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Monday, December 30, 2013

Thrifty Uno First Birthday Party Theme

My son's first birthday party happened over a year before I started blogging, but I pinned the theme on Pinterest, and it has been re-pinned many times! Since there was so much interest, I thought I would explain what we did. This was an inexpensive theme, so it definitely fits into the thrifty category. Full disclosure: my husband is a very-talented graphic designer, so I didn't have to purchase design time for a banner or invitations, but the theme relied mainly on projects anyone can do.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Round-up of Hand-made Christmas Gifts

Like my hoop art? Purchase it here.

I hope all of my readers had an amazing holiday, filled with family and friends! 

I thought it would be fun to do a "round-up" of Christmas gifts I gave this year, that were hand-made. Some I blogged about and others I didn't, but all were fun to do and well-received.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Easy, Inexpensive Stocking Stuffer: Christmas S'mores

I haven't posted in a few days because we were out of town, celebrating the holiday with family. We had such a good time!

Today, I am finishing up some Christmas things, and one of them was so inexpensive and easy, I thought it would be a good post for the blog.  If you are looking for a great stocking stuffer that kids just love, these Christmas s'mores are easy and thrifty.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Kite Embroidery Hoop Art

Like my hoop art? Purchase it here.

I haven't been doing quite as much upcycling during this week before Christmas, other than my seat belt pillow, because I've been working on hoop art. I do, however still use upcycling in everything I do. This hoop upcycles an old pair of trousers. The fabric was perfect for this.

My world embroidery project came out well, but it was meant for the play room and my 14-year-old snagged it, so I had to start a new decoration. 

This one is my favorite, yet. I just love rainbows, and this one is very colorful. The phrase is a Fleetwood Mac song. I just love it. It sums up one of my main parenting philosophies. 

For the felt graphic piece, I almost went with cars, a hot air balloon, or a suitcase, but in the end, the kite won out, because I could picture it in my head better.

My favorite part of this hoop has got to be the little pink leopard-print bow on the end of the kite string. It was an inspiration I had at the end of the project, to replace a solid green bow with a surprise—a bow that "goes its own way". 

The process:

And the finished piece:

This will be wonderful in the play room. I'm going to wrap this up for the babies to open on Christmas. I know they won't know what it is now, but it was definitely a labor of love from me to them. :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thrifty Cooking: Meals 4 & 5 from the 5 Meals from One Turkey Meal Plan

This is the last installment in my 5-meals-from-1 turkey meal plan. I have to say, that $2.92 was the best investment I could make! The cooking method was great and the meat was flavorful. The first week, I made tacos, spaghetti, and modified BLT sandwiches. My family devoured them all, and the tacos and spaghetti were enough for 2 day's worth of lunches for my husband and I, so they were definitely more of a "serves 12" recipe! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

World Embroidery Hoop Art

Like my hoop art? Purchase it here.

This isn't a tutorial, just a post to show you guys my continuing love of hand-embroidery and to show off my latest project.

I DID use some upcycling principles, though. The cloth I embroidered on is an old, off-white curtain. The embroidery hoop was $1.69 and I used scrap felt for the earth.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Upcycled Seat Belt Pillow

My 14 year-old is constantly falling asleep in the worst positions in the car. We travel a couple of times a month and this makes for some very uncomfortable sleep for him. Also, sometimes he even moves the belt completely out of the way, which is very unsafe.  In an effort to solve all of that, I thought a seat belt pillow would be ideal. It's just a long, skinny pillow with thin ties that tie on to the seat belt. The long ones I've seen have been running $25, but my version was free!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Fun, Inexpensive Santa Gift-Wrapping

This is just a quick, fun post for anyone who wants a fun way to wrap Santa gifts this year.

I've seen similar wrapping on other sites, but they use expensive heavy-weight red paper and expensive gold-foil scrapbook paper sheets. My way is so much cheaper!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Simple and Cheap Christmas Gift: Felt Food

Most of us look for ways to save during the holidays. If you have a little one who loves to pretend cook, this gift idea is perfect. A sheet of acrylic felt is 29 cents, and you can get multiple pretend food out of it, or use up old fleece scraps. I sewed all of my "food" but I think you could do this with a hot glue gun, too.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Easy Christmas Card Holder Decoration

I secretly (not so secretly now) LOVE getting Christmas cards! They are always so cheerful and uplifting and I am sad that they aren't sent as much these days. However, I finally received one today and wanted to make a holder for them. (Well, my husband brought one he designed for his work home, so I'll count that one, too. I'll take what I can get these days!)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Thrifty Cooking: Meals 1-3 from One Turkey

Right before Thanksgiving, I scored an 11-pound turkey for $2.92, total! I told you guys about my plans for this guy,  but instead of updating the original post, I thought a new post would be less lengthy. When I cook like this, I always leave a day where I cook something completely different, so my family doesn't get tired of the main protein. Also, except for the sandwiches, I had leftovers, so these really serve more than 5. The chicken spaghetti probably comes in at under $1 a serving!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Upcycled Sewing Caddy

Lately, I have been having so much fun with hand embroidery. It's pretty surprising, since I am quite impatient (just ask my husband) and embroidery is very slow-going, but I just love the pictures the thread creates. My first try at embroidery was sprucing up a sweater destined for the donate pile; a Charlie Brown Christmas tree:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Simple Stocking Dress-Up (No-Sew!)

Our baby girl needed a stocking, and I came across a couple of plain green ones in my Christmas box. I decided I could cut out an applique design and affix it to the stocking.

Friday, December 6, 2013

No-Sew Warm Baby Headband From Fleece Scraps

This morning, I was getting my baby girl dressed and reached for a headband, but with the temperatures in the forties today, I wondered if there were something warmer I could make for her (besides a bulky hat).

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Super Easy Christmas Decoration for Stairs

Want a free and very quick way to dress up your stairs this holiday season? Hang your stockings from them! Not only does it add a "wow-factor" to your stairs, but it's very practical.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Upcycled Baby's First Ornament

A couple of years ago, I made my son a baby's first ornament. I went to a big retail store, bought a fancy ornament, and followed the process I'll write out here. I love seeing it on our tree.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Easy, No-Cost Candy Cane Rag Wreath

I really liked how my Halloween rag wreath came out and wanted to do something similar for Christmas, although I did eye a white curtain and consider doing one like my fall shabby chic wreath. However, I already have a cute door decoration that I love, so knew that I wanted to work around it. I thought that a candy cane would be the perfect shape.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Simple Christmas Wrapping

Usually, I buy lots of pretty paper and bags for my Christmas wrapping, but for this year, I decided to go with much simpler wrapping. I have seen a ton of pretty simple packaging on Pinterest—using newspaper, brown kraft paper, and even the white side of printed paper.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Five Meals from One Turkey

My guys aren't a big fan of turkey. They prefer ham every time, so I don't buy turkey. However, my guys DO like tacos, dumplings, pot pies, pasta, and wraps. 

And so, today, my thrifty heart rejoiced, because as I was completing my Thanksgiving food shopping, I saw a sign that read, "Riverside Turkeys: 27 cents a pound with any $20 purchase". SCORE! Sadly, I don't have a deep freezer and my freezer is small, so a nearly-11-pound turkey was the biggest I felt comfortable purchasing. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thrifty Cold Monday Recipe: Ham and Bean Soup

I had posted in Meal Plan 1 a quick run-through of my bean soup recipe, but was asked by a couple of people for a more thorough recipe, so here it is. This is perfect for the cold weather, and you could easily make it vegetarian by using vegetable stock and omitting the ham, and the bacon grease.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fun Sweater Update Using Old Sweatpants

Like the last tutorial, this post was inspired by a product I would love to buy, but can't justify spending the money on.  This sweater is fun and exactly my style. Sadly, it's also $69. I don't spend $69 on clothes.
I had seen a picture of a sweater on Pinterest of a sweatshirt with a giant heart on it.  There was no tutorial to it, just the image, but I sent my BFF a text, showing her the image and asking if she thought I could do that myself.  Since she's an optimistic sort, she immediately said, "yes", and that was all the encouragement I needed!

Easy Upcycled "Silk" Fabric Flower Headband

I love the look of this headband

It's classy and really elegant but I just couldn't justify spending that amount right now. So, the hunt for a tutorial on how to make these beautiful flowers began! I found lots, but most had many steps that I felt I could exclude, so once I had the procedure down--which I got from this blog--I set out to make my own (less elegant than my inspirational photo above) silk flower headband.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

3 Day Meal Plan 2: Rotisserie Chicken

I have another delicious, low-cost 3-day meal plan, using one cooked rotisserie chicken. In this plan, I relied on helpers (mixes and prepared sauce) but you can very easily modify this to be made from scratch, and I usually do. It was just one of those weeks, and since we all have them, it's actually nice to show how an affordable home-cooked meal can still be put on the table, in very little time.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Upcycled Newborn Headband into an Embellishment

I had mentioned in my first blog entry that we did not find out our baby girl's gender during our pregnancy. As a result, and because I am not overly find of pink, I had a ton of neutral clothes. This didn't bother me at all, but I decided it might be fun to "dress up" a few shirts.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Swiffer Money-Saving Tip

You guys all may know this cleaning tip, but I thought I'd post it just in case.

I love my Swiffer mop. It's simple, lightweight, and quick. However, I hated spending money on the cleaning cloths. One day, I thought I'd see what happened if I wrapped a washcloth around it. Let the money-saving begin!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Upcycled Baby Food Jar

I saved many of the baby food jars from when my son was smaller, initially just because they made great bowls for mashed foods, and now are great for snacks like raisins and cheerios. Still, I have a lot, and am always trying to think of new ways to use them.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

3-Day Meal Plan 1: Rotisserie Chicken

One night, I bought a cooked rotisserie chicken at my grocery store. I served it with a nice salad and a couple of sides. But then I had leftovers...which would change my cooking life. I realized how many things you can do with a cooked rotisserie chicken! 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Another Version of the Turkey Hair Clip

Last week I posted my completely upcycled turkey hair clip. I am practicing, so tried my hand at another version. This version uses an old scrap of fabric and thread and I think it was even easier!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

An Old Curtain Becomes a Shabby Chic Fall Wreath

Last week, I decided it was time to change out my Halloween rag wreath for a Fall wreath. As I was looking through old shirts, I came across an old curtain panel that I haven't used in years.

Then, I remembered seeing this tutorial on threading burlap through a wire hanger. Burlap has a great weave for doing this, but my thin sheet of cotton definitely does not, so I had to get creative.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Upcycled Turkey Hair Clip

I am practicing hair designs, since I adore many of the Etsy hair clips and bows, but just can't spend the money right now, during holiday season. This design has many flaws, but thankfully, my sister is there to accept my less-than-perfect practice attempts (if I feel it's too big for my baby girl, which this one is).

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Two Thrifty Thursday Recipes: BBQ Chicken and Chicken and Biscuits

I love when I can cook 2 meals in one night. With 2 babies, it is a real time-saver. When those meals are also less than $2 a serving, it just warms my thrifty heart. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Upcycled Halloween Wreath

Weeks ago, I saw a really cute Christmas rag wreath on a Facebook page and thought it looked pretty simple to make. I really like the idea of using wire coat hangers as a base, instead of spending money on wreath forms that just get covered up. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Baby Boy Edition: No-Cost Upcycled Thanksgiving Shirt

I definitely couldn't leave our 2 year-old out of the cute holiday crafting. He needed a shirt, too.

I had a blank burgundy shirt and knew it would be perfect. I had seen this adorable shirt on Amazon and it was my inspiration for this project.

Monday, November 4, 2013

No-Cost Thanksgiving Upcycled Appliquéd Onesie

Whenever I see an adorable holiday-themed shirt, I first think of how cute it is, then think of how limited the wear will be. Yes, I'm just too practical (or cheap) to spend a lot on something my little ones will wear briefly.

With that in mind, I decided to upcycle and make my own Thanksgiving clothes for the babies. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Turning Leftovers into a Sunday (or any-day) Breakfast Side Dish

Friday night, we had some delicious bacon cheeseburgers and seasoned fries from a great home town diner.

Exhibit A. Yes, it was as good as it looks.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Paper Craft: Birthday & Anniversary Fridge Magnet

I saw this very stylish birthday calendar idea on Pinterest, but it involved wood work and purchasing hardware. I just wasn't that serious about it. Plus, I really didn't want to buy materials.

Desperation Craft: Trick or Treat Bags

So, everyone knows that my husband and I are a bit like nomads--we move a lot. Between schools, work, growing family, and just a bit of restlessness, we have lived in quite a few homes in the past 7 years.

Every time we move, I donate an embarrassing amount of bags to charity. I am not talking about 13 gallon trash bags, people. I'm talking about giant lawn and leaf paper bags. I become ruthless--culling out anything I haven't seen in a while or that I feel we can not use.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Quick Craft: Halloween Set

This isn't much, but I wanted to show how quick and simple upcycling can be.

I had a navy blank lap tee for my 4 month-old that was begging to be embellished. I also had 2 Halloween hair clips that I had bought in a bargain bin at our grocery store for 50 cents. Our baby doesn't have enough hair for clips yet, so I put them to better use.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Thrifty Thursday Recipe: Bean, Rice, and Cheese Burritos

I am thrilled when I can get a recipe to feed 4 people for under $5. So, when I can get a recipe for under $4, I am pretty much jumping for joy.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Please forgive the look of the blog right now; I am working on a much better design.

The first entry in any journal is usually the most daunting, but I'll break the ice with a short bio, then explain what I envision this space to be.