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Tee-Shirt Memory Pillow

Memory pillow made from a tee shirt

I’ve been making some memory pillow covers from clothing since December.  Until last week, all of the memory pillows I’ve made were fashioned from men’s button up shirts.

On more than one occasion, I’ve had someone ask if I could make a memory pillow cover from a tee-shirt or a sweatshirt.  My answer to that question was affirmative, and last week, I finally gave it a try.
Memory pillow made from a tee shirt

My sister, whose husband passed away two years ago, gave me one of his tee shirts so that I could make a pillow cover for her granddaughter.  The shirt she gave me held sentimental value for this particular granddaughter who liked to tease her pap when he wore this shirt.  I think she’s going to enjoy having this special reminder of her beloved grandfather.

The shirt had the same line “Old Guys Rule” on the back, and I was able to incorporate that into the back of the pillow. memory pillow from tee shirt
A covered zipper on the back of the pillow cover allows easy removal for laundering.  This pillow cover was made to fit a 16″x 16″ pillow form.

pillow made from tee shirt

If you’d like to have a memory pillow cover made from a clothing item, please contact me.  You can use the contact form here on this website or you can find me on Facebook at .

I’d be happy to work with you to make a memory pillow that you or a loved one will cherish.

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How to Fix a Split Zipper

One of the most common zipper malfunctions is a split zipper.  You’ve probably had this happen to you with a jacket or coat zipper.  After zipping your jacket, the zipper separates or splits open.  Most people think that a split zipper must be replaced, but that is not always the case.

I have fixed split or separating zippers many times without doing any sewing at all.  I’ll tell you how.

Here’s the most recent split zipper that I fixed in a matter of minutes without even picking up a needle or thread.  This particular zipper was on a work vest, and as soon as the owner zipped it, the zipper would split open every time.

Often the problem is not with the zipper, but with the zipper slide.  The zipper slide is the metal piece that slides up and down the zipper.  The zipper slide can stretch out of shape with use.  To fix the zipper and prevent it from separating, you may be able to tighten up the zipper slide by pinching it ever so slightly with a pair of pliers.  (If your zipper slide is plastic and not metal, then this technique will not work, and the zipper will have to be replaced.)

I have a pair of pliers specially made for zipper repair, but a regular pair of needle nose pliers should work for you.  You can see from this picture that I am using my pliers to squeeze the zipper slide just a tiny bit tighter.  Don’t squeeze too hard with the pliers or the slide won’t move up and down the zipper at all! 
I recommend tightening one side of the zipper slide and then trying the zipper out again.  If it still separates, then try tightening the other side of the slide, too.

After I tightened this zipper slide, I was able to zip the vest closed.  I pulled on it a few times trying to make it separate, but it wouldn’t.   Ah, I’m so happy that I was able to fix this one this way.  I certainly did not want to replace this zipper!

If you’ve got a jacket, coat, or any other item with a separating zipper, I hope you will give this technique a try.

I do not guarantee that a quick pinch of the zipper slide will fix your zipper.  Sometimes zippers really do need to be replaced, but I always recommend trying this method of repair first.

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MYO Foaming Hand Soap

When I won a bottle of Bath & Body Works Twisted Peppermint foaming hand soap at a Christmas party in December, I was delighted!  I’d never tried this product before, but I love peppermint!  The soap turned out to be a favorite of mine, and when we reached the bottom of the bottle in April, I wanted more.


My first inclination was to search for it online, but I wasn’t able to find it at a reasonable price since it is a seasonal item at Bath & Body Works stores.  In my search, I did find a recipe for making your own foaming hand soap.

It took me a few weeks to gather my supplies, only because I didn’t want to pay online prices for essential peppermint oil.  I wasn’t set on a high quality peppermint oil.  All I was interested in was the scent, not any of the healing properties.  It’s hand soap, for heaven’s sake!

I found a clear, almost scent-free soap at Wal-Mart for around $3.  At a local bulk store, I found a small bottle of peppermint oil for $1.  I had water on hand, and I planned to re-use the original foaming soap dispenser.

Now, it was time to get to work.  I measured out 1/4 cup of the liquid soap and carefully poured it into the soap dispenser.  I then added 3/4 cup of water.  Lastly, I poured in a small amount of peppermint oil.  I put the top back on the dispenser and shook the ingredients to mix them.

When I tried the pump, the foam was a little less soapy than the Bath & Body Works variety, so I added another quick squeeze of my Wal-Mart clear soap and shook it again.  Perfection!

My last step was to add a tiny drop of red food coloring so that my soap looked just like the original name brand soap, and I replaced the container in my bathroom with nobody the wiser.  I’m very happy that I will not have to wait until next November to have peppermint foaming hand soap in my bathroom.

In fact, I now have peppermint foaming hand soap in both bathrooms and in my kitchen.  The supplies that I bought would easily supply me with peppermint foaming hand soap for several years.

If you’ve got an empty dispenser for foaming hand soap, have a try at making your own.  If you’ve got a liquid soap that is already scented, then all you need to do is add water to the soap in a 1:4 ratio.  Easy peasy and frugal, too!



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Cut a Watermelon in Under 10 Minutes

Jack used to be in charge of cutting watermelon at our house.  It was a bit of an ordeal because it was a messy job, and he didn’t like to do it.  Last year, I read an article about an easier way to clean a watermelon, and I gave it a try.  The good news is that it really was is easy.   The bad news is that cutting watermelon is now my job.  But that’s okay.  It takes me less than ten minutes to turn a whole melon into melon cubes.

Just in case you missed that article, here’s how it’s done.

1.  Put a kitchen towel on the counter under your cutting board, and grab a long, sharp knife.  Have your storage container ready beside you. 

2.  Cut the watermelon into long quarters.
3.  Make cuts through the red part of the melon about an inch apart.
4.  Run the knife blade under the watermelon slices to release them from the rind.

5.  Cut the melon into cubes or chunks and drop it into a storage bowl.  (I used to store it in slices instead, but then we had to cut it up in our bowls, so this saves a step later.)
I like to use Tupperware celery keepers because the tray in the bottom keeps the watermelon from lying in its own juices.  I have two of these containers, and usually one half of a watermelon fits in each one.

6.  Clean up your mess.
Clean-up is quick and easy thanks to that towel which prevents sticky watermelon juice from running down the cabinets or dripping onto the floor.

I’ve done this so many times this summer that I can completely clean an average size seedless watermelon in about six minutes.  Every time I do it, Jack marvels at my speed.  He never passes up an opportunity to congratulate me on my technique and finesse.  Of course, he’s just making sure I don’t try to pass the knife back to him.  It works for him, too!

How do you cut a watermelon? 


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My Greatest Blog Post of All Time

Some days I sit down at my computer to write a new blog post, and I ask myself, “What do my readers need to hear from me today?”  I wonder if it’s possible to share anything new that hasn’t been shared many times over on the internet.

Those thoughts of “what’s the use?” or “why not give it up?” bubble to the surface.  Then I remember  that one post that I shared here that has been read hundreds of times, and I realize that my blog is not in vain.  I am helping people.  I am making a difference.

That one blog post is served up to readers who land here after searching the internet for relief from pants that are too tight.  It happens.

By logging in to my blog’s dashboard, I can see which blog posts are read most often and which words and phrases people use to search for helpful information.  (Don’t worry, I can’t tell who is doing the searching.) Here’s a small sampling of some of those phrases that are typed into search engines:

“my pants are too tight”
“how to make my waistband bigger around the waist”
“breeches too tight”
“pants are too tight when sitting”

Who knew that my claim to fame would be sharing an idea for making your jeans just a little looser in the waist?

So maybe this most-viewed-blog-post-of-all-time here at Elaine Searer’s blog doesn’t outline steps for world peace or a balanced national budget, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important.  Tight pants are a problem, (ask me how I know this) and I’m proud to be able to ease the pain of some who have been suffering with this malady.

If you somehow missed this post, A Trick for Too Tight Pants, you can read it now.   You’re going to want to sign up for email updates from this website.  I have a feeling my next great idea is almost ready to break loose.


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Memory Pillows From Clothing

A few months ago, a friend of mine shared a picture of a memory pillow from clothing that she’d found on Facebook.  I immediately thought the idea was perfect for some of my family members after the recent passing of my nephew in September.

My niece Jen collected the shirts and had the embroidery done by a local shop, and I went to work making the pillow covers:  one each for my great-niece and nephew and one for my sister and brother-in-law.

We used a plaid shirt in Harley colors for my great-nephew.  His pillow is a 16″ x 16″ size.

memory pillow

My great niece’s pillow was made from a shirt that her daddy had recently worn to a family wedding.  The hot pink embroidery really stands out on this 18″ x 18″ one!
memory pillowThe last pillow cover was for my sister and brother-in-law, and as soon as they opened the package on Christmas Eve, my sister recognized this blue striped shirt that her son wore to his job interviews.
memory shirt pillow cover

memory pillow

We shed a few tears when these were opened and passed around on Christmas Eve, but I think they all appreciated having something of their father and son to hold onto.

pillow back

pillow back zipper

The actual sewing of these pillow covers was not difficult, but these were without a doubt the most difficult sewing projects I’ve ever done.  It was sad work cutting up Chad’s clothes and sewing them back together to make keepsakes for his family members.  In spite of that, I’m thankful for the opportunity to make something meaningful for the ones he left behind.

If anyone is interested in having a pillow made from a loved one’s clothing, feel free to contact me for prices and options.   You can contact me via email at mygrandmasews(at)gmail(dot)com or on my Facebook page at .

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Lengthening Coat Sleeves With Socks

Because I’m tall, I often have a problem finding a coat with sleeves that are long enough for me.  Recently, I was given a coat that I like a lot, and I was not surprised when the sleeves on this coat looked like this: 

When my arms were by my sides, the sleeves looked okay, but when I bent my arms, it was obvious that the sleeves were too short.

After wearing the coat this way a few times, I really wanted to find a way to lengthen the sleeves.  Since the sleeves were finished with elastic, there was no available fabric for lengthening the sleeves in the traditional manner.  I was forced to use a non-traditional lengthening technique …. socks!

I purchased a pair of good quality men’s socks in a color that complemented the trim on my coat.  I measured the length that I needed, and cut the cuffs from the socks.

To prevent the knit fabric from unraveling, I serged the cut edges of the socks.

After sewing the cuffs to the coat sleeves by topstitching along the row of stitching that formed the elastic casing, I was done!  

This coat is much more comfortable now with sleeves that reach  my wrists, and the knit cuffs keep out the cold winter air.   At under $4, this project is a winner!



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Happy Jack-o’-Lantern Liquid Soap

Isn’t this happy jack-o’-lantern liquid soap bottle just about the cutest fall craft idea you’ve ever seen?

I’d love to be able to think up cute ideas like this one, but then I wouldn’t need to read so many other blogs.    I happened upon this idea and two other cute Halloween soap ideas at a crafting blog whose link I will share at the end of this post.

To make my jack-0′-lantern soap bottle, I bought a bottle of orange hand soap at Aldi.  At Joann’s I picked up a roll of sheer black ribbon and one sheet of Duck Tape.  I never knew this Duck Tape by the sheet stuff even existed, but fortunately I was shopping with a friend who was able to point it out to me.   Thanks, Cindy!

The hardest part of this project is removing the sticky residue that is left behind on the soap bottle after removing the labels.  I used creamy peanut butter to remove the goo on my bottle.

Once the bottle is clean and dry, it’s time to cut out and adhere Jack’s facial features.  I drew the pieces with pencil on the Duck Tape paper backing, cut them out, and stuck them on the bottle.  I added a piece of sheer black ribbon around the cap, and my project was finished!

Here’s my jack-o’-lantern soap bottle brightening up our bathroom!

Now you’ve got to check out the Spooky Soap post over at Obsessively Crafting.  When you get there, you’ll  find two more really cute options for fall soap bottle crafts.

I may have to buy more soap just to try them all!

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Fabulous Fleece: No Sew Sofa Cover

Fleece is such a versatile fabric!  Because it is made from 100% polyester and will not ravel or fray, it makes a great choice for no-sew projects.

I have two dogs, and for several years, I have been using fleece fabrics to protect our furniture from dog hair and nails. Both dogs love to lie on the back of the sofa to look out the window, so I keep that covered.

In the above picture you can see the sofa cover that I made from one yard of fleece.  This particular snowman print is a discontinued print from Debbie Mumm Designs.  If you look in any fabric store, you will find a vast selection of prints and solids in the fleece department.  Fleece fabric is 60″ wide giving you lots of fabric for your money.

For a sofa cover, I take one yard of fleece fabric in a print that works with my decor–or just a print that I like since I’m not all that concerned about my decor.  I trim the selvage edges from the fleece with shears. You will recognize the selvage edge of the fabric because of the tiny holes that hold the fabric on the rollers and the curling of the edge.  Some selvage edges also have the designer’s name printed there, so you will want to trim that off.

Next, I take my scissors and cut fringe on one of the ends of the one yard length of fabric–not the selvage edge.  The fringe isn’t absolutely necessary, but I think it makes the piece of fabric look more like a cover rather than just a piece of fabric.

In this picture, you can see that I used a floral print with spring colors in it.

One great thing about fleece fabric is the selection of prints and colors.  Here I used a dog themed print for my sofa cover.

You can find fleece prints for your favorite sports team, you favorite baby, your favorite season or holiday. The selection is endless.


If you’ve got a place in your home that needs a protective covering, consider a piece of Fabulous Fleece.

In my next couple posts, I will show you how I have made some quick and easy sewing projects with fleece.