How to Crochet Wide Pompom Trim

How to crochet wide popcorn trim

The second adorable shirt Heather bought had fringe on it and the phrase, “Life is Beautiful.”  When we were shopping, I loved how she walked right by the snarky shirts and reached for the ones with encouraging messages.

Fringe shirt 1

The swingy fringe fit her playful personality perfectly.  But the first time we washed it, it unraveled and tangled.  Boo. (The screen print looks worn but it was made this way on purpose, so it’s still smooth and soft.)  Read more

How to Repair a Screen Print

how to repair a screen print

Before school started, I took my middle school daughter shopping for a few cute shirts that would help her feel confident at her new school.  She had previously been homeschooled, then attended a small Christian school for 5 years before moving to a large public school this year.  She was going to have enough things to be nervous about, and I didn’t want clothing to be one of them.

how to repair a screen print 1

The first shirt had a large screen print on the lower back that said “love” with a smaller matching print on the front pocket.  After the first washing it looked like this, sigh.  I didn’t keep my receipt or the tags, or it would have gone straight back to the store. (The front pocket still looked perfect.)  I tried to convince Heather that the worn look was “cool” but she didn’t agree and pronounced the shirt unwearable.

How to repair a screen print 2

I had some white acrylic craft paint in my stash, so decided to try painting the words back on with a brush by hand.  I could have taped it off first, but I have a really steady hand and didn’t want to take the time.

How to fix a screen print 3

Before painting, I slid a scrap piece of foam board (cardboard would have worked too) inside to keep the paint from seeping through to the front of the shirt.  It would have been a disaster if I had skipped that part. Then started painting.  I got a few drips of white paint on the navy blue shirt, but had rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs on hand to quickly clean up any accidents.

How to fix a screen print 4

It looks almost like new, especially from a distance.  The painted texture is a little stiffer, and the flakiness of the screen print is still there under the paint roughing up the texture.  I’m a little nervous about how it will wash with the screen print the way it is.  I’ll update you as soon as we give it a try.

I’ve used this paint for stenciling on clothing before and it washes well after it’s cured.  I will cure it by letting it dry for 24 hours, then ironing it with a steam cloth before washing.  When Heather came home from school and saw it, she was really happy!


How to Fix Pilled Clothes

I’m cheap, I’ll admit it publicly.  I love getting a great deal on clothing and if you compliment my outfit I’ll say, “Thanks!  It only cost $5!” Or something equally embarrassing.  Most of the time I won’t even have the good sense to be embarrassed.


While I know I’m cheap, and I’ll gladly TELL you I’m cheap.  I don’t want to LOOK cheap.   I keep my clothes years and years without paying much attention to trends.  I like what I like.  But when what I like gets pilled…now that I don’t like.


When I was a teen, I had a battery operated depilling device that was worthless.  After that failure I gave up on removing pills, concentrating on buying clothes that don’t pill often–100% cotton things and higher quality brands (from the clearance rack, ROSS or the thrift store.)  Recently I noticed my higher quality brands are pilling–and some are manufactured with pills already on them.  They call it slub knit.  WHY?!!!!!!

Sweater farm

My search for depilling fabric renews! I tried a razor (a daisy pink) and it worked pretty well. It removed the pills as long as I kept cleaning it out.  The pills had to be taken off the garment with a sticky lint remover, but it disconnected them really well.  If the fabric was delicate at all, or got a wrinkle in it, the razor would leave a tiny hole.

conair depiller

There are “sweater Stones” and “depilling combs” but I finally took a risk and purchased another battery operated depiller.  If it weren’t for the glowing reviews I never would have done it.  Technology has changed in the last 20 years.  It may look the same as the old depiller but it didn’t behave the same.  My clothing looked like new when I was done, and it collected all the lint into it’s own reservoir.

It works better on bulky knits like sweaters.  The finer knits need more passes and to be held perfectly flat.  The reservoir needs to be cleaned out frequently so it doesn’t get too full and clog the head.

Have you tried any depilling methods?  Did anything work well for you?




Help! My Child is a Clothing Snob

But first, I want you to know that I’m visiting at Stacy Makes Cents today.  Come along and find out the secrets behind my crazy low grocery budget. After you leave a comment on this post of course :).

Help! My child is a clothing snob

A child might be a clothing snob if:

  1. They reject second hand clothing
  2. They determine the quality of an item by it’s name brand
  3. They determine the quality of an item by it’s price
  4. They beg for clothing the family can’t afford
  5. They have a closet full of clothes (that fit) and nothing to wear
  6. They think sales are embarrassing
  7. They think once a style is sold at insert any store here, it’s out dated
  8. They would never shop at insert any store here
  9. They judge another person’s value by what they wear

The thing about clothing snobs is they have low self worth.  They don’t believe they are anyone special apart from their clothing and that’s the main issue to combat.  Making them feel guilty about the naked kids in Africa won’t do it, though that can be a project once self-worth is restored. They might have caught the wrong message of worth from a bully, an advertisement, or a TV show.  However it happened doesn’t matter, the important thing is to make sure they recognize their own value (and also the value of others.)

They are of worth because God made them in His image.  He loved them so much that he gave  them their free will.  Then left his throne to die in their place in hopes that they might use their free will to choose Him.  No piece of clothing can change their worth.

As you are building a proper view of self, there are other things you can do.

  1.  Try giving them their own clothing envelope and let them use it to buy their own clothes.   For this to work, you can NOT bail them out.  If they spend it all, they’ll need to earn the money on their own to meet their clothing needs.
  2. Donate their excess clothing to a good cause.  Such as the dress project or a local ministry.
  3. Sew dresses for little dresses for Africa. Or for babies born sleeping.  Or knit hats and scarves for the homeless and here.

There’s something about volunteering and serving that heals the soul.

This is day 21 of our series 31 Days of Kids and Money

Affording Kids Clothing

Affording Kid's Clothes

My mom sewed my clothes when I growing up.  Most of the time it was good.  There were moments when I wished I looked like everyone else, but it was pretty cool to get to design my own stuff.  AND I learned to sew a bit along the way.

I sewed my own kids’ clothes for years…it was a tradition I liked carrying on.  I did it on the cheap, recutting cast off clothing and using clearance bin fabric.  At some point while homeschooling, having 6 babies and working 3-4 jobs at a time on the side, I ran out of time.  Some of the kids were getting old enough that they had opinions about what they wore.  I might spend hours on an outfit, only to have it rejected during the final fitting. Sewing lost it’s charm for me.

Thred up Tag

Now we shop more at thrift stores, where the girls can try on stuff.  ThredUP gives us the convenience of thrift store shopping at home. We love that Old Navy clearance has prices to rival thrift stores and online sales around holidays that make their whole stock accessible.  Forever 21 has some of the trends the teens crave (after you sort through the WEIRD they also carry) at bargain prices. Discount shops like Ross, TJ Max, Burlington, and Marshalls fill in the gaps.

I tried shopping at a huge consignment sale once.  I was pregnant and tired and the crowd was overwhelming.  I thought the prices were high.  I could do better on clearance racks and I was so under impressed that I never went back.  That was 8 years ago. I have several friends who still go every season and score great deals.  Every thrifty method isn’t for everybody, and that’s ok.

There are times in my life where sewing exactly what we need still feels easier than running all over town looking for something specific, but if we are looking for general items for a particular season, it’s really fun to bargain shop.

My two girls have different shaped bodies and different personalities and style preferences.  We don’t hand down as many clothes as we used to between them.  Since we get their clothes so inexpensively, we sell what they can’t use anymore at yard sales and use the money to replace the clothing.

When you sell at yard sales and buy at yard sales, you can dress for free.

One of the best ways I like to save on clothing is to host a HUGE garage sale twice a year and invite friends to bring stuff.  Then I can shop from what they bring.  I have some stylish friends who price their stuff cheap.  This August was a huge win that way.  (I scored 2 Vera Bradley purses for $.50 and $1.00 each and they hardly look used!)

We pass clothes down through the boys as much as possible.  I have purchased more for the toddler than usual since 3 boys have worn the clothes over a period of 10 years and they are worn out.  Crumbling elastic, pilly fabric, ripped knees–worn out. I also shop for the oldest–who has no one to hand down to him.

envelope system

Clothing is the hardest budget for me to stick to.  We do cash in an envelope but I only get $10 a month per person, which is also supposed to cover shoes.  That really doesn’t cut it, so I supplement that budget with garage sale income, and online sales. My ideal budget is $200 per year season for the ones that don’t get passed to, and $50 a season for the others. We’ve never quite had that much, but a girl can dream.  If I finish a month with money left in the envelope, I remove it from my purse and put it in a clothing envelope in the safe. That way we can save up for bigger purchases later in the year.

It’s possible to be thrifty whether you sew it, buy it new, or buy it used.  How do you prefer to save money on your kid’s clothes?

This is day 20 of our series 31 Days of Kids and Money


Frugal Weekend Shopping from Your Sofa

A friend of mine shared a gift card with me to ThredUp.  I’ve been hearing about them, but never checked it out before now.  I looked around their site and was amazed at the selection of stylish stuff for thrift store prices.  Some of the items are brand new, some are gently used.  Each description is clear on what you are buying.  If there is a flaw, it’s clearly described so you can make an informed decision.

I picked out 2 dresses, a pair of studded skinny corduroy jeans, and a tunic top with a fun leaf print.  After my gift card savings it was shipped to my door for around $35.

Now here’s the part I wasn’t expecting:

polka dot box

Polka Dot Box

Polka Dot Promise

Cute little note on the inside flap.

Enjoy sticker

Tissue gift wrapped and sealed with an enjoy sticker.

Stuff Thred Up

There’s my stuff–it’s clean, inspected, and tagged.  Definitely not a thrift store shopping experience. (Ever feel like you need a good hand washing and maybe a shower after shopping at a thrift store?)

Thred up Tag

Thred Up Tag Back

Part of the reason why I ordered a few new clothing items is I’ve gained 20 pounds since I became ill last December.   I chose things that would fit me now and still look nice when I find healing and get my body under control.

Black Lace Dress

This is a stretch black dress (I brightened it and messed up the color so you could see the cool detail.)  The star burst style is Very figure flattering and the stretchy fit means it will still look great even if I get smaller again.

Studded Courderoys

Navy Blue Studded Corduroys.  I heart studs right now.  The low rise cut means they still fit in my old size (because of my hormone imbalance I’m only gaining weight in my middle area and my thighs and hips are staying the same size.) These are probably the highest quality pair of pants I’ve ever owned.


This leaf top was listed as a dress, but it is just a few inches longer than my bum.  It is an adorable tunic top to wear with my white skinny jeans and a belt to accentuate what’s left of my waist.

Sun dress with yellow belt

The last item I bought was this yellow belted strappy dress.  I thought I would be a safe choice since it is an empire waist, but it wouldn’t zip :(.  This is tucked in the back of my closet as inspiration to keep making healthy food choices.  Heidi might borrow it while I’m working towards being able to wear it.

Overall, I’m thrilled with my whole experience with ThredUp and will definitely shop there again.  If you’d like to try it, here’s a $10 gift card to get you started.  If you shop with that link, not only will you get $10, but they’ll send me $10 too :).

Feeling Blessed and Free Baby Crochet Patterns

The readers here are amazing.  One of you sent my son a pair of shoes so I wouldn’t spend the money left in my clothing budget, even though the money was there.  She wanted me to get a head start on our 200 ways to save $100.   Another reader emailed to ask me what sizes the kids are because her friends are always looking for places to pass down clothes.  And our family worship group has taken turns bringing us dinner for the month of October after we found out our foundation needs help.  It’s more than we deserve.

Heidi and I crocheted a few baby hats over the weekend for the Women’s Clinic.  Thinking too much about myself and our drama is a pathway to depression.  So we decided to break the cycle and do something for someone else.  We used this free pattern:


Hat picture belongs to

The hat worked up super fast.  We could make a hat in less than an hour all while visiting together and building our relationship.  My niece got in on the action too. There’s nothing as much fun as making something for a baby! And doing it with friends is even better.

And then I crocheted up this little peacoat for my new niece or nephew. By adapting what I learned from making the girl hat above I made a matching hat inspired by this one.  I also made a little tie onesie to go inside the jacket. It  is meant to help the mother feel the joy of the blessing that is coming in the midst of the overwhelm of daily life.  Sometimes at the beginning of a pregnancy it all feels surreal and can be overwhelming when there’s already a house full of children.  Holding something for the new baby helped me feel a connection to the new life.  And hearing the heartbeat helped a bunch too.  So even though the new baby isn’t due until May, we are giving the little package to the mother tonight.

Baby Boy Crochet Layette

 I had so much fun with these projects (all from stash too–so no new money spent) that I started this sweater for Grant:


I had gathered all the supplies one week at a time, using a 40% coupon for each skein of yarn and have had them for awhile.  I plan to make the brown part on the arms a lot shorter to match the length of ribbing on the rest of the sweater and am using YouTube videos to learn all the little parts of knitting (like how to cast on and SSK.)

Now that I see this list of projects, I see why my house is a wreak.  Forehead slap.

We have settled into a routine with dinner at a table all together and homework in the one room left with furniture in it.  Sometimes there are more stories and laughter than progress on homework, but it’s happiness to be spending time together as a family again. We are resting from projects and just living.  Next week we have 3 foundation companies coming out to give estimates.  Until then, we are finding a new normal in our space.

I’m starting to look forward to cooking again.  I gave myself a head start by putting a breakfast casserole in the slow cooker last night.   Darren said I could assemble a few of our lower cabinets if I wanted to put some of my dishes away on the main floor.  That sounds like a good plan to me :).  I’m gathering a list of crock-pot breakfast recipes and autumny foods that can be made without an oven. I’ll post on what turns out well.


Sew a Child’s Painting Smock: Tutorial

In an effort to save money on school supplies, I’m stitching up a painting smock for Brandon, the Kindergartener.


I started by following this tutorial.  It is excellent!  I made some changes since Brandon is too big for this size and I didn’t have any oil cloth in my stash.

I did a quick search at for oil cloth–just to see if I could justify the cost.  They have adorable prints averaging $15 a yard.  You only need 1/2 yard of fabric to make this, so $7.50 for a cute paint smock isn’t too bad. (But you’ll need to order extra stuff so you can get free shipping :).) Hobby Lobby also has some cute laminated fabrics in their decorator aisle and 40% off coupons available.  If you bind the edges with bias tape, you can wash it (The glue holding the fabric to the vinyl will wash out and separate the two layers without stitching them together in advance.)

Since I’m trying to do this without spending, I put my thinking cap on and remembered I had some clear vinyl in my stash.  So I layered it with a cute cotton print for the same waterproof effect and no money out of pocket!

Materials Needed:

1/2 yard of printed cotton

1/2 yard clear vinyl

4 yards of double fold bias tape

2 inches of sew in hook and loop tape, cut into two 1 inch pieces

1.  Cut a rectangle 40-44″ (selvage to selvage) by 17-18 inches wide. (Straighten your half yard of fabric and see what you have left.)

2.  Fold it into fourths and use a t-shirt to trace a neck hole.  I used a pencil and traced following the seamline underneath.  And cut it out.  While it is still folded round the lower corner (on the opposite edge–none of the rounds should be over a fold–I messed this up the first time.)




3.  Open up the rectangle and place it face down on the vinyl and trim it–giving yourself about 1″ extra vinyl all the way around.  Pin it with hair clips to keep from making extra holes in the vinyl.


4.  Now baste the two pieces together on the machine.  It helps to sew with the vinyl side up and if you have a walking foot, definitely use it.  Mine is broken, so instead I reduced the pressure foot tension a little and reduced the upper thread tension from a 5 to a 2.  (This kept the lower fabric from gathering up as I sewed.  It also helps to have room to lay your stuff out flat to the left of the machine.


5.  Don’t forget to baste around the neck hole too.  Then trim the vinyl to the same size as your fabric. It looks best if you trim very close to the basting stitches cutting both the vinyl and the cotton.  This makes sure your basting won’t show after you bind it.


6.  Bind everything with bias tape.  I used a triple zigzag stitch to make sure I caught everything well. I only had narrow bias tape in my stash, but would have preferred wider stuff.  Mine was super vintage–$.45 a package!  And I’m not sure, but I bet they don’t come with 4 yards in a package any more.


Stitch #8 is the triple zigzag

Stitch #8 is the triple zigzag

7.  Measure 9″ down from the shoulder fold and place velcro or a button on each side to hold it together. I zigzagged all the way around the velcro outside edges.


All tucked in his school supply bin ready for the first day of school.


Thrift Store Finds

I took a short break one day last week and ran to the thrift store by my home.  I took with me a trash bag of donations.  There wasn’t a lot–a king duvet cover; a nice woman’s shirt that was too small; a curtain rod and a pillow.  They gave me a 30% off your entire purchase coupon to use that day and a 20% off coupon for another time.  Woo Hoo!

I was looking for a new purse in a spring color.  A pair of jeans that didn’t scream, “I’m a mom of 6.”  And anything I might be able to wear for Easter–also Easter things for Heidi.

I found:


A tankini top that fit wonderfully.  It was $2.99 regular priced.  I have a whole bolt of black swimsuit fabric that I got at a garage sale that is begging to become matching bottoms.


A bag of plastic fruit.  This is the realistic kind that mature ladies use in bowls on their counters–not really meant for toys.   But I bought it for toys since it looks so real :).  Regular price $1.99.


This one is hard to show without modeling, but it’s an amazing tank top with a draped neck and ruching and studs on one shoulder.  It still had the brand new tags on it.  Regularly $7.99.


I found both these bags.  One will be the perfect spring purse ($4.99) and the other holds my scriptures for church ($1.99).  So fun that they are the same color but one is printed.  I haven’t had a new scripture bag since I was 12. Turns out they also match my diaper bag–it was meant to be.


Then I found this adorable top that will be perfect for work. $7.99–seems brand new.


And not sure what happened to the picture, but I also found a pair of jeans (Maurices) in low rise boot cut ($7.99).  It’s hard for me to wear skinny jeans when boot cut does such amazing things for my figure.  But I did get a lighter wash this time (mainly because it was my only choice, lol.) But it does look nice and Springy–although the darker wash was more slimming.

I did search for Heidi but came up dry.  She’s a hard one to buy for.  I found her Easter dress at Target (see previous post for pictures :).)

Easter Sunday

I’m not very good at taking pictures and don’t have a shot of their Easter baskets.  I bought plastic bucket style baskets at Walmart for $.97 each. They look just like ice cream tubs but say Happy Easter and have spring things on them.  I intended to sew covers for ice cream tubs I already had on hand, but I decided it was better to be cheerful and sane and have dinner on the table.  (My 10 year younger self would have made a different choice, lol.)


The tubs were all the same so I bought a different color of plastic grass for each one.  They will turn these items in in the morning and I will stack everything into my spring bin for next year so I don’t have to spend the money on it again.

Heather Easter 2013

I filled their tubs with:  silly string; bubbles; assorted chocolates from Dollar tree; Easter theme pencils; matchbox cars for the boys; and hair stuff for the girls.  They had choir practice early this morning so instead of hiding them, I stuck them right in front of their faces so when they woke up it was the first thing they saw.  It was very effective–almost more fun than a hunt.

Heather and Heidi Easter 2013

The Easter photos are on the porch at Mom’s house.  Heather’s dress came from Costco ($16.99) and Heidi’s came from Target ($20.00 on sale.)  We also bought Heidi a skinny belt to got with the dress and she wore her shoes from last year.  We would have all been happier if Heidi’s dress was about 3 inches longer.  Hello, Designers.  Are you listening? It was 3 inches longer than the other dresses being shown.

Angela and Darren

I wore a skirt I ordered from Kohl’s when they had 20% off their sale prices plus free shipping.  If I had shopped for it in store I wouldn’t have purchased it because the fabric is so thin that it shows every lump.  I had to iron my slip because the wrinkles from being in my drawer showed through! I love the stripes though.

The tank has lace at the top and bottom and was from my maternity pile (though I don’t think it is a maternity tank.)  The sweater came from Target last week ($15 on sale.) And the shoes I’ve had for years but rarely wear them since they are linen and I’m afraid to get them dirty.  I wore these footbed sock liners with them instead of hose and they were very comfortable all day and not at all sweaty.

Heidi and Heather

It’s hard to see but I found a huge coral stone necklace at Forever 21 that was the inspiration behind the sweater and them some white stone earrings in a similar style at Target.  Anyway, this is probably the most I’ve purchased for Easter–we usually sew and don’t go for jewelry much, but it was a nice change of pace this year.

Grant Hunting Eggs

The boys weren’t into dressing up and since I’ll being buying Brandon (5) a black suit in June to be a ring bearer, we held off on the new stuff right now.

We had a lovely service at church with the children’s choir and adult choir providing ministry.  Darren was an advanced greeter (code name for the security team) so spent the service standing outside wearing an ear wig to make sure that everyone inside was safe.  That left me juggling the children and I’m glad I sat in front of my brother who could grab Brandon by the neck when he got squirrely after I left to take Grant out.

Dub and Grant

After that we headed to my mom’s with my brother and his family for a roasted chicken dinner with scalloped potatoes; homemade rolls; fruit salad; lettuce salad; cheesy broccoli; green beans; and 3 kinds of dessert.  Plus all the chocolate candy we could want.  And I didn’t cook any of it, although I did set the table with my Sister in law’s help.  (Does that count for anything to keep me from total slacker status?)


It rained a lot yesterday, so Mom planned an indoor egg hunt.  Each child had a unique color egg to hunt for.  That way we could hide the eggs simply for Grant and super challenging for Heidi.


After the egg hunt we sat around in the living room and took turns talking and napping until the evening was well on.  The children spent the entire time playing out in the yard leaving the house quiet and perfect for adult conversation.  Interesting that not one of them came in muddy after all the fuss of having an indoor egg hunt, lol.

Happy Easter to you and your Family.

Jesus is Alive and is preparing a place for you and me, our loving advocate with the Father who has won the victory!