Friday, February 29, 2008

Lavendar Dress, continued (SCF)

It's "Sew Crafty Friday" over at Shereen's blog again! Here's what I have today:

The pantaloons in this outfit just kill me, LOL! So sweet! I still have to put elastic in the waistband. And I have to adjust the ankle elastic a bit. But this is pretty much finished. BTW, it's about the size for a two year old.

Please visit Shereen's blog and take part in Sew Crafty Friday. Inquiring, creative minds want to see what you've been up to!

For some reason, Blogger is not letting me do links, so please see my sidebar for Shereen's link--"Waiting for Him."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thursday Thriftiness

What is it with blogs and alliteration? I swear I'm going to start a trend called "Absolutely Anything Afternoon"!

Here's my thriftiness today:

I love flannel pajamas. Much as I hate winter, the one sad thing about the end of it is having to put the comfy flannel PJs up in the attic--unless we keep the a/c in our bedroom on full blast, and I'm paying LIPA (Long Island Power Authority) enough as it is.

One of my older pairs has really seen its day. Bleach stains, saggy, faded. I have enough nicer pairs that I can give this one up. But not totally! I have deconstructed it:

First, I removed the buttons. They're a really pretty blue-green.

Second, I carefully cut the pieces apart--a sleeve, one front and half of the back. I'm going to retrace these as pattern pieces for a new pair of PJs for the warmer months.

Third, I cut larger squares from the remaining flannel that I will hem and use as napkins or cleaning rags. Don't worry--the napkins are only for me. They aren't going to end up on the dining room table. I'm not THAT frugal, LOL!

Fourth, I cut off the pocket. It's a nice pocket with piping around the edge. I have no idea what I'll do with it. I just like it.

And Fifth, I kept the side seam of one sleeve intact. I'm going to sew up the top, pour rice inside, sew the bottom and make a nice heatpad--probably for my dog, who loves heat pads!

So, you see that...buttons, napkins, a sewing pattern, a who-knows-what-for pocket and a lovie for my dog--all for free!

Tell me, what have you in your drawer that you never wear and can cut apart for many new uses?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

It's time for Works for Me Wednesday at Shannon's blog:

There are a lot of great tips! I have one today, too!

I like those face-washing cloths that don't require rinsing. I usually get the CVS brand, which is pretty cheap--and I often cut them in half. But lately, I've been kinda broke so I'm looking for any little ways to save money.

I have made some items with flannel lately, and made some washcloths with the leftover pieces. Well, what I do is to take the washcloth (you can use a regular terry one, of course) and wet it with warm water. I take one corner and dab it on a bar of moisturizing soap. Then I use that corner to wash my face. I use the rest of the washcloth to wipe away the soap.

Why don't I just rinse my face from the sink? Well, I have long hair and I hate getting the front of it wet if I'm not actually shampooing it. With my corner of the washcloth trick, I get convenience and I save money. This 'works for me' just fine!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Macaroni & Cheese

Heather, who came to visit yesterday, requested my macaroni & cheese recipe, so here goes:

Macaroni & Cheese

(This makes a lot, but the recipe is easy to halve.)

2 (1-lb.) boxes elbow macs
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
2 (12 oz) cans evaporated milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 Cups shredded cheddar
1 Cup shredded Jarlsberg cheese*
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 Cup crushed Ritz crackers (or any butter cracker you like)
3 T melted butter
1/4 Cup grated parmigiana (or parmesan) cheese

*You don't have to use Jarlsberg, but it really does add a nice flavor to this. It's pricey, so I just get a quarter pound at the deli for about $2. You can always substitute a cup of any cheese you like.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Coat a big lasagna pan with non-stick spray. I find I need to do one large pan and one smaller pan to fit all the macaroni.

Cook the macaroni.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a heavy, medium skillet or saucepan. When the butter is melted, add the flour and stir to make a roux; cook 2 minutes until smooth. Whisk in one can of the milk. Gradually whisk in the other can of milk until smooth. Add salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer two minutes, whisking until thick.

Remove from heat. Stir in cheese and mustard until melted. Add to cooked macaroni and stir. Pour into baking pans. Combine crackers, butter and parmesan, sprinkle on top. Bake 25 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Enjoy!

(I put foil on top to keep the macs from getting too hard. Use Reynold's no-stick, or spray regular foil with non-stick spray.)

Monday, February 25, 2008

CVS Coupon

Here is a link to a CVS coupon that will triple your ECBs:

It's valid through March 15th.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tagged Again!

Laura tagged me for another 'what are you reading' game!

"turn to page 123 of the nearest book, go to the fifth sentence and post the next three! Then tag five more people"

So here I go again:

{Sentence Five:}"It ought to have been obvious to her that it was a mirror, since it had a wooden frame and dust on its surface, but to be absolutely sure, I asked, "what is this I'm holding?" {The next three:} (Remember I was behind the mirror, holding it.)
She replied without hesitating, "A mirror."
I asked her to describe her eyeglasses, lipstick and clothing while looking straight into the mirror.

From: "Phantoms in the Brain," by V.S. Ramchandran and Sandra Blakeslee--an absolutely phenomenal book about the tricks our brains play on us. Very readable, too--trust me, I don't to 'text books,' LOL!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday Sewing Tip

This one is about cutting apart patterns. I like to do mine way before I even have the fabric. That way, when I want to pin a pattern, I can get right to it without having to stop and cut the pieces apart.

I like to use electric scissors for this. It makes it go a lot faster. Of course, these scissors aren't used for fabric. Anyone who sews knows that you never use fabric scissors to cut paper. I don't particularly like electric scissors for fabric, anyway. I know people who can use them, but they always seem to jam up on me no matter what. But they make separating pattern pieces quick and easy.

After I cut each piece, I refold it along the original lines. Sometimes, that means the number is hidden. So I always write the number where I can see it.

When all the pieces are cut and refolded, I stack them in order. Did you know that pattern pieces are numbered in the order which they'll be used? So much easier to have "1" on top than to have to shuffle through 23 pieces!

If your pattern has a minimal number of pieces, you can easily put them right back into the envelope. I like to tuck them inside the instructions first, and then slide the whole packet inside. But if you have a pattern with many pieces, this is usually impossible. Trust me, the inability to repackage patterns into their original envelopes is not your fault. I've seen how they are put together. In the factory, the pieces are laid on an open envelope, and then the envelope is folded around them!

So a good trick for these impossible-to-repackage patterns is to use inexpensive gallon type plastic storage bags. (Save the expensive ones for food, LOL!) Not only will the bag hold the pattern, but it is also a great place to put notions and threads you'll need when you start working on the garment. Punch a hole in the top and hang it from the same hanger where you'll hang your garment as you're working on it, and you'll have it all in one convenient place!

Hope you liked this week's tips!

Friday, February 22, 2008

A good day for crafting! (SCF)

Must be friday, 'cause Shereen's hosting "Sew Crafty Friday" again!

It looks like this outside. So it's a good day to stay in and sew, scrap, cook--whatever! I've been working on the dress I'm designing. Here are some photos:

As you can see, I need to put darts in the bodice. the shirring is done with alternating rows of black and white floss--by hand. It's going pretty quickly. (Of course, I marked my lines on the inside. I couldn't sew that straight to save my life, LOL!) BTW, I think I'm going to keep it sleeveless. I might make (or buy) a short white linen jacket to wear over it. We'll see--with the weather the way it is today, it feels like it will be forever before it's warm enough to wear this.
Today, I also hope to cut out the pink flannel lining for a little child's jacket I'm making (shown in an earlier post). put the elastic in the pantaloons for the lavendar child's dress (another earlier post.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Debbie of said I could play tag with her. Here's the game:

~Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages
~Open the book to page 123 and find sentence number 5.
~Post the next 3 sentences
~Tag 5 people.

Okay, I'm turning around to pull a book off the shelf...

I'm opening to page 123...

"He would take the trees and shape them into odd sculptures and functional objects. Some of these original sculptures still stand at Fabulous Furniture, which has become a showroom for Heller's works. These days, Heller is still crafting objects out of wood."

From: "Weird New York: Your Travel Guide to New York's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets" by Chris Gethard.

I tag...anyone at all who wants to play!

Look to the Sky Tonight!

Tonight, Mother Nature is treating us to a total lunar eclipse! A lunar eclipse is when the earth falls between the sun and moon, and its shadow is cast over the moon. It's fun to watch the shadow 'eat away' little bits of the moon, and then move over and let the moon appear again.
It's supposed to happen around 9:45 EST.

BTW, does anyone out there remember ever seeing a total solar eclipse? I'm not talking about a partial one. I'm talking 'dark as night in the middle of the day.' I don't know if it's a false memory, but I swear I experienced one as a kid. That would be in the early 1960s.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

There are some wonderful kitchen tips over at Tammy's Recipes.

Here is my tip for Kitchen Tip Tuesday:

Got an old magazine rack you don't want any more? Use it to store cutting boards! I have one in my kitchen. It's an old brass one and holds my cutting boards perfectly.
BTW, I color code my boards for food safety: red or pink is for meat, all other colors for bread or vegetables.
You could also use a permanent marker to write "MEAT" or "NON-MEAT" on the handle, to help prevent cross-contamination!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday Sewing Tip

I actually have two tips today. One is to keep a magnet near your sewing machine to pick up pins. This happens to be an official "Singer" one, but I've also use fridge magnets and even the paws of stuffed animals that are made to stick to the fridge. My friend Judy (aka Jude) gave me a little lobster who lives on my fridge, and he likes to help me pick up pins, LOL!
Of course, I wouldn't keep a magnet too close to a computerized machine, although these magnets aren't all that strong.
Another good idea is to use one of those picker-upper things. Grab the magnet with the claw end and then sweep it around the floor--you won't even have to bend down to get the pins!
Here is the second tip: prewash your fabric. For some, that might be a 'duh' idea. But I swear to you, I've been sewing for over 30 years and only recently got into the habit. You'd think I would have figured it out after having numerous tops shrink on me. A good idea to save time is to throw the fabric in with 'like' items of clothing. For example, I wash flannel with pajamas or knits with t-shirts. Now I know that when I make a garment, shrinkage will be minimal!

Do you have any awesome sewing tips? Please don't be shy--even the most simple tip is a 'wow' moment of learning for someone!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday

I haven't been much in the mood for crafting this week. I had a wisdom tooth pulled on Wednesday (it was a production, but not as bad as I thought it would be) and I've had a headache off and on since Tuesday night. I'm taking sudafed and Tylenol (or the generic equivalent), plus I'm already on antibiotics from the tooth. I bought myself some saline solution, too. Hopefully, that will do the trick. Or else I'll talk to the doctor I work for and see if she has any other ideas.

Anyway, on to the fun stuff. This afghan is a 'work in progress.' I actually photographed it upside down...I'm currently crocheting the rust colored stripe. The multi-color is "El Paso" by Jiffy. I'm just picking out other solid Jiffy yarns for the alternating stripes that I think match. This is for my oldest son, Michael, for when he gets his new home. He and his dad have been working on that. Michael will live in the house, which will be a small cottage, for two or three years until Mike and I are ready to retire, then we'll move in and he'll get another home. His 'rent' will be the monthly bills. So this will be my housewarming gift, LOL!

It's a very easy pattern. The rows are based on an even number of stitches, and alternate like this: one row is a single crochet, two chain repeat. The other row is double crochets in all the two chain repeats of the previous row. It's going together surprisingly fast!

Please check my links list and visit Shereen at Sew Crafty Friday!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

Today is "Kitchen Tip Tuesday" over at Tammy's Recipes, and today I actually have a tip to share!

You know how you always have breadcrumbs and eggs and milk left over from dredging your chicken cutlets? I learned this trick from my mil: mix the eggs and breadcrumbs together and make little egg cakes! You just stir it all up, then spoon it into the very same skillet where you've been browning your cutlets.
Just fry a little on each side until 'dry' looking, then enjoy. They won't be pretty, but boy, they will be good! If you're like me, you'll have to stop yourself from eating them all so your family can have some, too. (How many you get depends on how big you make them, and how much egg/milk/breadcrumbs mixture you have left over.)

Monday, February 11, 2008

The kind of receipt I like

Don't you love it when the savings outweigh the money you spent?
Yesterday, at CVS, I bought a total of 37.86 in merchandise... for which I paid 13.30.

Debit: 13.30
Savings: 24.56

And $6 in ECBs back for buying a Gillette Fusion Razor*! (And I had a coupon for it, too!)

I used $7 in mfr coupons and 14.98 in ECBs. Plus, of course, some items I bought were on sale.

Money saving advice of the day: always, always, ALWAYS check the bottom of your CVS receipt. Not only did I get some ECBs last week (used this week) which I expected, I also found a freebie coupon for multivitamins--worth 5.99!

*My husband sees all these razors I buy and says yesterday, "I hope you're getting these on sale, because you seem to buy a lot of them." I said, "I had a coupon and ECBs and I get ECBs back, so either I'm paying about a buck for a 9.99 razor or I'm making a profit."
I showed him my receipt today. Needless to say, he was pretty impressed.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A Sewing Tip for Saturday

Here's a great tip I learned a long time ago regarding bias tape:

If you look at double-fold bias tape, you'll see that one side is wider than the other. If you pin the tape around your garment's edge with the narrow side on top and the wider part underneath, you can sew both at the same time. Sewing on the narrower side guarantees you'll 'catch' the underside!

Speaking of bias tape, I decided to use pale lavendar rather than yellow on the dress. I tried yellow that matched the centers of the daisies, and it just looked too 'homemade.' I didn't like pale yellow, either. So I switched to lavendar, and that seems to do the trick.

Do you have any good sewing tips to share? If I can remember to do it, I'd like to start a "Sewing Tip Saturday"--uh, what do you call it? Thread? Carnival?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday

Time for "Sew Crafty Friday" over at Shereen's blog!

Here's the progress I've made on the lavendar dress. This is what I like about Shereen's "Sew Craft Friday"--it pushes me to keep working on things I'm making, LOL!

Don't tell anyone, but the third button is sewn on with pink, rather than white, thread. I didn't realize that until I was done with it.

I plan to bind the neck with yellow. If I'm super ambitious, I'll add yellow trim on the top of the lace around the bottom of the dress.

This needs pressed and a little trimming, but it's pretty close to being finished. Next step is to work on the pantaloons.

Speaking of progress, I ordered (from, I think) turquoise knit for the top of the dress I'm making. They didn't have any red that I liked and the turquoise just jumped out at me. I thought it would be a nice springy color.

Please visit Shereen at "Waiting for Him" and enjoy all the crafty loveliness over there! And show off some of your own creativity, too!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Dress design, continued

Well, I cut out and sewed the skirt part of the dress I'm designing. (Scroll down for earlier posts.) I found this all over black and white print at Joanne's the other night.
This is pinned with most of the waistline fabric at the back of the mannequin. As you will see in earlier posts, the waistline will actually be gathered into a wide waistband.
I want to do the top in red, I decided. I really like the combination of red, black and white. Joanne's didn't have any nice red T-shirt knit. I'm going to poke around on line. I'm determined to finish this to be able to wear it when the weather gets nicer.
PS--please ignore the messy room!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Good CVS Deal this week

Actually, there are several pretty good deals at CVS this week, but here's just one where you can actually make a profit.

Garnier Fructis Shine Burst and Strength and Repair Shampoo or Conditioner--3.99. You get 3.99 in ECBs back--which makes it free.

Look in your shampoo file, or in the Valassis (now called Redplum) circulars from either January 6th or today (February 3rd)--there is a dollar coupon.

Use the coupon and you make $1 profit!

If you look at page 2 of the CVS circular today, you see a deal where you get back $5 in ECBs with the purchase of $10 in products. There are coupons for ALL of these items in today's Smartsource Coupon circular.

Happy Shopping!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Organizing Tip I'm Trying to Keep in Mind

FIFO...sounds like something a giant would say.

It means: Full In, Full Out. I don't remember where I read this one, but I've been trying to keep it in mind. It means, never leave or enter a room without having your hands full! I'm especially trying to do this regarding laundry. I can't lift a big, heavy basket. But I can carry a handful of clothes. I try to categorize them (like bringing up all my aprons), which makes them easy to put away.
I also try to remember to carry dishes out of a room. We tend to have dishes all over the house, and I'm just as guilty as anyone.

What I like about this acronym (I think that's what it is) is that you can get a lot accomplished in a day with minimal effort. Like the pennies you throw in a jar, little things add up!

Here are some other organizing acronyms I like:

OHIO--Only Handle It Once
AFT (or FAT): Act, File , Toss--the only three things you ever need to do with paperwork!

What organizing acronyms* do you like?

*that better by the right word, since I've used it several times here.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Ducky purse winner is...

Braysgram! I'll send you an e-mail, too. Congratulations!

Here's a picture of Angelina, choosing the winner!

The winner of the sachet is...

Sweetsue! Sue, I contacted you at your blog. Please e-mail at lufmikidz at aol dot com!

Here is how I did this one:

First I cut out the names. Then I put one on each on the squares on my kitchen floor.

Then I threw a little crocheted heart back over my shoulder (like you'd throw a bridal bouquet)...

and it landed right on Sue's name!


Sew Crafty Friday

Don't you just love it when thread runs out 3 inches before the end of a seam? That's what happened here, so it's a good thing I hope to hit Joanne's tonight (armed with a birthday gift card!).

Anyway, this is Simplicity Pattern 9784. This version will have a pair of matching pantaloons. It will fit a child of about 2 years of age. Which child...I don't know yet.

The buttons are daisies. I chose them because yellow is a complimentary color to purple.

Seems every week that I do Sew Crafty Friday (And you want to visit "Waiting for Him"--over there on my links list--to see more Crafty Deliciousness), I rarely have a finished project to show. My big one now is the dress I'm designing for myself. (Scroll down for previous posts on that.) I ordered some fabric on line which has a white background and clusters of pink roses all over it. Then I decided it isn't what I really want for a dress for that fabric will probably be a girl's dress. I hope to find what I'm looking for at Joanne's tonight. I also hope to get the fabric, binding and anything else I need to finish a few projects.

Hmmm...maybe I better make a list, LOL!