Sunday, September 22, 2013

Signing Off For Now

There's a lot going on in my personal life right now, so I'll be taking a hiatus from blogging. I'm sure I'll be back at some point. :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Max's Beans

I'm so proud of my kid. :) I cleared out the spent tomato plants from the pots on the patio, let him pick out some seeds (I pre-chose packets that would do well with a late-summer planting), and he planted the seeds all by himself! Green beans, a very good choice. I was prepared to explain to him how to plant seeds, but imagine my very excited surprise when he told me how to plant seeds! I guess all of that monologue that I did while gardening with him paid off!

Look at those gorgeous, healthy green bean plants! Seriously, I'm so proud. :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Super HeroGauntlets

Now, what super hero costume would be complete without gauntlets?? Exactly.

The easiest way to make them is to cut a little glovette from the sleeve of the shirt that you made the cape from - but often the sleeves are too big in circumference for little hands. So, to size it down, you can tie a seam!

Fold the fabric in half and cut a rectangle. Cut a thumb slit on the folded edge, and fringe the opposite edge. Then tie the fringe together, and you have gauntlets! I left the fringe on mine long, but Max likes his short and edgy.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Capes are really easy to make - just take an old shirt, cut up the sides from the bottom, angle in toward the collar, then cut around the collar and that becomes the neck hole for the cape. I snip the collar in the front and add a snap or velcro for easy release.

Usually I just use a shirt that already has a fun design on it (yes, we have a lot of capes around here!), but this time I drew on a spider web... Because Spider-Man is Max's favorite. :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Super Heroes!

Max LOVES to play super hero. :) He would wear a cape all day, every day, if possible. And most days, he does!

I shall sneak up on Super-Max...

Oh no, he got me!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Dye it Black

As I've changed careers and pant size (I'm down another size, btw!), I've been reevaluating my clothing choices. While I still have my collection of business casual clothing, the majority of my time is spent in jeans, corduroys, and comfy pants. And shirts... well, let's say they need to be very washable. Spit-up and such.

Between taking old pants in to make them smaller, yard sales, and shopping the not-too-small-anymore clothes in storage, I had a nice pile to supplement my wardrobe. The only problem: they were all the wrong colors. I just don't really feel comfortable wearing colorful pants. Especially pink. So, into a black dye bath they went! (Along with a stained shirt, and a hand towel that snuck in.)

These items originally were (from the top):
Brown and blue hand towel
Light blue shirt
Olive green cords
Light olive/khaki yoga pants
Light blue lounge pants
Pink lounge pants

I love how putting all of these things in the same dye made them all different shades of gray, depending on the original color and the fiber content. The photo makes the bottom two items look almost blue, but they're much grayer in real life.

Wardrobe update: Complete. Cost: two boxes of black dye, and a quarter for the yoga pants.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Taking in Mending

I've recently decided to take in mending. After doing it for my dad, my husband, my son, and myself for years, I realized that I could make a few extra bucks in the evenings, so why not?

I mean, check out that perfect jeans hem. :)

So far I've had two happy customers.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Cat box box

This post is a little out of date, but when I sold the box at the yard sale recently I realized that I forgot to post about it last year when I (we) built it.

We used to have three cats, one of which was a nervous pee-er. He has since gone to a much quieter home where he has never had a peeing incident (aka - no toddlers). I have mixed feelings about that still, I'm happy that he's happy, but I still miss him. <sigh>

Anyhow - Max and I built him this cat litter bench last year. We used all wood that I found in the garage, left over from the previous homeowners. I don't have the pictures of the completed box, but imagine it with a hinged lid on top. We made sure that the slats were spaced for ventilation as well as kitty viewpoints (one cat likes to make sure no one will sneak up on her). The bench was much bigger than the litter pan, which was nice because it led to less litter tracking, and there was room for the extra litter, scoop, etc.

Max LOVED helping me assemble this. :) He called it his coyote hole (he was calling the cats coyotes at that point, quite the imagination), and the hardest part of the whole project was telling him that he couldn't play in it anymore.

And, like I mentioned, I built it for the cat that no longer lives with us. The new owners weren't interested in the bench, and the other two didn't really use it. So it sat in the garage until the yard sale, where another cat owner was more than happy to buy it for her furry babies.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Basement Find

I helped my parents clear out their basement recently (and hold a massive yard sale). Out of all of the random things that they (well, that DAD) have collected over the years, this is my favorite: the 17 year old sparkling cider that my dad made. It aged beautifully, and retained its sparkle. :)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


So - what do you do when you hit the jackpot of cucumbers? Make a lot of pickles and relish. :) All of that in the photo is pickles, the relish had already been packed up.

I was visiting a veggie farm down the street to pick up a couple of cucumbers and peppers for salad, and noticed that she had a milk crate of little cucumbers. I asked about them, and she said those were the ones not good enough to sell at the farmer's market so she was going to sell them for $1/pound to another farmer as pig fodder. I got 24.25 pounds for $20, because when you slice them for pickles no one cares if the original cucumber was curved or had a little spot on it (though, frankly, I only had to cut out maybe five spots out of the whole batch).

Talk about a windfall!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sunscreen Find

Not a sponsored post - I just really like this sunscreen. It really is non-greasy, and doesn't make makeup smudge.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


I received some mail sent in a tube, so I did like anyone would and put some dried wheat berries inside (rice or beans would work too), wrapped it all up in white duct tape, and decorated it with a sharpie for an instant noisemaker. Cheap, easy, and fun - that's my kind of project. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Frugal Luxury (and a Natural Solution!) - Sugaring

Here's a frugal luxury for you: at-home sugaring instead of waxing. I cut up an old cotton pillowcase into strips using the pinking shears, followed some handy instructions on DIY sugaring, and went to it.

For those of you who are scratching their heads - sugaring is a form or hair removal where you essentially make a carmel-like sugar mixture, spread it on your hairy areas, and rip it off with fabric strips. Just like waxing, but many prefer it over traditional wax.

Cost: a few pennies for the sugar and lemon juice. Waaaay cheaper than going to a salon, or even buying an at-home kit. Actually, it's cheaper than shaving too since you don't have to spend money on razors.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Grandma's Garden

My grandparents' house is one of my favorite places to be, especially outside. I know I've talked about Grandma's gardening tactics, but I thought I'd share a photo from earlier this year. Her style is a great reminder in frugal and simplistically beautiful gardening.
In the foreground is her tomato patch. She raised it a bit, just by adding old boards around the edge and back filling with some soil. As the boards wear out, she replaces them with new/old boards. Then she has her tomato supports - some great branches that she found in the woods. I think these are the same ones as last year, but as they break down she just gets some new ones. Simple as that. And she places flat rocks here and there in the raised bed so she has somewhere to rest her foot when she needs to lean in to weed.

In the background is the main vegetable bed. Instead of leaving the paths between each row to dirt and weeds, again she uses old boards that would otherwise be thrown away. They add order to the bed, repeat the wood "theme," and are easily movable when she lays it out for next year.

I have major garden envy. I really need to keep just this photo as my inspiration for next year.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Creamy Butternut Squashed Rice

Not sure what to call this recipe, but this works.

It's really versatile depending on the spices you add. The base recipe is 2 parts cooked rice (I like brown), 1 part butternut squash purée, 1 part cottage cheese. Heat it all up and serve. 

The cottage cheese acts as a soft cheese, somewhere between cream cheese and mozzarella, making the dish oh so creamy and filling. Max and the other daycare kids love it plain, I prefer it spiced up a little with some cumin and/or curry. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Alternative Homes for House Plants

What to do when there are too many plants and too few pots? Improvise. I'm sure you've seen pictures of plants growing in tea tins (like mine here), but what about other containers? An old, chipped colander  Yup, I have one of those too. :) Just make sure to either line your container if it has a lot of holes or is porous (bread bags work wonderfully) and poke holes for drainage. And, of course, poke holes in that tea tin.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Summer Relish

Isn't it beautiful? I think Summer Relish is my favorite to make - mostly because of the gorgeous yellow. Why is it called Summer Relish? Because I use yellow summer squash as my base, seeds, rind and all. Here's a secret: you can substitute summer squash in any recipe that calls for cucumber. I recommend using a food processor or grinder (I love the grinder attachment on my stand mixer) to process the squash, especially if it's more than a few inches long. Like the ones I used, which were so ripe they had even started to harden a little.

Relish has to be one of my favorite things to preserve, because really you can throw anything in it as long as you chop it up really well, and you have a great seasoning. Yes, I have a great seasoning. Sorry, I'm not sharing it. :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Yes, You Can Paint a Bike

Last summer I got a bike for Max at a yard sale for $2. I was sure they left a 0 off the price, but I wasn't going to argue. It was too big for him last year, but now that he's 3 we're practicing. Max and I didn't have a problem with it being bright pink, but too many people are closed minded so I caved and painted it. 

Handy enough, I had his favorite color, orange on hand. I base painted it with yellow spray paint, then highlighted with orange. Not bad for $2 and leftover spray paint, right?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Non-Comfort Zone Curtains

Well, I finally got around to hanging curtains in the baby room - and I totally went outside my comfort zone and went bold. Like, bright yellow bold. Eeek!

I gathered some curtains that I had around the house, all white ones, and put them in a yellow dye. I cut up a flat sheet with this great leaf pattern that I'd been holding on to for the main curtains, and added the newly yellow valances on top. Originally, I was going to hang the long yellow curtain elsewhere, but as you can see below, the windows were lacking with just the valance. Well, maybe you can't tell in the photo. But they were lacking.

lacking something
So, I cut the large yellow curtain in half, and added it to the side. Viola! Instant drama, and balance (in an asymmetrical kind of way). Whatever, it works. And they were essentially free. Yay for stuff I had in my closet!

and, done!


Monday, July 29, 2013

The Garage is Painted!

The garage is painted! Ohmygoodness, it's been so long, staring at that scraped paint job. Ugh. A month and half of rain (closer to two months) will do that though. Isn't it pretty? I ended up purchasing a paint sprayer for a deal on Amazon, and I'm glad I did. I did my research and got one where I didn't have to thin the paint, and it was the same price as renting one for a day without the hassle. Score!

I gave Max a paintbrush and a small bowl of paint and he helped. :) What a good boy!

side done, back to go!

progress on the front

my bestest helper

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Beating the Heat

We all try to bear the heat in different ways. Max has been focusing more on potty training lately so that means a lot of no-pants days so we can get on the potty that much faster, which has the added benefit of being cooler as well. And of course, there's playing in the sink. :)
Faith, our kitty, has been spending most of her time on top of the dryer, which hasn't been used in a few weeks (one thing the heat is good for: drying laundry on the line).

And me? Well, the air conditioning in the car hasn't worked in a few years, but that's ok. I like the foot out the window deal.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ugly Knobs

So - roses. Perfectly lovely flower. And for some, as decor. I think I even went through a brief rose phase (I know, I know, it seems unlikely).

But they do not belong on the knobs in my bathroom.

nope. not happening.
Spray paint and cardboard to the rescue! I popped the knobs through some cardboard to (theoretically) protect the screws from paint and help the knobs stay stationary.

Spritz with some paint, and done! I went a little crazy and chose green instead of my standard turquoise. I don't know if I can handle it... but paint is so low commitment that I know I can always change it later!

no roses!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Painting the Bathroom

The downstairs bathroom (which is connected to the downstairs ugly room that I've been remodeling) is getting its turn. Mostly paint (my biggest "trick" when sprucing up the house) and a tiny bit of demo. Not that I'm the tidiest painter in the world, but I didn't notice this smudge until I went to shower that night.

I'll be posting more pics of both the bathroom and the bedroom soon as I finish it up.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dentist (and Bribery)

Turns out Max's inhaler has decalcified his front teeth a teensy bit. Nothing to worry about, but they recommended us to a pediatric dentist to get an x-ray and a second opinion, just in case.

I've been promising Max a soccer ball for ages, and combining it as a reward with a good trip to the dentist (perhaps a bit of bribery) was an obvious solution. Not that he needed the reward/bribe - he was a total rock star and couldn't have been better behaved or more enthusiastic about going to the dentist! Such a charmer. :)

we got a softball while we were there...

french fry walrus strikes again (after the appointment, of course)