Me going green … and dragging my family with me, kicking and screaming!

Baby steps toward self sufficience and greenocity

From nearly trash to treasure! June 30, 2009

Filed under: frugal living,green living,recycling — razberiswrl @ 5:14 pm
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Soooo … I’ve always had a space issue in the kitchen.  It’s very poorly designed, and in order to have a full size table in there, I have to sacrifice a door.  There are 2 doors in my kitchen, one leads to the back yard, and the other leads to the garage.  If my chest freezer weren’t in the garage, sacrificing that door would be no big deal … but it is, and I get something out of that freezer nearly every day.

Anywho, we had a big ass table in there, and had to scoot it back and forth whenever we needed to use a door.  So, I’ve been on the lookout for a smaller table for quite some time.  Friday was my lucky day.  I ran across a listing on Craigslist.com for a round tile top table with a leaf in nice condition for $15.  Yep.  FIFTEEN BUCKS.  CHEAP!  I jumped on it.

Here it is all disassembled (didn’t have the foresight to take a BEFORE before pic, LOL):

As is, it was livable.  There was no need to do anything really other than wipe it down and get on with life, but I wanted something a little bit different.  Something with jazz hands.  Or spirit fingers.  They are pretty much interchangeable … as long as one or the other is there, my life is good.  So, I went to Lowes and bought some stuff.

So … I taped off the tile and sanded like a mofo:

Then I painted!  And laquered, and let it dry …

Then I put it in my kitchen.  Perfecto!

Now I just need to figure out what to put in those pretty jars …

Oh, and yeah, I know, my chairs look like crap.  I know.  I know.  There’s a certain kitty cat that uses them for scratching posts.  I can’t imagine I will ever change him, so he can destroy those babies (they aren’t mine anyway, the chairs OR the cat, HA!), and I’ll continue to bide my time until I find a set of matching chairs that I can paint  … or not …

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Interlude for a birthday June 21, 2009

Filed under: cooking,frugal living — razberiswrl @ 10:29 pm
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Ugg … I have all these half written entries staring at me from the right side of the screen.  It’s both embarrassing and crippling.  I’m sure that doesn’t make sense to most.

Anyway …

My daughter’s 6th birthday was this Wednesday.  She had an odd cake request.  She heard the song Single Ladies by Beyonce a while back, and just loves it … She asked for a Beyonce CAKE!!  WTH?!?  LOL!!!  Who am I to say no though??  So, I gave it my best:

Now, I know, I know, that is NOT a Beyonce doll, but I’m just a mom with a budget, and I couldn’t see spending $30 or more plus shipping on a doll from 1998 on Ebay or whatever.  So, off to the store M and I went.  We scoured the aisles for a Beyonce lookalike.  We ended up choosing the lovely Sasha from the Bratz collection, which was a MAJOR gift in and of itself.  You see, until NOW, M has not been allowed to have any Bratz toys … I don’t find them all that appropriate for little girls …  Sometimes one has to bend.  *shrug*

I think it turned out pretty good, and The Divine Ms. M was delighted, so, mission accomplished.  If you want to know how to make a similar cake, just google (or Bing!)  “princess cake,” and you’ll find lots of pics and instructions.

Here’s a funny pic of Beyonce’s near miss:

AHHH!!  FI-YAH!!  Heh.

Just for fun, here are some pictures of cakes past …

For A‘s 30th birthday last month

This one nearly didn’t make it.  What a mess!  I‘s 9th birthday, Kingdom Hearts.

Easter treats

Zelda ice cream cake for E‘s 6th bday

Dragon Ball Z

 

Feature a Friend day … May 25, 2009

Filed under: cleaning,cooking,frugal living,green living,recycling — razberiswrl @ 11:00 am
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While, I know that of the 10 visits I get per day, 9 of them probably already visit this blog daily … but anyway, I’m digging it today.   Her Deal of the Day is rockin’, and check out her post Look what I did! for a tutorial on DIY fancy soaps.  You don’t even have to BUY anything to make these nice scrubbing bubbles out of miscellaneous hotel bars lying around!  Talk about turning trash into treasure …  Love it!

Baby Spit is the New Black

 

Dare I?? May 2, 2009

Filed under: frugal living,green living — razberiswrl @ 9:30 pm
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An internet acquaintance shared that she uses homemade deodorant! Whoa! Once again, my mind has been blown. I may have to try this …

Gory details

 

Form and function: Magazine holders made from cereal boxes February 15, 2009

Filed under: frugal living,green living,recycling — razberiswrl @ 3:10 pm
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I have a bit of a habit … it’s called Bon Appetit magazine.  I have every issue from the last 3 years (which is when I first subscribed).  Storage was becoming a problem though, and I consulted my friend, the organization WIZARD, to help me find a solution (you can find her under my blog roll: Modern-Simplicity).  She linked me to an article on about.com or somewhere like that to make magazine holders out of cereal boxes and construction paper or gift wrap.  I took it a step further and used scrap booking paper.

Materials:

empty cereal boxes

scissors

good glue that will bond paper to cardboard (I have some Aileen’s spray glue)

scrap booking paper, standard weight, not the thick stuff  (2 sheets per box, I used 12×12 size, I don’t think 8×10 would be big enough)

newspapers to protect your workspace (the spray glue goes EVERYWHERE)

So, just cut the top of the cereal box off to resemble commercial holders (sides slanted toward the front), then glue the  paper to the box, lining the edge of the paper up with the bottom edge of the box  (I do the front first, then the back that way the overlapped edge of the paper doesn’t catch when sliding the holder back into place), trim to leave about 1 inch at the top.  Cut notches in the overhanging paper at the corners so that paper can be folded over to make a smooth seam at the top of the box.  And that’s it!  Hmm.  I should take pictures of the steps the next time I make one … these instructions sound really confusing even though it’s totally not.  They seriously take under 5 minutes each from start to finish.

Finished product:

Beauty is clearly in the eye of the beholder, and you can see that I’m no perfectionist (but I DO want to redo that ONE, lol), so be as precise or as ‘eh, it’s good enough’ as you want.  Either way, your magazines will look so much nicer on your shelf, and easier to organize to boot!  AND, these are so easy to make that it’s no problem to whip another one up when you need it.  If you find yourself enamored with a particular paper design, it may be a good idea stock up in case the pattern is discontinued by the time you want to make your next holder.

The real beauty in this DIY project is that the savings are TREMENDOUS!  I don’t know if you’ve ever priced these things, but they run from about $5 and up at retail establishments.  The cost of this project is quite minimal.  If you do not already have the glue, that’s the greatest cost.  However, once you have it, it will last for many holders and can be used for lots of other projects too.  A little tip for buying the glue is to get the Michael’s, AC Moore or Joanne’s ad from the Sunday paper.  Typically there is a 40% off one regular priced item, and at least at Michael’s, the glue is rarely on sale, so a 4.99 item (about what the glue costs) becomes 2.99.  SCORE!  Also, scrapbooking paper frequently goes on sale at the same stores for 4 for $1.  So, the bottom line is that if you have the glue, this project can cost as little as 50 cents!  Even if you don’t have the glue already, the total project price is far cheaper than retail.  It’s a win-win really.

 

I promised pics of my homemade composter nearly a year ago … February 9, 2009

Filed under: frugal living,gardening,green living,recycling — razberiswrl @ 12:13 pm
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I’m SO embarrassed.  Here you go:

Materials:

outdoor trashcan w/lid (under 10 bucks)

small bungee cords, 3 or 4 (2 or 3 bucks)

drill with that attachment thingy that boors holes (about 1 inch)

food scraps, leaves, etc

Just drill some holes in the trashcan sides and make sure 3 or 4 holes line up on the can and lid so you can thread the bungee cords through to keep the lid on nice and tight.  To use, just throw kitchen and yard scraps in, make sure the lid is on good and tight, then just kick that bad bear over and roll it around on the ground!  How easy is that??  You don’t have to touch a thing!!!

Just kick it over and roll baby roll!

Not too much comes out of the holes … just a few coffee grinds:

All full of pretty garbage!

I wonder what it all looks like now …  I haven’t tended it since late summer.  It’s too cold now to look though.   Stay tuned.

 

Food packaging reduction lady strikes again! March 30, 2008

Filed under: cooking,frugal living,green living,recycling — razberiswrl @ 2:49 pm
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I guess my kitchen witchery is showing.  I have, yet again, found a way to make my own version of a common household item, thereby reducing my waste.

 TACO SEASONING!!!

I know, it’s not all THAT big a deal, but I won’t be throwing any little packets in the trash anymore (we use taco seasoning ALL the time) OR ingesting this common source of MSG.  I made a double batch, put a little more garlic powder and a little less cayenne (my kids are weenies, E still complained about it being too spicy), dumped it all in a jar I had saved from some artichoke hearts (I KNEW that would come in handy!), and used 2 tb of the mixture in ~1 lb of ground beef for them.  I used 1 tb  of the mix with my Morningstar Farm grilled “chik-n” strips.  To both pans I added a slurry of 1tsp corn starch and 1/4-1/3c water.  This is to get that thick sauce texture that the packets deliver.  This is the first time A has liked the DIY version BETTER than the packaged version.  SCORE!

Of course, you may be thinking “How is she reducing waste if she has to buy more containers of spices more often???”

Easy!  1) plastic and glass containers in which spices typically are packaged are recyclable, those packets typically are not.  2) spices are available in bulk at some stores, I can (and do when possible) buy little baggies to refill my existing bottles.

I think I’ve become a little obsessed about reducing my landfill waste.  Last week, we only filled 1 regular trash bag plus 1 grocery store bag (still not remembering to bring my reusable ones with me …) between Monday and Thursday.  That’s for a family of FIVE.  I’m pretty impressed!  If only I had the wherewithal to recycle our paper and compost our table scraps, we might get down to 1 bag every full week … yeah, uhh, maybe next year.