Friday, May 31, 2013

This won’t sound very frugal

But in the long run I think it will be.  I just took out a loan and am going to use it to build a storage building in the back yard.  Let me explain:  For the past few years my hubby has been working out of our house.  He had a nice office for his business but we reached the point we just couldn’t afford the rent anymore.  That BP oil spill DID affect the construction industry, no matter what they would have you think, and anything that affects construction affects hubby’s business.  So it’s been pretty lean for us the past few years, just like it has for almost everyone else in the world. 

When he gave up his office he put a bunch of stuff into storage and has slowly been using up and selling what he has, to the point where his large storage unit isn’t really necessary anymore.  For the past year and a half we’ve also had our daughter, her husband and 2 kids living with us, they all share one room since hubby has his office in the other room and he must have an office to work from.  So I had this idea, what if we built a storage building and turned that into his office, and used part of it for storage?  Turns out monthly payments on this loan will be about $50 less than what he’s paying for the storage unit!  And in a year and a half or so it’s paid off, where as if he continues to rent a storage unit, that’s just ongoing, forever and ever and ever.  And eventually he’d start looking for another office to rent, but now he won’t have to.  So yeah, taking out a loan might not sound like a great idea.  Doesn’t everybody want to be debt free?  I know I do!  But this is an investment in our future, and one I feel certain will pay us back for years to come.  Plus it‘ll give us a little more space in our small, overcrowded house, which is a good thing!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I’m in a cooking slump

For me, cooking is normally a no-brainer.  I can look at a pile of humble ingredients and throw them together to make something at least edible, and usually pretty tasty.  But I’ve lost my mojo.  Oh, I can still cook, I just don’t want to.  There’s no fun in it for me right now.  I know it’s because I’ve been feeling a bit burned out and stressed, the past few months have been pretty monstrous.  And I‘m tired.  I got a bit of a mini vacation last week, my BFF was in town for 3 days.  I stayed with her at a hotel in the evenings, I had to work during the day but she spent her day doing the things she needed to do, then we spent the evenings together.  It was refreshing.  I hope it was for her as well.

So now, no excuses.  Back in the saddle, as it were, time to take advantage of this little bit of momentum I have going and get busy.  I’ve been looking at recipes on the internet and found a few new ones I want to try, like this:

Looks simple, reasonably healthy, and delicious.  With this on the side:

And if I didn’t want to make the pancakes as the main dish, a nice roasted chicken would be a good meat to serve with them, yes?

And of course here in Florida, the heat is nearly upon us, so it’s time to stop using the oven and start relying on stovetop and crockpot recipes, so there’s this:

Is it just me?  Do others get bored with cooking, or with eating the same recipes over and over?  Do people appreciate your culinary efforts, or would they rather blow their money on the Dollar Menu?  And it’s not just cooking, I’m feeling restless in all areas of life, not sure what’s going to fix that but maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit.  Watch this space.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Birthday gifts!

Sunday was my daughter’s 23rd birthday.  She had a job interview that afternoon so we knew it was going to be a fairly low key day.  They asked me to keep the baby or a while so they could take the toddler to the beach for a while, when they got back we ate meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn and homemade brownies. 

I helped Drake make a birthday card for her, it was mostly scribbles but what do you expect from a 2 year old?  He loved making it for her and was SO proud when he handed it over.  I made 2 gifts for her, and neither of them cost me anything at all, except my time.  I had seen on Pinterest where a woman made headbands to hold her long hair back, they were SO SIMPLE.  Sometimes Ayla likes to wear headbands so I made her one, I cut the band part out of an old shirt I’m saving to make a dress for Lyla.  All you do is sew a tube, turn it right side out and stitch it onto a ponytail band!  Absolutely brilliant, and it took no time at all.

Now, regarding the second gift.  A few months ago I was doing laundry and thought, I can’t believe she pays $12 for a scrap of fabric and some elastic.  I can make this.  So I snitched one of her (freshly washed) thongs and made a pattern.  I used a silky piece of an old nightgown for my first attempt, it was so slippery I couldn’t sew it properly.  I had rough edges sticking out everywhere.  It was a learning experience that went directly into the trash.  For my next attempt I cut the sleeve out of an old tee shirt and used that.  Maybe it’s not sexy like the silky fabric would have been but it worked! 
I think they turned out quite cute, and the recipient was very happy with both her gifts, once she got over the shock that her mother made her UNDERWEAR for her birthday.
A few years ago a friend gave me 2 boxes of elastic, all sizes and weights.  I donated one box, kept the other.  So all projects using elastic are free for me, til I go thru that whole stash.  It might take a while, I guess I need to make some more butt floss underwear!

Friday, May 3, 2013

And more kids clothing

When I was working on that $7 quilt, I wanted something in an earth tone where the sashing strips met.  I had nothing in my stash that fit the bill but I found a man’s tan plaid shirt at the thrift store, when it was 69 cent day.  I grabbed it.  I cut out the pieces I needed for the quilt, then I decided the leftovers would go well with khaki, so I saved them. 

Fast forward a few months.  The quilt is finished, I have time on my hands (HAHAHAHAHA!!!!) and I have formulated a plan.  Using an old pair of my khaki pants that had a stain on them, I cut out a pair of shorts for Drake.  I used the leftover shirt fabric to trim the cuffs, put the shirt pocket on the behind, and made a waist band.  I used elastic in the back of the waist, but in the front I used the buttonhole strip off the shirt, and ran cord thru it to tie them to fit.  I made a few mistakes but managed to correct them as I went along.  I learned several things NOT to do, and have since figured out how to do it right, for next time.  But they’re OK.  Quite cute, if I may say so!! 

So here’s the thing.  I didn’t really use a pattern.  I was winging it, sort of making up a pattern as I went along, eyeballing it.  I’m usually pretty good at that.  Well, that day my eyeball was way off, these things are HUGE on him!  They might fit him next summer, or possibly even the one after that!  But now I have a pattern and some handy dandy sewing hints to make things come out the way I want, so it’s all good.  I’ll add these to the box of stuff for him to grow into.  Meanwhile I have an old denim shirt of hubby’s that would make a cute pair of shorts.  And you can bet I’ll measure the kid before I start this time!           

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Kids’ clothing: Where I make my mistakes for free!

I’m enjoying learning to sew clothing by making kids’ clothes.  They’re small so they whip up quickly, and I’m using old adult clothes for fabric so they’re pretty much free.  And here’s the biggie, when (not if but WHEN) I mess up, it’s no big deal!  They can wear the mistakes for pajamas, or not wear them at all because no real commitment went into making them.

A while back Sheila had sent me a couple of nightgowns she made, that her daughter has now outgrown.  They’re still too big for Lyla but I made a pattern from one and cut it down a bit.  My mom had given me a shirt with a makeup stain on the front of it, and since I don’t need more “bumming around the house” clothing I used it to make a nightgown.  Thing is, it turned out so cute I can see her wearing this as a dress or tunic instead of a nightgown.  I left the buttons on the front of the shirt, which gives it a really cute detail, and if I drew in the waist with elastic or a belt I can really see this as an outfit.  But there’s the issue of the makeup stain, so this can be a gown or play clothes, whatever she needs.  But I definitely see a dress/tunic in her future.

Here’s the shirt, before:



And here’s the gown, after:

And finally, here's the inspiration piece, the gown Sheila sent: