Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thrifty Thursday - A New Slip

First, I just found out that the Salvation Army Thrift Store that I go to in the "city" has 50% off all clothing on every Wednesday and Friday. While that might not be exciting to some, I'm thrilled. Why? Because I love thrift stores ALMOST as much as I love libraries and craft/fabric stores. Also, this same store marks clothing down to 50% if it has been in the store for more than 7 days. The tags on the clothing are marked with the day they are received so it's pretty easy to figure out. Say, you find a wonderful skirt that is marked $3.30. The date is June 26 on the tag, and the date that you find this skirt is July 22. Well, that brings it to $1.15. Then, July 22 just happens to be a Wednesday so another 50% off that and your final purchase price for a new-to-you skirt is 0.58. That's right - 58 cents! Yippee for me! Now to convince DD that it's really alright to buy clothes at the thrift store again. (She's kind of burned out on the whole thrift store experience due to her mother's overzealousness during her younger years.)

On to the main "Thrifty Thursday" feature of the day:

I have a couple longer dresses and my "new-to-me" skirt from the above example. They are great for summer as they are flowy and cool. But, I have a problem. In the sunlight, you can see right through them.

Enter the half slip. The half slip solves the peep show problem...sort of. You see, my half-slip is above the knee so it looks really funky when you stand in the sun and can still see through the bottom half of the skirt. Plus, it's nylon (or some other equally synthetic fabric). Not a good fabric for summer comfort.

I have no money to buy a new slip so I think to myself, "How hard could it be to make one?" So that's what I did. I found some instructions online. I went to my beautifully organized fabric stash and pulled out an old, ivory-colored sheet (perfect for summer because it's cotton). I had some elastic in my sewing notions basket just waiting to be made into a waistband. Then, it was just a matter of a couple cuts with the rotary cutter, some pinning, a few runs through the sewing machine, and VOILA a new half slip perfect for my longer skirt/dresses and summer-time heat.

My favorite part is the lace trim. It's from my inheritance from one of my Grandmas. It's so pretty!

New half slip for FREE!!!!

AND, it was so easy I think I may make myself a skirt or two using these same instructions. Different fabric, of course! Maybe even a colorful sheet if I find one on my next thrift store scavenge.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Library Shelf - Knit Two

It's been awhile since I have posted what's on The Library Shelf. Not because I haven't been reading. Quite the opposite. I'm in the process of reading SEVEN, yes SEVEN, books! I had to put myself on restriction from the library until I get them finished. Since the library is one of my favorite places in the entire world, that is quite a punishment for me. Even if I don't actually "need" any more books, I like to go there just to visit them.

SO, last night I finished one of the books.

I was so upset when I finished reading this author's "The Friday Night Knitting Club" because I just didn't think it was fair to leave us hanging like that and end the book. So, I was thrilled that she wrote this sequel. And, it's GOOD! We get to follow the members of the Friday Night Knitting Club of the Manhattan Walker & Daughter knitting shop as they rely on each other as they struggle with new challenges.

I can't say anything so as not to give away the story, but if you liked the first one, you'll love this one too!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Yosemite - Go Sit on a Rock!

For DD's 14th birthday on July 17th, DSis, DD and I went to Yosemite. Yes, you read that right, on the 17th AND it's now already the 27th (almost the 28th) and I'm just now posting these pictures. Better late than never, huh?!?! You've actually already seen this first one because it is the picture from last week's Wordless Wednesday post.

We left bright and early at 7:00 a.m. in order to beat the traffic, tour busses and the heat, and to maybe get through the gate before the rangers arrived so we wouldn't have to pay the entrance fee. Shucks, darn! We didn't beat any of them.

Once we reached Yosemite Valley, our first stop was Bridalveil Falls. Here's a shot I took looking up through the trees from the trail. It's my favorite picture of the day.

Here, I am with John Muir! I can't believe I hiked all that way, and then found him on the trail. And, he was wearing the BEST boots! (Actually, he is in the Visitor's Center so if you go to Yosemite chances are you'll bump into him too.)

Next up, DD decided she'd try to catch Yosemite Falls. I think she did a pretty good job, and she didn't even get wet!

After hiking up to the base of Yosemite Falls (really not that far and it's all paved so I don't know that I'd actually call it a hike, but we can pretend), we decided to take a nap.

WAIT A MINUTE! That's not us! Just a couple of other people who probably couldn't find a campsite so decided to use a bench instead. And, they really were sound asleep. They even had pillows!

We didn't take a nap, but we did rest for a little while by riding around on the shuttle bus. We rode over to Curry Village where we ate our lunch and treated ourselves to some yummy ice cream. While we were at Curry Village, I decided to catch a bear.

There are a lot of bear in Yosemite. They cause such mischief looking for food that special "bear-proof" trash cans are installed. Well, I don't know if they are really bear-proof, but they are DEFINITELY DSis proof. She needed to throw out some trash and couldn't get the trash can open so she put it on the side and told us that the trash can didn't work. She even told DD that she'd give her a dollar if she could get it open. DD walked right over there, pulled the lid down, threw the trash in, walked back and collected her buck!

For an encore, she tried to hold Half Dome in the palm of her hand, but she wasn't quite tall enough.

I really thought she had grown a lot recently, as she's past me up and is over 5'6" now, but apparently this fireplace was made for Paul Bunyan or Goliath or someone of that stature because DD fit right inside. (This is one of the big fireplaces inside the Ahwahnee Hotel.)

The last stop of the day was a hike to Mirror Lake (aka Mirror Pond) at the base of Half Dome. It was hot! We were tired! Half way there, DSis and I bailed on DD and said we weren't going any further. We went down to the creek instead to put our feet in to cool off.

DD contemplates, "Should I go all the way in?"

DSis and I kept telling her, "Do it. You'll dry. It'll be fun."

So.....Did she or didn't she?

She did....

I tell you if I had a bathing suit on, I would have too! The water was very refreshing!

This brings me to the last photo of the trip.

That's DSis sitting on a rock. She said, "Hey, I'm in Yosemite sitting on a rock. Isn't that what people come to Yosemite for?"

NO, sorry DSis, the slogan is "Go CLIMB a rock." Not "sit" on a rock. But, you're very special and they might consider changing it just for you!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thrifty Thursday - Taco Meat Seasoning

Since I'm one of those lucky California teachers that has a signed contract for the upcoming school year, I do not qualify for unemployment benefits despite the fact that I had to take 6 weeks of mandatory, unpaid time off. That has required me to do some very creative financing this summer. Our new pad came with a refrigerator, washer and dryer. I had ours from the old house which we purchased less than two years ago (the appliances not the house). So.... I sold the refrigerator and have people interested in buying the washer and dryer. That along with my birthday money MAY pay the rent for August. I'm selling my creative projects on Etsy, collecting plastic for recycling, and anything else that I can think of that is legal and ethical.

Which brings me to this post and the title "Thrifty Thursday". I've been in this predicament before so unfortunately I'm no stranger to this (although I kind of thought it was be over once I finished college - that was the point of going to college, right?)......OK, I got sidetracked there.....

One way that I save some money is by making whatever I can from scratch. DD loves beans, beans, beans (good thing cuz' they're cheap and sometimes FREE from our "secret source"). And, what goes good with beans? Tacos!

I usually buy ground beef when it is on a really good sale, brown it all up (yes, 10 lbs of it - sometimes more). Then, I put it in ziploc bags and freeze it. Makes for easy meal preparation. And, I (umm....DD) only has to wash the nasty pan once.

So, I take one pack of the already browned ground beef out of the freezer and thaw it in the microwave. Then, dump that into a skillet, add 1/2 cup of water and the following Taco Meat Seasoning mix. Simmer for 5 - 10 minutes. VIOLA! Yummy taco filling! (Thrifty too!)

It's much cheaper to make our own mix than buy those little packages at the supermarket, and it's easy! Get your spices in bulk at Costco, Sam's Club, Smart and Final, Dollar Tree, wherever you can find them (BUT not at the grocery store - TOO EXPENSIVE!)


Makes enough mix for one pound of ground meat.

1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper (Ceyenne) (optional) (I actually only use 1/4 tsp because this stuff is HOT!)
1/2 teaspoon instant minced garlic or garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon drived oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and blend well.

I usually make about 10x this amount at once. I line up 10 little Tupperware midgies (you know the ones - those little cute, tiny ones) and I measure away into each container, put the lid on each and shake. That way, whenever we're in the mood for Mexican food, the seasoning mix is all ready to go. If you don't have the containers, you can use sandwich bags just as well (I've done that too).

Another easy way to use this which I'm doing right now is to place some boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the crockpot, add enough chicken broth to cover the chicken and add the above taco meat seasoning. Cook on high for about 4 hours. Shred cooked chicken with two forks and roll it up in a tortilla with your other fixin's. Super easy, super good and best of all for HOT summer days like today - it doesn't heat up the kitchen.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Office with a View!

DD and I have been sharing an office/classroom for the past two years, first in the old house and then again when we moved here. We have had a lot of good times working side by side, but.......all good things must come to an end.

You's like this. I gave her the master bedroom in our new pad for a couple reasons:

1 - It's a big room, and she has more stuff than I do.
2 - It has the attached bathroom where the kitty litter box is and it stinks. (Mean mom that I am, but hey, I outrank her and her nose isn't as sensitive as mine is.)

We needed to be in the same room for school because we both had to be on the internet at the same time throughout the day(me for work and DD for classes). We didn't have a wireless router so we had to both be in the room where the hookup was located. With DD's move to high school and move to a different home schooling program, she no longer has a school computer so she doesn't need to be on the internet during the day any longer. That was a long winded way of getting to the reason that she has now moved her school desk and bookcase into her room. She has her own space for school now.

AND (drumroll please)

I have my OWN OFFICE!!!! And, it comes with a VIEW!

I used to look at this:

Nice with the cute gingham covered bulletin board and all, but not really that great to look at all day long.

I moved my desk/tables and bookcases around to look like this (excuse the mess, I'm not finished yet):

And, now look at my view!:

Ain't it perty? Much better, don't you think?

The rest of the room is an absolute disaster waiting for the cleaning fairy to come and do her magic so it looks like this.

Just keepin' it real folks. Didn't want you to get TOO jealous of my new space! Now, anyone wanna come help me finish?

P.S. Tomorrow is DD's 14th birthday, and we'll be off bright and early for a day in Yosemite!

Friday, July 10, 2009

A New Entry Table

Well, those who know me well have seen me make something from nothing (or at least from what I have on hand without spending any money) for years and this is no exeption.

I wanted a table for the entryway, but I didn't have any money to purchase anything. I also needed some additional storage for craft items.

Brainstorm, search the web and read some blogs for inspiration, shop the garage and find:

Canvas painter's dropcloth~

And my childhood desk~

Next step, get DD to help me carry the desk up the stairs which is quite a chore as neither of us are weightlifters or bodybuilders with muscles or anything like that.

Then, iron the dropcloth. (WOW! There is a LOT of fabric in a dropcloth and it's thick fabric at that!)

Drape the dropcloth over the desk, add a few accessories and this is how it looks

I LOVE IT! Perfect height, perfect size, perfect price! (And, look at all that hidden storage I have underneath it all.)

For more ideas on how to use a canvas painter's dropcloth for everything besides painting check out A Little Dropcloth at Ask Kari and Kijsa.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Where Did She Go?!?!




NO, NO, and NO!

I have not gone anywhere so I have no really fun and exciting excuses for not posting anything here for over two weeks. Well, that's not exactly true. I did have my birthday, but it certainly didn't last TWO WEEKS! And, yes, DD did make that wonderful, yummy chocolate cake for me and YES, it was GOOD!

What I have been doing is sewing, sewing sewing. Go check out my latest creations on my crafting blog,Oh It's Sew Cute.