Posts Tagged "frugality"

Pretty Fabric Necklace Organizer

Posted by on Sep 30, 2011 in Craft Projects, Tutorials | 3 comments

I love necklaces.  I could live without earrings, I usually forget to wear the rings I own, and I have yet to find a bracelet that sits nicely on my small wrists, but an outfit seems incomplete without a necklace.

And I own many of them.

For the longest time they were folded, rolled, and stacked several necklaces deep in one of four little jewellery boxes that I own.  It kept them out of sight, but often made it impossible to grab the right one in a hurry.  What I really needed was a hanging necklace organizer.

And so I made myself one.  Gathering inspiration from here, here and here, I headed to the thrift store and found a framed print that would work perfectly.

I removed the glass and since the print was glued to sturdy cardboard, decided to reuse it as the backing for the organizer.

I covered the entire thing in Mod Podge and stuck down the fabric.

I then folded in the corners, using a little of the Mod Podge to make them stick, and then folded down the sides over the back, to keep the fabric in place.

 

After putting it back into the frame, I was ready to add hangers.

To create the hangers, I hot-glued small plain buttons to the surface, and then covered them with larger, prettier, buttons from my stash.  (Due to the shallowness of the frame, I couldn’t use nails or push pins without having them poke too far through, but I think the buttons were a fun solution!)

Then I hung it on the wall and filled it with necklaces!  Isn’t it pretty?

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Garden Planning

Posted by on Mar 17, 2011 in Gardening | 6 comments

This is the view outside my back door today.

Although it still looks a little wintery, it is  a huge change from the view only a week or so ago.

I take great encouragement from the fact that I can actually see the deck boards. 

Spring is coming.

Which means that garden planting is only a few months away, and seed starting is only a few weeks away.

It’s time to pull out the seed catalogues!

I must admit that this is one of my favourite parts about gardening, this winter dreaming when I get to imagine all of the wonderful things I will grow this year.  (and in my dreams there are no weeds, deer or blight!)

So, if you are a newbie gardener, or just curious, here is how we go about planning our garden.

1.  Find a good seed company.  You can buy standard vegetable seeds at many hardware stores, but with a seed company you are going to get to choose from a wider variety of stock, hopefully have heirloom and organic seed to choose from, and if you find a local seed company, you will find plants that will do well in your area.   The number of seed companies out there can sometimes be overwhelming, if you aren’t sure where to begin, ask a fellow gardener where they purchase their seeds.  Mapple farm is our number one choice, because they are local and only sell what they grow, so we know that the plants will do well in our weather and short growing season.     

2.  If you aren’t planning on growing fields of veggies, find someone to share seeds with.  You can only fit so many plants in a certain area, and although it can be tempting to plant all of the seeds in the packet, it truly is a recipe for disaster.  Which means that you often have lots of seeds leftover.  Last year we discovered the solution to this problem when we began seed sharing with some of our garden-growing family.  We each buy half of the seeds we will grow, and then divvy up the seeds between us.  It keeps costs down, lets us grow a greater variety of plants, and there are less seeds to try and keep for next year (and hope they still sprout.)

3.  Thumb your way through the seed catalogues and dream, dream, dream!  This is the point in the process when I decide I’m going to grow 5 varieties of tomatoes, 2 kinds of turnip, and an heirloom perennial onion.

4.  Come back to reality and determine how many plants you can grow in the space that you have.  Plants need room.  If they don’t have enough room they can crowd each other out, or become diseased (ask me how I know.)  On the other hand, you don’t need to stress out and do a sheet of calculations to determine what will fit.  Use the planting guidelines in the seed catalogues to figure out about how much room each plant will take, and then only order what you can reasonably fit in your garden.   This is the point in the process where I cut tomato varieties down to 3 and cut out the turnips altogether.  But I keep the onions, because you have to grow something fun and funky in your garden!

5.  Order your seed and then check the mailbox every day patiently await their arrival.

And while you wait you can imagine your summer garden, full of beautiful plants and tasty things to eat.

Have you started your garden plan?  What will you be growing this year?

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Freezer Labels

Posted by on Mar 4, 2011 in Cooking/Recipes | 6 comments

I love my freezer.  It is the storage centre for much of our garden produce.  It is the holding place for homemade chicken stock and a wide variety of soups and sauces which I like to make in bulk.  It is the place that my green tomato mincemeat and peach jam call home. 

It can also be a bit of a puzzle.

And I love puzzles, but when it comes to trying to decide by smell and frozen texture which jar is tomato sauce and which jar is tomato soup,  it is not one of my favourites.  (especially when I guess wrong….)

This could be solved, of course, if I labelled the jars before I stored them in the freezer.  But the labels I have around the house seem to stick, and not come off, even after repeated washings (which only adds to the puzzle when a jar that is definitely not chicken stock has a label on it which reads “chicken stock, 2 cups).   

I am sure someone makes beautiful freezer labels that are easily removed during washing, but I never think to look for them until it is too late, and the jars are sitting on the counter ready to go into the freezer. 

I know what you’re thinking – stop writing this blog post right now and go and get yourself some labels!  Which I may still do, but hubby has devised the perfect solution in the meantime:

Yep.  That’s a scrap piece of paper and an elastic, and it has changed my world.  Smart man, my hubby!  :)

Does anyone else have this label problem?  How do you organize your freezer?

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Making an Evergreen Wreath

Posted by on Nov 22, 2010 in Craft Projects | 5 comments

I am truly blessed with wonderful family.  With my own family members living a few provinces away I feel lucky to have been welcomed into hubby’s family with open arms.  His parents, brother and sister-in-law are all wonderful people who I am happy to be related to.  When we get together we always have a great time.

This week-end my mother-in-law showed me how to make an evergreen wreath.  Growing up as a city girl I find I am still surprised to discover that people actually do these things I used to think only happened in the movies (like walk into a forest and cut down a Christmas tree with an axe, or visit the same forest to gather evergreen boughs for wreaths and garlands.) 

With snow softly falling outside we gathered at the dining room table with a big bucket of evergreen boughs. 

It smelled like Christmas already and we hadn’t even started yet!

We then cut the boughs into smaller “hands” which we piled in groups of 3 or 4. 

We then used green florists wire to attach the “hands” to the wire frame, alternating attaching them to the front and back.  (Maybe next year I will write a tutorial on this.  It was super fun and easy, if you have access to fresh greenery you really should give it a try!)

Ta da!

I have to admit I did have a few “oh dear” moments when my wreath seemed more like a wild square then a wreath, but with a little trimming I was quite happy with the result.

I tucked a little cedar in for variety. 

I usually just trim my wreaths with a simple bow and hang it on the door, but my mother-in-law had bags and bags of ribbons and flowers and pinecones that she had saved over the years.  It was too much fun to pass up! 

With the wreath now gracing our front door I feel like the holiday season has truly begun.   And with snow on the ground and more softly falling, it certainly does feel like Christmas is coming.

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Quick and Easy Fabric Magnets

Posted by on Oct 30, 2010 in Craft Projects | 4 comments

I like to keep a magnetic pad of paper on the fridge for recording grocery items we need to buy.  This makes it easy to write down what we need, as we run out of it.  Otherwise I am bound to forget on grocery day just what it is we ran out of during the week. 

Unfortunately, I do not have much luck with magnetic pads.  In many cases the magnets stick to the fridge, but the paper doesn’t, pulling right off the magnetic back, so I have a whole collection of pads of paper and their corresponding magnetic backs, but still nothing on my fridge. 

This past year the problem was temporarily solved with a snowman paper pad I was given at Christmas that stuck perfectly.   The only downside to this was that Hubby, who does most of the grocery shopping, did not like walking through the store in mid-summer with a large piece of red-hatted snowman paper.  Unfortunately for him, I wasn’t about to give up a pad that worked so he suffered through (dear man.)

But I used the last snowman today.  :(

I also make more than one list as there are several places that we shop for food so I am constantly adding new pieces of paper to the fridge with the plain black magnets torn from the back of our useless paper pads.  Functional, but not pretty.

Looking at the pile of magnets and un-sticky paper pads this morning gave me an idea.  I set about reusing the magnets to make labelled paper holders for the fridge.  Check it out!

Now I have a list for everything, and no more papers falling off the fridge!

Here’s how I made them.

I began by tearing the cardboard backs from the useless pads of paper off of the magnets.

I then raided the scrap bin for fabric that coordinated with the kitchen.  This would also be a good project for scrapbook paper scraps, but I thought of the fabric first.

I then found some Mod Podge, a foam brush, a piece of fun foam leftover from a school project (although this would also be a good project for reusing cardboard), and a glue gun. 

The foam pieces were cut so they were just a little bigger than the biggest magnet.  Even though the magnets differed in size, I wanted the finished magnets to all be the same. 

I then cut the fabric scraps to be a bit bigger than the foam pieces. 

I used the Mod Podge to glue the fabric to the foam, wrapping it like a present to keep the corners neat. 

I used a glue gun to glue the magnet to the back of the magnet, covering the folded edges of the fabric.  (Handy Hint: make sure you glue the magnet magnetic-side up, instead of upside-down like I did….)

While the magnets were drying, I went down to the computer and printed off the names of the different lists in a pretty font.  If I had return-address sized labels I think they would have fit perfectly, but since I didn’t I used the shipping labels I already had and just cut them apart. 

I then stuck the labels to the front of the magnets and put them on the fridge. An easy way to use what I already had and be a little more organized.

And Hubby will be happy that he doesn’t have to take a snowman to the grocery store anymore!  :)

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