September 28, 2013

Frugal Friday #6 - Homemade Gifts

I know this isn't a new idea.  There are so many blogs and pins out there that show very inspiring DIY gifts. My homemade gifts come from the heart but they are easy on the pocketbook.  Often my gifts are food-related and I've been doing that for years.  Tins of Christmas cookies, home baked bread, pickles and jam and chili nieces and nephews love being the recipients of my frozen dinners.  At Christmas, I'll make up extra dinners for the two weeks before and package them up for the freezer.  The buck store has aluminum and cardboard "take-out" boxes that make it easy.

This past year or so I've been learning how to knit.  I'm still quite a novice but I've discovered round needles and infinity scarves and I just love them.  The round needles let me knit without my arthritis seizing up my hands and my new ergonomic needles just feel like someone made them for my hands.  Using Michael's coupons and yarn sales, I've been able to make scarves for $5 to $10 (not including the love!).  So fair warning, if you are on my gift giving list this year, the chances of receiving a scarf are pretty high.

This one is for my brother-in-law, Bruce

Gorgeous Morgan's Birthday Gift

I still need to weave in the ends and hand wash and block my completed scarves.  Sounds like a good job for Saturday!

My sister, Connie will get this one to match her new winter coat.

I am working on this one for my lovely niece, Brittney.

Still haven't taught Eilish proper knitting etiquette but she is getting better.
So find something you like to make that doesn't cost a lot and give a gift from the heart.

XO Jules

September 26, 2013


Are you lovin' it?

I have to say that I'm not.

When the big panic of July 1st happened, I felt like it was December 31, 1999 all over again.   Not really a big bang, just a little fizzle.

I'm following some blogs by e-mail and some blogs by Bloglovin' and some I've signed up both.  Gotta say I'm in a terrible mess and can't seem to keep up with anything and I know I'm missing some of you.  My in-box is flooded every day and  I really don't like Bloglovin's just doesn't make me want to open the blog post a read it. Sometimes my cursor hovers over that Bloglovin' e-mail and I hit delete instead of open.  It seems that I spend more time each day but read less than I used to.  I'm going back to my reading list on Blogger.  If I was already following you on June 30th, you're still there.  If I want to add a new blog, I can paste the URL after I hit the ADD button or I can "follow" you if you left that on your blog.  The only real change I can see is my list isn't in alphabetical order anymore.  Big deal.  The posts still come on my reading list based on their age, I can still scroll through and click and read to my heart's content.  I guess I'll keep the button on my blog as it seems to be the way of the world but I'm kickin' it old school now because I'm not lovin' Bloglovin'!

XO Jules

September 25, 2013

Bad Blogger!

I broke the cardinal rule of bloggers - no before picture!  I am working on a two room redecoration at my place right now. Who in their right mind does two rooms at the same time?  Well I am but only because I am switching the living room and dining room.  Although as I'm sure you've noticed I have a problem with completing things ie my bedroom.  I think they call it decoratus interruptus.  So really I have three rooms on the go.

Anyways I decided not to show you my living room and dining room until it's complete but I can show you a little project.  I have this little bar or tea cart that I bought about 25 years ago at a second hand store.  It was chocolate brown and pretty ugly.  My living room/dining room at the time was turquoise with small pink and peach accents and lots of glossy white woodwork.  It was in an old house with those 10 inch baseboards - just lovely.  So, of course, I painted it white.

When I moved into my current home, I painted it in a faux verdi-gris finish to match the table and chairs in the sunroom.  Now I am selling that table and chairs so the bar cart is actually going to become a bar cart in my new dining room.  I bought some navy blue spray paint and took it out on the lawn yesterday...

And this is what it looks like now...

I'll show it to you again when the room is done and the cart is "styled".

On a final note : I did have to call the plumber on Monday to replace my kitchen tap.  Even with a proper pipe wrench, my arthritic hands were not strong enough to loosen the nuts.  Otherwise, I'm sure I could have done it!  At least we have running water in the kitchen again.  I never realized how many time I wash my hands while making dinner until I had to run to the bathroom to do it.  Well I'm off to paint a window frame then dining room, talk later.  XO  Jules

September 20, 2013

Frugal Friday #5 - Cheap Labour

There are no pretty pictures for this post.  I did have one planned with pretty pictures but life intervened so you'll see that one next week.  It has been one of those weeks.  Everything I attempted took much longer than planned or didn't work out or couldn't be completed.

I'm working on the living room and dining room right now so the house is in a mess and that's where my topic comes in.  I'm switching the living room and the dining room.  I've painted the living room in Farrow & Ball's Lulworth Blue.  Now it's going to be the dining room but I needed help moving the monstrous china cabinet.

My lovely niece, Allyson came over last Saturday but we discovered there was no way we could do it.  It comes apart in two pieces and it only had to go about 30 feet but no luck.  So I bribed my best friend's husband, Lantz and their son, Josh with beer and lemon squares (hopefully not at the same time) to come and move it today.  While they were here, they also moved the area rug.  So nice!

You can save money if you can do it yourself or have a friend or family member who will help out.  Maybe you have a talent that you can barter for the help you need.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping I'll be the cheap labour.  My kitchen sink started to leak today again! I'm hoping that when I'm rested, I'll be able to replace the tap. A professional plumber is not in my budget. I'll let you know...


September 14, 2013

Frugal Friday #4 - Shopping for Clothes at Cleo's

Better late than never I guess.  This week just got away from me but here's my next frugal tip.  Shop the sales.  Yes, I know everyone already does that but I started a new tactic this year..delayed gratification.  My favourite women's wear store is Cleo's but this isn't a sponsored blog so just substitute your favourite store.

a picture from their website featuring their uber-talented consultant, Lynn Spence

I check out the new stock when it comes in.  For example, I have my eye on three dresses I like. I'll go into the store and try them on to check size and fit and then I will wait.  Depending on the priority,  I may wait and wait and wait.  I'm on their e-mailing list and when the items I want go on sale and they have free shipping, then I'm in. I order through the internet and I don't have to face the shopping mall crowds (I hate shopping BTW). I don't have to pay for the gas to travel there and there's a fuller range of sizes and colours left at the virtual store.  I'm not caught buying a last minute outfit at full price for an occasion because I've planned my wardrobe.  Maybe most important is I don't have the opportunity to keep adding something else to the shopping cart!  Impulse buys are not my friend.

My last purchase has just arrived and it cost me less than $40 (tax included). I don't have to wait til the end of the season to get a sale.  The new fall dresses that were $96 are on for $59.99 right now but I want bigger cuts than that!

At full price, I would have paid $179 (before taxes).  Now that is the way to shop frugally!  Have a nice weekend.


September 11, 2013

Best Buddies

Eilish is growing up.  She'll be 6 months old next week but she's not showing any signs of slowing down. She plays all day long, mostly with Finn.  She loves her Finnie and cries when he goes outside.  Their playing looks pretty serious but when they are all tuckered out, it's cuddle time.


September 06, 2013

Frugal Friday #3 - Reduce

Reduce and no, I don't mean my waistline but that needs it too!  I have been inspired by a home renovation show called All for Nothing.  It is a competition show but what caught my attention was attempting to do renovations (or in my case, redecoration) for nothing. They use many fundraising ideas but the simplest is to sell things around the house that you are no longer using.

 I just ordered a new couch - good price, classic shape and made in Toronto (yay for buying local).  Unfortunately I don't have the money to pay for it when the credit card bill comes.  So my frugal tip for today is out with the old before the new comes in.

I went around the house this week and amassed a collection of things to sell.  About half the house has been searched and I am now starting to photograph and list items on Kijiji. It should take about a week.   As well, I have a Facebook page that I set up ages ago and never did anything with so I'll try that too.  In October, I'll be following up with an indoor yard sale.  Hopefully this will be enough to cover the cost of my couch.

If you see something you can't live without, contact me and I'll check out the cost of shipping but I expect 99% of my sales will be local.


September 05, 2013

Stop Pinning and Start Doing

My name is Julie and I am addicted to Pinterest.
I love this cartoon on Pinterest but I'm not sorry I joined.  It's like having a new magazine to look at every day.  It's the best "scrapbook filing system" for saving ideas and recipes and quotes.  I love it, love it, love it.  But like a lot of people, I pin a lot of recipes and lot of DIY projects but never seem to get around to using any of them.  So I've decided I need to start.  Maybe once a week but I'm not making any promises here.  Here's my first - a "cheat" recipe for lazy lasagna using ravioli.
And now my version...

(sorry for the picture new camera and I haven't worked the kinks out of our relationship yet)

It was very simple...I used

a package of fresh ravioli - cheese and spinach
4 fresh beefsteak tomatoes - peeled, chopped and stewed
about 1/4 cup of chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
package of mushrooms, sliced
oregano, basil, parsley, salt and pepper
a pound of ground beef
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
handful of grated parmesan

I browned the beef and stewed the tomatoes.  I then added the mushrooms, onion and garlic as well as seasonings to the beef.  Once they were cooked, I added in the tomatoes.  Meanwhile I cooked the ravioli.  I layered the tomato mixture, then the ravioli, then the tomato mixture, then the cheeses.  Bake at 350 degrees until cheese melts and casserole is bubbling, about 30 to 40 minutes.  It was great and easy and the leftovers are now frozen for an easy dinner another night.  This Pinterest idea was a definite pass.