Thursday, March 31, 2016

Vintage Lace Embellished Hand Towels

Remember that set of hand towels I bought at Bed Bath & Beyond a couple weeks ago?  Well I've been working on sprucing them up a bit.  A couple years ago a friend gave me a bunch of vintage hand crocheted pillowcase lace her grandmother had made many, many years ago.  I was thrilled to get it and even more thrilled to finally get to put it to use.

Pillows and pillowcases are larger than they were when this lace was made so most of it is too small to add to new pillowcases unless I make them myself, which I just may do, but I also had the idea of adding some of the lace to some hand towels.

Another hand stitched project.  Just perfect for me to work on while enjoying a movie or TV show in the evening.

I washed the towels first because they are 100% cotton.  Then I used my machine to stitch the ends of the lace before I cut it so it wouldn't unravel.  Once that was done and pinned in place I used thread doubled over and a sharp needle to make tiny even stitches and sew it onto the ends of the towel.

Another fun project in the books and some beautifully handcrafted lace that will continue to be enjoyed for many years to come.  I'm so glad my dear friend thought to give this to me.

Do you have lace like this in your linen closet?  Don't you just love it?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Pea Salad

I looooooooooove this salad.  For one thing, it is super easy.  And for another, it has bacon in it.  You just can't go wrong with bacon.  I mean, seriously!

Pea Salad

1/2 cup sour cream
3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 Tbs. milk
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 10oz. pkg. frozen peas, thawed, patted dry
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained, chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
6 slices of bacon, cooked crisp, crumbled

Combine sour cream, vinegar, milk, sugar, salt and garlic powder in a small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add chilled dressing and toss lightly.

The next time you are looking for a really good side dish, this is the one.  An excellent one to take to a potluck or family gathering.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

My Grocery Budget - March Update

I happily spent a vast majority of our grocery budget on fresh produce.  I also stocked up on cream cheese, sour cream, tomato sauce and pasta among of few other things.

My non food items budget is $25 a month and I had $3.11 leftover from February to roll over and add to it making it $28.11.  I bought aluminum foil, some cleaning supplies and stocked up on toilet paper spending $15.11  and leaving me with $12.63 left to roll over next month and use.

Here is the list of food I bought.  The items highlighted in red are my stock up items:

Milk - 1 gal.
Cream - 1 pt.
Coleslaw mix
Oranges - 4#
Onions - 1.7#
Pasta (12)
Store Coupon
Milk - 1/2 gal. (4)
Store Coupon
Orange juice - 1/2 gal. (2)
Store Coupon
Cream cheese - (4)
Store Coupon
Eggs - dozen (2)
Store Coupon
Ice cream (2)
Store Coupon
Tomato sauce (10)
Oranges - 2.5#
Blood oranges
Corned beef
Grocery Outlet
Corned beef
Grocery Outlet
Grocery Outlet
Cheese (4)
Grocery Outlet
Hummus (3)
Grocery Outlet
Herb spread
Grocery Outlet
Tortilla chips
Grocery Outlet
Sour cream (2)
Store Coupon
Mayonnaise (2)
Store Coupon
Crackers (2)
Potatoes - red
Cake mix (5)
Veggie tray
Non stick cooking spray
Dollar Store
Whole chicken
Bagels - 6ct (2)
Potatoes - 10#
Green onions
Crackers (2)
Store Coupon
Store Coupon
Corn (4)
 $ 124.19

$124.19 ÷ 31 days ÷3 people = $1.34 per person per day!

Next month I am hoping for a good buy on sugar and as always meat and cheese.  Did you stock up on anything this month?  Any super deals?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

Pretty little vintage lamp.

I had a very busy and productive week, which I love.  It was spring break for my girls and I was able to work half days and have extra time with them too.

Sunday I got up and got busy.  I made a small loaf of whole wheat bread and a dozen dinner rolls.  Then I spent some quality time with my sewing machine.

I embellished the second set of sheets I bought the week before with vintage crocheted trim I already had in my stash.  I finished my embroidered chicken tea towel.  I embellished three of the hand towels I had bought at Bed Bath & Beyond (post coming) using vintage crocheted pillowcase lace I had been given by a friend.  I cut out another doily from a scrap of fabric I had.

I made a satin belt for my oldest.  A friend of hers gave her a dress she no longer wanted and it was missing the belt.  She plans to wear the dress to her freshman dance so I made her a simple belt using a wide satin ribbon I had in my stash and a skirt hook I also had on hand.  It looks perfect with the dress and she is very pleased.

I hemmed a pair of the shorts we found at a thrift store a couple weeks ago for my youngest.  They were a touch longer than she liked.  One must have the correct length on their shorts when running track, you see. J

I used a little Spray & Wash to clean a couple spots off of a lampshade I bought at the thrift store the week before for $1.99.  Then I cleaned the rest of the shade with a damp rag.  It cleaned up very nicely.  I let it dry and then got out the glue gun to add some pretty gold trim I had.  I think it turned out very nice.

Tuesday evening I finished embroidering a tea towel I had started last year.

Wednesday I dug out all of my scraps and smaller pieces of fabric.  It always take me forever to make a final decision on which ones I'll eventually end up using, however this time my pile seemed to have its own color theme which made it a much easier process for me.  I had just enough to cut out pieces to make 12 nine patch quilt squares.  Thursday I finished stitching them all together.  Whooo hoooo.

I had a small pile of scraps from my scraps.  I took about half of them and crazy quilted them together and used that to embellish my tea towel.  I have never crazy quilted before and I have to admit it was pretty fun.  Plus I got to use a lot of my fancy stitches on my machine.  I think it turned out pretty cute.

With all the projects I've been working on and finishing up the past few weeks I have managed to make some space in my unfinished project bin, my fabric dresser and I eliminated a good sized bag of trim from my stash.  My living room floor is starting to become visible again too.  J

Thursday, on the way home from work, I finished up my Easter shopping at Walgreens with a few inexpensive items I found on sale.  I spent less than $5.

I did a little grocery shopping at Albertson's after work Friday.  I wanted to take advantage of their sale on butter ($1.99 ea.), crackers ($1.39 ea.) 4 cans of corn (39¢ ea.) and a 10# bag of potatoes ($1.49).  While there I happened across a whole roasting chicken and two bags of bagels in the markdown bin.  Not a bad haul.

My youngest made homemade chocolate ice cream and I made two batches of homemade pudding.  The oldest had a not-so-much-fun appointment at the orthodontist so she needed some soft, cool treats for her sore mouth.

I made up another jar of soap.  I pulled out another jar I'd stuck in the purge box and filled it up with the extra bars of hotel soap I had leftover.  Now I have one to take to the "new house".  Grandma would approve.

How was your thrifty week?

Friday, March 25, 2016

My April Meal Plan

April is fast upon us and I made a meal plan that will keep us going throughout the month.  Lots of yummy meals await us and I can hardly wait.

Pork fried rice

This is what I plan to feed my lovely family this month:

Sloppy Joes, Tater Tots, Veggies & Dip
Ham & Bean Soup, Cornbread, Garden Salad
Chicken Caccitore, Pasta, Caesar Salad
Pork Fried Rice, Egg Rolls
Egg & Cheddar Sandwich, Sliced Peaches
Chicken Garlic Pizza, Spinach Salad
Vegetable Beef Soup, Biscuits, Tossed Green Salad
Pork Chops, Rice Pilaf, Steamed Broccoli
Spaghetti & Meat Sauce, Garden Salad
Blueberry Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs
Tuna Schooners, Tater Tots, Veggies & Dip
Chicken Tortillas Soup, Tossed Green Salad
Meat Loaf, Baked Potatoes, Green Beans
Chicken & Pasta Bake, Buttered Peas
Ham & Potato Hash, Fresh Fruit
Tortellini Soup, French Bread, Caesar Salad
Lemon Pepper Chicken, Pesto Orzo, Steamed Veggies
Beef Tacos, Lettuce & Tomatoes, Salsa
Veggie Quiche, Fruit Salad
Chili Dogs, Steak Fries, Veggies & Dip
Chicken Noodle Soup, Breadsticks, Garden Salad

Vegetable beef soup

My meal plan includes that I make pretty much everything from scratch.  Knowing what ingredients are in our food is important to me.  It also makes a huge difference in the cost of each meal.  I try to make all of our baked goods so I save money over buying them at the store.  Occasionally I may grab a loaf of bread if I am short on time, but I try not to do that very often.  We prefer our homemade bread over store bought.

Tortellini soup

As the budget allows I will plan to purchase loss leader items and take advantage of any good sales to further add to our pantry and freezer.

Spinach salad

Any fellow meal planners out there?  Whether you are or not, what are some of your favorites dinners to prepare for your family?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

How I Plan To Furnish A Second Home

I shared with you all this last week that I am embarking on a HUGE project.  My retirement goal.  You can never start planning too soon for retirement.  It happens sooner than we think it will.  One of my co-workers just turned in her retirement papers last week.  She said it feels rather strange and surreal.  It's hard for her to believe that it is actually happening now.  It was only a year ago we had discussed her plans in the break room and I'm sure she'd be the first to agree it came around awfully fast.  I have some time to wait until I'll be turning my retirement paperwork in, but that doesn’t mean I can't get started right now.

I also have a short amount of time, less than two years, to wait until my finances are where I want them to be before I actually purchase my second home.  So while I wait I plan to work on some smaller projects geared toward furnishing my new home.  Not only will this allow me to accumulated the items I will need but it will keep me busy while I wait.  And it will be fun.

My hope is to find a little house around 600 to 800 square feet.  Much like the home my great grandparents had in Spokane, Washington.  Preferably built in the 1940s, my favorite home I've ever lived in was a rental built in 1946, and because I love the warmth and coziness of those little homes.  Especially those hardwood floors and arched doorways.

My home now is more contemporary in style and as you may recall I refurnished it with all new furnishings, on a rather tight budget.  I love how my home looks and feels.  The reality is that the stuff in my  home now will be old and worn by the time I retire.  And honestly, I'll be ready for something different.

eBay purchases

This time I don’t plan to furnish my second home with all new stuff.  Quite the contrary.  I want some used things, vintage things, things from the 1940s and homemade things.  And the reason I want to furnish my new home like this is because I plan to take all the wonderful things I have inherited from my grandparents and finally have a place for them.  My grandma's Tiffany lamp and her china, my great grandma's oil lamps, my other great grandma's framed floral print (a calendar page from 1929), her Boston Baked Beans crock and her mahogany side table, my other great grandma's silver and her pretty vase and oodles of other treasures I am fortunate to have.

My latest doily creation

I want to make A LOT of stuff for my new home.  I'll be searching thrift stores, antique shops, eBay and craigslist too.  Finding things to revamp and fix up will all be part of the process and I'll be posting my projects as I go.  Perhaps you'll be inspired to try a few projects yourself.  And if you do I hope you will share.  J

Time to get busy!
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