Friday, November 13, 2009

Simple Holiday Notebook

There's almost nothing more fun than making something cute and useful out of what you have on hand. I like to keep notes of my holiday menus, gift ideas, etc. each year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. But my previous notebook was about 15 years old, and I'd run out of paper. So I took a composition notebook that I had picked up on clearance for .38 at Target, and got busy making myself a new one.

I went through my scrapbook paper, and found this cute page which I'd purchased long ago at the Dollar Tree. Adorable and perfect. I traced around the composition notebook cover and cute out the part of the page that I wanted to be the new cover.

Putting my new cover upside down on newspaper, I sprayed it lightly with photo mount spray (spray adhesive.) When it had dried for 1 one minute, I attached it to the front of the composition notebook.

Finding some cute red and white polka dot paper, I printed a title for the notebook, matted it, and used spray adhesive to attach it, as well as a few little white paper snowflakes that I punched at Archivers one time.

A 'found' red ribbon in my sewing box was perfect for a bookmark. It is glued in the center of the book, and a little snowflake punch on each side of the bottom of the ribbon gives it alittle weight and decor. Here is the planning page for my Thanksgiving Dinner this year, as well as recycling a used orange envelope as a pocket to hold the recipes I am thinking of trying.

Here's a space and recipe pocket for my Christmas 2009 recipes and menu...yet to be determined!

I also have pages of gift ideas for all of the people we buy for. As I purchase one of these items, I will write the price above it and circle the little bullet point beside it. This will keep me organized and on is MY gift wish list! :)

You can recover a composition note with any kind of cute paper for any purpose. Last year I made monogrammed covers for my 2 teenaged nieces. So cute!

Give it a try...super cute, useful, inexpensive gift don't you think?




Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Polka Dots and Flower Pots

A week ago our neighborhood had about 25 garage sales going on. With glee, I headed out with a zippered pouch of change and high hopes. I found this darling, oversized polka dot mug for just .25. I have a thing for polka dots, especially brown, and pink. Plus I'd decided I wanted to try, once more, to have a little house plant. I do well with outdoor plants, but I'm not as successful with indoor plants.

After looking at Walmart for a cute little indoor plant and finding none, I decided I'd really rather not spend any money on I remembered that Geraniums can be started by cuttings. Google helped refresh the how-to's on that, then I filled up the mug with some leftover potting soil, and cut a nice healthy stalk off of one of my outdoor Gernaniums. You pull off the lower leaves, and tuck the little cutting about 2 inches into the soil. Water, and watch! It should root itself in the dirt, and begin a new plant. I'll know it is thriving when new leaves begin to grow. For just .25 and alittle ingenuity, my kitchen has a fresh bit of life and green in it...I like polka dots and plants.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Garage Sale Finds!

This morning felt like a garage sale day to me. And since we've only been to a few this year, I felt it was worth the late start to school. Craig's List gave me 3-4 to pursue, with hopeful words of 'most things $1!' It was a heady high that I experienced as many things, truly for $1 or less, were just the very things I had on my 'used goods' mental list of things to buy. First up...the lamp above. A lamp in the kitchen adds a warmth and coziness that I was itching for...and this little sweet lamp was just the ticket...for...$1. The brand new fabric napkin, in one of my kitchen colors, came home with me for .10, too. Oh yea.

Also on my mental list of 'things to buy' were toys for my Sunday School class of K-1st graders. Can you believe that this Build A Bear monkey and many outfits/hats/shoes all became mine for just...yep, $1! I will wash and sterilize them, and the kids will have a great time.

I've been wishing to purchase some pieces of fabric for random, spur of the moment craft projects. Pretty green toille, for free. :) A nearly new C'mas towel-.50, a miniature loaves pan-.50, and a glass jar just begging to become something clever-.50. Mmhmm!

Of course I always look for things my newlywed daughter might need. Linds, Tupperware containers for your pantry items...50 cents each. And that thing in the middle? A new Christmas Card holder for your wall. Compact and extra cute...for .50.

Oh boy, did I have fun!! For about $10 total, I got all of the above, plus a nice lamp shade to replace the ancient shade on our bedroom lamp, 2 more sets of toys for my SS class, and a set of very nice mixing bowls from IKEA. Thank you Lord for blessing my frugal soul today!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Got Envelopes?

Pretty, colored envelopes are so cheery. But after they've been written on, is there a way to repurpose them for another use? Yes!

Cut the corners off of the envelope.

Now you've made a cheery, easy-to-spot page marker for any book. I received this fun cookbook from a dear friend in the mail this week. The fuschia colored envelope contained her note. Now I'm using the corners from the envelope to mark recipes in the cookbook that I want to try. :) Sandy, I'll be thinking of you everytime I do one of the 101 Things with zucchini!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Favorite Morning Things

Having time alone with God each morning has always been my daily goal. But at this stage in my life, I am enjoying it in a new way...because it is truly 'quiet' and 'alone.' Gone are the days of busy toddlers and preschoolers. Here is the time of homeschooling only an 11 year old mornings are easier. Now I especially enjoy my time with Ireland journal in which I record one paragraph about the day before, my Bible, and devotional books. Today there fell a gentle rain, so the morning was extra peaceful and cozy. Sigh. A favorite thing. :)

Another favorite morning thing, is a GOOD breakfast that tastes good and keeps me full most of the morning. Oh, and it must be quick...I don't like to slow down my day by cooking in the morning.

Recently I concocted what might be the perfect breakfast for me! It starts with a newly discovered cereal...Aldi's Natural Granola. At just about $1.59 a box, this cereal is just right--not too sweet--and only has NINE ingredients...all natural and recognizable. Next I toss on a handful of the blueberries I froze this summer. Cold and crisp, just what I like! The finishing touch is a handful of pecan halves (or the nut of your choice). I love the crunch, the taste, and the nutrients/protein they add.

Topped with ice cold milk, this bowl of cereal is a party for my mouth. Yum! And it keeps me full. Important too!

So, what are some of your favorite morning things?

Enjoy this simple, sweet day!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Simple and Thrifty

Decorating my home brings me alot of joy and gives me an outlet for my creative energies. Doing so in a thrifty way, also makes it fun and challenging! Antique stores and Goodwill are two of my favorite ways to accomplish that.

Several recent trips to Goodwill and antique stores helped to create this tablescape that has graced and dressed up my dining room table this summer. The fabric cost .99 at Goodwill...a brand new curtain panel in fun colors/plaids. I washed and pressed it, folded it in half, and loved the effect against the oak table.

Next I found a Liberty Blue saucer for 2.00 and a Currier and Ives dish for 2.00 in Ks. City while visiting family. Dishes are my absolute weakness! The silver forks and spoon also came from those antique shops, and the easy detarnishing method of an aluminum pan, baking soda, and water brought them to life.

Another fun and creative idea was to create a gift for my girlfriend from one of her favorite photos of her recent trip to Italy. I printed a 5x7 of the picture, used a front loading frame and scrapbooking techniques, to create this pretty reminder of her wonderful time away. I don't know who had more creating it or her receiving it!

Being creative can be simple and thrifty. I think a trip to Goodwill is in my plans for about you?!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Simple Table Treasure

A recent treasure hunting trip to our local Goodwill Thrift Store, produced an exciting find. This little pedestaled, wooden table had so much potential. And right in my price range. Home with me, it came!

The glass top was easily removed to reveal the wood. I sanded the whole table with fine sandpaper, to prepare it for painting. A coat of spray primer paint in black, followed. Then several thin coats of spray paint in black eggshell finish completed the job.

Once dry, I brought the table in, cleaned the glass top, and
made a display on the table top. I had purchased a 12x12 scrapbook paper of a vintage map to use as the mat. Then layered on vintage looking travel mementoes including a ticket stub, train schedule, trunk card, postcard, and even a pressed flower from our recent trip to California. Carefully settling the glass top back in place, I stepped back to view my project vision come true! This nice conversation piece table now resides in our family room, and makes me smile everytime I see it. I will be able to easily remove the glass and change out the display at any time, too.

Goodwill is a great place to find 'junk' that is just waiting to be made over into a Simple Treasure. Enjoy hunting and creating!

Simply Special Chocolate Cake

Who doesn't LOVE chocolate cake? And cheesecake too?! Surprise Cake has a bit of both! So easy to's how: Stir up a chocolate cake from any mix, following the package directions.

In a separate bowl, cream together: 8 oz. cream cheese, softened (I used low fat,) 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 egg.

Fill greased cake pans with 2/3 of the cake batter (I used 2 round ones to make 2 one layer cakes...a nice way to have one cake for home, and one to share with a friend). Spoon the cream cheese mixture over the batter in a random way, for a pretty pattern. Then spoon the remainder of the cake batter over the cheese filling. Bake at 350 til the top springs back when poked and a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean.

After a bit of cooling and removing from cake pan onto a pretty plate, serve slightly warm with a shake of powdered sugar over the cake and plate. Also great with a dollop of whipped cream. Must refrigerate remaining cake.

This cake was so easy, makes a pretty presentation, and is so so good. Very moist and not sickeningly sweet. Simply delicious! Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Simple Style

Recently I decided that our living room is great for fall and winter, but the colors are alittle heavy for spring and summer. Wanting to spruce it up a bit, yet not wanting to spend much, I looked online for ideas. Making or recovering our living room pillows seemed like the best idea.

Our sofa pillows came with the sofa and are dark greens and browns. I decided to cover them with a removable pillow cover made from fabric napkins. I found some designer napkins on clearance for $1.99 each, plus some coordinating light taupe napkins on sale. Stitching the wrong sides of the napkins together by hand, and leaving the bottom open, allowed me to pull it over the pillow with some velcro closers at the bottom.

Then I took the light taupe napkins, folded them, machine stitched the ends, and made fiber fill rolls to go inside the napkin envelope. I tacked the open edges together, and found large buttons from my grandmother's button box to decorate the front.

They are cute, they coordinate, and they lighten up the dark furniture for the summer/fall. Plus it is fun to know that they each only cost me about $3 and that I made them out of a repurposed fabric napkin. I'm sure there are LOTS of things that can be made from fabric napkins, fabric placemats, and kitchen towels. I even saw a really cute tote bag/purse made from cute kitchen tea towels. No hemming necessary...that makes it quick!

Enjoy...and let me know if you make something simple and sweet too!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Simple Scones

Scones are a delicious treat usually made from flour, butter, buttermilk, and a few other ingredients. Traditional scones are very tasty, but tend to be a bit dry and dense. While on vacation in California, I ordered a Lemon Scone at Jeanine's Bakery in Montecito. What a wonderful surprise! This scone was tender, moist, and delish! It tasted more like a sweet biscuit than a traditional scone. So once at home, I decided to try to replicate that kind of scone. And surprisingly, I've had good results with very little experimentation. Below is my recipe for a Simple Scone that will be tender, moist, and amazing.

2 1/4 cups Bisquick
2 T. sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup light sour cream

Mix just until moistened, adding additional milk if the mixture isn't soft and sticky. If you want to add a flavor such as lemon or fresh fruits such as strawberries or blueberries, do that now. Chocolate chips would also be good!

Drop by large spoonful into 2-3 inch scones on a greased baking sheet or parchment paper. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10+ minutes, until lightly brown on top. Cool for 10 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve on a pretty plate with coffee, tea, or milk.

Mock devonshire cream is very tasty on top of a scone...mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, and alittle sour cream together for this tasty topping.
Scones are great for breakfast, a coffee date, or at anytime for any occasion. The best things in life are often the enjoy Simple Scones soon! Happy Summer~

Monday, April 27, 2009

Simple Sweets

Recently I needed a quick but yummy dessert for out of town friends who were coming for a visit. Putting several recipes together, I created an amazing Chocolate Mocha Cheesecake Mousse that kept us all 'yum-yumming' til the last bite!

I had just purchased some darling dessert parfait glasses at our nice/neat Goodwill store, so it was especially fun to wash them up all sparkling, and then present the mousse in them.

Here's the recipe:

Chocolate Mocha Cheesecake Mousse

1 8oz. pkg. low fat cream cheese, softened

1.5 cups of milk

1 pkg. instant chocolate pudding mix

1.5 cups of whipped topping, thawed

1 T. instant coffee

Mix cream cheese and coffee crystals until creamy. Slowly mix in milk. Add dry pudding mix until creamy and smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon mixture into pretty individual glass dishes. Refrigerate until served. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Feel creative? Add a layer of cookie crumbs or chopped candy bar in the middle of the dessert for an added crunch.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Simple Memories

Simple Memories

Today at 12:33pm Edit Note Delete

A year ago I found a fun way to preserve bits of nature that remind me of times or memories of my life. You can choose pretty leaves, flowers, even a tiny tree seedling from a specific place or time that you want to remember. Then press those between paper towels under or inside of some heavy books. After a few days, remove the flowers and leaves and place them between clear contact paper, along with a handwritten or printed label of where or when you gathered these items. Seal, and trim around it to the desired size or shape you like. And voila...a cool book mark for your Bible or other book that will always remind you of something special. My first photo shows some beautiful yellow Aspen leaves I picked up at Estes Park this past fall. The second photo shows a bookmark I made in September of 2007 when our oldest kids first went to college. I loved the tiny tree seedling and leaves that I found at a park that day. It reminds me of the thoughts and feelings I had as I was struggling to let go of my own 'seedlings' children.I've also made one of rose petals from my daughter's wedding last July. So give it a try if you can expand this idea to use in scrapbooking or cardmaking. Capture a moment of nature, and enjoy the sweet, simple things of life.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Simple Critters

Before our family got a dog two years ago, my only pets were the critters outdoors. However, they were great pets! No cleaning, no cages, no vet bills, and no barking! I kind of gave up on a true bird feeder, because the squirrels dumped out the food no matter what.

So, one day I decided to get a dish that would make a good ground feeder...a round plastic terra cotta tray that is made to sit under a large flower pot. For $3, I had an excellent feeding dish for my critters. Having the dish of birdseed on the ground turned out to be a great way to gain more pets! Not only the Juncos, Cardinals, and Doves came to The Critter Cafe...but many other creatures. We've enjoyed watching chipmunks suck up pouches full of seed to carry back to their nests, Mallard ducks come to feed and nap in our yard, plus bunny rabbits, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, and more.

They don't cause any fact I think they leave my garden and the garbage alone better since I provide other treats for them. And we've really enjoyed observing this nature expo through the kitchen window. After a fresh snow fall, there are usually various tracks all around the dish, as they've made an early morning visit to feed. I love it! God says that all good gifts are from Him. Enjoy the ones in your own backyard.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Simple Display

My fridge is one of those with LOTS of photos, cards, and notes displayed. I've used the fridge magnet frames for years. But recently I came up with something I like even better...and it only cost $1.

Target's dollar section had a teacher's 'sentence strip' holder in several fun colors, and since organizational tools are like toys to me, I couldn't help but purchase one. Bringing it home, I decided it would easily stick to the front of the fridge with Sticky Tac, and the clear vinyl pockets could hold all my fridge art! Now, the pictures, cards, and notes are easy to pop in, change out, take off and look at, and my fridge no longer has a great mismatch collection of magnets and frames. I pop in a grocery list, meal plan, or postcard and several days later, remove it without any effort. No matter the size of the artwork, I can make it fit in a pocket.

Keep your eyes open for great ways to re-purpose cute organizational tools...for a simple display!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Simple Celebrations

Spring is springing! Celebrate the changing season by enjoying a simple challenge with your family or friends. Watch for the "first" of different things that signal spring. In our home, we have a standing challenge to be the first one to spot a Robin that has returned from migration. The winner, every spring, gets $1. :o) If the Robins have been in your neighborhood for awhile, then look for another first...the first blooming Forsythia bush, the first tulip to bloom, or the first flowering tree of the season. If you don't have anyone to do this fun search with, then make a deal with yourself...the day you see the first _______, you will celebrate with a favorite take out lunch or white mocha latte! The point is to keep your eyes open to enjoying all the wonderful changes taking place, and to celebrate! Rejoice!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Simple Disinfecting

When recovering from an illness, it can be a good idea to disinfect your toothbrush. Want to know an easy way? Just stick it in your dishwasher! After going through a wash cycle with your dishes, voila...germ free, lickety split! If you do not have a dishwasher, you can soak your toothbrush in a glass of hot water with a drop of bleach....rinse well before using. Happy Health!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Simple Sabbath Moments

The Bible teaches us to observe the Sabbath in order to focus on worshipping God and giving our bodies and minds a rest. Taking time each day for a few Sabbath moments is also a good idea. Ever since my babies were born, I've observed a "rest time" for myself each afternoon possible. Whether it is 20 minutes or an hour, it recharges me for the rest of my day.

Simple moments of refreshment can be:

*Stopping to look at the beautiful picture on your calendar. If it is scenery, imagine what it would be like to be there.

*Sit down with a magazine and cup of coffee for a few minutes each day. You'll be refreshed by the quiet, the rest, and the fresh ideas you see.

*Take 20 minutes to do something creative...make a card, bake a dessert, color a picture, plant some flowers, scrapbook a page. Add moments of creativity and beauty to your life in whatever way you enjoy.

*The ideas are for 20 minutes, lay on the sofa with your eyes closed, pray scripture, take a bath, breath deep, journal, take a walk and enjoy your neighbors' yards and the big blue sky, light a candle, sit on your patio swing...

Whatever would be refreshing to your soul and body...take a few minutes today and have a Sabbath moment. It will make you a sweeter, more relaxed person, and help you to serve God more wholeheartedly. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Simple Journaling

As a teen, I journaled a full page nearly every day. It was a way to write down what I was thinking and feeling, as well as capturing the interesting scenes of my life in those poignant years. After I married and had young children, I was just happy if I could write in my journal ever week or two. Those precious memories of my children's early years are priceless to me, as I go back and read. But now, my life is too busy and full to really write more than 2-3 times a year...and by then there is so much to say, it becomes a burden to think of the energy it will take!

However, I have found the answer to being able to journal little bits, every day, without much effort at all. Purchase an attractive engagement calendar that has 4-5 lines allotted for each day. I found a nice hardback, spiral Ireland calendar for half price after Christmas this year, but I've also enjoyed using Mary Englebreit, Karla Dornacher, and other fun spiral engagement calendars. At the start of every day when I sit down with my coffee and Bible, I take 2 minutes to fill in those 4-5 lines about what happened on the previous day. Even if I have 2-3 days to fill in in order to catch up, it is still a very minimal time commitment. Only having 4-5 lines of space, gives me permission to abbreviate, write in phrases, and just jot down the things I truly want to remember about that day. At the end of the year, it is so much fun to go back and read about the way God has worked in our lives, see answers to prayer, and remember the special moments. Perhaps my journals will be an encouragement to future generations, as well.

Are you inspired? Energized? Equipped? Then, happy journaling!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Simply Potatoes

Here's a simple idea from one of my favorite mentors...Emilie Barnes. When baking potatoes, bake additional potatoes for another meal, but fix the additional potatoes in a different way. For example, bake 6 potatoes. Eat 2 of them the first night with butter and sour cream. The 2nd night, peel and dice 2 of the potatoes to saute in a small amount of butter/olive oil, and you'll have fried potatoes. The 3rd night, peel and dice the remaining 2 potatoes, make a white sauce, and add the potatoes for a dish of creamed potatoes. Three tasty potato dishes easily put together from the baking of 6 potatoes. Enjoy!
07 08 09 10
Pin It button on image hover