Welcome to my blog! I hope to make your visit worthwhile and reward you with some new inspirations, sewing and recycling, crafts tutorials and recipes. Please add yourself as a follower, so that you will automatically be updated when I post something new! Please comment, I appreciate sharing mutual interests, like sewing, crafting, cooking and of course eating well! I am a former Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher, I sub in 3 school systems and moonlight at a retail ladies clothing store. which sometimes allows me to indulge my creative energies. A wife, a mom through adoption, Christian, boomer and a member of the sandwich generation I hope to share my unique perspectives and help you with some of yours!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Another school year behind me...

So much to be grateful for; the luxurious open ended days ahead, sleeping in, cooking, cleaning, laundry...wait, well at least I get to do these chores when I want to, not on a schedule!  I had a few extra days after school ended mapping curriculum for my Foods classes, but these past days have been glorious.  Even got to the beach two times already, though it is still not completely back since the hurricane last October.

Part of the joy for me has been getting to know more of the staff from school on a personal basis.  We have been to a few get togethers, and last weekend our first Southern Wedding, at Tybee Island.  So wonderful and filled with great people and food.  I have felt pretty blessed, and look forward to more time this summer hanging with my teacher friends.  Moving to a city where we knew no one, was a risk, but has really opened our eyes to exploring every weekend and to stay open to trying new things.

Hubby and I have really begun to think of our adopted town as home.  We look around and are happy with our decision so far.  Plans are to visit our kids for a week this summer, so we can stay connected.  Phones, FB and social media in general has kept us in the loop, so the 700 miles between us doesn't seem so far.

Because I have the luxury of time again, I set up my large crafting table and am looking at finally finishing some projects that have languished for many years.  One of which is a quilt that I cut the pieces for back when I worked at a quilt shop, and though the colors would be better suited for our former black furniture and oak floors, somehow, I could see this quilt gracing our guest room, or maybe for display, at some later time.  So it is worth finishing...

And my jewelry hobby has kind of gotten away from me, but because I wear an ID badge and key every day, every necklace has gotten used so that somehow I can justify purchasing more beads at every turn.  Recently we went to the Gullah Festival, and I got a bunch more glass beads, and an African themed skirt with pockets.  Even though I can sew, and could have made one, I felt compelled to get something I know my students might enjoy seeing...

And the crochet bits pick, shows how I incorporated the lace into furniture, and future plans are to add to a boring lampshade. It has been a long school year, and now to make every minute count, crafting and lounging...I do both well!  Please leave a comment if you stop by, it is nice to connect with other crafty bloggers!

And a last pic of a craft using shells, looking for somewhere to hang this...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Reflecting and of course crafting!

 Merry Christmas! Well this post has to start with a defining moment this past year. Hurricane Matthew made a big impact on my little town, and the region.  As I write this, it has been 2 months out and most of the places we love are still too damaged to enjoy.  Our marina was destroyed, as was our favorite state park beach, Hunting Island. Our little boat survived on dry land so that was a an additional gift.  Although there was a mandatory evacuation, my hubby and I chose to ride it out, as we have animals, and finding a hotel was not something we had time or money to pursue.  We never felt like our lives were threathened, but it was scary as even our local fire department was evacuated, so we knew we would be truly alone.  Good news is that we didn't sustain any severe damage, and live in a newer home, with young trees, but plenty of homes were damaged all around us.  Living without electricity is nothing new for us, but being housebound because of downed trees and power lines was a little difficult.

As I look over this past year and get ready to welcome a new one, I am struck by the blessings that we have enjoyed and have not taken for granted.  A job that I love, a hubby in semi-retirement, enjoying his own pursuits, and while the town took a beating, we have come back resilient and grateful.  This change of lifestyle and location, have impacted on my little family too, we just enjoyed a Christmas reunion with my siblings and their daughters.  Meanwhile, my own children live in Cleveland, creating new traditions for their holidays after all the years I was in charge of it.  I have seen new maturity in both my 20 and 30 year olds, a fact that makes me proud and confident that our choice was a sound one.  Where we will be a few years from now, is still in question. But we know that this path has been exciting and rewarding.  A few pics to show what I was making before and after the power was restored.

Because school was cancelled for more than 2 weeks, I had time to do some shell crafting, without power on my back porch, using up some of my beach finds and clay pots for herbs.  When I got electricity, I proceeded to put together ornaments, that my neighbor made a Scandinavian wood tree display so that I could sell a few ornaments at a local gift shop.

The ornaments were part of my Christmas gifts this year. The pic shows my display at a local gift shop, where I attempted to sell some of them. Using Hunting Island Shells and beach glass, lace and twine, I thought they would be a big hit.  I picked them up right after Chrismas, and hope to add them to my tree next year.
Also pictured below, Tissue Case, simple and useful,  Using bits of vintage linens and lace, I made 8 of them, to hand out to my friends and nieces. Useful and pretty, takes minutes to put together.  I tucked them into cosmetic bags for nieces and added hand sanitizer for my teacher friends.
I tried to find pics of all the gift baskets and items I crafted, but somehow, the pics  are few.  I will add to this post when I find them.

And so I will leave for now, showing you an action shot of me teaching the students how to make gravy, for our Thanksgiving Class Meal.  I find that each semester I tweak what I cover and what I expect, and hope that the excessive time I spend planning and prepping will diminish as I go forward.

If you read my blog, please take a minute to leave a comment, I like to connect with my audience, and would be glad to provide more detailed tutorials if needed for any of the items, I brag about.  Hope this holiday time finds the reader, appreciating all that is good and true in the world, till my next reflection and craft session...bye for now!

Monday, July 11, 2016

So much to celebrate!

Why not celebrate?  I am reflecting as the school year has recently ended,  how wonderful and

+refreshing life has been this year  Coming to a new life and job here in SC, has really energized my life and marriage  Each day, I get to do what I love, and each weekend, hubby and I get to play tourists, exploring new areas while we bike, boat or kayack.   Just spent many weekends and time in school writing SLOs, (student learning objectives) a mandate for all teachers in this state this year. While the value of going through the process is apparent, the large amount of extra work it required was a challenge.  The good news is that I was able to go through new teacher requirements, and state mandates, even passing the PLT Praxis, which I never had to back in Ohio; and teaching 2 preps all at the same time acclimating to a new culture. After jumping through all the hoops, I was offered a contract for next year, so it looks like I get to continue doing what I enjoy, we will rent another year, and our tenant will rent from us one more year as well.  Life will get easier as we bring down debt and live more simply.

Makes me itchy to do some crafting and sewing again.  I have been making simple aprons for my Students' of the Month..so each month after I pick a candidate, I size them up to reward them with a monogrammed apron.  One student was so pleased, he won't wear the apron, but he says he mounted it to his trophy wall.  HaHa, never heard that be a thing to do , but I am glad he will cherish it!  

And recently I joined a "free" yoga class at the local library.  I find it so relaxing and fun, I invested in a mat.  Of course, I needed a holder for it, so, after looking around on Pinterest and Etsy, I came up with a fun carrying case, I fashioned from an embroidered towel.  Some of you of a certain age, would know that the embroidery is called "huck" and I do remember my mother embroidering some of her towels  I always thought it was so much work for something you wipe dirty hands on!  This embroidered "huck"  towel I thrifted, was in perfect condition, and just the right size to accomodate the width of my yoga mat. It is basically a towel sewn into a tube with elasticized ends, with a hidden pocket for a cell phone and a hook on strap, taken from another bag I no longer have The tutorial steps I took follow here:

Vintage and Hip Yoga Mat Carrier

To create a casing for elastic on each end, I used hem lace.  Anything could sub for this, but I have a lot of it, so I am using it up.  Not shown, is a "secret" pocket I created to hide towards the top of the bag, with a button closure.  Not sure why I missed taking a pic of this, but oh well, you can use your imagination.

Pinning a safety pin on one end of a 4 inch piece of elastic,, I slid the elastic through on each end, securing it with a few zig zag stitches. Then I stitched the long  side seam, leaving an opening of approximately 8 inches towards the top of the bag. 

Next step is to sew in the velcro, I lined it up in the opening I left, and used a zig zag stitch. In the second pic below you can see the secret pocket, in a rose fabric. 

The plastic triangles I had from a crafting kit, and the strap from a briefcase, that somehow I no longer have.  You can find straps at thrift stores, or even in your stash of briefcases that you might not sue as originally intended.  I like that the strap has a non slip section which helps keep the bag balanced on your shoulder.  Below I am stitching by hand the triangles one on each end, securing to the elastic.

 The yoga mat caddy is practical as well as beautiful  My towel had a lovely hand crocheted border on each end, and of course a detailed design that someone spent a lot of time on. 

I love to use vintage linens in a new way, but also get them out from storage.  I get lots of compliments on mine at class.  I hope to scout around for more towels with similar proportions so I can offer these in my etsy shop in the future.  What do you think?  Do you have vintage towels that are too pretty to wipe dirty hands on, to repurpose into something practical?  Celebrate and Share with me!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Brand New Chapter...keep hands and feet safely inside the vehicle...this should be an exciting ride!

Where do I begin?  My family and I are in a new chapter of our lives.  After interviewing for several Family and Consumer Sciences positions last year and this past spring, a phone call this past summer out of no where, changed our lives...The school district I interviewed for last year, that was my dream town and job, had the position cut, do to budgeting issues.  But God's timing was different than mine...the call came in July 6th from Beaufort High School,SC and I was offered the job on July 7th...ironically my hubby's and mine 37th wedding anniversary.  A few days later, daughter and I jumped in the car for the 12 hour trip to check out rentals.  At the same time a job interview was offered for my own home district, a job I was waiting for for many years...a quick chat with the superintendent revealed that job was a long term substitute position, and I was unwilling to experience job loss after only a year back, so my decision was quick and decisive.  Within hours of that decision, a friend from church mentioned someone he knew that would need a home in our school district due to divorce.  Again, in Gods' timing, our home in Cleveland was rented and large furniture remained to save us the cost of moving and to provide some items that were much needed by the tenant.  As I update my blog here, I am flooded with emotions, both in gratitude and wonder as to how energized my life is.  I feel I am living out my true purpose, and while there have been many sacrifices made, most of the decisions and pain of moving have melted away, and true gratitude has set in.  A few pics to show you where we are now, and snapshots of my life as I am living it...

My new highschool pictured here, a newer building, and on the same island that we chose to live, Ladys Island.  We have a newer rental, that meets all our needs, as we still have the 3 cats and dog and community college attending daughter.

  She has her own Bonus room above the garage.  She decorated it like a dorm room, so for now, we are settled in.Pic is with her bestie that traveled here with her, and then flew back a few days later.Boyfriend got to visit over the labor day weekend.  He is only 8 hours away!

  Yesterday, part of hubbys' birthday gift was to travel home for a week, live on our boat in Sandusky, and attempt to sell it or arrange for storage.  Leaving our old pick up truck behind, enabled him to  travel and to also assist my dad and step mom, the latter of which took a fall and is recovering.  Timing was good for him to be there on several fronts.

I did manage to make something first week, after uncovering my sewing machine, deep into a spare room closet...I needed a dust ruffle for our new bed,  We donated our old foam set that sat on a drawer platform to my son, so the new bed was naked.  I had a queen ruffle, cutwork in design, that matched a curtain panel I already had., It definately didn't stretch far enough.  So a quick trip to the local Salvation Army helped me find some curtain panels that I spliced into the center, and added cotton sheeting to join the two large pieces.  Here are a few pics, feel free to ask for a tutorial, if you need clarification.  You can find lots of great linens and parts you can join to make a large piece.  

I took a long curtain panel, centered the cutwork design at the bottom;

I split the queen size skirt in the middle, and then spliced in the curtian panel, centering the design, and adding more to one end so that the panel went the length of the bed.  I didn't save construction photos, but you can get the idea.  You might recognize this grandmas garden quilt, from a large table in my former great room.  I have found homes for almost everything that came with our move, just repurposed and have things in new places.  The only things we had to buy, were a table and chair, bed and most recently a Facebook sell buy site,  washer and dryer.

I hope to post more tutorials and ideas, as time goes on.  Since I am teaching Foods 1 and 2, my pinterest is very food focused.  I will share some of my discoveries here in the coming weeks.  Stick with me, this will be a view into a new chapter, that will provide you some great ideas for making a change to pursue your passions!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Ups and Downs

Lots of cold winter weeks have passed, I struggle with satisfying my creative urges and working a lot of hours each week.  Energy levels zapped, watching my dvr tv series keeps me sane.  I know that making things energizes me, but it is so hard to drag myself to my sewing room. With prom looming, hemming my daughter's dress as well as girlfriend's dresses will keep me in there.

I play saxophone in a wind ensemble, it is one of the creative things I make time for.  Recently I had the honor of playing for our band directors' funeral, as he requested. He was a generous benefactor to the music programs of the local parochial schools.  He started our group over 10 years ago, and it has grown to well over 40 instrumentalists.  He was a smallish man, but had a very big heart, and his directing bands and groups has been a big part of his life.  He has touched many, and we as a wind ensemble, hope to continue on in his honor.  I recently also joined our community band, and had a performance last week for a small group from my town.  We will be playing at our local gazebo this summer a few times.  We are popular with the older set, but hopefully we can inspire the next generation with our music.

Refashioning has really taken over lately.  Some of the shirts we sell at my retail store have the look of layering.  It is an easy way to add life to shirts that have gotten too short from too hot dryers.  And in the case of some of my shirts, a simple addition of gauzy polyester or nylon give just the finish.  All you need is a zigzag stitch, some gauzy fabric and a shirt you want to add to.  Experiment with the stitch and your shirt, most have some spandex or rayon, that can get stretched out if you pull too hard, but won't stretch enough, if you don't use a zig zag.  Try this technique with your own t shirts and sweaters.

I continue to follow a number of Pinterest pinners and boards, so much inspiration there, so little time!  One of my favorite meals in anything with Risotto.  Here is a recipe that I have tried in the past, and the Costco frozen version almost comes close! Here it is lifted from Allrecipes.com
Lemon Asparagus Risotto
recipe image
Submitted By: stefychefy
Photo By: naples34102
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Ready In: 1 Hour
Servings: 4
"The bright, fresh flavors of asparagus and lemon permeate this creamy rice dish. Try not to rush this dish, it's worth the wait."
20 fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1.Place a steamer insert into a saucepan and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Bring water to a boil. Add asparagus, cover, and steam until tender, about 5 minutes. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces; set aside.
2.Heat chicken broth in a saucepan over medium heat; keep at a simmer while preparing risotto.
3.Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onion and celery until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir in garlic and arborio rice; cook and stir until rice is lightly toasted, about 5 more minutes.
4.Pour white wine into rice mixture, stirring constantly, until liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir chicken broth into rice, one ladleful at a time, allowing liquid to absorb completely before adding more while stirring constantly, about 20 minutes. Add asparagus and stir.
5.Remove from heat and mix in Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and lemon zest. Serve immediately.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Tutorial on my Crafty Colorful and Customizable Cross Body Bags

Update: I have checked back (6 years later) and many of my photos are missing or broken links!  I am so sorry, hope you can follow instructions without the pics here!  I will investigate what happened.

Ok, as promised my tutorial for making my handy dandy cross body bags...I searched all over Pinterest and the internet and while I found a few tips and tricks, I came up with my own way to make the bags.  I am a bit of an attention deficit sewer, I am always trying to find faster ways to do things so I don't get bored.  I apologize in advance for any confusion, I encourage you to try things your own way as well, sometimes we know what works for us!  That said, this is my first attempt with making a table to house my directions, Blogger doesn't offer it, but a little sleuthing around the internet yielded some html coding to create it.  I hope to get better at this soon, feel free to suggest improvements.  I used pics from one bag, but where I missed the pic for the step, I tried to show with other bags under construction.  

Cross Body Bag my way!

  • You will need: 2/3 yard of your main fabric, mainly for the length to make a fabric strap, but if you choose cording, you can get away with a lot less yardage (cotton is preferred, but upholstery can work too, you might not need interfacing for structure)
  • 1/8 yard of pocket or contrast, trims,
  • 1/8 yard of lining fabric
  • 1/8 yard of pellon type interfacing, one that creates a soft structure, or fusible fleece or even quilt batt
  • 6-8 inch zipper, if you use a longer one from your stash, plan on cutting it to size ansewing across the teeth thread
  • sewing machine that also has a zipper foot
  • All seams are 1/4 inch
  • TIP:  If you place your pieces next to each other on the layout, you can interface all at once then cut out.  If you sew a lot you know how to save steps!

Step 1: Pardon my hasty sketch, I made templates out of cardboard for my bag pieces, not shown, because I knew I was making more than one.  If you are simply making one bag, just follow the directions for the cut pieces. Cut your pieces out, following dimensions to the right on this table. Turn iron on high and fuse your interfacing to the backside of the pieces where indicated, or if you sew in, pin and baste around the edges.

Top Sketch:
Your main fabric, - Cut  main body piece, 8 1/2' by 10 1/2" this will be the back
Using the second piece created by cutting 2, re-cut 1 main body front so that piece measures 8 1/2"x9 " (Cut through fold)

 Top front is 1 1/2 " by 8 1/2 "  Interfacing 8.1/2" x10 1/2 " for back and 8 1/2" x 9" for front, also cut your top front piece out of interfacing 1 1/2 " by 8"

Second sketch:
2 Lining pieces are 8 1/2 " x 10 1/2 ", like above, cut one 8 1/2" by 1 1/2" and  one 8 1/2" by 9"

Pocket is 6 " by 8 1/2" before folding in half
Strap:can be made different lengths, for the 3 way method, be sure it is long enough.  Mine was 36 inches long finished, so cut two long 2 inch wide by 18 inches, you will join these to make one long strap 

Step2: Fold the pocket piece in half, apply trims or lace or any decor you would like to feature and then sew 3 sides of your front pocket to the bottom front piece, leaving the folded top open, and press.  Then sew vertical lines from the opening of the pocket to the bottom, arranging the lines of sewing so that pockets area created for your needs, I use my cell phone as the measurement for one of the pockets. You might want a stylus pocket or other gadget sized space to be created here.

Step 3:  Sew the bag front top to the bag front bottom with a large basting stitch. Press the seam open on the wrong side.
Step 4: To make a sturdier end to your zippers, take 2 small rectangular scraps about 2 inches and fold  in half.  Pin on each end of your zipper, assuming the zipper is smaller than the opening. ( If you have a zipper that is at least 8 inches or more, you might have to finish the end with hand stitches so the zipper pull doesn't leave the track.) Sew across the ends creating a tab that will peek out of the zipper opening but create a more secure opening for wear and tear.
Step 5: Pin your zipper under the center of the pressed seam, on each side. Turn to right side, press and if you want to, you can apply rick rack or trims across the top to coordinate with your pocket trims.
Step 6:  Make your strap next so that you can use pieces of the strap for the strap loops that need to be pinned to the front of the bag.  Take the two 18 " pieces and join them right sides together along the short side, creating a 36 " long strip.  Press the strip in half, longways, then press 1/4 inch to the inside on each long edge.  You shouldn't have any raw edges showing on the long edges. Pin the edges together and then top stitch along both sides taking care to sew as straight as possible.  I use my seam markings on my sewing machine throat plate to help me with this.  Cut off the 2 inches on each end, and fold them each in half and pin 1/2 in from the side edges of your bag front.  Keep raw edges even with the outside top edge of bag.  Baste across the ends.  These loops need to be sewn into the seam in the next step. To finish your long strap edges, turn them in 1/4 in and press, top stitch across the ends.
Step 7: take the back and front section with it's zipper and pocket already installed and with right sides together, sew all the way around. Sew 4 sides of your bag outer but remember to leave the zipper open so you can turn it right side out later.

Step 8:Now for the lining pieces, sew the top rectangle that is 1 1/2" by 8"  to the main front piece, using a long basting machine stitch.  Press the seam open, then take this unit and right sides together stitch all four sides. Trim across corners to reduce bulk on both the lining and the bag seams.   You will open the seam you created with a seam ripper, turn the lining right side out, and with the main body inside out, slide the bag into the lining, lining up the opened seam with the zipper opening.
Step 9: Pin the edges of the opening to the zipper tape, using an invisible stitch like the slip stitch, hand sew the opening of the lining to the zipper opening.  Be sure to secure where he zipper ends and keep the lining free of the movement of the zipper.  
Step 10. Finishing: Turn the bag so that the lining is inside and use a wooden spoon or knitting needle end, poke the corners so they are smooth and rounded.  If need, you a pin to poke out those corners so they look uniform. On the outside back of the bag, turn the edges of the loop under and slip stitch securely.  Try to stitch through bag, but not the lining if possible.  Thread your strap through the loops and knot the ends.  Since this is a 3 way bay, you can grasp strap on the back side of the bag and draw it up to shorten the handles, creating 2 loops to hold.  And with the straps untied, tie the bag around your waist to create a handy fanny pack that makes your bag hands free!  I sized this bag to keep you from overloading it, but also, perfect for your tablets and electronics.  Extra padding can be built in with your choice of pellon fleece or even quilt batting.

Here is a bag with table cloth lace and upholstery weight fabric.  Cording was used for the handle, with a casing made across the back.  This bag can only be used as a shoulder bag for that reason.
The Cupcake confection below was a special order.  The center pocket was requested for a table stylus, the flap is the doily with the cupcake motif on top.

An old battered 30's quilt made up nicely into a bag, the third tab on the back can support a key ring.

Upholstery cording worked nicely too, I taped the ends to avoid raveling.

The bag below uses a piece of thrifted cross stitched table cloth piece, I have made a lot of things with this same table cloth!

As you can see, the sky is the limit for your fabric and trim choices.  I used a variety of cording for handles as well as contrasting fabric made into handles.  Use what you have, this project is great for those scraps and remnants.

I am linking up with a number of bloggers, see the page "Where I Party for a partial list.  Thank you Coastal Charm for sponsoring a lovely list, hoping for a shout out too!

Have fun and go wild!

Copyright Info

Please respect the Creative Commons Licensing, and do not copy pictures or content without permission from me. Creative Commons License
http://the4rsramblings.blogspot.com by The 4 Rs is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://the4rsramblings.blogspot.com.

Join the party, "Reap What You Sew, Sundays"



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Search This Blog

Stat Counter