Category Archives: Frugal Living

Upcycling

This was my husband’s shirt.

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It’s a little, um, Whoa Polkadot Polyester, and despite his affinity to it’s vintage awesomeness, he generously donated it to my upcycling project 2.0.

What’s upcycling? It’s a newfangled word I just learned! It’s when you take something old/ no longer useful/ unwanted and change it up to make something ย of better value/ use/ quality.

I upcycled Keith’s shirt into a dress for my daughter, thanks to a fabulous tutorial from Made. Yes, I am a big fan of Made.

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I opted to make it 3/4 sleeves and just moved the button holes to make the sleeves fit and puff a bit. I had some extra satin blanket binding left over from another project so I used that for the waistband.

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Of course I couldn’t let the leftover scraps go to waste, so I made a wee bow tie for the little man.

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Adorable, aren’t they?

New dress, new bow tie, nearly no money spent. I love projects like that.

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Cloth diaper plunge

I have taken the cloth diaper plunge. Sweet Pea, my two year old, has been in and out of cloth diapers since late October… which is partly why I haven’t posted in so long! Lots to get used to! Well, that and, YOU KNOW, getting ready to have another baby, coordinating a MOPS group, working out,ย  making homemade bread and yogurt and all those other crazy things I do.

The cloth diaper endeavor was challenging at first, as is anything new, but I had some great long-distance support from some friends and I stuck it out! Now, Sweet Pea is pretty much 24-7 in cloth, I just haven’t taken the leap to ask the nursery at church if they would be ok with her being in cloth. I hate to ask those volunteers… there are so many different people who serve and I don’t want to become “that mom” who insists upon cloth or makes things inconvenient for them. I am SO thankful that there are loving people who WANT to take care of my baby and teach her bible songs and help her make a little baby Jesus cradle while my husband and I are able to worship with the rest of the adults!

And it’s not necessarily a philisophical thing, like I feel that she’d die if she had on pampers- I mean she had pampers or whatever on for almost two years, but I’ve made a financial investment in the diapers so I would prefer to stop buying the occasional disposables.

And let me tell you, my least favorite mom-task was taking out the diaper champ. Ugh. Yuck. I didn’t like it! It stunk. Bad. Now I store the used diapers in a diaper pail liner IN the diaper champ (it won’t swivel but that’s ok) and when I go to get the bag on washing days I’m, like, excited. Weird, I know. I don’t have to dump it in the trash. I get to clean them and reuse them. Take something soiled and make it fresh and clean.

Kinda like what Jesus does for us – “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow”- Isaiah 1:18. Can I get an amen? ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll have more on cloth diapering some other time.

But for now, all is well, we’re prepping for baby #2, I’m still baking a ton of stuff, still working out, still hanging in there. I even started knitting the baby a sweater!

Just in case you’re interested, there are a several of giveaways to enter to win free diapers/ cloth diaper accesories:

Check out Clothdiaperblog.com for their super-sized-giveaway!

Sweet Deals for Moms has a diaper cream giveaway here.

Until next time… ๐Ÿ™‚

Sprucing up the bistro table

Since I don’t usually spend the big bucks to inve$t in durable patio furniture, I have a bistro table set from Joann’s that is several years old and starting to show it’s age.

The base of the chair is all wonky and starting to rust; I’ll likely have to clean it with a wire brush and repaint it by the end of the season.

BUT! I thought it could use some cushions, since the chairs have never really been all that comfortable.

Enter one of my design heroes, Kristin Nicholas. You may remember I made some wicked cool leg warmers she designed. I don’t wear them nearly often enough, as I am generally more conservative in my color palate than Kristen is, but everytime I do don my legwarmers, it’s a good day.

Kristen shared this fabulous tutorial last summer on printing your own fabric, using a canvas dropcloth as the fabric (AKA- cheap!) and basically whatever paints you have lying around.

I really liked the affordability of the project, because I wasn’t about to shell out $30 a yard for some Sunbrella fabric that was going to sit on my rusty bistro chairs.

I cut and preshrunk my canvas cloth, then I cut out a stamp or two like from kid’s adhesive foam.

A little stamping action with some random acrylics I had lying around, a little striping action, some sewing and stuffing of foam padding…

I only used one color, because I didn’t want the cushions to stand out too much. I wanted the main focus of the flagstone patio to be the garden, not the bistro set.

and…

TADAAAAA! My spiffy bistro table. Now, for some iced tea and some quiet time…

Tortilla madness

Once again, I found myself at the store astonished at the price of… tortillas this time. Three bucks for 6 whole wheat tortillas? Ouch! Madness I say!

I just couldn’t buy them.

I looked around the internet and I found this fabulous tutorial on making your own flour tortillas. They are pretty easy to make! I’ve made them twice, and the second time was significantly easier than the first.

They’re not exactly circular, but hey! I made ’em myself!

The ingredients are common household staples that I almost never run out of:

2 c flour

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp oil

3/4 c milk

I’ve been afraid of doing things 100% whole wheat based on my past horrific bread experiences, so I used 1 1/3 c white flour and 2/3 c whole wheat flour. Next week I think I’ll attempt half and half.

I used my Kitchenaid mixer, with the dough hook and loosely stuck to the recommended times for kneading. The dough needs to be a little stretchy. The hardest part is the rolling of the tortillas, I almost got a splinter from my wooden rolling pin the first time, but yesterday’s tortillas were much easier to roll.

I’d also recommend warming your tortillas on a dry skillet of some kind (see photo) instead of the microwave. Microwaves do weird things to tortillas.

Happy tortilla making!

Frugal Friday

Have you ever heard of GasBuddy.com? It’s this sweet site that allows you to punch in your zip code and it will then show you the gas prices at various stations all around your area.

Even though a penny less a gallon realistically only saves me about 11 cents (I have a 12 gallon tank car) it’s the psychological aspect of “sticking it to the gas man.” Or something.

Speaking of gas and cars and such… has anyone revisited the idea of being a one-car family?

We have casually considered it… I’m a stay-at-home-mom with a 6 month old so I am not carting people around to various activities. My ventures out of the house consist of the grocery store, bible study (which is now done for the summer),ย  a moms group (also done for the summer) and Babies R Us once a month for diapers. I go to the gym a lot too, but we usually walk there since it’s 2 blocks away.

I don’t go out and drive for the heck of it, especially now, and if I am sitting at home, not going places to conserve gas, then why in the world do I have a car? Granted, it is convenient. And nice. And the way we’ve always done things. But I am starting to wonder if it’s really necessary…

Any frugal thoughts? Gas/car related or otherwise?