Friday, August 29, 2008

Fresh Baked Bread

A few weeks back, during one of my frugal moments I attempted to make my first pan of white bread. At the time I thought it would save us money, because the ingredients are pretty cheap. I had also seen several other bloggers making beautiful loafs of their own. I think making fresh white bread maybe more regular for people in other parts in the country, but not here. Here our fresh bread comes in two types: biscuits or a pone of corn bread. So it’s no wonder that after following this recipe, my bread came out about an inch high and hard as a brick. So how did I come by these lovely loaves?






With help from my lovely in-laws bread machine, that’s how. I decided to give up and given in. I couldn’t very well save money if I had to keep trying could I? Now the problem is how in the world do you slice a loaf of bread without smushing it? Any hints?
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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Not So Thrifty?



Well, I did it. I braved the thrift. I decided that I needed to go the Goodwill to see if I could find something to paint for the Paint Party at Joys of Home. Well, I do have something things of my to-do paint list, but I needed an excuse reason to go. So off I went. I even stayed longer than the usual 15 minutes. And.this.is.it . . . I honestly don’t know how you guys find all those great things. I don’t know how many times I walked up and down the isles. The only thing that looked good enough to paint was this silver bowl for $4.14. I thought the fruit basket was a good find at $1.51. I really don’t understand their price system. I did see a cute flower vase with some kind of ugly purple flowers in it. $12! What!! I also found a finial from Pier 1 with the price sticker on the bottom that said the original price was $14.99 that was priced at $7. I thought I found a keeper when I saw another urn with a leaf motif until I noticed that the price was $8. I couldn’t believe it. I use to be able to find good deals at thrift stores, but this really seemed high to me. I just don’t think that things should be half off the original price at a thrift store. When I was telling my husband about this he thought it was funny that I was complaining that the prices at the Goodwill were too high. I would like to know what you guys think. Do you think this is high? Do you see prices like this at your thrift stores?
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Monday, August 25, 2008

Fashionably Late for a Paint Party

Joy at Joys of Home is throwing a Paint Party to celebrate a week without using black spray paint. I think we were supposed to “paint outside the black box,” but since I never use black spray paint I thought I would do the opposite. I decided to take a little trip to the Goodwill (which I will talk about later) and purchased this silver bowl for $4.14.





I used Rust-oleum Painter’s Touch Flat Black paint, because I thought that this would be perfect for Halloween! This project was actually a lot harder than I thought. When I first tried to paint it, I sat it out side on my trusty flattened cardboard box. I had my spray paint mask on and my new handle (*which is awesome by the way!), and as soon as I started spraying a bug flew in to the paint! I flecked it off with my nail, and decided I would fix it later. I would just let it dry for a while. When I went back out to check on it, I realized it was raining. So I just decided to bring it in and start all over. It’s turned out pretty good except for some cracking in one spot. I’m not sure why that happened, but I think I can sand it off and just re-spray that area.





If you like seeing spray paint projects as much as I do, you should go check it out.

*While at the hardware store getting my black paint I decided to splurge on the spray paint handle. It is made by Rust-oleum and was about $5. They had another version which was a little cheaper, but the handle on this one looked better. I’m sure you could find them cheaper other places, but I have a few things on my spray paint to-do list. Anyway, I highly recommend it.

Past Spray Paint Posts:

Summer of Spray Paint Project Lists

Cans and Spray Paint


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The Summer of Spray Paint: Project List

I know that you other crafters out there may not understand why I am amazed at how things can be transformed with a can of spray paint. But I am. Every time I see something else transformed I think “you can do that?!” I guess it’s because normally I don’t like change. Not even a little bit. I LOVE to make things, but the idea of changing something always seems foreign to me. Or I’m afraid that it won’t be as good as it was before. I guess spray paint takes a little bit of faith, faith that things will be better. And not just different or not as good as before. Is this a little too philosophical for spray paint?


None the less, I have decided to work on it. Excepting change that is. I’m going to try to look at things not as they are, but what they can be transformed to . . . . with spray paint.

And here is an on going list of inspiration:

Joys of Home: Paint Party

Mabels House: Blue Star

A Soft Place to Land on Today’s Creative Blog

A Soft Place to Land: The Post Brought to You by the Letters S P R A Y P A I N T

My Little Life (look at the lamp!)

Creative Little Daisy

The Misadventures of Sarah and Jack:

The Sky in Pink

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fresh Eggs



Here is another photo from my camera phone. Fresh eggs that my mother (who truly is named Lula Bell) brought me from her hens. Thanks Mom!
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Friday, August 22, 2008

Bush Beans in the Sink



I had been thinking about entering a local photography show. Then I realized that I wouldn’t have enough time to work on pieces before the deadline; one deadline is today and the other is next week. I just found out about the show day before yesterday. I’m a little disappointed. Only because I got excited about working on pieces again. Photography is something I love. I bet you would never guess by the pictures that I post on the blog. I just don’t take much time for it anymore. I was working on a minor in Photography when I realized that I would never be able to graduate if I had to wait around for empty seats in the classes. It seems that at the university I graduated from they only have enough seats if you wanted to major in Photography. Still not happy about it.

Anyway, I randomly found my way to this website today, Lomography Society International. I’m taking it as a sign. I know, I know. I have a bazillion other crafty things and non crafty things on my ongoing to-do list and here I have to add a massive time consuming something else.

What does all of this have to do with Green Beans in the sink? Nothing really. Except that I took that picture with my camera phone. I kind of like how it turned out. At the time I really just wanted to take a picture of my husband’s bush beans. It’s his first garden!
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Personal Shopper

I have no luck at yard sales or thrift stores. I think it’s because when I go I look for 5 minutes and I’m ready to go. More often then not I don’t find a thing. There really is a finite time I can spend in a thrift store. I start to get the hebby jebbies. Don’t get me wrong I love thrift stores finds. Some of the best blue jeans I have ever had come from a $5 bag sale at my home town thrift, but as I have gotten older after about 5 minutes in one and my hands start to feel dirty. At 15 minutes I am ready to bolt for the car and my orange scented hand sanitizer. And that’s why I have a personal shopper. That’s right. I have a personal yard sale/thrift store/flea market shopper! And boy am I lucky. My personal shopper has never met a sticker price that she can’t beat. Ok, that’s not exactly true. I may be exaggerating just a little, but she is pretty amazing.

My personal shopper has been attending the 127 yard sale, or the Worlds Largest Yard Sale, for the past couple of years now. This year I sent her with a list. A 10 page list with full color pictures. I was not disappointed . . .






I never thought she would actually find this cake pan. I saw it on an antique website for $30. I LOVED it. My personal shopper sent me this picture and asked if $3.00 was too much. It has the obvious ding and didn’t have a matching base. When I called her back, she said that it was all ready gone . . . because she had bought it. I didn’t fall for it. She has gotten me way too many times. Later on she found one in better condition with a base for $12! So I not only get one but two!!

So what’s left on my list? Dishes from Taylor Smith Cathay Retro Atomic Collection, Pink or Green Depression Glass Serving pieces, and Pink Pyrex. I love my Sissy Personal Shopper!
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Monday, August 18, 2008

Pear Upside Down Cake

I just want to start out by saying that I am not the best cook in the world. In fact, quite often I have to call my sister and double check before I hard boil eggs. The reason being that I don’t do it that often. While my Mom is an awesome cook, and was cooking for a large family by the age of 9, she is not a very good teacher. I do have certain recipes in my repertoire, but they are usually very complicated and not always things that my family will eat. Imagine my family’s surprise when my contribution to a reunion was pate’ de poisson. To my credit it was made with canned tuna fish (and it’s delish!). They wouldn’t even try it.

One of my favorite aunts is known for her deserts. My brother and I argue over whose favorite cake she is going to bring to the family get-togethers. My favorite is a black forest cake (which she made for my wedding cake!!!!) and my brother’s favorite is pineapple upside down cake. My aunt usually makes both. My brother’s she hides. Mine she puts out on the main table. Why? This might seem like favoritism to you, but in reality it’s not. You see she KNOWS! She always tells me that the cake is there and exactly where she placed it. Let’s just say that a few family members have actually tried to come between me and my cake but now they have fork marks on their hands to remind them not to make the same mistake twice. More often then not I come home with about half a cake. The rest I ate at the dinner. Not kidding.

Anyway, so recently my brother had a birthday and I really wanted to do something special for him. My aunt lives too far away or I would have asked her to make him one as a surprise. I have had a recipe for Pear Upside Down Cake from Martha Stewart for a while, but had never tried it. I thought this would be wonderful. It would be close but not exactly. So a few hours before family was scheduled to arrive for his birthday dinner, I started the cake.
It turned out pretty well. About half way through I started deviating from the recipe as usual. I’m not that fond of ginger so I didn’t put near that much in. I also didn’t use cloves because I only had whole cloves and I’m too cheap to buy more. I also didn’t have brandy so I decided to use a way smaller amount of Grand Marnier. I decided to bake it in a skillet instead of a cake pan. I thought it was a little more traditional. I have to say that the pears would have been better if they had become soft, and I thought that the molasses taste was a little too overwhelming. I would try it again, but I think next time I might ask my aunt how she makes hers and then just adapt for pears or use this recipe.
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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Coupons

First off I just want to say how much I appreciate ya’ll. I have learned so much from each of you, and you guys are an inspiration. You have taught me how to spray paint, to collect, to coupon and be frugal. You have showed me decorating and crafting inspiration like I have never seen before. And anytime I have a question you have not hesitated to answer! Which to your credit has been a lot!

One great blogger that I always go to is Trina from Fabulously Frugalicious. She always has great things to share about saving money, and she has taught me a lot! Recently she posted about her new coupon binder. I’m not quite up to that level yet as you will see below. She entered it into a Coupon Binder Show and Tell at the Keeping the Kingdom First. Well, it started me thinking about my own system. I’m not quite ready for a binder, but not really satisfied with my system. I have been thinking about it for a while, but after seeing Trina’s new system and all the others that entered in the Show and Tell, I know that there is a better way. I’m just not ready for the trading card pockets. I’ll figure it out. But until then this is what I got.



I bought both of these at Wal-Mart after my little blue plastic one crapped out. I usually buy the double addition of my local big city paper which means double coupons!!! In the blue one I have Food items and in the red one I have Other. I really liked the size of these holders, but I knew that one wasn’t going to cut it. I don’t know if you can see it, but the Other one is about to bust at it’s seams too. That’s why I think I need a better system. I thought that these would be easy to take with me, but not so much.



Here are the inside tabs of my holders. This one is obviously the Food one. My categories are Breakfast, Dairy, Bread, Meats and Main, Soup, Veg and Sides, Baby Food, Cooking, ETC, Desserts and Snacks, Baking, Candy, and Drinks. For Other the categories are Baby, Cleaning Products, Dishes, Laundry, Paper, Other, HBA (Health and Beauty Aids), Soaps, Deodorant, Dental, OTC (Over the Counter), and Blank.




My main problem is really how my mind works. I could NEVER use the alphabet system. When I think of coupons I automatically put things in categories. The problem is that these categories change from week to week. Like where does hand sanitizer go? Is it soap? Some are made by Lysol, is it a cleaning product? A first aid item? I’ve tried to work this out with sub categories. I write on long envelopes and then put those down in each category. Like HBA has envelopes with Shaving, Cleanser ETC, Hair Products, Lotions, Makeup, and Hair Dye. I decided to make these two separate because I don’t use them. Why do I save them? For CVS freebees of course!

You might have noticed that I have a category for Soup. Well that was hopeful wishing on my part. It’s empty. I don’t think there has ever been a coupon in it.

I also have envelopes for each store that I shop at. Inside goes the coupons for each store and a print out from The Grocery Game. What would I do with out it?



One last thing that I feel is VERY important. In the back of both holders there is a business card section. I made sure that first thing I put my name and phone number there. Remember the above mentioned blue plastic one. I found that at a store years ago. We saved it for a while, but no one came to claim it. I guess they thought it was hopelessly lost. I can’t imagine that now! Especially after I lost my recipe book that I had filled with cards from Martha Stewart Living. I can’t quite talk about it yet, I still get ferklempt.

I hope you have enjoyed this walk through my coupon holders! Maybe one day I will be able to answer some questions for ya’ll! Until then thank you so much for all your inspiration, help, and time! It really means a lot!

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Mantel Attempt 2



Ok, so the more I looked at my mantel the more I kept thinking that something wasn’t quite right. I still don’t think this is it. I need height. I NEED to go shopping . . . but that’s going to have to wait for awhile. Until then this might have to do. I don’t know. Which do you like better? The Before After or the After After?



And you might notice my poor lamp to the right. Yes, this lamp has no shade. It has never had a shade. I bought it for $20.00 years ago at a Pottery Barn outlet thinking that I could easily find a shade for it. I think that was almost (don’t give away your age) ten years ago. I have never been able to find anything to fit it. I have even gone to a regular Pottery Barn store, and that hand nothing to fit. I’ve went to the hard ware stores. The screw things that they had to hold a lamp shade won’t fit. I think it most have held a glass shade of some sort. Any suggestions can I can possibly fix this? I thought about just making one, but not quite sure how to start.
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