Category Archives: Sewing with kids

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–February 10, 2020

We were very busy last week. The week included several trips to Portland, to visit a family member who had a major operation. I am very happy to say that she is doing very well after her surgery. We stayed as frugal as we could throughout the process.

As I mentioned last week, Rob had cooked several kinds of meat, I had made soups, and he made a breakfast casserole. We ate those all week. I was able to take a small cooler packed with food to the hospital 2 of the times I was up there, and several meals were eaten from it. It is amazing how much you can cram into one of those little lunch-sized coolers! So, those who were waiting or visiting dipped in there as well, and my family member’s husband, who stayed up there the entire time, just kept the rest of the food and ate it for his dinner both times. Several other people brought him food as well, and he filled in the rest at the cafeteria.

The patient is resting at home now, I’m happy to say. The food is pouring in over there already, so that’s nice:)

We were invited to a baby shower for Rob’s niece. We didn’t have much notice, but really wanted to go, since we don’t get to spend as much time with his side of the family as we wish we did. Some years ago, Rob had stumbled upon a wonderful clearance sale of baby items for very low prices. As you can see, all these socks were only $1. I think the highest priced things were $3. I was at the hospital, so he and Patsy chose several items from my “baby stash” that would be good for a baby boy and went down to the store and bought some diapers, wipes, a rattle…stuff like that and got it all into a gift bag. It was not expensive, but turned out very nice, with the combo of what I had plus a few extra things.

Then, we all 3 went to the shower Saturday afternoon, and had a great time.

I took Patsy to a zipper application workshop for 4H. It was held a distance away from our house, but other than the cost of gas, it was free. We were able to bring the required supplies from our stash, and they supplied the rest from fabric and zippers that had been donated for that purpose. I’m so glad she’s showing an interest in sewing this year, and want to encourage her in learning this useful skill.

By Sunday afternoon, I was feeling very behind at home, and was in dire need of exercise and fresh air. So, I went out late afternoon and trimmed out the old raspberry canes and tied up the good ones. Doing that job was just the perk I needed to finish my week feeling like I got something done at home. These are the raspberry canes I have dragged with me from house to house–the same ones as we always had at my childhood home–yummy! (starts from those bushes, to be specific!) I really loved having a plentiful supply last summer, the first year they really produced much of anything. They are so much better than the ones that were here when I moved in, so I’m going to baby them along.

You can see that I’ve also been collecting cardboard boxes and have laid them down in front of the berries. There is an especially stubborn patch of grass that I simply could not get rid of last summer. So, I’ve decided to smother it out with the cardboard. We will see how it works, but it can’t hurt!

Last, but not least, one of my favorite things yesterday was holding baby Allie. She’s growing so much, so when I ran into her parents and her at Patsy’s mission trip meeting, I grabbed my opportunity to hold her and get an updated picture. There’s nothing like holding a baby at the end of a busy week…..just saying…

Patsy’s 4H Sewing Project–A Cute Doll

Patsy decided to sew a doll for her 4H sewing project. She found the pattern in a library book I checked out. She used the scraps from the skirt I made her for Hawaii and some scraps of white cotton fabric.

The hair was made from felt and the face was embroidered. She worked on it for a few sessions, and finished it up yesterday.

Rob bought her some stuffing at the Union Gospel Mission thrift store, once I realized we had none. Skills that were new to her included: stuffing the arms, legs and body, top-stitching so many curves and pivots on the hair, working with felt, and sewing the body of a doll while working around the fact that legs and arms were inside getting in the way!

Patsy’s plan for this doll is to put her into a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child and send her to a little girl across the world somewhere. It looks to me like dolly is ready for an adventure!

I was happy that she could work on her sewing skills on a project that interested her and very pleased that she could use scraps and other inexpensive materials to make something that helped her improve her skills while bringing joy to a little girl this Christmas. Win-win for everyone!

Thriving in My Thrifty Week–August 25, 2018


I finished up all the applesauce, using apples from the tree in the back yard.  I canned or froze all the peaches I had picked.  Every few days, I canned a few more jars of pickles, as the cucumbers got ready. I put a little jalapeño pepper in each jar, to make them a little spicy.  Yum!  I got a few jars of tomatoes canned, as well.


Patsy and Rob had a wonderful time with friends, over in Eastern Oregon, rock hunting.  Rob was able to drive up to places he wanted to be so he could manage without much walking, a necessity these days.  They found obsidian and thunder eggs.  They camped, using the park pass.  Our friends’ boys went fishing, but didn’t catch anything.  Still, everyone had fun.  Before they left, they tore the van apart and fixed something that needed fixing, and were on their way for a fun weekend.  I stayed home and canned.


Patsy finished up her sunbonnet.  She has had this project in progress for a long time, and decided to do some sewing this week.  I am very happy that she is showing some interest in improving her sewing skills again.

We both worked on some embroidery.  Rob went to Walmart and got some more flour sack dish towels, which I stamped with new patterns to embroider.  The towels are in a big bundle and cost around $8 for 10 towels.  I like using those because they dry dishes very well, are inexpensive, and are easy to embroider because they are not thick.  I am starting to gear up for gift giving.  I love giving towels as gifts because they are something everyone can use, even a person who seems to have everything they need already, and I can put a personal touch on the gift.


The campers ate well while they were gone–both families took food–the food from their planned list plus more, so there was lots left over.  Rob brought home several things, and we used them in meals for a few days.  We are eating garden produce daily.  Some days our meals are predominately veggies, since we have so many right now.  We have had zucchini (which is slowing down at last), lemon cucumbers, regular cucumbers, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes,  corn on the cob, lettuce, snow peas, green beans, onions,  various peppers, green onions, potatoes, and fruit such as strawberries and apples.  I have picked peaches from my sister’s and she has given me some pears someone gave her.

I did some major grocery shopping at last, starting at Fred Meyers.   I got on-sale items such as a watermelon for $3.99.  I got some broth for 69c/carton from the Whoo-Hoo rack, but otherwise found nothing there that I could use.  While there, I did check the clearance clothing, which was 50% off the lowest clearance price, and grabbed Patsy a sundress that she will be able to wear as a jumper.  I then grabbed a $6 white t-shirt for her to wear with it.  A hoodie I bought did not fit her, so Rob returned it yesterday.  He also got back $6 they had erroneously charged me for a second t-shirt (I only got 1, but they charged me for 2).  When I pair the jeans Rob found at a thrift store, and the new items we have been getting here and there, I think she is in pretty good shape to start school.  I never buy a whole new wardrobe for school, but she will have a few new tops and a couple of new dresses to wear.  Then, I will look for bargains throughout the year. I bought school supplies, as well, and hopefully got enough for the whole year at these rock-bottom prices.  I got my free Friday gum and a few other sale items, and then moved over to Safeway, where I used a $5 off $50 coupon.

I got some chicken for 88c/lb.  I got some free pureed fruit ( not realizing it was baby food—-free being the reason I got it) and froze it for smoothies.  There was also a free bottle of kombucha I was able to get for Rob.  It is an acquired taste, and I haven’t acquired it, but he does like it and wants the health benefits that come with it.  One of the $5 Friday items was Bandon cheese, so I got 2 loaves.  Bandon is owned by Tillamook, so is similar and is SO good!  I got the shrimp that was $5/lb as well.  The rest was just basic, everyday food that I needed for meals.  It was nice to be able to focus on buying protein, knowing I had all the veggies I could possible need for the week.  I’m still hanging in there with a lowered grocery budget, knowing that sooner or later I will need to do a Costco run.   I used Ibotta for a few of the groceries, and qualified for a $3 bonus.

It’s nice to know the canning is winding down.  I love doing it, but have been spending quite a bit of time at it.  There will be more tomato products to can, still, but they are not all ripe, yet.  I have peaches and pears that I want to make fruit cocktail from later in the week.  I have many other projects in mind that I want to work on when I have a bit of a break from the food processing.  There’s never a dull moment around here!



Weekly Update and Saving Money–Broken Stove Edition–February 3, 2018


Today, as I was dropping Ja’Ana off at her job, and heading to the store, Rob called.  He did not have good news.  While Patsy was putting away dishes, they heard this loud noise and discovered that the stove had suddenly blown out the breaker, and there was a strong electrical smell.  There had been signs that the old stove was starting to fail, such as 1 burner burning out, and lights that ceased lighting, but….this was death, not just a minor inconvenience.  So, Rob made phone calls, and then went and bought a new stove. It’s beautiful:). And that, my friends, is one of the main reasons I try to save money each week….in my life, stuff happens!  Frequently!  It’s a bit discouraging to have to spend the money I’ve been saving, but it would be even worse to have to go without a stove/oven.  I was ok to not have a microwave for a while, but didn’t feel I could wait for this.

In the meanwhile…..I had my oldest daughter and husband coming for dinner, and I could no longer bake potatoes or cook veggies on the stove.  The meat was slated for the BBQ, so that was no problem.


Abbie and I made the potatoes in the Instant Pot, on High for 12 minutes.  We then removed them, and made carrots in there, cooking them on high for 4 minutes.  By then, the BBQ was going, and the stove was installed by Rob and Keith, so I cooked the beans on the new stove.  We had a great time catching up with each other.


My aunt made me 2 potholders this week.  How did she know such a nice stove would need new potholders?:). I like them so much, I find myself burying them in the drawer so no one will mess them up!


It was my week for gifts.  I was given oranges, flowers, muffins and bread.


I finished a dish towel.  I haven’t been embroidering much, but picked it up again this week.


That’s not all that got finished!  I’m excited to announce that…..


The greenhouse is DONE!  Rob finished this morning. The roof is on, the door is done, and it’s already getting warm in there.   He build a table for the trays of seedlings, put our heat mat on it, and I got a little planted today.  Hopefully, more tomorrow after church!


My mom gave Danait some stickers and a little coloring book.  She loved them and spent a bunch of time working in there during our visit Friday.  There is a little cd of songs that goes with the coloring book.  Fun!  During the visit, I not only caught up with Harnet, but also with my sister, who shared her recent trip to Europe with us via photos.  Double fun!!

How did your week go?


Patsy’s Blanket


Patsy has been wanting to make a tied fleece blanket in the same way that Michaela, her cousin, made her pillow.  I did not have time last week when the cousins were here to help her, and she was feeling left out, so we got busy last evening.  We used about 2-1/4 yards to make hers, but the amount can be larger or smaller.  Ours was determined by the amount of solid pink I had in my stash.  She bought the swirled fabric a while back and we paired it with the pink I already had.

We laid the pink on top of the swirled and I cut it off evenly.  Then, I helped her cut out 6″ squares from the corners and cut 1″ x 6″ strips all the way around, cutting through both layers.  Some were a little crooked, wobbly, not quite the same as the others, but it doesn’t matter in the end.  It turned out great!  We both cut and cut until we were done.  Then, she sat down on the floor in front of the t.v. and tied the strips together while she watched a movie.  She got it done last evening and immediately wrapped it around herself and wanted me to take a picture.

This would be a great last-minute Christmas or birthday gift for someone. Fleece often comes on sale at JoAnn’s for a good price, and that’s when I stock up.FullSizeRender

Michaela’s Pillow


Michaela loves the Seattle Seahawks.  Recently, she and I made a plan for her to make a Seattle Seahawks pillow from fleece.  I got the fleece and saved it for when she was going to spend a few nights at my house.


I cut it out for her.  She cut a couple of corners out, but felt like it was making her too nervous.  She was worried that she would wreck it, but she did a great job on the corners she did cut.  I started with a double layer of fleece, and cut it to about 29 inches square.  I then cut out 6 inch squares out of the corners, and cut strips approximately 1 inch by 6 inches around the pillow.  Then, I showed her how to tie.  She tied.  I tied.  Her sister tied.  At last it was done, except for a couple of stray ties that weren’t.  Oops!  So, while she was in the other room, Rob and I untied and retied one side, and it was done!

We had a 16 inch pillow form I had hoped to use.  After tying it part way, it became apparent we needed a bigger one.  Rob took Michaela to the fabric store and they got an 18 inch one instead.  Notice the clever use of the scraps–she made herself a headband/hat with them.


Little brother had to have one, too.IMG_1745It was a great project.  It didn’t take too long, she could tie the ties with some help, and she loves it.  She is a girl who knows what she likes, that’s for sure, and she likes this pillow.

Friday Project


On Friday, Patsy finished the potholder she has been working on for a couple of weeks.  Aunt Janet came and worked with her.  The pattern was purchased at a quilt shop in Sister’s Oregon.  It was called Flutterby Pot Holders by Valori Wells.  She also chose a fat quarter to make her project with.  We purchased Insulbrite interfacing/batting elsewhere so that no one would get burned when they used this potholder.  Although the pattern showed exactly where to do the machine quilting, Patsy chose to make her own designs.  They turned out great!  Now she has her first Christmas project done.  Go Patsy!