Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fat Quarter Project: Automobile Trash Bag Tutorial

The kids are back at school and now is the time for me to try and get organized a little more. Today I'm working on my car. It seems that it doesn't take long before it gets pretty messy and I wanted to have some sort of receptacle to hold things in until get some place to dump it out.

I saw an idea in a book I got from the library called One Yard Wonders, but I didn't have a whole yard of fabric around.  I did have a couple of fat quarters that I thought were matching. Of course if you were brought up like I was, and Mom told you that you had to wear a solid something or other with your plaid skirt, then my fat quarters don't match. But I think I'm over that now and so I'm going to call these matching.

You're going to need two fat quarters. One that you want to call your main fabric and one for your pocket, straps and binding.

You'll also need a couple of D rings, or some buckles. I'm tough on purses. The thrift store doesn't stand a chance. When I throw them in the trash I cut all the metal parts off. I think this is a funny habit I got from my husband and son who both recycle and re purpose everything they can get their hands on. I try not to keep too much clutter, although sometimes it does come in handy. Anyway, I had a couple rings. They weren't D rings but they work.

So this is really all you need other than your usual sewing stuff like machine, thread, scissors, iron and so on.

Take your main fat quarter and fold it in half the long way. Fat quarters are 18" by 22" and maybe a little narrower if the salvage edge is removed. You'll have a taller than wider piece of fabric. You're going to cut this along the fold, or if you want to lay it out and use your rotary cutter that's okay too.

Next cut 2 strap pieces from the 18" length of your 2nd/contrasting fat quarter. They will be 4 1/2 inches wide. You can make one the full 18 inches long and the other you can cut down to 8 inches long.

strap pieces

Now you can cut a couple binding pieces. They don't need to be on the bias. They'll go on the top of your main fabric in a bit. They are 2 1/2 inches tall and the width of your main piece which should be about 10 1/2 inches.


Last but not least you'll have your front pocket. This will be the width of your main piece (also about 10 1/2 inches) and you'll make it about 11 inches tall.

That's all your pieces and now you can start sewing. I used my serger for part of my bag and I also used my regular machine.

I started with the pocket. I turned down about a 1/4 inch and then another 1/2 inch and just sewed along the top of the pocket to give it a sort of hemmed edge. The pattern in the book called for binding it. It might be a little sturdier if bound. You could also put a little interfacing along the edge. For the sake of time, I just edge stitched it and done. Go ahead and press it if you want.  

Next you can sew your binding pieces to the top using whatever method you choose. You could iron your binding pieces in half, unfold them, and then iron both sides to the middle and then iron all of it in half again. You'll sew them to the top of your main fabric pieces.

I ironed mine in half and then serged them to the top of my bag. On the outside I top stitched along the edge on the main piece, which isn't shown here.  

Pin your pocket to the right side of a main piece. You could baste this on or just pin it for now. Now you'll want to lay your other main piece on top, so both main pieces are right sides together. The pocket will be sandwiched in there. Adjust the pins as needed. Be sure your top binding pieces are matched up if you want it to look nice when you're done.

Now sew from one top corner, down the side, across the bottom and up the other side. You're leaving your top open because you want to throw your junk in it later. Turn it right side out and you're getting close to finished. You should have a bag with your pocket in the front.

Next iron your strap pieces in half. Unfold. You can turn under a 1/4 or so at one end so your end is finished off and press. Then fold both sides toward the center line and press. Fold in half and press again. Sew the open side of your straps, across the end and then up the other side. I ran the opposite end of my straps through my serger since they aren't really going to show.

Now sew your straps to the bag at the side seams. You can reinforce this as you see fit.

Now you want to add your rings. I just doubled the end over and stitched close to the top. I'm not sure there is a right and wrong way. You may want to just do a little check to see how it fits in your car and then if you have excess you can lengthen or shorten it before you stitch it down permanently.

Done and even test driven. I just didn't get a photo op of the test drive.

I don't have pictures of every step. It's a pretty simple project really. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.

Have a great rest of the day and a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Free Fabric Sample and Gift Idea

We had some awesome thunderstorms during the night. I don't think our dog ever left my side. I'm not sure if he needed protection or if he thought that I did, but he stayed pretty close. Other than a little water in the basement, which is pretty certain for our nearly 100 year old house, we were fine.

I really enjoy looking at sewing ideas, and today I ran across this really adorable idea for making these "Grandma's Secret Recipe Potholders" over at All Free Sewing. By all means follow the tutorial to the blogger who wrote it to get her pattern. I really love original ideas and I think this is cool!

Just an FYI, like I said, I really just stumbled across this today, the company where you get the fabric for printing out Grandma's Recipe is called Spoonflower and they are having a free swatch day on Eco Canvas from noon today until noon tomorrow EDT.

The really neat thing about this company is that you can design and upload your own designs and have them print fabric from them. So Grammy's recipe, maybe a favorite poem or Bible verse that you want to sew into a quilt, a graphic design that you make on your computer. The sky might be the limit on what you can do. And you can order as small as a fat quarter. It certainly gets my gears turning for some special projects. And they have some fabulous home decor tutorials, contests, challenges and more. I know that I'll be stopping again. Have fun!

Monday, August 18, 2014


I hope everyone had a blessed weekend! I did something a little unusual over the weekend. Our second oldest son came to visit, and I sat up talking with him until who knows when Saturday night. I haven't stayed up that late in a LONG time and I can't remember when we've talked that much. I guess I wasn't too worse for wear as we were up and on time for church on Sunday morning.

I didn't expect to be online, so I thought I'd drop in and say hello. Our vacation plans have been switched around a little this week. All the better because I guess as it rained quite a bit where we were planning on going camping which wouldn't be too much fun. Later in the week I'll visit the new grand baby, which is what I really want to do. 

Today I've been filling some basket orders and also putting some finishing touches on a couple basket projects that have been sitting here for awhile. I have a basket weaving event coming up in September and I'm starting to put together ideas for displays that I can take to that event and future events.

I also worked on a grocery list printable. You can get it here or on Say It With Simplicity. It's sort of an experiment that I thought might help me get more organized, and I thought I'd share it too.

I like the idea of categories because it makes it easier to find everything. The store we usually shop at is massive and I certainly don't like to waste time by having to back track. It should also work well alongside my menu printable too.

Hope to see you later in the week. Have a great rest of the day!

PDF File Link

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Applesauce Bread: The Gluten Free Version

It was sort of quiet around here last night. Amazing really! I decided to try the gluten free applesauce bread recipe with the Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix that I talked about in my last post.

One of the things I like about Pamela's Mix is that it contains almond meal, which bumps up the protein, healthy fat, and fiber content a bit in addition to being gluten free.

It's been a few years now, but I found that by eating gluten free I had a drastically reduced incidence of migraines and so I've stuck to it ever since. Since then I've also found that eating low carb, high fat, moderate protein is really amazing and I've gone down to having pretty rare migraine episodes.

All that said, my family likes treats and I do like to bake, so I indulge them every now and then. Last night it was the applesauce bread. With homemade applesauce this is a very moist recipe and so good.

With Pamela's mix, you already have baking powder and soda in the recipe, so you can omit all that.

I think we tended toward more of a coffee cake type texture with this mix, rather than a quick bread, so I may experiment with it a bit more, but every bit got polished off at breakfast. The best I could do for photography is post a picture of the empty pan! I guess I'll skip that this time.

1 cup sugar
1 cup applesauce
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
2 cups Pamela's Mix
1/4 tsp salt (probably optional) 
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Beat together sugar, applesauce, oil and eggs. Combine dry ingredients. Stir into wet ingredients only until blended. Pour into greased 9 x 5 loaf pan. Mix last two ingredients together and sprinkle on top. Bake at 350 degrees. Recipe is done when a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Tips: Pamela's has buttermilk in the recipe so this tends to rise really well. Watch how you fill your pan. I have a little bit larger loaf pan. I was all the way to the top. This tends to brown around the edge a bit more, so watch it carefully toward the end of baking. Wait until completely cool to cut. Although no stick spray generally works pretty well, using parchment paper in the bottom of the pan may help with removal when using gluten free flours. 

Looks like it's turning out to be a beautiful day! Hope you have a wonderful and blessed weekend. See you next week!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Applesauce Bread

This week has been blur. Last week we had our little grandsons here, while their little brother was born. One of our older daughters flew in from out of state on Tuesday and we've been having a great time together.

Wednesday we went out to our county fair. I always love seeing the projects that the 4-H kids make and the adult open class projects too. Of course basket weaving is a favorite, but I also like to look at the sewing, art, woodworking and lots of other things. So much creativity!

Tonight we're picking up one of our other kids, from the airport, as they return from an out of state trip. Have you ever seen those signs that say, "Stop the glorification of busy." I just wish I could slow things down a little!

For the weekend we're planning a little trip to visit our new little grand guy, and take a short camping trip before school starts next week.

Today I sold the last of my wall baskets from my Etsy Shop. Next week I'll be weaving. I have a couple of weaving demo events coming up in September that I'm really excited about!

The cicadas are singing there songs from time to time. I checked on our apples. They aren't quite ready yet, but getting closer. Nights have been pretty cool here lately. It feels a little like fall already.

I remembered this recipe for applesauce bread and thought I'd share. It's from one of my favorites, The Basics and More Cookbook.

Applesauce Bread

You'll love this moist quick bread especially when made with your homemade applesauce.
Prep time: 10 minutes.
Cook time: 1 hour
Oven temperature: 350 °


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 T. milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg


Beat together sugar, applesauce, oil, eggs and milk. Combine dry ingredients and stir into wet ingredients only until blended. Pour into 9x5 inch loaf pan.


1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle on top. Bake as directed. Bread is done baking when toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Is Vinegar the Right Tool for the Job?

It seems to me that at every turn, vinegar is one of those products that I keep hearing about, whether as a household cleaner, or even apple cider vinegar for medicinal purposes. 

I recently read an article about cleaning your entire house with vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice and never buying another cleaning supply, ever again. Sounds great doesn’t it! It was said to be a safe and effective way to clean with fewer chemicals and less expensive too.

It wasn’t too long ago that I heard of the vinegar and Dawn dish soap mixture that was heralded as the best bathtub cleaner. Not only was it said to be the best scum buster, but also safe and non-toxic. The one thing I find rather interesting is that both vinegar and Dawn, which are supposed to be non-toxic, are also used as ingredients in a few homemade weed killer recipes I’ve come across. I’m not quite sure I understand, but maybe there’s something I’m missing.  

Baking soda didn’t get my bathtub clean when I tried it, and the vinegar and Dawn solution made me cough and sneeze when I got a good whiff, even by accident. Plus when I used the Dawn mixture it took me forever and a day just to rinse the stuff out of my tub. 

So… I saved a few cents in cleaning supplies and now my water bill skyrocketed so that I can have a clean tub. I thought I was supposed to be the Queen of Green and I’m counting pennies as they go down the drain. To top it all off I haven’t even had the luxury of a nice soaker bath by candle light yet. 

Then a great thing happened. I spied a can of Bar Keepers Friend in the basement. Sounds like a commercial right? It’s not…

I was wondering where the stuff went. I thought about making inquiries as to how it ended up in the basement, but decided it didn’t need to be an issue. Usually I keep it under the kitchen sink. 

Well, the Fly Lady says its bathroom cleaning week and I’m determined to have a clean tub. Plus I’m having company and I want it to look as nice as possible. I opt for trying the Bar Keepers Friend. 

It’s been awhile, so it took a little elbow grease but now my tub is cleaner than I’ve ever seen it before and I’m a happy camper. I proceeded to clean my stove top, my stainless steel kitchen sink, the bottoms of my pots and pans and anything else I can find that I think could use this wonder of wonders. I was like a kid with a new toy, and if you only knew how I feel about cleaning.  

After I’m all done I zip on over to the Bar Keepers Friend website to read their information and I’m convinced that it’s safe and effective. Not like I needed convincing. Even without gloves I still have finger tips and of course all the cleaning speaks for itself.

It’s even recommended by Kohler, a major manufacturer of tubs and bathroom fixtures. Why isn’t the major manufacturer of bathtubs telling you to use Dawn and vinegar? Why aren’t topnotch cookware companies telling you to use baking soda? And there are also companies like Pella, Cutco and US Markerboard endorsing its use, and that’s just a few of many. I don’t think it’s just because they want to sell you a more expensive product. Bar Keepers Friend isn’t expensive! It’s the best tool! 

Using other tools is like having your husband asking you to fetch a screw driver, while you hand him a butter knife. Honestly, I’m not getting paid to say this, but if these things work for you, by all means use what works best for you. But as for my cleaning supply cupboard goes, chalk it up to experience, I’m using the best tools.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

School Supply Shopping

Hope you all had a lovely weekend! The mister was on-call, so we had to hang a little close to home and got some work around the house and yard that we've been wanting to get done.

Yesterday the kids who were in VBS last week, sang at church. It was also a special service because one of our sons confessed his faith and became a member of the church.

I spent a little time working on another baby sweater from the Baby It's Cold Outside pattern like I made before. This time I'm using yarn in a Boysenberry color. Later after it was cooler, we took a walk with some friends.

This weekend I was reminded of the fact that the start of school is right around the corner. Since it was raining today, I've been working on the school supply list.

In the past I've been a little guilty of last minute shopping and a "Let's just get this done," mentality, but this year decided that I really wanted to maximize my savings. Some people may have different strategies, but these are mine.

1. Shop at home first.
I'm a bit of a hoarder when it comes to some of these things. In hunting through school supplies from last year, I decided that I probably don't need to buy any pencils or colored pencils. I must have envisioned needing more pencils last year, but never used them all so I crossed them off my "to buy"  list.

We also have some very nice colored pencils left over from last year. Scissors and pencil box can be reused. I'd purchased some pocket folders and book covers on super cheap clearance around Christmas time. The list could go on a little, but the point is that there are some things I don't have to buy at all because of re-use or an ongoing stash.

2. Buy in advance.
This sort of goes along with the last point. If you find some things on sale or clearance, don't be afraid to snatch them up. The other thing is that you don't want to get part way through the year and have your kid come to you one day and say, "Hey Mom! My brown and green markers are all used up and I need some new ones." So now you have to go out and pay $3.49 plus gas, when you could have paid $0.99 and had them in your stash at home, ready to put in the backpack the next morning.

3.  Do your research.
Nearly all stores have their weekly sales fliers online. There are certain stores that we will travel to once in awhile, but since they aren't local we go online to get their sales fliers. With some stores you can also order online and have something delivered right to the store so it's ready for pick-up when you get there.

4. Going for the best deals goes without saying really. There are also stores that have price matching, so this is also a possibility when you're out shopping. I haven't done price matching too much because we live in an area that's so compact and get to most of the areas fairly often, but for some people this may be a real dollar stretcher.

5. Sign up for e-mails from the stores you shop at often. This is helpful for things like sports equipment or clothing that is going to cost a bit more. Those discounts add up, especially on larger ticket items.

6. Buy quality. There is a difference between brands and I've found this out the hard way over the years. I'm willing to invest in the more expensive back pack if I know my child is going to get more use out of it. Even things like a nice set of colored pencils that make a difference in the quality of  their work, are worth the extra investment. 

*note-post was originally set for Monday, August 4th.