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Blog Pattern Digital Organizing – using Pepperplate

Have you ever heard of Pepperplate?  It’s a free program/app for your phone and computer that is used to organize recipes and then to create meal plans.  I started using it and it’s great – not that I’m meal planning more but it’s an easy way to organize all of those recipes I find on recipe sites and blogs.  And you can drag pictures of the food into the pop-up window so that you can see what you might want to make, too.  As a visual person, this is great!

The best part about it is after I import a recipe into it – then I can print it out onto a page without the rest of the blog or website stuff printing too – I just get the recipe all nice and neat.  And then it can be added to my binder of recipes cause I like cooking from paper more than my computer.  And, with the cell phone app, if I see something on sale at the grocery store I can look through my recipes in the program and know exactly what  else I need to make this great English Fruit Cake beyond bananas!

See, the top picture is what the page looks like to normal print, the second is what it looks like in Pepperplate.  Nice!

pp 1

pp 2

After looking for a pattern for a pretty chevron afghan pattern (I’ve been wanting a pattern for a large chevron, not the little ripples from the 70’s) and reading a comment by another reader asking for a way to print it with just the pattern printing… it occurred to me.  Pepperplate!

pp 3

Yup – you can use the recipe site to organize all of your blog finds of patterns!

(And this is a great large chevron – she says they are about 8 inches wide!  So, click on the picture to get to the original blog pattern!  And yes, I’m hoping to get one of these made for my living room!)

There are a few tricks… and I’m happy to share as I think this might change how I organize all of the patterns I save for use at some point in the future. And at this point – I have enough patterns saved on my computer to make one every week for like – forever.

The first step is of course to get a Pepperplate account and install the bookmarklet on your toolbar of your web browser.  The program is free and easy!  Then, put the app on your smart phone.  I’ll assume that you can figure this out and if not, their help section is pretty useful.

How to Use Pepperplate for Patterns (or recipes)

  • Highlight and drag.  You can use your mouse to highlight text and then click and drag it into the Pepperplate window.  Do this for the title, ingredients/materials and directions.
  • Click and drag the picture.  If you click and drag on a picture in a blog, most of the time it will drag into the picture square on the first page of the Pepperplate window.  Sometimes this doesn’t work, so I think click on the image and save it to my computer.  Then, after I have the pattern/recipe saved I can go into it on the Pepperplate main page and edit it and upload the picture from my computer.  Not sure why this happens but it does and is easy to fix.
  • Edit on the Pepperplate main page.  Go to the main page of the Pepperplate site and edit your recipe/pattern.  You can fix stuff up and most importantly – add categories to it.  There is a trick in that – type the section you want, like “crochet” but to populate the category, add a coma after the word.  It will then go into the field.  This will allow you to search by afghan, sweater, potholder, casserole, dinner… whatever.  MUCH easier to do this when starting your collection than after you have 100 recipes in it.  Trust me.
  • Adding dimensions.  In the “yield” box put the size of the finished project.
  • Add the URL to the original website to the “description” box under the title in the edit mode. This will help in going back to the site to check comments or for updates – plus to find whatever other amazing new patterns/recipes the site might have now!
  • Print from the Pepperplate site.  After you’ve imported your pattern into the program, edited it to clean things up to what you need, now you can print!  It’s a nice clean print and isn’t cluttered with extraneous stuff from the original website that you didn’t want anyways.
  • Cell phone access.  The best part of this hack?  Just like with recipes, if you install the app onto your smart phone, now you’ll have your pattern collection with you at the craft store! Which means you’ll no longer wonder how many skeins of yarn you need, you can review your private notes for a pattern while at the store.  It’s easy.  It’s free.  It’s a great hack.


Baby Bib Give Away!!!!!

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Eleanor in her bibIsn’t she cute?  8 months old and LOVING food.  Especially MANGOS.  I have no idea why.  But seriously, you’ve never seen a baby so excited about any one particular fruit.  It’s funny!


And because she needed bibs, I decided to make a FEW bibs.  So, I pulled out the fabric that I had (much of it donated or yard saled) and started cutting out.  And, as I tend to like to cut out a bunch of anything at one time and then spend weeks sewing… well, I cut out a few.  Just a few.  Like as in enough for 35.


My idea was to send bibs to people that I know who have or are about to have little babies and would be able to use and appreciate bibs.  Part of my “Pay it Forward for the rest of my life” plan.  So, about half of these are already spoken for.  The rest I planned on putting in my stash to use as baby gifts to people I know or don’t know in the future.


The pattern I used was the Bapron bib pattern that is currently for sale for $6 at Craftiness is not Optional blog.  I saved the pattern a couple of years back when she still had it up on her blog for free.  Even at her current price – it is a good price!


I also made ALL of the bias tape used in all of the bibs.  First, you should know that each bib needs about 2 1/2 yards of bias tape.  Each.   Yes, you did the math correctly.  That is over 80 YARDS of bias tape that I made by hand.  80.  Yards.  I got the fancy Clover Bias Tape Maker and bought flannel fabric…. and realized that flannel doesn’t work in bias tape makers.  So, 2 yards of flannel had to be ironed into tape.  By. Hand.  Sigh.  At over $2 for a 4 yard packet of less than wonderful store bought stuff in boring colors… I got 20 yards or more from each yard of fabric that I bought for $5.  So, I saved a bit of money ($5 vs $10 for store bought) but it is MUCH prettier!   And really – not that hard!  It was almost fun all of the ironing while listening to NPR (which is what I do most of the time when I sew).


I bought normal fabric for the edges and really, small print is best.  The browns and purple came from Walmart of all places (about our only local option and I wasn’t going into the city any time soon) but worked up really well and was a surprisingly nicer weight fabric.  But, because my brain is a bit slow on baby sleep, I had to resort to on-line tutorials to figure out how to make the tape.  To get the most tape out of a yard of fabric, I used this tutorial at Whipstitch Fabrics to cut the fabric on an angle and then sew it to the other side – so the entire yard of fabric can be cut into strips on the bias.  But, they then wanted it to be cut all in one long strip and honestly, drawing lines on the fabric and then pinning and then cutting – blah… too much!  So, after I got my yard cut and re-sewn the right way, then I switched over to Dana Made It and used her tutorial on how to cut the strips and then sew the strips together once they’re all skinny.  For me – much easier!  Plus, Dana has a fab description of what bias tape is and the different types of makers and sizes and… good basic info!


As I was sitting in my little space sewing, I was thinking about the year past in this house of ours.  You see, this past weekend was our 1 year anniversary to move into the house.  It wasn’t done (still not entirely finished – still no steps out the back doors and some trim still needs to be painted) but it was time and I was hugely pregnant and not fitting so well into the RV any more and…  We were so relieved to be back into a real house.  We still are.  And we are so grateful to the huge number of people that helped us get back to this state of “normal”… Part of my  “Pay it Forward” campaign is to have give aways just because.  To share the love with people that I don’t know just as people that didn’t know us helped me helped during my time of disaster.

bibs give frontsm

So, I am giving away these two bibs.  (Above and below pictures – they are the front and back shots.)  Both gender neutral so good for little boys or girls.

bibs give backsm

To enter, please comment below, be sure to include your email address.   Please tell us what random act of kindness you’ve done recently.  Big or small doesn’t matter…

Like me on Facebook at Life on the Clothesline  and then leave a comment on the contest post on FB for an extra entry.   If you already follow me on FB, please leave a comment on that post, too.

Contest closes May 19 at midnight.  That’s two weeks.  Please tell your friends and share the love.  More importantly, be kind to each other and help when you can.  Even if you never hear the words “thank you”  it doesn’t mean that your actions didn’t matter.   Thanks to you all…

Sewing Closet

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Welcome to my Sewing Closet!

This was supposed to be a normal closet for a bedroom… but I knew from the beginning that I wanted something different.   I always do research and had looked at a LOT of other peoples sewing/craft/office closets and pinned them to my Sewing Space Ideas board on Pinterest.   Click on the link for lots more ideas that I have found!   I knew that this was the answer.  I wanted it because it was tidy and because then the sewing room could also be the guest room.  (And as it turns out, it was also for 3 weeks the chicken brooder room.)

And you know what?  It’s my favorite sewing space ever.  Why?  Because everything is organized right there.  Easy to reach.  Hubby took a long corded power strip and plugged it into the light inside the closet so that the entire set up turns on and off with the light switch on the wall.   (Our electrician couldn’t understand why I wanted a light in a little closet… I now wish I would have had him put in a bunch of outlets on the back wall instead of this power strip but oh well.  Next time.  🙂  It also just works well for sewing.  I have enough light, enough cubbies to store bobbins and scissors and… and it’s just pretty.


So, this is the left side.   The white shelf I got at the thrift store for $5 and then painted it.  The pretty print in the back of it – cardboard covered in wrapping paper from the $1 section at Target covered in clear contact paper!  I used the same method to make the trash can (below a few pictures) and I just love it.  It goes with my paint color.  The shelf brackets – normal white brackets that I spray painted red before we installed them.  They’re there anyways, may as well make them fun!  And the owl thing kind of evolved.  I never liked owls until my friend Edna started pointing them out… and then I made a Pinterest board for owls.  And it kind of happened.  Then, I found the green owl (next to the pictures) at the Target dollar section for $2.50… and it had to come home.  It holds my seam ripper, pens, chalk pencils…. that sort of thing.   The picture to the right of the owl is my great gram (of Gram’s Cookbook) when she was in her early 20’s…


This is the wall to the right.  Because the master bath shower water is all on this wall, we didn’t want to put any nails or anything into it for fear of busting a pipe.  The owl I found in the craft section at Walmart… And the magnetic dry erase board.  That was a challenge!  I tried using the sticky pads that came with it, but after a few months, the board came off of the pads.  However, the pads stuck to the wall and then when I tried to take them off it took the paint off too!  So, my suggestion – don’t use the sticky pads.  If you have a narrow space like this  you can do what I did.

I used a tension curtain rod and then ran that through chip clips!  These are Oxo Good Grips clips that conveniently came in red!  My husband again refered to it as “girly carpentry” but really – it works and was easy.  So there.

And the silver hook on the bottom of the board is magnetic and what I use to hold my tiny thread scissors.


So, back to the first picture – you’ve already seen my fancy thread holder.  To the left of that is the bar with purple cups on it – to hold scissors and tape and whatever I’m needing at the moment.  Below that is the magnetic bar (Ikea) that I use to hold my little metal boxes.  They hold all sorts of doo-dads.  The first shelve above – dish pans from Walmart!  Super cheap (and red) and fit just right.  Great for projects in process.  The shelf above is the fabric box cubbies.  I would like to say that we planned the height of the shelves so that this would all fit but… ya, it was totally a happy accident!  And then the top shelf holds yarn bags and scrapbook paper and other hard to store stuff.


I use lots of buttons, magnets, and other things… like my sewing tags for my bags.  Keeps things accessible and organized at the same time.  Plus, who doesn’t need a small can of Spam?


Down below, I have my trash can.   And my sewing stuff box.  Very exciting.

trashbox together

But, the trash box?  A friend of mine gave me this box (I asked for cereal boxes as I use them in shipping my clothespin bags)… and while it is a cereal box, it wasn’t the size that I needed.  But, it was a great trash can!  And for a long time, it was just a cereal box that I used as a trash can.  But, then I had to make my sewing closet all pretty for you all to see… so I finally got around to gussying up the place.  The same thing – wrapping paper and clear contact paper.  Easy peasy and now it matches!


So, of course, I need fabric storage and that doesn’t fit in my closet… so out into the room we go.  A nice cabinet that I have fabric and I optimistically thought would store all of my fabric that I would keep in the house.  Ah well, a girl can dream.


Then we added the tall closet next to it.  And while it looks like a lot of fabric, I’ve gone down a good bit and am making lots of stuff still…  A lot of that fabric was donated after the fire or fabric that I find at thrift stores.  Though, I do admit to having bought some of it.  And I use it and plan on using more… currently I’m making baby bibs but after that is done, then aprons and closet safes and coffee bag wallets (tutorials on all of those to come!) and…. so many plans and so few naps from the baby!

I hope you’ve all enjoyed my little sewing nook tour.

Have a lovely day!

Thread Organizer

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This post is a tease.  I’m only posting my little sewing thread organizer idea.  The rest of the sewing closet will come later.




Isn’t this cute?

Any idea what it is?

A wooden silverware drawer organizer tray!   On it’s side!

Yup.  I spray painted it red, then glued the little metal hangers on the back with my trusty E6000 glue.  I didn’t nail the hangers on because the wood of the tray is so thin it would have cracked and just been a mess.  Plus, this is easier.  And, because the paint and the glue off-gas a LOT and it smells terrible in the process, I let it air out for over a week outside on my porch.  Then, I used the paper idea to identify where the hangers were, taped the paper onto my wall where I wanted it and then put two little nails (one for each hanger) on the wall… and hung my fancy thread holder!   (My husband refers to this as girly carpentry but I prefer to think of it as not needing a man.)

Ta Da!!!!!

This is what it looked like before I added the very fancy pretty paper to the part on the right.




Another stunningly simple yet pretty tutorial for the sewing closet will come your way tomorrow or soon there after – depending on what the baby decides!

Have a lovely day!



Stationery Sets

So, living in the RV doesn’t afford me much extra space.  And yet, the crafty gene is still a strong component of my life!  So, you might be wondering what I’ve been doing all of this time…

I’ve been making stationery.  I know – NOT fabric.  But, with no place to keep the sewing machine set up, it’s just hard at this point.  I am thinking that perhaps in the spring I can set the old Bernina up on the table outside… but I’m still not sure about that.

These paper sets are used children’s books.  I take the pages out and use the pages to make the envelopes!  Then, the cover is used to make the set case.  The rest of it is scrapbooking paper and cotton writing paper.  I think that they’ve turned out looking pretty nice!  And yes, this is all my very own idea.

They do take a bit of time to make as they are entirely hand made, but I am hoping that people will think that these are the perfect gift for the book lover who still writes old fashioned letters!  I have 3 sets for sale in my Etsy shop and 5 sets in a local book store in Bastrop.

If you’re still shopping for holiday gifts (I know that I am – I’m even still MAKING a couple but they have to stay a secret for now…) there is a blog that has lots of ideas and links of where you can buy hand made gifts.  I don’t know about you, but I’d MUCH rather support local artisans than a factory in China!

What are you giving for gifts this year?  Are you ready yet or just getting started?  One of my favorite blogs, Unclutterer, has a holiday gift giving guide series for those of us who don’t want to add to useless STUFF of our loved ones.  On her latest post, it talks a bit about stocking stuffers… Maybe a bit of mental food for thought when you’re trying to figure out what Santa will bring this year!

Clothespin Apron GIVEAWAY!!!!

So, as mentioned before, I’m GIVING AWAY this pillowcase clothespin apron!

What do you have to do?  Either follow this blog by RSS reader, the email signup on the right, or on Facebook.

Then, post a comment telling me how you’re following.  (If you are already one of the amazing people who follow me – please tell me that you are!)  Only those who comment saying how they are following me will be entered in the contest!

I’d also love to know what you’re planning on using the apron for. …

And that’s it!  I’ll mail it out to the lucky winner as soon as the contest ends… on SEPT 5, 2011.

This is listed in the Someday Crafts Thursday Giveaway link up – and it has close to 100 other giveaways going on right now that you can sign up for, too!  Just click on the logo below…

Please tell all of your friends!!!  Good luck!

Pillowcase Clothespin Apron Tutorial

I’m SO EXCITED to share with you my latest creation!!!!

This is a clothespin apron made out of a PILLOWCASE!  No, really!

Do you love it?  Because, you’re in luck!  You can make your own!  I’m giving away this tutorial for FREE!

The beauty of this pattern is, the only thing you need (besides the normal sewing machine stuff) is a pillowcase and some thread.  That’s it!  The pattern makes use of the entire case, there are only a few tiny scraps left when you are done making the apron!

And, the apron is double thick – so it’s nice and sturdy.  It is great for clothespins but also for picking beans, gathering eggs, collecting nuts, craft projects – lots of stuff!

Apron specifics:
– should hold about 150 clothespins
– about 15 inches wide
– about 14 inches tall
– straps are about 32 inches long each

What, you don’t sew?  Well, you’re in luck, later this week, this apron, the pink and yellow floral one, will be offered up for FREE in a fabulous GIVEAWAY!  But, you’ll have to come back later to enter…

Interested in buying one pre-made?  I have the top two aprons for sale over on my Etsy shop!

So, before offering this tutorial up for you guys… I had a couple of sewing friends give the tutorial a run through.  My friend Edna, a sewing NOVICE, made this pretty apron!

And my new friend Inder, of the fabulous blog Inder Loves Folk Art, made this over the weekend too!

My HUGE thanks to Edna and Inder for helping me get the kinks of the pattern.

So, speaking of that pattern…

First, please respect all of my hard work on coming up with the pattern and then putting it all together.  I hope that you make a ton of them, give them as gifts, sell them at local craft fairs and farmers markets… But please, do NOT sell these on line.

As a stay at home momma, I’m trying to make a few extra dollars while here at home and selling stuff on Etsy is how I’m doing it right now.  I know that many of you are in the same boat!  The original reason for this blog was to promote my Etsy shop (though it has turned into it’s own creature recently) with the hopes of making a few sales.

Thanks for understanding.

On to the tutorial… it’s a PDF file and you can download it here:

pillowcase clothespin apron tutorial final

If you make up an apron, pretty please with sugar and chocolate kisses on top, send me a picture?  I’d love to feature it on the blog!

Have fun and happy clotheslines!



Vintage Spring Rocking Chair

My good friend, Edna, and her daughter, Ava, were down a few weeks ago to visit.  Edna and I escaped the house without the girls and went to a few yard sales.  The first sale I hit gold!  The girls posed for us – they loved the chair from the beginning too!  Rosie is on the left, Ava on the right.

For $20 I bought this very cool platform spring rocking chair.  By that I mean that the feet never leave the floor and the seat part rocks on the feet by springs under the seat.

The cushions look new, and the colors are along the same lines as the rest of living room, so I have no intention of changing that, at least for now.

But the wood?  I REALLY don’t like dark wood … so knew that it had to be changed.   Because of all of the groovies and cranies, I opted to use spray paint instead of a brush… and ended up with Krylon Burgundy Gloss.  I had to take the fabric bit off of the chair underneath the cushion because we couldn’t figure out how to spray paint it and not get it on the fabric.  So, with 1 million brads and staples, that took some time.   While working on that, we discovered that one of the wire springs supporting the cushions was broken – so Russ had to do a hill billy fix to it… it works but I’m sure that anyone who upolsters is having a fainting spell right now.

Still, I think that it turned out really pretty!  It’s not perfect by any shot, but for $40 including the paint and the chair, I think that it is a GREAT addition to my living room.

I love wooden chairs, love they are so much cleaner (and I’m NOT a clean freak), how the cushions can easily be changed out as needed/wanted… how they’re super durable.  This one in particular, it’s my favorite chair now.  Just enough rock to keep the biggest figitter happy and make little girls smile.

Happy Sunday!!!

Salt Spout

OK, so when I saw this I immediately thought – well, duh.  How clever is this?  This is a super easy way to make a pour spout lid for canning jars – for free.  Perfect for sugar for your cereal, the office coffee room, baking soda for cleaning… lots of options!  And, I am betting that it wouldn’t be too hard to take some scrapbooking paper or a bit of wrapping paper and pretty up the top a bit, too.  Or even get creative with some markers… so many ideas!

Many thanks to My New Old School for letting me share this with you!  Her blog is full of fun old timy things – kind of like this blog!

Clothesline Fabric and Kits

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So, I was at a local quilt shop this morning, Once Around the Block in Giddings TX, looking for fabrics to match my vintage tablecloths that I’ve recently received to turn into clothespin bags… Such a hard job, this fabric shopping thing!

I had happened to bring one of my lidded clothespin bags with me so that they could see what I was talking about and not think that I am TOTALLY nuts.   A customer who was there saw the bag, loved it and… And I mentioned that I was thinking of making up a kit/tutorial to sell.  This interested lady said that if I stocked them in the shop that she would buy it!  Well, what was a poor shop owner to do but agree to carry my kits?

And, in order for folks to know what they were making, she gave me fabric to make up a demo bag to hang in the shop, too.  My kits will be there on a consignment basis, so she’s not out anything other than a bit of wall space (and a bit of fabric).  The picture above is the fabric that she gave me.  The bag will have the right print on the outside and the middle blue bubble print as a lining… cute, right?  The left fabric I bought to use to make a bag for my mom… shhhh!  Don’t spoil the secret!

Who knew that they have clothesline print fabric?  It’s Elizabeth’s Studio Spic N Span line.  Apparently, it’s been out for a while as I couldn’t find it on equilter and other sites that listed it didn’t have it in stock.  But, while looking for clothesline fabric, I did find this crazy cute gnome fabric where the little gnomes are hanging out their clothes above their little mushroom homes.  I really wish that I knew what to make this in to!

And, then I was chatting with a new friend over at Crafty Girls Workshop in San Antonio and she is also interested in stocking some of my kits!  It’s all so exciting and happening in one day!

SO – in the next few weeks I’m going to be super busy making up the tutorial and putting kits together.  They will be on my Etsy shop, too – so you folks not crazy enough lucky enough to live in Texas can make your own bags, too!