Category Archives: Sewing

Patsy’s Been Sewing–May 16, 2020

Since Patsy has finished so much of her schoolwork for the year, she’s had a little extra time on her hands. She pulled out this skirt that she started quite some time ago and finished it.

The new skill for her on this skirt was a separate casing that was applied to the top of the skirt and the elastic was inserted into that.

She is still working on her sewing skills. In addition to sewing, she’s also been working on her 4H sewing advancement, which is a list of activities she can do to increase sewing skills.

Sewing A Dress-May 15, 2020

I used some of the cotton fabric we purchased for $1.80/yard to make Patsy a dress. She has been wanting a dress that twirls around, with lots of fabric in it. The price was right, so I used yards and yards to make this dress for her.

She chose view B, with the hi-low hemline.

This fabric is very thin, so it drapes well. I don’t think a more sturdy cotton would work very well, but I do think a knit fabric would.

It was raining yesterday, so she decided to wear the dress with a white t-shirt. When it gets really hot, a tank top will do.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–April 26, 2020

I’m not sure if you can see the little hummingbird in the middle of the blueberry bush. He was flying around, sipping nectar, and was kind enough to sit down long enough for me to take a picture. Look at all those blueberry blooms. I didn’t have much of a crop last year. I have high hopes for this year’s crop!

This week was very quiet. We worked with Jake Wednesday-Thursday, and after picking him up Wednesday, I’ve been home every since. I used the time to read, relax, do house chores, lots of homeschool with Patsy, cut out a dress for Patsy, and worked in the garden and yard for hours.

I finished hoeing out the weeds from the blackberry (Marion berry) row. I put steer manure/compost on it. I’m almost done with the raspberries. I finished the strawberries as well.

I planted many, many itty-bitty onion plants. Rob grew more than I usually do, so we shared some, and I planted the rest. I grow varieties that are long-keepers and still have a handful in a bucket from last summer’s garden. We will eat the short-keepers first, and save the others and use them all winter. We also use them for canning–salsa, relish, and a few other recipes. Two years ago, we purchased 2-25 pound bags and used them in addition to what we grew, so I’m delighted to have the promise of so many from the garden.

Rob’s been busy building with reclaimed wood. The trellis that looks like a ladder is in its place and will hold Tromboncini Zucchini. Right next to it is a hearty cluster of volunteer lemon cucumber plants that have popped up in the last couple of days. I’m leaving them where they are. They must want to grow there!

The large framework against the shop will be moved into the garden, and placed for pole Blue Lake green beans. Most of us in my family have used up lots and lots of jars of beans during this past winter. So, I will grow bush Blue Lake, as always, but also the pole ones so that I can grow them upwards, and thus take less garden space, and have beans until frost. The bush ones come on all at once in the space of 2-3 weeks. The pole ones will give lesser quantities at a time, but will keep growing all summer. If I have any purple pole beans left from previous years, I will grow a few of those as well, since we love them sauted with butter and garlic. They are great fresh, nice and tender, but don’t can up well.

Rob’s plants are out on a table now, hardening off. There are still a few things in the greenhouse that he planted later. I will not be planting all of this. He’s already started delivering a plant here, and a plant there. I will plant a lot of them, and one of my sisters will plant many of them in her large garden. He plans to deliver hers this week. Heads up, sis!

I harvested the first snow peas.

Lovana wanted raised beds for her birthday, so Rob built them for her. Today, they took the pieces over to her little rental house and put them together, and she filled them with dirt and peat moss. Rob will get her another load of soil/compost for the second box this week. She has seeds she ordered and planted some of them in our greenhouse and Rob’s been watching over them for her. She’s been over here at least a couple of days each weekend during this pandemic, as we are determined to keep her in our “little circle.” She also helped me out quite a bit when my wrist was so bad a few weeks back, and usually cooks something totally NOT on our diets each weekend.

Like homemade donuts!

Way too yummy. I think we need to get these veggies growing, so she can cook them! That purple plant is purple cabbage. She ordered all colorful seeds–purple plants, rainbow “sunset” cherry tomatoes, etc. It should be interesting to see what she ends up with.

Lovana also had a box of “Imperfect Produce” delivered here with some items she wanted, and the rest for us to cook with. We’ve been eating those veggies and have been able to stay out of the stores. On Tuesday, we will reach the 2-week mark, and I may send Rob for a few things like milk and tomatoes.

Patsy made a recipe from a magazine. It was refried bean dip. It was good, but had way too much cumin in it, and raw garlic, grated. We both decided next time we should cut the cumin, add some spice, and use garlic powder. It was extremely strong. We should stay healthy and Patsy said there would be no vampires around here:)

We have decided to eat a few more meatless meals during this pandemic. We have plenty of frozen meat and chicken, but are trying to use some of the dry pantry staples such as beans and lentils, and conserve the meat, just in case there is a meat shortage. If there isn’t, we will likely save money and be more healthy. Win-win! We had the bean dip, potato soup, and I just made a batch of lentil taco filling, which Rob loves so much he ate it for both lunch and dinner, as a salad topper.

Patsy made a stuffed owl. It came out so cute! It’s a baby gift for one of her youth leaders.

Patsy picked flowers from the yard and Rob took her to drop them on the doorstep of the youth leader, along with the owl, and on one of her girlfriend’s doorsteps. Both were very pleased, and it brightened Patsy’s day to get to do that and read the texts from each of them.

We were supposed to collect pond water for Biology, culture it with egg, rice, hay, and dirt and let it grow under the sink for a few days. We couldn’t travel to a pond, so Patsy collected water from my sister’s old hot tub that they actually have filled with goldfish, and a friendly frog. It’s been that way for years, so we thought we could collect and culture some water. We were right! The first experiment worked just fine. The second one will be done tomorrow, and we can throw away that stinky water! We’ve worked through almost 2 chapters now, and are going very slow. I’m encouraging her to spend hours looking through that microscope if she wants to–she likely will never have a chance again to spend all the time she wants on one subject with no one to say, “hurry up” or “time to go.”

How are you keeping busy during these strange times?

Thriving In My thrifty Week–April 19, 2020

Rob’s tomatoes and peppers are looking insanely good! He’s starting to harden them off. It will be a while before it’s time to plant them out, but when it’s time, they will be ready. We are having such an early spring. It won’t be long.

This turned out to be a good week for me to work in the yard and garden. I weeded for hours. Several bags of compost/steer manure were spread in different places. My soil is quite poor in the flowerbeds and the garden always needs ammending.

The new compost bins Rob built are in place against the fence and quite a few buckets of weeds have been put in them already. The old compost bins he made last year have been organized. I moved any un-decomposed weeds from the top of the pile on the right to the left. Now, everyone has been instructed to leave the right hand side completely alone and not add any new scraps or weeds. I am going to remove the nice compost from that side very soon, and spread it over the corner of the garden. The slats come out of the front of the bins, making it easy to shovel the rotted compost out. Then, I will instruct everyone to put new debris in the emptied side, and let the left hand side finish.

Last fall, I dug up a small corner of the garden with an old-fashioned shovel, added a bag on compost/steer manure and planted a few snow peas and beets, along with a few green onion seeds. The beets flopped for the most part, but the snow peas are about to fruit and there are a few green onions. It was a successful experiment. I can’t wait to eat some.

I’m getting a few artichokes. They are quite small, so I fertilized them, the raspberries, the blueberries and the strawberries.

We received one day of much-needed rain. I was so happy to have one day where I didn’t have to lug water out to the garden to hand-water my tediously planted baby onion plants, tiny carrots and beets, and lettuce. It’s been so dry this spring. Later, when the garden is fully, we will run the sprinklers over it all, but the system isn’t set up yet. We have to get the hoses out, set up the sprinklers, etc.

Patsy made another mason bee house. Being Patsy, she painted it purple. The mason bees are working busily in the houses Rob built and put up. They are already filling the straws with mud and new offspring. They are also very busy pollinating all over our yard.

My sister sent over a beautiful hanging pot of flowers.

Rob dropped some baby veggie starts on her doorstep. It’s been difficult to not be able to really see and visit with this particular sister, so we’ve had to be creative with texts, visiting from a wide distance, and phone calls.

Michaela was getting very restless, so Rob took her for a drive. They drove around and dropped things on people’s doorsteps (like my sister) and looked for trains. Sadly, they were working on the tracks, so they didn’t see even one, but there’s always another day.

We had the kids over for a “party.” My sister needed to work 2 days this week, from home, and we wanted to take the kids somewhere to give her the peace and quiet she needed. Our house is the only other place they can go right now, since we are back and forth so much, we consider ourselves as one small circle, and our work with them is considered necessary. So, we got out the 2 kiddie pools we own and put water in them. They used any and all water balloons we could find from either house. We ran the yard sprinklers so they could run through them. Rob build a fire in the fire pit and we roasted hot dogs, marshmallows and Peeps our niece, Alissa, brought over. We made ice cream cones and decorated them with M and M’s and gummy bears. They were so tired, they came inside and I put on an educational tv show about wild cats, which they watched as if in a coma, then went home where their dad said they had a great, exhausted evening, and fell into bed. I confess, I fell into bed at 8:30 as well, since we’d had Jake for 2 days and one night. The girls just joined us for the second afternoon. Of course, Alissa just joined us for the fun of it, and to help out. Since I homeschooled her for 3 years, it felt very right to have her over here for the afternoon. I miss her now that she’s getting so grown-up and busy with her adult life.

We needed to get produce, and some other groceries. One day, I went down to Safeway. I took the little handful of Monopoly tickets I had received weeks ago, not really knowing if they were even doing that game any more with how busy the stores were. They were. I was able to get several free items, such as gummy bears, French bread, and extra tickets. Some other people did not want their tickets, and so I brought them home to Patsy. She and Jake worked for quite some time un-wrapping them (bless you people who shared!). They got quite a few free items. I wasn’t sure if we were going to redeem them, but to my chagrin, I found I had forgotten something very important, and Rob had to go back and get it that evening. So, we were able to get them after all. We got a brick of cream cheese, several donuts, a box of pasta, and another handful of tickets.

Rob has done a little shopping here and there, getting things to fix things around the house, things for the yard, a few groceries, etc. I took Lovana shopping, as she doesn’t drive. I’m hoping we are all set up for a couple of weeks again, now. I’d love to go a month, but I will probably not be able to make it that long, due to the fact that I always need produce since Rob is still working hard on maintaining his weight loss.

They called and rescheduled his surgery for June 29. If the virus erupts here, of course they will postpone it again, but we are hopeful, so it’s even more important that he be the correct weight.

I was able to take the scraps from Patsy’s skirt and make a little summer sundress for my little friend, Danait. The pattern was one I’d had for years and the trim was from a garage sale years ago. There was an extremely long piece of it, bought for a very low price, and I’ve used bits of it several times over the years. I was delighted to use some more of it and to finish up the blue print fabric. The entire dress cost less than $4, and I had a lot of fun sewing it. Rob, Michaela and Patsy dropped it on their doorstep, along with a few Easter items, and visited briefly from a safe distance. I was working, but was glad they could take my love.

Sewing–A Skirt For Patsy–April 5, 2020

Last week, I sewed a skirt for Patsy. I’m just now getting around to posting about it. I used Simplicity 1445, a pattern I had in my sewing room, but had never used before. She likes a couple of the other views, too, so I may make them some other time…we’ll see what I get around to! When I find patterns for $1.95 or even 99c, I often buy a handful to use when they aren’t on sale.

I used some very thin cotton fabric for this skirt. A few weeks ago, JoAnn’s had Quilter’s Showcase fabric on sale for only $1.80/yard. Patsy has been wanting a skirt that used a lot of fabric, and at that price, why not? Also, the thin fabric is much better for the flounce, letting it hang and flow nicely. This view took under 4 yards, making the skirt around $8, including elastic.

Rob found a nice slip on Amazon for a low price, and ordered that to go under this skirt, and any other skirts I make from the same fabric for her. I bought more on that day, as the price was right.

The flounce was the most difficult part of the skirt. There was an amazing amount of narrow-hemming to do, and the corners took some fussing to get neat and tidy. But, I just folded, pressed and pinned the entire hem before I sewed it. It took more time to do, but it was worth it because it turned out very nice. The rest of the skirt was easy; it was just a simple skirt with elastic in the top.

Sewing Project: Summer Nightie

This is a summer nightie for Patsy from Simplicity 2819. I modified it in several ways.

First of all, the pants on the pattern fit just fine, once we made sure we had the correct measurements. She made some p.j. pants a couple of weeks ago, using this pattern, and they fit well.

I decided to re-use the pattern and make a summer nightie with some thin cotton I had on hand.

I ran into trouble immediately. I cut the nightie out using the same size as we had used for the pants. The neck opening was barely big enough for her to get over her head when I tested it. It looked small, so I was nervous, and thankfully had her try to pull it over before I went any further. I made sure that worked, and moved on.

I immediately realized that the back and front were going to be so narrow, and there was no opening, so she was never going to be able to get it on and off with comfort, much less feeling that loose, comfortable feeling we all like to enjoy while sleeping. Instead, it was going to be constricting and tight, and therefore was going to get ripped right away. This is a problem I’ve had before with both nighties and jumpers/dresses when I’ve sewed for some of my other children when they were younger.

I was in trouble, as I was out of pink fabric, so I dug into the drawer and found some white cotton. I split the front piece up the middle, added a panel of white, gathered it all up to fit the yoke piece, and then proceeded. It added several inches of fabric to the front of the nightgown. It made all the difference, and saved the project. Now its looks and comfortable, fits her really well, and looks great. Whew!!!

I have several projects planned for my Covid-19 stay-at-home time. Sewing several items is high on my list. It felt good to get the first one done!

Thriving In My thrifty Week–March 2, 2020

On Friday, we had a rare day off. When we realized that we were absolutely free for the entire day, we made a plan to drive down to the Oregon Coast.

It was cloudy and even rained a bit on us. We were not surprised! Rob and Patsy looked for agates for a while. I walked the dog around, read a book and rested. We stopped in at a couple of quilt shops, because that is a fun treat for me, got a little ice cream and candy to share, and drove on home. It was a fun, frugal, relaxing day in the midst of our busy, busy lives.

Patsy has been working on her sewing again. This week, she made a pair of pajama pants. She was able to use a pattern I’ve had for years and some fabric that was lurking in the back room in a bin. While we were digging around, she chose a second piece and I expect that she will make another pair before long.

She is going on a missions trip with her youth group over spring vacation and needed some new things. They don’t need to be especially nice, as they will be doing work projects at a camp. Rob got a handful of things at Union Gospel Mission Thrift Store, and she hemmed up a pair of capris into shorts this week as well.

I took her to Macy’s and she spent her gift cards from Christmas on some things she needed badly.

Our lives should settle down considerably now that our loved family member has been released from her second hospitalization. She had severe complications from her first surgery. February was a blur for all of us. She spent at least 13 nights in the hospital, plus numerous additional visits to the doctor. The whole family will still need to pitch in, but I have confidence that she will improve as time passes. We have a family schedule, so we all know when it’s our turn to help out–so helpful to have a plan.

Our daughter, Lovana, made about 150 desserts for her dear friend’s wedding dessert table. She did it over at her own house, but borrowed quite a few things from my kitchen so she would have enough for such a huge project. I was very proud of her.

The bride and groom were so cute, and the wedding was lovely. One of my favorite parts of the wedding, aside from how much I enjoy seeing these kids grow up and the beautiful wedding itself, was seeing friends we have not seen for quite a while, and watching their reactions when they saw the changes in Rob, due to his extreme weight loss. It was really quite gratifying after all the work he has put in.

One day, I noticed the garden was drying out a bit, but rain was expected the next day. That’s how it is in the early spring in this part of Oregon. We seized the short window of opportunity. I planted a few carrots, beets, lettuce, boc choi, snow peas and a few tiny cabbage plants that were extras, and will likely get eaten by slugs, but were going to get tossed anyway. Maybe they will grow…who knows? If I get anything from this extra early “gambler’s” planting, it will extend my gardening season significantly. Right now, I’m spending quite a bit on fresh produce as I refuse to cut down on healthy food.

This took much longer than it should have because the tiny tiller I can handle was being sulky and it took Rob quite a bit of time to get it to work. I’m hopeless with mechanical things, so I was grateful he could do that part. I cannot even count up the amount of money he has saved over the years by fixing and tinkering with things himself. I, on the other hand, do things like push buttons that do no good, flood the motor constantly, break things worse than they were before I started, and even got the small tiller started one year and drove over my foot with it! Yikes! No wonder he stands by whenever I’m touching anything mechanical with a worried expression on his face. At one point in our marriage, he gently asked me to please stop “fixing” things, cause it was taking him twice as long to fix them after I “fixed” them, if you know what I mean:). I will be ecstatic to let him take back over everything remotely mechanical once he is more mobile, and he will be quite relieved as well.

Rob finally has a surgery date–but not until April 20. We wish it was sooner, but it is what it is. At least he has a date, at last.

Sew A Simple Zippered Pouch

Patsy learned how to make this zippered pouch at a recent 4H workshop. Here’s how you can make one, too.

Cut 2 rectangles for the outside, and 2 for the lining. These can be any size you want. We chose to interface our outside fabric with iron-on interfacing, to give it more body. For the class, we laid our zipper out and just cut the rectangle the length of the zipper. This time, we had a longer zipper, so we just cut the fabric the size Patsy wanted and cut off the extra at the end of the project.

Put your outside fabric face up on the table. Lay the zipper face down on the edge of it. Put the lining fabric face down on top of the zipper and pin. If your zipper is longer than your pouch, leave the extra alone for now, just let it hang off out the end. Sew along the long edge, using a zipper foot. Press both pieces away from the zipper.

Lay your second outside fabric down on the table. Lay your zipper, which is now connected to your first set of fabric, face down onto it and sandwich with the second lining fabric. Sew, using a zipper foot.

Press the cloth outward from the zipper and topstitch along the outside, near the zipper.

Now, take the 2 outside pieces and put them right sides together. Do the same with the 2 lining pieces. The 2 pins on the long edge of the lining are marking the space that you will leave open to turn it around after sewing.

Fold the zipper, and put it towards the lining side. Pin well.

Sew around the pouch, remembering to leave the opening on the lining side. When you sew over the zipper, go slow so you don’t break a needle. Go over that part again, if you feel the stitches got too long when you were sewing over that part. Clip the corners. Cut off the extra length of zipper. Turn around. Press. When it looks the way you want it to, sew the turning hole shut, either by hand or by machine. (At the class, we were encouraged to just use the machine, since it is on the inside and no one will see it, but that’s up to you.)

You are done! Patsy gave away the pouch she made the other day as a birthday gift. This one is quite a bit smaller, and would be perfect for colored pencils.

I’m going to send my husband on a garage sale hunt for zippers this summer, as I plan to make a bunch of these for gifts in the future. I think they would be a great idea for the Operation Shoebox project in the fall, filled with colored pencils and a sharpener purchased at the back-to-school sales. Regular pencils or pens would go in nicely, as well. A larger one would be good for markers, and different sizes could be used to put in purses with personal items a young lady may need and not want everyone to see. You could fill one with hair bands, a brush and a bow for a gift for a girl, or little cars for a boy.
Checkers or other game pieces would fit in one well. They also would work for a supply of medical items such as bandaids, diabetic supplies….anything you would want contained, to look nice, and to keep in one easy place.

Sewing– Pajama pants for Jake

I spent some time today making up these Pokemon pajama pants for Jake. As soon as I found this remnant at JoAnn’s, I knew it would be perfect for him, if there was only enough! He and his much-older sister love to play the Pokemon game on her phone, and they watch tv shows about Pokemon as well. It’s kind of their special thing, and so he loves the characters. This fabric is normally quite expensive per yard, but the bolt was on sale, and then the remnant price was 1/2 the sale price. It ended up being a good price after all those reductions, so I took a chance and bought it.

This piece was either a yard, or within an inch or two of being a yard. I used it down to the last inch, but it was the length I needed to make him a pair of pants. They are actually pretty big on him, so should last a while. The fabric is very fuzzy and soft and he loves how cuddly it is. It was a bit of a pain to sew, as it wanted to squiggle out from under the needle, but thankfully, I was able to get it to behave for the most part. I think the fabric was probably intended for a blanket, but this worked, too.

These p.j. pants were part of his birthday present, but I waited until he was over here so I could measure the elastic around his waist, and make sure the length was good. That all happened today, and we were both pleased with the result. It took a bit for me to convince him it was pajamas and he couldn’t wear the pants all day. I’m not sure why I bothered. When we went to the store, there was a big boy wearing a full zip-up Pokemon sleeper…….hmmmmm. I think I’ll still let p.j.’s stay home for nighttime at my house:). I guess I’m a little old-fashioned!

There were just two skinny scraps left. So, 2 kitties got scarves. They watched, along with the kitty who didn’t get a scarf, as Patsy tried to teach Jake how to play chess. I’m not sure he’s got chess down, yet, but he seems to enjoy games quite a bit right now and is happy to have someone who will play with him. And, I was glad to get another project checked off my list!

A Little Sewing–New Look–HO182–Nov. 29, 2018

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I was very happy to complete a fun sewing project yesterday.  I had a bit of trouble gathering the needed notions, though.  When I got this fabric 1/2 price last Saturday, I didn’t buy thread.  Why would I buy thread?  I have a small bin absolutely full of spools of thread from projects in the past.  But, not this color except for a teeny, tiny bit on a small spool.  Or anything else that was close.  I used the little bit and I sent poor Rob off to JoAnn’s on Monday, but he was unable to get any.  They were still decimated from Black Friday weekend, and most of the blue thread was gone.  The clerks were super busy, and couldn’t help, and since Rob is color blind…..he didn’t feel confident to choose another color instead of the exact color I sent him to get.  (He took a picture of the old spool to get the number from it.).  I got some at Walmart the next day.  Whew.  Then, I went to my bin of zippers to get one–after all, with a small bin of zippers, I never need to buy one, right?  Wrong!  There were no blue ones.  On Tuesday night, I got my zipper.  I bought an extra blue one for the bin:).

In the meanwhile, between running around for these bits and pieces, I sewed the white parts, and what I could with the small amount of thread I had on that little spool.  Yesterday, with the proper notions, I finished the little dress.

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I had thought to put the upper layer of white ruffle (view C) on the bottom, but I lost the piece.  Yes.  I did!  Completely.  I pinned it to the white and cut it out, and it’s gone.  Pattern piece, pins, and fabric.  We have all looked for it.  I’m sure it was either accidentally thrown away, or I will find it in a cupboard someday, stuck to a tablecloth or folded towel, or something.  But, for now, our little frozen princess will have to survive without a white ruffle.  After looking for quite a while,  I decided it was time to “Let it Go, !” as the song says. I finished the dress, and am very pleased with how it looks.  I know my little friend will be delighted with it, and I had a good time sewing once I got over the frustration of gathering the parts and pieces.  I’m ready to move on to the next project.  I have several planned for the next few weeks.  After all, it’s almost Christmas:)