Category Archives: Making Do

Made in the U.S.A. – ornament hooks

2012-12-20 08 (copy).18.50

We needed ornament hooks in December. It was so disappointing when I went to Wal-Mart and all of the ones there were made in… you guessed it: China.

So I thought I’d check out the paper clips and Bingo! Made in the U.S.A.

It just took a little bending and now I have good, strong, American made ornament hooks.

When I packed away the tree decorations this month, I put the hooks in the same can with them.

Next Christmas, I’ll know where they are.

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Filed under Christmas, Made in the U.S.A., Making Do, Thrift, Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart

Upcycled Tablet Case

“Goodwill kid’s shirt + bubble wrap + retired flexy plastic cutting board + duct tape, and a little sewing machine action…viola, custom case/sleeve for my tablet.”

Lance, my husband’s nephew, posted his project on Facebook, and with his permission, I share it with you.

Clever fellow.

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Filed under Crafts - Textile, Making Do, Thrift, Using What You Have

Contentment at Home

Natasha Burns has a lovely post about her home and her attitude about it. It’s called “loving what I have rather than wishing it was more.”

And over at Domestic Felicity, Anna has written a thoughtful post titled “No Cost Home Improvement.”

They both reminded me of a story by Amy Dacyczyn in one of her Tightwad Gazette books. I’ve looked through them and can’t find it, so I’ll have to keep looking, then post it. She told about going to the home of an older person – their furnishings weren’t expensive or even nice, but the home was spotlessly clean and welcoming.

Just what I needed to hear.

As I about to go to sleep a few nights ago, I sensed the Lord nudging me about the stashes of clutter everywhere. It’s a lifelong problem that I have to deal with and I simply hadn’t been dealing with it for awhile.

So yesterday, I tackled 3 problem areas and cleaned them up. The difference was amazing and so fulfilling. On days that I’m home, I hope to clean out at least one more area per day. On bad fibromyalgia days, I might be able to do only one, but one is progress and it’s one more step toward a clean house and organization.

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Filed under Cozy, Home, Internet links, Making Do

Costume Jewelry Repair

Somewhere along the line I acquire this brooch, which looks to me as if it’s from the 1950s. It’s a pretty little piece but was missing one of the stylized hearts and a green rhinestone. Probably a replacement could’ve been easily found for the rhinestone, but the heart was a bit tricky. They’re probably mother-of-pearl, or at least supposed to look like they are.

Even though I wore it a few times like it was, I began thinking about possible solutions for the missing pieces.

And I remembered Stickles.

Here it is after one coat of gold for the heart shape, and green on the rhinestone part.

On close inspection it wouldn’t fool anyone, but then, I hope not too many people will have their faces right up close to my lapel.

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Filed under Femininity, Jewelry, Making Do, Thrift, Using What You Have

New Curtains

This morning I’ve renewed my efforts to do something different for our kitchen windows. For several years the kitchen theme has been a red/white/green cheerful, kind of a 40’s look. Red rick-rack and all that.

But then, as women do, I started thinking about something different. Although not something so different that would require wall painting, etc. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – the kitchen could certainly do with a new coat of paint, but I just can’t face packing up everything and all the rest of it that goes with a painting project.

So, I’m going to be contented (for now) with new curtains, potholders, and a few other things.

Our dining table was the one that my parents bought in 1965 from a discount furniture place in Tulsa. Can you imagine yourself 46 years from now still using a table from a discount place?

I guess they don’t even make discount furniture like they used to.

Anyway, the table (which you may have seen in some of my photos under some of my projects) has a brown, woodgrain formica top with a house and trees painted in 2 opposite corners. The accent paint color is kind of an aqua.

Then our son’s girlfriend gave me a cat and fish wind chime for Christmas, which is Very nice and she really shouldn’t have spent that much money. But it is nice and I really like it. The colors are the same as in the table. So the blue/green/aqua colors of the mid-60s are what I’m going with for the new look.

To fit in with my “Using What You Have” thoughts for this year, the curtain fabric is some that my sister gave me.

Now, Don’t have a cow: it’s fleece.

I know, I know. Fleece just isn’t curtain fabric. But it is in my house.

Our kitchen windows are on the south with no shade, which is nice in January, but not in Texas in August. And the window shades just weren’t very effective, besides which, they’re shot.

My sister pointed out that fleece is too bulky to make the rod pocket, and I don’t want to do tabs, because that would let light in around the tops and I’d have to buy new curtain rods (or come up with something else), so….

I’m hand printing/stenciling cats and coffee cups in green and turquoise on a piece of old sheeting to add to the tops for rod pockets. One thing I’ve learned with using acrylic paint for fabric painting: it helps to thin it a little bit with water, but not too much. I had too much water in the mix and then had to add more paint. But with it thinned a little it helps it to look more like fabric dye than gloppy paint. I tend to buy only basic colors, so I had green, but not the turquoise. For it, I mixed the green with some dark blue, then a little white to lighten it. Amazingly enough (thank you, Lord!), it is exactly the color of the fleece.

Yesterday I tried sewing a patchwork top on, but it just didn’t look right.

We’ll see how the hand printed fabric turns out.

So far, so good.

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Filed under Crafts - Cheap, Free, Home, Kitchens, Making Do, Thrift, Thrift, Using What You Have

Household Greenery, Using What You Have

For years I’ve seen the hint in magazines and books about growing herbs and things on the kitchen windowsill, but they usually instruct one to purchase all kinds of things, like an already growing plant (have you seen the price of the potted herbs at the grocery store?). And all the special starting pots and fertilizer, etc. Not my way of doing things, so for years I didn’t even try it.

Houseplants don’t fare well in my care, so I quit buying them years ago. However, I still like them and decided to try and see what I could do with … well, with nothing fancy.

So I got to thinking about what I could do with what I already had; for instance that sack of old seed packets in the closet. (Even when I buy good quality seeds, my good intentions don’t always get me very far – like into the garden plot. But I’m too cheap to throw them away, because one never knows. Maybe they’ll grow even if they’re old. Well, they did!)

Obviously nothing was purchased for this little experiment. An empty tuna can, green beans can, a few old book pages, and some white glue. And thankfully, some leftover, good quality potting soil. Oh, yes, and lettuce seeds that were at least 5 years old.

While I honestly don’t recommend searching for outdated seeds, why not use them if they’re just sitting around?

Very pleased I was with the results!

Except that the can with the plant in it looked a little naked so I covered it with book page paper also.

Be sure to hammer a few nail holes into the taller can so it can drain.

What I learned from this step was to not cover the whole can down to the bottom with the paper. This puts it into the water line and it wicks up and stains the paper.

Voila! Edible houseplants! For free!

Update: For outdoor ideas of a similar nature, go to this post on Make Mine Beautiful. Polly is a professional and shares tons of ideas.

This post is linked to:

Food on Fridays @ annkroeker

Frugal Friday@ Life as Mom

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Filed under Book Page Projects, Free, Gardening, Home, Making Do, Thrift, Thrift, Using What You Have

Vintage Kitchen Altered Book Ephemera, Part II

(Click on images to enlarge, then click again on the magnifying glass.)

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Filed under 1943, Advertisements, Ephemera, Food, Hints, Making Do, Menus, Recipes, Thrift, Thrift, Vintage Advertisements, Vintage Magazines, World War II