Friday, December 31, 2010

Frugal Friday, Resolutions!

In this New Year I vow to cook and freeze more, use more coupons and to finally finish the A & B collection of vintage goodies and cards I've been putting off for so long! While both A & I love going out for dinner, trying to freeze meals ahead of time will save money and, from what I've read from my 1960's housewife's guide to home freezing, provide a variety of meals to call on whenever I need! Or should an "unexpected guest" arrive" which seems to be one of the most terrifying things ever for the housewives of that time! In order to kick-off, and keep, my resolutions I've borrowed an immersion blender and made and frozen four soups. I was also given a Chinook Coupon Book and have used several coupons already! Off to a good, and frugal if I do say so myself, start! I'm feeling inspired and ready to make things with my hands!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Frugal Friday, DIY

With the New Year looming and resolutions imminent, this seems one of the best times to start, or finish, a DIY project!

One of the most satisfying parts about DIY is obviously the whole "doing it yourself" part, but in addition to that it's a great way to save money and get to pat yourself on the back when it's all done.

Personally, I have quite a few unfinished upholstery projects I need to get ten of them. Sadly, that's not an exaggeration! I've collected all of these great pieces, three 60's barstools, two old 40's office chairs from a school, four French provincial style dining room chairs and one 60's/ 70's arm chair. All amazing pieces that ALL have to be reupholstered I have just been so gun-shy when it comes to picking the fabric!

Those are my upcoming DIY projects, in addition to cooking and handmade items I'm planning, but here are some great inspirations for other DIY projects on the Design Sponge blog. Check out their Before and After section too, also very inspiring!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Alternative Shopping/ Gift Ideas

I did a simple google search a while ago to find charitable organizations that have items that can be given as gifts, but benefit the cause, or organizations that I thought were run well and that gave donations in someone's name. This is a great resource that I recommend, it's called "The Good List".
We ended up choosing to get a water bottle for my father-in-law from, a shirt for my sister from charity: water, a Kiva loan for A, and two handmade and hand screen printed bags for my best friends from Made By Survivors. I really want to start doing this all year, throughout the year, as well as for other gift-giving holidays in addition to our handmade gifts.

Tis' the Season!

How is your holiday shopping going? Mine is pretty on track, but for the first time in years I wasn't able to stock up very many gifts during the year (when you find something perfect for someone on your list, there's a great sale, or you're somewhere you can't buy it further down the road) so I'm having to do a lot of my shopping/ crafting/ baking etc. this month. This month being December. HOW IS IT ALREADY DECEMBER?! A's birthday is also this month so I'm having to pull a little double duty. I'm really making an effort this year to be getting more gifts where the proceeds go to charity, or gifts that are the actual donation to the charity. I've long been a fan of Heifer International where you can do your part to end poverty and hunger across the world. Here is their mission:

"To work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth.

By giving families a hand-up, not just a hand-out, we empower them to turn lives of hunger and poverty into self-reliance and hope.

With gifts of livestock and training, we help families improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways. We refer to the animals as "living loans" because in exchange for their livestock and training, families agree to give one of its animal's offspring to another family in need. It's called Passing on the Gift – a cornerstone of our mission that creates an ever-expanding network of hope and peace."

There are so many worthy causes that deserve your donation, and in fact I plan to do another post about some of the other charities we're donating to/ purchasing "gifts" from this year. Another great thing about Heifer is that you can also do shares on animals, where you pitch in towards a full animal purchase, meaning you're still doing something amazing, but you can do it on a budget as well. I do have to say that I love to watch someone's face when they discover that I've given them a goat (or chick, water buffalo, sheep, camel, and more!) for their gift!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

So...A & I are hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year! I was very proud of myself this year I made almost everything last night so that today is easy breezy! We've got family and some kids (also family) coming over in a few hours and we're excited. I'm doing a fun craft with them that I'll share about soon. We're thankful for all of you and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Frugal Friday!

Umm... have you guys heard of! It's amazing! It's so great, you can type in anything you may be looking for online....let's say you want to find the best deal on a pair of Christian Louboutin pumps (yes, please!) then it pops up with every store, their price, etc. that is selling them. It makes searching for the best online deals so much easier. They have some coupons on the site as well. Love it. Definitely one that I'm adding to my bookmarks!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Frugal Friday!

Do you want to make someone's face look like this when they open their Christmas gift this year? Strapped for cash for the latest gadgets? Well, A & B are here to save the day! Okay, I'll stop writing like a used car salesman now. The truth is that we are getting closer and closer to the gift giving season and this is a very important time to exhibit frugality! For saving on gadgets I really love refurbished items. I have been finding myself drooling over a dyson vacuum on and reveling at how cheap Kitchenaid mixers are on the Kitchenaid website (in the outlet, refurbished section) and in previous years A & I have gotten both an ipod and a laptop off of the refurbished section on I also got A a refurbished electric razor off of a few x-mases ago. They really are an amazing resource and you get things you really want, that would normally be too expensive, for so much less!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Frugal Friday!

Some lovely ladies I "crafted" with a few weeks ago mentioned using their "groupon"(I'll be honest, I thought we were moving into some risque girl talk!). Quickly, I learned that it is another website much like Living Social with local savings, it's great. I've signed up and already got an x-mas gift for A I know he'll be excited about! They have salon, spa, hotel, food, entertainment, fitness classes, other classes, you name it! All at amazing discounts, Groupon also has an iphone app for those of you with iphones (come on Verizon, have one out before x-mas!). It's also all over the U.S. (they're even getting it in Salem, OR soon!?). One thing that I really like about Groupon is that on their sidebar they've got all of the other local deals that are just out of your city, and if you live somewhere like the Bay Area that's amazing because there are so many other towns close by that are also having "Groupons" that day. Check them out, they're great, and it's really amazing to do things you would already do, for at least half off; or things you didn't think you could do because it was too expensive. My dahlings, the internet can make ALL your dreams come true! Err....yes....

Friday, October 22, 2010

Frugal Friday!

While obsessing about Le Creuset again (and no, I still haven't used them! I'm afraid, and clearly a weirdo. I'll get over it, thinking I'll cook a chicken in the round one tonight!) A friend of mine told me about the website where you can sign up for your favorite things, be it Le Creuset, a Yudu , portable margarita maker, etc. You will then get sent an alert when anything with that name gets posted. So, the other day I got an email allerting me that Le Crueset had been mentioned in a post, sadly it was only to say that it was excluded from the online 20% off sale that Macy's was having that day. But, my friend had been alerted about some Le Crueset pieces she bought in the past, as well as a crazy sale on their tv and more. I need to add more to my interest list so I can broaden my savings, but it seems like a great Frugal Friday resource (and even for stocking up on Christmas gifts as well!) and I look forward to more "slickdeals" coming my way! 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Le Creuset Update!

In addition to seeing our amazing friends get married in Oregon last weekend, A & I were also able to make a little stop at the Le Creuset outlet!

It was a little overwhelming, but as I was looking for the map to find the store there was a flier saying that Le Creuset was having a Buy More Save More sale and so the pieces I had picked out all ended up being an additional 35% off! I was pleased with my savings and ready to get cooking! This is what I got, and my savings:

5.5 qt. pot originally $315, priced at $196 (Sale price $68.60)

Skillet originally $190, priced at $112 (Sale price

Sauce Pan 2.75 qt. originally $170, priced at $161 (Sale price $56.35)

Stainless Steal Nob (for higher temp oven cooking) originally $10, priced at $10 (Sale price $3.50)

Cast Iron Cleaner (because they're so expensive that I am now terrified!) originally $12, priced at $12 (Sale price $4.20)

So, let's add that all up, if I had bought this all at a non outlet store it would have been a
whopping total of $697 (plus tax if it was here!)! Then, if it had been literally the day before (which was prior to the "Buy More Save More" sale) it still would have been $491! My grand total at the outlet, without sales tax and with the BMSM sale was only (yes, I know, not "only" but this was my grown-up present to myself!) $319.15!! Now, I just need to read the thirty page instruction booklet, search the net a bit for helpful hints and then you know, actually cook something and I'll be ready to enjoy my luxurious new gift!

FYI the pieces are now on our kitchen table much like a display, oh and I did get the "Carribean" color that I loved so much afterall! (These are the pieces I got as pictured).

Friday, October 8, 2010

Frugal Friday!

Are you like us, and haven't been able to think up anything good to be for Halloween, or have decided that going as Lady Gaga for the third year in a row is a little much? Well, you're in luck! Stagecraft Studios is having their last studio blowout and you just might be able to find that perfect look you've been going for! It's both Saturday and Sunday this weekend and should prove to have some goodies!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Frugal Friday!

It's obvious that Le Creuset is a classic, elegant staple to anyones kitchen, but I'll admit that I thought that was only in the kitchens of "fancy people" and those lowly folks that cannot spend hundreds of dollars on a few pieces and aren't professional chefs would just have to do without...but wait, there is another option!

First let me say that I have been edging towards the switch to cast iron for awhile because of the impuritues and otherwise scary things in non-stick pots and pans. This summer when A & I were home in Oregon I picked up an adorable burnt orange cast iron frying pan to begin the collection. While I was in France my host cooked
everything in cast iron pans and it just added to the luxurious timeless feel of France, but that's another story. A few weeks ago a friend of mine from Oregon wrote on her blog that, bizarely
enough, she too was making the switch, AND she found out an
amazing thing...there are Le Creuset outlets!! You can find their locations here: and my BFF told me that they also sell them at TJ Maxx! Well, A & I are going up to Oregon for oh, about 30 hours, for one of our best friends weddings (Go J & A!) this weekend and on the way to the wedding I will be stopping at the Le Creuset outlet to see what I can see. So excited! Now, you too can be a "fancy person"! I think that I'll get a few key pieces and add vintage ones as I find them. I really want this color (it would match my kitchenaid perfectly) but I'm worried about staining and browning over time...I also like the idea of doing a mix of colors like a little rainbow collection, who says they have to match?!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Frugal Friday!

I know that this isn't vintage or craft related, BUT it is a timeless wonder...the good touch. We've been very busy lately, which is great, but we (especially one of us...) has been rather tense and has been carrying some tension in her shoulders! The wedding went wonderfully (more details soon in another post!) last weekend, but it was rather exhausting. So...what do we need after all this marital madness? A massage! At an amazing rate?! For almost an hour?! Where is this magical place you ask? Why, it's the National Holistic Institute in Emeryville (for us; for those outside the East Bay they have other locations!). It's only $35, without tax or tip (it's not allowed)...but here's the "catch," which really isn't so bad: you cannot choose your style (Swedish or Shiatzu) or whether you have a male or female masseuse. This is because it's a school and needs to have equal learning opportunities. And unlike a barber college, you don't leave looking like a poodle! We've gone a handful of times and it has honestly been great every time. $35 for almost an hour long massage is more than worth it. Yelp it and visit their website if you want more info. Enjoy!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A & B Do Wedding!

Sorry folks but I we'll be having to skip Frugal Friday this week because A and I are going to be happily busy (very busy!) this weekend while we help S & D with their big day! It's been a long time coming and we're so excited to see how all of the hard work, brainstorming, vintage touches and inspiration all come together. Also, of course to see the happy couple enter into marital bliss! We'll post pics soon!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Frugal Friday!

A facial at 50% off? Hotel getaway at 87% off?! Plastic Surgery for 50% off....wait, what? Looking for some great deals online that don't involve wiring money to a Nigerian banker? Try Living Social! It is yet another fabulous internet resource for deals and steals in your local area. A & I are signed up for the SF one as well as the Oakland/ East Bay one, doubling our saving potential. For our anniversary we bought a hotel special in Tahoe at a great rate and we plan to buy fitness classes, food and other delights from them as well! Oh, and the half of plastic surgery special is serious, and for only one more day!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Frugal Three-Day Weekend!

This holiday weekend is rife with opportunities to bargain hunt and score some great deals! The Alameda antique fair was yesterday, it was fabulous as usual, and we even got a cute little bar cart on casters for our new place, mini bar here we come! Goodwill is having a Labor Day sale today and all of their clothes are half off! The East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse was having a Vintage, Antiques and Collectables sale Saturday and Sunday that sadly we missed. They're closed on Labor Day, so we're hoping tomorrow they might still have some goodies left over! Craigslist and yard sales are in full swing too, so go out and find yourselves a treasure!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Frugal Friday: Addison Studio Sale!

Oh how I love Addison Endpapers! Never heard of it? You may have even walked past it before and not known it. They're located on Telegraph just off of Alcatraz. Upon closer inspection of their adorable shop you will notice the vintage wall paper on the walls and the stylish font on their sign, not to mention all of their treasures inside. I don't think I or A have ever left the shop without at least one bag full of goodies!

They scout locally as well as in France and have SO much to choose from! Tomorrow and Sunday they're having a sale and will be featuring:

"Everything from vintage art materials to antiques. Stacks of paper ephemera, theatrical catalogs, movie and theatre photos, etc.. all c.1920's to 50's, early European engravings, victorian photos and albums, antique children's books,1940's travel maps, crumbly cigar boxes filled with miscellany, vintage dolls andd toys, old games and novelties, antique Christmas ornaments & garland, collection of German papier-mache turkeys, 3 old German storefronts, boxes of old lace and linens, victorian beaded appliques, metallic trims an ribbons, old flags, victorian household misc., neat old pencils and antique office supplies, victorian to 1930's men's and women's clothing, old picnic baskets, vintage mannequin, old military, French-Canadian sailor hats, boyscout hats, victorian to 1930's shoes, old millinery flowers etc.., pair matching victorian cake stands, fine & costume jewelry, tons of antique buttons of all kinds, large collection of very old beads and stones used for the theatre, fantastic theatrical costumes, antique jewelry findings, victorian buckles, old sewing, victorian fluting machine, many vintage silver charms, large glass dome, pair antique "Dakota" candy jars, c.1900 folk-art drying rack, blue & white folk-art shelf, coin silver spoons, green + white shopkeepers twine, and much, much more."

As you can see you will have your pick of all things amazing at their sale. The sale runs from 10-4 on Saturday and Sunday and their address is 6397 Telegraph Ave. Get there early because people line up and Enjoy!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Keith Johnson, may I please have your life??

Kieth Johnson is the buyer for all of the Anthropologie (swoon!) stores. He has the luxury of traveling the world looking for art, antiques, textiles and architectural pieces to inspire and enrich the shopping experience at Anthro. I actually got to have a little taste of this lifestyle when I was in France, but Keith Johnson gets paid to do it ALL THE TIME!

He, and a few other lucky buyers, do nothing but travel the planet looking for unique treasures. Johnson says that the trick is being able to
tell the real antiques and hand-crafted gems from the mountains of souvenier junk. I would happily agree to try! Can you imagine having the whole world as your flea market? Yes, please!

You can watch Johnson as he scouts the world on his show Man Shops Globe on the Sundance channel.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Frugal Friday: Oregon Edition!

Thrift stores, Goodwill's and Salvage, oh my! Sorry we missed last week's Frugal Friday, but our Oregon trip was all consuming! We shopped, we swam, camped in a yurt, saw friends and family, crafted and hauled back a bunch of stuff!

One of the many great things about traveling to Oregon, other than the beautiful scenery and friendly people, are the deals you can find all over. Antiques, plates, glassware, and other vintage items can generally be found at better prices than in more urban areas.

Goodwill's are one of the best, and easiest to find, stores. But for real finds, you have to get a off the beaten path. Almost every little town in Oregon has at least one antique shop or thrift store. Some of them are filled with hideous old drapes and deer heads, but some have tons of cool old stuff. We got two amazing office chairs that actually came from my old middle school that got torn down over ten years ago! We also got three really cool mid-century barstools that we plan on updating for our new place!

So if you are ever heading through the beaver state and have some time to spare, troll the main street of anytown, OR and see what treasures await.

Oh, I almost forgot the best part of all -- no sales tax!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A & B Do Oregon!

A & I are heading to Oregon for family time, camping and, oh yes, LOTS of thrift store shopping! There are so many things in California that are great deals because of the resources, abundance of people and things. BUT, in Oregon there is still no sales tax, the knowledge of little gems because we grew up there and the joy of thrifting with loved ones. We're working on projects all the time and it's great to be able to build up our supplies even more so that we don't have to do the scouting all the time, however that is one of my favorite parts! Family, friends and we come!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Frugal Friday!

What's that you say? A center where you can buy random items in bulk and more crafting supplies than you have inspiration for? Sounds good to B! I cannot sing the praises of The East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, or Center for Creative Reuse if you will, enough! I can, and we have, spent HOURS (and it's not a huge building!) perusing their treasures! I went this morning and they had tons of great light-colored burlap and hundreds of small glass bottles with cork tops in addition to their already amazing selection of magazines, fabric, cards, paint, you name it!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Renegade Craft Fair!

Another great day in the bay! Last Saturday (and Sunday) was San Fran's Renegade Craft Fair . A & I went and spotted this year's hottest trends in the crafting world: monsters, robots, squid, and lots and lots of mustaches! There were tons of silk screened sensations and letterpress lovelies. The fair also boasted workshops for people to do on top of all of the cool craft items on display.
I now officially want a letterpress machine, I'm sure I could just squeeze that into a spare closet!
I even got to see/ meet some of my blog heroes. I think I want my house decorated like Paper Pastries' booth! All in all there were tons of talented folks and it was very inspiring!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Frugal Friday!

Oh today was a good day! Not only was I ever so productive (and that would be due to the fact that I am still jet-lagged and got up at five a.m. this morning), but I also somehow managed to remember that today was the Stagecraft Studios Warehouse Sale! It's going on today and tomorrow and is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! 'A' and I went today and I got a vintage bingo ball spinner, some vintage Max Factor make-up (that I used to use at the Theater Department at OSU), an amazing 1960's jacket with mink collar and a few other lovely little items. Sales such
as these make my heart soar and make any day just a little bit better! If you're local check them out! Their prices are very affordable and there are so many different possibilities with what you could use the costumes for!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The B is Back!

B (me) is back from France, as of late last night, after two inspiring, get-to-know-yourself kinds of months, and is ready to get cracking! I brought home two small suitcases (that would shock and horrify you if you actually picked them up) and everything made it safely home...except for a really cute vintage lion statue...but A's going to fix that!
Today I have lots of little errands to do and craft supplies to pick up. I need a little sleep and then I 'm ready to start creating on U.S. soil again!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Frugal Friday!

Being frugal, or "budget conscious", is incredibly important to us at A & B. We pride ourselves on not limiting creativity or style because of a smaller budget.

I want to make a point on Fridays (and probably other weekdays as well!) to share some of the different ideas we have and/ or links to others' great inspirations to show how easy it can be to make beautiful gifts, cards, or other creations on a budget.

Last year I wanted to come up with an updated version of the "cookie in a jar" gift. I wanted to make something that was vintage inspired (of course!) but that also
looked stylish and like care had been taken in making it.

We love this gift idea because it's low cost, can be adapted for any occasion, doesn't take many supplies, can be made pretty quickly and it's something that people can use over and over again.

First, you need mason jars (or any other jars for that matter) you can get them for free on your local Freecycle pretty frequently and Goodwill and other thrift stores often have them pretty cheap as well. (Also, remember if they're missing their lid it's okay because you can buy those at the grocery store.) For my tags I used adorable Cosmo Cricket paper (you can of course pick any kind that you like, vintage newspaper, or book pages would be really cute too!) that I could write the recipe for my cookies on the back of.

Next, I picked a cute vintage inspired fabric from a local fabric store, and cut it into a square to go around the lid. This is another area where you can pick whatever fabric you like that will make it your own and best applicable to the occasion you're making it for.

Lastly, I used a ribbon that I liked and attached the tags that I had whole-punched and voila! All that's left is adding your favorite cookie, soup or
other dry ingredient mix and you're done!

Homemade/ handmade gifts are so personal and mean so much. I think it's always such a treat to get them (and make them!) and it's nice to know that you don't have to buy a ton of supplies, be Martha, or break the bank to make them in bulk and with your own style.

We hope you enjoyed this spin on a classic gift that can be used for all occasions! See more handcrafted items on our flickr account at:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Welcome to A & B creative!


We're A & B creative and we can create everything from A to B. But seriously, there are few creative ventures we're not interested in. We love making things with our brains and our hands!

I started very young by making greeting cards and selling them door to door. I also threw in some great wolf and snowscape cards my great grandmother had received as gifts for donating to various charities. That's where the business savvy comes in. It was pure profit! I also created signature design pieces, like a glittered platform shoe covered in feathers that sits on a very sweet family member's shelf to this day.

We find our inspiration in many places, some of them literal places, like these: Versailles, China Town in SF , the Berkeley Recycling Center, Vernazza, the Oregon wilderness, Alameda antique flea , and pretty much anywhere old and cool with a sense of history.

Contact us at for custom projects and style consultations!