What I’m Into: November 2015

Well, I happened to blink and it’s the end of November already.

Not sure how that happened, but hey, here we are.

Here is a monthly menagerie of things I’m into as of late:

*Fair Trade shopping. I did a bit of shopping for people at a Ten Thousand Villages store that isn’t too far from us. Above is a pan flute that I bought for one of my little guys, as well as a thumb piano for his twin.

Oh yeah, I may have purchased a cute little something for myself too…including these darling bicycle earrings! They had some fabulous jewelry there, including some great clearance deals.

*Baking. It takes a couple of chillier days and I get into baking mode. Some breads, cookies, and the like. I love all the fun holiday baking recipes I see popping up this time of year!

Speaking of which, my kids really want me to try making these Snow Globe  cupcakes. Are they not the cutest thing ever? I think yes.

*Yarn. Yup, it was on my list last month and yet it remains.

Here’s a button-over cowl that I made up a couple weeks ago. I like making these with big round wood buttons, but I also discovered these wooden toggle buttons that I like. I’ve also been working on a couple of newsboy style hats and a baby gift for my best friend, who is due in just a couple of weeks.

*The Christmas story. Advent has begun and this year I’m super excited about all of my kiddos being in a Christmas pageant next week.

I have two little shepherds, one angel/townsperson, a wise man, and Joseph (played by Daniel, not Joseph. Confusing, I know, when you have all these boy Bible names rolling around in one family…)

Well, that’s all folks. Add in upcoming Christmas concerts, other kid activities, and a bunch of school happenings this week, and there’s my life this time of year. Thanks for tuning in!

Recent Frugal Accomplishments

Happy (Almost) Thanksgiving everyone!

Here are a few little things I’ve done lately that I would consider to be Frugal Accomplishments:

*Didn’t have to fuel up my van for nearly two weeks. Hard to believe since I feel like I’ve had a LOT of kid running to do lately. However, all of it is local stuff, so I guess that’s why the tank stretched out longer.

*Had the lowest electric bill we’ve opened in a LONG time, I think mostly due to the fact that our heat hasn’t had to run. We’ve been blessed with a warm fall!

*On that note, we haven’t had to order heating fuel yet this fall.

*I’ve been able to hang out laundry a decent amount.

*My husband has been able to score some free meat items from work, mostly samples of recipes he’s tried or ends of stuff that wouldn’t be able to be sold. He also brought home a bag of chopped pecans that someone was headed to the trash can with! (It was the last bit of what was a huge bag.)

*I haven’t thrift shopped much at all, but the one time I was in lately I found this little treasure from the 70’s.

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Why did this 75 cent find excite me? Well, my parents just celebrated a 40 year anniversary. This upholstery fabric topped a hope chest my Dad bought my Mom way back when. It had gotten worn over many years of use and they had it recovered with something different maybe 10 years ago. As soon as I saw this, I knew it was the same fabric pattern and it was in brand new condition–also, it is the exact size needed to cover their chest!

*I ordered several kids’ Christmas gifts via Amazon while I had a free month’s trial of their Prime membership. I did not continue the membership, but enjoyed free shipping while it lasted:)

*My Dad continues to give us free cheese crumbles from his work. Also, we sometimes inherit other goodies too. It’s a bonus to have people working in the food industry I guess.

*Had a neighbor with a young adult son bring over a couple bags of clothing for my young man. It had a lot of great stuff in it for which we are thankful for.  Love not having to buy many clothes for my boys!

Vintage Sewing Wreath

Y’all should know that I love making wreaths.

Plus I also enjoy sewing AND yard sale shopping for cool vintage finds.

This wreath is a happy marriage of all those things put together!

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I took a wide burlap ribbon and threaded it onto a wire wreath frame.

(Please don’t ask me to do a tutorial on it, for me it’s just trial and error. Can’t say I make the greatest ones anyway…)

Then I added a touch of red burlap ribbon for a little color.

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Next came the fun part for me. I added things like old button cards, thimbles, and sewing charms from a clearance item at Michael’s.

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Also, some wooden spools of thread, both empty and full.

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Most of these things came from yard sale box lots, even the cool stand that I have this displayed on.

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I have no idea what this is officially called, but it is a ruler on a tripod stand with an arm that tilts forward with hem lengths displayed on it. It is perfect for setting my wreath on.

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This was a creative way to use up and display some of those vintage sewing notions I’d accumulated.

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All in all, this is different than any other wreath I’ve ever made, but I personally love it!

Vintage Feed Sack Corkboard

Just because I haven’t posted any tutorials on here in what seems like forever doesn’t mean I haven’t made anything lately. On the contrary, my friends, I’ve been crafting a plenty.

(When don’t I? Ummm… pretty much never.)

Here’s a little something I’ve been trying out with those vintage feed sacks I bought back in the summer.

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Cork boards covered with the front image of a vintage feed sack.

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I chose ones that still had a decent color to them. Lots of older ones have their image faded on the front, or even lots of pulls in the burlap.

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I’m still kicking myself for not buying one that had an awesomely bright image of a Holstein with one of the brand names. It was much more than I paid for these, but it could have been made into something really, really cool. There are quite a few farmers and former farmers in our families that would have loved it.

Anyway, using some bags that I DO have, I covered some plain Jane cork boards. You can probably surmise how I made these. Basically you cut out the image (give yourself a lot of margin on the sides to start with) and center it over the front of a board. Then, flipping it over, use a staple gun to tack it tightly around the back frame. Seriously–you need to be pretty liberal with the staples and pull the burlap tight as you go. This process took longer than I would have thought and I did end up yanking out some staples and redoing some.

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Once things were nice and taut, I used these decorative furniture nails to embellish the edges. Mine are maybe an inch from the edge, so I just pushed them firmly into the cork, not the wooden frame. I think they give it a much more finished look.

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Next I would like to try making some on just a plain canvas for a wall art option.

Here’s a little peek at a stool I had recovered this summer from the same batch of feed sacks. We are enjoying it, plus one with a different design in my house right now.

My one caution for anyone that would like to try making something with these is to wash them well beforehand. I had line dried mine for something like a week, even letting them get rained on once or twice. That way a lot of the musty dusty stuff can get washed off of there before handling them too much.

Overall, I think these would make a great gift or act as a unique piece of functional decor in your home.