a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Simple Dresses from a Bedsheet

In the late 50's and early 60's,                                
(when I was in the shape to wear  them!) 
Belted Sleeveless Pencil Dress
A classic dress
from  a half century ago
simple sheath dresses were in style. 

Times have changed (along with my size and shape) so today, being creative and frugal cheap,  I am going to introduce you to the SHEET dress.

In the mid 60's the tent or trapeze
dress came into fashion. I had this actual pattern (and even in this size).

I have just discovered "vintage" patterns (40s, 50s, 60s) are making a comeback in the pattern books---at about $16.00 each.  A pattern similar to this 50 cent one may be among them.

I like loose dresses for summer wear --- at least around the house.  They may not be cool in the fashion sense but I find them much cooler than pants in the practical sense. 

Sew So . . .

I was at  our local fabric store this past week, hoping to take advantage of their 50-percent-off one-cut-of fabric-coupon.  Ha!  Even at their half-price, the cost per yard was more than double what I was comfortable paying.

My next stops were the thrift shops!

I found a cute full/double size floral patterned sheet for $2.00 and a bright yellow with print border queen set for $3.00. All, while used, in excellent condition with the added bonus of being softened by washing and drying.

There is enough material  in this $5.00 worth of fabric to make
dresses with lots of  left over for other projects! I might use some
to make crib sheets for our  expected granddaughter.
I have a tent-style dress that fits well so I laid it out and drew around it, making my pattern. Besides being cheap I am lazy so I thought creatively and laid out the pattern so the hem of the sheet became the hem of the dress!
Except mu-mu  type, not nightgown type

I have a previous thrift-store-purchased sheet I have been using as a summer tablecloth.  It is bright sea blue with large, also bright, tropical fish. It is about to become a dress also---possibly one with an gathered neck similar to the one shown here.

Flat Sheet Measurements 

(Keep in mind that a yard of fabric, no matter what  width, is 36 inches in length so even a single flat sheet provides a little over 2 yards of 39-inch fabric.)

Sheet for single bed - 39 inches wide by 75 inches long
Sheet for double (also called full size) is 54 inches wide by 75 inches long
Sheet for queen bed is 60 inches by 80 inches
Sheet for king bed is 78 inches by 80 inches

Think what you could make with flannel sheets! Pajamas, Diapers, Crib Sheets and More . . .

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Healthy Cold Drinks for Hot Days

Our long Winter is finally over 
Our Spring was fleeting 
Summer is in full Blast

Dave volunteers at a horse ranch in the therapy portion of a program for addicted boys. 

Since I have never mentioned horses on this blog before (except for the rocking horse cake which you can find in the cookbook sidebar) I will answer the question before you even ask.  

No, Dave didn't know anything about horses before he started helping out but----he did know a lot about addicts!

He comes home hot and thirsty.  I have been raiding our freezer* for refreshing beverage combinations.

It has been fun coming up with winning combinations on my own --- using what we have on hand.

Fruits Stock Photo

In their seasons, when fruits and vegetables are readily and cheaply available, both from our garden and those of friends,  local farmer's markets or fruit stands,  I  freeze some for future use.  

Our freezer currently contains 

Banana slices -- both very thinly sliced and sliced about 1/3 inch thick. 
Peach and cantaloupe chunks
Watermelon puree
Orange slices
Lemon slices
Tomato puree
Pomegranate seeds
Spinach leaves
Kale leaves
Cilantro-stuffed ice-cubes
Also a variety of green, red and yellow green peppers, zucchini, etc.
Plus a five-pound of pebble ice (the type that is used in meat section displays) that I have divided into 2 cup portions in zip-lock-type freezer bags.

Note: I forgot to add that I usually include one or two large dollops of my simple and foolproof homemade Greek yogurt in each of our drinks.   You can find that recipe here.  http://thecreativecheapskate.blogspot.com/search?q=greek+yogurt

We have just started making full use of our bounty in this way and the possibilities are endless.

Banana slices, cantaloupe chunks, orange slices, apple juice with chia seeds blended in for extra nutrition

Cantaloupe chunks and apple juice, garnished with a few frozen grapes dropped in the glass before serving.

A blender is necessary ---- make sure the lid is on tight! I usually keep a hand on the lid also . . . just in case.

Use whatever combinations and measurements appeal to you.

I look at this next one as an occasional treat that doesn't sound so sugary when the blender full is divided among several glasses.

Lemon Cooler --- Wash one large lemon. Remove a slice from the top and bottom of the lemon and discard. Remove 1/2 to 2/3 of the rind from the lemon and discard it, leaving the rest of the rind intact. Cut lemon into thin rounds and remove seeds. Place slices in blender container. Add 1 cup granulated sugar. Fill container with crushed ice. Add cold water to fill container 3/4 of the way. Put on the lid, holding it firmly in place, and blend on high until smooth. Serve immediately.

My next attempt will be a V-8 (vegetable) type drink.  I imagine (and hope) it will turn out like a gazpacho smoothie!

I offer more simple drinks  under  beverages  in the cookbook sidebar. 

Side note:  44 years ago I wanted a blender for Christmas.  Dave felt it was one of those "things" that would sit on the counter and collect dust but he indulged me.  

'Nother note: It is not necessary to buy one of those $300+ Cadillac models.  Most reasonable blenders will do the job.

'til we eat again,
           I am Simply, Gail ---and I try to keep everything simple