bookin’ on down the road

I’ve always liked my late husband’s description of traveling in a hurry – bookin’. Well, that’s what we’ve done for the last few days. Booked.

We made a marathon of getting from Idaho to Illinois. That meant, of course, lots of drive-bys if I wanted any pictures at all. So most photos from WY, NE, IA, and MO were taken as we drove down the highway.

Getting to actually stay in one place more than one night has been a great thing. We arrived at our Illinois destination just minutes after midnight Sunday morning, instead of 11:30 Saturday night. That was only because our GPS had a momentary lapse in good judgment; she took us all the way through town and had us headed to the next one. Well, we knew that was wrong! I think that shook her confidence a little, to discover that she’d cost us extra time. It must have also stirred up her motherly instincts (can a GPS be a mother??), because on the way back through town, she developed a concern for our nourishment. Instead of directing us to the address we wanted, Ms. GPS decided she knew better, and directed us to the local McDonald’s. And it wasn’t even open!

Poor frazzled Ms. GPS. I almost felt sorry for her. Fortunately my sister saved the day and gave us verbal directions to her house. In the end all was well; we enjoyed our time with them and with my brother. And he likes his oven mitts, thankfully! My sis likes her tortilla warmer, oven mitt, and hot pad too, so that marathon sewing adventure before leaving the house was worth it. But, alas, today is back to work for these folks, so we’re heading on down the road to KY for more visiting, and a chance to use that sewing machine in the back of the car.

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Road trip – days one and two

Well, we’re embarking on becoming seasoned cross-country road-trippers. I think after this month, we’ll add that to our title collection. Hmmm . . . let’s try that out.

Hello, we’d like to introduce ourselves. We’re Mr. and Mrs. Seasoned Cross-Country Road-Tripper.

Kinda has a ring to it, eh?

So, the first day went very well, even though we didn’t get on the road until 8 pm (we both had to work the whole day) and only went a couple of hours. The full moon was bright and cheerful on the road ahead – it was like a beacon guiding us forward. We seemed to get our second wind after a long day, and the trip was relaxing.

following the moonlight

The motel had a very good breakfast the next morning. That set the tone for the rest of day two. Stopping for a picnic lunch in Vale, Oregon, we basked in the (very) warm breeze. I can say basked, because we knew we’d be getting back into an air-conditioned car. I can only stand a breezy 97 degrees for just so long before I start melting.

I had to get a picture of this sign at a roadside rest. It said, “No camping on lawn.” I wondered if maybe a lot of people hadn’t read that sign, because the “lawn” had a very camped-on look.

no camping

As we drove along, we noticed beautiful wild lavender (at least I think it’s lavender) growing alongside the road, amongst other wildflowers – what a special blessing. It smelled wonderful!

lavender

Even with the 3 mph road construction traffic in Boise (took literally one hour to go three miles), that wasn’t so bad. It gave me time to think, and to thank the Lord that it would not be like that the entire trip.

Even the long, straight stretches of high desert in eastern Oregon and western Idaho had advantages. I was able to finish one oven mitt for my brother (he loves cowboy stuff), for his apartment. I used scraps of pattern paper from a pattern I’d cut out, wrote the words out with a marker, and pinned it to the mitt so I could just embroider over the writing. Safety pins are the only way to go if you’re sewing while riding in the car! Can you imagine losing a straight pin in your car seat?? O U C H ! !

We stopped in Idaho to visit very good friends. That’s part of what makes these trips so special. And you’d think I’d remember to take the camera in and get a picture of the family before we left. Not.

So, how has your day been?

Road trip, road trip, here we come!

Doncha just love road trips! This is one we’ve been planning for a few years, and it’s (giggling in excitement) about to happen!! Any day now.

Now, what to take, what to take?? I’ll need jammies, toothbrush, dental floss, hairbrush, some…uhm…unmentionables, some mentionables (several of those), sandals, camera, computer, chargers, sewing machine, puzzle books, pills, snacks, purse, iPhone, Kindle, pillow, chewing gum, music CDs, hair dryer, travel iron, ear plugs, swimsuit, travel mug, and a case or two of water – nice, cold water. I’ll have to clear the car of empties before we head out, though. Thankfully they’re recyclable.

What?? What was that?

Why, yes, I did say sewing machine. Isn’t that always included on any cross-country road trip? Seeing this is my first one, I wasn’t sure, so I had to consult the REmissionary Road-Trip Novice Handbook. Right there it was, on the very first page:

If you are new to cross-country road trips, please read this section carefully! In order to fully savor the road-trip experience, make sure that your sewing machine is included, so that you feel at home no matter what part of the country you visit. This may raise the eyebrows of more seasoned, non-sewing trippers, but rest assured, you are proceeding according to correct protocol.

Now, that’s a direct quote! So there, seasoned road-trippers!

see those cute animal buttons

. . . and now . . . HOW to throw in the towel

So, I’m still throwin’ in the towels, only this time I’m throwin’ ‘em in our own kitchen. And since they were so much fun to make, I wanted to do a mini-tutorial to share the fun. Every towel I did was a little different, but for simplicity’s sake, I’ve only included a couple of styles here. Once you get the basics down, you can just do what I did – improvise!

I first washed everything, to make sure it was all finished shrunking – er . . . shrinking. Then I ironed everything really well.

I cut the towels in half width-wise, making a set of two from each original towel. On one set, I folded each panel in half and pressed a crease, then folded the sides towards the back, up to that crease, and pressed again. On the other set, I ran a basting stitch and gathered them up to about 1/2 the original width.

Next, I had to decide on rectangular or triangular topping. Being the (in)decisive person that I am, I made both! I used two matching washcloths for each set of towels.

These cloths had netting sewn in, so I didn’t use interfacing (I did use it on all the other towels, though. Follow mfg. instructions if you use it). I actually cut the netting out of one towel to cut down on bulk, leaving it in the other for some shaping. The cut-out netting was then used for another set of towels (yup, the ol’ REmissionary thing never goes completely away).

I lay the two washcloths together, right sides facing. For the rectangles, I first drew a line at the center of one cloth, and sewed up each side of that mark, 1/4-inch away. Then I sewed around three sides of the two cloths, leaving the bottom open. I cut along that center line, making two rectangular pieces. I then trimmed the corners at the top, leaving the bottom corners uncut, and turned the rectangles right side out. Since these were finished on the edges, I used that as a decorative accent. This wasn’t laziness, I promise!! But it did save that extra step of folding a seam allowance under on that edge.

For the triangular tops, I sewed all the way around the outer edges, and then drew a line from one corner to the opposite corner, forming two triangles. I cut along that line, leaving the cut edges open. I folded and pressed the triangles to get the exact center of the top point, and laid the towel on top of the ironed-in crease. I marked where the towel fit, and drew my seam lines. After sewing the lines in, I tried the fit to make sure the points came out where they were supposed to. As you may notice in the photos, I wasn’t too terribly concerned that they weren’t perfect – but close enough to hang fairly straight when finished. Close DOESN’T only count in horseshoes and hand grenades, folks!! These were close enough for government work (a saying my government-employee friend used to detest).

those corners were cut off after sewing side seams

those corners were cut off after sewing side seams

After getting the side seams to my satisfaction, I trimmed the excess corners off, trimmed the seam at the top point, and turned right side out. I pulled the corners out as pointy as I could get them, and then turned under a 1/2-inch seam on the open end and pressed it down really well. I slipped the top of the towel into this open end and stitched across as close to the edge as I could (about 1/8-inch), then up from the edge about 1/2-inch. That enclosed the towel inside the topping.

Next was the top-stitching. I went all the way around the outer edge, starting and stopping at the first line of stitching on the bottom encasing edge.

After topstitching, I folded the top in half and pressed a crease into the fold (the tops measured about 4 inches at this point). After that came the buttonhole and button. My oven door handle is about 1 inch around, so I measured down about two inches from the fold, to leave plenty of room. Handles come in all sizes, so I tried to plan for the biggest one that might be used. About two inches should be enough – I mean, who has stove handles bigger than that???

My sewing machine has a handy little gauge for buttons, so I measured them and set the buttonholer to the right size, and marked my starting point on the flap. Then W H I Z went that wonderful little buttonholer gizmo. Be careful cutting the holes open, not to cut through the top of the buttonhole. After the buttonholes were in, I lined up the button and marked the spot, sewed the button on, and rushed lickety-split to the kitchen to try it out. Whaddya know – it worked!!!

Here is how each top looked after finishing. I don’t know if I like the gathered look or the smooth folded look better. What do you think??

Washin’ my hands and throwin’ in the towel

You know those kitchen towels that hang over the stove handle, the ones with crocheted or fabric tops? Yeah, those. Well, I never particularly cared for the ones with those little skinny straps.

You’re no doubt wondering what my point is. I do have one, and it’s not on top of my head, either. See, my friend wanted me to make some kitchen towels for her friend, so I did. But I decided they would NOT have skinny tops.

Y’know, these things are really fun to make, and not ONE with a skinny top!

Not having a pattern (so what’s new), they took a little longer (so what’s new) while I figured out how to do the tops. But once I got it figured out, ZOOM! went the process. I was ready for a good hand-washing in no time. The last four went REALLY fast, even though I broke a needle.

I got to use various scraps of fabric in my stash, and some pieces of lace and doilies I’ve had forever. A great stash-buster project if you’re looking for one. Ya know, I didn’t keep a single towel. That means I’ve done flung a cravin’ on myself to make a few for our kitchen.

Well, I’ve thrown in the towels and washed my hands of this project (translation: I got them made and delivered to my friend). Now I’m going to make a few for us too – and you got it . . . no skinny tops! :lol:

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