Homemade Pirate Costume

My DIY Pirate instructions from a pair of second hand pleather pants. I made this for my husband in 2010 (and he still has it today) but it can be easily used for a woman pirate. First up, buy a pair of pleather pants from the second hand store in your size or bigger. The bigger you get the more material you have to work with. I say pleather because it would be a waste to cut into leather and it’s cheaper. I found a pair of pleather pants for $13 and they were in excellent condition.

The red dash lines are cut lines. Before I started I had to cut out the thin material liner which was easy enough. A. on image at left — The pleather pants had a 2″ waist band and a side zipper that I cut out. B. and C. are additional cuts just above the knee and again about 6″ longer. D. is a cut line to remove the seams in crotch.

How to cut the pleather pants.

The material on the lower half of the pant makes up the buccaneers of the pirate costume (the boots).

Buckeneer shoe covers for pirate costume are cut from lower legs.

The small section between B and C makes the fold over at the knee. The small piece is turned inside out and placed a few inches within the top of the larger piece and hand stitched around. I used waxed floss because it slid in and out nicely and didn’t break easily. The stitches were large enough to hold pieces together. Nothing fancy as it won’t be visible anyway.

I made a cuff by inserting a smaller piece into the longer one and folding it over.

I cut the remaining large pieces of fabric in half up the crotch and opened them. One piece makes up the back of the vest and the other piece I cut into two pieces out to make the front part of the vest. I didn’t use a template, I just eyed it. The front pieces were cut into point which made the vest longer in front and short in back. Out of leftovers I cut long strips about half an inch wide and as long as I could make them.

Pirate vest cut from main body of pants.

I poked holes in the shoulders where the front pieces would be attached and the side pieces where the front would connect with the back. I then threaded the long strips through the holes in a cross pattern as if lacing shoes and tied the two ends in long knots. The size of the vest can be adjusted by the ties.

To finish off the costume he wore his work cords, a white shirt I had in the closet, a noisy silver belt I picked up from the second hand store for $3, and a black stretch sash I had around his head, and a pair of black shoes. I put some dark eye make-up on him and finished off the look with a sword I picked up from the costume store for $5. Total cost $21.

This could be adapted for a woman: black skirt (short or long) or men’s baggy pants, white or red blouse, bandanna or sash on head, and wide belt at waist.

Plus Size Costumes

Originally published 8/31/2010 at Large & Lovely, BellaOnline.

Swag Bucks Review

Earlier last year I started seeing a lot of tweets on Twitter about making money on Swag Bucks. In a nutshell: people use the search box on their site or a special downloadable toolbar to search for topics like they normally would through any search engine (Google, Bing etc.) except while using Swag Bucks they earn points. Other ways to earn points included watching TV ads and videos, answering surveys, and playing games (there are other options too). These points can later be traded in for gifts or gift cards (GC). You need a lot of points to get anything substantial. For example:

  • One $5 Amazon gift card was 450 points
  • One $25 Amazon gift card was 3150 points

For kicks I signed up via a referral link from someone I follow on Twitter and kept a record of my point accumulation for a few months.

May 5 – 83 points
May 8 – 282 points
May 10 – 301 points
May 11 – 325 points
May 14 – 359 points
May 15 – 394 points
May 16 – 416 points
May 17 – 502 points

As I mentioned above a $5 Amazon gift card (GC) is 450 points and a $25 Amazon gift card is 3150 points. Doing some basic math I noticed that getting five $5 cards for 2250 points required 900 less points that going for the larger gift certificate amount. To get my money’s worth, so to speak, I decided on working toward the $5 GC increments.

Once you trade in your points it can take up to a week to receive a digital gift card in your Swag Bucks account. “Most gift cards from the Swag Store are e-gift cards. These prizes are delivered to the ‘My Gift Cards’ section of your account within 10-14 business days of prize verification.” Then they have to verified and added to your Amazon account. It is not a super hard process but time consuming.

After redeeming 450 points for my $5 GC I spent 46 of my remaining bucks on a few entries in the Swagstakes area for bigger Swag Bucks (250 and 1000) giveaways and an iPad (no luck there).

May 17 – 6 points
May 19 – 31 points
May 21 – 50 points
May 23 – 117 points
May 24 – 140 points

On May 26 I got an email telling me that my gift card “order has been delivered to your account”. They can be left in your Swag Bucks account or you can take the code and enter them into your Amazon account under “your account” and “your gift certificates”. It was super easy to do so I would recommend putting them into your Amazon account immediately (that is the paranoid part of me).

May 26 – 192 points
May 27 – 216 points
May 28 – 245 points
May 30 – 285 points
June 1 – 629 points (2 surveys, one 250 points)
June 3 – 686 points
June 4 – 701 points

In June I submitted for $5 in PayPal money and received and email stating it would be “7 to 21 business days for payment email to be received”. At this point I also discovered Swag Codes which were special codes hidden within the site’s blog posts and elsewhere and were good for another 10 to 100 points if submitted in the special “gimme” area before the deadline ended.

June 4 – 1 points
June 6 – 6 points
June 10 – $5 paid into Paypal account.
June 23 – used points for $5 Amazon GC

After a few months I think I gained a good feel for Swag Bucks. Yes, you can definitely earn money via their method but it does require conscious thought and effort to work within their guidelines (they have strict guidelines so the system is not abused by users). For the two month period I earned $20 in Amazon GC and $5 in Paypal money.

In my opinion, this is not a suitable source of income when you take into account the time involved to make up the points. If you are already online anyway you can make an extra $5 to $10 bucks a month using their search engine a few times a day, playing a few games a day, doing a few surveys (which take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes to complete), and any of the other options from their dashboard. But honestly, you are not being paid for your time — that is if you value your time — which you should. Not to mention the aggravation of spending 15 minutes doing a survey then being told you do not qualified (happens often and no points attributed).

That being said, it was an interesting experience and if you blog I recommend trying it out and documenting your results. This, of course, is my referral link which offers me points if you use it. At the moment I am not using Swag Bucks as a search option or participating in any other of their offerings (I have other ‘extra’ toolbars taking up space at the moment). Depending on how many people use the referral link provided I will update this post with further information on results. If you use it stop back and let me know how you like/hate it.

Dust Free Cubicle

One of the things I have in my office is a mini cubicle shelving tower for miscellaneous things that I want handy but do not use a lot. You can get them from pretty much any department store for about $20 to $25. The packages are sold with three to four cubes and multiple shelving units can easily be joined together to make a bigger bookcase. I only bought the one package because it was for a small space I wanted to fill and use productively.

The problem with having an open grid system is that everything easily collects dust and when you do not use the items often, well they collect even more dust — and I am a terrible duster — if I do not put it on my calendar it will not get done.

In an attempt to cut down on the dusting I decided to make a tower cover from my leftovers/bought for future use materials. I cut four pieces of fabric the length of the tower and one square. I quickly stitched all sides together leaving a two inch hole about midway on the top cube in the front piece to tuck in a ribbon I could use as a tie back when I want easier access to the shelves. While I was at it I made a trip to the dollar store and picked up a few baskets to sort the stuff on the cubicles and make it easier to handle.

grid cube shelving unit

When it is not in use I simple untie the ribbon and fasten it to the opposite side. Now every so often I can just throw the cover in the wash and do a light feather dusting of the items inside.

metal grid cubical shelf tower

The fabric is pretty much the same color as the paint on our walls so it does not stand out and I actually think it makes that corner look a little tidier.

The Domino Effect

One of my creative outlet projects at the moment is the 91 Domino Challenge. I am currently inking the white backs of 91 dominoes. Inked Domino

Why? you ask. Because I can. And it is fun. And I thought it would make a great challenge lens at Squidoo. You may remember last year I did a 30 Day Zendala challenge. This is along the same line but on a smaller scale.

So… you creative types with old dominoes sitting in your closet doing nothing, I challenge you to decorate your dominoes with some doodles. Learn more about the challenge at my 91 Domino Doodle Challenge lens.

Getting Ready for Christmas

Part of the routine here to get ready for Christmas is baking. Jeff has put in his usual requests for shortbread and fruitcake and I will do my new usual Bailey’s truffles, yum.

I created a Christmas baking lens with other favorites we have made regularly in the past called A Sweet Christmas. I have also created three other baking lenses: Pineapple Cake, Lemon Meringue and Lavender Cookies; all of which I recommend you try.

Have a great week!

Blended Matcha

This summer I was introduced to Blended Matcha at Teopia. Well it was too expensive to drink this totally awesome beverage on a regular basis so I created my own low fat economical version. matcha smoothie

Not surprisingly I created a lens on my Blended Matcha. I have not added the pictures yet but you will get the just of the recipe.

Have you tried Matcha?

Creating Your Own Thought Box

What is it?

It’s a box (or jar, or mug, or basket) containing thoughts on cut-up slips of paper.


The reasons for having a thought box are many and may differ from person to person. For me it is a distraction from a train wreck thought. An idea from a thought box provides an intermission from the day to day weight that may or may not be weighing me down. It allows my mind to move on.

On other days it gives me an opportunity to reflect on an area of my life. During this reflection I may attain a greater appreciation or develop a plan of action.

The thought box I created using a decorated box.How Does It Work?

When you need to or want to, pick a thought (word) from the thought box and contemplate on it. What does it mean to you at this particular time? A word or thought will have different meanings depending on your frame of mind and priorities at the time of reading it. Once you’ve chosen your word put the slip back in the box.

After you’ve contemplated your word it can be forgotten on the surface but subconsciously your mind will continue to work on it and it will surface throughout the day.


Try to take out one thought a day. Maybe first thing in the morning to help you with your day or for a breaker of negative thoughts. It can be a distraction of upsetting news, an alternative to eating three candy bars, or as an alternative to frustration. Whenever you feel the urge to contemplate something else, take a word from your thought box.

Where do I start?

Here’s a PDF file of thoughts to get you started. You can print them out (3 pages) and cut around each word, fold them and put into your own thought box. When I started I used a mug someone gave me then replaced it with a pretty box I picked up at the dollar store.

Can I add to the box?

Yes. If something is not there, write it down and add it to the box. The only stipulation is that it be positive. Feel free to share any of your thought box words with me that are not apart of the above PDF.

Thought boxes are meant to give perspective. To help you … dare I say… “think outside the box”.

Let me leave you with a thought, take it with you where ever you are today: TRANQUILITY.

Originally published 2/10/2004 at Large & Lovely, BellaOnline.