Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cheapo Thanksgiving

This year, I'm making a very cheap and fuss-free Thanksgiving meal, but I still think it will be yummy! Here's what's on my menu:

  • Homestyle Turkey, The Michigander Way: I'm really excited to see how this cheap, super easy turkey recipe turns out! We got the turkey from my hubby's employer, which makes for a super cheap holiday meal!
  • Instant mashed potatoes. I've found a brand that I like better than homemade, and they're WAY easier! It's Idahoan all the way for me!
  • I really wanted to make this recipe for cornbread and sausage stuffing, but that wouldn't have fit into my "cheapo" Thanksgiving goals, and with that Stovetop box staring me in the face for only 78 cents, I went the cheap route. I really don't like Stovetop, but my kids and hubby do, so I settled.
  • Frozen Sara Lee pumpkin pie! For me, it's just not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, but I hate the ones that are already made in the store. I also really didn't feel like making one from scratch, and I feel that a frozen, ready-to-bake pie is a good compromise between the two.
  • Canned veggies: not much to say about this, because I don't think anyone will eat them except me.
  • I'm trying my hand at giblet gravy from my tried-and-true Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I've never made, or even eaten, giblet gravy, so I hope it's okay!
How do you cut costs during holidays? Do you go all-out for Thanksgiving each year, or go the cheapo route? What are you making today?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Like the New Look?

Yay! I did it myself!! I made the background pattern on, and I used a little bit of help from this post and this post (thanks Blogger Buster!)...and a little bit of my own ingenuity (some might call it trial-and-error), and I came up with this! I think I like it! Whaddaya think??

Insanely Wonderful

Over the weekend, I discovered So You Think You're Crafty. Basically, a bunch of super crafty bloggers have all embarked on a marathon crafting session. Each week, there's a theme, and each blogger comes up with a theme-related craft. Readers get to vote, and the winning tutorial is posted on the main blog. Yay! I'm so going to keep up with this and vote! This week's winner is Dana from Made, and I ADORE her project. Take a look!

You can also fan S.Y.T.Y.C. on Facebook. See ya there!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Oh, Buttercup!!

So, remember the other day when I said I needed to make myself a new purse? Well...I've done it!

This purse was made using the free Buttercup Bag pattern from Made By Rae. It's super cute, but I don't know if I'm going to keep it or give it away to someone or something like that. It's pretty small and I like to have a bigger purse.

It was a really fun and easy to make pattern, though. Instead of buying a magnetic closure, I sewed an old hairband into the purse to stretch around the button on the front and close the purse. It works pretty well!

Here's a closer look at the fabric I used:

Psychadellic Washcloth!!

I decided to make my own washcloths, and I also decided to buy variegated yarn, but couldn't find a decent pattern to really show off the colors in the yarn and not make it look blocky and weird...until I found the Darrell Waltrip Washcloth pattern. I LOVE it!!
Didn't it show off my yarn beautifully? It was easy to make, too. I hadn't knitted in a while, so my bind off looks a little messy, but oh well. This is the only one I've made so far, but I hope to make another and a hand towel to go with.

I would highly recommend this pattern for anyone who wants to try a pattern that really showcases variegated yarns!

For this project, I used Peaches & Creme Fiesta Ombre.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

To Do

I have so many projects I want to make soon, so here's my list:

  1. Finish the Horse Purse I'm making my little girl for her birthday. I've been crocheting like mad to finish it up. I'm about half way done, so I think (fingers crossed) that I'll be done before her birthday on Wednesday.
  2. Finish another pair of Ruffle Pants for the same little girl.
  3. Use the scraps from the ruffle pants to make myself a cute fabric headband.
  4. Work on a Pokemon quilt I'm making my son for Christmas.
  5. Make myself a new purse. Which do you think I should make: I like the Buttercup Bag from Made by Rae, but It might be too small. The Phoebe Bag is also very cute, but so is this bag. But then I could also crochet a purse... Too many choices!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Easy Crochet Beaded Necklace

I made this necklace the other day because I wanted something pretty to wear to my new seasonal job, but didn't want to spend more than $5. I decided this in the middle of Wal-Mart, so I didn't have my computer to look up patterns and lists of materials, but I knew from the beaded socks that I've made that you can easily incorporate beads into crocheted designs. This necklace was fast (took me about 30 minutes total) and extremely simple, using only slip stitch and chains. I was happy with the way it turned out. Not too fancy, but fast and cheap, and (in my humble opinion) pretty! If you'd like to make your own, here are the basic instructions:

  • Beads (duh!)
  • Very fine gauge wire (I think mine was 35?)
  • A small shank button
  • A small crochet hook (Mine was a size 8/1.5MM, which was a teensy bit too big, but I worked it out.)
  • Make a slipknot with your wire and place it on your hook as if you're about to start crocheting.
  • Chain 10 and join with a slip stitch to the first chain to form a loop. This loop will eventually go around your button to secure the necklace in lieu of a clasp.
  • Chain 10 more.
  • *bead chain (see below), chain 5* Repeat that bit between the asterisks until your necklace is about an inch to an inch-and-a-half shorter than you'd like it to be.
  • Chain 10, then attach the button in the same way you did the bead chains.
Bead Chain:
Place a bead on your crochet hook. Yarn over as if you're doing a regular chain stitch, but instead of just pulling your loop of yarn through the last chain, pull it through the bead and then the last chain. This will enclose the bead! After this stitch, follow the pattern with normal chain stitch.

If Your Crochet Hook is Too Large:
Of course it would be very nice to make sure that your crochet hook will fit into the holes in your beads, but since my crochet hook was at home and my goal was to spend as little money as possible, I had to make do with a larger hook than I really needed. How? Instead of leaving my wire attached to the spool, I cut off as much as I'd need to make the necklace (seriously, that's at LEAST four times the amount you'd think!). Then when it came time for a bead chain, I slipped my bead onto the free end of the wire, then chained around it as normal. More time-consuming than it would've been with the correct size hook, but it worked just fine!

Total Cost of This Project: $4.75, with plenty of wire left over for future necklaces!!

If anyone makes this necklace, I'd love to see pics!! And, of course, if you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them to the best of my ability!