Friday, January 31, 2014

Absolutely perfect ironing surface!

Almost a year ago, I had some tables made - one of normal height for my extra sewing machines, a tall 3' by 5' one for cutting and a tall 2' by 5' one that I could butt up against the cutting table so I can pin a 9' quilt the Sharon Schamber way.

The next big change for my sewing area was to be a new ironing surface/counter. I've looked and looked for something that would work and then it hit me during the night a while back - use the 2' by 5' table!

The table is the ideal height. I asked son Brent to make me a board to cover the table. Brent is the woodworker in the family.
Too bad I didn't raise the shades to the same level!
The board is done finished by two grandsons who wrote neat messages and colored on the bottom with markers and it is perfect! Yesterday Ray and I covered the board with batting and ironing board fabric. I laid a piece of flannel on the table top. The board which has 1" by 1/2" sides fits perfectly over the table. I can easily lift the board and remove it if I need the table to pin a quilt.
The ironing surface is in front of the window where I can see our driveway and the street.
I don't have the best storage underneath yet - I'm working on that. Some idea will probably hit me one of these nights at 3AM!
New ironing surface - 24" by 60".
In the meantime, I do have a fantastic ironing surface! 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Winter Retreat Déjà vu

Last February, I went to a quilting retreat with three friends at Memory Lane. You can read about it here. When we left last February, we left in weather - a snow and ice storm. 

The same four people at the same place this past weekend left early yesterday in weather again! We were really watching the weather and decided to leave early and then earlier! We all made it home but we'd really like to go on a winter retreat without weather!!! 

Here are a few shots from this past weekend.
Barb's quilt was so fitting - it was very cold outside!

The black borders really added to Sandy's gorgeous quilt.

Interesting the way that Krista made this quilt longer so it wasn't a square. Can you find the extra strips?

Sandy's cute wallhanging.

I love the triangle border on Barb's work in progress.

We had a great time - lots of quilting, great food, and quality time with friends. I'm not showing my projects - all are secret and will be shown later!

My spot is the back left corner with the red water bottle.

This was my gorgeous view out of the glass doors. The overhead lights were reflecting in the glass doors.

As for the weather - our blizzard is over. We still have some wind, drifting snow, and dangerously low temperatures.  No school here today or tomorrow. Most everything is closed. It's been a great day to stay home and sew!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Swaddle time

Daughter-in-law Emily had posted this swaddle blanket photo on Pinterest. I thought it was darling so ...

I found some patterns online and then found the actual pattern with this photograph in the book, Fabric-by-Fabric One Yard Wonders by Yaker and Hoskins.

I looked and looked but could not find a printed flannel like the one in the photo. Ray and I did find a couple flannels that would work and Emily picked out three pieces the day we went shopping.

And now the swaddle blankets are done! 

I made bias binding due to the many curves and corners in the pattern. I always finish the binding on my quilts by hand so I find finishing with a machine a little awkward. 

Sorry I don't have a darling little person to model these! Won't be much longer though!

I think they are cute - wish I'd had something like this when our kids were born. 

My list is shrinking - next up is a nursing cover. And I really need to get the quilts started for this little guy...

Saturday, January 18, 2014


The baby is due in March, our 8th grandchild. And, of course, it is a boy! Number 3 son for this family. Mom-to-be Emily wanted burp cloths and asked if I could make them. Of course!

Last Monday, we went fabric shopping. Emily doesn't sew but I think she enjoys looking at fabrics - all of the colors, textures, and patterns. We had fun picking out flannels.

I found patterns for burp cloths online but tweaked and tweaked. Emily wanted the cloth 'cut out' at the neckline but she didn't want a tiny cloth. 
burp cloth pattern - to be placed on a fold
I wanted the cloth to have flannel on both sides. And I thought we needed a middle layer for absorption. The middle layer is a bar towel or bar mop. I had to undo the hem at each end of the towel for length before I cut it. The towel is stitched into the seam and there are two rows of topstitching so it shouldn't unravel.

Each cloth finished at 8 inches by 17 inches. 

Emily thought 8 - 10 cloths would be fine. I added a little fabric from my stash and I think I got a little carried away... they were fun and easy to make. Here are all of them - no two are identical. I twisted each one so you could also see the other side.

Now it's time to make swaddle blankets… and a nursing cover… and his quilts. I'd better get busy!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Maybe some quilting...

After we got home last week, we spent one day getting caught up - laundry, mail, taking down Christmas decorations, etc.

Then, when the fog cleared a little Friday morning, we left for Madison, Wisconsin. We had tickets for a concert, Elvis Lives. We also had reservations at a motel on the square, only a 4 block walk from the Overture Center. Well the freezing rain began mid-afternoon. The walk wasn't fun but the concert was great!

On Saturday we headed home for a wedding and on to Dubuque, Iowa for the reception and to spend the night. 

On Sunday we were back in Wisconsin to watch grandson Mack play hockey. So glad we were there to see him score a GOAL!

Now we are really home! I think it's time for some quilting!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Home Sweet Home!

It is wonderful to be home! 

On our way, we saw more cars and semis in the ditch than ever before. Many were in the ditch. Some had rolled and a few had wrecked. One semi trailer looked like it had exploded. What a mess! The roads across Indiana and into eastern Illinois were horrible. 

This morning at the motel breakfast, we talked with lots of people. Everyone was sharing what they had come through yesterday and wondering if continuing today was smart. We knew we had 75 miles of ice and then we would be fine so we decided to go for it. If we had been going east, I think we would have just hunkered down for another night.

We are so happy and relieved to have made it home safely.  I'm really glad we had my car - a 4-wheel drive jeep. The ice was still bad but the car handled the 'washboard' areas and the snow well. Ray drove the whole way and did a fantastic job! I think he has had enough winter driving for the year!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Long Day

It's been a long day. West Virginia roads were fine. Ohio roads via Dayton were fine. Then came Indiana and the results of weather - ugh! 

Some of the scenery was beautiful.

Some was boring! In case you can't tell, the road was NOT clear! I didn't get any pictures of the many cars and semis off the road. The trucks were crawling!

At times we were very happy to be going the opposite way. This traffic was stopped due to road conditions - it was very icy.

Most of the time we were happy just to be going. Yes, on the interstate in Indiana, we mostly drove 35 and under! 

Once again, we are happy to be safe and warm tonight. We are at a motel in Crawfordsville, Indiana. As we checked in, they told us about the complimentary dinner - sweet! We enjoyed lasagna, garlic knot rolls, and salad. A great ending to a long day! 

As I said last night, tomorrow will still be cold and there will still be snow and we will still be on our way home… but we're both hoping that we get home tomorrow!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Driving into Weather

We are headed home. Sad because we are leaving family and friends and sad because we are in weather! I know most everyone has weather right now but I wish we could have just blinked and been home!
  1. the state of the atmosphere
  2. state or vicissitude of life or fortune
  3. disagreeable atmospheric conditions: as rain, storm OR cold air with dampness

I use the 3rd definition of this word most of the time! 

After packing in 61 degrees, the warmest since we began this trip!, we sat at breakfast with a map and a computer. We knew we wanted to stay south and west for many hours before heading north. But the computer models changed - either route wasn't going to be pleasant. So we decided on the shorter route and headed north. We crossed the mountains in Virginia and  West Virginia. We've been in rain, snow, and heavy winds. The temperature dropped 50 degrees rapidly. 

We stopped at the Southwest Virginia Farmer's Market and found some wonderful pecans. Great munching food!

Tonight we are north of Charleston, WV. It wasn't a great day on the road but we are safe and warm tonight! I think that makes a great day - right?!

Tomorrow will still be cold and there will still be snow and we will still be on our way home...

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Friends, Fun, and Family

We’ve been busy having a great time!

We spent New Year’s day with our friends Amy and Yoshi in Durham. Their three daughters enjoy being silly for the camera! All of today's photos were taken on my phone which I don't usually use for pictures.

We were playing Spoons. We also enjoyed playing Bananagrams and Peanuts. I had a great time learning to make rubber band bracelets, seeing the girls' new sewing machine, and helping the youngest learn to crochet. We visited, played games, the guys watched some football and, of course, we ate. The evening meal was a variety of Japanese dishes – absolutely delicious! Amy is a fantastic cook. This was my first experience using chopsticks with soup and I didn’t spill a drop!

Today, Thursday was a travel day - we moved 40 miles. We took all day and drove much further than 40 miles!

First stop was Yates Mill County Park in Raleigh - about a 25 minute drive. The Yates Mill was rather neat.

It was an overcast day and we wanted to see the Park before the rain. We started a hike and saw this sign. Yikes!

I really watched where I was stepping. Thank goodness I didn't see any snakes! This was the view on part of our hike. It is a pretty area and we'd love to go back in the spring or fall.

Just as we got back to the car, we felt a few sprinkles which soon stopped. We backtracked about 23 minutes to the Bernina World of Sewing. This was a very nice shop with some great ladies. There may still be hope for an embroidery machine in this life someday! I didn't buy a machine but I did buy a little fabric.

On to Cary for lunch at Mimi's Cafe. You can tell I took the picture - notice the handicapped parking sign right in the middle!

After lunch we backtracked a few miles to the Cary Quilting Company. This place just opened last January and it is fantastic.

I loved their modern fabrics and the ladies were super nice. I used great restraint and only bought fabric for a bag. Oh, I could have bought bags of fabric!

I decided to forgo the yarn shop but after checking the GPS and finding that we were one minute away, we had to check it out! Warm 'n Fuzzy is also a relatively new shop I think 16 months old with a great owner and LOTS of neat yarn and inspiration. Again I used great restraint and only bought enough Island Cotton for a scarf. Island Cotton is a Tryon, North Carolina yarn and super soft.

As we were leaving the yarn shop, the drizzle became a steady rain. It was time to head for our next motel. We only had a 30 - 40 minute drive! 

We arrived at our motel about a mile from our son's house and unpacked in a steady rain. We finished wrapping some Christmas gifts, did a little laundry, called for pizza, and it was finally time to see Brad and our five NC grandkids. They have grown! Lots!

Tomorrow we'll spend all day with them so we might be too tired to write much...


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