Crochet Machine

Well, 2020 has been full of work, writing, French cooking (including our near-daily routine of using the Sous vied), and more work. Thank goodness for weekends!

This is the third blanket I’ve worked on through the holidays. (Rabbit trail…we go from holiday to holiday and meal to meal around hear. Valentine’s is the next holiday to usher in all the fun spring-party holidays!)

Anyway, I love this pattern! It works up so quickly, and it’s a lovely baby gift. This is the second one I’ve made, recently. The other was for a friend having a baby boy, so it was blue and white. This, obviously, is for a baby girl! I have a week to finish it, so hopefully I won’t have tendinitis by the time I’m finished.

So, if you love to crochet, here’s a great pattern that lays flat, is pretty, and works up beautifully: Bubbles Baby Blanket.

Happy stitching,


No Costume? No Excuses! Dress Decade! Toss-Together Costumes in Your Closet.

People say they never know what to wear for a costume. I always tell people just to look in their closets! Do the best you can with what you have. Most any decade costume can be found in a closet. Here are a few, and more are listed at the end of this blog.

Roaring Twenties:

Ladies: Straight or pleated skirt/dress drop-waist, solid color, a bit of fringe accent, a head band with a feather, long beads/party beads. Done. For a guy: part hair down the middle or side and slick back; wear anything with pinstripes, a fedora, black pants, bow tie, a vest; carry a flask and fake (or real) cigarette. Look up: Chicago Musical; Thoroughly Modern Millie; F. Scott Fitzgerald; Zelda Fitzgerald

T in her cute twenties costume, and me in my zuit-suit ‘30s gangster. The only thing I made was the little red neck tie. Cut cardboard and red satin ribbon around it. Matching red around the fedora. Everything else I had in my closet.

Depression/Dust Bowl Thirties:

Unless you want to go sleek satin and suits for the people who had money, go with anything dowdy and brown. Shirt waist dresses, or button down shirt and skirt. Overalls and plaid. Farmer hats, etc. Look up: Grapes of Wrath


War-time or swing dance era “Bobby-soxer” – fancy hair? Ladies, “victory roll” or curl your hair and pin top half back. Short and flare/a-line skirts; white tube socks sequins bed down and Keds or black and white wing tipped shoes. Peek-a-boo toed heels. Bright red lipstick. Guys – war-time clothes, slicked back hair; pants, button downs, suspenders, trench coats. Look up: Swing Kids film; Pearl Harbor film; Roger Rabbit

My “Tacky-Older-Office-Lady” costume

I never mind making people laugh – with or at me! Loved this super easy costume!

This is one of my favorites! It was “Grandparents” day during one of the many high school spirit weeks I participated in. (As a former high school English teacher, there was at least one week during the year that had dress-up days leading up to the homecoming parade, game, and dance. I was one of those teachers who always participated.)

Everything in this costume, I had in my closet. I went with “tacky older office lady.” I didn’t have the time or desire to temporarily spray my hair gray, hence the kerchief. Anyway, an elastic waist-skirt, leopard print, a bright pink button down that I never wore, and two square pillows under the elastic skirt made up the outfit. One pillow in front and one in back. A few long necklaces. Maybe rolled down knee-high hose.

This costume took the least time and probably had the most laughs. The ladies in the front office had to have a picture, and they said it looked like I had a hernia (that was the bottom corner of the front pillow.) Score!

Axl and Slash

G & R Fans who weren’t dressed in costume went wild and wanted their picture with us: Axl and Slash!

Axl Rose and Slash! I always wanted to do Axl for Halloween, and I finally got to, two years ago. My husband and I had a date night the weekend before Halloween, and we had plenty of events to choose from in the area. An old I (heart) NY t-shirt, jeans, boots, and my very old black leather bomber jacket, with a red head-band, a few chunky chain necklaces (one big cross) and my old aviator Ray-bans: I got to rock out as Axl. My husband’s costume was a curly rocker wig (the same used for Captain Hook in this costume blog entry), a top hat, and an old necklace of mine around the top. Easy.

Grab a PlayStation or toy guitar, and you’re set. G&N 4-Ever!

Black Cat


The most work I put into this was my eye make-up. I bought the gloves with nails at a Halloween store, I’m sure. You can easily buy cat ears and tail for next to nothing. I made these.

More Decade Closet Costume Ideas:

Fifties: if no poodle skirts and black leather jackets are in your closet, guys, toss on a pair of jeans, white t-shirt, slicked back hair, and a small cigarette-sized box rolled in your sleeve! Gals, cropped pants (called petal pushers in the ’50s), a cute top, hair in a ponytail with a scarf tied around it or your neck, and you’re Danny and Sandy! Look up: (seriously? Ok) Grease, West Side Story, Happy Days, etc.

Sixties: mini skirt, shirt, and riding boots! Tease the hair, spray, and done. Guys, similar to fifties, just comb hair in side part and over forehead like the Beatles or Beach Boys. Go hippie look – no bell bottoms? Wear jeans and the ugliest shirt you can find – maybe in Avacado green, mustard yellow, or burnt orange. Look up: (really? Again? Haha. Okay.) Austin Powers, 007 with Sean Connery, Hair the musical (if hippie era), Brady Bunch

Seventies: Hippie era sixties or fabulous Disco! Need I say more? Look up: (ahem) Elton John, Welcome Back Kotter (Show), Brady Bunch, Disco! Saturday Night Fever!

Eighties: Beads. Necklaces. Tons of bracelets. White socks and heels. Big hair! Off the shoulder with a bra strap showing. Mini skirts. Guys: jeans. T shirt. Blazer. Look Up: Miami Vice. Ah-ha. St. Elmo’s Fire. Any Molly Ringwald movie. (Hello, Duckie!) Flashdance. Michael Jackson (before he was weird)

I will stop here. I graduated 1995, and I had a kid come into my classroom in Birkenstocks, jeans, and a Green Day concert t-shirt on decade day, one of my last years teaching. He looked like my Senior year of high school. The first time I saw my decade as a costume! O_o I almost kicked him out of class. (Just kidding.)

Okay! No excuses! You always have a costume at hand if you look in your closet. So…have fun this Halloween season! Always plenty of events to go to!

Happy Haunting!


Costume Making Time

Me as a bat and my parents, circa 1979…and my dad’s hat was the real deal. No costume, but the style of the time. I wish I had that hat, still!

My mom always made my costumes! She was amazing at it. I’ll never forget being fascinated at her drawing my bat wings for this costume using a bar of soap and explaining it was so she could see the line on the black material to cut. She attached it to my black ballet leotard, and I was a bat!

Vintage Captain Hook pattern by Simplicity.
Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and Tinker Bell, Halloween, 2017.
A good shot to see the wings. Peter Pan with a candy face!
The croc. My husband’s idea!!

While I have been putting my own costumes together going back to my college days, and I stitch and sew, this This Captain Hook costume was the first true sewing pattern I ever followed, and it was vintage!

I wanted to use the Captain Hook costume that really resembled the Disney version, and all I could find to put together was this pattern. I learned not to question the pattern or try and figure it out, just follow directions and it all works! I learned how to make sleeves! That was huge.

I made my son’s Peter Pan tunic, which he still wears while pretending to be Peter Pan around the house, from a scratch pattern. I did that first. The sleeves were awkward to assemble and I wish I had done the pattern from the Hook costume, first.

My tinker bell is made from a t-shirt. The wings were the best! They light up and we’re fun to make. Here’s the YouTube tutorial on how to make them.

This year, I am making my second costume from a pattern. Mac wants to be a ninja, so a visit to Hobby Lobby, and here I am! Wish me luck. I’ll post updates and I am going to also post on my other past costume projects. More to come!

Next project: ninja! Simplicity sewing pattern.

Happy sewing!


Pizza on the Joe!

Pesto, mushroom, and chicken pizza going on the Joe!

We love to cook on our grill and smoker! We had two of our smokers go out on us, and this last one was a real problem. It was an electric smoker, and it only lasted us a year. Since we have plans of building an outdoor kitchen in the future, we decided to go ahead and get what will hopefully be our lifelong smoker: a Kamado Joe. It’s a ceramic smoker, similar to the “Green Egg,” but not as expensive. We love our Joe!

This smoker runs on charcoal and it’s also a grill. We have plans to do more baking on it, but up to now, in addition to smoking fabulous meats, we’ve only baked pizzas on the Joe.

Charcoal glow: the magical source!

The best and easiest pizza dough recipe I have found is on, the recipe is here. It only needs a half hour to rise. I add dried basil to the dough, and when I roll it out, I brush it with melted butter or olive oil and garlic powder, otherwise the dough is bland.

The hubby spreading on the butter and garlic

Pesto based pizza

I love how this dough cooks. It holds toppings and isn’t at all flimsy. I have not baked it in the oven, but I imagine if a pizza stone is used, the effect would be the same.

Pepperoni going on the Joe
Now that’s a pie!
Our version of Mellow Mushroom’s Magical Mystery Tour pizza.

We live in a fairly rural, coastal area. There isn’t a Mellow Mushroom anywhere around us, so we cook to recreate some of our favorite restaurants’ signature dishes. This pesto, chicken pizza is my husband’s favorite!

We set our Kamado Joe to 450 and set the stone in 10 minutes before the pizza. Then, we cook the pizza 7-10 minutes. Then, it’s pizza perfection!

Happy Cooking,


Rosemary Gone Wild!

I’m like my rosemary plant: we love the sand and the sun! They say you should plant rosemary by your front door for luck. Mine is in the ground, as close to my front door as it can be, in my front flower bed. I love the smell, but I think of it as a winter herb to be used in marinating meats and cooking in stews…mixing into potatoes. What other uses does it have besides drying it and cooking with it?

Rosemary, rosemary, and more rosemary!

A lot. Here are a few I’ve tried.

Stovetop Potpourri: Right now, my house smells amazing! I love to put water and herbs on the stovetop to simmer and fill my house with amazing fragrances. I have a rosemary and lemon concoction on now, and it’s so clean and refreshing!

Leaves from our lemon tree and rosemary

I love lemon in my water and drink it throughout the day. We have a baby lemon tree in the back yard that has produced a few lemons, so while I used some lemon wedges in today’s potpourri, I like lemon in my drinks, so I took some lemon tree cuttings (minus the barbs!), and set those to simmer.

Other Uses: I plan to make a few wreathes for indoor use, and I have also set some in small jarred bouquets around the house, and I made a few sachets.

I am looking forward to trying different projects and recipes. How do you use rosemary in your cooking or in your home?

Happy Harvesting,



It’s Halloween My Pretties: Costuming Time!


Who doesn’t want to pretend to be a kid again? Take a break from “adulting” for a day, or an evening. Whether you like to plan and make costumes, visit the pop-up Halloween seasonal stores, or your local WalMart, Target, or craft store in pursuit of the perfect costume, everyone has a closet in their home full of clothes. Regular, every day clothes. If you have a last minute costume party or event, and no costume, go to the closet.

My favorite “closet costume” was my “Grandparent’s Day” costume from my teaching days – Homecoming week had dress-up days for each day of the wee, but this would be a great costume for Halloween, too. I decided to go “tacky office worker” and wear mismatched clothes, carry a cane (formerly my granddaddy’s), and shove a pillow under my skirt.


Much of this look was completely unintentional, but I will use it again, someday. I put a square throw pillow in the waistband of my skirt. The elastic pushed it in so that my figure truly shifted! I didn’t realize I looked like I had saggy boobs until I went to the main office and the ladies who worked the front laughed until they cried. I was told the square corner at the bottom of the pillow looked like a hernia. Now, the purse and the separated pearls had belonged to my grandmother. I didn’t have time to get gray hair spray to color my hair, but I think baby powder would’ve worked. I just wrapped a scarf around my hair. And, yes, I did walk around all day with a scowl. I was a grumpy old office lady! 🙂

This next closet costume was so simple: black! Add ears and a tail, maybe a little makeup, and you have a black cat costume. I made the ears and tale, but you can always buy a set at a party store. CVS or Walgreens may carry them close to Halloween.


The gloves had finger nails on them already – I found them and they’re actually witch gloves, but they worked okay as claws. Heavy eye makeup and eyeliner jumps up the dramatic cat look. I didn’t do the nose and whiskers, but if you do want to create the look, use an eyeliner pencil, and color the underneath part of your nose around your nostrils, and lightly draw a few whiskers on your cheeks.

There are a slew of easy DIY “closet costumes” available. Check out your character or idea and google it and “DIY” and then go look in your closet. You always have the option to be a ghost, after all, if you have a white sheet!. A white sheet also transforms into a toga, or wrap it around you and go as an Egyptian (my 4th grade Halloween costume). Got a trench coat? go as a detective or Sherlock Holmes (my 9th grade last minute Halloween costume).

My brother is pretty creative at costumes, especially last minute numbers. Can you guess who he is?



Granted, he comes by the beard natural, but if you guessed Chuck Norris, you’re right. He grabbed one of my dad’s old karate belts and a hat, and there you go. (That is my St. Paulie Girl costume I made…a little more description and how to for another post.

Pick up vampire teeth at a drugstore, and yes I have seen them at CVS at Halloween – I bought them – and rock the subtle, “modern-day” vampire look. 😉

The point is, my Pretties, is you have no excuse! Tease that hair and go 80s, cut the neck out of an old t-shirt and rock Jennifer Biles, Flashdance 80s look. Wear jeans, boots, and a flannel and be a cowgirl or cowboy. The possibilities are endless and so is the fun.

Happy Haunting,