Frugal Rehearsal Dinner Outfit!

October 23, 2009


Normally I focus here on vintagey, crafty, homey things.  Well, in my world, being frugal and thrifty is part of that.  While this post might have a little different flavor than usual, I hope it’s encouraging and fun nonetheless.

Every now and then Jen at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam has a Frugal Fashionista fashion show, and this time I have such great bargains I can’t help participating.  Here you go!


My brother recently got married, and I was on the hunt for something dressy casual for the rehearsal dinner at his cowboy church.  These Gap wide leg trouser jeans were my first purchase, $5 at Goodwill.  They looked like they had never been worn.  They were super long, but they fit so well everywhere else that I figured I’d make them work.

Since I’m a little lazy and very short on time, I just pinned them up, sewed them in place, and hacked off the excess with pinking sheers.  I was the only one who knew!  (BTW, they look huge here.  Not so in real life.)

Similar Gap jeans sell new for about $60-$70.


I love the cute button detail.


I found the green jacket new with tags at my favorite thrift store.  It was originally $35.  I got it for $1.

The pink shirt was given to me in a bag of “hand-me-overs.”  Hint: If someone offers you clothes, never ever refuse.  It’s worth it even if you can use only one item.  Pass everything else on to someone else.

The necklace came from the thrift store where someone had donated a ton of brand new inventory from a store closing.  It was $2.


Details again!  The frayed seam adds a lot.


These adorable Mudd shoes were given to me at the same time as the pink shirt.  I am super super picky about shoes and I will only consider them if they are in new condition, no visible wear on the bottom or anywhere else.  In that case, they have probably never been worn, or maybe worn once.  These fit the bill.  Similar shoes sell new for around $35.  Cost to me: free.

So, if I had bought all this stuff new I would have paid $150 or more.  Instead, I shelled out about $6.

Visit Jen to see more great, frugal outfits!


Lovely Fall

October 20, 2009


Fall comes late here, but we’ve finally had a nice cool snap that tells us the season really will change, eventually.  We’ve spent most of our spare minutes outside, working in the yard, cleaning out neglected garden beds, nature journaling.  Oh, and playing fall soccer.

It’s also baking weather.  I can hardly keep myself out of the kitchen.  Too bad we don’t eat many sweets because that’s what I’ve been wanting to make.  I guess I will have to channel my impulse in a more healthful direction.

Mmmmm…this is my favorite season.  What are you all doing for fall?

(WHOOPS!  No weekend and no Monday post!  I should really quit making promises that I apparently can’t deliver.)

Cozying the Camp

October 14, 2009


Whenever we go to our camp, I try to do one or two things to make it more orderly, clean, organized, or pretty.  The funny thing is that I usually forget what I’ve done between visits, so I’m pleasantly surprised when I arrive.  Strange, I know.

On this past trip, I  hung pictures and a couple of wall quilts my mom made me years ago.  They fit well with the cozy country cabin motif.  (Picture is  crooked–sorry!)

Making Herbal Salve

October 12, 2009


My 8 year old has always been interested in medicine (at one point she wanted to be a nurse), and lately she has become interested in herbs.  Together we put together a simple herbal salve, just for family use on minor scrapes and the like.  It was such a fun, easy project to do together.  I looked up a number of recipes online and created my own with what I had on hand.  Here’s what we used and how we did it.

¼ c. dried calendula flowers

¼ c. dried St. John’s Wort

¼ c. dried lavender buds

¼ c. dried comfrey leaf

(I ordered all these from Bulk Herb Store.)

We infused these herbs in 1 c. olive oil for about 4 hours on the oven’s lowest setting (I think it was about 170 degrees).  We did this in a glass bread pan.  Then we strained the oil through a thin cloth into a DISPOSABLE pan (because we didn’t want to get wax in a pan we wanted to use again), being careful of course—it was pretty warm!

We added about ¼ c. beeswax, chunked up.  (Next time I will use an inexpensive grater.)  Beeswax melts at a low temp, but the oil wasn’t quite warm enough to do it, so we put the whole mixture back in the warm oven for a little while.  Then we creamed the soft beeswax into the oil until it was dissolved (again, using a cheap spoon dedicated to beeswax projects only).  I could see it starting to thicken, so I quickly poured it into some small containers.  Baby food jars would be perfect, but I didn’t have any, so I used mini glad ware instead.  We let it cool completely and then put the lids on.  It smells really nice (thanks to the lavender) and is very soothing.  It makes great lip balm!

Based on what I’ve read, I understand that the herbs are effective for the following reasons:

Calendula oil keeps the skin soft, promotes healing, and minimizes scarring.

St. John’s wort is good for bruising.

Lavender is antibacterial.

Comfrey promotes rapid healing. (We made a batch without comfrey too…Herbalists have told me that you don’t want to use comfrey on deeper cuts and scrapes because it can cause the wound to heal so quickly that it traps bacteria inside).

How fun to make something so simple and useful!  I’m looking forward to trying other recipes and combinations.

Just a little disclaimer: I’m not an herbalist or any kind of doctor or medical professional, so all this is just what I understand from my own reading and isn’t intended to be medical advice of any kind.  Try any herbal remedies at your own risk after doing your own research.


October 7, 2009


Hi everyone…Sorry it’s been so quiet here.  It’s been a busy season of life lately, trying to stay on top of homemaking and homeschooling, music lessons, soccer, getting ready for a special wedding, and other miscellanies.  The rest of this week promises to be full, but I hope to get back to my regular posting schedule next week…Monday/Wednesday/weekend.  Have a wonderful week!

Saturday Evening Blog Post

October 4, 2009

sat eve blog post

This month I’m participating in Elizabeth Esther’s Saturday Evening Blog post.

TSEBP is a monthly carnival which invites bloggers to share a favorite post of theirs from the last month.

I’m linking to my post The Old House, where I shared pictures about a 100 year old home we rented for a few months.  Bottom line: It’s my favorite thing I’ve posted in recent history!  Go to Elizabeth Esther’s to see more lovely posts!

I Haven’t Fallen Off the Face of the Earth

September 26, 2009

retro family morning

Having computer issues *again*.  Returning SOON!  Have a fun weekend!!!

Save Natural Thyroid~A Public Service Announcement

September 24, 2009


This post veers from my usual vintage/homemaking/crafty/arty/cozy fare, but I’ve mentioned hypothyroidism before, so I’m going to throw this out there.  This post is also part of Real Food Wednesday (er…late to the party, I’m afraid) even though it’s not *technically* about real food.  It is about “real medication” or a medication from natural sources rather than a synthetic one.  Many people who are interested in Real Food are thyroid patients who are seeking to improve their health.

Here’s my original thyroid story. Lately I’ve made a fresh commitment to improve my health as much as possible, making my thyroid as healthy as I can.  Is it possible to get off of thyroid meds completely?  I don’t know.  We’ll see.  Right now it’s the bandaid that keeps me going, along with millions of other people.

There are basically 2 options for hypothyroid patients.  They can take a synthetic (chemical) thyroid medication, such as Synthroid, or a natural medication such as Armour (which comes from pig thyroid gland).  Having seen the results of both, I wouldn’t touch a synthetic thyroid medication with a 10 foot pole.  Why would I, when natural thyroid works for well and has no known side affects?

This week I learned from Dr. Mercola that the FDA has shut down some producers of natural thyroid and may be poised to shut down more.  Consequently there is a shortage of natural thyroid medications.  (My cynical self wonders who benefits from this.  Um…that would be….THE WEALTHY COMPANIES THAT MANUFACTURE SYNTHETIC THYROID MEDS! my cynical self says.)

If you take Armour or some other natural thyroid medication, here’s some info that might be helpful.

Join the “Save Natural Thyroid” Facebook group.

Here’s the “Save Natural Thyroid” coalition website.

Stop the Thyroid Madness has lots of great info.

Here’s an article from that site about options for treatment during the shortage.

If you’re concerned about making the most of the medication you do take, this article is helpful…15 Reasons Why Your TSH May be Fluctuating.

This article looks like a pretty good one on goitrogenic foods.

I’m just seeking good information on thyroid health and hope to pass a little bit on to others.  I’m learning all the time.  I just recently realized that I didn’t need to be eating a number of common foods like peanut butter and peaches.  Who knew?  Getting healthy can feel overwhelming at times, but it’s so so worth it.

Vacation at the Lake

September 21, 2009

girls nature walk

We recently spent a few days at our camp.  When I was a new mom and we first bought the camp I was tired all the time and I thought I shouldn’t have to do anything while on vacation.  Somehow it didn’t compute that the family still needed care while we were away.  Once I accepted that, it made our vacations a lot more fun!  At the camp there is still laundry, cooking (a little bit), dishes, and tidying to do, but it’s a lot less than I normally have to do at home.   I manage to sneak in lots of walks with the kids, board games, read-alouds, and a little crafting and magazine perusing.



I love the trees.  I love the quiet.


I love that my kids have unhurried time with nature, just to relax, observe, and be.


I love our leisurely walks to the lake.  I don’ t think this ladies’ room near the launch has been used in a very long time.  It sure is cute for being such an…er…utilitarian structure.


I’ve never been brave enough to check it out.


It still has ruffled curtains at the windows.


My children agree with Ratty from The Wind in the Willows:  

There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

Back With Some Randomness…

September 18, 2009


Check out this delicious blog…Charm City Daily.  Ami is the author of this article on modern retro housewives which made the rounds in blog land some time back.  I love what she calls herself…a retrophile.  I don’t wear heels and a starched apron on a daily basis, but I do dress for the day and try to look cute even when I’m home.  I’m an *improving* homemaker.  I want to demonstrate that my career has value!


If you’re concerned about swine flu, you might find this post helpful.


I have one particular child whose love language is gifts.  It doesn’t have to be expensive, but she loves to give gifts and it makes her feel treasured when others give her little things.  So recently I took a decorative box I got on clearance for pennies and turned it into our “sparrow post,” like Tasha Tudor’s family mailbox.  Today I sent the kids tiny invitations to an autumn tea with mom.  I had googled “mini envelope template” and made SIMPLE little cards out of scrapbook paper.  It only took a few minutes.  They may bring a doll or teddy bear (or in the case of my son, probably GI Joe).  Silas is looking forward to the snacks, but my little girls are so excited and they are picking out dresses to wear hours in advance.  It’s sweet how something so simple can bring so much joy!


Autumn is my favorite, favorite time of year.  Here in the subtropics, the summers are scorching, but it’s beginning to cool off a little.  The promise of nice weather has inspired me to start working to make the yard usable.  We’ve had a lot of projects going (including filling in a damaged pool), but I’m looking forward to having a place we can enjoy outside.  This morning the breeze was cool and the sun was just right.


My timer has gone off, so break is over and it’s back to cleaning house! Happy Friday!