Posts Tagged ‘Thrifting’

Thrifty Treasures: Betty Crocker Heaven

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Labor Day was half off day at our Goodwill so I stopped in to see what I could find. I am trying to limit myself to only going on half off days since we don’t really need anything. I did find some wonderful treasures that day, but the ultimate had to be the box of Betty Crocker recipes. The date on them is 1971 and I am totally loving the recipes and categories that they had. Some of the categories were Budget Casseroles, Mens Favorites, Gala Menus (probably among the most interesting dishes served to statesmen and celebrities- Hot Bouillon & Cottage Cheese , anyone?), Ground Beef to the Rescue, and hundreds of recipes in the Fondue category. I also got:

1. A pretty pot of fake mums (for our family room)
2. Two vintage coffee signs for our kitchen
3. Two pairs of new tights
4. A pair of sweats
5. A fleece hoodie
6. Three pretty green & white plates
7. Party Invitations for my daughter’s next birthday party
8. A pretty Pier One frame set

Total spent: $14

Here is a recipe from the recipe box that I am looking forward to trying:

Apple Crisp
(Betty Crocker, 1971)

Butter crunch (recipe below)
1 can (21 ounces) apple pie filling
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream

Prepare Butter Crunch. Heat oven to 450 degrees. In an ungreased 9″ pie pan or baking dish, mix pie filing, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Sprinkle one cup of the butter crunch evenly over the top. Bake ten minutes or until top is light golden and bubbly. Serve warm with ice cream

Butter Crunch

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or coconut

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients with hands. Spread in an ungreased pan (13×9″) Bake fifteen minutes; stir with a spoon. Store in a covered container in refrigerator. Yields two cups.

Pineapple Crisp: Substitute one can (22 ounce) pineapple pie filling for the apple pie filling.

Thrifty Treasures: Bread Slicer

Friday, July 13th, 2007

I have been looking for a good bread slicer since I started using my bread machine more regularly. I thought it would be nice to be able to make clean & crisp slices of bread, instead of my uneven pieces that I was cutting freehand. I wanted slices that were even, particularly for the sandwiches we were eating out of the loaves.

Lucky for me, someone donated their bread slicer and I was able to snatch it up for $2.50. It was priced at $5.00, but thanks to our local Goodwill Booster Club program, I was able to use my fifty percent off coupon for their member rewards weekend. This is a really great model because it folds down completely flat for easy storage. With kitchen space at a premium in our house, I look for items that can be stored easily while using a minimal amount of space.

If you happen to live in Michiana, you can sign up for their Goodwill Booster Club program for $5 for an entire year. Now through Sunday, they will give you a fifty percent off coupon that day (off of your total order) and then you will get a coupon for each month for an entire year for that $5 investment. Each year the coupons have changed so I am not sure what this round of coupons offers, but no matter what you will definitely get your five dollar investment back (and then some!) I have done the program for three years now and it has saved our family a lot of money.

Does anyone else use one of these types of bread slicers? What do you think?

Related Readings:

Getting to Know the Bread Machine

Storing Homemade Bread & Bread Ingredients

Frugal Momma’s Test Kitchen: Homemade Croutons

Dinner is in the Bag

Thrifty Treasures: Vera Bradley Purse

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

A long awaited purse…Vera Bradley. Every single time I see one of these, I want it. The patterns are so beautiful! Unfortunately, they cost a mint. I have been watching them on Ebay, but the prices were still a little too high for my taste.

Lucky for me, someone donated their purse to Goodwill and I was able to snatch it up for $8. It is about $6 more than I usually spend for a purse, but is definitely worth it! This one is such a pretty spring color.

My mother-in-law can make bags that look just like these, but has had a hard time finding the fabric. Anyone making bags like these that have a good resource for fabrics? I know she would appreciate the input!

What a Difference a Day Makes

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

I decided to hit the thrift store this Saturday in search of a china cabinet or unit where I could rest my laptop for our kitchen. I have been hunting for awhile, but just haven’t seen anything with the good bones that I was looking for. I walked around for awhile before I saw IT. You know? The one! The one that I have been hunting for ages looking for? Well, I basically threw my body upon an old eighties cabinet and requested the crew help me load it in my vehicle. The cost was only $99 and the units that I had been looking at in the stores were a minimum of $250 and upwards of $600. This piece looked like it was going to be perfect and I headed over to the hardware store and got all of the supplies to tackle this project.

I was inspired by Meredith’s recent post about a project that was done on Notes from a Cottage Industry. This blogger had painted her unit black and had gotten hers for a mere fifty bucks and made it look like a million.

This was my first attempt at refinishing a piece of furniture and I was pretty nervous at first, but my tentative paint strokes turned to fast swipes as I became more confident with what I was doing.

This particular piece was a knotty oak wood and had worn brass handles on it. We prefer a more contemporary look with clean lines and a silver finish to our pieces so that is what I wanted to achieve when I refinished this piece.

I decided to leave the piece with the knots in the wood, opting to skip the spackling step altogether, and purchased a primer tinted grey to give us a good start on the piece.
I sprayed the unit with a liquid degreaser to get all of the grime and muck of off the wood. Next I primed it with primer and allowed that to dry for a couple of hours. The next step was to put on the black paint and then another coat. Then another coat. Finally, another coat was applied before I could do the final touch-ups to the wood.

The hardware was the type that had been dropped into the a cut-out in the wood of the piece so there was no way that I could replace it. The worn dingy handles received a face-lift with a coat of stainless steel spray paint that was made especially for metal. Fifteen minutes to dry and only four dollars to redo all of the hardware. We are going to be spraying some other ugly brass fixtures around our house that need a little TLC, rather than purchasing new pieces which would cost us a lot more.

I started the project at six o’clock in the evening and painted until 2:30 in the morning. I collapsed in bed and then picked it back up at nine and had it fully assembled with my dishes and cookbooks on it by six the next evening.

It was a bear of a project, but I can’t stop glowing or patting myself on the back for what I accomplished in a single day. The unit is absolutely enormous and I did all of this by myself with the only help from my husband being the help with moving and reassembling it.

The finished product reminds of something you would get at Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware and I doubt that it would be only $99!

The history of the piece was as interesting as the furniture was itself. A quick discussion with one of the employees seemed to indicate that it was repossessed. After pulling it all apart we found a very mysterious hole that at been cut out of the bottom. A hole that would have no purpose except to hide something. Weed, perhaps? Who knows!

What has been your biggest accomplishment that you have done in or around your house? Have you ever attempted to refurbish a thrift store or yard sale piece? Any blunders refurnishing anything?

Thrift Store Finds

Thursday, March 8th, 2007

Earlier this week, I went to the thrift store and found a couple of great things for our house.

The first item I found was a small bench. It was covered in a shiny & very ugly polyester, which was frayed and torn. The pictures of this fabric don’t do it justice. It was much more hideous in real life than what is pictured here. The piece itself was really nice though so for ten dollars, I took it home and got to recover it. I still had some fabric leftover from when we recovered our dining chairs so I used some of that. The vinyl is nice because it could easily be wiped off, which is important in a house with a four year old and a one year old.

Originally I had planned to put it near our front door, but the sizing didn’t seem right. I think a bench larger than that needs to be there, but we did have a corner in our bathroom that I had been trying to decide what to do with. I had one of my dining chairs down there and when we needed it for company, I would have to walk downstairs to get it and haul it up. The bench seemed to fit perfectly and I love the worn legs on it and how well it goes with the decor in our bathroom.

I also ran across these beautiful table linens. Now that you all are aware of my table linens obsession, you can imagine how excited I was about this! I had no idea if the tablecloth was the right size, but I was willing to take a gamble on it for $2. It had six napkins at a quarter a piece, and it is very rare to find a tablecloth and napkins all together in a matching set. I also found a few vintage floral-printed napkins too, all in various colors.

I washed the linens and placed them on the table. The tablecloth is a beautiful baby blue and it is soft just like a blanket. When washed, I did notice a small spot in the center, but it could easily be disguised with a napkin centerpiece. One of the floral napkins was perfect for resting our centerpiece on it. Do you happen to recognize this centerpiece?

I am always amazed at what one can find in their local thrift store!

Kid’s Craft Idea: Painting Mugs

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

Since it is another snow-filled day, we worked on a craft project to pass the time today. What better way to pass the time than to work on some fun projects?

When I have been going to the thrift store, I have been picking up plain white mugs. The cost on these is fifty cents and I have been putting them in a box downstairs to make gifts for our family.

I then went to the craft store and purchased a porcelain paint set. The paint set was around four dollars and I used my forty percent off coupon to knock some money off of the total on that. These types of paints require no heat-setting since the glaze that is included sets the paints for you.

With this particular paint set, you need to do a glaze on the surface first and allow that to dry. I actually did this the night before so we wouldn’t have to wait on this step.

Today we painted the mugs, which my son had the best time doing. We did put a heart on each of them, in honor of Valentine’s Day, and we will be giving these out to some special people in our life.

While waiting for the paint to dry (to apply a final glaze on them), I have been doing a little baking for a mommy that I am running a meal over to. She just had a baby and I get to bring her Valentine’s Day dinner. I am making a heart-shaped pizza, a cold pasta salad, and these giant heart brownies. I found this stoneware dish at the thrift shop for two bucks and have been waiting to be able to use it. I hope she will enjoy the meal as much I as have enjoyed cooking for her. Hopefully the weather will hold out so that I can deliver that meal!

I also need to get moving on some laundry and make cookies for my son’s class. It has been fun though getting to squeeze in some quality time with my son and do something fun like this.

Give this craft idea a try with your children! These mugs are great for any occasion and what teacher wouldn’t love a sweet mug like this made by your child?

Please visit Shannon’s Blog, Rocks in My Dryer, for more Works-For-Me Wednesday tips!

Budget-Friendly Ideas for Kid’s Rooms

Monday, January 29th, 2007

First, do not be intimidated by the bright colors on our son’s walls. What appeared to be a cheery Granny Smith apple shade assaulted us with its fluorescent glow instead when applied to the walls. Although the color is a bit brighter than I had hoped, where else except our children’s rooms could we be so bold?

I had been looking for some cute artwork for his room since we had tons of empty wall space, begging to be filled with cute artwork. We did not have the budget though to go out and blow tons of money on artwork so when I happened upon this clever idea in my Real Simple Magazine, I jumped right on it and was so pleased with the results.

The magazine had suggested using book cover jackets as art for your walls. As my son has received wonderful hardcover books from his grandparents, I had been removing the jackets and putting them on a shelf in his closet (for fear that they might be damaged or torn). Two of the jacket covers were for two of his favorite books, “How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight” & “How do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food.” The artwork on them was just perfect for framing.
I went to the Dollar Store and purchased two frames. I then used the cardboard insert to map out how I would frame the pictures to size them and then cut them out. For one of the pictures, I just used the picture that was on the front of the jacket. I used the back of the other cover because it contained some of the story within the picture.

My son was so pleased with his new pictures on his wall as were we! What a great way to really bring to life and share your children’s favorite stories.

The linens on his bed were also in need of being replaced. My son suffers from very bad bloody noses and I could not remove the stain no matter how many times I washed it. My mom had suggested contacting the lady over at MomAdvice to find out how to fix this (obviously I get a lot of jokes about that one!), but apparently she had no idea either.

When I hit a local thrift sale in the area though, I hit the jackpot. Tucked away in a corner was an entire Pottery Barn Kids comforter set. The set included sheets, pillow cases, comforter, shams, bed skirt, and curtains. The total price on the whole thing was only $25. The colors matched perfectly with the theme we already had so these worked wonderfully.

As a side note, you will notice that our son has his bed backwards. One of the truly great things about daybeds is that you don’t have to purchase bedrails to keep them secure in bed. Simply switching the bed around (with headboard on the opposite side) and scooting it next to the wall keeps him safe in his bed without making a bed around bedrails. We will be purchasing this same type of bed for our daughter because it has worked so great. If you are worried about when they have friends come to stay the night, you can invest in a trundle bed that can be tucked underneath and can be popped up when needed. It is an ideal space saver.

I hope these ideas inspire you in creating a special space for your little ones. Feel free to share some of your own ideas by leaving a comment!

The Thrill of the Hunt

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007

I am passionate about getting good deals, which makes me extremely passionate about going to garage sales and visiting our local thrift stores. There is nothing that thrills me more than to get to spend an hour hunting through all of the “junk” to find that one memorable treasure to bring home with me. I have always been this way, even when we had much more money than we do now. Thrifting has always been an outlet for me and now that we are eating at home more, I am able to use our dining out allowance to score some really great thrift store finds, without busting the budget.

It is hard to explain this passion to someone who doesn’t experience it…like my husband, for example. He loves me and patiently nods as I go through each deal I found, but I don’t see the passion for it although he does appreciate the things that I find that are just for him.
This weekend our parents kindly offered to watch the children for New Year’s Eve. They came and picked the kids up at one in the afternoon and we had an entire day to do whatever we wanted. Guess what I begged my husband to go and do with me? Yup, hit the local Goodwill and he wasn’t exactly jumping for joy.

He tried to be a good sport about it, but I could see that this and the craft store were not how he planned to spend the day. I told him how much fun it would be and about the people that work there, how nice it is…basically, anything to convince the poor guy that this was worth doing.

Imagine my surprise when my husband enjoyed going to Goodwill with me. He hunted through books and browsed the housewares with me. We pointed out things that we had when we were little and laughed at some of the more vintage pieces. We honestly had the best time.

When we walked out of there with two enormous bags full of goodies for only twenty bucks, he looked at me and told me he finally understood why I love to do this type of shopping. It is a cheap thrill that allows me to escape. Sometimes I might find some great deals, some days I leave with nothing. The point is, it is the thrill of the hunt and knowing that I am not blowing our budget in the process.

On this occasion, here are some of the highlights that we managed to leave with.
Two pictures for the walls in our kitchen ($1.50 each).

A vintage set of wooden dominoes (one of my favorite purchases and only $5)

A Liz Claiborne Purse (which my husband shook his head at me and told me he didn’t like it because he said I already have enough purses- $2)

A Pampered Chef apple slicer, peeler, corer with wooden stand (which I had planned on having a party just for this item because it is so pricey- $5)

12 Little Golden Books (which I am saving to give for the countdown to Christmas that I give to my son to countdown the days of December- $6)
I also left with a husband who understands my need to thrift. Now that, my friends, is PRICELESS!