Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thrifty and Thriving #2

Today was a little bit crazy.  I took both my kiddos to Target, breastfeeding group, and 3 grocery stores, cleaned out my car, and played outside in the beautiful weather with Bug.  I survived, but by the time we were getting out of the car to hit the last grocery store Bug was DONE.  She fell asleep on the way home and when she woke up in the driveway she started wailing about wanting to go to ONE MORE STORE.  She was appeased when I told her we were going to change out her carseat for the brand spanking new seat we got at Target today.  The seat we were using in the truck is about to expire and I found a good deal on the Graco Nautilus at Target, and we just happened to have gift cards to cover most of the cost.  We loved the one we got for my car and I think we're finally done with buying carseats!  Why the switch, you may ask?  Well, the new one is green, and seeing green makes me smile.  Sometimes its the little things.

 As for my developing thriftiness, I think I did a little bit better this week.  It didn't take quite as long to browse the circulars and the coupons, and I've got the bones of a good system for planning meals and shopping lists. I crunched my numbers this week, and today I saved 42% on my groceries! 
 I might have to work on the self control thing so that I don't develop stockpile syndrome.  We have enough potato/rice/pasta sides and fruit snacks to last us for the next 2 months.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cookie Concentration

 I saw this cookie version of a memory or concentration game here.  I loved the idea, but was pretty sure that the cards would hold up about as well as the cards in other mangled games we have.

So I made my version out of felt! 16 matching pairs of pretty cookies.

The process is pretty self explanatory.  I just cut felt out felt circles in the colors I needed, used pinking shears to cut around the edge of the colored circles, embellished with embroidery floss, and sewed around the edge with my machine.

 I made a mat on construction paper with circles of where the cookies should be to help reinforce the concept that the cookies need to return to the same spot when playing the game. 

  She is easily able to complete the game with 6 cookies, and did fairly well when I put 2 mats together to make a 12 cookie board.


She was super excited to play and was thrilled when she got a match!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Project Playroom- Part 1

I've been rearranging my house to get ready for the daycare business.  Mostly doing some superfluous childproofing in most of the rooms, but the playroom is getting the major overhaul.  It used to be the family room, where we had the computer desk, play kitchen, toys and books, and my sewing table/craft area.

I've slowly been transitioning the room over, and it's nearly finished.  Last week I made the final big change.  I moved my sewing table upstairs to our bedroom and the glider down to the playroom.  It was very painful, but unfortunately daycare doesn't mix with sewing machines and scissors.

I've had some major Ikea love while finishing up this room, so please bear with me as I sing their unsolicited praises.

There are no overhead light fixtures in this room.  I have a small lamp sitting on the play kitchen, and there used to be another one on my sewing table, which does not live there anymore.  I needed another light fixture in the room, so I found one that I could mount on the wall.  I covered the unsightly white cord hanging down with a tube of fabric, and I like it so much better.

While I was perusing the wonders of Ikea I also found the clock section.  The nicer clocks were at least $10 and they didn't have a plain white clock with numbers anyways.  Then my eyes fell upon the $1.99 white frosted plastic clocks and I knew I could somehow transform it to meet my needs.

It was so simple to cover the clock in fabric. I took off the plastic face cover, wrapped fabric around the outer edge first and then pulled the fabric into the inside.  I used packing tape to secure the fabric around the inner edge and on the back.  Replacing the plastic face cover with the added bulk of the fabric took a little persuasion, but it holds everything in place quite nicely and looking at it makes me smile :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thrifty and Thriving #1

So after getting my feet wet with analyzing circulars and searching for coupons and new coupon sources for the last few weeks, I finally jumped in.  I spent hours with my circulars and coupons comparing sales, finding coupons that I could use with them, and putting it all together into a meal plan to see what else we might need.  I ended up with a shopping list that sent me to a drugstore and 3 separate grocery stores.  I got tired just thinking about it :)

So I left Bug with her daddy and went to town with baby Bear.  It was exhausting, but I got some great deals, stocked up on a few things, and most importantly- I don't have to worry about the constant inner refrain of "what on earth will we eat for dinner tonight?" because I have a plan!

I did underestimate the thrill of seeing my bill go down with each coupon or discount that I used, especially when they doubled automatically.

Hopefully I'll get faster and won't have to spend my entire Sunday reading and planning and shopping.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Project Fail: Rapunzel Wig

Every had an idea that sounded soooo cool in theory just to have it not only fall short of your expectations but fail miserably?  I was considering not even sharing this attempt, but it's real and I'm a tiny bit heartbroken about the whole thing :)

Bug LOVES the movie Tangled.  Like we watch it or have it on in the background while we play EVERY day.  So much so that I have a bit of a voice crush on Flynn Rider.  There were so many cool ideas for Rapunzel wigs in the blogosphere.  I was inspired by this tutorial at Sew Like My Mom and this tutorial at This Mama Makes Stuff .  The project seems pretty foolproof right?  

Well then the stashbusting part came into play.  I don't have golden yarn for long Rapunzel tresses.  My oh-so-cool-and-creative idea was to use t-shirts from my upcycle pile and a pair of outgrown tights to make my own version of her wig.  I even got so excited about my idea that I took the time to take pictures of my process.

I cut my shirts into 1/4" strips using my rotary cutter and ruler.  then STRETCHED them as far as they could go.  The first shirt is one of the thin rib knit t-shirts that doesn't have much recovery, so it stretched beautifully and gave me nice long strands.  The tank top had a lot more elasticity, so it recovered a lot more, making for shorter strands.

 Do you see the same problem I saw?  These two yellow shirts did not yield nearly enough hair for a proper Rapunzel wig.
 So I branched out into my fabric stash and found this yellow tube knit that I got for free eons ago.  It was thrown in a package of fabric I bought so that the lady could get it out of her her stash.  I cut the entire yard of fabric into yellow strips and stretched them out.  What I did not foresee was the VERY unpleasant side effect that these stretched out strands would SHED teeny tiny puffy yellow balls of fuzz everywhere.
 Aside from that, I was pretty sure that I had enough strands of hair to make a proper wig now.
So I went to work at the hat made from tights in the 2nd tutorial I shared, and sewed on the strands in the method of the first tutorial I shared, and eventually all of the strands were attached to the hat and sewed down so that you couldn't see the tights hat underneath as much.  Decided that Tangled was the perfect name for the film and for the mess that was the wig after Bug ran around wearing it for a minute.  I untangled the mess and braided the wig, much to the disappointment of Bug.  We also had to add an elastic band around the edge of the hat that would grip Bug's head a bit better so that I wasn't putting it back on her head every 72 seconds.

I was going to add some felt flowers, but I felt completely done with spending my valuable crafting time on this failed project.  Bug loves wearing her "weally looooong Wapunzel hairs", but leaves a trail of teeny tiny puffy yellow balls of fuzz behind her.  Maybe we should be playing Hansel and Gretel instead?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Discovery Bottles

 My first stashbusting project centered on using up baby food jars I had saved from when Bug had been eating baby food.  I have quite a few more jars  as well- we"ll have to see what they become.

Bug and I made a few discovery bottles/jars using materials we had in our stash.  The only thing I had to purchase was corn syrup, which gave us another fun bottle to fill as well!
Back Row: Red glitter and beads in a 50/50 mix of water and corn syrup
                  ABC I-Spy-Multicolor glitter, star confetti, and alphabet beads in a 50/50 mix of water and corn syrup
                 Color/Shape I-Spy- Various items focusing on colors and shapes in rice (I used pattern blocks, balloon confetti pieces, and colorful mini clothespins) 

Middle Row: Star confetti in water and blue food coloring (we think it looks like a starry night sky :)
                      Dish soap in water with red food coloring, only fill it halfway with water- leave the rest of the room for the bubbles!
                      Pom poms and little jingle bells

Front Row:  Just plain old rice in the first and buttons in the second :)


 Sorry it got quiet around here.  I've been a little busy :) .

Courtesy of Sir Eats-A-Lot and the Princess of Wails.


They've been keeping my sleep deprived self on my toes lately.  Between the baby's growth spurt and the normal nearly 3 year old drama I haven't had as much time to be crafty. Baby bear is going to be 7 weeks old on Monday.  I can't believe how fast time is flying.

As for other news, in my efforts to be thrifty I have made a solemn vow not to go to Joann's or Michael's or Hobby Lobby or the crafty aisle at Walmart unless I am in dire need of a certain supply for a certain project.  It's ok, because I already have a ridiculous amount of crafting supplies in my stash.  Things that I just loved and HAD to have, things that I found a really great deal on and couldn't resist, leftovers from other projects... you get the picture.  So I am STASHBUSTING!  When I come across a project I would like to do, I must make every effort I can to use things I already have.  As Tim Gunn might say, "Make it work!"  I'll let you know when I've done a stashbusting project, and if your supply stash is just begging to get pulled out of the closet please join me!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Angry Birds Anonymous

We're a bit behind the times, as we don't have smart phones.  We just got a Roku player for our TV that included the Angry Birds game, and we are all quite addicted.  I remembered the plush tutorials on Obsessively Stitching and thought I would bring the game to life for Bug :)

 Less screen time, more family time. We love it!
 This is what I got when I asked them to smile for me :)