Sunday, November 10, 2019

TEACHERS NEED A BREAK: How to Make an Oven Dress

I am thankful for the technology we have these days! I remember my mom being so upset over her old sewing machine and how much trouble it gave her. 

Technology has come a LONG way over the past 40 years.  Once I saw how "new and improved" sewing machines had become, I decided that I would give sewing a try.  Over the last few months I have made several things.  It has become my latest hobby. 

I need a stress reliever with all the requirements of my teaching job and being in grad school.  Sewing is fun, relaxing, and productive. 

Here is how I make the oven dress:

1. Cut out 4 of the pattern.  TWO are from a pretty (outside) pattern and TWO are from a plain (inside) pattern.

2. RST - Right Sides Together
One of the pretty and on plain.  Do that for both.

3.  Sew the NECK and the outside edges together.  Do not sew the two straight top lines or the bottom.  (The tops will be connected together later and the bottom is where the towel will be later.)

Don't go all the way to the end, so that you can turn it under and it will make a nice hem.

4. Clip the neck and on the sides where it curves, so that when you turn it right side out, it will look smooth.

5. Iron the bottom edges.

6. Turn right side out and iron flat.

7. Put two completed pieces together to attach the tops.  RST (Right Sides Together) and sew each of the lines.  Be sure to back stitch when you stop and start.

8. Flip over and admire your work. :)

9.  Insert the towel on each end.  I like to use basting spray so that it stays in place. 
You can use a decorative stitch since the thread will be noticed here.

DONE! Hang on your oven or towel rack.  Use it daily! :)

Sunday, August 11, 2019

HOW TO MAKE A QUILT OR How I Made a Memory Quilt

If you want to make a quilt, first pick out what shirts you want to use.  Are you going to use the front, back, or both?  (Several years ago my daddy and I started a box of shirts.  I am glad he helped pick them out.)

1. Cut the shirts.  Yes be brave and cut them.  It was difficult, but I did it.  If I can do it, you can do it.  You need a shirt square and a NEW blade on the rotary cutter.  This is what it looks like.  In addition to my daddy's shirt, I had a t-shirt made at Vista Print with photos on it.  The photo shirt was just the right size.  It fit perfectly on the grid.  

(This took about an hour to get them all done.) 

2. Put fusible stabilizer on them.  This is called Pellon.  It is Pellon 911FF.  Here is the link to find it at Joann's.

3. Lay out the quilt the way you want it.  This might take a while especially if you are OCD about colors touching etc.

(I numbered mine. I use my Cricut!  I love that machine!  It wrote the numbers and then cut out the squares.  I used a straight pen and numbered mine so that I wouldn't mess them up when attaching them.  Also, I would be taking them to the class the next day and didn't want anything to go wrong.)

My quilt is a little bigger than the normal one the one you make in the class.  The size you make in class is 4x5, and mine is 5x6.  The wonderful teacher understood that this was my dad's shirts and I wanted to use many as possible.  Also this size will lay nicely on my king sized bed for displaying purposes.

I had to make my back at home for "homework", which is why I bought a sewing machine (Janome DC2019) ...... or at least that is my excuse.  WAIT!  I am a big girl paying my own bills, so I don't have to make excuses.... I bought a machine, because I wanted to.... and Gizmo agreed it was a good idea to make the purchase.  LOL

 It took me about 45 minutes to piece it together.  The blanket with the photos wasn't exactly the right size that it was supposed to be.  (I ordered it about a year ago and was just displaying it.)  It was supposed to be 34 inches wide.  I had to measure it and remeasure it to make sure that it was exactly 34 inches so that the purple border would be exactly the right size.

It did take a little bit of math to figure out how to piece this all together.  It is two long sides on the left and right and then two short ones at the top.

LOOK CLOSELY at that picture.  Gizmo is sitting on the blanket - on a photo of himself.  I am glad I timed that just right because it make him look 3D.  

4. Sew each square together, horizontally to make rows.  I did all this at home too.  It was so fun, I didn't want to stop.  It didn't take that long!

5. THEN.......I had to spread out all the rows in class. 
Attach the rows - that gets tricky.  Pay attention to what you are doing or you could get them in the wrong order (mainly because you have to put RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER when sewing.)

6. Now the backing - that is the heavy part.  RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER!  
(I had to piece mine together because the Minky wasn't wide enough and I wanted to use a blanket that I have had for about a year.  See pic from earlier.)
Take your time.
Be sure to leave part of one side NOT DONE, so that you can flip it right side out.  (You can clip the corners, but I didn't this time.)

7.  NOW...........Turn it right side out.  

8. Hand sew the edge or use the machine.  You can make another stick all the way around if you prefer. (The instructor did the hand sewing for me. By this time, I was overwhelmed with emotions.  I couldn't do it.  I was really wishing that my daddy could have been here to see this.  I know that he would be so excited, I can see him smiling and telling me how much he loves it.  He would have even gone to class with me.  He was my best friend and I miss him dearly.  Gizmo misses him too!  He looks for him sometimes.)

Gizmo has claimed it as his!  LOL  It is super soft on the back and that is his favorite.  

You need to take the class from Sew Houston ( so that you can learn tips and tricks! Yolanda is a great teacher!  She is patient, understanding, and very sweet! (She taught school before she started the sewing school!)  GO SEE HER!  You will be happy that you did!!

If you make yourself or anyone a quilt, please post pictures.  I would love to see them!!

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Technology Has Even Advanced Sewing Machines!

This time of year is rough because it reminds me sadly that my daddy is not here with me. (It was 2 years ago on the 25th of July that he went to Heaven.  That was the worst day of my life.  I knew that my life had changed forever!! 

He had been my best friend for so long.  He was always willing to do anything I wanted to do.  He was willing to go to paint, make crafts, go shopping, travel, go to teacher conferences, stay up late and talk, listen to me complain, rejoice in my successes, any and everything I wanted to do. 

He was always willing to help me whenever he could - even when he had arthritis in his hands, he would help with laundry.  I think he liked to fold clothes.  Even though he walked with two canes he would help move furniture or sweep the kitchen.... or when he was on dialysis, he was willing to help make scarves for the students in my class or make a wreath to occupy our time.  I miss him like crazy every day!! (Gizmo misses him too.)

Daddy always wanted me to learn to sew, but I wasn't really interested.  My mom had an old sewing machine - which is a nice piece of furniture, yes I kept it!

Sewing just didn't seem like an easy thing to do.  She usually fussed at the machine, because it wasn't doing what she wanted it to do.

But...... recently I decided that I would TRY and learn.....and took an introduction course which was two hours long.  It was how to make a tote bag.  HELLO?  That is right up my alley - because I love tote bags - I guess it is a teacher thing! It was more fun than I expected. I was HOOKED! 

OKAY DADDY! You were right - it is fun! I think part of it was fun because the sewing machine has ADVANCED SOOOOO MUCH!  It is computerized.   This is where technology plays a BIG part! It is so cool.  It does most of the "work" for you.  Of course you have to know what you are doing and how to do it, but it does the work.  

A few years back, Daddy and I picked out his shirts to use for a quilt and he was going to "help" me back then "try" and make a quilt.  I am glad that we didn't attempt making a quilt, because it is a process.  I know it would have taken us a lot longer to do it than necessary.  When we did projects, we could get side tracked, he usually had some "weird" idea about how to do it (sometimes those ideas were brilliant) and I am sure we would have had lots of laughs.

The reason we thought to pick out his shirts was because long ago we had one made with my mom's shirts.  She actually had started a "box" of items back in the 90s before she got sick.  She had saved some things from when I was little and some of her clothes.  After she passed in December 2009, I started gathering things and added to her box.  A few years later, I had one of her friends make a quilt for me.  It is so cool.  It is for those super cold winter days.  It is double sided.  It is a  "rag" quilt on one side and regular on the other.  

We really never did get around to making a quilt or even thinking about it (we were too busy running off on our travel adventures) and so a long while ago I looked for someone to make it.  That didn't work out, (the person backed out) so I looked for a company. Well, they don't send your scraps back, so that was not going work for me.  I want ever single scrap of the clothing because there are so many more things you can make with clothes.  I'm not a hoarder, I am a recycle-er!  I have always loved bright colors and the crazy patterns of quilts - so who know what I will do!

During the summer....... I decided to take a LEAP, a BIG LEAP and JUST DO IT MYSELF!  WHAT???!!  That sounds so crazy, but oh well - why not?  I decided to throw caution to the wind.  I did a search and found a place that does classes.  First, I took the intro to sewing class.  I was amazed at how well the "tote bag" class went.  The nice lady at Sew Houston by the name of Yolanda was a SUPER TEACHER!  I actually did a good job!!

Then, I kinda felt like it was a sign from him to do this because I saw on her website she does quilt classes and after asking her questions and really pondering it over, I knew that is what I was supposed to do.  I will be forever grateful to her for having that class and helping me along the way of this adventure.

I know that he would be proud!! I didn't cry til the very end when it was all put together and I was just wishing he could be here to see it! I know he would love it!  Gizmo the Human Dog LOVES IT!

I just have to give an extra big BIG SHOUT OUT TO Sew Houston for being the BEST SEWING TEACHER EVER! (If you want to learn to sew - go see Yolanda. It was worth my 80 mile drive round trip each time!!)

P.S. I now own a sewing machine, (Janome DC2019), lots of tools, thread, and more thread in several colors, bobbins, a rack to hold that thread, sewing basket, etc. WHO AM I? LOL


Saturday, July 27, 2019


I am busy and then I find things to make me BUSIER!  :)

I have thought about learning to sew for many years.  I didn't really want to, but my daddy used to tell me I would like it.  (He was usually right about these things.)  I kept putting it off.  We used to talk about "making" a quilt of his clothes.  This was on our list of "adventures" we were going to try.  After my mom passed, we spent most weekends together and his last year he stayed with me full time. He did help me pick out what shirts to use in the "memory quilt" we were going to make.  We did watch a few videos and bought a t-shirt square so we would know what size to cut them.  I had no idea what to do or how to do it.  Of course he made it sound "EASY" because you just have to sew a straight line.  Well, we all know I can't draw a straight line with a ruler. LOL

So...... I finally decided that I have been working on all this homework for my masters program (side note: do not sign up for Lamar classes - they are on my bad side right now) way too much and did something for myself.  I took a sewing class!!  We made a tote bag in 2 hours.  WHAT?  YES, we made a small tote bag in 2 hours.  We cut the pattern, pinned it, sewed it - we did it all!!   I did a good job and didn't even have to take out any stitches.  SOOOOOO I was inspired to start looking at sewing machines.  WOW!  There are tons of them!

I found one at Humble Sewing Center and Jennifer there was super nice and showed me how it worked.  I practiced making a few things....... like bean bags and this "dress" towel.  I just winged it and was a little impatient when I made it.  I was just having so much fun doing it.  I know now what to do and not do on it, so I might make another one later.  (The good part is, the towel was for Dollar Tree and the material was scrap that I bought at a garage sale.)

Now for my new sewing adventure.  I want to make a pin cushion for my machine because I saw some cute ones on Pinterest and thought - welllllll I can make that!  I found this picture on Pinterest.  Here is the LINK to that picture.  (Do I need to APA format that at the end of this blog?)
Here is what I did to make mine:

1. Measure the machine all the way around where you want it.
          Mine is 24 inches.  You need to know this, so you can cut the ribbon that length. 
I cut the ribbon about 30 ish inches.  It has to be longer than the circumference, because you      need extra to tie it onto the machine.

2. Decide how big you want the cushion.
          I decided to make it about 3x5, so I cut the material 4x6. 

*** By the way, I read the directions, but I am winging this.

I am going to add a magnet in mine, because pins are magnetic and I think that will help them stick to it.

3.  I folded the edges inside and ironed them down.
(I used the salvage edge - just to save the pretty part.

4.  Then, attach the ribbon to the "right" side of the fabric.  I folded the ribbon in half and ironed it so there would be a crease in it, just so I will know where the center is.  Then, find the center of your fabric so that it will be even...... now you are ready to sew it.  (I folded it in half and the ribbon is in the middle of one side.

5.  Now fold the fabric in half and sew three of the sides.

6.  Add stuffing and magnets.

7. Finish fourth side. 


Thursday, June 6, 2019

I Was Honored with an Award

During our teacher work day, I was honored with a Teacher Appreciation award by the Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union.  They presented with me a beautiful apple shaped award, a check, and a goodie bag full of teacher supplies.  It was awesome to be nominated by 3 of my friends/co-workers!  It is great to have their support and appreciate their kind words!

Below is the article they wrote about me.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Lit Reviews Are So Much Fun - No Teacher Ever Said

I thought taking classes was a good idea... until we have to write ANOTHER Literature Review.   It was just a few months ago, but I only kept that APA style stuff in my brain long enough to get a grade. 

Isn't that ironic?  That is what the kids do in school, I am sure.  If it isn't something they really want to do, if it isn't interesting to them, then they (and myself) only access the temporary memory.  I usually trick myself into thinking that I will remember it, but in the long run, NOPE I didn't. 

With the headings/title of the APA style paper, you have to make the first page different than the last page.  I thought to myself, I do I change that again?  Where is that button?  OH YEA.....

Maybe writing about it here will help my memory.  Who I am kidding?  I will have to look it up again.  Well at least I know where to find it quickly.

Just click.  Just click in the header space after you added it and it will give you this option.

Hope this little screenshot helps me and anyone else that happens to read this post.  When you click on "OPTIONS" it will let you change the size of the header and footer.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Take a Break from Technology - DETACH

I love technology and seem to use it every day on a regular basis.  Sometimes, you need a break.  A break from your job, tv, people, technology, and life.  I really need a nap and a "time out".  After I slept about 12 hours, I decided I wanted to do something productive.

I decided that I would redo my parents' old bench.  I remember my mom working on it every few years to make it new again.  She taught me how to "redo" things, or now they call it "DIY".  She was very handy and taught herself how to do things.  This was BEFORE YouTube and home improvement shows.  She was very clever, asked questions at the hardware store, read a lot, and was super good at reading directions on packages and tweaking them to make things her own.

I decided I would channel my "inner Dorothy" and gave it a whirl!  I tried to get the old screws off, but I am sure they have been there for over 20, maybe 30 ish years.  Luckily a friend used a reciprocating saw and cut them off for me.

Then, I took the old board to the hardware store and was able to match the size.  The board come in 8 feet pieces.  I had to pay for them first, but they did cut them in half for me for free.

I purchased them at Lowe's for 1.85 each - needed 4 of them - so that makes 8 pieces, which means there is one left over.  I picked out the 7 best ones.  ($8.01 total with tax.)  Item #4512, 1x3x8 Spruce Pine.

The boards needed a light sanding.  (I used one of those little hand-held sponge looking thing.  I don't know the official name.... "sanding sponge" maybe?  I already had this in my little tool bag.)

The edges were a little rough from where they were cut in half.  Also, I wanted to make sure there weren't any rough spots and that the knots were smooth.  Sanding them down took about 30 minutes.

Then, I used Thompson's WaterSeal (FREE - because I already had it on hand from some other project I did a long time ago) to seal the boards.  I decided that I wanted to make them a natural color.  My mom had painted her a brown color.

It's always good to enlist a helper/supervisor.  Gizmo gets anxious when I put on shoes, so I decided to take him outside too.  Since he thinks he is "human" and "doesn't do grass" he elected to get in the stroller.  He liked watching while getting a little sunshine on his face.  #Gizmothehumandog

Next, I had to repaint the sides and base of the bench.  I used a basic black spray paint.  I love to spray paint things.  I am not sure why - but it seems very satisfying to spray paint.  I am sure that I used to much, because I get a little wild with it.  I gave it a couple coats.  I wanted to make sure I didn't miss any spots and I wanted it to be shiny.  (AGAIN - FREE  - because I already had some on hand from a previous project.)

Next, I put the boards in place.  I wondered if it really needed the screws or bolts in it.  I think it needs them so that the wood will stay in place.  I want it to be sturdy so people can sit on it while on my front porch.  I am not the "outdoorsy" type, but now that I have a new cool bench, I might have to go outside every once in a while.

I decided to try some small screws (FREE - had these 2 on hand) so that I didn't have to drill holes or do anything extra.  I already had them, so I tried it.  They seemed to work on the top.

I need washers or something so they will stay in place on the seat part.  Those pre-drilled holes in the iron are bigger on the seat than on the back.

I thought I would make a quick trip to Home Depot on the way home from work on day.  Well, they have a big selection of screws, but I think people steal them. SHAME SHAME.   

There were bags with the "wrong" number in the package.  For instance, it might say 6 - but there were only 5.  You have to double check these bags very carefully or  you will be disappointed when you get home.

I wasn't sure what to buy, but luckily I did get some that worked for this project.  I bought 1/4 flat galvanized washers that were 13 cents each.  I needed 10 of them. That was a $1.30 each.  I also bought 2 packages of 6 sheet metal screws.  They are #12 x 1 inch.  They were $1.18 per package. 

It was a little difficult to hold everything in place, I could have used an extra set of hands.  

These seemed to work perfectly.  I used my handy dandy power screwdriver.  I love that thing!  It was a great investment.  I have used it several times over the past couple of year.  If you don't have a DeWalt tool, you need to get yourself one!  (I purchased mine at Home Depot during the Black Friday sales.)


I decided to make it a "Memorial Bench" and dedicate it to my parents.  I used my vinyl cutting machine (Cricut) to make the letters.  I used glitter 651.  It didn't want to stick at all.  I had to apply the letters one at a time.  It took a super long time.  They are a bit crooked, but at least they are on there.  I did add a little bit of Mod Podge over the top to ensure they would stay on the wood.  (Fingers crossed!)

I miss my parents so much!  They were annoying sometimes, (LOL) but I loved them dearly!  I used to tell them they put the "FUN" in dysFUNctional.  :)

It was SUPER FUN to redo this bench and it didn't take very long.  It was an awesome weekend-ish project, that was enjoyable and a great way to help me unwind and detach from the real world.

I surely hope my parents would be proud!

Here's the side-by-side comparison!



TEACHERS NEED A BREAK: How to Make an Oven Dress

I am thankful for the technology we have these days! I remember my mom being so upset over her old sewing machine and how much trouble it ga...