Monday, November 12, 2012

Groceries for $7.43

Take a look at my groceries - just $7.43 for the lot! A little bragging I'll admit. The four packages of BIC shavers were BOGO and I had BOGO coupons. The pasta was $1 minus my coupons for $1 off 2 packages. Avocados were 69 cents each, bananas 33 cents/pound. I had a $10 coupon from Meijer so the cheese, flour, garlic cloves, 2 packages of blackberries and tomato paste were free. The Aveeno lotion was free after coupons at Target and the Pampers wipes were 49 cents after coupons at Target also.  The meat was a one pound mix of ground pork and ground chuck for $1.91.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Small Sweater Pillow

Here's a sweet mini version of the sweater pillow. This time, instead of whip stitching the ends, I sewed the piece with a machine and blind stitched one edge. Pretty darn cute for an old sweater I got at a church rummage sale.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cable Knit Sweater Pillow

After seeing sweater pillows by Martha Stewart and on for $50, I decided to make my own. My version is the one on top. Here's a quick demo of what I did.

First, measure the pillow you want to cover. I recommend using an extra large sweater.
Next, remove the sleeves and neckline using scissors.
This is what the sweater will look like minus sleeves. Now I cut the same amount from the front and back of the sweater to make a square shape.
Use yarn in a whip-stitch or blanket stitch pattern to join seams. You can use yarn of the same or contrasting color. I selected a cream color.
I made my pillow in an envelope style and added a fleece flower with pearl accent to close the envelope. Stylish and affordable since I recovered an existing pillow with a sweater purchased from a church rummage sale for a dollar.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sweater Pillow

Fall is here. Crisp weather means breaking out the warmer clothing. Why not do the same for your furniture?

I had a men's XL merino wool sweater just waiting to be donated when I decided the burgundy color would work well with my family room and the green pillow needed some updating. One thing led to another and soon I was cutting off the sleeves to the sweater and blanket stitching the arm holes. I used a spare sleeve across the neck area of the sweater to create a false fold.

A fast and easy update.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Art Featured at "Knock-off Decor" Site

My dog pictures inspired by Target are featured at the KNOCK OFF DECOR web site. Check it out! This site has lots of great ideas to help you recreate your favorite store finds at a fraction of the original cost.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hats for My Niece and Nephew

Since I made my soon-to-be born nephew a bear hat, I decided his sister might want a hat as well. My niece is four and likes to wear what the older girls wear - older equates to 10 and 12 year old girls. No animal subject for my niece, just a crocheted hat that she can roll up.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Clam Chowder Recipe

Cooler weather means time to make soup. One of my favorites is clam chowder. The version I make is dairy-based and features potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, spices and a small can of clams. I only buy clams harvested in the United States. This helps local fisheries and reduces my carbon footprint.

New England Clam Chowder
Makes 4 large servings

Drain  a 6-ounce can of clams and save the juice. Add water or milk to make juice equal to a cup of liquid. Cook 3 strips of bacon in a frying pan until crisp. Remove the bacon. Use bacon drippings to cook one chopped medium onion, 3 cups of diced potatoes, one grated carrot, one rib of celery finely chopped along with a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and clam juice mixture. Cook until potatoes are soft - about 15 minutes. Mix 3 cups of milk and 2 tablespoons of flour together and add the slurry into the potato pan. Cook until the mixture thickens. Add clams and reduce heat. Cook soup about another minute. Serve warm with bacon on top of the soup portions.

Monday, October 15, 2012

How to Make a Flower Frog

Maybe the more appropriate title to this post is, "How to make an ordinary object into a frog for flowers."

Flower frogs are segmented containers that hold individual or small numbers of flower stems to create a more pleasing arrangement. Rather than spending big bucks on a manufactured version, I make my own to accompany the plants I cut from my garden.

With autumn in full swing, most of the flowers in my yard have faded. Some Master Gardener friends were kind enough to give me some dried hydrangea's  - my favorite.

I used a square vase/candle holder to make my frog. All I had to do was place tape in a plaid pattern on the top of the vase and insert the flowers. Voila! Flower frog.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Crocheted Baby's Hat

The post is a little late this evening. And I still have some work to do on the baby's hat, but I thought it was complete enough to post.

This is a sweet little baby's hat made from acrylic. When complete it will have two brown ears, an orange nose and and mouth that resembles a bear.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Shallots from my Garden

The nights are getting cooler and I am putting my garden to bed for winter. I dug these shallots out a couple weeks ago and they have been drying on the soil. They are ready to spend the winter in my basement and add flavor to soups and casseroles. Yum!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Nadine Necklace

I needed a necklace to wear with a beige fabric dress. This necklace looks terrific with the dress. The copper and multi-colored beads accent the neutral tones.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Lily, a.k.a "The Vole Hunter"

She looks so sweet and innocent. Don't let those big, brown eyes fool you. Lily is a vole hunter. She's so fast that she can catch those wiley creatures. Today, she dug one out of the ground and was tossing it into the air. I thought she was playing with a pine cone - one of her favorite past times. I was mistaken.

Puppy has such a soft mouth that she can play with a grape tomato and never break its skin. Apparently, things that squeak activate her jaws.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Dog Pictures Inspired by Target

Saw some framed artwork of dog silhouettes on burlap at Target and decided to make some of my dogs.

 First, I found photos of my dogs and traced around their images. Next, I cut out the images and traced around the dogs pictures onto a spare piece of oatmeal-colored drop cloth I had left over from my loveseat transformation. Then I filled in the images with a permanent marker and black Behr paint and primer paint from Home Depot, then I framed them. Not too shabby though.

Best of all, these are images of my pets. And I saved almost $30 by doing it myself.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pumpkins at Aldi

Pumpkins are just $2.49 at Aldi - any size! And they have pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin frosting. You name it, and they probably have it in pumpkin.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Gwen Necklace

The Gwen necklace was what I had planned on posting yesterday. That was until Lily had other plans. Lily does like the spotlight. 

This necklace features an amber-like bead with a pearl and green glass bead held together with copper on a black silk cord.

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Hot Tamale Dog

I am posting photos of Lily eating a green chili pepper. And she was running from me, trying to keep her delicious snack from my hands, the little stinker. The peppers were drying on the counter and puppy decided to take one.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Jodi Bracelet

My fingertips were pretty raw for a couple of days. I was fixing some wood on my garage using plastic wood - a strong wood putty that cleans up with mineral spirits. I should have used a putty knife. Instead, I used my fingers and they have begun healing. That's means I can start making jewelry again.

I decided to work with copper and pearl beads. Copper is an easy metal to manipulate and I had bits of old copper wire lying around. This time I made the clasp from a copper staple I found holding a cardboard box together (second photo). Worked out pretty well if I do say so myself.

I call this piece the Jodi bracelet.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lisa Ring

A piece of hammered copper with two stones makes up the Lisa ring. There is a polished crystal and purple stone that hang gently off the main band.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sycamore-like Picture Frames

These frames starting their lives black and glossy. Since I just painted my family room, the frames no longer looked hip and cool. (does anyone ever say that anymore?)

I decided to paint them. First, a coat of white paint, then gold. Not exactly what I wanted. So,  I painted them a medium brown into the wet gold paint. They needed a bit of glitz so on went more gold paint and that's how the sycamore-like frames came into fruition. They remind me of the peeling, mottled bark of a sycamore tree.

Friday, September 21, 2012

How to Make Horseradish

Making horseradish is quite simple.

First, dig out the root. The plant grows very large so I recommend cutting the leaves down before digging.  The second photo show the actual root.

Next, grate the root very fine. I use a meat grinder on a fine grind and I do this outside. Why outside? The oils from the horseradish are very strong and will burn your eyes or clear out your lungs. Best to grind the root in a well ventilated area.

Place the ground root in a quart size Mason jar and cover the pieces with vinegar. Add some salt - 1/8 to a 1/4 teaspoon and cap with a screw top lid. Place the mixture in the refrigerator.

After a few months of absorbing the vinegar, the horseradish is ready to use.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Doll House from a Drawer

You too can transform a drawer into a doll house, or in my niece's case, a doll office. Remove the drawer hardware, then paint the outside and inside of the drawer. Divide the drawer into sections using plywood or cardboard. Decorate the walls and add furniture. I used a cable tie where the former drawer hardware was as a handle for the toy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bella Ring

Pretty little hammered copper ring with swirls I call, "Bella". Enough said.

Lily Loves Aluminum Cans

No photo with this post. Just a quick update on Lily. Seems she likes to play with aluminum pop cans. Empty cans don't stand a chance with puppy. Joy upon joys to chomp and run with an empty pop can in her mouth. Couldn't even bribe her to come inside. If we could all find contentment and happiness in little things.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lily's Green Chili Peppers

I had planned on writing about a new ring design, but puppy had other plans.

While I was prepping the outside wood trim on the house for painting, Lily was playing in the backyard. I was a few feet from her, going up and down the ladder. She was romping through the grass and happily running along the fence line chasing squirrels and grasshoppers.

Suddenly, I noticed she was lying in the grass with a green branch that had a few white flowers and something long and green. Lily had taken a portion of one of my chili pepper plants. The chili's hadn't turned red yet, so I left them on a little little longer before harvesting them. Puppy does like vegetables, but never showed any interest in the hot peppers.

Take a look. She ate three hot peppers. One almost completely and just a portion of the other two. She seems to favor the part with the seeds - the hottest section!

This resulted in me calling the vet right away. Apparently, red chili (and green chili) peppers are not toxic to dogs. I just have to watch for lethargy, diarrhea and vomiting. Rather than lethargic, Lily seems energized by the peppers and a little more interested in water. Can't wait until she passes this - burns in, burns out.

I made certain she stayed inside while I completed my painting although, she did sneak out once. And where did she go? Straight to the chili peppers and grabbed another off the plant - happy as a clam. I bribed her with a doggy treat back into the house while I harvested the peppers (there were enough to fill an apple bag). Now, I just have to get them to turn red. Any ideas?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Heidi Ring

Part of the reason I make jewelry is because I misplace jewelry. Actually, I lost the Mackenzie ring somewhere at Staples or Meijer today. So I created the HEIDI ring as a replacement. It's made from hammered copper wire and a single seed pearl.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Things My Grandma Taught Me

While putting on lipstick this morning, I was reminded of things my grandma taught me. Why would lipstick remind me of her? Because she could put on makeup without a mirror. Lipstick especially. Just purse your lips around the tube and voila! Perfect every time.

She also taught me how to make cakes and pies. For some reason, not every grandchild was given this knowledge. She showed me baking skills when I was just six.

And my grandma taught me to check your plants around the outside of your house every day. This way, you'll discover if bugs have invaded, if they need more water, more sun, or if unwanted plants took hold.

Probably the best piece of advice grandma gave me was to save my money. And that every penny, nickel and dime adds up. Don't be afraid to pick up change from the sidewalk or ask a store/company for an adjustment on your bill. Maybe it's just $3.00, but that's $3.00 that could buy a chicken, or potatoes. And it's your $3.00.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Jet Stream Fuel Art

Take a look at the swirls a jet made this morning. When they expend extra fuel, you get sky art.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Floral Grey Sofa Pillows

While shopping for pasta at Target, I stopped by the summer garden/patio clearance area. And look what I found - two large grey pillows with a gold flower motif. I was going to use these in another room, but the gold sofa looked lonely without these pillows. Best of all, the fabric is resistant to dog hair. SCORE! These babies cost $9.50 each. A bit more than my budget allows right now so I am back to eating beans and rice. Good thing I know how to make ricotta cheese.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Brie Ring

This is the Brie ring. A little cheesy, but it grows on you. This ring uses silver wire to hold a speckled stone - agate perhaps, two imitation pearls and a purple teardrop crystal. One of the imitation pearls dangles from the setting. I really love making jewelry that moves. It's also fun to wear.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mackenzie Ring

Pretty little ring that reminds me of a butterfly or dragonfly. I call it the "Mackenzie" ring. Made with a deep purple sequin that dangles behind a light purple glass bead that's topped with a solid green bead. Adorable! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Auden Ring

Another ring design called the Auden Ring. It features two purple square shaped stones set in silver wire. Very easy and elegant.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Book Review: One Dog and His Boy

Knowing how much I love dogs, someone recommended the book, "One Dog and His Boy" by Eva Ibbotson to me. Even though it is meant for young adults, this book will tug at your heart. It was a tear jerker - at least from chapter 5 onward.

The story centers around a ten year old boy from a wealthy family. The one thing he is denied is a dog. His mother thinks a dog is too messy and his father barely has time to see his wife and child because he is jetting around the world for his job. The story begins to get interesting when the father decides to rent a dog for the weekend as a birthday present for his son. Little does the boy know the dog is on loan and is heart broken when he learns his forever pet can't stay with him.

A fast read with a good plot, I highly recommend this book for animal lovers

Monday, September 3, 2012

Pilar Earrings

So reminiscent of many cultures, I decided to call these earrings PILAR since the name is recognizable in many languages. Lightweight and made of copper and a few glass beads, these earrings shine in the sunlight and dance in the moonlight. Perfect for a hot night.