Dec 14

Make your own craft fair dip mixes for gifts or sale. Part 7

Hi All,

This is part 7 of my dip mix recipes.  Besides being great sellers at craft fairs, dip mixes make wonderful hostess gifts.  I make a batch to take with me and bring some dip mixes as a gift.  I have tags that I have created and will be posting those soon for you to print and give with the mixes so be sure and check back soon.

I also have a few more recipes that I will be posting.  If you have one that you know is tried and true and you would like to share, please email it to me and I’ll post it along with all the recipes.

If you missed the other dip mix recipes, you can find them here: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, & #6.


Sesame Cheese Dip

2 T. Parmesan cheese

1 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp pepper

4 tsp. toasted sesame seeds

1 tsp celery salt

1/4 tsp. garlic power

If you need to toast your own sesame seeds, you can do so by microwaving the seeds for about 20 to 30 seconds.

Combine all the above ingredients and mix till well blended.  Place in a zip lock baggie and seal.

To serve: Combine the dip mix with 2 cups sour cream.  Stir till well blended.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hours before serving.  Serve with chips, crackers or veggies.


Bacon & Chili Cheese Dip

1 T plus 3/4 tsp. minced onion

2-1/2 tsp. bacon bits (imitation works well too)

1-1/4 tsp. garlic powder

2-1/2 tsp. Cheddar cheese powder

1-1/4 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

Mix the above ingredients and stir till well blended.  Place in a ziplock baggie and seal.

To serve: Combine the dip mix with 2 cups sour cream.  Stir till well blended.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.  Serve with veggies, chips or crackers.


Spicy Mexican Dip Mix

1 T. minced onion

1 T. chili powder

1-1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1-1/2 tsp. dried cilantro

1-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1-1/2 dried parsley

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

Mix the above ingredients and stir till well blended.  Place in ziplock baggie and seal.

To serve: Mix dip mix with 1-1/2 cups sour cream.  Stir till well blended. Refrigerate covered for at least 2 hours before serving.  Serve with veggies, chips or crackers.


Veggie Dip Mix

1 T. dried chives

1 tsp. garlic salt

1/2 tsp. dried dill weed

1/2 tsp. paprika

Mix the above ingredients and stir well to blend.  Place in a ziplock baggie and seal.

To serve:  Combine the dip mix with 1 T. lemon juice and 2 cups sour cream.  Stir till well blended.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.  Serve with crackers, chips or veggies.

See you next time.



Dec 11

Freezer Paper Stenciled Personalized Shirt – How to create in CorelDraw & cut on your Silhouette

There are tons of tutorials out there on how to freezer paper stencil a shirt so I’m not going to show  you how to do that.  You can see some great tutorials for that here or here.


Freezer paper stenciling is easy and fun to do.  The challenge however is to create your own design and get it sent to the Silhouette cutter.  You can buy designs from Silhouette and when I plugged in my Silhouette yesterday, it said I needed to update. The update was a plugin that would allow me to easily and quickly use CorelDraw or Illustrator and send the design to the Silhouette.  Guess what?  It cost $39.99.

I needed a quick, easy and cheap little gift and I was no way, no how gonna spend $40.00 for that. So I played and I figured it out. It is quick and easy too and doesn’t cost $40.00.

Freezer Paper Stenciled Shirt @

Open CorelDraw to a new page.  Create your design.

I don’t like to think of myself as a cheapskate, rather I’m frugal.  Again, if I need a cheap gift, I don’t want to be spending all kind of money.  If you are familiar with CorelDraw or any type of graphic design and / or the printing process, you know that your graphic needs to be vector. Vector in layman’s terms means if you enlarge and enlarge the picture, you will not see those little pixel boxes.  It will remain smooth and clean regardless of the size.  Problem is that vector art usually costs money.  All I wanted was some simple animal silhouettes but I couldn’t find any for free.  Soooooo I simply used a font.  There are millions of free fonts.  I picked a free animal font from, enlarged it and it worked perfectly.  I created the call out from the shapes in Corel, added my text and in 2 minutes my artwork was done, waiting and wanting to be sent to my Silhouette cutter.

The Silhouette cutter uses a SVG extension but trying to save your design as SVG and opening it in the Silhouette Studio software didn’t work.

There is one simple step in between.  All you have to do is first convert your design to a bitmap and then save that bitmap as an SVG extension.

That is it.  Create, convert and save.  Open your Silhouette Studio, get a new page, and find the design where you saved it.  To find it though, select OPEN, then in the dialog box, select ALL FILES in the drop down labeled FILES OF TYPE.  The design will appear as the image you created.  Now under the OBJECTS toolbar at the top of the Silhouette Studio, select TRACE.  This will trace your design for cutting.  You do not have to remove the graphics.  From here, simply send the design to your cutter and you are done, done, done and you still have that $40.00 they wanted in your pocket.

If you have any questions, holler and I’ll be happy to help.

See you next time.



Jun 16

Simple Stuff on Sunday – Sewing Tips

Simple Stuff on Sunday.  Simple sewing tips. 

  • Templates – Clean once, clean twice, maybe three times but after you do the plastic insert from packages of bacon are the perfect thickness to use for cutting out your quilting templates. 
  • Recycle – reuse.  If you use dryer sheets in your dryer.  Save when done.  Not only are the sheets perfect for dusting in the sewing room, they grab little snippets of thread.  They also work great, after a quick press, for stabilizer.
  • I was recently making a drawstring bag and didn’t have any cording.  I found a bag of athlete shoe strings that I bought at a garage sale.  Once threaded through the bag, I cut off the tips and knotted.  It worked perfectly and looked as good if not better than the cording.  Cheaper too.
  • I have a difficult time when cutting long pieces of bias strips with my rotary cutter.  As hard as I try, my fabric slips and pieces end up crooked.  If I need nice straight bias strips, I now simply remove the thread from the needles of my serger and run the fabric through using the measurement guide.  The cutting knife does all the work for me.  Perfect strips every time.
  • Did you ever think you were oh so lucky that you matched your thread so perfectly to your fabric?  Eek only to make a mistake and now you can’t see the thread to rip out the pucker you just made.  The easy solution is to rub a piece of contrasting chalk over the seam.  This will highlight your stitches making them easy to see and rip out.
  • When sewing pillows don’t pivot at the corners.  Sew all the way off the fabric.  When you are done, cut just above the meeting point and also trim each side a little so that it looks like a point.  Press open the best you can before turning.  This eliminates any creases and ensure the pillow tips are nice and pointy.
  • When make a pillow sometimes it is hard to get the opening finished so that it looks seamless and invisible.  To fix this, close the opening with fusible web tape.

Happy sewing.  See you next time.


Jun 06

Thrifty Thursday – Sewing can be expensive. How I save money when I sew.

Thrifty Thursdays – Sewing can be expensive.  How I save money when I sew.  

I apologize to anyone who looked at this post and found nothing.  I had the post written and somehow deleted it even after I hit the publish button.  Lesson to be learned with this thing called blogging.  Again, I apologize.


I have been sewing for over 35 years.  Gosh that makes me sound old and I’m not, I just started sewing early.  That works, right?  When I started sewing, it was economical to make your own clothes.  I got a higher quality of clothing for a lower cost.  Now days that isn’t the case.  Everything about sewing is expensive.  Fabric is outrageously expensive. Notions cost too much as do sewing patterns.  It isn’t that I no longer want to make my own clothing, it is simply not economical to do so.  Clothing now is manufactured to be throw away.  Styles change too readily and manufactured at a cost that the home sewer can’t compete with.  Therefore, I rarely sewing clothing for myself.


Last week I bought a jersey knit skirt at Old Navy.  It was on clearance and cost  $3.00.   It would take a minimum of 1 yard of fabric to make. This week jersey knit is on sale at JoAnn fabrics for $6.49 a yard.  Luckily thread is also on sale for $4.19 a spool.  If I don’t already have a pattern, patterns range between $9.00 and $14.00 a piece and that is with the JoAnn discount.   I’m now up to $19.68.   If you consider your time to be of any value, you  would add that in too.   It is a quick and easy skirt so if I consider my time to be worth $10.00 a hour, I’m up to $29.68 for the same skirt I just paid $3.00 for.  Personally it isn’t worth my time.

purse1 close

These days I quilt, sew smaller items such as purses, wallets and totes, make gifts and household things.


Because fabric is so expensive, I rarely buy fabric at JoAnn’s.  That is the only fabric store other than a few quilt shops that we have in the Pittsburgh area.  I do occasionally purchase fabric online but usually I pick up fabric from the thrift stores, garage sales and from craigslist.  My local thrift store does not have a huge amount of fabric but they do have bargain Saturdays where all one color tags are only $.99.  I start in the plus size racks.  I look at clothing not as what it is, but rather what could it be.  Obviously plus size clothing yields more fabric than a size 0 in juniors.  I then head to the linens. You would never find me passing up a solid color sheet for $.99.  Sheets give you lots of yardage and can be used for 100 different things.  You can not buy a fat quarter these days for $.99.  Never pass up a sheet set at the thrift store or garage sale.  Pillow cases are great too.  The above pillow cases I got 6 sets of beautifully laced vintage pillow cases for $2.00 at a garage sale.  I gave all but this one set away as gifts last Christmas.  I did the applique and embroidery and everyone who received a set loved them.


I make a lot of wristlets.  All the wristlets shown are made from recycled clothing.  (Stay tuned, I will be doing a tutorial on how to make the wristlets .) Wristlets require zippers and I do not take the time to tear out a zipper – although I do cut off all buttons and reuse.  Zippers at JoAnn’s cost $2.29 for a 8″ zipper.  I buy my zippers from Ebay.  You can get 50 different color zippers for around $10.00.  5 zippers at JoAnn’s is over $11 plus tax.  Getting them on Ebay is like getting 45 free zippers.


Sewing machine needles are expensive too.  Schmidt’s needles at JoAnn’s are $4.99 for 5 needles.  I would never pay that.  I have sewn for over 35 years, I have owned my own embroidery shop and I always use Organ needles.  They work perfectly.  I buy Organ needles on Ebay too.  They average about $12 for 100 needles.


Buying thread at the store would make me hyperventilate.  The spools continuously shrink and if you are quilting, you could easily eat up several spools in the course of one project.  I simply do not have it in me to spend money on little spools of thread.  Never buy thread at a garage sale or thrift store though.  Thread goes bad. It dry rots and you can’t tell this by looking at it.  If you are working on a project and the thread keeps breaking even after you have checked everything 3 times, your thread is probably old.  I buy Isacord thread for all my quilting. Leah Day, the free motion quilting queen also uses only Isacord too.   You can read about Leah’s thread choice here.  General all purpose thread at JoAnn fabrics is $2.99 for 250 yards.  Isacord is about $13.00 for 5000 meters.  250 yards is 750 feet.  5000 meters is about 16404.20 feet. Cost wise,  you would need almost 4-1/2  spools of regular thread to match the cost of the Isacord.  4-1/s spools would yield 3375 feet of thread compared to 16404.20 feet of Isacord for the same price.

Thanks for stopping by. See you next time.


Jun 02

Simple Stuff Sunday – Cleaning your sewing room floor

Granted, the best sewing room would have a nice smooth wood or linoleum floor, something that is easy to sweep and clean but that is not always the case.  I live in a northern state and if my floor was bare it would be too cold in the winter months.  Also I embroider and use industrial machines and carpeting in a room helps keep vibration down and noise level at bay.

If you sew in a carpeted room, here are some tips and tricks to help rid you of the mess of embedded threads and pins.

  • Toilet brush – Obviously get a new one.  I duct tape my toilet brush to the end of an old broom handle and sweep it over my carpeted sewing room floor.  It works like magic.  All thread pieces – even little ones will stick to the brush.  If you don’t pick up your threads and simply run the sweeper over them, you will constantly be replacing your sweeper belt.  Ask me how I know this.
  • If you sew on hardwood or linoleum floors, an old swifter mop covered with a piece of polar fleece works better than a broom.  The threads stick to the fleece and not flying around like they can do with a broom.  Simply throw the polar fleece piece in the wash, the threads will come off and get picked up in the dryer trap. Although I’ve been doing this for years without a pattern. I just cut pieces of fleece and tuck them in the holes of the mop. If you want more directions, I found a pattern for a fleece cover here.
  • Save the scraps from your fusible interfacing.  The tacky surface on the interfacing easily grabs thread and fuzz from the corners in my room.  I also use this to clean the fuzz from my cutting table and mat and my sewing machine and scissors.
  • Number one tip for not stepping on pins – wear shoes or slippers with a hard bottom.
  • If you don’t like to wear shoes in your sewing room, use flower top pins or pins with a large colorful head.  Being able to see the pins makes it easier to find to pick up.


  • If you have a serious problem with pins in your carpet, invest in a nail sweep.  They are about $40.  You can buy them from Amazon or your local Home Depot or Lowes store. You sweep that over the carpet and even lodged in pins come out.

Enjoy your Sunday.  It is ok to sew but not to clean. Sunday is a day for worship and rest.  Clean tomorrow.


May 31

Thrifty Thursday – For the Love of Coffee

I love coffee.  If you also love a cup or glass of delightful deliciousness read on.

I recently read an article on WebMD on the benefits of coffee.  According to the article and the studies conducted:

  1. Those who said they drank more than six or seven cups daily were 35% less likely to have type 2 diabetes than people who drank fewer than two cups daily. There was a smaller perk — a 28% lower risk — for people who drank 4-6 cups a day. The findings held regardless of sex, weight, or geographic location (U.S. or Europe).
  2. Coffee may counter several risk factors for heart attack and stroke.
  3. For women, coffee may mean a lower risk of stroke.
  4. For Parkinson’s disease, the data have always been very consistent: higher consumption of coffee is associated with decreased risk of Parkinson’s.
  5. Coffee has also been linked to lower risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
  6. All of the studies have shown that high coffee consumption is associated with decreased risk of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.

You can read article here.

Now that we all know coffee is good for you, let’s get to the nitty gritty.  Drinking coffee out is expensive.  Even if you only stop for a large specialty coffee on your way to work, at $3.50 every morning x 5 days a week x 50 weeks a year (hey you get 2 weeks vacation that I’m not counting) you would spend $875.00 a year.  Last can of coffee that I bought, the can claimed it yielded 270 cups of coffee.  I don’t believe that so let’s believe it yields 1/2 that or 135 cups – I paid $5.75 for the Clover Valley brand at Dollar General.  I always buy this coffee.  Tastes perfect to me.  That is $.04 a cup of coffee.  If I used the same calculation of only 1 cup of coffee every weekday for 50 weeks, that comes to $10.00 a year or a savings of $865.00.  That, of course, is not including the cost of creamers and sugars.  So here are some recipes for making your own coffee delights at home.


Find the recipe for the Perfect Iced Coffee at the Pioneer Woman. Cold Brewed. This is my favorite recipe for iced coffee.  I promise once you make this recipe you will rush home for your own brew rather than stop and overpay for a store bought cup.

Here are some recipes for coffee creamers.  Not only is it less expensive to make your own but have you ever read the ingredients in a bottle of coffee creamer?  If you did, most likely you wouldn’t be using them. These recipes are inexpensive, do not contain all those unknown ingredients and are delicious. has the same recipe I use for making French Vanilla.  Also included are instructions for making different flavors.

Here is another recipe – Bavarian Mint.

Budget101 has a variety of recipes using sweetened condensed milk and skim milk. You can find them here.

Salted Caramel Coffee Creamer

Cook Eat Share has a recipe for Salted Caramel Coffee Creamer.

Collies Kitchen has invented a copy cat version of McDonald’s caramel iced coffee.

Hope you enjoy some of these recipes.


I never drink coffee at lunch.  I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon.  ~Ronald Reagan


May 29

Wow Me Wednesday – Drab to Fab Sewing Machine Redo’s

Is your sewing machine white and boring?

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have the fanciest sewing machine on the block. With a couple of standard craft supplies and a little creativity,  you will have the grandest machine on the block, neighborhood, state, country, maybe the world!!!  :)

Here is some inspiration and how-to-fancy-up-your-boring-white-machine instructions.

The button machine makes me smile. :)  Hop over to the Quilted Cupcake for her tutorial for decorating the machine. This is an old second-hand machine that she isn’t going to use, it is more for show but I don’t see why you couldn’t use it.  You would have to stay clear of openings and  levers but still doable.

Fabric on a machine!!!!  Like two peas in a pod. Fabric decorating a sewing machine is the ultimate decorating idea.  Stop by Dee Construction for her low down on how to make your own machine this lovely.

If you make a machine like that, do NOT drink any water if you take this with you to a guild meeting or quilt outing.  If you drink anything you will most likely get up to go to the bathroom and when you come back, someone would have stolen this baby for sure, for sure. :) Go to 33 Stitches to see her instructions for making your machine as cute too.

Crafty Confessions used vinyl stickers to add snap crackle pop to her dull white machine.  Lovin the dots for sure.

A Little Off Color did a great job restyling her machine with Mod Podge.


Another creative crafter with Mod Podge in their hands.  I love the old prints and little bit of paint highlights. Beautiful! Stop over Cynthia Shaffer and see how she did it.


What a different a little bit of scrapbooking vinyl makes.  Very elegant indeed. You can read more about it here.

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A member on posted a picture of her charming machine.  (You have to scroll a good bit down the page to find it)

Hmmm?  Not sure which one I like better.  Just kidding, love….love…love the red.  Stitch Nerd does a fabulous job detailing how she painted her old vintage machine.

Another snazzy makeover from drab to fab.  She used vinyl that she cut from her own vinyl cutter but you could just as easily buy some precut letters. Visit Sumo’s Sweet Stuff to read more about it.


May 23

Thrifty Thursday – Homemade Laundry Soap-All The Easy Recipes

Be Your Own Laundry Super Hero & Make Your Own Laundry Soap. 

Easy to do & save lots of $$$. I have collected all the laundry soap recipes I could find. It is an easy way to save a good bit of money. The ingredients are easy to buy, easy to put together, inexpensive and not loaded with unnecessary chemicals that are not good for you nor the environment.  What more could one want?

laundry soap with unstopables

Laundry Soap with Unstopables from Steph Makes Stuff.


This recipe is from Adkinson Drive.  Her recipe includes OxiClean and Purex Crystals.

laundry soap[1]

Whipped Laundry Soap from The White Silk Purse.  Looks good enough to eat.


Peppermint Laundry Soap  by Soule Mama.


One Good Thing by Jillie has a recipe for no grate, no cook liquid laundry soap.


Stacy Makes Cents has an easy recipe for Homemade Liquid Castile Laundry Soap.

DIY laundry detergent

UHow Does She has a nice no grate, fragrant powder laundry soap recipe.

As frugal as you can get. Love it.  She calculated it cost  $0.0107 per load.  Check out the Rural Revolution for her cooked, gel recipe.

I’ve tried liquid (too much work for me), the dry (I like) but my favorite is the whipped.

Join the homemade laundry soap revolution and give one of these great recipes a try. Let me know which is your favorite.





May 09

88 Cents – No Sew Fabric Flowers – Easy DIY

Easy DIY No Sew Flowers just in time for Mother’s Day.

You can not believe how cute and easy these are. I showed my friend how to make these beautiful no sew fabric flowers the other day and this is what she already made. Beautiful!

No Sew Fabric Flowers


These are the easiest, the bestest (new word alert) and fastest DIY  fabric flowers ever.  They might be the least expensive flowers ever too.  I had to spend $.88 at the grocery store for the 100 stems – they were shish kabob sticks.  Everything else I had on hand.

Supplies Needed:

  • Shish Kabob Sticks.
  • Floral tape – if you don’t have, they do carry this at the Dollar Store.
  • Low temp glue gun & glue sticks (I had on hand) *You can use high temp glue guns but you will probably get burned. Just be forewarned. This will also work with a high quality fabric glue if you have that on hand.
  • Scissors for cutting out circles – (completely unnecessary but I used my Accuquilt Circle die – the smallest die is the 2″ circle)
  • Fabric scraps (I made some with scraps and some with old clothing).  What I thought was a fabulous idea, if you had younger children, take some of their outgrown clothing – even better if Gramma bought it for them, and use those for the flowers for Gramma.
  • White Felt – if you don’t have on hand, you can buy at Walmart for $.25 for a craft square.  You can make 50 bases out of one sheet.


  1. Cut out 2″ circles – you need 7 or 8 circles per flower.  If you are hand cutting the circles, perfection isn’t necessary. Crooked cuts work just as nicely as perfect circles.  No fretting over cutting on this project.
  2. Starting  1/4″ down on shish kabob stick wrap floral tape to bottom of the stick. If you have never used floral tape, it is very easy to use.  It is sticky and it also stretches.  Starting at the top of the stick, push tape on the stick and loosen the roll and twist the stick and the tape magically covers the stick.  If you have trouble with that, let me know and I’ll email more directions.
  3. Work with one circle at a time.Fabric Flowers Holding the fabric circle wrong side up, place a teeny tiny drop of glue in the center, on the wrong side and fold together.  It should look like a taco with the right side on the outside of your taco.
  4. Fold your taco in half yet again.  Now you have a quarter of a circle.  Open your quarter circle and put a teeny tiny drop of glue at the bottom, on the fold line of your taco.  This bit of gluing helped hold all the petals in place. Glue Here
  5. Glue the top of your stick/stem in the 1/4″ piece where there is no floral tape. This glue helped the petals stay in place.
  6. Holding the  pointy end of your 1/4″ circle, bunch it together a bit and apply a good dab of glue all around the point.  Place your glued point on the top of your stick/stem just far enough down so that you don’t see the glue.  Continue creating your 1/4 circles and gluing to the stick/stem.  You will want 4 on the top layer and 3 or 4 for a second layer/row.  The second layer/row will go directly below the first, spacing as you think it looks best.  Perfection is not required since it makes little difference in the outcome, the petals can look off or lopsided and once you have glued the base, it pushes everything in place and the flowers will look great. Pinched Petal
  7. After gluing all your petals, cut out a small circle from your white felt.  1/2″ to 3/4″ is a great sizes for the base.  I just eyeballed and cut these.  Again, perfection is not required.  After your circle is cut, cut the circle with one snip to the center. Place glue all around the cut circle.  Turn your flower upside down and place the glued white base directly under the pedals and around the stick/stem.    White Base
  8. You are almost done.  Again, nature isn’t perfect nor is it required from you, eyeball and cut out a leaf.  Place a small dab of glue on the base of the leaf and glue to the stick/stem.  Cut a 4″ or 5″ piece of floral tape and wrap the leaf to the stem of the flower.
  9. Just kidding with the step nine.  You just created a beautiful flower.  If you have any questions, post them in comments and I’ll respond. Enjoy!How to make fabric flowers @