Family Activities · Lydia's Nest

January Update

Whoa, that was a long accidental hiatus! Sorry folks. Here’s some of what we’ve been up to in the meantime!

-Deacon turned one. My baby is a whole year old! He’s a champ, running all over the house, eating everything that he can find that is edible (and some things that aren’t).

-We moved! Cory has recently been hired as the Lead Pastor at Goshen First Brethren Church in Indiana. This meant a fairly quick move for us, and while we miss friends and family in Ashland, it has been very exciting to see what God is doing here.

-Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas. We had a wonderful time celebrating the holidays with loved ones. Deacon’s first Christmas was a blast, and he knew just what to do with all those presents!

But perhaps the biggest news of all, (and part of the reason I’ve been MIA here on the blog)…

-WE’RE EXPECTING! Baby number two will be making his or her appearance at the end of June. (If you’re trying to do the math, that means the kids will be 21 months apart). We’re so excited to meet this new little one!

Thanks for tuning in! Stay warm!

Gail's Nest · Pattern Review · Refashion

Refashioner’s Challenge 2017 #Suits You My Second Entry – A Jumper!

Presenting… my second entry:


If you read my previous post you know I’ve entered the Refashioner’s Challenge 2017. This is the third year I’ve participated. Each year Portia Lowrie of the UK challenges the global refashioning community to make something out of a used garment. The first year I participated the challenge was to make something out of a men’s shirt. I made a mini-jacket.  The second year the challenge was to make something out of jeans. I did a patchwork jacket.

So I guess I like jackets because I submitted my remake of a man’s suit:


You can read about the process here. 

Anyway… all that as way of introduction to my second entry of this year’s contest. And this one IS NOT a jacket!

So here is how I got to this place…

First it started with a trip to the thrift store. I went to the Goodwill in Ashland, OH where I found four suits for $12! I chose 2 suits out of the 4 I bought for my jumper:


My inspiration for the project came from a bit of history. French designer, Yves St. Laurent, back in the 60s designed a dress called the Modarian. His inspiration was from a painting by Piet Modarian:


Next, I chose a pattern:


My next step was to dye the suits. I used a dark blue that more or less matched the color of the wool suit but gave the yellow one a bluish hue. Then came the big step of deconstructing:

It was tricky to lay out the pattern. I wanted to keep a chest pocket in the skirt. At times I had to fold the pattern piece in half and plan to put in an extra seam so I could cut out everything I needed:

I picked out a cotton lining fabric that would contrast nicely with the blue. It was a cherry red with polka dots. I decided to also use it to accent with my color blocking:


I ended up using it to line the whole dress because the back of a deconstructed suit is really a sight to behold. It’s full of seams, interfacings, pockets, etc. In addition, the wool would be scratchy otherwise, so it made sense to just line the whole thing:


I found these amazing buttons at an antique store in Hammondsport, NY.  They are made from black glass and I thought they would look nice on my Modarian dress:


In the end, the overall look was fun. This was an easy pattern for intermediate sewers. Here are more finished pics:




Gail's Nest · Pattern Review · Refashion

“Suits You” Refashioner’s Challenge 2017

For the third year now, I’ve participated in the Refashioner’s Challenge put on by Portia Lowrie of the UK. This year she declared the challenge to be men’s suits. So the goal is to make a refashion out of an old suit. All last month she posted featured bloggers who used their creative geniuses to give the rest of us some inspiration. My favorites included this women’s jacket made from a suit and the cami made from its lining.   Another awesome make was this gorgeous coral linen dress made from a thrift store find. I also really liked this loose fitting vest that could go over just about anything.

So… off to the thrift store for me. I was visiting my daughter, Lydia, in OH, and went to the Goodwill there. It just so happened that there was a sale! You really feel like you find pirate’s treasure when you find a sale at a thrift store! So I picked out four suits that suited me and it cost a whopping $12 for all four!


So there was plenty to work with. Now… what do I choose to make? On to pinterest for ideas! I’ve always admired a nice Coco Chanel jacket:


My other favorite sewing blogger is Lisa Comfort from Sew Over It.   She recently release her own version of the Coco Jacket:


It would be a double challenge for me to do this pattern, which of course starts with a pdf print out, and harvest the material from an old suit. But I love a good challenge. So onward!

The first thing I did, after choosing which of the four I’d use, was wash and then dye the suit. I actually dyed it a similar color to even out the coloring and cover up a couple of stains.



The next step was to unpick the suit apart, which meant to separate the lining. I decided to cut out the sleeves and just adjust them and resew them back in.


Then it was all about preparing the pattern and figuring out how to lay out the pieces. I soon realized the pattern pieces weren’t all going to fit. So I used the lining material I purchased to create a back panel.


I liked the chest pocket so I left that intact.


The finished garment looks like this:



The pattern instructions were clear and overall I was pleased with the result. Next time I do this I will unpick the sleeves and re-cut them according to the pattern as I wasn’t super happy about how they ended up looking in spite of my adjustments.

I plan to give this a second go with another suit. So stay tuned!

What will YOU do? Go to Refashioner’s Challenge to find out how to enter.



Gail's Nest · Recipes · Uncategorized

Making Your Own Relish

I’m an avid gardener and the garden is abounding in peppers and cucumbers. So, what do you do with all that produce that you can’t possibly eat? You make relish, of course.

Here’s a great simple recipe:

  • 5 cups finely chopped unpeeled pickling cucumbers
  • 2 cups finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped peeled onion
  • 1/4 cup pickling salt
  • 1 3/4 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon celery seeds

Place all the vegetables and the salt in a stainless steel bowl to mix and then let rest for about 4 hours.


Place your glass jars into the dishwasher and time it so they will be clean and hot right before you’re ready to put the relish into them.


Place the vegetables into a colander and drain out the liquid. Use your hands to squeeze out extra liquid. Next, place the vegetables into a pot along with the sugar, mustard seeds. celery seeds, and vinegar. Bring to a boil, cover,  and let simmer for 10 minutes. While that’s boiling get your canning water boiling.

Place the vegetable mix into hot jars. Be sure to dunk the lids and rims into boiling water to sterilize as well, and then place the lids on to the jars. Place the jars into the canning water (which should be at a rolling boil). It will cool a little after you lower the jars. Let it get back to boiling and then let them boil for about 10 minutes.


Take them out carefully and let cool. Listen for the “pop” that indicates the lid has sealed, Later, test the lid by pressing the center to make sure it’s sealed. It shouldn’t give. If it didn’t seal properly, you can try boiling it in the canning water again, or putting it in the fridge to use up right away.


Try your relish on hot dogs and sausages! Yum!





Making Your Own Window Seat Cushion

Hey Everyone – It was time to update my window seat. The primary “sitter” of the seat is our dog, Dutchess, who loves to gaze out into the world every day, and as you can imagine, over time that cushion got pretty threadbare.



So off to Joann’s…

I needed a piece of foam that measured out to 62″ . The kind ladies at Joann’s will cut if for you to fit your length. The width, however, is up to you to cut.


So, out came my electric knife! After I measured and drew a line to mark my width, I used my electric knife to cut right along the line.

Then… the fun part. I picked a heavy cotton fabric with colors that matched my decor. I  used the measurements of my foam (remember it was 62″) and added the 2 inches on both the top and the bottom (making the total length 66″ plus seam allowance). Then the width of the foam was 13.5 and I had to again add 2 inches for the width of both sides, as well as allow for seam allowance. Then I cut the fabric, sewed it up like a pillowcase, and finished the top by folding over a hem. I chose to not sew it closed and left it just like a pillowcase so I can remove it easily to wash. I just use safety pins to close it up.


I’m happy with the look.


And Dutchess likes it too!


There it is! It didn’t take long at all and it makes such a difference!




Gail's Nest · Refashion

Refashioning a Too-Small Skirt

One of my favorite Ithaca, NY stores on the Commons is Petrune. It’s a vintage clothing store. You never know what you’ll find. My latest visit turned up a 70s skirt whose pattern I loved but whose size was too small!


I immediately noticed the length and the large hem. The light bulbs went off! I could take out the hem, thereby lengthening the skirt further, and then cut the whole skirt off below the zipper in the back! So I spent the $8 and bought it.


As I enjoyed a favorite television show I unpicked the hem.


I discovered that the hem had been doubled up so when I unpicked there was another hem already in place. When I lowered the hem I saw the “rest of the picture” of the print. So pretty! Now it just needs a good ironing.


I carefully measured the length of the dress from the bottom of the zipper to the end of the hem. I marked the measurement (happened to be 18 inches). I did this all around the skirt so I would cut the top off evenly.


I know – it’s scary, isn’t it? Once you cut into a garment there’s no turning back.


Now I have a skirt that is long enough and wide enough to fit me. All I need to do now is make a waist casing for elastic.

skirt 3

I simple folded over the top of the skirt a layer that would be wide enough to insert the elastic. When you sew it in place, be sure to not sew it entirely closed! Leave an inch or so opening for the elastic. When the elastic is through then you can sew it closed.


And that’s it!

Well – I also indulged in another purchase at Petrune. I found a top that happened to have a similar pattern and color and I thought would look so cute with the skirt. But I was aghast that it cost $24! But these places sometimes will negotiate so I was so pleased that the gal working there that day accepted my offer of $18.




Gail's Nest · Refashion

A Refashion of Wrap-Around Pants

My mother-in-law gave me an outfit she had bought years ago from a trip to the Caribbean island of Antigua. It is silky and cool, but odd. She wore it a few times and then gave it to me suggesting I refashion it.


When I laid out the pants they looked like this:


It’s certainly a clever design! You have straddle the opening and then it wraps around the waist. Anyway, I knew I wouldn’t wear them as is, so I found a skirt pattern in my stash that I thought would work well with the fabric:


And so, it was an easy thing to lay out the pattern pieces on the pants – there was plenty of fabric. I simply pinned and cut!


This is an extremely easy pattern and so I just followed the sewing directions and it came together rather quickly.



The matching top was a little big on me so I took it in on the sides. It’s a nice cool, updated outfit for our upstate New York summer!