Tag Archives: Sewing

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.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–February 2, 2020

Rob made bird house kits for the 4H club to hammer together at their meeting this week. All the boards were donated to him for this purpose by one of his friends who owns a small sawmill, so our project was very inexpensive.

The kids had so much fun. Jake was very happy because his daddy agreed to come and help the kids with the hammering. Even I got roped in, although I’m not very good at using a hammer.

Patsy, on the other hand, is very good with a hammer and so she made her birdhouse the day before and helped the younger kids on the day of the meeting. Ones who knew how partially hammered some nails in and let the younger builders hammer away, driving the nails the rest of the way in.

Some didn’t need much help, others lots of help.

Then, we all went back into the house and made little baggies of home-made hot chocolate mix and ate dinner. Then Rob hauled whoever wanted to go down to the church for the youth/childrens’ activities and I cleaned up the mess. It comes in handy to have a 15-passenger van–no one has to feel left out. There’s room for them all!

I finally got the blouse sewed for Patsy, just in time for her to wear to a wedding.

The wedding was beautiful, and so tastefully decorated. I wish I had taken pictures of the decor. They used a woodland theme, and sticks were cut from friends’ property and little lights were put all over them. There were large branches for a backdrop and small ones for centerpieces for the tables. The way I’m describing it does not do it justice, but it was absolutely gorgeous. There were candles in the shapes of birch logs, and circular wood chips sprinkled around the main table. It was lovely and elegant. The family catered the reception themselves and the food looked amazing and was displayed in dishes surrounded by wooden boxes they had built to add to the woodland theme.

One of Jake’s best friends, Willow, is one of the bride’s sisters, and he loved sitting by her at the reception after she finished her bridesmaid’s duties. As you can see, they had donuts as one of the main desserts. They were on plates and on dowels on a rack that hung on the wall behind the table. You could take one with a tong. Jake and Michaela ate 2 each!

The bride and her family are close friends of my sister and brother-in-law, so they helped out most of the day, while we kept Jake busy at our house.

We really enjoyed the ceremony and reception. We didn’t stay late, but instead came home and got some rest.

We cooked many items over the weekend in preparation for a busy week ahead. They are in the fridge to grab in a hurry– soups, BBQ’d pork, thinly sliced turkey breast and chicken and other goodies. We don’t have a meat slicer, but have been having a lot of success with Rob-sharpened knives. We have been making our own less-salty and less-processed lunchmeat this way lately.

Rob made me a crate and I filled it with a few goodies for a bridal shower I actually could not attend, since I was at wedding No. 1. It’s crazy that we’ve not had a wedding for a long time, and this month, there are 2.

I put in jam, salsa, measuring cups and spoons, a set of pillowcases I made, and a cute towel plus a bundle of dish cloths. This gift was for the shower I could not attend, so I had Rob drop the gift off at the young lady’s house ahead of time. For the wedding itself, Rob made a wooden cutting board and will pair it with 2 super good knives. He did the same for the bride and groom for the wedding we just attended.

Recently, Rob picked up 3 bags of “Unicorn” white chocolate chips–they had rainbow colors on them. They were on the clearance rack for 99c/bag. When we tasted them, they were very bitter. I wasn’t worried about it because they were so cheap, but I did e-mail Nestle to let them know the red food coloring taste was coming through loud and clear, and not in a good way. I threw them away. I was very happy and surprised when the man I was live-chatting with wanted to send me free coupons for more chocolate chips. I explained they were on clearance, but he insisted, so I said “thank you.” I dug the bags out of the trash, sent him the barcode numbers as requested, and I got these coupons in the mail this week. There are 3 free bags of Nestle chips of any flavor and one $1/off coupon.

We have a very busy week ahead, and it feels good to be as prepared as we can be so we can get through it all, and still stay frugal! At least that’s the plan:). I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Sewing a Christmas Nightgown–Simplicity 9505–December 2018

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I wanted to sew a nightgown for Patsy for Christmas.  Several years ago, I ordered quite a few pieces of flannel on Thanksgiving night from the JoAnn’s website.  Then, before I knew it, we were packing, living in a camper, moving into this house and my fabric was stacked in the shop, in bins.  I am now able to access it easily, and pulled this piece out for this project.

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I started with this really old pattern.  I’ve used it time and time again.  But this time, I wanted something a little different.  I cut view C, but made the bottom straight instead of curved.  I also widened the skirt out quite a bit, tapering from the armholes down to the skirt bottom–I probably added 4 inches on each side to give it some fullness (so that’s about 16 extra inches of fullness because I cut it on both front and back).  Then, I cut a wide ruffle about 1-1/2 times the measurement of the skirt bottom, which I gathered and sewed onto the bottom.

It went together quickly and my only concern is that I cut that ruffle too wide, and the nightgown will drag on the floor.  That’s easy enough to remedy, if that turns out to be the case–flannel usually shrinks, so after it is washed a few times, if it’s still too long, I’ll cut it off and re-hem it.  I always put a ribbon bow on the front of these nightgowns to show which side is the front so getting ready for bed is fast and easy.

I was delighted to get another Christmas gift finished up, and used up a piece of fabric I’ve had for quite some time.  Even better, it’s something she really needs right now.  However, as has been happening lately, I ran out of pale blue thread. When I saw that was going to happen, I sewed everything that would show–the hem, the casing, etc.  Then, for the gathering threads, which I was going to throw away anyway, I used a bobbin of a totally different color, with the last bit of the pale blue on the spool.  It worked out, and I avoided a trip to the store today, saving both gas and money.  I will replace that color soon, to have on hand, as blues are something I use a lot of, the next time I’m near JoAnn’s.

Service Project for Christmas, 2015

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Every year, our family usually chooses some kind of service project to do at Christmas time.  This year, since we have changed churches, some of the opportunities we usually do were no longer as readily available.  So, we chose one from the new church we have been attending.  It was very different because they wanted each child–well over 100–to receive the same 4 items.  They asked everyone to get a pillow, pillowcase, blanket and some socks.  They told us what age and size the child was and if it was a boy or girl.  We chose an 11-year-old girl, because that is Patsy’s age and we thought it would be fun to help out someone the same age as she is.

We were able to easily find the socks and pillow at a Walmart near the church last Sunday.  The blanket was made and tied from fleece I had on hand from a JoAnn’s sale a while back.  I am happy to report that I am now out of plain-colored fleece.  There is still lots of printed choices in my stash.  The kids voted that a hand-made blanket would be better than buying one.  They love theirs that they have made or received as gifts.  I totally agreed with them.  I love it when they can participate in the giving somehow.  I also love giving hand-made items.  It makes it more personal, to me.

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Today, I was able to sew the pillowcase.  I was able to use up 2 left-over pieces of fabric from other projects, as well as some lace I had on hand.  I was able to find pretty, pastel colors and we hope the little girl that receives them will enjoy having them as much as we enjoyed making them.

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Playing With Dolls

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I could not resist making some doll clothes for a young friend of ours for Christmas.  Patsy has an American Girl doll and graciously offered to have her doll, Rose, model the finished product.   We had a pretty good time setting Rose up for her photo shoot.

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Then I made a sleeping bag and pillow for the 18″ doll.  It was a little tricky, especially putting the zipper in, but it all worked out.

Both of these items were made from commercial patterns I have had for a long time.  I used scraps of cloth and lace, and a zipper I already had.  It was a large separating zipper.  I think a smaller zipper would work well, but that is what I had.  My stash comes from projects not completed, things bought by mistake, garage sales and thrift shops, and gifts from people who don’t want to sew anymore.  I have a large supply of sewing things, and I’m trying to use some of them up, and have been for the last few years.  Because of this, I paid no money out of pocket for these doll things.  They did, however, take quite a bit of time.  It was very fun to play with dolls, and I hope to get a few other things made before Christmas.

Michaela’s Pillow

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!