Halloween Wreath

Halloween Wreath Collage 2This project is UNDER $20 and UNDER 20 minutes to make.

We really wanted to have more Halloween decorations and not spend a lot of $$ on them either so I thought making a Halloween Wreath would be fun, easy and cheap….not to mention easy “set-up and take-down” for the holidays. 😀 This was my first time making a ribbon mesh wreath and I did this for under well under $20!! Continue reading

Scrap Blanket for SPCA Cats & Dogs

Scrap Blanket for SPCAI ❤ our local SPCA!! Especially because I got my cat there; however, when I arrived I saw so many animals that needed homes. I love cats and dogs but I am very aware of my lifestyle and the amount of attention, and energy I can give an animal and how many of them. Anyhow, I asked what other donations they took besides monetary. You can find their link here. I was also told that they have volunteers that will crochet, knit and sew blankets for the animals so they have something warm and cuddly to sleep on.

I know my cat LOVES minky fabric and fleece AAAAAND I had some scrap fabric from some slippers that I made my sister-in-law (yes, her favorite childhood cartoon character is Snoopy). So, I decided to put these leftovers to good use.

The SPCA said that the blankets need to be about the size of sheet of paper (8.5″ x 11″) and up, depending on which animal they will use them for. The blankets above are about 14″ x 24″ with fleece on one side and flannel on the other.

If you are new to sewing, this is the perfect project for you to start with!! Especially as no animal is going to inspecting how straight your line is 😉 These blankets were created with your typical turn and flip method:

  1. Place the wrong sides of each fabric together (facing each other)
  2. Sew along 4 sides of your fabric leaving about 4-5″ open on one side (I left the very last 5″ open. I know most people leave their opening more mid-line like a duvet cover; however, this was easier, faster and I found I got a straighter line in my blanket. However, it’s your blanket and you choose.)
  3. Stick your hand inside the blanket (seems almost like a bag now) and pull the inside out
  4. Align your fabric at the opening to be tucked in…..
  5. And sew it close

Voila!

Scraps are put to good use!

And a homeless animal will ❤ you for the gift!

Crochet Wrist Sweatband

Since I started trail running and now it is July in Reno, NV where the temperature can hit 100 degree plus, it’s HOT here. Even with sweatproof sunscreen, it doesn’t matter. At that temperature and creating body heat, you’re melting and sweat is going to drip into your face.

So with staying frugal and especially for something like a sweatband…I didn’t want to spend money on something that is soaking it up. I went through my old yarn to see what I had and luckily I have some remnants of 100% cotton yarn from when I made dishcloths and eye make-up remover  pads.

Here’s the pattern:

  • chain 12
  • in the second stitch, single crochet all the way across
  • chain 2 and turn, double crocheting (through broth loops) all the way across again 
    • Let’s call a row of single with a row of double crochet a “set”
  • chain 1 and turn, single crochet (through both loops) all the way across
Repeat this pattern of alternative a double crochet line for a single until you hit your desired length. I did 8 “sets.” With my left hand, I just held the seams together and tried pulling the sweatband over my hand a couple of times to make sure that it was snug enough before finishing.
**Remember that the cotton will stretch a little over your hand and you don’t want it too baggy. Especially when wet, it can get annoying if it hangs too low on your wrist.
To finish:
  • I single crocheted through the loops of both ends which made a chain along the width of the sweatband. You can sew the ends together for a more seamless look. 
By the way, this sweatband idea can also be used for a coffee cozy if you are in need on one 🙂 = easy, fast but great Christmas idea.
I like the idea of this sweatband being cotton like a towel because I have used it like a dishcloth when I had nothing else around and a tissue was too flimsy to clean up from dirt (on me) while on the trail.

Spending Fast FINISHED: Conclusions and Lessons Learned

So in retrospect of my Spending Fast, here are some conclusions that I have come to

Wants:
Reality:
Eating out/happy hours 1x/week – more of bummer as I was pretty frugal when I did go out = normally spending $10
Hard – I make this sound like I’m a socialite but I’m not. As long as I keep my “mad money” to $10/week (not per event)…..for any and all Happy Hours, lunches, coffee, etc. I think I’m good.
  • This was also harder to plan for if I didn’t pack enough lunch or I was running errands and they took longer than anticipated.
Gifts – will be recycling, re-gifting or making all gifts
Medium to Hard – This one wasn’t so bad as I have a lot of crafts and got creative however….don’t give junk to people. If the person can’t really use it, a $10 gift card along with a nice card is much better. I say something is better than nothing, even it’s offering to wash and detail someone’s car.
  • I hate washing my car so I would love this one.
Haircuts
Easy – besides my bangs which I’ve been watching YouTube videos on how to do this myself in the future, my hair is long enough to put up or down. I have also been looking at Pinterest for more updo’s so when I am do for cut, I can hide it.
Clothes
Medium – I actually found myself purging clothes than wanting more during this Fast. It made me take a look at what I have, what I actually wear and what I have worn in a LONG time.
New hobbies or crafts
HARD – this was hard for as me I constantly get coupons for Michaels and Jo-Anns however I have so much in boxes already…..I have to contain myself and see what can I repurpose.
Groupons or Living Social Deals
Easy – delete the app and just remind yourself of the goal
Specialty Coffees at Coffee Shops
Easy – I got treated to coffees by nice friends however I won’t abuse this and honestly will return the favor, with coffee in the future. I like good coffee yet having a to go cup from home is fine with me.
Contact Lenses
Easy – this was the easiest as I like my glasses = which is KEY!!!

Lessons:

  1. Put your needs before others, if you really want to achieve your goal.
    • This is a hard one for me; however, if you put other people first, then you always put second or last. And what does say about the value you put on your time, energy, money, etc.? It is of value also. And if something is of importance to you, share this with your loved ones so if you miss out of something, they know that you are working towards your goal and when you can, you will be there.
  2. This Spending Fast is NOT about “just getting by in life.”
      • Don’t be so cheap or frugal to the point that you feel like you are existing to achieve your goals.  Here are some suggestions to still have fun:
        • Organize a picnic in the park
        • Scout out new restaurants that may have a cheap happy hour
        • Offer to clean the yoga studio in return for taking a free class
        • Go for walk with someone instead of eating/drinking
        • Do a hobby or craft with a friend

    I’ll write a whole page on this later as I came up with a lot of small things to do.

    1. When there is something that really want or need and a possibility of it running out, BUY IT and YOU CAN ALWAYS RETURN IT LATER!!
      • I waited on purchasing material for a quilt for a baby shower as I’m doing this Spending Fast; however, the fabric is now discontinued and I can’t find anywhere, not even online. So lesson is: If there is something that heart is really set on and you know it’s perfect for what you want or want to achieve (in this case, I KNEW my friend would have loved it for her lil one) = Go For It!! Get rid of the guilt of spending and take advantage of the opportunity.
      • I once had a girlfriend tell me, “If it’s exactly what you want, then it’s worth it.” So far, I have not felt guilty purchasing something more costly when it was EXACTLY what I was searching for. (OK, in the beginning I did; however, I got over it and learned to enjoy my decision as some things are worth it.)
    2. Take advantage of coupons, reward points, timing, and COMBINING them together!!
      • For instance, I had an ULTA reward point that I had to use before the end of the month. I know that I was on my Spending Fast however missing out on the fabric, I was not going to make the same mistake twice. Also, my friend gave me a $5 off coupon and my mascara was on sale for “buy 1 get one 50% off” along with getting a cosmetic bag. When I got to the register, not only did I get my hair accessory (as I only had Category 1 of reward ULTA points) = got for $2 after using the reward points; got 2 of my mascaras and then used  the $5 off coupon; still received the cosmetic bag, yet I also received a free Moroccan Oil bottle for being a loyal customer for coming in the week since it was Memorial Weekend. All in all, I spent $12 when I should have spent more than $25.
    3. If you are going to buy something, be smart and get some cashback $$ for it if you don’t have reward points and timing is not of the essence.
      • I signed up for ebates.com where they pay you for shopping online at 1,600+ websites. First, you log onto the site, then find the online store that you want to shop at, a tracking code is issued to you for that shopping experience and when you check out, you get a certain percentage of cashback reward dollars. Also the site tell you which promotions and coupon codes are going on at the store prior to finishing your purchase.


    I got 3% cashback at Burt’s Bees = $0.91 along with a $10 Wal-Mart gift card for making my first $25 purchase within the first 90 days of signing up. And on top of this this, I used my Discover card which I get cashback dollars with them as well just for using my credit card to purchase the items.
    So I get cashback on the front and back ends of the purchase.


    • By the way, make sure that your address is filled out in your account information in order for Ebates.com to send you a check. A check is not sent until you have $5 accumulated in cashback dollars.
    • You can also have your Paypal account credited or donate to a charity, if that works better for you. 
    • And for the gift card, you can also choose between Targets, Wal-Mart and a couple of other major department stores. I just choose Wal-Mart as I can buy food and it’s in my local area.
    • NOTE: Discover card has their own shop online version however they don’t have as many vendors as ebates. Any cashback dollars I get from Discover, I use on Amazon as you don’t have to have a certain dollars to hit prior to being able to use it. It could be $0.01 and you can use it. Also search on Bing and receive points towards an Amazon gift card, too.