Friday, September 21, 2018

A Couple More Thrifty Little Projects

I had a busy week last week, but I still wanted to create a few crafty things for our home.  The first thing I made was super quick and super easy to put together.  I wanted to make a tiered cake plate.  I've wanted one for a long time and decided to make one using a couple items I picked up at dollar tree.

I purchased a clear glass candlestick and a clear glass plate.  I used some E6000 glue I had and ran a bead of the adhesive around the top of the candlestick.  I glued it to the center of the underside of the plate and set our newly filled soap dispenser on top of it to act as a weight.  I left it sit overnight.  The glue cured completely in 24 hours and it was ready to use.

I like having it to put fresh fruits and veggies on.  It is also a really versatile piece to use for entertaining.  By pairing it with various dishes I have I can make it tiered for serving desserts or appetizers.  Who knows?  I may even put a cake on it sometime.  Or cupcakes.

The other project I did was to create a fall banner for our fireplace mantle.  This one was super quick and easy too.  I had some twine and a package of mini craft clothespins already in my stash.  I picked up this 50 piece package of leaves at the dollar store.

After cutting a piece of twine the length I needed I evenly spaced the leaves and pinned them in place with these cute little clothespins.  When I was done I just used a couple pieces of tape to attach it to the mantle.  How cute is this?

I used the leftover leaves to decorate the mantle and centerpiece on our table a little bit more.  I think it all turned out really pretty.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

My New Morning Routine

Now that I have a new work schedule and school is back in session I thought I'd share my new morning routine with you.  I go into work an hour later than I used to and I find that I can be pretty productive in that extra bit of time I have each morning.

I used to get up at 5:30 and start my day, but I've bumped it to 6:00 now.  I get up and make my bed right away, first thing.  Then into the bathroom to wash my face, brush my hair and plug in my flat iron.  I shower at night before bed so the girls have full access to the upstairs bathroom in the mornings.

Zucchini bread makes a quick breakfast for the girls

Next I head into the kitchen and get myself a hot cup of coffee and fix our lunches.  They usually are made up of leftovers and most of the time I have that dished up the night before so all I need to do is assemble everything into our lunch boxes and add the ice packs.  I also start a little bit of hot soapy dishwater to wash up any dishes from putting lunches together and the girls fixing their breakfast.

As you may already know I have 15 minute chores I do each day to stay on top of our housework and I do those in the mornings now instead of after work like I used to.  If it is a watering day I will also go outside and start the sprinklers and set the timer to remind me to move it or shut it off.

The girls leave before I do now so that gives me a good forty five minutes of solitude and quiet.  I will usually spend that time checking emails, writing, paying bills or financial planning.  It is also a great time for me to check the weekly grocery ads and do meal planning too.

Fifteen minutes before I leave for work I flat iron my hair, moisturize, put on deodorant, lip balm, get dressed and I am ready to go.  I keep a very simple and basic work wardrobe that is easy to maintain and makes decision making easy so I spend about ten minutes tops with five to spare.

Lastly I empty out the dish drainer, wipe down the counters and rinse out the sinks.  Once I make sure all the lights are off and doors are locked I'm headed off on my five minute commute to the office.  I am very thankful to live so close to work and not have a long commute and I really like my new schedule too.  It allows me to get more done at the beginning of my day so I'm freed up at the end to spend more time with my girls and their activities.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Healthy Low Carb Oatmeal

I love oatmeal, especially on a chilly morning, as a hearty and delicious way to start the day.  Being on keto however I thought oatmeal wasn't going to be a part of my diet anymore.  Fortunately, that isn't quite the case.  I just have to make it as healthy and low carb as possible.  And as luck would have it, it isn't all that difficult to do.

Surprisingly the quick cooking oats are lower in carbs than steel cut or old fashioned so that is what I used.  I also made sure to check the ingredients to make sure there weren't any preservatives or additives.

I think the serving size on the package is a bit too big.  Even before keto a full cup of cooked oats was too much.  I would usually make two servings and the girls and I would share it with some leftover.  None of us could eat it all.

I began by making a single serving of oatmeal.  One cup of water, a pinch of pink himilayan salt and 1/2 cup of oats.  Once the water and salt came to a boil I added the oats and cooked it for a minute, then covered the pan and removed it from the burner to sit for five minutes.  After it was done I added 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts, a packet of stevia with erythritol, a little bit of vanilla extract and some cinnamon and stirred it all together.

I divided the mixture in half to create two nice servings and topped each one with a couple tablespoons of cream and another sprinkle of cinnamon.  It was delicious!  The perfect size serving at only 12 grams of carbs.

While oatmeal won't be a part of my daily diet, it will still be a part of it on occasion.  I like that when it comes to my old favorite foods all I have to do is come up with really healthy way to prepare it.  I think I certainly accomplished it here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Christmas Project #8 - Candles & A Matte

You have probably gathered by now that I love candles.  And I also love to put my candles on a matte.  Not only is a matte pretty but it also can help save your surfaces, especially when you burn them all the way down to the bottom like I try to do.  I think a lovely scented candle and a matte is an excellent gift, no matter what the occasion and with Christmas coming I thought I'd share with you step by step how I make mine.

I inherited a bunch of little quilt squares

I love to get creative and use up scraps from my projects to make most of my mattes.  Using up leftover quilt squares or creating your own quilt square for one of these if fun too.  Lately I've done some crazy quilting which is a really good way to use odd shaped scraps.

Patterns are super easy to make.  I used a Corelle salad plate to trace a circle onto a scrap of paper and cut that out.  I find it is the perfect size to use for those big jar candles.  I've also made a pattern by cutting a square 3 1/2" X 3 1/2".

You can be as simple or elaborate as you like too.  Some I just stitch together, nothing fancy.  Others I might quilt and trim with lace or add a border like a quilt binding.  Quilting them with a decorative stitch is also nice.

Using up some pieces of leftover batting

I begin by cutting out two pieces of fabric, my top and bottom and a piece of thin quilt batting.  Then I sandwich the pieces together by placing the fabric right sides together and the batting on top.  Once pinned I stitch a 1/4" seam all the way around leaving about a 1 1/2" opening in order to turn in right side out.

Machine quilted with a decorative stitch

This one is made using a leftover quilt square
I sandwiched it with a piece of batting and a fabric square
and then I stitched it with a 1 1/2" strip to bind it like a quilt

Before I turn it I trim the seam to about 1/8" all the way around expect where the opening is.  If it is a square I also clip the corners.  Once turned right side out I give it a good pressing.  Then I stitch along the edge to finish it and close the opening.  If I'm adding lace, ruffle or trim I pin that in place first before I stitch turning the end over about 1/4" to make a nice finish.

These go together rather quickly and are a lot of fun to make

Whatever one decides there are a lot of different ways to make and embellish these.  A cute little bow, a ribbon flower, some embroidery are all really nice touches.  The only other thing to do is choose a candle to go with.

The votive candle came from the dollar store and the pretty holder from a thrift store

Creating just one or even several mattes with fabrics that depict the various holidays or seasons would make a really nice gift for someone who enjoys candles.  Not to mention the fun you will have making these.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Last Week's ThriftyMoves

Sunday I spent the day crafting and it was really nice.  I used a lot of items I had around the house to make some fun Fall signs for our porch, an art piece for my kitchen and to spruce up my cute little rummage sale Halloween piece.  I even managed to make a couple Christmas candle mattes.  They'll make great gifts paired with a nice scented candle.

On the way home from work Monday I stopped again at the FREE WOOD bin and found some more treasures.  I stocked up on some more wood and trim for a bunch of projects I have planned.  I can hardly wait to get started on them.

This is all trim, molding, 1"X 3"s, & 1"  4"s
I'd better get busy!

Board ends in all different widths and lengths

They filled it up again on Wednesday so I stopped and loaded up once more.  It was full again on Thursday and although very tempted I drove past it as I already have quite a bit in my garage to work with.

Thursday evening my oldest joined the rest of the marching band and they attended the Homecoming Queen Pageant.  After dropping her off I went over to the mall to purchase my daughter a gift for her eighteenth birthday coming up in November.  Although money is tight right now I was able to get her something special at JC Penney.  Without giving too much away it came from their fine jewelry department and it is a loss leader item.  I think she will really like it and I'll post a photo of it after her birthday so you can see what it is.

Friday evening our old Bunco group got together for a one time night of dice rolling.  It was really nice to see everyone again and get caught up on what has been going on.  It was also the homecoming football game which worked out really well for me because I dropped my oldest off at school went to Bunco and was done in time to pick her up after the game.  My youngest was invited to join us at Bunco and she seemed to have a really good time.  I won $10 and broke even!

Saturday I woke up tired.  After doing my household chores and the laundry I was out of gas.  I think my busy nonstop weeks caught up with me and I ran out of gas.  I had planned to finish up a project and start on another one, but instead I decided I'd better take a break.

Very pretty in a $4 dress!

My oldest attended the homecoming dance Saturday evening and in true thrifty form managed to pull it off for very little $$.  She and a friend went dress shopping at thrift stores last week and she came home with this lovely blue satin dress for only $4!  I love this color on her and thought she looked very pretty.  She already had the shoes in her closet and did her own hair and makeup.

There has been a nip of Fall in the air here lately

A really sweet friend of mine gave me a rolling electronics case for travel and a nice Liz Claiborne suitcase.  Both pieces are in practically new condition.  She knew I was planning to put together a set of luggage for my oldest as one of her graduation gifts and thought this might help.  Boy, did it ever!  After pricing good quality luggage to get her through college and off to her career all I could see was big $$ signs and this is the smaller of the two big gifts I plan to give her.  She also gave me a second rolling electronics case that I plan to keep for my youngest.

I picked some tomatoes from our garden.  I my gosh they are so good!  And brought in a lovely carrot for Daisy.  She gobbled it right down.

I cleaned and reorganized the pantry and kitchen freezer.  I ended up sticking a lot of recyclable packaging into the blue bin for curb pick up.  I also took a quick inventory so I'd know what we might be low on and found we are doing pretty darn good at the moment.

I pulled items from the kitchen freezer to make quick meals throughout the week and used up a lot of stuff we already had on hand.  I plan to do the same thing this week.

The chickens laid loads of eggs and I sold two dozen to a friend.  Our first egg sale since last fall.  I'm hoping the hens earn enough to put up their winter feed this year.  We gave them our kitchen scraps, which thrills them to no end.

I made this cake plate last week by gluing a candlestick
and a plate together with some E6000 and I love it
Both items came from Dollar Tree so only a $2 investment

I decided to reuse one of our bathroom soap dispensers in our kitchen to dispense dish soap.  I use Palmolive concentrated detergent and a bottle of it lasts a really long time.  I buy a big bottle of it on Amazon for the same price ($4.97) they sell the regular stuff at the grocery store.  After filling it up I added water to the empty detergent bottle and gave it a good shake.  It was enough soapy water solution to wash dishes all week long.

I picked up bath soap and toothpaste at the dollar store.  I also grabbed a few more craft items while I was there.

I spent my $20 grocery money on a few pantry items.  Mainly I stocked up on the girl's favorite canned clam chowder on sale for 99¢ a can as well as cheese for 99¢ a package.  I also got some whole wheat hotdog buns for $1 a package, bagels on markdown, tortillas on sale (and I had a 50¢ coupon, making them only 75¢), tortilla chips and taco shells also on sale.  Not a bad haul.

How was your thrifty week?

Friday, September 14, 2018

My Latest Fall Projects

Sunday morning I got up ready to dive right back into my latest crafting projects.  Before I went to bed on Saturday I had cut some wood and trim pieces to size.  I had also glued two pieces of wood together to sit overnight and stained the trim. 

Trim pieces all sanded, stained and drying

I also printed out some cute graphics I'd put together on my laptop playing with font and adding a pumpkin clipart image.  I used gray color on my font so it would be more muted and some peach colored stationery I had in my paper stash.  By Sunday morning I was really excited to finish my project.

I used Modge Podge to adhere my Harvest and Fall graphics onto each of the wood pieces and allowed them to dry.  Then I turned them over onto my cutting board and used a razor knife to trim the paper flush with the edges.

Using finish nails I added the trim pieces to the edges of each sign.

Then back outside to give them each a good coat of outdoor spray varathane. 

A simple little extra touch
(By the way, the girls have vetoed any staining or painting of the crate)

Once they were dry I added then to my fall porch decor along with a black basket I'd picked up at Dollar Tree and filled with some plastic pumpkins I'd bought at Walmart about five years ago.  Last year I had decided to purge these and at the last minute took them to my office to decorate.  This year I dragged them back home for my porch.  I'm glad now I didn't send them to the thrift store.

These signs are all the rage right now

Super fun to make my own

How cute is this?!

A light sanding easily took off most of the finish

A couple coats of paint and some varathane

The next project was to take an old frame I've had for nearly 30 years and give it a new purpose.  The finish was pretty worn so I gave it a light sanding and two coats of black spray paint followed by a coat of varathane.

So cute!

While the paint dried I printed out a Fresh Eggs graphic I'd found on a free clipart site online.  I used gray paper instead of white so it would be more muted.  I didn't want a glaring white page.  I used my paper cutter to get it sized for the 8" X 10" frame.  After washing both sides of the glass with a little window cleaner I fit it back into the frame along with my new graphic design.  Once the back was reattached to the frame it was ready to hang.

I really love this new addition to my kitchen.

My rummage sale finds from last Saturday

The last project for the morning was to take my cute little yard sale find and spruce it up a bit.  One of the little pumpkins was missing a nose so I used my hot glue gun and gave him a new one by placing a blob where his nose used to be.  Once it set I used some acrylic paint I had in my craft stash and gave all of their noses a refresh.

I thought this was so stinking cute!

A little glob of hot glue to replace the missing nose

I picked this up at Hobby Lobby quite awhile ago
I thought it would be perfect for this project

I had removed the bedraggled curling ribbon from it so I added some Trick Or Treat ribbon I had picked up at Hobby Lobby several years ago.  How stinking cute is that?  In October I'll find a place to display it for Halloween.  I think my 25¢ purchase turned out to be a great investment.

I gave all of their noses a fresh coat of paint
I have called Spiced Carrot, perfect match!

This bow turned out so cute!

They all look pretty pleased with their makeover

I finished all three of these projects in my pajamas.  I was too excited to get started to bother getting dressed first.  It was a ton of fun and I'm anxious to get busy and make some more stuff.   Whooo hooo!

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