happypathbookclub

our book club reads happy books!

Made with Love

I must admit, from a sewing table perspective, I’m spoiled.

I learned to sew on my mother’s White sewing machine in a built-in cabinet. It looked very similar to this:

White Sewing Machine 77MG and Cabinet

When I got my own Kenmore  sewing machine shortly after I got married, my husband got me a great sewing machine cabinet to put it in.  It has lots of storage and a hydraulic lift so you can use the machine flush with the table or  on the table top for free arm sewing. When I got my Brother sewing machine, my husband modified the opening to accommodate my new machine. It looks like this:

brother

When I got my new Babylock Jane, he tried to modify it again, but for various reasons it didn’t work. The machine is too heavy and it has a vertical bobbin that is awkward to access without the extension table attached.  I’ve been using my Jane on the top of the old sewing cabinet. But as I mentioned, I am spoiled and I am used  to sewing in a set in table. Also, I have been working on so many projects lately (including Leah Day’s Building Blocks Quilt Along) I thought it would be nice to have my Brother set up too. Less thread changing, foot changing etc. So  I went on the hunt for a DIY sewing table.  As predicted, Husband was not impressed with the Ikea table. Once he found a table he thought was suitable, the hard part was over. (The hard part for me, that is!)

Of course I forgot to take a picture of the table before we modified it, but here’s a link:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Dining-Table-Natural/5924565

We began our project with  a lot of staring, pondering, and  planning (probably the most important step!),  followed by a lot of measuring and a couple of trips to Home Depot and Harbor Freight.

Then it was time to break out the power tools!

Before we cut out the big  hole for the machine Husband cut out holes at all the corners so we could have rounded edges.

table top

“Duh” moment of the day: I was sent in search of a circle that would match the curves on the corner of my Jane. After a short hunt I found a prescription bottle, and as Husband drilled he mentioned  that the proper tool for the job  would be a stencil  with all different size circles on it. My reply? “Oh yeah – I just bought one last week!” (I’ll be FMQ circles soon!)

circles

In case you were wondering, the prescription bottle measured  exactly 1.5 inches! (That’s all I’ve done with the stencil so far – good investment!)

Time to cut the big hole:

table hole

Next we cut some boards and  attached them to the bottom of the table with construction adhesive and screws into the side of the table. We clamped them till the glue set. (well, till we were tired of waiting!)

table clamps

Then it was time to cut a piece of birch to size and get out the nail gun. I always get nervous when the nail gun comes out but we managed to get the wood attached with no stray nails in the brain, eye, etc. Excellent!

bottom

Here’s the finished  table, complete with a hole drilled  for the wires and to accommodate the presser foot knee lift. I love it!

jane

If you’re thinking about making your own sewing table, I say go for it! (says she who had her husband do it!) There are some important crossover skills between quilting and carpentry. In particular, the “staring, pondering, and planning” part. Also, the “measure twice, cut once” part. Although, in this case I would recommend “measure 5 or 6 times, cut once”. Fabric is a little less expensive to replace than a wooden table!

My husband hates when I talk about him on this blog. But on Valentine’s Day, I just have to. He has always indulged and spoiled me, whether it was buying me an awesome sewing cabinet at a time in our lives when it was a big extravagance,  or taking the “easy little projects” I find for him and taking them to the next level. He always supports me and my crazy ideas whether they are small (thread holder) or big (starting work full-time at a time in life when most people are thinking of retirement). Love you, hon – thanks for being my Valentine!

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Pardon for the delay…I was cleaning up the glitter…

Yes, this week was Book Club/ Holiday Craft Fest! Read about last year’s craft fest here.

Business out of the way: There was a book: “Wishin’and Hopin”” by Wally Lamb. We liked it – “Best Christmas Pageant Ever” for grown ups!

On to the food:

Brownie ice cream Pie and Cookies

Brownie ice cream Pie and Cookies

Tea Sandwiches and Petit Fours

Tea Sandwiches and Petit Fours

I don’t know what it is: I’m really bad at remembering to take pictures, or we were all starving. Probably both.  Either way, all the pictures I took were of half empty plates! And everything was delicious. Sorry I didn’t get a photo of everything: Candy Cane Oreo Truffles, veggies & dip, spinach dip, hot cider. I’m sure I forgot something. And how cute are these:

Christmas trees made of peanut butter cups and Hershey kisses!

Christmas trees made of peanut butter cups and Hershey kisses!

On to crafting! The glitter and paint were flying!

Decoupage plaques

Decoupage plaques

Balloon painted snowmen!

Balloon painted snowmen!

A good time was had by all! Thanks Stacy, awesome job as usual! We missed everyone who couldn’t  make it! Happy holidays all!

group

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It Should Have Been My Arm!!!

Catchy title brought to you by Lauren – thanks Lauren!

This month’s book was “The Husband’s Secret” by Liane Moriarty.

the_husbands_secret

And here’s a hint: the husband’s secret isn’t that he’s  bought a beautiful bouquet of pink flowers for his wife!  This best seller is an over the top story of murder, betrayal, infidelity, a (super!) creepy mother in law, and of course, maternal guilt.  The book examines the secrets we keep and those that we reveal, the grudges we hold and the grudges we let go of,  the guilt we live with, and the forgiveness we choose to extend (or not!) to ourselves and others. In short, it has it all. So many things to discuss! We all agreed that we would have read that letter in a heartbeat (what took Cecilia so long!) and the secret Tess chooses to keep at the end was the right secret to keep.

There were no  hot cross buns to munch on, but the delicious baked goods Kathy provided were even better. Thanks Kathy!

One thing we didn’t get to discuss at book club, this description of Cecilia i found on Shelfari: “The perfect mom, homemaker, volunteer, Tupperware sales rep.”  Take out the word Tupperware, and I think we can all think of a certain book club member who fits this description! I’m sure her husband has no gruesome letters tucked away for her, though!

I  don’t consider myself that much like Cecilia, but one scene in particular I could relate to. When Cecilia feels her life crumbling around her, she goes into her super organized Tupperware filled pantry to try to relax.

My house is a mess and I have the opposite of a super organized pantry, but I couple months ago, I did this:

Pat's Iphone 810

and this:

Pat's Iphone 809

And this:

20131029-111330.jpg

and this:

Pat's Iphone 812

This is all my quilting fabric that previously was stashed in various boxes, bins, and closets throughout the house. I spent the weekend sorting and folding while watching TV. (Can’t remember what I was watching, but I have a feeling it was something inspiring and intellectually stimulating – Like Season 1 through 4  of “Arrested Development”!) I won’t say it was best weekend ever, but I will say I enjoyed it a lot! And I find myself going in there occasionally, opening the drawers and admiring my handiwork. So I guess I do have a little bit of Cecilia in me after all!

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One Post, Two Books

  I don’t know what it says about my life they I never got around to posting about the June Book club meeting. Some people might say they were too busy, but I know it is closer to the truth to say I haven’t given enough priority to the right things.
And how bad is it that I had to look at my calendar to remind myself of not only what we read in June, but also what we read in July?!
June: “Seating Arrangements” by Maggie Shipstead. Unfortunately, I don’t remember much about the discussion. I do remember sitting on Kathy’s beautiful patio enjoying delicious refreshments and fun conversation. And really, isn’t that what book club is all about? I do remember that I didn’t really like this book. Didn’t like or care about the characters and was kind of bored by the story.
July: “Looking for Me” by Beth Hoffman. I really like this author and the book had very interesting characters that were fun to talk about. Beth Hoffman’s characters and settings are so vivid.

I was disappointed that I didn’t follow through with my idea to have a craft component to the evening, especially after everyone commented how the book gave them the urge to paint a piece of furniture!
In the spirit of craftiness, I will share a project my husband and I completed over the 4th of July weekend:

Awesome thread holder!

Awesome thread holder!

In truth, I can’t remember what valuable contributions I made to the construction of this besides saying, “hey, do you want to make this for me?”. Well, I did pick the color…

As someone (Stacy!)said to me recently, “Pinterest is the devil”. I think my husband wholeheartedly agrees! But I really need to clean and organize my sewing room. So far my thread is organized! Baby steps!

In spite of the mess, I have been plugging away at my goal of finishing some quilts. For all you BHS Drama fans, here’s a quilt I started a couple of years ago – finally completed!

BHS Drama Quilt Front

BHS Drama Quilt Front

I used the back of the T-shirts with the cast lists on them for the back of the quilt:

BHS drama quilt back

On to the next project!

Since it has been so long since I posted I am making this post extra long. Here are two books I read recently that I really enjoyed:

graham

tigers

If you are a fan of Lauren Graham from “The Gilmore Girls” and “Parenthood” (I am!) you’ll enjoy this fun, optimistic book about a young woman struggling to make it as an actress in New York.

“Tigers in Red Weather” is definitely not as light-hearted,but it is a good story, beautifully written. And how great is that cover?This book  made me want to sit on a hot beach with a cold martini – a good summer read! What good books have you read lately?

Hope you’re all having a great summer!

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Happy Holidays!

I wanted to take a minute to wish every one a happy holiday – and since one of  my favorite, super geeky Christmas decorations is book related (of course!) I thought I would share it with you.

For the past few years, I have been using three of my favorite Christmas books to set up a holiday display:

book display

Here’s a closer view:

The Polar Express

The Polar Express

The Grinch!

The Grinch!

A Charlie Brown Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas

That isn’t Linus’ blanket around the tree – although it is as well-loved! Can you guess whose it is?

Next year I hope to kick my display up a notch. This should do the trick:

lg book tree

or this:BookTree4

Or even this:

little book tree

Wishing you all comfort and joy this holiday season!

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Christmas with the Krafts

 Holiday Book Club Party! Yeah!!

In the midst of other holiday celebrations these past few weeks, Wednesday was our 2nd annual Holiday Book Club meeting. Once again it was a very glittering affair! And when I say glitter, you know what kind I’m talking about.

These year we actually read a book for the meeting – “Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham. It was a quick, fun read, and we actually spent a couple of minutes discussing it. While we understood wanting to skip certain aspects of the holiday (spending all that money!) we agreed that maybe the Kranks carried it a bit to far. Come on – put up the snowman already! What’s the harm?

Then it was on to the really important stuff – food and crafts! Everyone brought delicious treats to share. We ate and then got down to our true purpose – crafts!

Once again Stacy supplied us with an extravaganza of craft projects. Her craft room  is very like Mary Poppins’ carpet bag – everything you could possibly need is in there! In honor of the Kranks, we created snowmen:

What a fine display of craftiness!

What a fine display of craftiness!

After pretty much following the rules with our first craft, we all really got into the spirit with our fun foam snowmen. Just like a snowflake, no two were alike: 

 
Fancy  Snowgirl available on Etsy. $15, free shipping

Fancy Snowgirl available on Etsy. $15,free shipping

We ALL did a great job with our snowmen!

We ALL did a great job with our snowmen!

Thanks Stacy, for hosting and planning this fun night for us! It was a relaxing evening –  talking, laughing, and doing simple crafts that made us feel like kids again.

As I write this tonight, I am reminded of the families in Connecticut who will probably be skipping Christmas this year, and realize how lucky I am to be able to celebrate with my family and friends.

snowman

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