabrics – please please share anything you bought!

  • CeeCee
    June 12, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Do you take your camera with you everywhere you go? Just wondering!
    The fabric shop looks wonderful, great place to visit.

  • Anonymous
    June 12, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    I was so excited to find out where the fabric store was that you had mentioned in an earler blog. I could not wait to check it out.
    I went today and you are right there should be a warning!!!!!
    I loved it!!!
    I will be going back!!!

  • meredith
    June 12, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Umm, that place is SO in my backyard!! I had NO idea and I am looking for some fabric for my nursery. Yes, you read that right. We are having a baby!! I am definitely going by there and check it out!!


  • Lindsey
    June 12, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    what a great store! those fabrics are beautiful. about 80% of my extended fam lives in ozark. i'll have to check it out the next time we are down there. grady and jm sound a lot of like–he is PICKY and throws stuff wherever. the thing that kills me is he will devour a whole plate of something for dinner and then the next time i serve him the same thing, he won't have a thing to do with it?! love all the pictures!

  • Amanda
    June 12, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    I read this post…promptly headed to the restaurant supply place bought the same cups (tall and short), came home and made the same chocolate milk thingy-design…the kids were thrilled, I was too with my new weekend cups – we were all happy, a great Friday! Next up…the spread! Yummy!

  • Lydia
    June 12, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Thanks for sharing this! I had no idea it existed but will definitely be making a trip there the next Dothan visit!

    PS-Happy Birthday to you and Erika tomorrow!

  • Anonymous
    June 16, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Your kids are so stinkin' cute, I would bite them too !!!

  • CountryCouture
    June 16, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    I think we are joined at the brain! I just started reading your blog at the urging of my cousin. I, too, have those "restaurant supply cups!" I was sick and tired of my kids fighting over all of the Mardi Gras freebie parade throw cups, threw them out, and replaced them with the G.E.T. cups! I prefer the slim "juice" size because the kids waste less juice, and I can fit a million in the dishwasher. I don't think they spill too much because their small hands can really get a grip. I have 4 kids, and I bought 3 dozen! Also, they (G.E.T. cups) are BPA free. My friends joked that I have OCD, but you are my proof that I'm not the only one who has drinkware from a retirement village in her cupboards!

  • Laura - Ex. Dir.
    June 19, 2009 at 11:43 am

    I just stumbled upon your blog and had to comment! I am a child passenger safety technician and I saw the picture of your daughter in a booster seat with the seatbelt tucked under her arm. I am not sure if you allow her to do this while your vehicle is in transit, but if so, your child will be seriously injured in a crash. She looks quite young – young enough that I would hazard that she should still be in a 5 point harness car seat – examples of this would be the Graco Nautilus which harnesses to 65lbs and then becomes a booster seat to 100lbs.

    Please check out the foundation I run – the Kyle David Miller Foundation – https://www.kyledavidmiller.org or our blog at https://www.kdmf.blogspot.com – we encourage delaying the move to a booster seat as long as possible and keeping younger children rear-facing to the maximums.

    The foundation began following the loss of a 3 year old who was seated in a booster seat when his seatbelt failed during a rollover crash.

    I do hope you check us out and if you are comfortable with your daughter continuing to ride in a booster seat, please make sure you do not let her put the shoulder portion of the belt under her arm. Please also use the belt guide on the booster seat. The shoulder belt should lie in the middle of the shoulder – not touch the neck. The lap portion should be low on the hips, touching the thighs. If either of these does not happen with your booster seat, you need to either use a 5pt harness seat or a different booster that does position the belt in this way. Otherwise, the risk of internal injury is present.

    My very best wishes!

  • Like a Kid in a Candy Store {take 1} - Fly Through Our Window
    March 19, 2010 at 6:31 am

    […] a Kid in a Candy Store {take 1}Posted in: LifeIt’s almost been a year since we dropped in Bill’s Hardware/Simply Unique and just for fun I thought I’d take you to a few more of my favorite local spots that should […]

  • Like a Kid in a Candy Store {take 3} - Fly Through Our Window
    April 23, 2010 at 5:31 am

    […] creating, coordinating… it’s an incubator for my right brain. LastΒ  year I showed you Bill’s Hardware/Simply Unique {another one of my sewing gold mines} and this one is similar but geared more towards sewing for […]

  • Felicity
    January 13, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Oh my goodness, is the fabric/hardware store a phenomenon of the South? My fabric shop in Pensacola was a hardware/appliance/fabric/porn shop and I totally loved it. I haven’t been able to find anywhere with the same selection in DC. Oh I miss Pensacola….