Tuesday, July 31, 2007

T-Shirt Frugality

A few posts back, I wrote about altering a t-shirt I bought for the amazing price of a quarter at CVS. Well, this summer I've been altering a lot of t-shirts. We all have ones that have faded, stretched out, gotten stained or are just plain 'ready for the rag bag.' Well, being somewhat broke (and still in debt, although that is diminishing), and in desperate need of decent clothes for the summer, I decided to make do. So...every time I come across a pretty top that is no longer wearable, I now cut off any nice trims and put them in my trims and lace box. That way, I can use them on plain t-shirts.

If you sew, then you know that trims and laces are quite expensive! Cutting them from an old shirt makes them free...and the leftover fabric is great for rags.

Obviously, I need shirts to decorate. Walgreen's sells plain t-shirts for about $2.50 each, in many colors. I bought a pink one the other day and added a pink lace motif to it that was from an old shirt. (My camera's memory card is missing...wish I could find it and post a picture!) So I basically ended up with a $15-$20 shirt that only cost me $2.50 and a little time.

There are two ways to do this. 1)If you sew, cut around the lace or motif leaving a little extra fabric around the edge. This is where your stitches will go. Use a LOT of pins. I'm lucky to have a mannequin (yay!) but you could put a piece of cardboard or a magazine behind the neckline so you don't pin through the back. Set your machine on a nice zig-zag and stitch away.

2)If you don't sew, cut the trim as close to the edge as possible. Then just use fabric glue or an iron-in fusible web (just make sure it's washable).

Now...doesn't this just make you want to go out and buy a cheap t-shirt, LOL?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Can anyone tell me...

...how you go about finding what swaps are in the works? I enjoyed Kelly's "Favorites" swap. It was my first swap in ages and ages. I'd like to join another one...or two...but how do I find them? Anyone know? Thanks!

Friday, July 27, 2007

And the winner is...

...Natasha, of Rickrack and Ribbons! Congratulations!

The furry paw that chose Natasha's name belongs to my chihuahua, Shadow Dante. I would have loved to have taken a picture. Alas, when I was unloading my camera the other day...I misplaced the danged memory card. It would have been a funny picture.

Natasha, I left you a message with my e-mail on your blog. Hope to hear from you soon!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Drawing will be held...

...Friday morning, by eleven. I have to go in for a CT-scan (funny abdominal pain I'm having checked out) in the afternoon, so I won't be up to it later in the day.

Good luck to everyone!

Monday, July 23, 2007



Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer is hosting a Dog Days of Summer Bloggy Giveaway! Oh, boy, you should see all the people participating!

BTW: please read the whole post for my 1 simple rule to enter! (A few nice people stopped by and missed it, so I'm editing this post and highlighting the rule.)

So here is my donation. It's a package of "20 neutral pH 20" x 30" tissues for wrapping and storing a full-size keepsake quilt." You could even use it for keepsake clothing such as a christening gown. I bought it a few years ago, but it is NRFP (never removed from package).

So how do you get it? Easy. Just scroll down here in my blog and find the meme I posted. There are a bunch of questions. Pick any two questions you like and answer them in the comments on this post.

On Friday, probably in the afternoon, I will print out the comments and cut them into separate pieces. I will spread these on my kitchen floor and let one of my animals at it. Maybe a dog, maybe a ferret. All I know is...whichever paper is first touched by a furry paw...is the winner!

PS--US and Canada only, please!

So, good luck! And visit Shannon's blog at the link above. This is just awesome!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Meme and some tags

I found one of those fun 'questionnaires' over at http://katherines123blog.blogspot.com/ (I hope I got that right!) I love these things. I think they are a fun way to get to know little things about each other. I'm 'stealing' this to post my own answers.
Note: After some thought, I decided there were too many ?s and answers, so I'm back here taking out a few. That is why the numbers are off kilter.

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Not that I know of, but they spelled my name wrong on my birth certificate. My dad said it took 6 months to straighten it out.

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Yes, if I'm not in a hurry. Trust me, 8 years of Catholic grammar school makes it almost impossible to have really bad handwriting.

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? 4 of 'em...3 boys who are 17, 20 and 24 and a daughter who is 22.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? HA, HA, HA. I wouldn't jump off a curb!

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Cocoa Puffs, Froot Loops and Kellogg's Raisin Bran. Oh, and Cap'n Crunch. Does anyone out there remember when Golden Crisp was called Sugar Crisp?

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Not usually, which is stupid because I have to untie them to get them back on again. Speaking of which, my baby ferret is attacking my feet and I have to put my sneakers back on again. He's such a brat!

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Not by a long shot, physically. Emotionally, either I'm strong or pretty good about burying my head in the sand.

15. RED OR PINK? red is my favorite color.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My mom-in-law who passed away about a year and a half ago.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? I'd like to say red, because it is my favorite color. But it would more likely be something weird like burnt umber...a color no one uses. I'd like to be left alone, most of the time. (I'm not very sociable.) But I'm also nice and down-to-earth, so maybe I should be that color they named macaroni and cheese. Ha, ha, that's me...pretty cheesy!

23. FAVORITE SMELLS? Roses, coffee, oranges, coffee, tomato plants, coffee... Oh! And there's nothing like a cuddly, clean, freshly-bathed baby!

27. HAIR COLOR? I have colored my hair so many times, I almost forget what color it used to be. Right now, it's a sort of auburn. My husband says he feels like he gets a new wife every 6 weeks because I change color so often!

28. EYE COLOUR? hazel

30. FAVORITE FOOD? Chinese food, Mexican food, down home American cooking. But my all time most favorite is lobster! Aaaggh...it's going for $14.99/lb. these days! Boo-hoo, guess I'm not getting any this summer!

31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? I love scary movies, but I don't like stupid ones or ones that have violence for the sake of violence. I want a real plot line and characters that have at least something resembling common sense. Which, alas, rules out a LOT of movies.

32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Sleepy Hollow.

34. SUMMER OR WINTER? If I was stuck with the extremes of either one, I'd take summer. At least your car isn't likely to go skidding in the summer!

35. HUGS OR KISSES? Hugs, but I'd prefer to just say 'hi.'

39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? The newest Diane Mott Davidson, "Dark Torte."

42. FAVORITE SOUND? Birds singing, my ferrets 'dooking' (it's a weird sound they make when they are happy), a baby giggling, cats purring.



45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I'm a published author with 15 books to my name. Never made much money at them, but I guess it proves I can write! (For the record, 12 horror novels and 3 books for young readers.)

46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Long Island, New York.

47. WHAT SUPERPOWER WOULD YOU LIKE? I'd like to really be able to talk to animals.

I'm tagging Susan (Blackberry Creek), Shereen (Waiting for Him) and Jenn (Frugal Upstate)! Hope you can play!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sew Crafty Friday: What to do with a 25 cent T-shirt

No kidding...a quarter. CVS had their summer things on clearance at 90% off and it was only 2.50 to begin with. Granted, it isn't a heavy t-shirt (although it is Hanes), but for that price, who cares? Well, it's also cheap enough to play with. In the first picture, I layered a sleeveless top over it that has shrunk too much, and has some bleach stains. I'm using a cutting board as a dress form--how pathetic. (But, I have a real one on order!) Okay...so I pinned it around the lace collar with a LOT of pins. You don't want this going anywhere. Off to the sewing machine, where I stitched around the lace, through both shirts, leaving about a half inch border. I carefully cut away the bottom part of the old shirt, right near the stitches (picture 2). In the 3rd picture, you can see that I have now cut away the neck part of the new shirt.
I don't have a picture of the finished shirt, but I covered up the raw edge of the old t-shirt with some bias tape I'd made from fabric I had. You could use flat lace or purchased bias tape, too. The fabric I used is the same I used for the skirt, purse and headband I made a while back. I haven't worn the t-shirt with that skirt, but it would match.
One thing I didn't do, and would the next time, is to remove the label from the old shirt. It kind of shows after you trim everything away.
Please visit "Waiting for Him" (see my blog list) for more great ideas from "Sew Crafty Friday!"

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Abbi-Rose in her bonnet!

Well, here's dollbaby in the bonnet I made for her. (Sorry about the red eyes--they must be reflecting all that pink.)

It was so nice to see her in person! She's a very sweet, docile baby. Her whole family is on cloud 9. I've never seen a mommy and daddy and two brothers so happy! Her daddy was so funny. He was dressing her, and she was fussing a little, and he says, "I've put up with torn jeans for 8 years (her youngest brother is 8), so you're gonna be in ruffles until you are at least 4!"
I didn't make the dress. It's a Polly Flinders...but doesn't it look like the bonnet and dress were made for each other?
And omg, you should see the nursery. I wish I'd taken a picture! They redecorated mommy's sewing room. The white crib sits catty-cornered. There is a white carousel horse behind it. They've had the horse for years, and mommy painted it white with pink accents. Daddy and the boys painted the top half of the walls in a pink-and-white sponge technique. The bottom is 1 inch wide pink and white stripes. Imagine painting all those stripes! Mommy even painted the ceiling fan pink and white! It is a dream nursery, and it didn't cost them all that much. Mommy and I met on a tightwads board about 9 years ago and really hit it off. This is a really frugal family--frugal, not cheap. They are beyond generous and just the nicest people you could meet. Abigail Rose is a blessing to them...but they are also a blessing to her!
I can't tell you the story of how they got her, because it is extremely private. I'll only say that she wouldn't be here without them...she would have been a statistic, if you know what I mean. I'll also tell you that they prayed 8 years for another child. They were supposed to go to Disney last year, but something made them decide to stay home. If they had gone, they would never have met the birth mother. I'm not a particularly religious person...but if this wasn't a miracle, I don't know the definition.

Anyway, so there she is! Miss Abigal Rose!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Frugal Gift

My little nephew had his 2nd birthday party last weekend. I had asked my sil what to get for him, and she adamently said, 'nothing.' Seriously, the kid has more toys than FAO Schwartz, and he's only 2. Mike and I gave him a check for his education fund (Johnny's father, John, is Mike's brother. Mike is Johnny's godfather). But a check isn't a lot of fun for a kid, and I wanted to give a little something extra.
My sil, Noreen, said that Johnny likes to stack things and line things up. My first thought: building blocks! Nice, old-fashioned wooden ones. Well, I had a set of them in a wooden box that I had bought for $1 at a garage sale a while back. You know how something grabs you and you just know there will be a use for it in the future?

Johnny's really into Thomas the Tank Engine. The other day, at Michael's, I found a scrapbooking kit featuring Thomas. As you can see by the pictures, I decorated the box and some of the blocks. Then I used some of the 12x12 paper to wrap the gift! I still have lots of the Thomas set for scrapping pages from the party, too.
Alas, I couldn't attend. I had work that day and I'm already taking off a weekend to visit friends in Pennsylvania. (This is the family of the adopted baby for which I made the bonnets. I get to meet her tomorrow!)
I would love to see what others have done to turn something they bought cheap into something special!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I actually like some commercials!

Susie Q mentioned the Petsmart commercials with the dog who carries around his 'baby,' a stuffed toy named Bobo. I love that.

Some others I like:

The one where the mother takes these little orange clocky things from the trash and gets mad at her kids for wasting 'perfectly good minutes.' It is for a cell phone. The kid says, "but mom, those are from last April!" And the mom says something like, "they are still perfectly good! You know, there are some children who don't have rollover minutes! You just remember that, mister!"

Clever, familiar and funny.

The one where the father tells his daughter's date that his picture is right next to his on the daughter's phone.

"It's like I'm watching you, all the time." Translation: "I'm watching you when you're with my little girl, buster."

The look in the father's eyes cracks me up every time. And did you notice the predatory symbols around the room? Shark jaws? A tiger statue?

Funny that they are both for cell phone companies, and I don't even have a cell phone.

I love the Geico commercials with the sophisticated Neanderthals! Too funny! And I hear they're going to have their own TV show. I doubt it will last more than a season, but it'll be fun to check it out.

That's all I can think of, right now.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Another annoying commercial, or two

I probably spend too much energy growling at the TV. But there are commercials that just get to me. Either they are immoral, stupid or have sounds that hurt your ears. One that comes to mind is the new Starbucks commercial...which is about them shooting a commercial! Have you seen it? The director keeps yelling 'cut,' while the actor glugs down the iced coffee. And I mean 'glugs.' Is there anything ickier than people who make noise when they swallow? But you know what's funny? The last few times I saw the commercial...there was no 'glug-glug' sound! I wonder if anyone complained? (I just growl at the TV. And I blog about it. I don't write letters, LOL!)

Here's the 'or two' from the title: have you seen the IKEA commercial? This woman looks at her bill and is so shocked by how much she saved that she thinks the teller made a mistake. So she runs like a crazy woman to her car, where her husband is waiting, shouting (screaming): "Start the car! Start the car!" And as they drive away she lets out this victory 'whoo-hoo!"

Okay, I hate this commercial on several levels:

1. Did she look at the prices before she put things in her cart? Didn't she know there was a sale? Or does she just blindly pick things up and hope for the best when it comes to prices?

2. If there was a mistake that was that big, then leaving without pointing out is immoral. And I'm pretty sure you aren't supposed to be that happy about stealing.

3. That screaming! What is she, a freakin' banshee? Wow, do I feel sorry for her husband.

4. And finally...the background music is about as pleasant as fingernails on a blackboard.

The only redeeming thing about this commercial is that it relates to a sale...so maybe it won't run very long.

Okay, enough griping. Yes, I know they're only commercials. I still don't like them, LOL!

Next blog, I'll get back to pleasant things like cats and bonnets.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Sew Crafty Friday: Bonnet

Here is a bonnet I made for this baby: http://sortafrugal.blogspot.com/2007/05/tired-today.html. I finally get to meet her next Friday! The pattern is by Butterick.
After 2 boys and many years of trying and praying for another baby, my friends were very thrilled to adopt little Abigail Rose. So, when I asked mommy what color she preferred for any gifts, she said, "pink, pink, pink!" Naturally, I had to choose pink rose fabric for the bonnet! It is fully lined, and not as hard to make at it looks. Getting the gathers to be even is about the hardest thing. I think I got the fabric from a wonderful site called www.shabbyfabrics.com, but it might have also come from Joann's. I'm pretty sure it was shabbyfabrics, though. They have an absolutely delicious selection of what I would call 'cottage' type fabrics. Think pink, roses and anything romantic.
Okay, now you gotta link over to "Waiting for Him" (see the link list to the right) and view more creativity on this "Sew Craft Friday." Better yet, show off something of your own over there!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Box I Received!

Feast your eyes on the box I received as part of the "Favorite Things" swap, hosted by the lovely Kelly of According-to-Kelly.blogspot.com!!
It was sent to me all the way from Arizona by the lovely Heather of Scavocentral.blogspot.com!

The idea behind the swap was to send your partner at least 3 items representing your favorite things. Well, the funny thing is, everything Heather sent me is stuff I love, too!
She likes movies, because she sent me a microwave popcorn tub from Blockbuster that was also full of candy, plus some more microwave popcorn and some cute plastic popcorn boxes that look like the kind you get at a state fair. And (this one made me gasp) a $10 Blockbuster Gift Card!!!! I'm a big, big movie fan, too!
I guess that Heather likes cherries, because I got a cute pink cylindrical box with cherry bath gel, 2 puffies (what do you call those, really?) and some cherry lip balm. I love cherries, too!
Oh, man, I know I'm going to forget something! My box runneth over...
Heather loves to scrapbook, and so do I. My box included a white basket lined with a great white, red and black fabric full of scrapping and cardmaking supplies! Can you see the little 3-D popcorn embellishment by Jolee's? It's just too cute!
Heather's also into containers, as you can tell by the nice way everything was packed in either a basket or a box. Me...the first thing I check out at garage sales is containers. I can't resist a pretty basket or tin!
I haven't done a swap in ages, and I'm so glad I joined this one. I want to thank Kelly for doing this. It isn't easy to host a swap...especially one with a lot of participants!

And thanks to Heather for making my day yesterday!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Milk ain't frugal no more

I just got back from the grocery, where I almost fell over to see the price of a gallon of milk:


Are they kidding? I heard that the corn that used to feed the cows is now being used to make fuel. So, what happens to the poor cows? Do they go hungry? Do they live on hay?

Dang, but nuclear power is looking better and better. (This is not a political blog, so I'm not looking to start anything. I don't know enough about cows, nuclear power or corn for fuel. I just want a gallon of milk to cost less than wine.)

Guess we won't be eating much cereal here from now on.

I do have to point out, though, that Target has been consistently cheaper than anyone else for milk, sometimes by nearly a dollar. I hope that is still true!

And I use a non-dairy creamer in my coffee, thank goodness!

But will the price go down so I can enjoy hot cocoa in the fall and winter???????

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Inside-Out Potato and Egg Salad

I love potato and egg salad. And I love deviled eggs. So I start thinking...hmmmmm...

There is no recipe here. Just do it by 'feel,' or 'to taste.'

For 2 of these, you need 2 eggs and one small cooked potato. I had them from a bigger batch I made for potato and egg salad.

Peel the eggs and the potato. Wash off the eggs to be sure there are no little pieces of shell--ick!

Cut the egg in half lengthwise and put the yolk in a bowl with the potato. Smash it all up. Now, add whatever you would normally put in a deviled egg or potato and egg salad. There is nothing carved in stone here. Me, I like mustard, a bit of vinegar, a pinch of sugar (yes, sugar!), dill weed, salt and mayonnaise. You will need a little extra of either the vinegar or the mayo because the potato makes the filling more dense. Just add a tiny bit at a time until you get a consistency you like.

Now, I'm thinking...because the filling is so thick, this might be a good lunchbox version of a deviled egg. You could press two halves together and wrap them in plastic wrap. They'd be less likely to 'run' all over the place.

I hope you like my little recipe invention!