Category Archives: Saving Money

I’m Back! And how to turn $10 into a custom light fixture

So I took a few months off of blogging. Creativity ebbs and flows – and the last couple months were more about getting along and less about craft projects and trying new recipes. We’re now in a new apartment – one that is bigger and in a great neighborhood, but has taken a little more elbow grease than the one before. I love a challenge, though! I had to pick my priorities, it’s a rental so changing EVERYTHING is out of the question. There’s a lot I will be blogging about in the coming months – how we painted the whole place for under $40, a massive kitchen update, and much more. One of the projects that has made the biggest impact is turning a boring and outdated dining room light fixture into a dramatic centerpiece. So here is the story of how I turned this:

Into this:

for $10!

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DIY: Recycled Cashmere Teddy Bears

Gift cycles tend to come in waves. You have graduation season, the wedding seasons, and then a few years later… babies. As we prepare for our upcoming trip to Denmark, we had several new births to celebrate. I wanted a gift that was sweet and personal, affordable but also a little luxurious. This craft was a great solution. Meet the teddies:

blueteddyclose teddiestogether

Sewing these little buddies requires moderate sewing skills, but the pattern is easy – if you’ve sewn any clothing, slipcovers, or pillows before I bet you’ll be fine. Most of the supplies can be purchased at any fabric or craft store – the cashmere can easily be found on Ebay, or in local thrift and discount stores (especially towards the end of winter). Continue reading

Using What We Have

This week, instead of looking at recipes and making a grocery list, I went through the pantry and freezer and made a recipe list. With just a few addition ingredients from the store, we had a solid week of good food.

Today’s lunch was a spectacular success. I threw together a can of Progresso Chicken Gumbo, a small bit of leftover frozen okra and tomato, some vegetable stew and rice from earlier in the week, spiced it up with some extra spicy habenero sauce, and simmered it until it was hot. Some frozen Alexa onion rings on the side rounded it out. This all managed to get rid of one pantry food, two freezer foods, and two random leftover sides. Without tasting too much like leftover freezer foods.

So today, I’m not recommending you follow my recipe for freezer gumbo. See what you have lurking in the shadows of food stores, you may be suprised by what you can come up with!

Maghound: Save Money on Magazines!

Today’s post is about a cool service I just started using a few months ago. It’s called Maghound, and it allows you to “subscribe” to several magazines (3-15) through one service, with no contracts whatsoever! You just select a tier, and pick out 3, 5, 7, or 8+ titles/month. In a few weeks, you start receiving your magazines. Maghound tells you what date you can expect to receive each magazine, and allows you to select backups as well. So on one of the two months a year that Rachael Ray doesn’t put out a new Everyday, you can choose to receive Cooking Light instead. And at any point, if you decide you’d always rather receive Cooking Light, you can just swap it out in your preferences.

I’m on the 3 mags/month plan, and pay a tiny surcharge since Time comes weekly. It comes out to $5.70/month and is automatically billed to my checking account. If I were to buy each of these in the checkout aisle, it would cost me around $30/month. If I were to subscribe to all of these magazines via their website, it would cost me around $8/month, and I would be locked into a year of receiving only those exact titles.

Any way you look at it, it’s a great deal. I highly recommend checking into Maghound and seeing how much you can save.

Find Cheap Happy Hour Deals in Austin

I stumbled upon this site, Frugal Feaster, while looking for happy hour specials in Austin. It is a fairly comprehensive list of happy hour drink and food specials in the Austin area, divided up by day and type of discount. Happy Hour specials are one of my favorite ways to go out and have good food at nice restaurants for fast-food prices. So go check it out! Save some money on your gourmet fries, taps, and frozen ritas 🙂

Reusable Rags: Reducing Paper Towel Usage

Tonight’s entry is much less a how-to than it is a request to hear your side of the story. I’ve been trying to reduce our dependence on disposable items. We now only use cloth napkins with meals, use newspaper from junk mail to clean windows and dry those pots and pans that turn dish towels black. I have some fabric rags (old t shirts) that I use for cleaning counter tops, carpet spills, dusting. Use a scrubby sponge for tough cleaning and dishes. But there are still some tasks for which I feel the need to keep a roll of paper towels around. Such as cleaning up food spills. For some reason it just seems icky to have a milk-soaked rag sitting in the laundry room. And then there are oily tasks. Can a fabric rag ever truly recover from sopping up spilled cooking oil? I’d like to hear about your paper vs. fabric use, and any tips you have for making the switch.

DIY: Customize Store-Bought Slipcovers

I am not an expert seamstress, by any means. I can almost sew a straight line (almost), and this is enough to get me through most small projects. But the new kitty has really made a mess of our seagrass dining chairs, and they were in dire need of slipcovers, and my almost-straight-line-sewing prowess really wasn’t enough to get me through making custom slipcovers. The problem is, I really hate the look of poorly fitting covers. Here’s how I turned some generic store-bought slipcovers into semi-custom creations, with little more than a a few straight lines and some hot glue.

Before:                                                    After:
chair-before chair-after

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