Friday, May 29, 2015


So many crafts to do....  so little time.

My latest crafting project, inspired by this bag, is this basket!!  It's quite sturdy and about 9" high and 9" across.  The perfect size for keeping some of my pending sewing patterns handy and contained.

The pattern did call for super bulky weight yarn, but I just doubled up the worsted weight yarns I had on hand while still using the size I hook called for.  And I couldn't be happier!

Making do - we have 2 ceiling fans which both needed longer pull chains and embracing my year of Buying Nothing New, I pulled out my yarns and made the chains!  One I used a crochet thread and the other just a worsted weight.  And for both, I just made a chain until it was long enough, turned and single crocheted back to the other end.  Tadaa!!  Sadly, I'm not able to get a good picture.

And who could get through summer without a marble maze?!  

Made simply with a piece of cardboard, craft sticks, a hot glue gun and this marble maze for inspiration.

What craft projects are you working on?  Please share in the comments!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Frugal Fun

Whether it's the Free children's bowling program, our YMCA membership, Free programs put on by the Parks Dept, or doing arts and crafts; it can all be done with little to no money being spent.

Back in February, a flyer came around on FB promoting a Free bowling for the summer for children, which honestly I thought was too good to be true.  But as I dug into the details (April to September, includes show rental, two games each and every day of the week), I found it was the real deal and signed up Isabelle.  While going through the process, I was given the option of adding one parent for $20 or two parents for $25.  Yes, please and signed up both of us.
We pay shoe rental at $1.75/pr.  Not bad for an hour or so of bowling for all of us.  The icing on the cake came last time we were there, and the manager offered a shoe pass for $15 which would be good all summer.  I haven't yet priced shoes, but I'm guessing they'll be in the $30 - $50 range, and that I've have to buy them new. And I'm not sure I'm ready to make that commitment, but the $15 is totally doable.

We love our YMCA membership because with it, we enjoy all kinds of benefits - unlimited swimming and/or playing in the gym at no extra cost, free babysitting for Isabelle while I use the track for walking, free swimming lessons for Isabelle, and unlimited use of the fitness center. Yes, we pay $58/mo for membership, but we get full value and make use of all the benefits.

Tonight we're heading out to the kick off of the summer programs put on by the County Parks Dept. Our parks people are committed to putting on high quality programs and we look forward to attending every one of them. Tonight's topic is reptiles!

The new ampitheater
Even when I am sewing, there is plenty of room to be frugal.  Yesterday, I picked up 10 new (yes, new) patterns for just $10.  When patterns are only $1 each compared to $15 - $20, yes I will be stocking up - some for Isabelle, some for me, and some for homemaking.  

Fabric is hit and miss.  I'm happy to makeover a sheet or curtain I buy at the thrift store into a new-to-us dress, skirt or whatever, but I also allow fabrics as an exclusion to my Buy Nothing New commitment.  I believe it's important to send the message to the fabric companies that fabric by the bolt is still in demand.

So tell me about your frugal fun below in the comments.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Buy Nothing New

Back in January, a number of my friends were talking about their word for the new year - clean, freedom, and others I don't remember. I was inspired. I thought hey! I'd like to have a word of the year.  :D  And then....   crickets.  There was just no word that surfaced in my mind to be my word of the year, to inspire me, and keep me motivated.  And after a while, I forgot I wanted a word of the year.

Fast forward to April, and I came across the phrase "Buy Nothing New".  Whoooa!!  That's it!  I don't need a word of the year, but a phrase of the year - yes! Buy Nothing New - that is sooo me!!  It speaks to my desire to tread easy on the earth, save money, take my time with new purchases, and shop thrift stores, antiques stores, and auctions.

Of course in April, we did buy new sandals for Isabelle right before walking into the children's resale store and finding barely worn sandals for less than 1/3 the price of new.  doh!   And there was the electric skillet I bought when there was and still is a vintage corning electric skillet with removable stoneware at the antiques store for only $10 more.  (I may still go and buy one since there are two.)

Much like the one I didn't buy.
These two experiences cemented my commitment to Buy Nothing New for the rest of this year.  There are, of course, exceptions - underwear, safety equipment, contact lenses and glasses, some sewing supplies and yarn; and probably a few other things that I haven't thought of yet.  But for the most part, everything a family needs to make a home and thrive is already out there to purchase without buying new at the big box stores or even locally owned businesses. Buying new sends a message to manufacturers that they need to produce more and if we get in the habit of buying used, then less resources (water among others) will to into manufacturing.

Which brings me to yesterday's baking session - banana nut muffins which start out with creaming the butter and sugar.  No problem, right?  Have you ever tried creaming butter and sugar with a fork?  No?  How about a whisk?  It just doesn't go well which results in flat muffins.  The flavor was still good, but they're not light and fluffy (no air).

So I've been kicking around the idea for a while to get an old-fashioned egg beater to use for creaming butter and sugar, and today was the day to head out and see if I could find one at the GoodWill store (nope) or the thrift store down town (nope) before looking at the antiques mall which I knew had a half dozen of them the last time I went for a walk there.
Pickings were slimmer this time as we only found two, one of which was too rusty to be used as anything but a display item.  And then.....  we found an egg beater with its own glass bowl. Oooohhhh  the possiblities.  Granted the price jumped from $12 to $25 when the bowl was added, but who am I to turn down a glass mixing bowl?  So yes, it came home with us.

It will get a thorough cleaning before I start trying it out.  I see creaming butter, beating egg whites, and making butter in its immediate future.

There were also some bags of brightly colored balls of yarn that I picked up to add to my stash.  It's not a lot that I'm adding, and I know I'll use it to crochet flowers for a wall-hanging I'll be making for Isabelle's bedroom.

Please reply in the comments. Thanks!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

It's a new Day

Every day, I get to start anew, and today I am starting my new blog.

I enjoy sharing my stories with you, my readers.  And I like to think of you as my friends.  I'll be sharing some of my frugal, happy, fun, homemade, and simple living adventures with you. And I look forward to the conversations I'll be having with you all.

Introduce yourself in the comments and thanks for coming along for the ride!