twenty-five cent Saturday

Last Saturday I got 10 pieces of fabric for about $5 at one stop, but didn’t find any clothing. This weekend I didn’t find any fabric, but I did get twelve pieces of clothing at one stop for $3.

The weather wasn’t supposed to be good so there weren’t as many listings this weekend. I narrowed my internet choices to three sales because I didn’t want to drive all over town. Of course, I did find several other sales along my route.

I shopped in an upscale part of town so the prices were a bit higher than I preferred. I picked up only one item at each of my first four sales.

This tiny orange pot was in the free box so $0.00! (That price was okay ;))


This black and blue striped Forever 21 sweater was a costly $3. I reasoned that I would’ve bought it if I found it at Goodwill (where tops are $3), so I went for it. It’s me in sweater form, as I used to say with my high school friends. If I had a “uniform” this would be part of it. 25centys01A Interesting note: the seller was wearing a t-shirt and black nylons. Not leggings and a tunic-length shirt mind you, just a tee and some pantyhose. That’s a new one on me.

The next sale sounded great on Craiglist, but lacked excitement in person. I did find this scarf and handed over $2 for it.


who can resist chevrons and rainbow colors? not me!

Then I realized I’d spent half of my budget on TWO items. Yikes!

My next stop was at a house where the owners must have had or acquired the contents of a consignment store. Lots of display pieces and racks of clothes. I found these shiny zipper leggings by Miley Cyrus/Max Azria with the tags still on. I was feeling adventurous, and if they don’t work out I paid $1 for two zippers. zipperleggingsA I tried them on with the long black and blue sweater when I got home, but I think I’ll leave that pants-less look to shirt and tights girl.

I got these jeans for $0.50 from another upset seller. (See last week’s story.) Several ladies were going in together to have a sale and the lady I was checking out with asked the wrong person for a price. In their current state they are hideous mom jeans requiring a serious refashion so $0.50 was really all I was willing to pay. But the seller had obviously wanted more than two quarters and was having a “discussion” with the lady who sold them to me as I was walking away.


these are possibly more manly than mommy. there’s no shape and they’re not flattering in the least. I’m hoping I can make them cute for summer.

I hit a few more sales with no success and was ready to head home when I found a sale I’d seen a sign for that was hidden away in a neighborhood. This place looked junky. There were several cardboard boxes in the driveway and not much else. While I was sifting through the boxes, I saw several cars drive by slowly and leave without stopping.

But looks can be deceiving and I’d hit a honey hole, as the pickers call it. I delighted in brand name pieces at a quarter a pop after a morning of $3 tablecloths and $5 shirts. I limited myself to 12 pieces, plus a towel and a glass (not pictured). Here’s what I got.


This first group will be worn as is. Clockwise from top left: long cream colored cardigan, black and gray sweater vest, Target brand white pullover top (perfect for the beach though I won’t be going anytime soon), lightweight denim shorts, and American Eagle gray eyelet skirt.

There wasn’t a size in the shorts but based my yard sale/thrift store experience I guessed that they would fit and they do!

The next group will be modified or refashioned: purple men’s XL shirt to a regular women’s tee; denim shirt will get lace pockets; American Eagle woven top needs to go from tent-like to fitted, Target tank needs shorter straps and a better fit, the Soffe shorts will be taken down to size, and the sleep shorts will most likely get some new elastic. 25centys09A Yes, I know I need another pair of sleep shorts like I need a hole in the head. Pair #7 baby! The red color and sailboats with navy button and ribbon accents were just too cute to resist for $0.25. I would like to mention that I left at least four other pairs of sleep shorts in the box for other shoppers.

So that was the haul from Saturday. It felt like a lot of refashioning when I brought it all home, but now it seems manageable.

I got a lot of crafting done last week too; I finished my brother’s apron, worked on a wearable muslin for a basic tee, made some baby items for the boyfriend’s soon-to-be nephew, and crocheted six hats to go along with my fleece scarves for Craft Hope. I’ve been quite productive offline lately, but haven’t gotten around to documenting/blogging my projects yet. Hopefully you’ll see a thing or two this week.


more sleep shorts

I’d been meaning to make myself another pair of sleep shorts for awhile. I’ve made three pairs so far and only one really fit. (The other two pairs were passed along to my cousin.) I looked up the tutorial again and cut up some thrift store fabric to give it another try. I think this fabric used to be some curtains since a couple pieces of fabric were sewn together and there appeared to be a curtain rod pocket.

I left a very generous amount around the top and sides while using a pair of sleep shorts I already have for a pattern. I cut the back longer than the front this time for a better fit. I also remembered to cut the waistband straight at the top so I could fold it over easily.


I tried them on before I hemmed them and added the waistband. They fit!

They were a bit wide at the bottom, but other than that they fit. I’ll probably make my next pair narrower and a bit longer. I also wrote down the dimensions of the shorts as I made them so I’ll have something to go off of next time.


The finished shorts! The knit elastic waistband is nice and comfy.

The lightweight fabric will be great for the warm weather we’re starting to get and the pastel stripes mean I’ll be on trend even as I sleep!

It will probably be awhile before I make another pair of sleep shorts I now have six (!) pairs after picking up two more pairs at a yard sale a couple weekends ago. But I am glad that I was able to conquer the tutorial and finally make a pair that fit well without modifications.

fabric yard sale saturday and coming soon

I didn’t intend to go to yard sales this weekend; I was going to sleep in and enjoy having nothing to do. But Friday night I checked on Craigslist and found a garage sale mapping site that led me to a list of sales in my area. I made a list of the ones that looked good in my area, but still thought I’d be sleeping in. However, I woke up early (without setting an alarm) and got going to find some bargains.

The first two were busts. The third one was interesting. Yard sales can bring out family disputes and my third stop of the day was quite a display.

Fabric was listed in the sale ad, but the husband’s guns and knives were more prominently displayed when I arrived. He said the fabric was still in the house so he let me and a couple other customers into the basement to go through his wife’s fabric closet. I dug through the massive stash, most of which was unorganized, uninteresting scraps, and found a few nice items. The wife, who was apparently elsewhere at the time, got upset about a few old cases being brought out by another customer and stalked in the house shortly after I emerged from the basement. The husband had been waiting on his wife to give me a price, but after she left he just told me two dollars for the bag. I paid and got out of there quickly.


there’s a good amount of yardage of the paisley (I’m thinking possibly a Laurel?); the small bit of animal print should be enough for a zipper pouch; home dec weight yellow and white, nice for a summer bag; the blue lightweight chambray-like fabric could become my first button down shirt.


three pieces of gingham print laminated fabric. I want to make myself a lunch bag when I find some Insul-Bright.

I paid $0.25 for a sweater at the fourth sale. It is a nice sweater but it turns out that it was a men’s size so it won’t be with me for long.


The fifth stop was a definite success. The location looked questionable at first, but I found a couple boxes of fabric, dug in, and cleaned up.


clockwise from top left: black with red, white, and yellow daisies; vintage panel print; a colorful plaid sheet, that I see as a future circle skirt; blue and green flowers for a spring top; polyester stripes for another Laurel (in my imagination at least); light flowy white flowers on blue for another spring/summery top.


This fabric would make the cutest four-patch quilt.

I’ve been looking for Aztec/ethnic prints at Goodwill and yard sales since I can’t seem to find current pieces I like in stores. I found a table runner last weekend, and a camera strap and an embroidered piece of fabric about the size of a napkin this weekend.

So in total at the fifth stop, I got ten pieces of fabric, an embroidered Aztec design, and a cool camera strap all for $5. This may have been my best stop in Kentucky so far.

After a few more busts, I got a large glass Golden Harvest canister for $0.50 to go along with my medium sized canister, currently holding flour. I also picked up a delicious homemade cupcake for the same price at my last stop of the day.

I’d wanted to go shopping this weekend; my impromptu yard sale adventure scratched that itch and I only spent $8.25. I have so many cute new spring and summer tops, if I would just sew them up. I’m trying to sew a lot more lately because I want to make clothes and use my stash instead of growing my stash and then going out and spending money on new clothes.

This last week I have cut out patterns for a number of tops, cut out and started on an apron for my brother, completed a wearable muslin for a cardigan and ordered fabric for another cardigan, finished two scallop totes, sewed three fleeces scarves for Craft Hope’s Project 21, made another sweater bag, and worn my new zipper jeans out in public. Of course all these projects will be showing up on the blog once they are properly photographed 🙂

quilts for kids

Last June I was in a bit of an unproductive rut and posted a list of the projects I was working on at the time as a motivator. Here’s a quick update on where I’m at with those.

– vintage dress – This project did not turn out as planned. I learned a lot, but have already donated the pattern because there was no way I was making that unflattering piece again. It’s been hanging in my closet and after I photograph and blog about it, I’ll be donating the dress as well.

– square top – I finished it. I love it. It’s also been hanging in my closet since last summer waiting to be photographed and shown off on the blog.

– quilt top – that’s where I’m going with the blog entry and we’ll get to it soon 😉

– tool belt – done, check it out here. skirt to shirred dress – I was so pleased with how this turned out.

– fan afghan – finished a few months ago and given to my mom.

And the summery blouses are back on my list of things to make. I did make a few tops last summer (two tiny pocket tanks, the flowy jungle shirt, and the hacked up denim top), but I’ve got several more on my soon-to-make list. I’ve been much better about getting things done this year so I’m thinking at least some have a chance of finishing a few before/during summer.

So back to the quilt. I finished it and sent it on its way! Here are the highlights of its nine month journey from scrap fabric to a finished quilt.

June 2012

I cut rectangles from my coordinating Hobby Lobby scrap fabric that I’d accumulated over the months since I’d gotten back into sewing. I chose the size of the rectangles to get the maximum number out of each piece of fabric. Then I tried to create some sort of pattern based on the unequal number of pieces from all the different fabrics. I recruited the boyfriend to help me with this and here’s what we drew up.


Mine is on the left, his is on the right. I went with his because he had a more unique, less symmetrical idea.


Here’s his layout as seen in the original post. I made things difficult for myself by cutting out the blocks haphazardly…then I had to trim all the rows and pinch out any extra so everything lined up. I felt quite victorious when the top was pieced together and my lines were even.

September/October 2012

I took the pieced top with me when visiting my mom, the former quilting instructor, so she could tell me how to finish it. We measured for borders and she showed me how to make binding out of backing fabric. When I got back, I bought the border fabric at Hobby Lobby so it would (sort of) go with the rest of the colors I’d used.


November 2012

The quilt and I (accompanied by the attached border fabric) went on another visit to my parents’ house so my mom could tell me (again) how to finish it; we bought backing and batting so I would have everything I needed to finished the quilt.

March 2012

The backing and batting aged in my sewing area for several months until my parents came to see me. My mom was going to make me a spring wreath during her visit, but I decided it was time (with her help) to get serious about finishing this quilt. It was far easier than I realized, but she was the motivational catalyst I needed. I cut as per her instructions, she pinned my corners for me, and I sewed the backing/borders down after she left. Now my project had gone from from quilt top to full-blooded quilt.


I machine-stitched my borders, which were folded over from the backing fabric.


check out those hand-sewn mitred corners!

It was looking good, so I tackled my next new experience: machine quilting. I’ve hand quilted a whole quilt, but had never tried quilting by machine. I wanted this project complete and off my to-do list (finally), so I didn’t waste any time taking the plunge.

I started by stitching in the ditch with my walking foot after safety pinning all over to keep the layers in line. After I was done, I realized that the walking foot came with an attachment to help quilt in the ditch, so I’ll be using that next time… It didn’t turn out too badly though.


This is not the right attachment at all. I found the correct attachments in a sewing basket midway through my quilting.

This thing was a beast to maneuver. I completely understand the value of longarm quilting machines now.


with all its ditches stitched

Then I started sewing straight lines across the middle section. I used one of the correct attachments I’d found to make my lines (relatively) straight and evenly spaced.



Quilts for Kids guidelines state that the quilts should be quilted about 2 inches apart for stability since they’ll be washed so much. I did mine at about 1.5″ so I could fit three evenly spaced lines into a vertical row.

Then I quilted the borders.


And the quilt was finally complete!

It just needed to take one more trip to visit my mom so she could see the completed project and mail it off (after she generously stamped a homemade card to finish out the package). The mailing address was closer to her than me and she has shipping facilities at work that make mailing things much easier.  Bonus: her boss said that anything mailed for charity was on the house! Thanks Accutrex!

So I haven’t heard anything from Quilts for Kids yet but I hope to get an acknowledgement that it was received. I hope these bright colors and fun prints brighten some child’s day in the hospital. 🙂

Update: I just got an e-mail five hours ago saying that they’d received the quilt! Nice timing!

camera strap cover

There are a million camera strap cover tutorials out there, but I chose this one as my starting point and then changed it up to make use of the supplies I had.

Remember my post about how I ignored seam allowances for a long time when I was making up my projects? Shortly after writing that post, I did it again. In an effort to get the most out of my fabric leftovers, I cut the fabric for the strap cover too narrow and was forced to improvise with some single fold bias tape.


After that fudge-up, I disregarded most of the tutorial except for the measurements. I used a single piece of fabric and eliminated the batting. I finished the narrow ends of the fabric, sewed the single fold bias tape on one side, folded it over and topstitched the sides together, then slid it over my strap.

It was a very quick project, though my results could have been better. The strap is a bit too short and the bias tape sticks out on one side since the other side is just a fold with no topstitching.


I’d planned to make another camera strap soon after this somewhat lacking project, but this one is functional and has been growing on me for the last few weeks. It was especially useful when I took it to visit my family and it was very easy to distinguish my camera from the others in the pile of DSLRs in my grandparents’ living room. “Hey, can you hand me my camera?” is heard quite often at our family get-togethers and my colorful, easily spotted strap made getting my camera much quicker. 🙂

I used to shun fancy camera straps as a working professional in a male-dominated field. Now that my camera is used more for blogging instead of out on assignment, I don’t care how it looks with a fun, funky strap cover. There are lots of great tutorials out there (and it’s a quick project requiring minimal fabric), so try it out!

more yard sale success

I keep finding myself out running errands on Saturday morning and spotting yard sale signs. I saw a few on my way to training for work yesterday morning and stopped back by when I was done. I got to know the area a little better while trying to follow the signs to the sales and driving around in circles a few times, but managed to make it to three sales.

I spent three dollars less than the $10 bill I had and came away with several good things.

My first stop was at the house of an older lady who had some vintage linens. I picked up two pillowcases and a flat sheet for $0.25 a piece.

threestop_ys01AI also got this $1 flannel shirt, possibly for the boyfriend, or for me to wear around the house or refashion. The $0.25 wire basket is to use for this idea from Pinterest.

Total spent at first sale: $2


My next stop had a ton of stuff and I picked up a bunch of things, but put several back because I didn’t need to bring that many random things home.


However, I still ended up with a number of random things. A notepad, two books, a glass carafe (perhaps my favorite find), a Frisbee to take to the park with the boyfriend, some stickers, and a world map.

Total at second yard sale = $2.50

The last stop was an indoor church sale. The church members told me it was pretty picked over by the time I got there, but I still managed to find a few things.


I got a yellow merino wool sweater, a detailed table runner, a pajama set with “good night” script, and a pair of PJ shorts that have tiny cat faces and “the cat’s pajamas” written on them for $2.25 all together. The lady gave me a great deal because I had calculated it to be $5.50 based on the prices listed on the signs. Whatever doesn’t work out as is will be good for refashioning.

They had a great little box with different inlaid rocks, but I left it behind because I didn’t have the cash and I was trying to stick with only buying useful things instead of the pretty things that catch my eye but serve no real purpose.

Total for third yard sale: $2.25

Total for all three yard sales: $6.75

I enjoyed getting to know a new part of town, found some cute things, and kept it under budget. All in all a successful Saturday. I’m just glad my training got out in time for me to make it to a few sales!

I still miss the Alabama yard sale crew and their amazing coordination that enabled us to hit a dozen+ yard sales on any given Saturday, but I might not do too badly finding some yard sales on my own in Kentucky. I’ve certainly had better luck and found better deals at yard sales than at thrift stores here.

crochet mug cozies

I’ve developed a bit of an addiction to making mug cozies. My favorite pattern currently is from Bubblegirl and I’ve made it six times now. This project is great for using up smaller bits of stash yarn and featuring some solo buttons from my collection. I’ve been adding the cozies to packages for my friends as a fun extra.


This one went to Crystal along with her dress.


This cotton one went to my former roomie Kendra.


This one went to my Sweet Pouch Swap partner.


This one is just for me. 🙂


This one was for my Covert Robin recipient.


And this last one was for my friend Natalie. She’s an Alabama fan (Roll Tide!) so I used some red wool yarn leftover from my brother’s striped hat.

Since winter is on the retreat, those are the last ones I’m planning to make for awhile.

The other variation I tried was a coffee bracelet; it used a linked stitch which I’d never tried before, but really liked. I later used that stitch tutorial to make a linked stitch scarf for my Covert Robin partner.


This one was a birthday present for my co-worker who really likes Starbucks.

I probably would have made more of these sleeve style cozies, but not knowing if people use more mugs or handleless cups I chose the side of mugs. I did try to make this pattern again with the red wool, but it turned out a lot smaller than it should have and I reverted to my default pattern.

My friend Crystal sent me picture of her cozy in action the other day. I guess the mug cozies can work as sleeves too!


cute mug too!

I also tried this cabled coffee sleeve with no success. Mine didn’t look at all like the picture several rows in so I frogged it and will try again later. I also want to try this knitted mug cozy but my size eight needles were occupied by the diva scarf and I was scared off by the previous knitted cozy failure.

There’s supposed to be a storm coming through and it’s bringing a cold front, so warm beverages in mugs (with a mug cozy on, of course!) might be in order for tomorrow!