Tinsel Garland – last minute decoration or gift!

December 18, 2011

This is the cutest thing! I was eyeballing this last season…after the fact that is so I got some clearance tinsel to make these this year. I got the hoops at the thrift store for a quarter and the tinsel on sale for less than a buck. Here are the instructions. I want to see your finished product!


About that new year’s diet

January 9, 2011

Did you resolve to lose weight? Yeah, me too. Last year I resolved to lose 15 pounds and that lasted about 3 weeks. This year, I have to lose 20.

I bought weight watchers ice cream bars…only 2 points WOO HOO!!! I threatened the people in my house that if they even thought about touching my weight watchers diet ice cream bars, there would be the sound of snapping bones when I broke fingers. Never mind the fact that I never buy ice cream bars when I’m not dieting but, diet ice cream is required for a diet, isn’t it? WELL, isn’t it? LOL

There was a commerical on TV recently that said if I replace breakfast and lunch with a Yoplait Lite, I could lose 5 pounds in 2 weeks. I must go buy this miracle weight loss tool…a whole fridge full. Gosh I hope it’s on sale. Of course, it can’t be any more expensive than the weight watchers ice cream bars, can it?

I work in healthcare, with nurses and one said that the yoplait diet was no better than starving myself. Pfttt, this coming from a 23 y/o skinny minny. As if I’m gonna listen to that drivel. She has yet to diet a day in her life. I’ll just ignore her RN degree…that’ll show her LOL

I also work under a registered dietitian and take dietary classes myself. Here’s what the dietitian told me just before Christmas when we were all sitting around munching on holiday goodies. She said “If you eat that stuff in the presence of a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, the calories don’t even count”. It’s too bad she is only in the facility twice a week. I can’t wait to eat that long.

Back to the drawing board. I hope if you have weight loss goals, they are going well. For me, it will be a miracle if I get back down to 120 pounds.

Until next time…

Recycling Seed Catalogs Into Whimsy Art!

January 7, 2011

Ahh seed catalog season! I love it. It’s the promise of spring all wrapped up in a catalog. The planning, the day dreaming, the anticipation of garden fresh produce.

I have kept many of these catalogs year to year because I hate to just flip through pages and toss – such a waste so I have been working on projects that will reuse these fabulous catalogs.

The photos in these are of professional quality and are meant to lure you into spending your money on their seeds and plants. Why not reuse these photos in a project or two?

Here is one I did:

Recycle Garden Seed Catalogs into crafts

All that I did here was cut out some photos from a seed catalog and put them in a collage frame I had on hand. I got that frame at a Black Friday sale not having a use for it in mind when I got it so this was the perfect solution.

This large piece of food “art” now hangs in my dining area and is a great compliment to the purpose of the room….eating!

Until next time!

Fun with Pictures and Picnik.com

January 6, 2011

If you take pictures, and we all do, having the ability to do some editing to those pictures is something that most people would like but it can be intimidating. Programs like photoshop or something similar have an extensive learning curve and I don’t know about you but I don’t have time for learning curves on everything in life. Some things, yes, all things, no. This is where PicNik.com comes in.

Their free option allows you to do all sorts of fun things to your photos such as adding text and graphics. It will even let you change your picture from color to black and white or use the sepia option for something different.

There is also a premium option that runs about $25 a year. It offers more in the way of fonts, holiday decor and the ability to change your eye color, lip color, add a tan, all kinds of things. These all happen with true one button use.

I like to take pictures and most people who know me know that. I didn’t even discover picnik.com until last fall and it’s been a great tool and resource for me to enhance my photos.

Give it a try…the free option offers a lot and it’s fun.

Until next time…

Christmas Clearance Items – Hard to Resist!

January 5, 2011

Christmas Clearance Items

I love Christmas clearance items. I got some really nice things this year and it will make my dinner table so nice next year.

Out here in rural Iowa, all we have is a Wal Mart and we were lucky to get that just 2 1/2 years ago. Before that, we had to drive 30 miles in any direction get to one.

Among all the other stuff I got, the plate chargers were only $1.25 per box of 4. Normally, these things run $9 I think? Maybe more.

There was also some nice red and green and gold table cloths from Better Homes and Gardens for $2.25. I got the red and the green and then got the matching napkins for 50 cents per package of 2.

All of this is going to look really nice with my plates I got on sale at Fred’s years ago when living in Alabama. I also have some “gold” flatware I got on clearance from Brylane Home years ago too so all of this together is going make for a really pretty table setting for next year’s Christmas dinner.

I really wanted to get all kinds of stuff but I don’t need it, not that THAT has stopped me in the past but I didn’t go overboard although I did get lots of stuff. You can’t hardly resist 75% off. That’s yard sale prices in may cases!

What about you? Do you get Christmas clearance items? What did you get?

Until next time…t

Biscuit Topped Chicken Pot Pie

January 4, 2011

So, my son and daughter in law came over for supper along with my precious grandson, Brian. I told her I was going to be making Chicken Pot Pie and she said she didn’t LIKE Chicken Pot pie so I told her to bring a sandwich LOL

When they got here and she saw it, she said “ooooo” and I reminded her that she said she didn’t like chicken pot pie not realizing that I wasn’t getting it out of those little boxes. Tee Hee!

It was good though. I found the recipe in a Midwest Living magazine. Give it a try!

Biscuit topped Chicken Pot Pie

1 16 oz bag frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
4 cups cubed cooked chicken
3 T butter
1/3 cup flour
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup half &half
Pinch nutmeg
1 7.5 oz package refrigerated biscut dough

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Placed thawed vegetables in a tow qt baking dish. Spread cooked chicken over vegetables.

In a smal sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and mix until smooth. Whisk in chicken broth and cook until sauce comes to a boil. Add cream and cook 1 minute longer. Season sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pour sauce over chicken and vegetables.

Separate biscuits and place over chicken mixture. Bake 18-20 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown and sauce is bubbling. Makes 6 servings.

Until next time….

Recycled Coffee Can Bag Holder

January 3, 2011

I do so love to try to reuse things to extend their life. Today, I am posting a plastic bag holder made from a empty coffee can. Remember the post about not throwing away your old calenders? Well, this project also utilizes some of that idea as well.

I realize that the best idea is not to use plastic bags at all. However, that is not as realistic and idealistic as people think. I do think that some day we will all live in a world where there will be no more of these plastic bags but until then, we need a place to put them.

Granted, reusing and recycling coffee cans is not original but I haven’t seen the combination of old coffee can and old calendar combined into one project.

Here’s what you need to do:

Recycled Coffee Can Bag Holder
1. Use any coffee can. This is Butternut. I have access to tons of these through work so it was also free.

Coffee can Crafts
2. Use a piece of paper to create a template for the area you are going to cover. This was notebook paper but I could have done it even more frugally and used scrap paper.

Recycle calendar into crafts
3. Using any photos from any calender, find a month that looks good.

Coffee can recycle calender crafts
4. March worked for this project…with a small dose of January.

Recycle Calendar into bag holder
5. Cut out the picture. I used scalloped scissors and tacky glue that I already had on hand.

Coffee Can crafting
6. Spread the glue on the back of the picture and adhere it to the coffee can. You can use straight scissors if you don’t have shaped scissors. No biggie.

Recycle Coffee Can Recycle Calendar
7. Cut a hole in the lid with a knife.

Recycling Old Coffee Cans
8. Ta Daaaa! You can squish quite a few bags into this can. I can see this idea being used for gifts, Christmas cookies and candy, even Easter Baskets.

Total coast of this project…free because I had everything on hand.

Until next time…

Don’t throw those calendars away!

January 2, 2011

On the subject of saving “garbage”….

I was going around the house today gathering up the old 2010 calendars to throw away but then something occurred to me. I could use these in projects I can think of. The photos on calendars are usually pretty nice so they can be used for something, right? I have an idea for a project already so we’ll see how it turns out.

Do you save your old calendars? What do you use them for?

Gathering Trash to turn into Treasure!

December 31, 2010

We have all heard the old saying, “trash to treasure” and “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, right? Well, as a part of living frugally, “trash” is essential. We find new uses for things all of the time. Everything from crafts to decorations to gifts. Yes, gifts. The mindset of “trash” has changed so much over the years. It is now thought of as “recycling” and not “trash” and it’s perfectly acceptable to use it for gift giving.

In a previous post, we already turned our Christmas cards into gift tags for next year. Just a few short years ago, those cards would have gone to the landfill. No more. Giving as many items as possible a new purpose is a way of life for many people and not just by the tree huggers either.

Ok, enough with the quotes, we know what we are talking about here!

Here is what I’m going to be saving for gifts and crafts this year:

1. Plastic bread tag clips, you know those square white ones. They take up absolutely no room at all so saving them is easy.

2. Toilet paper, paper towel, foil, etc. cardboard rolls.

3. Old clothes to use for scraps in projects that will require some fabric. Also using clothes to turn into something else entirely is something that can be done if you having any sewing skills at all.

4. A few newspapers.

5. Cardboard from cereal boxes, mac and cheese boxes, etc. These can be folded down flat and take up very little room.

6. A boxes in various sizes.

Don’t forget to purchase leftover Christmas items on clearance. Things like ribbon can be used for more than just Christmas if you get some in a solid color with no pattern. Think of birthdays, weddings, graduation, other occasions.

All of these ideas will also promote creative thinking for your children. Are they making gifts for the holidays? They should be! They take pride in the items that they can make for their loved ones and it teaches them that giving is a good thing to do!

Having a stash of simple materials and a stash of ideas, you will be able to have some items you can use for gifts, decorating and beyond!

Until next time!

Recycling your Christmas Cards into Gift Tags

December 30, 2010

Christmas Gift Tags

I am beginning the chore of putting the Christmas decorations away. It’s a little early, yes but I like to start my new year off right with a tidy house and that means no decorations to distract me from that goal. Before I throw away the Christmas cards I get, I turn them into gift tags for next year.

This is a very common thing that people do with their Christmas cards every year. It is a great way to get extra life out of those pretty cards every year and it saves money. I don’t care if self stick tags go on sale for a dime a package (and I’ve seen them that low), there is no need to buy them when you can simply cut up your cards. A dime is a dime when struggling to meet the Christmas deadline.

It is so easy to make these:

Christmas Card Recycle

1. Gather all of your the cards you received this year

Recycle Christmas Cards

2. Using scissors cut the cards in various shapes and sizes that would be good for a gift tag. You can use scissors that cut straight lines or scissors that cut various shapes. I used scalloped scissors for these.

Reuse Christmas cards for Gift Tags

3. Pack these away for next year’s gifts. You are just going to tape these right on the package with the to and from on the back or use a hole puncher and ribbon to use them on homemade gift bags (which we will also do this year as a project here on the blog).

4. Pat yourself on the back that you have one chore done for next year already. Good job!!