Mini and Me

The ‘Egg Wrangler’ aprons I dreamed up a couple of months ago have been a wonderfully surprising success – YAY! When Peggy Sue from Benton, Arkansas, got hers, she put a little bug in my ear: “I just received this apron today. I LOVE IT!! I was wondering if there was any way you could make my Mini-Me a matching apron?” Well, you know I don’t normally do custom orders, but that sounded so sweet! And, you know I have a soft spot for junior chicken farmers!

Fortunately, I had enough of mom’s fabric left to create a matching apron for ‘Mini’. “I may not be able to fit many pockets on a small version,” I cautioned, but Peggy Sue said, “. . .sounds perfect. The only gets 2 eggs right now. One for each hand.”!

It seems Mini loved mom’s apron and loves to help with the gathering

Thanks to Peggy Sue and Mini, I have a great new idea that’s proving as popular as the Egg Wranglers: the Mini Egg Wranglers!

Recycling Efforts

In my last post, I mentioned some treasures found in our new guest cabin.  What I didn’t mention were the TONS of blue jeans left behind!  Why?  No clue.  But, my beady little eyes lit up and my tiny brain starting whirling with ideas about jean aprons.

After a busy summer and some Pinterest research about possibilities for using my treasures (plus running them all through the washer, of course) – I came up with a few variations that are kind of fun.  Putting my own little twist on some fun ideas I found, here’s what I came up with.

First is my “Egg Wrangler” apron, which combines the strength of a blue jean butt with no less that 12 pockets for gathering eggs!

Urban chicken farming seems to be the new favorite hipster hobby – and, of course, it’s always been a standard for farmers and country folk who value fresh eggs.  These aprons use the rear of the jeans, with the denim pockets removed and double strength cotton pleated pockets added.  A fabric tie run through the existing belt loops and that’s it!!!

Next, I tweaked one of my most popular aprons – the utility.  Teachers, vendors, gardeners, waitresses – they all LOVE this handy short style with plenty of pockets, so this one also uses the rear – plus part of the front as well.  I had room to add a third pocket in between the two existing denim pockets so, with the narrow side pockets (which used to be the front), the apron now has 5 pockets – all double stitched, all denim strong.  I found that binding the edges worked best.  Sewing through multiple layers of denim on my little sewing machine is a bit of a challenge.  Besides, it gives it a nice, finished look.  Again, I made a fabric tie, but then realized I needed 2 more belt loops so it didn’t sag.  I got out my trusty seam ripper (never far from my heart or my hands) and found a couple on a piece of jeans I wasn’t using.  So, that finished that one.

Last (at least for now), I used one of the jean fronts, which were building up in the scrap pile since I’d been using all backs.  By holding the front pocket linings out of the way, I was able to take 2 recycled back pockets and sew them on the front.  That way, both the existing front pockets AND the attached back pockets were usable – it even had the coin/key pocket!  I edged it in binding and this time added a little eyelet lace – who doesn’t like a little added femininity?

Again, I needed more loops and I was out, so I had to make my own.  I could’ve just sewed the belt to the waistband, I guess, but I like the idea of being able to remove or change out the belt if you want to.  #3 design finished!

*If you’d rather just buy one instead of trying this yourself, visit my shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SusiesTieOneOnAprons?

Trash and Treasures

The last couple of weeks have been spent cleaning out our new little guest cabin. Simply AMAZING how much stuff came out of that tiny 20′ x 20′ space!!!
Much of it was trash – 2 dumpsters full, one trip to the Thrift Shop (so far) and multiple dump runs, but there were a few treasures that turned up along the way – like a beautiful Bauer ringed bowl.


The shop on the property was equally full of STUFF – trash? treasures? Some of each and some trash that became a treasure – check out the bookcase I made from old wooden boxes:
When removing the boxes to clean the shop, I piled them to the side and got my inspiration!
treasure8
I wanted a reading area in the little A-frame cabin, but space was definitely at a premium and the bookcase I had was wider than I wanted. Many of the old boxes were about 6″ wide, which is perfect for paperbacks and VHS tapes that I wanted to keep in it, so I pulled some of those and did a practice run on how they might be assembled. Here’s the first draft:
bookshelf1
After checking the space to be sure it would work and not block the electrical plug, I set to screwing and gluing! I built it row by row, with a board on the bottom to be sure it was all straight. Then I glued the parts together, clamped them, let the glue dry and then went back and put screws in for a more permanent hold. This was repeated 3 times until the bookcase was complete.
bookshelf3
Then I lugged my new little treasure over and put it in place – and accessorized, of course!
The reading corner

The reading corner

Puppets via Pinterest

Pinterest is a blessing and a curse, isn’t it?! A blessing because you can find ideas for just about anything you may want to do – a curse for, well, DITTO!
For my granddaughter’s 4th birthday, I decided I’d try a doorway theater. Penny loves puppets and she loves performing and it would be EASY! Wouldn’t it?
After perusing the options endlessly for several months, the birthday loomed only a couple weeks off and the moment of truth had arrived. After looking over the tutorials and instructions for several of the simpler choices, I opted for one with banners of fabric flags decorating the front – well, I have all that fabric, after all! As usual, I sort of made up the pattern as I went along – I had an idea in my little pea brain of how it would go together and it mostly worked the way I planned . . . The good news is that 4 year olds are VERY forgiving when it comes to things like that!
puppet theater
Then I thought P should have some new puppets to go with her new theater, so back to the tutorials. I absolutely LOVED this set of ‘Old MacDonald’ puppets, and thought BRIEFLY about attempting to make them.


Here’s a link to that tutorial, if you’re braver than I! http://zitzmanfam.blogspot.com/2010/09/old-macdonald-puppet-tutorial-and.html
It was tempting – I could just picture Penelope belting out ‘EEI EEI O’ with her little farmer and his animals, but then I sobered up. I mean, REALLY? I’m going to sew about 100 teeny tiny parts together front AND back on these puppets??? In a week? Not.
Back to the tutorials, where I found this:
Disney Princess Puppets

Disney Princess Puppets


You can find the free patterns here: http://www.fynesdesigns.com/disney-princess-puppets-free-pattern/

No sew! Princesses! Brilliant! Okay, I haven’t gotten there yet, but I think I will – I think I will – I think I will.

Sockaholic Christmas

I’m a sockaholic – I admit it!
Sox-Xmas
I love socks and always get a little sad when one of my favs bites the dust!
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That’s what happened this morning but then, inspiration struck! My favorite place (Pinterest) is always showing cute ways to make things from sweaters, so why not socks?!
The pair that had sprung huge holes in the heels was a sparkly holiday motif, so I thought it would make a great little gift bag. Simply sew a line between the good part and bad part, cut off the unusable portion, turn it right side out and Voila!


You have a cute little (stretchy) bag that is perfect for small treasures!

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String

Boy, there’s a song that will run through your head driving you NUTS! But it is inspirational.

Tying the itty bitty packages can be a little challenging . . .

Tying the itty bitty packages can be a little challenging . . .


My daughter, who helps me with my Pinterest boards, added a new board recently with ideas for gifts and wrapping. She named it ‘Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String.’ I’ve been having a lot of fun with that one – finding fun stuff for gifts and wonderful, clever ideas for wrapping. But, oh, that song!
Then, I saw a fun idea for an Advent/Countdown to Christmas wreath that used – you guessed it – brown paper packages tied up with string!
My grandsons were already in full Christmas spirit – they put up their tree in mid-November!!! I figured they would drive their mom crazy by the time Christmas finally arrived, so I decided to try the idea I’d seen. Since they live far away, I found the packages, wrapped them and sent them off. They’ll have to decide how to hang them. The original idea of a wreath was great, but I think you could hang them on the tree or put them in a basket or hang them on a towel bar . . .
I had to get my rear in gear to get those gifts off so I didn’t miss the start of the countdown (Dec.1), but I had a little more time for my local grandkids AND I could go ahead and attach them to a wreath (I just got one at Michael’s on sale).
For both families, I decided to include parents as well as kids in the gift selection – I think it helps a little to teach patience and sharing. I also had to do a little thinking about the lineup – mixing kid gifts with adult gifts. There were ornaments included in each set. They had to be on the early days so they could go on the tree. Gloves and socks made great little packages – they could be rolled up tight and didn’t weigh much (I made a couple of errors in judgment on weight – a bag of marbles might have pulled the wreath right off the wall, lol!). Some of the packages were pretty cool stuff – a Frozen bracelet, a purse flashlight, an apron (of course), while others were pretty simple – hair accessories, flavored lip balm – even character bandaids! The trickiest part was finding the little, lightweight stuff.
Lessons learned: No heavy objects and the smaller, the better. Also, use lightweight craft paper. I had only the heavy-duty package paper – tying it with string was not enough and regular tape didn’t hold, so I had to use packing tape, too.
Each package had a number and a name (in this case initials).

Each package had a number and a name (in this case initials).


All in all, it was a fun project and, I think, a better way to give some of those little items that are fun, but get lost in the madness if you wait until Christmas!

Cyber Shopping 101 Level!

Ten years ago I wouldn’t have known what ‘cyber shopping’ was! Now, I have to negotiate the perils of cyber shopping from a shop owners’ perspective. It’s that old dog/new tricks thing again . . .
With the speed of a 3-toed sloth, I’m beginning to learn the ins and outs of the program. Mostly, it’s getting the word out (if I just knew how to do that). So, here goes: here’s a little info and some samples from my ETSY shop. I hope if you’re shopping for your holiday gifts, you’ll consider aprons – fun, functional and FABULOUS!!

Here’s how to get there and see more! http://www.etsy.com/shop/SusiesTieOneOnAprons