Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thrifted Candlesticks on the Mantel

I'm addicted to pinterest, people. It's like inspiration central on that website. When I decided to decorate my mantel for the holidays, pinterest is the first place I visited for ideas. (Actually it was the only place I visited)! This one from Pottery Barn is one of my favs. I love all the candlesticks of varied heights.

Unfortunately, I did not have any pretty white candlesticks for the mantel. Scratch that. Fortunately I didn't have any candlesticks because that meant I got to take a thrifting trip to hunt for some :) I found five candlesticks, three of which were brass or painted gold, one was black, and one was hideous 70s wood. Nothing a coat of spray paint can't fix. I wish I had taken before photos because it really was quite the transformation.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Meat and Potato Cupcakes

When I saw these TV dinner cupcakes all over the internet, I knew those would make good Thanksgiving/Birthday cupcakes for my hubby :)

Here's my version:

Instead of cornflakes, I used graham cracker crumbs, and instead of using a donut hole to make the turkey leg larger, I used an Oreo. I like how they turned out :)

In case you're really interested in my beastly cake-decorating skills, I'll leave you with pictures of from my husband's 30th birthday (2009). Can you guess what the green part of the pumpkin is? I'll give you a hint. It rhymes with mice dream phone :)

Link Party

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2 1/2 Pillowcases = a Handmade Swaddler!

Alida over at I Make Stuff is flippin' awesome. She came up with a tutorial on how to make swaddler blankets! I had bought three on clearance that supposedly last up to 14 lbs, but seeing as how my son is about 12 lbs and I can barely fasten the velcro around his broad shoulders, I figured it was time to buy some new ones.

But wait! Alida to the rescue! Why buy when you can sew some for free, using fabric I already have on hand?! Stash-busting, that's what I'm talking about!

Before I decided to whip up some of these bad boys, I did find a The Miracle Blanket Swaddler which gets very good reviews online. It costs $30 at Amazon... it cost me under $2 at a thrift store :)

For my first attempt at a swaddler, I decided to use three pillowcases that I had thrifted for their fabric (technically you need 2 1/2 pillowcases for this project). The plain brown one was 75% off for a total of 15c, and the two sock monkey pillowcases were 40c and 60c. I actually found them on two separate shopping trips, one right after the other. I believe that's what we call good thrifting karma :)

Alida uses minky fabric for her swaddlers, however I don't have any of that and certainly don't need to go buy any new fabric when I have a fabric breeding ground in my basement. Instead, I used flannels, t-shirt fabric, or regular pillowcase fabric.

Also, a quick word about the velcro. Last night when I was sewing the velcro on, my two year old asked me what that stuff was. When I told him "velcro," I think he misunderstood and thought I said, "Hell no," because he said, "Mommy! Don't say that! Say, 'Oh my peas!'" Our son has a swearing problem, and whenever he says something bad, I tell him to say, 'Oh my peas!' Now he's taken to correcting ME when I say a bad word... Not that I ever say bad words, ahem :)

Anyway, back to the swaddlers! The first two swaddlers have black velcro, which I actually cut off of a baby carrier that had been recalled. That velcro is awesome because it's much wider than regular velcro. The last one I had to use regular white velcro, so I doubled up on it so that it would be wide like the black velcro. I also didn't place velcro on the swaddler in all the places that Alida did in her tutorial. I only have so much velcro, and I didn't want to run out and have to buy some, since these are freebie swaddlers. My son has slept in it for two nights now, and so far, he hasn't busted out of it (knock on wood), so hopefully it's okay that I skimped on the velcroing!

Back in '09 I thrifted several yards of this red and black lumberjackish flannel for only 50c. Paired with a cut-up black shirt of my husband's, I think it makes quite a nice swaddler. The best part is, I still have enough to make my older son a pair of pants, and maybe even a matching pair for my husband. That's a lot of mileage for only 50c! (My husband has ripped two pairs of lounge pants in the past couple weeks, and one pair he actually ripped twice. I'm getting tired of mending his pants! I'd say that new ones are definitely in order).

My third and final swaddler is made with 50c race car flannel, thrifted last year, and a green pillowcase from my college days. As that was over a decade ago (wow, I am getting old), and the dark green no longer matches any of our bedding, I decided that chopping it up was no biggie.

Whoops... the velcro didn't quite line up because it shifted while I was sewing. If I had to do it over again, I would have used white thread to sew two strips of velcro together before attaching it to the swaddler. Then I could trim the edges to make sure both strips were exactly the same length.

Second Time Around Tuesday

Monday, November 21, 2011

Menu Planning Monday: birthday week

So I haven't really menu planned for a long time. I've been pregnant for what seems like forever, and when I'm pregnant, I don't cook. When I want something, I want it now, and there's no time for cooking. Then after the baby was born, I started cooking again, but it was more like popping a ready-made frozen lasagna in the oven.

I think I'm ready to regularly start cooking from scratch again. I can do this. It's a short week, right? I really only have to cook and menu plan for five days, since Sunday is already over, and Thursday for Thanksgiving we'll be at my husband's family's house. My parents are coming over Friday and staying for the weekend, and my mom is a diabetic who is also on a low sodium diet. That greatly impacts what I'll be making for the weekend. I found a website, Dashing Dish, that specializes in light recipes, so I'm going to make some things off there that my mom can eat. Also, did I mention that this Saturday is my husband's 32nd birthday? Ok, here we go.

Monday/Tuesday: burgers and brats! Both the burgers and the hamburger buns and the bratwurst buns were marked down for quick sale. Too bad the brats weren't though! Side dishes will be blueberry muffins and pasta salad (don't get too excited; they're from a box!)

Wednesday: stir fry. A can of stir fry veges was marked down for quick sale, plus I have a bag of frozen stir fry veges in the freezer. I also have several bags of asian style noodles on hand already.

Friday: Low Carb Ground Turkey Lasagna, complete with low sodium, homemade spaghetti sauce, since my mom can't eat jarred spaghetti sauce due to its high sodium content. This will be a real treat for her, because come on who has time to make their own spaghetti sauce?

Saturday: For breakfast, crustless quiche in a cup, leftovers for lunch, and for dinner, we'll surely go out for my hubby's birthday. I will be making these awesome turkey leg and mashed potato cupcakes for his birthday :)

Join the party at

Friday, November 18, 2011

Handmade Stocking Love

One of my most favorite things that I've ever made are these stockings. Using only fabric, bows, ric-rac, etc. that I already had around the house, I created several stockings for our mantel. The toile one on the left is my favorite. The white bow was off of my high school prom dress :) Or maybe the green one with red and white stripes is my favorite. On second thought, I really like the white one too! I can't decide. I love them all :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thrifting for Kid Clothes: Winter Edition

Thrifting for kid clothes is my obsession. I love a good deal, and even though their closets are stuffed to the brim, I just. can't. stop. buying. them. clothes. They seriously could go a month without needing their laundry washed.

For some reason, I never published this blog post. I just noticed it in the "drafts" today, so I figured I'd post it. Jonas is a lot smaller in these pics... he turned 9 mos. old today :)

I love this sleeper. I thrifted it back before Joel was born, but I've since lost how much I've paid for it.

A thrifted pair of black dress pants for 50c, a $1 green vest, and a thrifted black tie

Jonas is wearing a $1 fleece romper, while his older brother sports a 40c striped polo and thrifted navy blue khakis.

A 50c pair of Pooh blue jeans and a 50c Pooh shirt,
thrifted on two seaparate occasions.

I love, love, love this $2 Gymboree sleeper

A 50c Tiger Hockey shirt for my hockey lovin' toddler

a 40c onesie

A cute toddler in a thrifted dinosaur shirt

This long sleeved polo onesie was 50c

This next outfit is one of my favorites. It was actually thrifted on three separate occasions but work together! First, the red and grey pants were thrifted back before Joel was born. The "Leader of the pack" tee was a bit of a splurge at $1, and the grey turtleneck onesie layered underneath was 50c.

Joel's basketball shirt was 50c,
and the jeans were thrifted for no more than 50c.

Here Joel is wearing a clearance t-shirt with 25c pants.

50c shirt and thrifted jeans :)

Handsome boy in a 50c Old Navy sweatshirt, showing off
his 50c Chick Hicks car. He loves the movie "Cars" so much!

99c jammies!

This fleece hoodie was a bit of a splurge at $1.50, but I couldn't pass it up. Underneath is a white Gerber onesie that I had received as a gift, and then I added an iron-on pumpkin to it :)

Another splurge for Baby Jonas: $2 "Backseat Driver" romper.
But isn't he cute? :)

My Santa Baby (in a 75c thrifted fleece blanket sleeper). The hat was given to me by one of my high school ex-boyfriends.... his family are Jehovah's Witnesses, and he had received it at school but couldn't keep it since they don't celebrate Christmas.

Christmas Ornament Wreaths

Has anyone out there ever made Christmas ornament wreaths? And if so, what kind of glue did you use to adhere all the ornaments together? I made three of these wreaths several years ago and used hot glue, but every year I have to reglue many of the ornaments back onto the wreath because they've fallen off or are barely hanging on. There must be a better way!

Anyway, I do love my ornament wreaths :) I started with a styrofoam wreath form, wrapped it in garage-sale green and white gingham ribbon (I think it was 50c for a huge big box of ribbon!), and then painstakingly hot glued bulb after bulb onto the wreath. (The bulbs were of course thrifted also!) In the end, I took some blue ribbon I had on hand and tied it around the top of the wreath so that it could hang on the wall, and voila!

Here they are hanging above my mantel this year. (And in case you're wondering, I don't normally decorate THIS early... Santa Claus is coming to our house for a photo shoot on Sunday, and so I needed a nice backdrop so the pictures turn out cute!)

{Note to self: if ornament wreaths made with hot glue are hung over candles, do not light them! Doing so will heat up the glue, causing the ornaments to come crashing down and shatter all over the floor. Then the glue will cool again, and the shards of glass wil adhere to the floor. Seriously.}

And here they are a few years ago, hanging above my couch.

I also made the blue background thingies that the wreaths are hanging on. It was a really quick and cheap project that adds a lot of pizzazz to the wall. (For the other 11 months out of the year, I hang photos on them). I could totally see making some of these with red and green fabric, or perhaps thrifted vintage Christmas tablecloths... the possibilities are endless!

Here's how I made mine in case you're interested. I went to Lowes and bought the cheapest thing I could find, which happened to be that brown pegboard stuff. I covered it with some of the heaps and piles of quilt batting that I have laying around. (Isn't it the best when you find some brand new batting at a garage sale for next-to-nothing?!) Then I stapled on my fabric (I think my staple gun {and my glue gun too} are extentions of my right arm...) and finally attached a hanger-thingie on the back so I could hang it onto the wall. Then I hammered a nail into it so that I could hang something on each panel, and viola, there you have it!

This is a photo of how they looked at the old house. At the new house, I've decorated in a more contemporary style, so I changed out the frames and am now using pictures of my husband and kids rather than my ancestors. Here is how it looks now (Sorry for the dark picture; I took this at night)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Help Me - I can't choose!

I have two Christmas outfits for the boys to wear when they get their pictures taken, and I just cannot make up my mind which one to use! Both outfits were completely thrifted :) What do you guys think; which one should they wear?

This Old Navy fleece "Peace" romper was 50c. The blue dress shirt and the dress pants each were 50c, and the sweater vest was a quarter.

This white dress shirt and black dress pants each were 50c, as was the Baby Gap sweater romper. I forget how much the tie was, but it was surely about 50c and it was still new with tags!

Perhaps we'll just go get their pictures taken twice :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bridesmaid Dress Tree Skirt

When my first son was 3 months old, one of my close friends got married. I was still carrying around a little extra baby weight. (Okay, it was probably more like an extra 50 lbs).

What a perfect time for me to have to buy a bridesmaid dress right? The bigger the dress, the more fabric to work with when I cut it up after the wedding :) There's a silver lining to everything!

I knew I would never wear the dress again, mainly because I was never planning on needing a size 16 again. (Wrong! I had my second child a month ago, and I am in a size 18. Mostly I'm still sticking with maternity clothes!)

Since the dresses were a beautiful shade of red, I figured I could make something Christmassy with it. And since my tree skirt was one of those small, el cheapo dollar store felt things, making a new tree skirt seemed like the obvious choice. I got the idea from Chica and Jo.

Basically, my friend and I cut out triangles, and then sewed them together into a circle. When we were done, it was not as big as I had pictured it, so we made it larger by adding a large ruffle to the circumference of the circle. We also cut out a small circle in the center so that it would fit around the tree trunk.

Voila! Happy Holidays!

Confessions of a Stay At Home Mommy