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!

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

May ahh

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!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cross Body Bags, in search of bodies...and other crafts looking for good homes....

The epilogue to my recent visit to Shelby will be written as:  Pyscho therapy, in the form of intense sewing and crafting=new inventory for future craft shows.  Right, didn't sell much, but what have I learned?   After an invitation from my gal pal, Crystal, (pictured in her crafty coat finery) to join her in crafty crime at an indoor pop up market for 2 days, caused me to sew every night when I wasn't working, to come up with marketable items for the show.  I even crafted new displays and came up with some inexpensive crafty items hoping to cash in big time.  Sadly, the traffic was minimal but the networking was valuable.  Most of the gals selling were hopefuls from the farmers market and nearby venues, and my gal Crystal was busy talking up the future of this same indoor market location as a place for shops to flourish.  A shout out to Lisa, who invited us to try our luck, and for her possible future plans to make her dream come to life in offering her large warehouse space for others to sell their wares.  That said, the following pics and tutorial are what I came up with.  Perhaps you can be inspired to try a few of these, and maybe, share with me your tips!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Heart This!

Hearts filled with gratitude, for safely arriving back from our 5 day quest for sunshine! So nice to visit with my Dad and step mom Ingrid, who turned 70 last weekend, Venice Florida.   Our trip was to honor her birthday, but also with cheap air fare and a long weekend away from retail and school, the stars aligned for us to go.  She was recovering from dental surgery; and was more than willing to let us jump in her car the first day, and accompanied daughter and I as we took a few short trips each day, exploring.  Over the 5 days, we got to 3 beaches, 2 craft shows,  a Rescued Big Cat Exhibit, a dolphin watch boat trip, 1 flea market and 1 sunset drum circle.  Additionally we ate seafood every night, and chilled while watching the sun set.  I felt so relaxed when I got home, resuming work with a snow storm as background was a little challenging, but doable.  While in Florida, I took a text from my gal pal Crystal, asking if I was back yet.  I asked her what crafts and shows she was working on, and she told me about the one coming up in Shelby, an indoor craft show staged in an old carpet warehouse.  So that got me researching and plotting to make some new crafts to bring.  You can see more about Crystal and her wonderful farm home here.

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Some fun with Chalk and Acrylic Paints

Fun with Painting Furniture:
 Here is a project I did last fall, while it was still warm enough to sand outside.  I blame Pinterest, for this new obsession to trying a paint technique on thrift furniture finds.  I have been stalking the pins for some time, comparing the different paints, and methods with the goal of finding the best priced and most efficient.  After unloading quite a bit of furniture for a possible move last summer, I decided to look for and buy a small cubby hole desk, that could fit next to my breakfast bar, but that would be just big enough to hold a laptop and some paperwork.  Previously I had a long counter top held up by a heavy oak 2 door file cabinet and a large bookshelf; both of which were completely full of stuff I was hoarding...I just got tired of seeing the piles and it made the eat in side of my kitchen, way too crowded.

Well I located the desk on Craigslist, searching only for nearby options, and found a child's maple desk, just the right size.  I used it for a couple of months while I mulled over what to do with the finish, which was a light color, but embellished with crayon drawing motifs.  Many of the pins I looked at promoted Annie Sloan style paint, and from the posts, I gathered this was an expensive option.  But recipes containing chalk or additives scared me as to their durability and possible less than satisfactory side effects, like coming into contact with your skin!

I decided to go with a paint easily found at my local craft store, bought a small jar of a Home Decor beigey grey chalk paint.  Testing it, it definitely covered well, and I also experimented with adding a small amount of blue acrylic paint and some white to tint it for a contrasting section or two,  I can honestly say, that this was the best choice. I first washed the desk down with a little detergent, and using wood glue, applied two decorative wood accents I had laying around from my thrifting.

 Then I took the two pieces apart, and sanded them, wiping down well after.   I began painting the larger areas, first and carefully sanding and wiping, I got the effect I was looking for.    After the whole thing was painted  I applied Home Decor liquid wax, and buffed it pretty well, sanding lightly where it was thicker. I then wiped a light coat of burnt ember colored watered down acrylic, and let it stay a few minutes, carefully wiping it down also.  It gave the piece the antiqued look without ruining the color. I worked the brown especially into the sanded parts to enhance the effect. The one jar of paint and one bottle of wax covered the whole desk with a little bit left over.  What do you think?

I like the finish, especially considering what it looked like before I began. By limiting the space my clutter occupied, I am finding that the size works well for my purposes as well.

As we are experiencing a very cold week here in Cleveland, (below zero wind chills)  hubby had me check cheap air fares to Florida to visit my step mom for her 70th birthday, and of course to visit during our coldest weeks.  I found a cheap fare for daughter and myself, so we will be gone during the long MLK weekend, reporting about our adventures in sun seeking during the coming weeks.  So excited to get out of town...hope I can find my summer clothes in time.  Till then, happy painting!

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