Magpie Jacket

I have had this denim jacket for several years. I’m pretty sure I picked it up at Goodwill … so … it probably cost me around $5.00.  The other day, I thought how nice it would be if I added a little more pattern to it (like my kleenex box cover,  bird cage jacket  and sewing machine cover). So, I pulled out my bits-and-pieces box of fabric and began cutting out squares and rectangles.

Laying out fabric squares/rectangles

I layered these pieces of varying fabric patterns over the muted paisley pattern of the existing fabric and added some buttons and a few tiny doilies.
Magpie jacket

Along the shoulder line, I added a line of fabric, as well. I picked this fabric up at a yard sale and it has been SO MUCH FUN!

Back view of my magpie jacket

It unravels in a beautiful way. So, I ran a 1/4″ piece of upholstery fabric along the middle with a nice zig-zag stripe. This should keep it from unraveling completely, but allows it to fray deep.
My fray-stop techniqueI added a merpy little face at the back left just for fun. She looks quirky and fun. She’ll be at eye-level for small children. I’m sure they’ll probably notice her silly face … which makes me giggle. We all need to see silly faces a little more often!

A merpy little face on the back of the jacket. <3

And this may very well be my favorite square. I adore this little button. It’s rough and tumble with a little texture and a little curve. I just think it’s completely fun, nestled there in that fabric hole.

Maybe my favorite square on the whole jacket? Love that little button.

The cuffs are trimmed just like the base of the jacket … with lots of different fabric patterns.  These fabric pieces are all edged to allow some fraying but not TOO much. I want them to age well and settle into a comfortable, tattered look.

My magpie jacket

I think it took me about two to three hours to choose, cut, place and sew this embellishment project. But, it was so much fun to create … the time just flew by.

A full row of texture and pattern. *swoon

Which of course, brings me to my hope for you. What makes time fly for you? What do you LOVE to do? What is that thing that makes your spirit soar and your face light up? What brings you great joy and satisfaction? I hope you’re able to find time to do THAT a little bit this weekend. And if you can, find a way to gift that for the holidays. Use your talent … your gift … to bless others! It will increase the value of your gift and the joy you will find in giving it.

Have a beautiful weekend, friends.

Magpie Scarf

I enjoy scarves, but haven’t found many that I really, truly love.
Since I have such a fascination with mixed fabrics,
I decided to make myself a scarf that I would adore.

Recycled Strip Magpie Scarf
In the same fashion as my magpie-styled curtains (here), I pulled out lots of black, white and gray fabrics from my fabric repository and cut them into strips. Then I joined them together with lots of ragged stitching … straight and zig-zag with strings left long on each end of stitching.

These fabrics are full of memories. The white and gray floral is a remnant from a gorgeous blanket that Glory made for Nina not so long ago.  That pretty plaid is an old shirt that belonged to James. And the tiny white flowers on a dark gray background is the fabric used to create the bow ties that James wore in his best friend’s wedding. I’m pretty sure that Stacia (here) made those ties for Michael’s men. (Stacia is such an incredible girl!! If you’re looking for a wedding planner, she’s uber-talented and so wonderful! Consider hiring her or recommending her. And click over to see the fabulous photos of her personal wedding ceremony by Sarah Becker Photography here. I still can’t look at those photos without crying. The day was magic, I tell you … pure magic with pixie dust, swirling stars and hidden fairies. It had God all over. I felt like I was on the set of a Disney movie being filmed.) 

I think my favorite part about piecing together clothing and curtains is looking at all the history that weaves together into something new and special. Each item is like an antique quilt that tells a story. It just moves me.

Magpie Scarf

Then I wove them through a fantastic wide-weave scarf that I picked up at Target about a year ago.

Magpie Scarf
To make it softer and more snuggly, I ran a string of wonderful fuzzy yarn between each strip of fabric.

There are large and tiny antique buttons hidden along the scarf for extra interest.
And the strips are left raw so they’ll fray with wear. Isn’t it pretty? I just love it!

I love the way it feels, too! It is so soft …. like cashmere!


I know it will be warm and comfy throughout the winter and will work well with so many different jackets and outfits.

I use Fridays to share the latest creation that I am delving into
with the idea in mind to encourage you to find the thing that gives you energy.
Creating takes me to a place where time stands still. I could sew or paint or create
for h.o.u.r.s
and find that the time has passed like minutes.
What activity does that for you? Where do you find yourself lost in enjoyment?
I hope you’ll give that some thought
and pour yourself into that activity for a bit this weekend.
Find time to nourish yourself.
And if you won’t have time this weekend, make time during the week.
It’s hard to do sometimes … especially for those of us that are mamas.
I know it’s even more difficult for those of us that wear the Single Mom cape.
But, it’s so very, very important to make time to nourish yourself.
Get enough sleep. Submit to the slowing down of winter. Rest.
Eat foods that are good for your body. Hydrate. Nourish.
Spend time with people who feed your spirit. Set boundaries from others.
Figure out what activities make you happy.
And do them.

Have a lovely weekend, friends.


Magpie Kitchen Curtains

For as long as I can remember, only the bedrooms in my home have had curtains. I love natural light and don’t want to block it in any way, shape or form.
I WANT it to flood into my home. But, after my husband left, I felt the need to close the view to our inside lives. I have thoroughly enjoyed creating curtains for each window.

The kitchen window used to have a valance that I changed seasonally. Here is a Christmas version.

Kitchen greenery
As you know, a valance is decorative
but it offers no privacy.
I have had an idea for kitchen curtains for quite some time.
I have known which fabrics I wanted in the kitchen,
but not made myself gather those fabrics out of my stash
and piece them together.
Not too long ago, I decided it was time.


My fabrics are always a hodge-podge.
In fact, I think of myself as a “Magpie.”
A Magpie is a type of crow. (read here)
They pick up all sorts of found objects and shiny things
and fly them back to their nest.

Rusty bottle caps - for an art project
I think of Magpies when I bring home little things that I find along the road,
at yard sales or in thrift stores.
So, I’m calling these curtains Magpie curtains
because they are the created from things collected out in the world along life’s way
and brought back to my “nest.”

The leaf fabric that has a red outline around each leaf
was a very long skirt that I picked up at Goodwill
for the sole purpose of using the fabric in a project.
The striped shirt was one of my absolutely favorite shirts of James’.
I even incorporated the sleeve placket & buttons into the strip for interest!
And the super large lily-pad looking leaf fabric
is from a large piece of retro fabric I picked up at a yard sale years ago.

I’m really enjoying lots of rough edges, zig-zag-to-straight stitching and piecing of smaller strips.
When these are washed, they will beautiful fray along the edges! *swoon*
That sweet little embellished flower and button eye
were both in sewing hand-me-downs from my sweet grandmother, Odessa Cason.
And I found that cute-as-pie tiny puff-ball edging at Michaels!

With old amber bottles on one side of the window ledge …..
(because I love amber!)


And antique bottles strategically placed for paint brush drying on the other side,
I love everything about my kitchen windows.


The curtains …. are perfect.
They’re layered and gentle.
They’re amber and yellows.

And they’re pieced together in long strips of many patterns …
like life – a fabric mosaic of design.

Believe in yourself. :D

It is slow in coming …
but I’m beginning to believe in myself.
It takes time after divorce.
I think it takes more time to grieve and recover
for some people than for others.
And to be honest, I’m not near finished.
I’m working my way through the muck.
I’m learning to stand on my own two feet.
I am learning to believe in myself.

I’m finding it is super important to listen to your heart and do what you love.
I am enjoying creating more and more each week.
And I am making time to do what I enjoy.

As the weekend draws near,
what can you do that will enrich your life
by nourishing your soul?

Recently, I chose to make curtains.
What about you?


Sewing Machine Cover

The more I have used my machine, the more meticulous I have become about keeping it clean. I keep canned air on hand so that I can blow the lint out of the underside where the bobbin carriage is located. When I know I won’t be using it for an extended time, I will cover it to keep it dust free, but I don’t drop the machine down inside the table and hide it because it takes extra work to bring it back out. I like to keep it ready to use, because I sew and repair often.

Since moving my sewing machine into my dining room, I decided I wanted to create a more attractive way to cover it than just using the clear, plastic cover I purchased at a fabric store. As soon as I finished my kleenex box cover, I decided to sew a very similar style cover.

Stack of material

My favorite fabric is medium to lightweight upholstery fabric. I have stacks of this in my stash in every color of autumn that your mind can imagine.

I’m really not much of a sewing-pattern kind of girl. I don’t sew clothing “from scratch.” I do a lot of reinventing (like this ; two shirts into a smock)  and reupholstering of small items. For most of my projects, I prefer to wing it … just eye-ball it and fit things as I go.

For my machine cover, I simply cut my fabric to fit, piecing the cover together outside-out and then flipping the edges inside to sew as I went. I started with the top,  added the back, each side and then finally the front.

Because I love selvedge edges so much, I left them raw and un-hemmed.

Selvedge edges! Oh Joy!

I love that the cover helps camouflage my machine as it sits in my dining room. You almost wouldn’t notice this as my sewing area.

My dining room/sewing corner

The beauty of the weight of the fabric, the gorgeous, raw selvedge edges and the wonderful melding of patterns
makes this machine cover beautiful to me!Pieced together sewing machine cover. Love.

This is just one more creative endeavor I have tackled that has brought me energy and joy! Sewing Machine Cover

As you begin your weekend, have you considered how to nurture your spirit?
The things that make your heart sing will be different from anyone else.
Get to know yourself.
What catches your eye? What colors? Textures? Smells?
What actions? Creatures? Sounds?
Figure this out and then look for ways to nurture that love and energy.
Find a way to do something that makes you happy!

In reading Ken Robinson’s book, Finding Your Element (seen here) 
Ken shared something that made an impression on me!
We should look for the thing(s) in life that bring us energy and fulfill us.
One way to tell what that might be for you is to ask yourself the question,
“What thing do I do that makes the hours feel like minutes?”
What do you do that you find yourself saying, “What? It’s been two hours?
Where has the time gone?”
I had never really thought about this!
For me, time flies by when I am doing something creative.
My greatest passions are sewing, painting and working with paper.
When the time passes quickly, you’re in your element.
When the minutes feel like hours – you are not.
With that in mind, what do you so enjoy that time passes quickly?
That is what you should do to relax and invigorate yourself.
May you find time to do something that brings you great enjoyment this weekend!
And have a beautiful weekend, friends, in whatever you find yourself doing.

Makes Me Happy Monday : Kitchen Towels

I’m a little particular about my kitchen towels.
I don’t really care for the type made from looped cotton fabric that feels like a bath towel.
I like my kitchen towels to be made of cotton with a smooth finish like that of a thick flour sack or a heavy cotton shirt.

Plentiful fabric

Over the last year, I’ve been taking scraps of fabric that coordinate in color and are full of rich pattern
and putting them together to create my own kitchen towels.
Sometimes, I begin with the base of a well-made cloth napkin.
They are just the right weight to withstand repeated washing and handling.

Hand sewn kitchen towels

To most, I have added a bit of twill tape with a saying stamped upon it.
Because …. words! I love words!

Hand sewn kitchen towel

This one is one of my favorites!
It’s a bit wonky looking … which is probably the reason that I love it so!
It’s created with one of my dad’s discarded  shirts that I plucked from my mom’s yard sale pile
and a home-made tablecloth from a fabulous patterned fabric that I picked up secondhand.
No tucked neat edges on this baby! I like that it has gently raveled through continued use.
Hand sewn kitchen towel
I love to add a little lace,
an antique button,
and a whimsical combination of zig-zag and straight stitching.

I have been surprised at the amount of time these make to create.
Anything that is pieces takes extra time to sew and,
like my curtains, these have many layers and fabrics.
But, I’m loving the way they turn out and think the extra time is worth the investment!

Hand sewn kitchen towels

I guess we can set our sights on finding happiness when we reach great, big goals.
We can put all of our energy and expectation into those turning out “just right”
Or we can find joy in the daily .. the everyday … the beautifully common.
I treasure a comfortable coffee cup,
light and shadow inching across the living room
and simple, colorful hand towels that encourage me to be “happy”
as I go about my daily duties.

What about you?
What makes you happy this marvelous Monday morning?

Pocket Envy

As I was getting things together for my overnight backpacking trip to Panther Creek Falls, I knew that the best way to dress for the weekend would be to wear zip-off pants. They provide a pants-to-shorts option in dressing that just makes sense when you’re trying to travel light. My oldest used to have a pair about ten years ago, but I wasn’t sure if they are still made. I know I don’t see them worn at the mall or the grocery store … so I wasn’t sure if I could find a pair. But, in my store-hopping adventures from Cabela’s to Gander Mountain to Waldens as I prepared for the trip,  I saw that they are still popular (for outdoor enthusiasts, anyway) … though, now they are called Convertible Nylon Pants.

Our Meet Up Hiking Group

I found them in both a men’s and a women’s cut. I tried on both styless.
They fit very similarly … except the women’s pair was more fitted through the rear with a slightly lower, fitted waistband.
But, the big difference?
Look at the pockets!
Women get this prissy, little pocket that is 1/3 smaller than the men’s gracious side pocket
that actually e.x.p.a.n.d.s and has room for STUFF!
And the front pocket is much more shallow, as well. The men’s side pocket is deep and roomy.
When the bottoms are zipped off, the women’s shorts are longer than the men’s version.

Zip Off Pocket Styles Men's vs Women's

Evidently, m.o.s.t women are willing to pay more for a pair of convertible pants than men are willing to pay
because the women’s pair is $15.00 more than men’s pair.
So, men get better pockets for $15.00 less money?
Well … I’m not “most women.”  I’m going with the better pockets for less money!

Zip Off Prices Men's vs Women's

Men that wear size small also have legs that are shorter than mine
so I let out the hem on my pants and added a strip of trim so I had additional length.

Adding length to my pants

This is Tom, our event coordinator. As a coordinator, he plans outings and takes the responsibility for the trip’s destination and schedule. Just before we left, he read the trail cautions and safety tips. I adore this guy. While he’s a great leader, he is also a “go-with-the-flow” kind of person.  He makes allowance for different personality temperaments and just makes each event enjoyable and comfortable.
Tom Maresh

I noticed while we were on a snack and rest break
–  and his side pockets were right in my line of vision because I was sitting down panting resting
and he was still standing –
that he had awe.some pockets … even cooler than those on my man-version cargo pants!
I now have full-fledged “pocket envy.”
His pockets were double pockets!
And his pants even had labeled zippers
so he knew which zipped-off pants leg bottom
went on which leg.
Yeah. I thought that was pretty awesome.
I just marked mine with a sharpie. Now I have

While I was packing my pack, I thought about how much I have changed in the last few years since my divorce. I always wanted to please my husband. Now, I don’t have to worry about that.  I am much more adventurous than I have ever been. One way I am braver is I have realized that I can change almost anything. I can modify my vehicle. I can remodel a piece of furniture. I can change a pair of pants to work for me when they were designed for someone else. I even changed a purchased piece of artwork not too long ago. I loved the piece …  BUT it had pink in the sky. I chose to change the sky to a color that worked in my home and, oh how I love the change. Now, it feels like it fits into my house with ease. I’m finding that I feel a confidence and ease at changing things to my liking without fear of upsetting someone. It’s a really good feeling.
My hiking boots and altered pants hem

Altering my pants was one more energizing, empowering thing that I have done for myself lately.
What can you do to energize and empower yourself this weekend?
Carve out some time to do something that nourishes your soul. It will help next week be a better week!
Have a great weekend, friend!


Smock Protection

When I was in Goodwill recently, I came across two oversized women’s shirts that were the same style and cloth pattern, but different colors.  I loved the paisley and the fact that there were several different patterns on each garment. Look at that pretty floral tucked under the collar! What a sweet surprise!

Multiple patterns - AND paisley! Yay!

And just LOOK at those pretty cuffs! *swoon*

Wonderful Liz Claiborne shirtsFor just a few dollars a piece, I knew I could use them for something.

Even if I cut them up and used them just for the fabric in some pieced together project, I knew they would make something wonderful. The fact that they were both very large was just an extra-fabric bonus.Liz Claiborne

Everything I own seems to be dabbled in paint. I have a little sliver of paint on every nightgown I own. My bathrobe has a spot of brown on the cuff. My favorite shorts have paint in several places. It gets everywhere …. even on things like my cutting/sewing board … which is not a good thing. One smear was enough for me to make some more intentional decisions about how close I allow paint to be to things that are special, antique or sentimental. Paint Splatters

And when my favorite dress ended up with a splash?  I remembered elementary school. Paint gets every.where

Do you remember when you were a child and you were asked to take one of your dad’s old dress shirts to school to protect your clothing from paint during art? (Those were the days when art was still valued and incorporated into school days.) As I urgently scrubbed brown paint off the front of my favorite dress, I thought about those two Liz Claiborne shirts and decided I needed to make a smock.

Since my sewing machine is now in an easy-to-get-to spot,My sewing space ...

I quickly cut apart the shirts and rearranged parts so that the two large shirts became one oversized smock that will easily cover almost every gown and always cover all short-sleeved shirts and shorts. I used the cuffs to add a little interest creating a false empire bodice at the waist. I cut off the sleeves and opened them up. They were used with the body of the green shirt to create the skirt at the bottom of the smock. The placket of the green shirt was added at the bottom of the placket of the coral shirt to give a continuous opening down the front of the smock.  My oversized smock/dress

I’ll have to admit that my youngest walked in from school and said, “Uhm….. you know you’re not allowed to wear that to the mall, right?” But, around the house to keep me from splashing paint on every article of clothing that own? That is acceptable.

I added a hook to a nook in bedroom. The hope is that I will see the smock hanging there and be encouraged to put it on more often.

My bedroom corner

This project took me an hour or so and will save so many articles of clothing from being demoted to “paint clothes.” It’s really a small thing, but it is another way that made time to do something creative. It feeds my soul and makes my life richer. And this particular project will prompt me to paint even more!

As the weekend approaches, I encourage you to carve out some time for yourself. Do something that makes your life richer. Nourish your soul with something enjoyable to give you energy for the week that will begin on Monday. This weekend, I’ll be camping deep in the woods. And this weekend, the woods should be beautiful! This will be the first time I’ve been inside a tent or on a trail in over two and a half years. It’s been way too long. I think my heart might just break wide open with joy! And, to be honest, I fear that I may not sleep well tonight because I am going to be so excited about tomorrow. What a splendid fear to anticipate.

Have a lovely weekend, friends!

Sewing Space & Chest ReVamp

Some time ago, I moved my sewing machine from the corner where it was tucked in my art space to my dining room.

My sewing space ...

I use my dining table as a work surface when I sew curtains and work on other large projects. Running back and forth from the sewing machine in the art space to the dining table to the kitchen where I had my ironing board set up just seemed to waste SO much time. So, I brought everything together into one area.  The natural light from the window just makes this perfect and the hardwood floor makes a dropped pin *ping* so I can quickly retrieve it … rather than searching through carpet to save myself from impaling my foot. I LOVE this set up.

I needed a small chest of drawers to store thread, scissors and notions so I brought in a little cabinet that Glory left behind when she moved. It was painted this fresh, neon green that went well in her room. (You can see more of her old room here.) It matched her accent wall. But, it clashed loudly with everything in the rest of the house.My sewing nook

So, I layered color-upon-color to take it from her Vibrant, Funky Teen style
to my Natural, Relaxed Outside-comes-Inside style.

I used a medium brown base layer, the same ivory as my walls as a second layer and lastly, a soft dry-brush layer of medium brown on top. It turned out just the way I envisioned it and it fits so comfortably in my house.

Years ago, when I painted it bright green for Glory, I spray painted the handles silver. Using a fine sandpaper, I lightly sanded some of that silver away revealing the brass underneath. This rough-and-tumble style goes well with the rest of the chest and fits perfectly with the rest of my furniture.

And last, I tucked patterned paper away on the sides of the drawers as a peek-a-boo surprise when you open the drawers.

Roughed up handles

At .25-.59 a piece when purchased on sale, the paper was just a few dollars total. I have plenty of paper and oodles of scraps  and the paint was just left over from other projects … so I didn’t actually have to spend any money to complete this project.

Decoupaged drawer edges

So, here is a before and after.

Before and After Sewing Cabinet

I love the way the space looks now.My sewing space - a easy triangle of activity

I love how it feels. And I appreciate that I can sew in a place that is bright with everything close at hand.

Yes. Those are bird feathers on the floor beside the bird cage. And I didn't edit them out ... because real life is rarely neat and tidy to view.

The best part about space may be that
I can put away the ironing board, cover my machine
and you’d never know area is used as anything other than a dining room.

My dining room

This was a quick Saturday project. Creativity feeds my soul and gives me energy. What do you enjoy? Can you find a way to work that into your weekend? Can you find a project or activity that would soothe you and bring you joy? Figure out what boosts your spirit and make a way to do some of that this weekend.

You know, it’s not a selfish thing? When you feed your spirit, you’re loving yourself and strengthening your being. And when you’re a stronger, more emotionally happy person, you bless those around you. I hope you can find a way to make time for something beautiful this weekend or some time during this next week.

Magnetic Pin Cushion Tutorial

My favorite things are old things.

I cherish relationships with rooted history …
marriages between two who have chosen to remain
…. and friends who have committed to longevity.
These are dear, treasured and sparse.

And I also love antique dishes, ancient, real-wood furniture and creaky, historic homes.
I love them because they have silent, secretive stories stored up inside them.
I love them because they are usually well made and they have made it through the breaking-in stage of life
to the rich, deep living that has narrative and experience.

This is my favorite dish pattern.
A homemade replica of a Starbucks Pumpkin Scone and my awesome pottery coffee mug

It is an Edwin M. Knowles Vitreous dated #28-2-10.
It is comforting in color and intriguing in pattern.

A few years ago, I bought a magnetic pin cushion.
Sewing is faster for me when I can pull pins off a magnetic cushion or throw them back onto one.
But, the only colors available were bright like red, pink or white.

Magnetic Pin Cushion Tutorial #DIY #Vintage #Repurposed

The more my true-self begins to emerge post-divorce, the more I realize that
I really don’t like crisp, bright or primary colors in my home.
I love the calming colors of nature … and I love pattern.

I recently saw a photo of a repurposed plate made into a pin cushion.
I knew that I wanted to make one from one of my antique plates.

Magnetic Pin Cushion Tutorial #DIY #Vintage #Repurposed

Using a strong glue like E6000, I glued circle magnets to the back of the plate
and then snapped a few in half to fill in empty spots
so that the magnetic surface almost filled inside the lip of the base.
The magnets have a tendency to pull together and flip on top of each other
so once I got them in place on the plate, I sandwiched the plate
between two books to hold them in place while they dried overnight.

Magnetic Pin Cushion Tutorial #DIY #Vintage #Repurposed

The next morn, I cut a circle of fabric to cover the magnets to keep them from scratching wooden surfaces.
I glued the circle into place with some fabric glue …..

Magnetic Pin Cushion Tutorial #DIY #Vintage #Repurposed

and then I promptly placed that garish, red plastic store-bought pin cushion
into my thrift store pile. #DIY #Vintage #Repurposed #sewing

I am thoroughly enjoying my new/antique magnetic pin cushion.
It is soothing to my eye in color, pattern and mood.
And I like the wide lip that allows me to pull a single pin to the edge of the plate easily.

As our weekend draws near,
I encourage you to remove things in your life that are brazen in your sight.
Get rid of the things that are work to keep up,
that unsettle your spirit or leave you exhausted rather than refreshed.
One at a time, as you go about your life, pluck those things out of your life
and give them away.
This goes for every area of your life ….
from the objects in your home or at work on your desk,
to the habits you have allowed to take up energy
to the relationships that influence your well-being.
For you, the stimulation of a red pin cushion might invigorate you to sew more.
For me, it was distracting and agitating.

We are all built different. I encourage you to figure out what you love
and, as much as you can, surround yourself with those things
and get rid of the junk.

May your weekend be beautiful … filled with activities that are refreshing and energizing.