How To Easily Make A Tricorn Pirate Hat!

How To Easily Make A Tricorn Pirate Hat!

 Make A Tricorn Pirate Hat!

October 20, 2016

   How To Easily Make A Tricorn Pirate Hat?   It is so simple you won’t believe it. This hat was most assuredly less expensive and nicer than those at the costume store.

    Sophia has decided she wants to be a pirate for Halloween this year.  She began sharing her idea of what the costume should look like.  She was insistent that she wanted this particular style of hat.  

    I searched for instructions on how to make a tricorn pirate hat and then remembered  I have a book on making historic hats.  Instructions for making a tricorn hat were in the book , but I also searched on the internet.  During the search, I realized it was simply made from a wide brimmed hat!  Seriously!

    Shopping at Jo-Ann’s Fabric Store, I stumbled across this black felt hat.  My concern for buying an adult hat was that it might be too big for Sophia.  This hat has a ribbon inside that allows you to tighten it!  Perfect!  The 50% off coupon I had was another bonus! It ended up being $7.50.

   *** (This picture was lightened so the ribbons were visible.)

    The first step for this makeover was adding trim.  Remember you have to add the trim to the underside in order for it to show when it is turned up and secured.

   The trim used for this hat is brown.  The leather-look fabric we chose for the waist cincher is also brown, which will coordinate nicely.  Her dress will be white with touches of lace and the overskirt will be this gorgeous gathered black fabric. You can see how nicely it will coordinate!

   The trim, which I had leftover from a curtain project, was glued to the outer edge starting at the back of the hat.    I didn’t want the place where both ends met to show in the front or on the side.  It actually met together nicely and is not overly apparent.  (Tacky glue was used for this.)

    The next step was turning up the brim in the middle of the back and hand stitching it with needle and thread to secure it.  A button with a shank was attached using the same thread and needle.  This covered up the thread where it was tacked, although, the thread was hidden in the trim pretty well.  The buttons just give a nice effect.

    With the back of the hat facing away from me, the sides were bent upward and pinned, creating a nice corner in the front.   A pin was inserted into both sides of the hat brim and into the crown to hold in position.

   Trying to match the same positioning of the button sewn on the back, the brims were tacked up and buttons attached at the same time.

    Seriously, how much easier could this be?  Black felt wide-brimmed hats should be easy to find this time of year.  The trim and buttons can be changed easily to coordinate with your own costume.  We could even add a white feather to this or some other baubles, but that will be left up to Sophia.  Can’t wait for her to see it!

   Anyway, if a pirate costume is on your agenda this year, you now know “How To Easily Make A Tricorn Pirate Hat!”   



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DIY Pirate Costume – How To – Your Little Girl Would Love This

DIY Pirate Costume – How To – Your Little Girl Would Love This

October 27, 2016

Part 1 -DIY Pirate Costume

    Your Little Girl Would Love This DIY Pirate Costume, too!  My granddaughter, Sophia, has decided she wants to be a pirate for Halloween.  Remember, she and I had planned on making a ‘voodoo doll’ costume, but her mother nixed that one?  


   Well, she finally decided upon a ‘pirate costume’.  The tricorn pirate hat in an earlier post was for this costume.  It turned out so beautiful!

  She already has some brown boots to wear.  We decided to use black and brown for the costume.  There is brown trim on the hat and brown in the fabric for the waist cincher.

   First, I made a little white dress from this McCall’s pattern and some leftover white fabrics I had.  Yes, I said ‘fabrics’, plural.  I found some white fabric that seemed to suit the top well, but there wasn’t enough to make the skirt from it, too.  

   Then, I remembered I had some white satin fabric, found it, and made the skirt from it.  The pattern instructions were followed for the most part for the dress, except for adding lace to the neck and sleeves. 

    The lace was added before inserting the elastic.  The lace was stitched up to the opening for the elastic, cut long enough to cover the opening.  The elastic was sewn together, the loose lace was stitched on top of the stitching. 

   Now, it awaits Sophia’s return so we can adjust the hem and finish it.  Some additional lace will adorn the skirt, too.


    While this pattern has overskirt patterns, which we could have used, we found this beautiful gathered black fabric!

 We could imagine this as an overskirt, shorter in the front and longer in the back.

    This pattern has a cumberbund, but I used an adult pattern for a waist cincher and cut it out of muslin first.  (I couldn’t find a waist cincher pattern for little girls.)  The seams were sewed up and I actually pinned this to Sophia’s top with the seams out.  (The cincher uses laces, which I obviously didn’t make for the muslin version.)  Adjustments were made, taking in a little here and there.

   At first, the plan was for the laces to be tied in the back, like the pattern.  Since we planned for the two sides of the black fabric to come together in the front, the plan changed.  The back of the muslin was stitched together and the front was cut in half and a seam allowance was added.

    You can see that I wrote right on the muslin so I would remember to cut out the back on the fold and which piece was the back, the side, and the front.  The front was drawn out on paper and re-figured.

   The new front piece drawn on the paper was used to cut the faux-leather fabric and the lining fabric.  The rest of the pieces from the muslin were used as patterns to cut the remaining pieces.

    Black fusible interfacing was also cut for the two front sections and ironed on for added support for the grommets.  Then, the brown fabric was stitched together.

   Some black satin fabric was used for the lining.  The pieces were cut and sewn together just like the brown fabric.  The seams were ironed and right sides together, the brown fabric and the lining were pinned and stitched, leaving the bottom edge open.


    The top and the front edges were understitched as much as possible so the facing would roll to the inside and not be seen.   Then, the waist cincher was turned right side out and ironed.  A pressing cloth was used to protect this faux-leather fabric.


    The black gathered fabric was laid out on the cutting board and cut straight.  The fabric was then divided into four equal sections across the top of the straight edge and marked with straight pins.  Two rows of basting stitches for the gathering were sewn the whole width of the fabric. 

   This fabric is nylon so it won’t unravel!  After sewing it to the top, all we have to do is cut it to the right length! 

   With the right sides together, the gathered edge of the skirt top was pinned to the bottom edge of the waist cincher.  The edges of the black fabric were pinned to the front edges.  The middle pin was pinned to the middle back of the waist cincher.  The other two pins were matched and pinned to the side seams.

   Then, the basting threads were pulled to gather, adjusted, and pinned.  The gathered edge was stitched to the waist cincher, leaving the facing loose.

  The facing was pinned to the cincher over the top of the gathered edge and sewn leaving an opening about five inches wide in the center back section.

   Then, the seam allowance at the corners was clipped to allow for sharp corners when turned out, the skirt was pulled through the opening, and the cincher was pulled right side out. The cincher was then pressed again.  The opening was pinned to the skirt and blind-stitched closed.


   The placement for the grommets was marked with straight pins and an awl was used to mark the holes.  The grommets were then applied with a grommet plier. ►How to Apply Grommets.

   Sophia comes today to try on the dress and we will decide on the hem length.  We will also cut the over skirt and decide whether to cut it up shorter in the front, creating a high-low look, or not.  Can’t wait to see it on her!…

  Part 2 – The reveal and finishing touches for this will follow this week, but I am sure Your Little Girl Would Love This Pirate Costume, too!


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Easy DIY Necklace Ideas

Easy DIY Necklace Ideas

Remember when choker necklaces were in style?  Well, they are back again and Sophie wanted some from the store.  We looked at the ones available at a department store.  They weren’t really that interesting.  They didn’t fit her correctly.  We decided to come up with our own easy DIY necklace ideas.

A quick trip to the fabric and craft store gave us a multitude of options.  It was hard for Sophie to narrow her choices but we finally decided on a few charms, choker with a buckle, (It looks like a tiny belt!), and some findings to add to ribbon which I already had in my stash at home.

We spent a little more than the cost of the 4 choker necklaces in the store but we had enough supplies to make several necklaces.  Sophie created her choker necklace while we drove to another store!  Taking the choker with the buckle, she added an arrow slide to it and voila!  No tools were needed and she has a few other slides, which she can trade out for a different look.  She chose the arrow slide and had an instant necklace which coordinated perfectly with her outfit!

Easy DIY Necklace Ideas on

That was only one necklace.  The remaining necklace ideas we were planning needed a little more effort.  To get started making necklaces, there are a few tools you will need.  These are not very expensive and I wish I had bought these tools many years ago.  The jump ring on one of my favorite earrings broke somehow.  If I had known how simple it was to fix it, the earrings would have been repaired years ago!

Will’s girlfriend, Alex, and I took a jewelry making class at Michaels a couple of years ago and my eyes were opened.  If you can’t do that, you can find so many tutorials on the web today; knowledge is just a click away.  Don’t be intimidated!  You won’t believe how easy it is to make these little necklaces and they will fit you or your little girl perfectly!

I am not a professional at this.  Anyone can do it.  The more you practice, the better you will get!  Anyway, with just a few tools, you can make and repair all kinds of jewelry!  The following list is a good place to start.

Jewelry PliersEasy DIY Necklace Ideas on

Chain-nose pliers, which are flat on the inside and round on the outside, are for holding small findings and pieces.  These are the pliers needed to open and close jump rings.

Curved chain-nose pliers are just like the regular chain-nose pliers but there is a bend in the nose to allow you to reach tighter spots.  

Round-nose pliers are for making wire loops. Because of the cone-shape of the jaws, these are not good for holding findings.

Crimping pliers with nylon jaws are great for crimping metal and avoiding marring or scratching.  They are also great for straightening wire.


You can find pliers at local craft stores or Amazon has jewelry tools, findings, and also sets of beginner jewelry tools  (We are an affiliate of Amazon.  If you purchase through this link, we will receive a small percentage at no cost to you.  Thanks for supporting this website!)

Easy DIY Necklace Ideas

In the ribbon stash at home, we had black velvet ribbon, which would work perfectly for a choker necklace. (There is a turquoise grosgrain that will be perfect, too.) We had purchased a bag of metal ribbon ends, which could be crimped onto the ends of the ribbon.  I measured Sophie’s neck and subtracted the length of the catch and the clasp in the back.  The crimped ends would overlap the ribbon.  There was no need to subtract that measurement.Easy DIY Necklace Ideas on

The crimping pliers with the nylon jaws worked perfectly to tighten these down, catching the ends of the ribbon in the process.  A jump ring was used to connect the flat catch on the left and the lobster claw clasp on the right.

I was apparently so excited, I forgot to put the slide on before adding the second metal ribbon end.  Uh-oh! The slide would not slip over the ribbon ends.  Sophie now has a plain black velvet choker in addition to the one I made using a slide.  (Remember to slide on any slides before finishing off the second end!)

Jump rings are used to make chains and for attaching findings to jewelry.  These can be purchased or you can make your own. Jump rings are not soldered shut.  They can be opened and using two pairs of chain-nose pliers, (Two curved chain-nose pliers or a combination of chain-nose pliers and curved chain-nose pliers can be used.), that opening is opened more to attach two or more pieces or components of chain, beads, or charms together.  Then, the jump ring is closed.

Easy DIY Necklace Ideas on

There is a proper way to close the jump ring.  With the opening of the jump ring facing up, grasp the jump ring on one side of the opening with the pliers.  (Grasp a large part of the ring with the pliers instead of just using the tips.)







With the other set of pliers, grasp the opposite side of the jump ring.

Easy DIY Necklace Ideas on

Twist one side of the wire ring away from you and the other toward you.

Easy DIY Necklace Ideas on

(Always twist open from front to back not side to side.  If you place the pliers on the ring as shown in the picture, you should be doing this correctly.)








Attach any components to the jump ring and twist the ring in opposite directions.

Easy DIY Necklace Ideas on

Repeat the same twisting motion with the pliers.  Continue twisting back and forth and wiggling until the ends meet.  Don’t try to crimp it down with your pliers.  That will weaken the jump ring.  Twisting back and forth will work.
Easy DIY Necklace Ideas on

We had some leftover chain from the octopus necklace we made for Sophie’s pirate costume last Halloween.  Sophie loves the octopus necklace!  Click here ► to see the picture in the post A Few Tips For A great Halloween Night.  So, we made this little elephant necklace, too.  To make this, you only need to know how to open and close jump rings!  How easy is that?Easy DIY Necklace Ideas on

Sophie picked out these charms at the fabric and craft store.   (We are an affiliate of Amazon.  If you purchase through this link, we will receive a small percentage at no cost to you.  Thanks for supporting this website!)  We are planning to make earrings, too.  What a great time we had making necklaces!  I’m sure we will be making more of these this summer.  Maybe these easy DIY necklace ideas will inspire you to create some with your daughter, granddaughter, or maybe just for yourself!

Easy DIY Necklace Ideas on

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A Few Tips For A Great Halloween Night!

A Few Tips For A Great Halloween Night!

October 31, 2016

Halloween Night And Pirate Costume – Part 2

   Halloween costumes finished, food ready, and ‘A Few Tips For A Great Halloween Night!‘ guarantee a scary Halloween night of fun for all!

# 1 Tip – Have the costumes finished at least a couple of days before Halloween and help create the vision of the character the kids choose to be!


       The ‘pirate costume’ was ready a couple of days before Halloween and it turned out great!  Sophia said it was her favorite costume yet.  She and I conspired together to create her vision of this DIY pirate costume.  The easy DIY tricorn hat, which was finished a couple of weeks ago, was the pièce de résistance.  Her brown boots laced up the back and were a great addition to the pirate look.

   We ended up just turning up a quarter-inch hem on the dress, deciding against the high-low look.  We also nixed adding more lace to the skirt.  Sophia said she really loved the dress just like it was.  Agreeing with her, I was also a little concerned that the dress might ride up and if we had shortened it in the front, that would not be good.

   The over skirt was just shortened by cutting, (No hemming necessary!  Love that!), and the front edges were rounded slightly leaving the bulk of this beautiful fabric. 

   We found the octopus pendant at Michaels Arts & Crafts store.  We just added a chain.  I had considered adding the octopus to the hat on one side, but Sophia wanted it as a necklace.

  A suede lace was laced through the grommets of the waist cincher.

   Aidan had decided he wanted to be a member of the (Special Weapons and Tactics), S.W.A.T. team.   This was a relatively easy costume to assemble.  The S.W.A.T. hat was found at the local Halloween store.

    We bought a black zip-up sweatshirt and black pants. (Aidan can wear both of these for every day.)  We found a black tactical airsoft vest at Dick’s Sporting Goods.  It was a little big at the shoulders, so I pulled up and folded about 3/4-inch of the front at the shoulders to the back and stitched the edges and across the shoulders.  Fortunately, the side straps were adjustable.  

   We also found a pair of protective paintball gloves, which Aidan will also use in the future since he is big into paintball.

    The white embroidered letters were found at Hobby Lobby.  They had adhesive on the back, but it was necessary to slipstitch around the edges to secure to the netting on the back of the vest. 

   A little warning about the letters!  I went to two other craft and fabric stores and several of the letters were already sold out!  I did not realize what a run there would be on embroidered letters!  Then I remembered Hobby Lobby and we bought the last ‘S’ in their store!   If you are buying letters, do this early!


   The green Nerf gun Aidan has was sprayed with a few coats of black spray paint.  The orange on the tip, the side, the reload clip, and the top, were taped off and left orange for safety.

   Involving the kids in the whole costume making process is important.  It didn’t come together overnight.  We searched online for some of his items and went shopping for others.  Since he chose it, he was pretty happy with his costume, too.

Tip #2 Candy Container

   In the past, we used a medium-sized basket to hold candy for the trick-or-treaters.  We continually replenished the supply.  Last year, we decided to use a plastic basket from the dollar store, which holds all of the candy.  It’s orange, perfect for Halloween, and really works well.

    We started the evening with a full basket and these few pieces of candy were all that was leftover. 

Tip #3 Carving the pumpkins

   Since the grandkids were coming to our house for Halloween, Dave cleaned out and prepared the pumpkins for them to carve after school.

  They were excited to carve the pumpkins they had chosen the week before.  The little carving kits available today are safer than the knives we used years ago.  We have a pretty good assortment of tools for them to use.  It was interesting to see their masterpieces.


 Tip #4  Food!

    Knowing that there will be an abundant amount of candy consumption on this night, we always have good food ready to go when the family and friends arrive. Having full bellies, the kids are less likely to overload on the sweets.  It has become a tradition here to have the crock pot full of chili, hot and ready to go, for everyone.


    Our homemade chili recipe is quick and easy.  It can be made the night before and reheated before serving.  (We make two pots of this chili to be sure we have enough.)

   Bowls and mugs are set out to self-serve the chili.  It’s easier to take the mugs outside, weather permitting, and enjoy the parade of trick-or-treaters.  Shredded cheese for the chili, crackers, and butter are also made available.

    There is also a vegetable platter full of celery, cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and ranch dip.  Hard to resist, the kids start snacking on those as soon as they come into the house.

   We also have plenty of milk to serve the kids!  Milk is good with chili, but it is perfect for chocolate, too!

    The kids sit at the kitchen table, go through, and sort their stash of trick-or-treat candy before they head home.  We get to enjoy their tales of the night and the episodes that they enjoyed.  It’s a calm ending to an exciting day.

    A Few Tips For A Great Halloween Night could help cut down on Halloween Chaos!


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Swansboro, NC Visit

June 17, 2015

    Each time we head south to the coast of North Carolina and we are within a short drive of Swansboro, we visit this quaint historic town.  It is located at the mouth of the White Oak River, where the river joins the Atlantic Ocean.

   We always stop at Yana’s and have a cold drink and a bite to eat.  A life-sized Elvis greets everyone at the front door.  The little shop is filled with memorabilia, taking you back in time.  We sat at the booth with a variety of pictures of Marilyn Monroe.

    A few years ago, my sister and I stopped in and had a little lunch.  They were considering adding strawberry fritters to their menu and asked if we would try them on the house and give them our opinion.  They were delicious!

     Dave and I stopped in last week.  Dave ordered sweet tea for both of us and yes, we had an order of strawberry fritters!  They were delicious.  In addition to the strawberry, they also have peach and apple fritters.   I also had a bowl of vanilla ice cream, which tasted so good with the fritters.  Dave had a root beer float.  Oh my,  we were on a sugar high after we left there!  (That little sugar feast is something we never do!)

   We stopped in most of the little stores on North Front Street.  Some we have visited in the past and some were new to us.  We picked up a few interesting items.  Aidan, our grandson, loaded up on pirate toys while we were in Beaufort.  He was disappointed that the compass which he bought did not work correctly.  

   We found and bought a really neat compass in a little brass case at the ‘Poor Man’s Hole’, a shop full of interesting antiques.  Aidan loved the compass!  It actually works and it looked impressive in the brass case resembling a pocket watch.

   We stopped in at the little quilt shop, which has been there for as long as I can remember. These little headbands that had ribbon roses on them caught my eye.  I bought the pink one for Memphis.  These would be so easy to make, another DIY idea!

    The ‘Port O’ Swannsborough’ is another shop we visited.  This store always has some interesting souvenirs, gifts, and they have Christmas ornaments and decorations year round.

   I found an interesting kitchen gadget there by Charles Viancin.  I wasn’t sure what it was at first, but their display piqued my interest and explained the uses quite well.

   This silicone lid seals tightly on all smooth rimmed stainless steel, glass, plastic, and ceramic containers.  There are different sizes and different flower designs.  I bought one of the nine-inch poppy lids.  I am going to test this one and if it works well, I think I will buy more.  They can be used in place of plastic or aluminum foil in the refrigerator.  It is safe to use as a lid on the stove top, the microwave, and in the oven up to 428 degrees.  It is also dishwasher safe.

   They had little ones to use on coffee mugs or drinks, which they claimed would keep the beverage cold or hot.  I am thinking these would make great Christmas presents. 

   If you are ever near this quaint little town, you should visit!  We always love our Swansboro, NC visits.


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