Monday, May 15, 2017

I am in LOVE with Upcycling Denim!

I would say I have always been crafty and just a bit frugal.  Waste not want not, right!

With the opening of my Etsy shop that kindof lifestyle has turned into a passion.  I see something I like on Pinterest and it just snowballs from there.

I have played with reclaimed lumber, rusty barn metal, vintage lace and upcycled coffee sacks.  My own home is decorated with my handmade items.  Everything I love I just keep recreating and sharing with my fabulous customers.

But I recently saw a purse I loved made out of denim.  I reeeeaaaaallllly reeeeeaaaaallllly LOVED it.  So I made it.  Once you look up repurposed denim you quickly realize it's just fabric.  Fabulous fabric that can reupholster furniture, become a rug, a purse, curtains or anything that can feasibly be made from fabric.  Need I say more.  So here are a couple of my recent creations.











Today I'm starting on some denim baskets.  I've really been wanting to create some.  Hoping they can contain a mountain of stuffed animals.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Homemade Ornaments: Fun, Inexpensive and Meaningful



I love love love ornaments.  I especially love it when they tell a story and have meaning and 30 years later it brings back a memory!  Sometimes we buy them when there is one we find that is perfect.  But a lot of times we make them which saves money and makes it easy to customize and personalize.

Here are a few of our families creations.  I hope you enjoy and are inspired to make your Christmas special.

Salt dough:  You can make them in any shape, bake and paint.  Then I clear coat with clear spray paint.  Here's a few pics





Cardboard Letters:  I used cookie cutters traced out the letters on cereal boxes then made teeny stacks of cardboard to make them like large cardboard letters.  Wrapped them in brown paper.  When it was completely dry I glittered.  This CSU is for the college our daughter was at and of course in the college colors.

Tin Can:  I try to make the ornaments pertain to the person, what they are into or what's going on in their life.  This tin can is from pellets.  This was for one of the boys that just loves hunting and shooting.  I am ALWAYS finding the empty cans around the house.  So I nabbed one, punched a hole in the top and added a ribbon.  Easiest by far!


Hand Painted Tin Can Lids:  I repurpose a lot of things.  We saw some on pinterest one time and went for it.  Just save a couple lids and you have a few really cheap ornaments. I made extras to give to any company that stopped by the house that year.   We open a lot of the really large cans so the one with our whole family is painted on one of them. (We won't fit on a small lid, lol).   Punch the hole before you paint.  I use the 50 cent paints from Walmart and clear coat when done.

Blown Out Eggs:  Then someone showed us how to blow out eggs.  So we painted on them.  Each of the younger kids blew out their own and painted it.  Messy but fun. 


                                 




Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Easy & Delicious Simple Granola

I LOVE GRANOLA!  Don't you?  There are a few on the market that I don't think are any healthier than the rest of the boxed cereal.  And if it is healthy it's super expensive.  In my house we can go through 20 cups of granola in a day or two. 

When I saw this recipe I was thrilled.   This is a very basic and simple mix.   Which is why I love it.  We usually toss in some blueberries.  You can add any of your favorite ingredients.  I usually double or quadruple the recipe so I have more than a days worth.

Simple Granola

7 Cups Oats (Old Fashion is best but you can use quick)
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1/2 C Oil (Canola, Olive, etc.)
1/2 C Honey or Maple Syrup
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla

Preheat oven to 375.

In a pan mix sugar, oil, honey or syrup to low boil.  Sometimes I use the microwave.  Add cinnamon and vanilla.



Put oats in a large bowl and pour syrup mix over and stir.

Place mixture on a lightly greased tray.


Bake 10 minutes

Stir

Bake 5

Stir

Let cool

Enjoy!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Gorgeous & Free Headboard

There are a lot of DIY projects out there.  I have a list a mile long of all the ones I want to do.  This headboard has been on my list for over a year.  I intended to have my whole master bedroom made over by my anniversary, 3 months ago.  Didn't happen!

But!!! One day my husband said, "Hey, do you want to build our headboard today?"

"Umm, YES!"

And here she is!



Here are a few of the details.

First it was completely free!  FREE!  I use a lot of pallet wood in my crafts.  So I already had a pile of them in the back yard.  Last year I pulled apart some larger pallet boards to use for this project.  I picked boards that were over 5" wide.  I cleaned them with bleach water and after they were dried I brought them in to acclimate and stay dry till I was ready to build.  They have been in a stack in my room for like a year.

I measured the distance I would need for a headboard and layed the boards out and adjusted it a little to fit the boards without having to cut any boards the long way.  I divided that in half.  Drew out 1/2 of the  template.  Folded the paper in half and traced the template so both sides would be the same.


I layed all the boards out realized the boards I saved to be the back braces were not long enough.  So I used some scrap real wood flooring on the back.  I wood glued them down, predrilled the holes and used wood screws.













I layed the template on it and traced the outline.  Then cut with a scroll saw.





Next I sanded and stained and it was done.  The stain I had left from a previous project.  It seriously took a few hours and it was done.  I'm so excited. 




Inside I needed to predrill holes and bolt to the frame, but I didn't get pics of that step.  Sorry.


I'm just in love with it.  And I built it with my hubby, aaahhh so romantic!

I am still working on the whole makeover, linens, dressers, etc.  Someday I'll show you the whole room.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

French Toast Casserole

I love traditional recipes.  French Toast, Apple Pie.  I mean the classics.  Why change them?  Most of the time I make them the old fashioned way.  But once in a while . . . you just have to change.  Meet French Toast Casserole.  It's easier (especially when you are cooking for a crowd) and tastes exactly like the French Toast you already make. 


I used my own French Toast Recipe the same as I would use for the traditional way.  Just so you know, I rarely measure.  I just pour and mix.  So the below recipe is really just a guestimate!




Mix the in a bowl:


1 Dozen Eggs
1/2 Cup of Milk
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Sugar
Splash of Vanilla









Chop your Bread.  I love using Texas Toast.  It is just nice and chunky.  I used one whole loaf.

Grease a baking dish.  Any baking dish that's big enough will work.  Put all the bread in the dish.

Pour egg mix onto bread.  Gently stir.

Bake 350 for about 30 minutes.




ENJOY!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

10 Ways to Save Between $5 & $10 a Month

$5 or $10 doesn't sound like much.  But, when you save $5 or $10 a month on 10 different things it can really add up.  That's between $50 and $100 a month or $600 and $1200 a year.  Are you always out of money by payday.  This could be the $50 that holds you over.  Or maybe you want a savings account.  Can you see yourself putting away $1200 this year.

For me I'm trying to get out of debt.  If I save $100 a month and apply that towards my debt I'll get there sooner.  Then I'll work on a savings!

Here are some ways I've been implementing saving MONEY

1)  Call Your Cell Phone Company  - Monthly Savings $35

I have my cells through one of those large cell phone carriers (no names please).  I called to see what I can do to lower my $215 a month bill.  Well . . . I'm not using as much data as I'm paying for.  We were able to get wifi at home through our landline for just $5 more a month.  Now I can reduce my 3G plan to 2G, saving $20 a month.  I also have one phone on my plan that is no longer on contract, switching this phone to month to month $15 a month savings.


2) Switch Cell Phone Carriers - Monthly Savings $115

I am under contract with my current carrier.  I called and it would not save for us to switch due to the fees for breaking the contract.  If I could I would switch to something like Straight Talk or Cricket where you can get 5 phones for $100 with more data than I currently have.  I was paying $215 with my current cell company.  That would be a savings of $115 a month.  Wow!  

3) Drop your Cell Phone and Device Insurance - Monthly Savings $10

We were paying $10 a month for insurance on a device.  Over the life of the 2 year contract that's an extra $240.  You have to weigh this one out for yourself.  If your device breaks can you replace it?  If so then save that $10 and put it in a savings.  It will still be there if you need it.  You can even pick up refurbished devices for cheaper than that.

4) Make your own Beauty Products -  Monthly Savings $10 - $20

I've been learning to make my own shampoo & conditioner, soap, hairspray, dry shampoo.  Ahhh, I love pinterest!  I've been posting some that I love, so check my other posts.  You will reap the rewards of better health by making your own as well.  Some are super simple and use common ingredients and cost pennies.  The amount you'll save here varies greatly.  I have a big family and we use a lot of product in any given month.

Go to my Beauty For Life Pinterest Board for lots of great inspiration.

5)  Make your own  - $5 - $10

I know not everyone wants to make their own everything.  If you're broke you do what you have to do.  If you have a goal of saving money then you have some inspiration.  The more I DIY my shampoos and household cleaners the more vinegar I go through.  I also drink 2 TBSP daily.  I also make my own salad dressings.  Apple Cider Vinegar is so good for you.   It is really as easy as putting apples in a jar.  The hard part is waiting till it's ready 6 weeks!  How much would you save if you made your own vinegar using the scrap peels and cores from apples you already buy?  I buy a quart of good quality Vinegar every month just for regular kitchen use. $5 right there.  Now I also save money because I'm using it in my Hair Rinse.  That's another $2 a month savings.  I also make my own dressings, Italian and French,  That's another savings.  It just keeps adding up here.  Yes, those items take ingredients but for a much smaller cost than premade products as well as the added health benefits. Apple Cider Vinegar

6) Natural Cleaners - DIY $Endless
So many of our cleaning products are full of chemicals.  There is a big movement to go natural.  Simple ingredients like vinegar, lemon and oil for dusting spray.  Vinegar for a clothes softener.   I just learned how to make deicer.  It's just rubbing alcohol and water.  Compare the cost of a bottle of rubbing alcohol to a bottle of premade deicer!  The savings are endless.

7) Carpool/Vanpool - Gas $ 

Join a carpool or a vanpool.  We all love love love having the freedom of driving ourselves.  But think of the possibilities carpooling has.  Less or no money for gas, less wear and tear on your tires, engine,  Everything that has to do with making your own vehicle last longer.  Maybe you'll make new friends or have time to read a book while your not driving.  My husband is saving about $120 in gas alone by carpooling with a friend.

8) Call Your Insurance Company - $60 for me


Many savings take a few moments of speaking with a rep.  Changing some things, mentioning you're carpooling and have less miles on your own vehicle can often save a few dollars.  Uping your deductible will immediately reduce your insurance.  The savings here will depend on the changes made and your insurance company.  Sometimes you may need to check rates of other companies.  I just did a quick check and received a quote that would save me $60 a month on my homeowners insurance.

9) Dinner In - $40

Don't you just love a night out.  I am often surprised when I find out how often my friends eat out.  Especially the ones with kids.  Neither can I afford to or want to.  We stopped for fast food one afternoon as a treat to the kids $40 later and I was not impressed with the food. I could have spent $40 on steak and fed my family an amazing meal at home.  If you eat out often try just eating at home one more time each week. How much do you usually spend on a meal out?


10) Conserve Energy - $26%


I just read a great blog post about saving $ by saving energy.  Basically it was mostly saying to unplug items when not in use.  That if they are off and still plugged in they are still using electricity.  While it might be hard to unplug everything all the time, unplugging some things that are infrequently used, such as the toaster should feasibly save some money.  If I saved 26% this month that would equal $81.90.  Though I don't expect to get it down that low I could see saving some money.  To see more click here.


Adapt a Waste Not Want Not attitude.  I reuse my ziplocs, don't buy papertowels, can my own food, make dinner from scratch daily, cook beans from scratch.  I save scratchpaper, rubberbands and bubble wrap.  No I'm not a hoarder and my house is clean and organized.  I just don't waste what I will be needing later.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Ham & Split Pea Soup for a Crowd

Do you need to cook a meal big enough for an Army (or a platoon of small Marines)?  I feel like I do that every day.  If you're looking for recipes on the large size I can be your go to gal.  I have at least 9 at the table every night.  Which is why I have a 12ft church pew on one side (My Dining Room).  I should be conisidered a pro at making large meals on a small budget.

Ham & Split Pea Soup should be a staple.  It's affordable and can be done in a crockpot so easily.  I don't make it often because I have to live up to my Mother-In-Laws.  According to my husband, her's was the best!  Which is really sweet and I hope my boys are telling their wives the same things about my food.  The poor girls.

I love the idea of a crockpot.  However for a family of 9 a little ol crockpot just won't do.  I use my Roaster Oven as a crockpot.  I googled the temps of a crockpot and applied them.  According to most sites low is around 200 degrees and high is 300.

Ham & Split Pea Soup

Split Peas - 3 lbs (I used both green and yellow because I didn't have enough green on hand)

Ham Bone & drippings if you saved them

Onion - 1 Chopped

Celery - 2 Cups Chopped

Carrots - 4 Cups Chopped

Garlic - 3 cloves minced

Thyme - 1 tsp

Chicken Stock - 8 Cups (Make your own large batch Recipe)


Rinse Your Peas

I used green and yellow.  Couldn't even tell there was yellow in it.  Just rinse them and put them in your pot.  Peas do not need to be presoaked.

Rinse & Chop Your Veggies

Clean your veggies.  Chop them to desired size.  Toss them all in the pot.  Today I pulled a packaged of already chopped celery and onions that I had frozen.  Then I just put them in frozen.

Ham Bone

I love left over meat.  If I'm not going to use it all right away I just freeze.  You can freeze all the drippings too.  Just put the bone and any drippings and chunks of meat in the pot.



Broth

I made my own broth.  I pulled a package of frozen bones out of the freezer and made it while I was preparing the rest.  I posted a recipe here.  Then just pour the broth in the pot with the rest of the ingredients





Everything In

Add your seasonings.  Just put it on highfor 4 -5 hours and low 4 - 5 hours.