Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thrift Store Find

I like shoes but have an odd size foot so finding shoes that fit and do not make me look like a third grader is a challenge. I wear a 3 1/2 in women's and a 1 to 2 in children's. I have been able to special order shoes in the past in size 3 1/2. The last time I bought dress shoes I could only find a size 4 and I paid $80 for them. Now I do love those shoes and will most likely get my money's worth out of them. Still $80 is a chunk of change when we are saving for a new house.

A couple of weeks ago my local Salvation Army had a $1 sale on all clothing and shoes. I found some tops, a dress, some jeans, and the shoes pictured below.
They are all in excellent shape, only cost $1 a pair, and are a size 3 1/2!! That was truly a miracle and definitely a blessing. I plan to take good care of each pair and will enjoy them for years to come. I admit I often get discouraged about my inability to find clothing that fits. I like to think this was God's way of saying He is here to help with all of my problems. Some people would say God does not have time to worry about my finding thrifty shoes. I know He cares about all of my concerns.

I pray in this coming month that each of you receive a special, unexpected miracle from God!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Craft Project: Straw Hat Makeover

I was digging through my tear files a little while back and found a picture I had torn out of a Woman's Day magazine in 2000. It was an order form for a pattern book of straw hat projects. I kept the pictures thinking one day I would make one. Well it took me nine years, but I finally got around to it. Here is the new welcome decoration hanging at my front door.

It is made from an old straw hat, cardboard, and felt. From the original picture it appears that the tail and feet were made from felt. I used the cardboard that comes with the postage stamps I order online. I used newspaper to make my patterns for the feet and tail. I just cut them free handed until I had something that looked right. My hat is under a porch so I should have no problem with the cardboard pieces. I cannot promise how they would hold up to much moisture.

I painted the hat, four feet, and tail orange. It took two coats to cover well. Next I mixed wheat and copper colored paints to make the stripes on the body and tail. I used green felt for the "Welcome" and pink felt for the ears and nose. It is hard to see the whiskers, but they are made from thin gauge silver wire. I used a marker to draw the toes and make the mouth. I hot glued everything (plus my index finger).

My only cost for this project was $2 for the orange paint. Everything else was scraps left from other projects. The hat was formerly a bonnet type "wreath" with ribbons and flowers. I was really pleased with how my thrifty project turned out - aside from the finger incident.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Weekly Garden Update

It rained too much last week to get good pictures of the garden. It has really grown since my last update. Here are a few highlights:

This is one of the many watermelons we have growing. Dh got the seeds from a watermelon last year so they were free. If these do well, I will save some seeds for next year's garden. You cannot get more frugal than that.

The Celebrity tomato plants in buckets are doing well like this one. The ones in the ground not so much. I can see we will have to add in some raised beds next season.

Here are some Roma tomatoes. This is a small plant, but it is loaded.

The corn stalks have started to put on tiny ears of popcorn.

The squash has been producing like crazy. We are eating them at almost every meal. Our favorite way is sliced and fried. Taking something healthy and deep frying it is a Southern tradition.

We used T posts and fencing for the cucumbers to run up on. This lessens the chance that we will miss them so that they turn into monsters. A few monsters are okay since they go into my homemade sweet relish.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Garden Update

I took these pictures on Monday but at dragging in getting them posted. Here is another overview of the main garden. We have been eating yellow squash this week. I sliced some and fried them. Others went into a pork chop bake along with asparagus (from the store) and potatoes from the family garden.

Here are close ups of the popcorn and the yellow squash.

We have tiny cucumbers and tomatoes. The tomato picture was a huge blur.

I moved the plants in buckets into a better planned area so they could be easier to mow around and easier to water. The eggplant especially has really grown this week.

Finally the lettuces and spinach. I have some more seeds started but am wondering where to put them. It has grown even more since I took these pictures. It is so very nice to have fresh lettuce in the backyard. I am looking forward to the other vegetables starting to produce so we can have even healthier salads.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

May Big Shop

I am trying to cut down on shopping trips. It is not necessarily that I am spending too much. I just do not like to go into town and shopping tires me out. How do people shop for hours on end several times a week? I do not have the patience for it.

Yesterday I pulled my coupons that were expiring this month and made up a big list. I do not have pictures as DH was hungry so we put everything away quickly so we could eat.

First stop was Walmart where I purchased cat treats, several types of crackers/chips/granola bars for snacks and dh's lunches, pantyhose, coffee cream, cheese, fruit (fresh & canned), free mascara (All You coupon), flour, parchment paper, and Magic Erasers. I spent $51.47 and saved $25.58.

Next was Walgreens. I got deodorant, toilet paper, hair gel and tissues. I saved $12.25 and had no OOP cost since I used a gift card for the $1.64 total.

Harvey's was next. I stopped at two of them to double up on the sales. I got four each of sugar, brown rice, toilet paper, orange juice plus Tabasco sauce and asparagus for $19.99 with a savings of $10.20 in coupons.

Last stop was CVS. I got three boxes of cereal, cough drops, deodorant, toothpaste, and 10 bottles of PowerAde for $4.73 with a savings of $10.94.

I stayed within my budget and this should be the bulk of my shopping for the month. Dh has enough goodies for his lunch for the month. I also have enough coffee creamer. We are down to one loaf of bread in the freezer so the flour will be for homemade bread. I may purchase some fresh vegetables if our plants are not producing by the end of the month. Otherwise I hope we are eating from the freezer as it is still much too full.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Gardening is Hard Work

I have been absent from the blogging world for several weeks. The reason is I have been busy outside in both the yard and the garden. Once the April showers subsided long enough for the ground to dry out I got busy. Need some proof? Here it is!
First up an overview of the back deck.

These are two free geraniums from my mother and a jasmine plant from last year.

DH and I fell in love with a sweet potato vine we saw on the Peaches to Beaches yard sale route. The $30-$40 price tag quickly snapped the fantasy of bringing one home with us. We found small pots of it at Lowe's last week. We got two each of the green and purple and added the coleus in the center.

Next are the front porch flowers and plants. My pride and joy is this calla lily. Calla lilies are my favorite flower so I am thrilled to be growing my own.

Here is a sprouting ostrich plume fern that I got from the Spring Hill Nursery deal several weeks ago. It came with five other ferns for the $6 shipping cost.

This ivy came from my mother's house. It puts on lovely purple flowers and will take over the world if allowed. I should know as it took dh and me months to clear it out of our own yard. I thought it was safe to grow in contained in these window boxes.

This dusty miller was left from last year. Thanks to the protection of the porch it survived the winter. After a trimming last week it looks lovely and full.

Now let's walk over to the side yard. This petunia plant just came up and was a surprise to me. It looks lovely at the base of the mailbox.

This flower bed looks a little drab and dull now but it will fill out as the season progresses.

Now for the best part of the garden -- the part we can eat -- the vegetables! Here are the cats checking out the herb garden and more specifically the catnip.

The lettuce and spinach look great. I see a fresh homegrown salad or two in our future this week. That will go great with all the Kraft salad dressing I stocked up on last month.

Here are the eggplant, tomato and pepper plants in five gallon buckets.

Here is the main garden. It is two weeks old today. We are growing popcorn, watermelons, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, onions, and bunches of tomatoes. It is not much to behold yet but give it a few more weeks.

Thanks for hanging in to the end of my long gardening post. I told you I had been busy. Now I am looking forward to sitting back and watching everything grow. If only it were that easy. I have already started on the weeding. Dreams of fresh, free produce keep me motivated!