Category Archives: sewing

The Ol’ Bag Lady Has Dinner in the Bag

 

New readers may not know that I am fondly called The Ol’ Bag Lady” by my husband.  Sometimes, he shortens it to just “Ol’ Bag.”  He may or may not be referring to my attitude, but certainly he is referring to my love for bags to organize my life.

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For years (OK, I have to admit, I should use the term decades here), I’ve sewn drawstring bags to organize toys at home, in the car and to use as gift bags for toys I give away.

 

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An organizing series I wrote a few years back was called Flying Frantic, which describes the lives of most women.  We have more people, projects and personal goals than we know what to do with.  The post on using tote bags to organize your life according to commitments was popular. I have one bag for church, one bag for homeschool coop and one bag of special things for my daughter in the car.

This Ol’ Bag Lady has found one more way to organize using bags – this time in the kitchen.

There are amazing women  who cook a month of meals at a time and throw them in the freezer.  Sounds like a great idea, but my family is not particularly fond of food that has been frozen.

“The noodles are mushy.”

“The hamburger tastes funny.”

And those were just my complaints.   I know, picky, picky, but there is nothing like a freshly cooked meal.  It’s just another thing to fit in a busy life. It’s easier to dream than do.

There are other amazing women who plan a week of meals and shop according to their meal plan.  I stand in awe.

Then, there are women like me.  I shop with a list and still forget items. The week I plan the entire menu is the week my husband ends up traveling out of town.  I grocery shop, but am too tired to cook dinner. I am embarrassed to admit how many days 4pm rolls around, or 5pm, and I’m slapping my forehead thinking, “UGH! Why do people in this house need to eat dinner every. single. night?”

We have a few standby crock-pot recipes, but it never fails, I run to the pantry and find I am short one item. Or I discover somebody put the spice jar back in the drawer, but it was empty. GGRRReat!

That’s when I had my Light bulb moment.

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Yep, I have children.  My stapler never works correctly.  And I was lucky to find the black Sharpie in my junk drawer without stabbing myself with a rusty nail or box cutter.  Not Pinterest pretty, but Got ‘Er Dun pretty.

White Chicken Chili Bag

The ingredients for one meal were bagged with the recipe, the ingredients to be added highlighted in case anybody else wanted to make dinner. Anybody? Anybody?

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The only ingredients purchased and added to the stuff in the bag.

Mindy’s White Chicken Chili

Sauté until soft, about 5 min:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium green pepper, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped

Add and sauté another minute:

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Add and simmer:

  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 limes, juiced

Add:

  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans white beans(drain, mash one slightly)
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, remove skin and shred meat

Although this is called “chili” it is more of a chicken and bean soup.  It is quick, easy and filling on a cold, rainy day, which is nearly every day during the winter in the Pacific Northwest. We serve with sour cream and grated cheese.

The other recipe  I bagged up for the pantry is the Southwest Roast.

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It’s one of the few recipes I have blogged, I’m not really a recipe kinda’ girl.

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The Southwest Roast with the Special Ingredient was another popular post because the recipe is simple and delicious.  You start is 24 hours ahead of time, so when you’re cleaning up dinner one night, you throw the ingredients for tomorrow’s dinner in the crock and go to bed. 

If you get a little organized with your family’s  favorite recipes, you can have dinner in the bag.

Making your home sing Mondays               WHWButton#2

Decked Out Like A Princess

Poor Princess Kate.

She went shopping after the baby was born and it was news. Wait, everything she does is news in England.

I went shopping last  week and nobody cared, except for the kids at home that were waiting for the toilet paper.

 

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I found this on the GLAM blog and was very impressed with the identification and price information. Even if I could see the clothing labels, I wouldn’t know what they meant.  I don’t speak fashion.  But, I’m confident her Saks isn’t the same as my “all you can fit in a sack for $3” at the thrift store.

Princess Kate spent $480.40 for one outfit, not including undergarments because, thankfully, the paparazzi couldn’t get that close.

The only thing I’ve ever worn that cost that much is the scar on my neck from an expensive total thyroidectomy.

My mom raised six kids and had a passion to make sure we were always clean and stylish, even if our clothes weren’t expensive or new to us.  An excellent seamstress with an amazing ability to create or re-create anything, she sewed, shopped, altered and mended her six kids through adulthood.

We always looked nice, accept when someone loudly exerted their free will and Mom allowed them bear the consequences of what they wore in public. Like the time one sister fussed until Mom brought her to the grocery store wearing one cowboy boot, one sandal, a dress over a pair of holey-kneed jeans (when holes weren’t in style) and uncombed hair.   But I won’t tell you which sister because she hated being the baby of the family and being teased. But I will tell you, she never dressed like that again.

Once Mom bought bright t-shirt material covered with the flags of the world on clearance and made matching t-shirts for the kids for vacation.  We were walking around feeling pretty spiffy when we overheard someone say to their friend, “Wow, those people must be rich.”

One of our favorite pastimes was dressing up for an event, then calculating the cost of each outfit, just like they did for the Princess.   It was rarely over a few dollars.  The most expensive item was usually our unders, but maybe I shouldn’t mention unmentionables on a Christian blog.

My Mom was a woman before her times.  She upcycled, recycled, crafted and created, but never gathered a following because the Internet wasn’t invented yet.  If digital photo editing and Pinterest were available in the 70’s, a post about getting presentable for Grandma Geneva’s visit in 1973 would look something like the following: 

Brainard Kids with Gramma 73

1.  Joel – Decked out in jeans from J.C. Penney’s for $2.99 and crew-necked  t-shirt from Salvation Army for $.29 = $3.28.

2.  Melinda – Modeling a white polyester bodysuit and purple polyester pants created by her mother.  Size 24 purple pants  Salvation Army $.10 (remade for size 8slim) + plastic buckle from button jar + $.29 for snaps + $.49 for a yard of white polyester = $.88.

3. Allan – Sears Toughskin jeans, probably reinforced with canvas by mother because he was tougher than Toughskin jeans, cool red print pirate-sleeved shirt with extra pointy collars topped with a knitted sweater vest.  Jeans $4.99 + hand-me-down shirt and vest $.00  = $4.99.

4.  Angela – Hand-me-down red corduroy dress accented with eyelet cuffs and collar = $.00.

5.  Laurie – Hand-me-down hot pink mini-dress $.00 + adorned by Mom with braided trim $.30 =$.30.

6.  Lee – After winning the battle to have hair longer than his ears, was proudly wearing a green, tan and rust geometric patterned button-down shirt sewn by Mom with for $.98  +  lint-trapping olive green cords for $3.99 from Tempo Department Store = $4.97.

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Children’s clothing…………………………………………$14.42

A thrifty Mom who dressed you like a princess…..PRICELESS

 

Blog Bunny Trail to Bunny Craft

 

I have hobbies other than writing.  Not cooking and not baking, but on occasion I actually use the sewing machine in the living room and use a tiny portion of the mountain of craft items in the garage.

As the neighbor kid said the other day when he stopped by and ended up crafting with us, “Wow.  You have everything.  Just everything.”  Yea, she who dies with the most craft stuff wins, right?

The grandkids were coming over to color Easter eggs and I figured since my cookie jar is either empty or has store bought cookies in it, I needed to earn my Gwamma Badge for the year.  It had to be something memorable.  Something gramma-ey. 

Follow the blog bunny trail to find out how I found the bunny craft idea.

Making your home sing Mondays

I started at Mom’s the Word on Monday,

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then went to Family Home and Life,

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and ended up at What Happens at Grandma’s. I knew instantly this would be my get-off-my-computer-and-create craft.  If ya want the tutorial, click on the pic. The Grandma with secrets gives great step-by-step directions with pics.  I like pics.  I need pics. 

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To make the project easier for my grandkids, ages 5 and  3, we prepared most of the craft ahead of time.  I sewed the bodies and my 10 year old daughter, Beka,  stuffed and glued them shut.  I tied the knot in the strip used for the ears.  We had a variety of silk roses, ribbons and ruffles ready to add for clothing.

The tin baskets were originally made at Christmas,  when I let the world know I Served Cold Cereal for our Company Holiday Party. They were easily repurposed for Easter.   A little grass, a few wooden bunnies and instant festivity. The tin baskets may show up on the table tomorrow with colored eggs, or veggies tucked into them.  Ya’ just never know.

But, thanks to my habit of blog hopping,  I now have  adorable bunnies to greet my holiday guests.

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To read about the Resurrection,  click on the photo to read these posts:

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The Scourge of the Crucifixion

Crown of Thorns

The Thorns of the Crucifixion

Crucifixion

The Robe of the Crucifixion

 

Repurposed Vintage Christmas Tablecloth

As a new bride, I craved vintage.

Not the Avocado Green and Harvest Gold that was in every rental, that wasn’t old enough to be cool yet.

I started buying red-handled kitchen utensils, vintage tins and doilies when I could find them cheap and I had a few extra dollars in my pocket.

There was nothing in my life to feed my desire for tacky décor, except an occasional well-used Country Living magazine at the laundry mat that I would devour page by page with my poverty stricken eyes. There was no internet, blogging or Facebook.  There certainly wasn’t any Pinterest.  I rarely ran into anyone who had my same taste for the chippy and faded items from the past.

I just loved, loved, loved me some vintage. 

I saved my husband’s pocket change until I had enough to justify pushing the stroller a few blocks to the thrift store.  This was back in the day when $1 or $2 could buy several items.  Remembering those prices makes my heart pound. When my husband had a dollar for a can of pop, he would use two quarters and leave the two quarters in his pocket for me.  It was the only time in our marriage where I supported him drinking something that wasn’t good for him.

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I was thrilled to find this beautiful tablecloth in about 1989 and used it for years on my kitchen dinette table.  My centerpiece was usually a vintage glass pedestal bowl with fresh pine branches and red glass Christmas balls.  I loved  creating Christmas magic in my home without spending a lot of money.

The linen was only retired to the closet when we bought a real oak dining room table that was too big.  It hung around for years, because I couldn’t part with it.  It gathered more yellow stains.  After a few years of dreaming about it, I got brave.

I pulled out my trusty Ginghers, not the pair my husband used to cut carpeting,  the pair he bought to replace the pair he used to cut carpeting, and began dissecting before I lost my courage.

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Two panels were cut from the length of the tablecloth, using the printed pattern in the center  as a guide.  When I want to “get ‘er dun” I’m not all picky about perfect measurements. For the bottom, I simply folded the seam up to the bottom of the red border, ironed, and sewed. The valance 12 inches from top to bottom. I left 1/2 inch along the top to make a little ruffle and about 1 inch casing for the tension rod to fit through. 

If you don’t sew, you need to know about Stitch Witchery. It’s iron-on fusible webbing you can use to hem things. It may make the fabric a bit stiff, so you want to use it with heavier items. I didn’t use it here, but I’ve used it even when hemming clothes.

A memory of Christmas Past became a memory of Christmas Present.  I look forward to hanging my valance for all the Christmases Yet to Come.

My Husband Calls Me An Ol’ Bag

Years ago, my husband started calling me

The Ol’ Bag,
short for
The Ol’ Bag Lady.

Of course, he wasn’t referring to my age or my crankiness.

He was only referring to my love for bags.

It started as a light addiction.
On Sunday mornings, I usually had a paper bag of stuff for someone.
It might be hand-me-downs  or books for a homeschooling family.

When gift bags replaced wrapping paper,
baby gifts, birthday gifts, and thinking-of-you gifts,
were all delivered in beautiful gift bags –
usually recycled bags.

My addiction grew.

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Then, I discovered I could sew my own bags.
and began organizing my house with drawstring bags.

(I’ll reveal later what cool thing is INSIDE this cool bag.)

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Toys are in bags and sleeping bags are in bags.

I previously blogged about  my system of using a
different tote bag
for each activity in my life.
That’s  also when I first admitted my hubby calls me
this delightful nickname.

So, when I started crafting a wedding gift,
it just had to include some bags to keep up my reputation, right?

Right!

So far, the gift has included

a tin for matches and

a tin for coffee.

Then I had to sew.

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The drawstring bags were to hold more goodies for the gift.

One was filled with clothespins and a clothesline,
the other filled with misc. kitchen utensils.

If you haven’t guessed yet, these few items were part of a
Camping Kit

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for this couple.

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That’s my boy, Dan, and his new bride, Sarah.

I’m pretty sure the highlight of their honeymoon
was my handcrafted gifts,

don’t you?

 

Time to Play!

We had our first 5 kids in about 9 years.
After a 7 year gap, we had Rebekah.
Other people might call that last child
an oops,
an afterthought,
a surprise,
or
a caboose.
We simply call Rebekah Joy our joy.
Since she had no siblings close in age,
 when she was a baby I decided I’d play with her every day.
Play is a child’s work.
It’s crucial to their development.
Not that I need the approval of worldy philosphers,
nor would I probably condone most of their works,
but sometimes I like to prove that Moms know best.
(These experts probably got their ideas from their moms, anyway.)
The older kids were kind and good to her,
and also made her life special by playing with her,
but I still felt a determination to enjoy playing with her those early years
to make sure she had the kind of fun childhood her older sibling had.
We still love playing together, although it’s no longer needed daily.
One time we were playing with my Strawberry Shortcake dolls.
(Yes, they’re mine.  You didn’t read that wrong.)
The girls were going on a trip and needed sleeping bags.
I quickly cut  a simple pattern on cardstock,
included the little rounded part for a pillow,
then cut them out of soft light green fleece.
Whoever wants to understand much must play much.
Gottfried Benn
German physician
We simple folded them in half, and Beka sewed.
Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.
Fred Rogers
American television personality


(Yea, way to sneak in a sewing lesson, huh?)

I learned long ago to not be picky when kids are sewing.
We only rip it out if it is really, really bad.
Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.
Abraham Maslow
American psychologist
Beka’s were all fine.
Children learn as they play.
Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.
O. Fred Donaldson
Contemporary American martial arts master

We rolled them up with small hair rubber bands
and put them on like backpacks.
It is a happy talent to know how to play.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
(Emerson says I’m talented?)


Now they’re ready for vacation!
In our play we reveal what kind of people we are.

Ovid
Roman poet


(People that need a vacation?)
Tucked in for the night.
In play a child always behaves beyond his average age,
 above his daily behavior.
 In play it is as though he were a head taller than himself.
Lev Vygotsky
Russian psychologist
They also worked well for sun-tanning
on the deck of the Fisher Price boat.
Creative play is like a spring that bubbles up from deep within a child.
Joan Almon
Contemporary American educator
Back to playing with my joy.
Children need the freedom and time to play.
Play is not a luxury.
Play is a necessity.
Kay Redfield Jamison
Contemporary American professor of psychiatry

Play is Rebekah’s work, remember.
And I didn’t need the professionals to tell me that.