Category Archives: Sewing

DIY Halloween Costumes

I always love to make my own Halloween costumes.  Growing up, I was always a princess, bride, or mermaid.  Something girly and pretty.  In high school, I got into scary costumes as a part of our farm’s haunted hayride, so I loved doing scary make up, black shredded clothes, and crazy hair. 

Last night, we went to our friends Alicia and Vinny’s costume party.  I made a mermaid costume and Ed was a fisherman.  I wanted to make a costume that would be inexpensive and made mostly of things I already had.  First I thought I’d be a hippy, since I have a brown flowered dress that would be perfect.  But when I went into my closet to try on the dress, I spotted a turquoise dress that I bought over a year ago and never wore.  I knew it would make the perfect mermaid costume! I used glitter paint to paint scales all over the dress and used metalic and sheer fabric to make fins.  I had to do most of the sewing by hand because the slippery fabric kept jamming the machine, but that was fine.  Ed wore his fishing jacket, but I couldn’t get him to wear the waders.  I think we made a cute pair.

My friend Alicia made her own costumes, too.  She was an Almond Joy and Vinny was a Mounds.  Here are some pictures!

Alicia as Almond Joy and me as mermaid

Mermaid and fisherman

Close-up of the scales

Next week, all of the science teachers are dressing up as elements from the periodic table for Halloween at school.  I’m going to be gold, so I’ll be sure to post pictures of that DIY costume, too.

I brought s’more brownies to the party, and they were a big hit!


Filed under Sewing, Sustainable Living

Baby Shower Gifts

Today was my friend Rachel’s baby shower.  I’ve known Rachel since before either of us can remember, so I wanted to give her a really special present.  I decided to make an afghan and a little hat for her baby boy.

This afghan in shades of blue and green was simple to make.  If you know how to make a granny square, you can make this because the whole thing is just one big granny square!  Just pick your colors, decide how big you want the stripes to be, and keep going around until it’s the desired size.  No pattern necessary.

This hat was made using my typical hat technique, which consists of casting on stitches, knit one pearl one, for an inch or so to make the band, then deciding it’s not the right size and ripping out the stitches and starting over.  Repeat a few times, then I decide I have the right size so I knit a row, pearl a row until the hat is just about big enough, followed by reducing stitches for a few rows and sewing a seam up the back.  The next time I make a hat, maybe I’ll write it all down so I can post a better pattern.  Of course it will be different depending on the type of yarn, size of needles, and size of the hat.  That’s why trial and error is the best method for me.

Here’s a shot of Rachel with one of my mom’s gifts, a T-shirt that reads “I Make Milk.  What’s Your Superpower?”  You can purchase these shirts from Attached at the Hip.  Lots of the women my mom’s age remarked that they wished they had those shirts when they had young children.  They said there should be shirts that say “I Used to Make Milk.  What’s Your Superpower?”  Haha!

Congratulations Rachel and Gavin!


Filed under Sewing, Sustainable Living

Happy Birthday, Mema!

Yesterday, we celebrated my grandmother’s birthday.  Mema is my mom’s mom.  I made this cute patriotic apron for her.

I wanted to try to wrap it without any paper, so I folded it up into a little package and tied it with the apron strings.

We all walked down to feed the fish, then came back for a picnic at my parents’ pool.  For dessert, we had strawberry shortcake.

Happy Birthday Mema!

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Filed under Food, Local Agriculture, Outside, Sewing, Sustainable Living

Summer Vacation!

Today is my last day of school for the year, and graduation is tonight.  I’m very proud of my students and I wish the best for all of them in the future.  I feel very lucky that as a teacher I’m able to have the summer off.  I happily admit that one of the reasons I went into teaching was so I would have the same schedule as my future children.  Of course, I also love what I do, so summers off are a bonus.  We’ve gone so late this year that it feels like vacation would never come! 

When I was in college, my parents, brothers, cousins, Ed and I went on a rafting trip down the Colorado River in Utah.  Those 5 days were an unforgettable experience.  Of course, I don’t have any pictures to post from then because I didn’t own a digital camera then! But some day I’ll learn to use my scanner.

Two years ago, my parents, brothers, Ed and I went to Alaska for two weeks.  We went to Katmai National Park and actually hiked out to Brooks Falls to watch Brown Bears feed on salmon.  It was an amazing experience.  I am totally not a thrill seeker, and I still really can’t believe that I was so close to bears! I’ll probably write a whole post about it in a few days, so I’ll only post a couple pictures for now.  We took these pictures, and I feel that it’s important to note that there were no zoom lenses, we were actually that close to the wild bears.  More on that to come!

Last year, my mom and I went to the Island School Teacher’s Conference on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas.  Another amazing week.

So what will I be doing this summer?  We don’t have anything big planned, like previous years.  Ed and I may make it up to Maine to his parents’ house at some point.  But we’re not sure about that, with the price of gas.  Mainly, we’ll just be enjoying our time at home, in our new house.

I’ll be working weekday mornings at the farm market, which is a nice schedule because it closely matches my school schedule.  It seems fitting, since the original reason for summer vacation was to free children up for farm work.

I’ve also made a list of the things I’d like to accomplish this summer:

  1. Make a replica of our wedding cake for our anniversary on June 26 (smaller, of course)
  2. Can and freeze tomatoes; preserve peaches, blueberries and raspberries; freeze corn
  3. Pick wild wineberries and make Grandma Rose’s wineberry pie
  4. Finish a sewing project, any sewing project! (especially my mermaid bag)
  5. Bake bread
  6. Make homemade pasta
  7. Walk along the beach, around the farm, or up to the reservior whenever possible
  8. Organize the office
  9. Organize the pantry and get a second coat of paint there and in the mudroom
  10. Hang curtains and pictures
  11. Get a second coat of paint on the guest bathroom
  12. Make cheese
  13. Read books, lots of books
  14. Get set for my Environmental Science, Botany, and Advanced Environmental Science classes next year
  15. Collect shells and sea glass and use them to decorate
  16. Decorate the house a little.  All of our walls are blank and the house still echoes!
  17. Host an Open House party
  18. Do some research about apple and peach trees, raspberries, and strawberries, and make plans to grow them
  19. Garden, garden, garden! Also, plan the fall and winter vegetable garden
  20. Go fishing with Ed and his brother, at least once
  21. Decide what I want to enter in the fairs this year

I think that’s it.  I’ll have to add on in the comments when I come up with more stuff I want to do.  We’ll see how much of it actually gets done!


Filed under Food, Gardening, Home, Local Agriculture, Outside, Sewing, Sustainable Living

Pillowcase Tote

Inspired by Green Mamma and Creative Kismet’s Tote Giveaway, I decided to try making my own reusable bag out of a pillowcase.  After picking up a pretty striped pillowcase at Walmart, I tried it out.  The stitching is not perfect, but I think it’s pretty good for a first try.  It only took about 30 minutes start to finish!

Here’s how I made this pillowcase tote:

  • Choose a pretty pillowcase.  I decided to get a new one from Walmart, but an old favorite or a thrift store find are even better choices.
  • Decide how big you want your tote to be.  I liked the fancy solid edge for the top of the bag, so I cut off the hemmed end to make it the size I wanted. 
  • If you use the hemmed end, then you don’t have to sew a seam along the bottom.  I sewed straight across the bottom, then sewed on a diagonal across the corners to make the shape of the bottom fancier.
  • Using the remaining fabric scraps, I cut two long rectangles, one for each handle.  I sewed along one edge to make a tube-like shape.
  • I decided where I wanted the handles to go, pinned them on, then sewed a large box with an X in the middle so it would hold on well.  I used a zigzag stitch because this one was visible.

So there it is, a simple, fast, pillowcase tote.  It’s so cute, so much better than those ugly green bags that everyone (including me) is carrying around these days.  Maybe I’ll make myself a whole set of colorful, floral and striped bags.


Filed under Sewing, Sustainable Living

Green Awakening Update

I know you haven’t gotten enough of the Green Awakening Earth Day event yet!

Here’s the link to an article in the North Haven Citizen.  They did an excellent job and have some pictures on their website.

Also, Threadbangers featured us in their weekly show!  It’s also on the Green Awakening blog, so you can go there to check it out! You have to watch a few minutes on other things first, but then there’s an AWESOME part about the fashion show, with video of the show and comments from Kayla, guests, students, teachers, even me and my mom.  So check it out!

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Filed under Sewing, Sustainable Living