Saturday, October 22, 2011

Gardening Tips

One day I was driving by a door-making company. I saw lots of sawdust and bags and bags of it. I stopped and asked about it. It was free! My son and I gathered about three bags and with the help of two men placed them in the car. We tipped them. It always helps to tip people in those type jobs because it means a little bit more money in their pockets and they will be happy to see you the next time you go by.
We placed the sawdust in a special place so it would have time to rot. Also, my husband likes to add organic material. So when he finishes oranges and such, I slice them as thin as I can so those scraps can mingle with whatever else is out there, lettuce, cucumber skins, potato peelings, and, of course the sawdust . We also throw dirt on top of the pile from time to time.
That soil, which we moved to a flower bed, is so rich that anything grown where the sawdust and other organic material is located, is bigger than similar plants in other parts of our yard.
IMPORTANT CLUE: If you have children and they are watching this type of lifestyle, they, too, when grown, will take care of their money and attempt to live a practical way of life.

Old Linens

Another project which has given me great pleasure is recycling old linens. If your creative mind is not working as quickly as you would like, go to a fabric shop or a book store and look at magazines that tell you about old linens, their care and their uses.
I have found crocheted pieces in New Mexico, lovely linens in estate sales and have also acquired lovely old pieces from my mother and mother in law. Of course the older folks are pleased you are interested in their linens. And I am thrilled to have them to work into my home.
The most obvious thing I’ve done is taken a round doily and placed it on a white background and made a round cushion out of it. I also found some crocheted squares in New Mexico which I took and sewed on to the bottom of a piece of waffle cloth. Voila! Linen towels for my bathroom.
Possibly the most creative and most pleasurable thing I ever did with old linens was to piece some and make an old timey summer vest, which I can wear with a dress or with a skirt. The back of the vest advertises a Rice product. It was a rice sack my mother had saved up and never used. The front of my summer vest has bits and pieces of her embroidered work. I also sewed ribbons diagonally to separate the linen scraps. I used colored ribbons for an additional color. Charming is what friends call it. I think of it as a piece of my mother. She is still “has my back”.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Working on Your Wardrobe

An effective and economical way of dealing with your clothes is the concept of working on your current wardrobe.
When I was in college I hired a dressmaker to make me a sundress using really good cotton fabric. When I began teaching I wanted to use the dress but it was not a practical garment to teach in. So I took out my scissors and cut off the bottom part of the dress, (it was a full skirt on the dress) and made myself a skirt to be worn with a simple blouse. Great result and no money spent as I already had the thread with which to sew.

While going through my mother’s things when she passed away, I found a beautiful blouse from Europe made with a batiste that behaved like a fine silk. The only problem was that a moth loved it too and ate a tiny hole near the shoulder seam. I brainstormed by myself as to how to utilize the blouse and I came up with this idea. I took some fine cotton lace and sewed it on both shoulder seams. Voila! I own the most beautiful blouse. Lace on the front, on the sleeves and on the shoulder seams. Mother has been gone twenty years. I hope she is looking down and saying something like…”she’s still wearing my blouse” and smiles as she notices.