A good friend on chilly days and nights

One of the weather-related jokes in Ohio is that if you don’t like the current state of the weather, just wait five minutes and it’ll change.

Case in point, Sunday it was a balmy almost 50 degrees F. Today, we’ll be lucky if we break 10 F (it’s 4 F now). Plus, the wind chill will be a tropical -15 F.

Freaking. Cold.

I’m not a fan of winter. It’s cold and dry. It’s brown. The lack of sun is depressing. My gloves stick to the spigot when I pour new water for The Ladies in the morning. I feel the urge to yell at kids to get off of my lawn when there aren’t any kids in the neighborhood and I don’t have gray hair and a walker. I just want the excuse to make someone else feel my misery.

The good thing is there are some things that make winter bearable. Those things are a good book, a warm cuppa tea, Andy or Cougar curled up in my lap and my trusty quilt.


I made this quilt when I was 21 and on summer break from college. It was the first and only quilt I’ve made in my life (so far). It’s a true scrap quilt because it’s made from my family’s old blue jeans. It’s hard to notice with denim, but the quilt starts with the light blue at the top and dissolves to dark blue at the bottom to represent a twilight sky. It’s a heavy, warm quilt and I find comfort in those qualities. My husband and I fight over it when we want to cozy up on the love seat.

Do you have a favorite blanket you like to curl up with on winter nights? What about tea? Right now I can’t stop drinking Celestial Seasonings’ India Spice chai tea. It’s delicious with a teaspoon of raw honey and just a splash of milk.

Project – DIY pocket tissue cozy

It’s been said that necessity is the mother of invention. In my case, it’s a need to be frugal.

Back in October I posted a link to a pocket tissue cozy sewing pattern. This was a little pouch for those little square-ish Kleenex pocket packets. I loved the pattern, but it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to make something reusable to refill on my own and stop spending money on those tiny packets.

So, I made up my own pattern, and I will teach you how to make it too!

How's this for an easy and quick project! Ignore the fact my Velcro isn't sewn on straight.

My inspiration - the skinny Kleenex packet.

Kleenex now makes these little skinny packets that can fit in your back pocket. I loved how slim they were and not as bulky in my purse, but they kind of reminded me of a maxi pad. (I know, TMI!) It holds a total of 10 tissues, folds in half and sticks together with some adhesive on the two ends. Pretty simple in design.

I rounded up some remnant fabric I had on hand and set to working on making my own version.

I used a floral duck fabric I found in a remnant bin in a craft store for the outside fabric. The inside lining is a taffeta leftover from some pillows I had sewn several months ago. I chose taffeta lining because I wanted something silky so tissues wouldn’t stick to it. Time is of the essence during a sneezing fit, after all.

Want to make your own? Here’s what you need:

  • Two pieces of fabric, both 5 inches wide and 12 inches long. You can reuse packing paper or a newspaper to cut a pattern.
  • Velcro or a snap
  • Tissues

And here’s how to do it:

1. With right sides of fabric facing together, sew around the outside of the fabric and leave about a 2 inch opening at the bottom. Turn fabric inside out, press. Sew opening closed with a slip stitch. I used a 1/4 inch seam for sewing this on the machine.
2. With the lining fabric facing up, fold in the two sides and pin to make pockets. Leave about a 1/2 inch of space between the edges of the pockets. (See photo below. You can click to enlarge.)

Step 2.

3. Sew around the top and bottom outside edges, as close to the edge as possible. (See photo below)

Step 3.

4. Sew on a snap closure or a small piece of Velcro, as shown in the first photo on this post. That’s it!

It’s not perfect, especially since I was half asleep when I was sewing this and as a result my edges are crooked, but it gets the job done. It’s not as slim as the commercially made one, but it takes up a lot less room in my purse.

Profile of the finished project.

This little cozy will hold 10 tissues – five in each pocket. To fold them to fit, first fold them in half, then fold in thirds. That’s it!

Shameless plug! You can follow my blog on FacebookOuttakes on the Outskirts blog Facebook page.

Tuxedo baby bib

I don’t have any kids myself, and there are no plans to amend that for another couple years, but I firmly believe that all babies should have something handmade for them. I’ve knitted loads of baby hats, sweaters and ponchos for babies in my circle of family and friends over the years. The way I see it, babies should have something that’s truly special and made just for them so they can understand later in life how much they were loved and cared for before they even made it into this world.

Now that I have a sewing machine, bibs are my latest handmade baby items. I made this tuxedo bib Sunday night for one of my husband’s cousins who is expecting a baby boy. The pattern is Butterick 4533 and it’s made with remnant black fleece and some knits I had handy. This was my first attempt at sewing a bow as well, and I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, even though my old camera really doesn’t do it justice.

Baby boy will be all dressed up with no where to go with this bib!

If things that I have made get passed down, I consider that an honor, but that’s not my goal. I like having the excuse to knit/sew! What are your favorite projects to make for babies?

~ Julie

Pocket tissue cozy sewing pattern

Kleenex Holder | Skip To My Lou.

I found my next quick sewing project! This is a cute little cover for those tiny purse/pocket sized tissue packets that I always have to carry around because I’m pretty much allergic to everything and sneeze all the time.

My thinking behind this, if I can get it to work, is to completely stop wasting money on those little pocket Kleenex packs to begin with. I just want to grab a handful of tissues out of a big box and fold ‘em up to fit in the cozy. I think those pocket packs are a little pricy, and that bloody sticker that holds it all together always comes off and gets stuck on something else in my purse. That drives me bonkers. It’s a pet peeve of mine.

From looking at the directions, it looks like the hardest part will be figuring out how to fold the tissues to get it in the cozy. What do you think?

DIY clothespin bag

How to Make a Clothespin Bag | eHow.com.

Clothespin bag

You could purchase a clothespin bag or just leave pins hanging out on the line to rust and decay, but if you can sew a few basic stitches and have remnant fabric on hand you can make your own bag!

I used the instructions at the above eHow article for my bag (at left). Instead of using interfacing around the opening for strength, I sewed together some scrap fleece and a pretty fabric together. I also found a children’s pants hanger for the hook itself and didn’t have to do any cutting, but did have to remove the clips.

Like my DIY Tablet cozy project, you’ll need to make your own pattern for this. I used newspaper, but the article uses cardboard. Either will work fine.

If I had to make this bag again, I would make the bag deeper. I did shorten the opening, but this bag just barely holds 100 pins without them spilling out. That sounds like a lot, but I need almost all of them to hang out two loads of laundry.

Happy sewing!

~ Julie

Pst – Looking for ways to save money on your laundry? Check out my little laundry secrets Part 1 (homemade laundry detergent) and Part Deux (the clothesline).