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:


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!
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:
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.
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!
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:

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

Flying by the Seat of my Pants

When I started this whole ‘making aprons’ thing, I thought it would go the way of macrame’ plant hangers and photo cards – in other words, I didn’t think it would last! Now approaching apron #2000, I’m still flying by the seat of my pants.
Because I thought I’d get over this (ha!), I didn’t jump in feet first and buy a lot of special equipment. I had a sewing machine, a camera, a few patterns and a computer. That’s all I needed, right?
It wasn’t long before I had to get creative about storing stuff.
*I used an old bookcase for my children’s fabrics

List of needs, recent aprons, fabric for 'next up' (on top), fabric for kids (bottom)

List of needs, recent aprons, fabric for ‘next up’ (on top), fabric for kids (bottom)

*A curtain rod was hung in a corner for kids’ aprons
An early shot of the kids' section - not so roomy now!

An early shot of the kids’ section – not so roomy now!

*Plastic egg crates on sale from Walmart ($1!) gave me some fabric storage under the kids’ aprons
*I had one small closet for aprons and I added plastic storage bins above and below for all manner of stuff – trims, ribbon, scraps, etc.
Your basic crammed closet - plus doorway overflow

Your basic crammed closet – plus doorway overflow

*Command hooks gave me more hanging space (as did a back of the door hanger)

*Clotheslines were strung up in the backyard for photo sessions

*My daughter’s rolling cart became my mobile accessory organizer
*I got a plus size dress form (bought her a big girl bra at Wally World) and named her Gertrude
*My husband made me wooden racks to use when I have overflow
*Baggies became my new best friends!! I use them for everything from patterns, to buttons, clips, D rings and bobbins

*Grandma’s dining room buffet became my mailing station
*Every spare closet in the house has SOME aprons in it! So does my storage room.
*My ‘sweatshop’ has no less than a DOZEN lights to help my failing eyes
*Plastic buckets hold trim scraps (and, yes, they do get used!)
*Rubbermaid tubs hold pounds and pounds of scraps (for patchwork aprons, scrap projects and quilts as time permits)
*Patterns have been traced onto Dollar Store paper in every size. Keeping them organized is an ongoing battle and fodder for many UFFDA days!
*Color coded storage units hold trims and thread (and the overflow spills out from there!)

I love seeing people that have ‘inspiring’ and organized work spaces – maybe someday. Until then, I’m still FLYING BY THE SEAT OF MY PANTS!

Sockaholic Christmas

I’m a sockaholic – I admit it!
I love socks and always get a little sad when one of my favs bites the dust!
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!

Chicken Love

As you have learned (if you’ve read any of my ramblings), I can’t seem to throw things away. Therefore, I’m always on the lookout for something to make from the (400 lbs., give or take of) scraps I’ve been saving.

I LOVE chicken prints – maybe because the grandkids used to raise chickens – maybe just because they’re semi-wonderful. At any rate, I have lots of chicken fabric scraps.

I toyed with the idea of a chicken crazy quilt, but then I sobered up – when would I find the time for THAT project??!! Then I thought about the same idea on a smaller scale – what about placemats??? GENIUS!

One small detail was that I’ve never made a crazy quilt. I had a vague idea of the process and I checked a couple of tutorials and asked my 95 year old sewing advisor and then I just sort of jumped in! Hey, it’s not like I don’t have more scraps if this didn’t work out . . .

It was FUN!!! Didn’t take long (love that). I made a few mistakes; they’re not exactly ‘fair quality’ but they’re not bad. I even learned how to use the fancy stitching on my sewing machine!

Even Smaller Scraps

I told you I hate to throw those scraps away! When I couldn’t squeak and adult petal out of a scrap, I made a few kid-sized petals and gave those a whirl – LOVED the results! These little half aprons are too cute: