I was able to sew a warm, cute outfit for my grandson last week.
I used Simplicity 9652.
It fits him well, except for being a little long. That’s fine. He does nothing but eat and grow these days. I just turn up the cuffs for now.
The dark green is a sweatshirt knit with a slight bit of fuzziness on the inside. It was in a bag of fabric that was given to me. Part of the fabric was not good, as it was faded, but there was enough good for this part of the outfit. I had the camo fleece in my stash from an after-Thanksgiving sale several years ago. I was happy to find the time to sort through a couple of my bins of fabric and to find it there.
The hardest part of this pattern was the placket at the neckline. I haven’t done one of those for so long I didn’t remember when, and certainly not how. I read and re-read the directions and followed them step-by-step and finally got a result I could live with. I’ll confess a seam ripper was used a couple of times. :(. I used some slightly thicker than normal interfacing under the buttonholes as I was worried that the knit would stretch when I tried to make them. It held fine and did the job.
The rest of the outfit was pretty easy. I will say that it really helped to be working with knit fabric, especially for the cuffs of contrasting fabric. There were times where I had to stretch a bit here and there to get them to fit on and it would have been very hard with a firmer woven fabric. Also, I was able to use the serger quite a bit and it finishes the seams so nicely.
It was fun to have some time to sew. It was a nice “January” activity to dig through fabric bins and make an outfit.
Cost: Olive green fabric-free, Fleece fabric–likely around $4 several years ago, pattern–$1-$2 some time in the past, buttons–in my stash for years so….?, thread–in my thread container for years, and elastic for the waist–$1 at the most. No matter how generously I count past purchases, the outfit cost less than $10, and all of it was spent some time ago.
I did send Rob to JoAnn’s to purchase more elastic and another roll of thread for future projects as I had some really good coupons, and hope to sew some more. I found lots of great fabric in those bins. I’d love to use some more of it this winter before the gardening season starts up again!
We had a small ice storm this past week! There was some freezing rain, some light snow, and more freezing rain, resulting in less than an inch of frozen mess! My nephew and grandson had a great time out on the deck.
Jake showed Malcolm how to get turners and “clean” off the snow.
They didn’t have a ton of success, but Jake ate what he could chip off. They had so much fun. Thankfully, we had been having a sleepover anyway, so no one had to drive out and pick anybody up:). The roads were bad, so we didn’t go anywhere until it melted, although Rob would have been the one who braved it if necessary. Thankfully, it wasn’t.
We had planned many simple activities this week, along with having the fun (for the kids) of the unexpected storm. We had Jake all week, and I wanted it to be fun and busy without spending a fortune. I have also carried out my goal of lots of activities, and less emphasis on stuff during this Christmas season, so we kept our gift giving simple. Therefore, we had more time to do things with whatever kids were around. We went to the library and got books and participated in story time, took a walk a couple of times. This time it was rainy, but one day was cold and clear and the boys played at the park. Today, we went swimming at the YMCA–a perfect day-after-Christmas activity, using our membership. My niece went, too. She enjoys swimming very much. It was a very successful week and we felt very relaxed.
They decorated a gingerbread house.
….playdough and books galore….
Jake made a Roman chariot and did Perler beads while Malcolm napped. He also requested popcorn many times, and we popped that and watched movies or he played on his devices.
I had a lot of help making cheesecake for the party that got cancelled on Saturday (we will try again with that daughter next Saturday)…Maybe a good idea to save that cheesecake for us anyway:). I made another one all by my self for Christmas Day. I used my Instant Pot for both. I like how they come out in there and they are somewhat small–just the right size. They only use 2 packages of cream cheese each time. I find at holidays there are so many desserts people tend to want only a small piece of many desserts, so this has become a favorite way to make cheesecake.
On Christmas afternoon, we went to my sister’s for a wonderful Christmas meal. Afterwards, we opened the “big family” gifts. I had a lot of fun playing with Zai and reading his new books. Everyone got so many lovely things. It was just the right amount for the boys and they enjoyed them all!
My sister was given some fabric. She passed it on to me. In one of the bags was some blue knit. I used it to make Rob a pair of sleeping shorts. There are several other pieces I think I will be able to use, and then I will pass the rest along for someone else to be creative with.
We cruised along on leftovers and some soup today, and I plan to keep meals simple for the rest of the week, as well. I did buy a bunch of groceries, using coupons and sales. I had a reward for $10 off my order, so I used that.
I hope you all had a very nice week and continue to enjoy a little more “holiday” this week, as we plan to do. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
This year, we decided to simplify gift-giving and focus more on experiences of the season. I started with being in the Christmas production at church. Then, the choir sang a couple of the songs from the program for both services last Sunday. Now that the program is over, we’ve moved on to some other activities.
Rob has been building fires in the yard in the fire pit. Sometimes he and Malcolm roast hot dogs, and sometimes they just watch it burn. It’s been very cold (for our area-no one laugh from South Dakota), but Malcolm needs to burn off energy, and we try to get him outside a little each day.
We had a party for our Sunday school class of 5th graders. Rob gathered branches of fir, pine and holly from my sister’s farm and we made greenery swags. We used coat hangers for a base, and some little additions and bows I purchased at JoAnn’s. They were on super sale over Black Friday and so I got them then. I’d show you the finished work, but I don’t want to post pictures of the class without parental permission. Some were more sophisticated, and some were pretty rough, but all of the crafters seemed to have a lot of fun.
The fire pit was burning the entire time, as it was about 25 degrees that morning. Around 11, we finished the swags and roasted hot dogs. Truthfully, the kids were having so much fun tearing around in the little car we have in our yard that they almost forgot to eat, but 2 bags of chips were downed pretty fast once they remembered. My mom had come over the day before the party and we made cookies–sugar cookie trees decorated with green sugar and a star, and some bar cookies. We finished the party inside with games and a short devotional. Rob had wrapped a present over and over, with pennies and candy in some of the layers. Inside was $1. That old game was just as fun for these kids as it was for me when I was little and they unwrapped and unwrapped layer after layer when the music stopped, and passed it around when the music was playing. It was fun for all of us, Rob and I included.
We visited the carousel with Malcolm. The waterfront park was decorated with lights and we walked around for a while before we rode the carousel. Mac was not convinced that it was going to be fun, so he and I snuggled up in a wagon and had a pretty good time. We want to grab baby brother another time and take them both. I think it will be easier the second time. It was a very fun outing for under $2, as they let me ride for free. I haven’t ridden on a carousel for ages. It was fun!
We were invited to a friend’s house to frost Christmas cookies this afternoon. This lady was Jake and Michaela’s nanny for years, and our whole family loves her so much, so Rob and I were delighted to get to see her. Much to my surprise, both Malcolm and the nephew of the hostess were much more interested in her coasters than the cookie operation! We had fun visiting, though, and brought a plate of cookies home to enjoy.
I did a little more sewing this week. These pajama pants were made from a remnant of fabric and cost me less than $2 to make. I was able to use the same pattern as I used for the bathrobe I made last week. I also worked on a pair of sleeping shorts for Rob from some fabric someone gave my sister, and she passed on to me. I’m not quite done, but will work on them this week, along with the bathrobe for the littlest grandson. For Christmas week, that is a noble goal, and I’ll see if I get any of that done:)
This week, I made a bathrobe for Malcolm. I used Simplicity S9214. There was enough extra for sleeves, the belt and facings for his little brother’s size, so I went back and purchased enough of the same fabric to make the body of the robe again, and am working on one for baby brother. Then, I will have no wasted fabric, or leftovers I don’t know what to do with.
I used a very plush, soft fabric, for the first time, in a garment. I had some struggles with it, but overcame them. Thankfully, bathrobes do not have a lot of intricate sewing–mostly straight lines.
We needed to run an errand one evening, so we drove around a little extra to see Christmas lights. This business was so decorated, and had Christmas music blaring over a loud-speaker, so we got out to look. There were all kinds of characters–everything from life-sized reindeer pulling a life-sized sleigh on the roof, to the Nativity scene with visitors ranging from Mickey Mouse to the shepherds and a 2-story marching toy soldier on the grass nearby. It was quite a bright display, and where I would likely never go quite that far in my decorating, Malcolm was so impressed that I could hardly get him back into the car.
We also saw many houses decorated nicely and we enjoyed our drive very much.
I cooked some brownies with some help. I wanted them festive, as part of them were for the gluten-free college-age kids. Instead of buying an entire package of Christmas M and M’s, I just picked the red and green ones out of a large container I was given. (I did pick the orange and yellow ones off while my helper wasn’t looking.). After baking, they were set to cool. My helper extraordinaire jumped up on his chair and grabbed the pepper shaker, and before I could stop him, he liberally peppered them! I sent the un-peppered part and kept the rest at home. I hope. I haven’t gotten any comments about my spicy brownie recipe, so they are either very polite, or I found it all and cut around it:)
Through the week, we ate quite simply, and mostly from food storage. I thawed 2 kinds of soup that had been made previously and we ate them as well as opening a jar of home-canned soup. I thawed some squash and that’s gone, as well. My aunt gave me some chili, and we enjoyed that, too. I experimented with some Asian lettuce wraps, using the last of the garden cabbage, and they were good. Rob made some fajita-like filling, using beef, home-grown onions and frozen garden peppers. He ate his in tortillas that needed to be used and I ate mine on some rice.
We used quite a few home-canned items. I can always tell how much we are drawing on that resource by how fast the “empty-jar” basket fills and how often I have to empty it and bring in more filled jars from the outside shop. I love being able to use my “fast food” at this time of year. I hope to get some more sewing done, as I haven’t been finding time for that lately.
I filled one yard-debris bin with clippings from the yard. I hope to get some dry days and fill it again this week.
My sister took me to lunch and to see a Christmas concert at a nearby university. I was surprised to find that the concert was free. It was lovely.
We are keeping Christmas gifts very simple this year, so we have more time for experiences. We hope to finish the last of the gift buying this week and check that off our list. Next week will be filled with kid-time, as we will work with our nephew and niece quite a few extra hours. I’m laying my plans for fun activities and games, and think everyone will have fun.
I decided to make my grandson a romper for his Easter gift. I also gave him some baby food instead of candy. He seemed to especially like the squeezable pouch of baby food, which his Mama gave him right away. I’ve just been buying a few items when I have a great coupon, or there is an amazing sale. I will definitely look out for those pouches, again. I’ve made him squash, mashed peaches and pears, and other regular food at various times while he is over here, but thought a few prepared jars might be handy for his Mama at times. He also liked the Strawberry Apple Spinach Teethers I bought.
He was perfectly content to bang 2 plastic eggs together for a while. We know he will be gobbling candy by next Easter, if allowed.
I used Simplicity 1447, and made view C. I made the large size, which says it’s 18 months, even though I know it will be too big. He is growing so rapidly that by summer, it will likely fit. If not, we will hope for a sunny fall:)
I have had this fabric for many years in my stash and love it. I was happy to find a purpose for it. Matching plaids was a challenge I have not tried for a while, but with the help of my trusty seam ripper, I prevailed until I was satisfied. I made it while on vacation to the beach, in the camper, so I had plenty of time to mess around with it to get it right. I used a zipper in the back, as called for, white bias tape around the neck and armholes and snap tape at the crotch.
I made a mistake and cut the snap tape one snap too short. I centered the piece I had cut, and just made sure all edges were finished well and hemmed. It looks fine on the outside, but won’t win any prizes at the fair on the inside!
I would like to try this pattern again. I’d like to see how this one fits first and if it seems like it will be as cool and comfortable for him as it looks on the pattern envelope.
Several years ago, we got extra daffodil bulbs when my sister divider hers. Patsy planted them in front near the street and they get prettier every year. The first year there was one bloom on some of the plants. Now they are starting to multiply and will continue to do so until I will have to divide them in the future.Sometimes, we add in a few bulbs from Winco or other places, but mostly these are absolutely free flowers that just keep growing and growing. I weeded a tiny bit in that flower bed, but there’s lot more to do.
We spent the week cleaning up the tree Rob cut down last Monday. There’s still a bit left to pick up, but the majority of branches are gone. Rob borrowed a trailer to haul them away to my sister’s farm. The cardboard box was over some daffodils to keep them safe, and another one was covering the faucet. The chunks of wood will join the rest in the side yard, drying for next year. Then, I’m going to enrich the soil and plant a few things. I have not decided exactly what I’m planting, yet.
Rob’s been transplanting like crazy. He built some shelves up high in the greenhouse and is putting in an automatic sprinkler system to water things when we go camping. He’s doing some experimentation. It seems like the next thing he is going to try is 1 minute per day and see how it goes, after drenching them so badly he feared he had drowned them during the last trial run! (Do you notice a theme here lately….we are planning to make it to our camping trips this summer, unlike last summer when they got cancelled almost every time–nothing will stand in our way if we can help it, says the girl who already had to postpone one trip due to an ice storm! But, we will prevail, or if we have to cancel, it won’t be from lack of trying to go!)
The tomatoes are really starting to look good. They are not all for me, in case you were wondering if I was going on a “tomato only diet” in the summer:).
I made 3 kinds of soup this week. One was vegetable, one was chili and the other was a cream of broccoli, carrot and cauliflower with cheese, made from the little baggies of veggies in the school lunches and milk from the same place.
Rob had to stop off at Costco and grabbed a cooked chicken while he was there, so we’ve been eating that. He pulled steak from the freezer one day and then found that our niece, Alissa, accepted my invitation to eat lunch here on Sunday after church, so he saved it, cut it into smaller pieces and cooked it when she came over. She loves, loves, loves steak! Her brother and sister were already here, and they were so glad to see her. She works at a camp these days and isn’t home as much as they would like. We all were delighted to see her! As the day progressed, the party grew unexpectedly. 2 daughters and grandson came over, too, so I baked a lot of potatoes and cooked carrots, green beans and corn to stretch out the one package of meat he had thawed. It’s the garden that just keeps giving! I also used some of my home-canned apple pie filling to make an apple crisp. There was more than enough, and there were lots of leftovers for people to take home if they wished. Funny thing. There are still carrots and beans in the fridge…hmmmm….no one took those….hmmm.
I did some cleaning and yard work. It makes me feel calm when I get things tidied up. Of course, the clean house didn’t last long, since Jake and Michaela spent the weekend here, and we had the kids over on Sunday, but at least we started out clean:). It still felt good to know I had done it! I noticed that the kids all spread out nicely without being asked, so I felt happy that they were social distancing on their own.
I finally went to JoAnn’s and used some gift cards I received for Christmas. I got some cotton fabric, elastic, thread, and a few patterns. I plan to make some summer dresses for Patsy and maybe a top or two. I may even make myself a cool, flowing, oversized summer dress while I’m at it. Last summer, I wished I had one to throw on after working in the garden, since I often get quite hot out there.
I’ve been working on a dress for Patsy that was started some time ago, so need to finish that before I start anything else. I also made several masks. Some of ours are wearing out, and we lost a couple. Now that we’ve been going back to church, I am wearing masks more often.
This pullover is for Michaela, my autistic niece. Recently, she saw me sewing quilts for her sister and Lovana. She really, really wanted me to sew her something for Christmas, too. She loves soft, fuzzy things and animal prints, so I knew this piece of fleece would be perfect for her. She dislikes surprises intensely, so I let her choose what she wanted made from it. She choose a pullover “like uncle’s.” He has a couple I made him years ago that he wears while working outside.
I used a pattern that I have had for years. I can see from the envelope that it cost $1.25 at the time I bought it. I have used it many, many times and have really gotten my money’s worth out of it. Thankfully, I had some fabric she liked, a zipper in my stash and some 1/2 inch elastic for the sleeves on hand. I am not doing any extra shopping right now, so was very relieved I had what I needed, especially a zipper that was the right kind that matched. I use the kind with the thick, wide teeth for these pullovers. That kind are usually separating zippers, but I just sew over the bottom and cut off any extra because I don’t need them to separate for this project.
Since she spends Tuesdays and Thursdays here, I used this as an activity. We try to keep her busy. So, one day, she watched as I cut it out. Another time, I had her take the pins out of some of the pattern pieces, then she got a chair and stared at me as I sewed. No pressure there:). I worked on it quite a bit over the weekend while she was not here, and only had to measure the elastic for the sleeves around her wrists and insert it. I did that yesterday, then finished it up. She tried it on. It is enormous on her, even though we cut out her size. Thankfully, she doesn’t care. She will likely layer it with shirts under it anyway.
Tomorrow, I will let her and Patsy wrap it up, because they both love to wrap gifts. Then, she will open it on Christmas and be as happy as a clam.
I was able to complete a quick sewing project this week. I took the scraps from Patsy’s cape and made her a hat. Sadly, I lost my old hat pattern somewhere in the sewing room. Rob found me another one for free on the internet, and this is how it came out.
We had a very old peach tree at the back of our garden. We’ve been talking for quite some time about taking it down. After all, my sister owns a peach farm and we get all we want from her. Besides, we were very nervous about smashing the neighbor’s fence since so much of it was actually leaning over the fence….you know how these kinds of projects are. They get bigger the more you think about them. So we put if off. This summer, it began to lean alarmingly towards the beautiful fence our neighbor recently erected, so we became more committed to removing it before it fell. In reality, this picture doesn’t even really show how far it was leaning. The angle is wrong. Today was the day to get it down at last!
We were jump-started into action when we were visited by our neighbor on the west side of our house. We followed him into his yard to gape in horror at another neighbor’s yard utterly filled with a part of a huge cedar tree that broke in the last day or two and smashed a shed and filled that person’s entire back yard. He felt he should show us because the rest of the tree was starting to lean alarmingly toward our shop! After some consultation with a couple of neighbors, we found that a tree service was going to be called tomorrow. But, we knew we couldn’t delay any longer in removing our problem tree. That new fence the neighbor put up is too nice to smash.
Thankfully, we had live-streamed church this morning, and God provided a window of opportunity with no rain this afternoon. The minute we were done, the skies opened up and it poured. So, it just became a nice Sunday afternoon project that didn’t ruin our Sunday plans, and took much less time than we had feared.
I climbed a very short ladder and snipped off lower branches with hand loppers and then moved to the clean-up crew. Rob used his chain saw with the long handle to cut off branches, bit by bit, from the top down. We were very careful and pulled the branches toward our side of the fence and threw the branches into the empty garden. Some raspberries and artichokes were actually smashed a bit in the process, but we uncovered them ASAP. There were a few branches that fell over the fence. Thankfully, our neighbor had removed the fancy lights, per Rob’s request a few days ago, and we were able to pull the branches up and over using a garden rake without damaging anything. He came out as we were finishing and assured us that his side of the fence was just fine, we had not smashed, ruined, or destroyed anything in our efforts.
We used pruners to cut the branches into small pieces and filled the yard debris bin. Rob cut the larger pieces into firewood with his chain saw. We left the rest of the branches in the garden and will fill the bin again several times as the weeks pass by. The apple tree will come down this winter, too, hopefully. We get no good apples from it. It’s not ready to fall on anything, so it can wait.
Now my garden will get even more sun and grow even more veggies! The raspberries should be sweeter and grow better. The roots of the tree have been taking too much water from the back of the garden, and I’m hoping this helps. Doing this job ourselves saved us several hundred dollars, maybe more if it had fallen and smashed that lovely fence.
I had planned on shopping last Tuesday, and got the things on my list. I used my $10 off $50 coupon at Safeway and actually spent about $45. I stopped off at Winco and got a 68c/lb turkey and a couple of things they sell for less there. In the meanwhile, Rob and Patsy stopped off at a different Winco and grabbed 2 more turkeys. I’m delighted to have three turkeys now. The whole thing was complicated by the fact that Rob, Michaela and Patsy were on their way home from picking up our 1/4 beef when they stopped for those turkeys! It was a larger quarter than last year. So, we played “arrange the freezer” for quite a while, and it all fit, thank goodness.
While out with her, he found ham for $1.29 at Grocery Outlet, and bought 2 small ones. One hour later, when other family members went to get some, they were all gone. They simply haven’t been on sale anywhere this fall. Since he was going out again, I had him pick up a few more groceries, including a couple more gallons of milk with long pull dates, and we should be set for the next couple of weeks. I have reserved some of my monthly budget for an Azure Standard order later in the month, if I decide to do so.
Rob chopped wood 2 more times this past week.
So, we are loaded up with groceries and wood, so plan to spend this next week cozy and busy!
The fall sewing project to replenish Patsy’s wardrobe continues. I made a nightgown and some shorts from a large piece of flannel I had on hand. In the past, I’ve purchased flannel from JoAnn’s flannel sales, sometimes on the day after Thanksgiving, for low prices and this piece was in my stash.
The nightgown was made from Butterick 5723. The shorts were from Simplicity 2819. These were both patterns I’ve had for a long time. The shorts were made because I had just enough fabric left over and I figured she could always pair them with a t-shirt and wear them to bed, or wear them under the nightgown.
I thought the nightgown was going to be shorter, so I lengthened it. It’s not short! In fact, it reaches between her knees and ankles after I made it longer. So, the shorts will likely not be needed under it after all.
Two things I do on shorts and pants: 1) I add a small piece or ribbon or bias tape to the center back casing. This shows the child at a glance which side is the back, like a tag would. 2) I stretch and sew a line through the center of the casing after I’ve inserted the elastic and made sure it fits the wearer. That keeps the elastic from rolling and twisting inside the casing over time.
If you try this, I’ve found that the elastic needs to be shorter than the actual waist measurement. It seems that the elastic stretches out when I sew that line through it. I usually go around her with the elastic, then take away 3-4 inches and insert that much into the casing. I then have her try the shorts/pants on and make any adjustments needed, sew the hole closed, then do the stretch and stitch down the center of the casing.
On the nightgown, I made a couple of alterations. First, I cut the top according to the pattern, but then gradually widened the sides, starting from under the arms, and by the time I was to the bottom of the skirt edge, added 2-3 inches. That actually added 8-12 inches of width over the hips. She likes her night things loose. I added about 5-6 inches to the length of View C, but left off the ruffle. I also tacked a ribbon bow to the center front so she could easily tell which side is the front. It’s difficult with this style to tell in a hurry.
I also left the sleeves free to flutter at the lower edges, rather than inserting a casing and elastic there. She doesn’t like the elastic on her arms, so I never put it in there for her nighties. Instead, I just narrow-hemmed the edges.
I finished up this cotton top on Friday. It was much easier than the last top I made.
I used Simplicity 8949. I was unable to buy this pattern in her size, so I simply cut everything a little bit larger. It was simple enough and it worked great.
The sleeves looked fuller on the picture for View B. I guess they were fuller than A, but if I do this one again, I’ll cut them even larger as she had hoped for ruffly, fluttery sleeves. I added some lace to the sleeves, though, and she was happy with that.
The alterations I made to the pattern were: I enlarged it. I added lace. I did a little top stitching and then tack stitching to the center front V-part. I did this so it would lay flat and hopefully not rip out as she pulled it off and on. I also put a small zipper in the back as those work for her better than things like loop and button closures. I lengthened it slightly.
I think it will be cool and comfortable when she’s warm, and layer easiy when she’s not. A long time ago, I liked to post projects on Fridays. This qualifies, since I finished it up on Friday! It really wasn’t very hard, folks. I just have been super busy this week, so that’s why it took all week. Hopefully, on Saturday, I will get a longer chunk of sewing time in on the next project.
This top was very economical to sew because I had the fabric on hand for years, and it might even have been some Lovana left behind when she moved out. Even better, the pieces of this pattern fit on the piece of fabric and there was none left over! Since I still have quite a bit of fabric on hand, I’ve been trying to use some of it and have been having trouble matching patterns with the lengths or styles of fabric I have. I got the pattern at JoAnn’s for $1.99, recently. Thread was in my thread bin from projects in the past. The zipper was a loose one in my zipper bin, so it was either torn from another garment at some point, from a yard sale, or given to me over the years. People are very generous when they know you sew and Rob also looks for notions and lace at garage sales and often gets handfuls for very low prices.
It was easy enough that I would make it again in another color. I will, however, wait until I see if she really likes it enough to wear it a lot. It’s all about comfort around here, so we shall see:)