Category Archives: Vintage Materials

Thomas Fabric Cake Topper


I probably mentioned this before but two of my kids and myself have birthdays three days in a row in December. Even with extensive planning, trying to make the most of the kids’ days while still enjoying mine is a bit overwhelming. Every year I keep trying to make it easier and less stressful for me. So when my son again requested a Thomas birthday cake I immediately knew I was not going to spend hours decorating something. My foray last year into the more “simplified” decorating plan of using a character cake pan(Lightening McQueen) wasn’t the easier choice I thought it was going to be and not something I wanted to repeat. I have a finite amount of hours and I’d rather spend them enjoying him as he enjoys his day rather than dealing with frosting.

So I had the idea to make a vinyl-encased cake topper. Basically I bought a patterned sheet at Goodwill(for $2 and made two items out of it)and close cut a Thomas character from the fabric. If I had had some fray stop it would have been nice to use it but I’m rather cheap about buying supplies so none of that stuff here. 😉 I then cut two squares of vinyl. I had purchased a roll of high quality clear vinyl at Walmart years ago with the intention of making removable covers for our sunroom screens to keep the room more comfortable in the winter but I never got around to it before we moved. Anyway, I washed my squares of vinyl and then sandwiched the fabric between and sewed around it and cut outside the seam line. I was trying for an oval but since I was in a hurry I failed at making it very oval-ish. It didn’t really matter though since I layed the fabric decoration on my iced and raked cake and then piped a wide shell border around it over the stitched edge so that it was a true oval and around the borders of the cake. I then sprinkled the piped areas with blue colored sugar and surprised myself with how impressive it really looked. It was easy enough(with a circle cake)to slip the knife under the decoration to cut slices so that we could enjoy the look of it longer than simply removing it altogether to cut.

And I thought I had a picture of the cake decorated but alas I do not see it on my data card. Oh well, you will have to use your imagination. 😉


These have the added fun of being reusable. Simply wipe off with a soapy towel and dry. Paper and print-outs from the computer could also be used instead of the fabric to get exactly what you want.


And more diapers


You are so sick of posts about diapers right? I have more interesting projects coming up. Right now I’m dealing with a need issue as my toddler has outgrown all her medium diapers and has only 12 large diapers. That’s too few for my liking. So I again copied Motherease and made a paper pattern of the One-Size style diaper.

I had a $2 cut of stretch terry from the thrift store that yielded 3 diapers and overnight soakers . I used a pink t-shirt for the binding and they turned out not too horrible. 😀

Just wanna say again how much I prefer snaps over velcro. When babies are small, the velcro is fine. As they get to be toddlers they like to undo the velcro just for fun. It drives me crazy. But these will be overnight diapers so we shouldn’t have that issue since she’ll be sleeping in them.

Cloth napkins from a vintage sheet


One of the easiest projects to make from old bed sheets is cloth napkins.

I found a green floral beauty at a yard sale and paid $.10 for it since the middle was completely worn through.

I cut the best parts into 9, 15X15 inch squares, double folded the edges and stitched.

Super easy and frugal!

~Also in this picture: half a dozen gray t-shirt napkins, half a dozen white dot napkins obtained at auction for  $1, and half a dozen black dot napkins made from a cut of fabric I got in a birthday present fabric basket~

Nut Milk Bag Tutorial


It’s absolutely insane what companies are charging for nylon mesh nut milk bags. I wasn’t about to pay $11 plus shipping for a piece of serged nylon so I rummaged in my clothes to recycle bin and came up with the perfect item for recycling, a fine mesh 100% nylon vintage negligee robe.  These can be had very cheaply at thrift stores and yard sales. Mine was free. I washed it in hot vinegar water to remove any detergent and oil residues and then began my project.

First, draft a pattern. Draw a box 14.5 inches high by 13.5 inches wide.

Mark the center line along the height. Cut out the box and fold along the center and then along the width. Unfold. Mark a curve between the side center and bottom center folds. Cut. Your pattern is ready. 🙂

Cut two pieces from your nylon. I weighted the pattern down and used my rotary cutter because nylon likes to shift.

Serge alone the top of each piece to stabilize.

Then put the pieces together and serge along the outer edges, leaving the top serged area open.

If simple is ok for you then you can call your project done right now! I wanted to add a drawstring and to strengthen the bag by french seaming.

So, turn the bag inside out and use your sewing machine to encase the serged edge inside a 1/4 inch seam.

Now fold the top serged edge over 1/4 inch and then again 3/8-1/2 inch. Sew around the top, leaving a 3/8 inch gap to  insert drawstring. This “hole” will remain so be sure you’ve back stitched at the beginning and end of your top seam.

Use a safety pin to thread a length of nylon ribbon through the casing and out the hole again. Knot.

Your bag is ready!


For Almond Milk:

Soak 1 cup of raw almond in water in the fridge overnight.

Drain water and put almonds in blender. Add 3 cups of water.

Blend until nuts stop rattling around.

Place open nut milk bag over a bowl and pour milk into bag.

Pull drawstring and lift over bowl. Squeeze bag gently to remove milk from pulp.

Refrigerate milk and remove nut pulp from bag. Rinse bag in warm water and air dry.


My bag worked fantastic and the whole milk making process(even the bag rinsing)was fast and easy!

Casting on, garter stitch and binding off


Yep, that’s what I learned during my lunch hour today. Someone recently gave me a knitted dishcloth and I loved it so much I began shopping around hoping to buy some.  Wow, they’re expensive! So I bumped up “Learn to knit” from the bottom of my to-do list for this year. Of course, I’ve tried learning to knit several times so far in the last 15 years but never seriously or with a project in mind. So off to YouTube I went and within 15 minutes I was knitting! I only had an old $.35  thrift store skein of acrylic yarn and a set of #3 needles someone had given me. But here’s what I got done during my lunch hour:

 Here’s a close-up:

And of course, I really liked it and I’m thinking I’ll get addicted!

 Lucky for me I’ve been sitting on a $25 gift card to Michael’s crafts. I know they sell knitting stuff so I’ll be picking up some larger needles(6 or 7) and cotton yarn this week to start making dishcloths.

Satin Tote Bag with Pintucks


I made two of these as conference bags. My mom and I went to a ladies’ weekend and there’s always a lot of carrying things to and from the conference rooms so I like to make a new bag each time we go. It’s been years since I’ve been to one so it was fun to make them again!
These are completely lined and about the size of an average office folder. I used a pair of vintage shank buttons as a finishing touch.

More Vintage Buttons!


I never seem to find any buttons at thrift shops and yard sales so my collection is very tiny. But I did find a couple of bags of assorted vintage buttons at a thrift shop on Saturday and paid $4 for them.
I apologize again for the rotten pictures. My camera is on its’ last legs and nothing I do seems to produce good pictures anymore. 😦
The standard buttons:

The shank buttons:

And some unusual, maybe valuable ones:

I have never seen a button like the black one in person before. I’ve seen plenty online and I don’t know what they’re called but after 20 years of sewing and shopping thrift and yard sales it’s the first I’ve actually seen. The silver buttons are very old. They are stamped with the Seal of Oklahoma and 1907. The backs have a center seam and loop shank. They were probably off of a state worker’s uniform(heavy blue thread is still attached to one button) and probably not as old as 1907 since that was just the year Oklahoma was incorporated as a state. They are old though!