Blogging since 2009, I'm a 1950s housewife to the bone and I love to share what I've learned with others. I'm a lifelong foodie, raised with Sunday dinners at my grandmother's and daily scratch cooking in my childhood kitchen. I'm a nerdy homeschooling mama of 3, and a wife of 17 years.

I drink tea when I knit and coffee when I do everything else.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day!
Day 1 - Skirt Steak w/ Chimichurri
Day 2 - Top Sirloin w/ Homemade Rub
Day 3 -
Rib Eye w/ Herbed Butter
Day 4 - Rosemary Chicken
Day 5 - Top Sirloin Gyros
Day 6 - Kansas City Style Pork Chops
Day 7 - Steak and Mushroom Kebabs
Day 8 - Dad's Hamurgers, 2.0
Day 9 - Top Sirloin w/ Mushrooms
Day 10 - Kid's Lunch
Day 11 - Chicken Souvlaki
Day 12 - S'mores Cones
Day 13 - Short Ribs

Kitchen & Sewing Skills!
Intro - Syllabus
Lesson 1 - Running & Whipstitch
Lesson 2 - Cookies

Summer Home Ec – Week One – Sewing Lesson One

Crafty, Homeschooling, Kids

Our first home ec lesson of the summer was a lot of fun! My daughters are 11 (Helena) and 8 (Daphne) and at different skill levels, however Helena requested to start as a beginner along with Daphne as a refresher. I think that worked out really well for her because she felt more confident and we ended up altering Daphne’s lesson a little to make it less frustrating (and therefore still fun) for her.

Officially, the objectives I gave for our first lesson were; threading a needle, running stitch, and whipstitch. There are plenty of videos on YouTube that show these stitches well, but not in one place and it takes a little searching, so I’m gathering the best videos to illustrate them throughout this series.

Before we began, I set out felt, needles and thread in different colors. They both chose red felt, Helena went with blue thread and Daphne went with pink thread. In the middle of my ‘how to thread a needle’ instructions, Daphne threaded her needle. She was instantly good at it, which is always a nice little confidence booster! So right away, she was into it.


Then I showed them how to do a running stitch and explained to them that it can be used as a decorative closing stitch for stuffies and other cute creations. I also showed them how it can be used for gathering and making some pretty ruffles as well if you gently pull on the end of the thread. This video from Red Ted Art was especially helpful.

Once we began doing the running stitch, Daphne started getting frustrated. I know everyone has different thoughts on this, but just as in our regular homeschool lessons I will backpedal as much as is necessary to avoid frustrating the children. I always, always, find a level of whatever it is we are doing where they are comfortable and start there. Otherwise, they are likely not going to learn anything other than to dislike whatever it is you are trying to teach them. She was having a hard time holding the felt and it was bothering her that she wasn’t able to get her stitches as straight as Helena’s. Then in dawned on me. Where in sewing are all your stitches neat and orderly, even if you’re wobbily with a needle and thread? Cross stitching! Less than 5 minutes later, I set her up with some white aida cloth, an embroidery hoop and embroidery floss and she was a happy camper! Helena continued to work on the fleece with the sewing thread, and I used a ruler and a Sharpie to illustrate stitches that were 1/2″ apart.


Satisfied that they were comfortable with the running stitch, we moved on to the whipstitch. The first example I showed them was actually from an advent craft I made years ago. I closed all the pouches with the whipstitch, and they remembered when I did it. This video from Lauren Fairweather showed a wonderful example of using it to attach an applique and that’s what we used in our lesson! You can do it this way or you can use it to sew two pieces together.

For the applique, I just cut hearts out of a contrasting color of felt. First I explained the stitch, then we watched the video I embedded above and then I showed them how on my piece of felt. They happily started on their own and they each did a great job!


One Helena had finished whipstitching her heart onto her practice piece, Daphne was about 1/4 done and took a break. She did resume this project after and was happy with her progress.


This should be a fun, no pressure summer project. The point of today’s lesson was for the kids to learn to thread a needle, do a basic running stitch and a basic whipstitch. Mission accomplished! Next Sewing lesson will be on Friday when we attach buttons and trims – next home ec lesson is tomorrow though, when the girls will be baking cookies on their own!

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Summer Home Ec


It’s so funny to me how often homeschoolers will pick a whole other curriculum for summer and their kids are so excited! Mine worked hard all year and finished two weeks ago. Now, they are already asking me about the summer school ideas they had. Months ago, they all – even my 16 year old – said they wanted to cook more this summer. Specifically, they all want to be able to do more for themselves and to be of some actual assistance lol. The girls also said they wanted to do more sewing, and to learn new skills.

That’s when I thought it would be fun to put together a fun little 8 week summer home ec program. I have been really inspired by the Great British Baking Show, I love the way they do three challenges (signature, showstopper and technical) in each catagory. I can’t do it that way in a short summer course, but I think that’s how I’m going to deal with cooking and baking for the next school year.

I went through all my kids sewing books and all my kids cookbooks, then I turned to my bookmarks. Then I laid out a timeline and edited it about 15,000 times. ;)

Obviously, you can do this right along with us from June 5 – July 28, or you can do a week here and there, you can mix up the weeks if you feel so inclined. I just thought it would be fun to share a program I put together for the kids, and I’m sure a lot of you will find it useful. I have broken each week down into two sewing lessons and two kitchen lessons for a total of four a week. Depending on your schedule it may work better for you to do home ec weekends or just weekdays. It’s as flexible as you need it to be, but we will be doing our sewing projects on Mondays and Fridays and our kitchen projects on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Every weekend for the next 8 weeks, I’ll share with you my specific ideas for upcoming week. Of course you can substitute your own projects or recipes instead if you like. It’s all a jumping off point to getting inspired. For sewing, I have two kids at the same beginner level, and three kids at two different skill levels in the kitchen. So all the recipes have two options. I will also update as we do these projects to share our progress and I’d love to see if you join us by tagging #summerhomeec on Instagram, or sharing your photos in the comments.

Week One – Sewing Basics and Cookies
  Monday (sewing) – Just the Basics: threading a needle, running stitch and whipstitch
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: chocolate chip cookies / intermediate: gingersnaps
  Friday – (sewing) – Adding On: sewing on a button and trim
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: oatmeal cookies / intermediate: soft sugar cookies with frosting

Week Two – Finishing in Sewing and Making Breakfast
  Monday (sewing) – Finishing Part One: making a hem
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: pancakes / intermediate: french toast
  Friday – (sewing) – Finishing Part Two: Making casings
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: boiled eggs / intermediate: fried eggs

Week Three – Pattern Making and Lunch
  Monday (sewing) – Making it Your Own: Making a simple pattern
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: grilled cheese sandwiches / intermediate: mini pizzas
  Friday – (sewing) – Bringing it to Life: Stuffing and stitching closed
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: chicken noodle soup / intermediate: beef barley soup

Week Four – First Projects and First Pies
  Monday (sewing) – Project One: Stuffie
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: blueberry pie / intermediate: lemon meringue pie
  Friday – (sewing) – Project Two: Tote Bag
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: tourtiere / intermediate: chicken pie

Week Five – Drawstrings and Cakes
  Monday (sewing) – Project Three: Drawstring Tote, Part One
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: simple chocolate cake / intermediate: two layer vanilla cake
  Friday – (sewing) – Project Three: Drawstring Tote, Part Two
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: strawberry cake / intermediate: oreo pudding poke cake

Week Six – Sewing Machine Intros and Bread
  Monday (sewing) – Sewing Machine 101: The Basics
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: basic white bread / intermediate: dinner rolls
  Friday – (sewing) – Sewing Machine 101: Pot Holder
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: pretzel bites / intermediate: cinnamon buns

Week Seven – Sewing Machine Projects and Donuts
  Monday (sewing) – Sewing Machine Project One: Simple Toy Skirt
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: basic chocolate cake donuts / intermediate: basic yeast donuts
  Friday – (sewing) – Sewing Machine Project Two: Custom Pouch
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: cinnamon sugar donuts / intermediate: baked vanilla donuts

Week Eight – Final Projects
  Monday (sewing) – Sewing Machine Final Project: Apron, Part One
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: blueberry cobbler / intermediate: meringues
  Friday – (sewing) – Sewing Machine Final Project: Apron, Part Two
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: fudge / intermediate: baked Alaska

Here are the specific details on what we are doing this week!

On Monday, we’ll be threading a needle, which I think is pretty self explanatory. We’ll also be learning the running stitch and the whipstitch. For this, I’m just using basic needles and colorful thread on felt.

On Wednesday, we’ll be making cookies! The beginner recipe will be this chocolate chip cookie recipe from my grandmother, and the intermediate recipe will be this gingersnap recipe from Food 52.

On Friday, we’ll be learning how to add buttons and trim to pieces of felt! We’ll learn how to add buttons with four holes, buttons with two holes and buttons with the little nub on the back. ;) We’ll add lace, rick rack and other fun trims to felt as well. It really doesn’t matter what you choose, just some kind of trim for practice.

On Saturday, we’ll bake some more cookies! The beginner recipe will be this oatmeal cookie recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, and the intermediate recipe will be this copycat Lofthouse cookies recipe from Your Home Based Mom.

The children and I are so excited to get started and I can’t wait to see and share with you what they accomplish with this project this summer!

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Magnetic Fabric Bookmarks


Today, I’m linking up with Petals to Picots, Sippy Cup Chronicles, Happy Go Lucky, and Chubby Cheeks Thinks.

I had seen a few different tutorials online for magnetic bookmarks, first over at Flipflops & Applesauce and then on Split Coast Stampers but ultimately, it was the beauties from The Southern Institute that inspired me enough to actually do it. Louise from I’m Feelin’ Crafty made an excellent tutorial for The Southern Institute that I deviated from a bit to make my own. I still struggle with my sewing, and it’s no one’s fault but my own – I just need to do it more so I can get better! They came out pretty cute though, I really like them. I will try again after more practice and we’ll see how they look then!

These were super fun to make and a great way to use up pretty and cute scraps. I know pretty much everyone reads on some kind of eReader, but I also know that pretty much every reader has a weakness for the handful of actual books they still have kicking around. A lot of my friends, plus my sister and my dad, have a serious love for used book stores. We also all have a serious love for the library. So these bookmarks were a practical project for us and I hope they are used in place of random subway transfers and bits of paper.

Magnetic Fabric Bookmarks
-scrap fabric
-little magnets
Magnetic Fabric Bookmarks
Magnetic Fabric Bookmarks
First I ironed down the edges of a 2″ x 6″ piece of fabric and hemmed all around.
Magnetic Fabric Bookmarks
Magnetic Fabric Bookmarks
Then I folded and ironed in half, and sewed that side down.
Magnetic Fabric Bookmarks
Magnetic Fabric Bookmarks
Next I placed a magnet circle (attracting ends up!!) on each edge, folded the fabric over and sewed it in place.
Magnetic Fabric Bookmarks
Magnetic Fabric Bookmarks
That’s it!! Then I tried it out in a couple recipe books and did it all over again five more times!
Magnetic Fabric Bookmarks

Drawstring Toddler Pants

Crafty, Kids

I’m linking up with The Tuesday Glam Party, One Project at a Time, Take a Look Tuesday, Tuesday’s Treasures, Ta-Da Tuesday, Tuesday Time Out and Tuesday Tutorial Link Party. Check out some of the amazing projects in these link ups!

I am always looking for sewing practice, and as I’ve mentioned before and will mention again, I’m not amazing with a sewing machine. I mean, I earn the domestic in my title with my oven and my knitting needles, but yeah, sewing is something I’m still figuring out. So, I try to do it as much as possible and hopefully sometimes the things I practice with are wearable or usable! In this case, it is!

Prudent Baby has a serious archive of quick and useful crafty projects and I love to comb though it for ideas, inspiration and a lot of the time, instructions!

Drawstring Toddler Pants

Drawstring Toddler Pants via Prudent Baby
Pair of elastic or drawstring pants that fit your wee one
2+ yards of cute fabric (how much depends on the size of your wee one)
Pins, sewing machine, stuff like that…

Drawstring Toddler Pants
Drawstring Toddler Pants
First, fold the pair of pants that fit your wee one in half and lay them over the fabric. Trace around, adding about 1/2″ for the seam all the way around. Now do it again. Lay them right side facing and pin together.
Drawstring Toddler Pants
Drawstring Toddler Pants
Sew the curves first, down the sides and hem the bottoms.
Drawstring Toddler Pants
Drawstring Toddler Pants
This is the part that gave me trouble, I had to keep checking and double checking that I wasn’t about to sew the front of the pants to the butt, you know? I did it! If I can do it, you can defo do this.
Drawstring Toddler Pants
Drawstring Toddler Pants
Drawstring Toddler Pants
Now for the grommets! You can make an actual drawstring waist or a fake faux drawstring like I did. Snip a wee hole to pop one side of the grommet through.
Drawstring Toddler Pants
Drawstring Toddler Pants
Then punch the other side through with a hammer. So neat!
Drawstring Toddler Pants
This is when I slipped in the elastic and sewed up the waistband, just shy of the grommets.
Drawstring Toddler Pants
Drawstring Toddler Pants
I cut two shortish lengths of nylon cord and knotted one end of each. I pushed them through the grommets and knotted them again. Then I finished off the waistband and I was done!! When I note in the sidebar that I’m struggling with sewing, that’s no exaggeration. I’ve never been very good at it even though in my head (and only in my head) I’m a brilliant seamstress. So this was great news for the future brilliant seamstress I will become. Ha!
Drawstring Toddler Pants
Drawstring Toddler Pants
Drawstring Toddler Pants
Drawstring Toddler Pants
Drawstring Toddler Pants
I think my eager little model likes them! This is Wee One #3 with her creepy Joker smile.
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Homemade Tutu

Crafty, Kids

This week, I’m linking up with Polly Want a Crafter, Motivate Me Monday, Made By You Monday, Make It Monday, More the Merrier Monday, Masterpiece Monday, Craftomaniac Monday, Make It Monday, Metamorphosis Monday, Making the World Cuter, Make It Yourself Monday, and Bedazzle Me Monday! Check out the projects in these links, so creative and so fun!

This is one of those projects that’s only hard in your head, once you actually get started on it you’ll find it’s no biggie and comes together really, really quickly. As long as you can sew, even a little, you’re good to go!

I made this for Wee One #2, but the same instructions apply for an adult, just bigger! She love, love, loves to dress up and run around and cause a lovely disaster in her cutest dresses. Making an inexpensive but adorable tutu for less than $10 makes a lot more sense than dropping $40 on one – especially if your wee one runs into the backyard and rolls around in the grass and/or dirt while playing princess and pirates!

Homemade Tutu

Tutu via Prudent Baby
4 yards of tulle
matching thread
safety pin (I ended up using a hair clip!)
2ft elastic (to fit around your wee one’s waist)
sewing machine duh
scissors double duh

Homemade Tutu
Homemade Tutu
First, fold your fabric in half, widthwise so you have a wiiiiiide strip of tulle that is as long as you want the skirt to be. Now sew a small loop in the very top of all the layers to make a waistband. Then attach your elastic to a safety pin and feed the elastic through to the end. DO NO use a hair clip like I did. It was a bit of a nightmare.
Homemade Tutu
Make sure you sew the end in place once you have fed the elastic into the waistband.
Homemade Tutu
Homemade Tutu
Keep feeding the elastic through to the end, it’ll be a little harder to work with the further through all the fabric you get. The wider your piece of tulle, the puffier the skirt will be. Puffier is always better when it comers to tutus. When you reach the other end, sew the elastic in place and then sew up the two ends to officially make it a skirt!
Homemade Tutu
Next time, I’d use about twice as much tulle to make it even puffier!

Skully Guitar Strap


My husband’s grandmother has always been super nice to me, and has always been helpful when it came to teaching me something new that I really wanted to learn. This past Christmas, she came to my rescue when I brought a kit for a homemade guitar strap that I had bought from Jen Stephens on Etsy along with a bag of skully fabric I bought specifically for the project and a really muddled look on my face. I had tried to make it happen on my own – I really wanted to make it happen on my own but I just couldn’t do it. The directions weren’t the problem I don’t think, it was my reading of them. Once Nanny took control of the situation, the project moved along pretty quickly and about half an hour later, we had a really snazzy guitar strap for one of our dear cousins on my husband’s side. I hope he loved it as much as I loved making it – I may even be able to make one myself next time!!

skully guitar strap

skully guitar strap
skully guitar strap
The cutting and the pinning were for sure the easiest parts. The directions were really clear and it came together no problem.
skully guitar strap
Sewing the fabric to the webbing was also not an issue, thankfully.
skully guitar strap
This is where I started to get a little confused, when it was time to sew the leather to the strap.
skully guitar strap
skully guitar strap
With Nanny’s help though this worked out with just two tries!
skully guitar strap
Voila!! Totally adjustable guitar strap!! It’s a really cool project because you could make it form Hello Kitty or Spiderman fabric depending on who you’re making it for!
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Homemade Makeup and Some Fun in the Kitchen

Crafty, Domestic, Healthy, Pretty

Another catch up post today – and today I posted about homemade makeup again! Yup. Homemade lipgloss this time. First though, I’m trying to update each section with one article a night till I’m caught up and then I can blar, blar, blar on and on about whatever it is I’m obsessing over.

Homemade peanut butter cups are honestly better than store bought ones. The chocolate has a better crunch to it and there is just something satisfying about knowing what’s in your treats – even if it happens to include 2 cups of icing sugar! At least there’s no mystery chemicals that no one can pronounce, right? The wee ones love them, adults love them and if you pick up the molds, they even look pretty close to the real deal.
When I made this soup, I was perfectly healthy. Then just a few days after I made it, I had a horribly sore throat and lost my voice for a week! What?! Who let that happen?! It was awful, but this soup was a great comfort and of course I believe all that garlic and heat made me feel better – even if no one appreciated my awful garlic breath!
I know making a jean skirt from an old pair of jeans is nothing new, but it’s not difficult even with just the most basic sewing skills. Most of the effort in this project is in the ripping out of the old seam, which is usually at least double stitched. The result is a cute skirt that you can be sure will fit!
Yesterday I talked about making homemade mineral eyeshadows – today I’m onto homemade lipglosses! The glosses take longer to make but you can churn out more at a time and they are just as customizable. I made hot pink and then purple and also a batch of clear for Wee Ones #2 and #3.

I have the great fortune of a new friend, who just happens to be a professional chef (how lucky am I?!), lend me one of his serious, grown up professional cook books. You all know by now how much I love to do silly, playful things in the kitchen. I mean, who doesn’t love it when I stuff a brownie into a cookie? Or when I bake pies into cakes? (I did that just last month and it’ll be a nice epic blog post when I get to it). But there is just something about putting on my apron, kicking the kids out of the kitchen and really setting to stretch my skills and make something as pro as I possibly can.

My new kitchen is pretty amazing for this sort of thing. Maybe tomorrow I’ll give a walk through after I do my catch up post for the day. So last night, with the assistance of this book, I made the best beef stew I’ve ever made. I know, I know, oh Maytina made a stew woooooow, but even my husband, who usually says after supper ‘thanks so much for making supper, it was really good’, turned to me after a few bites and said ‘wow Maytina, this stew is really good’ and then a few bites later he turns to Wee One #1 and says ‘isn’t this even better than usual?’ and then when the was wiping up the remains of the stew with his bread he said ‘seriously, burn this recipe into your brain, can it be the new way you always make stew?’ Maybe I will skip ahead and post this recipe soon.

Also this week, the Beekeeper’s Quilt was introduced to me. Holy moly. I absolutely must make this. I still feel that way about the sock yarn blanket (my sister Nikoleta made this one). There are only so many hours in a day unfortunately, so this amazing quilt will have to wait a while. But I can dream.

I’m just starting the foot on my first Cobblestone sock in Knit Picks Stroll in Sprinkle Heather. I made a pair last year for my mother in law too. They knit up quick but I’m itching to get to my queue. I can’t ever have more than one thing on the needles at a time, unless the sock blanket is one of them because I’ll knit up my leftover sock yarn after each pair of socks before I move on to something else. My list-oriented-ness is alarming even to me sometimes. Ha!

So fun to be posting again!

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Work in Progress Wednesday #3

Crafty, Kids

In this post, I’m participating in three WIP Wednesdays; Freshly Pieced, Tami’s Amis and Musings from the Fishbowl.

I have something that isn’t being knitted this week!! Do you need a moment?

It’s hard to believe that I haven’t knitted at all this week, but I have been sewing! So far, I’ve stuck to very small items, like baby dresses and bags. Technically, curtains should be incredibly easy after making cute little baby dresses that actually fit and were totally wearable. So I figured instead of potentially ruining new fabric, I did just what I did with the baby dresses – I used sheets!

Hilariously, even after measuring the window, I cut my panels too short. Of course. They cover the window…mostly. Also, it really looks like I used the wrong stitch for my hems too, doesn’t it? Like it was too tight because it almost looks like it’s puckering. I think. I dunno, but it looks ‘weird’. I definitely need a do over, but after having made that mistake with practice sheets, next time I’ll do them properly, with more fabric.

These curtains are as plain as humanly possible – to try to minimize the mishaps lol! I made a little folded over sleeve from the wide hem at the top of the sheet, then I hemmed the edges. They’re a WIP, not a FO because (if I was going to keep them, but I’m not) they’d need a backing before they could be officially finished and some kind of trim would be nice. However, I’m not keeping them so they’ll serve their purpose while I find more fabric and and try again.

I also ordered some fabric from Fabric Closet for Wee One #1′s bedroom. No pink princesses here. I know I ordered enough and hopefully this time, I wont find a different way to muck it up. ;)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Handmade in 2011

Crafty, Kids

2. January 19 – No Tears Socks

1. January 12 – Princess Curtains

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