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!