Aug 05

Something out of nothing

Little Girl 1950sI remember the story my mama used to tell me about making a little coat for me when I was four or five years old. She was a very resourceful mama, having grown up during the Great Depression, so she had learned over the years how to make something out of nothing. Of course, I didn’t realize we were “poor” and it wasn’t until I was grown up that, looking back, it became apparent to me that we really didn’t have the things that many other families had.

She was so proud of herself and her accomplishment! It was autumn or late summer, and it must have been as she was getting ready to send me off to school for the first time . . . . . and as she tried to pull together all of the things a little girl would need to go out into that great big world on her own, she realized I would need a coat for the coming days of winter.

Little Girl Winter Coat PatternOne of our favorite things to do when I was a girl was to take a trip to the “city” (about 20 miles away, so we didn’t get to go very often) and visit the thrift store. Actually, that was the only place we were likely to go because we could get a whole paper grocery bag filled with clothes for 25 cents. And so, if we went “shopping” and spent 50 cents (or maybe a whole dollar!) we were set for a very long time.

This particular trip to the thrift store included the purchase of a ladies winter coat. I actually can’t remember it, only have the “memories” of the stories she used to tell me about this coat. I don’t even know what color it was, but it must have been a very special coat. And it was probably several sizes too big for her, because she had no intention of wearing it. She was going to make something out of it!

She brought that beautiful winter coat home and carefully cut it all apart, saving as many of the larger pieces of the wool fabric as possible. And then, she cut it up some more and made another, little, coat out of those pieces. That winter I had a pretty winter coat that my mama made for me out of that discarded coat she bought at the thrift store for 25 cents (or maybe she actually got several more items that day in her brown paper grocery bag for her 25 cents!)

Little Girls 1950s Winter Coat PatternI wish I had pictures of that coat – but back then, people didn’t take as many pictures of their kids as they do nowadays. Not even sure we owned a camera. But in my mind, and in my heart, I can see that little coat that my mama made for me. I’m pretty sure that she might have not had a very warm coat that winter, because she didn’t come across an extra 25 cents every day back then.

It’s interesting how our perspectives change over time. I never felt deprived or even noticed that other people had more than we did. I actually remember feeling quite happy as a little girl because we had a little house by a lake, and my mama always had flowers growing in our shabby little yard. Her rock garden always was spilling over with the colorful blooms of flowers she had started from seeds. I had a tire swing in the back yard, right in front of the woods where I played for hours on end, building forts, and slaying imaginary dragons.

We didn’t worry about “death by mosquito” back then, and when we played hop scotch in the country road in front of our house we didn’t worry about being kidnapped. I rode my bike down the hill by our house and skinned up my knees plenty of times, and got my legs switched with a prickly branch from a Weeping Willow tree for going by the lake when I had been told NEVER to go down there alone.

Little Girls Winter Coat AdvertisementWinter days, in the absence of real sleds, we would slide down that same hill on pieces of cardboard begged off the bag boy at the local grocery store, and one time when I found a magnifying glass, I spent hours laying on one of those pieces of cardboard as the snow drifted down, investigating the size and shape of the snowflakes that fell all around me.

Perhaps that is why I still like to “make something out of nothing.” A trip to the thrift store is like opening a beautifully wrapped present for me. All of the treasures I can find, and all of the “new” stuff I can make out of the “old” stuff that someone else no longer wants . . . . that is really one of my favorite things to do!

That little coat my mama made for me apparently made a big impression on my heart and on my life. I’m still pretty happy with the little things in life, still hate to shop (because, after all, it really is no fun at all to go shopping if you’ve never had the money to actually buy anything!), avoid malls like the plague, and find great joy in my accomplishments when I “make something out of nothing.” I guess we all have our own ways of expressing the creativity that God has put into each one of us. My creativity just seems a bit different from most other people – but then life would truly be boring if we were all the same. Right?


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The secret to raw edge appliqué is this tool, the Applique Pressing Sheet.  For many years, I would arrange my web backed fabric pieces on their background and hold my breath and apply the iron.  Now I press my pattern pieces to this sheet and if I don’t like the way they look, I can lift them up and put them somewhere else.  This sheet is also perfect if you are following a raw edge appliqué pattern, like the one I used to make this Forget-Me-Not block.

Coconut Pecan Cheesecake Bars

WARNING! These are super decadent and rich! You must share with friends, or you might have a heart attack! They are the perfect combination of everything I love; caramel, chocolate, coconut, cheesecake, pecan, and a buttery crust! Enjoy these with a tall glass of milk and LOTS of friends!
Picture This: Enjoying Art, Nature and Getting "Summer Fit"!
This summer, I was invited to participate in Raise.com’s “Summer Fit” campaign.
I love to stay active during the summer so I was delighted to get involved with their
“Summer Fit” campaign.  I live in an urban environment, so finding a patch of green is especially satisfying for me.  Sure I belong to a great health club, but in the summer time I prefer to get my exercise
outside in the sun as much as possible.
Oreo Reese's Peanut Butter Pie  http://recipesforourdailybread.com/2014/07/29/creamy-peanut-butter-pie-recipe/


garden planter swing
The project consists of  a wood planter, rope, paint, nails,  flowers and a tree (if you don’t have a tree :)you can use your porch ceiling)
Mid-Year Blogger Planner & Calendar by Mama Miss Designs
Blogging has always been a hobby for me.  Well, “always” may not be the best term to describe my love affair with blogging.  When you think about it, blogging is a relatively new thing.  And I’ve only been at it for 8 years.  And it’s been pretty sporadic.  So scratch the first sentence of this blog post.  It’s a lie.

Double Stuff Oreo Pancakes

I love pancakes! I especially love the weekends because those are my cheat days which means I can have my pancakes! All week long I’m thinking of sweet, sinful ways to prepare my pancakes. Oh yea, I LOVE my pancakes!

The Ultimate Blog Resource Library

The Ultimate Blog Resource Library
In hopes of making everyone’s lives a little easier, I put together some helpful hints, tips and tricks all in one place to make your blogging much easier.
I’m always interested in trying out different sensory play activities with the boys, even something very simple can grab their attention and provide an opportunity to explore something new. To find out more about why sensory play is important you can read my previous post and also get some ideas for lots more materials to use.
“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives,
the passion that she knows.”
― Audrey Hepburn
You all know how I love to make my own household goodies, this time I ventured into making my own deodorant. I looked online for months reading different posts, reading thoughts, reviews, whatever I could get my eyes on!
Bite-Size Peach Turnovers
Sometimes, you just want a small bite of dessert.  When that happens, a small bite of peach turnover will solve the problem.  Sprinkle powdered sugar on top and you have yourself a winner.  Just think small when you’re baking.
I’m so excited to share with you all a little bit of my home today! One of the greatest joys about buying our very first house is being able to scan Pinterest for some amazing design ideas!
FriedGreenTomatoes final with words
Making them is super easy to do and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg either. Here is my families favorite way to eat them. Just thought I would share so your family could enjoy them too.
“The phrase “Pura Vida” (pu·ra vi·da) means “pure life” in Spanish. Enjoying life slowly, celebrating good fortune and not taking anything for granted embodies the Pura Vida Lifestyle. It’s about being free and living life to it’s fullest with no regrets or taking anything for granted; it’s an attitude.”
Raspberry Pinwheel Cookies - Christmas in July
Delicious jam filled cookies are a Christmas tradition, and these Raspberry Pinwheel 
Cookies are a fun way to enjoy jam.

I Hear Angels Singing

I recently finished another large angel. I gave her an old world patina finish like I have my other angels but I think this one is my favorite so far. I even like her better than my last angel with the large wings. 


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  1. Simple Nature Decor

    Thanks for featuring my Garden Swing!
    Hugs Maria

  2. Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance

    Hi, Nina! How is it this is the first time I have found your Wake Up Wednesday Party?!! I’m linked up with you, dear and still following! Pinned and shared the Party, as well! I couldn’t find a code for the Party, but I did include a link back in the post. I hope you all are having a wonderful week!
    God Bless,

  3. Kathryn Ross

    Ooh my! Nina – this is such a filled to overflowing resource of amazing homemaking ideas!! I’m linking in for the first time – and at Katherine’s Corner with my NEW series – reprints of my four years of classic children’s literature book reviews I did for SJMOM Magazine when I was on staff there. Timeless treasures to share with the little ones plus literacy alive activities.

    Now – about this post on your coat and your nostalgic growing years – can I just say, “ME TOO!!!” I so remember those days – and I DO have photos of the coats and dresses my mom sewed for me and my sister. Wonderful memories of days that are gone forever, I daresay.

    God, help us!

  4. heidi

    There just seems to be more satisfaction in getting something new out of something old. Hope you have a great day.

  5. Cecilia Marie Pulliam

    Nina, your story took me back to my own childhood. My mother was much the same. She made most of my clothes growing up and taught me to sew as well. I made my husband’s and children’s clothes. We weren’t rich either, but my childhood was wonderful. We spent three months of every year camped near a creek or lake wherever my father was working (he was a logger). What a great way to grow up, learning to understand and appreciate nature.

    I loved seeing the pictures of the old patterns, really took me back to my childhood. My mother had several just like them.

  6. Pam@over50feeling40

    Love the coat story, Nina. What a sweet memory! Now, I love to shop and consider it a challenge to find things for little budget that look like big budget! I don’t know if that is a God-given gift, but He has gifted me with a love for creative arts from fashion to artwork. Love co-hosting with you! Have a weekend full of blessings!

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