Saturday, February 6, 2016

This weeks frugal accomplishments: Dropcloths for re-covering our sofa, a great cinnamon roll recipe, and how to teach five year-olds to sew

Spending on Supplies

This week I decided to go ahead and purchase a few supplies for working on our sofa and to aid in my quest to design my own children's clothing patterns. We inherited our sofa from the previous owners of our home, and while its color isn't terrible, the fabric has gotten worn down over the past few years to the point it looks like we have a cat on drugs that uses it as a scratching post.

It has been a big challenge having three curious boys who like to poke their fingers into the sofa's frays and even pull the stuffing out. I am at the point where I almost can't take it anymore, so instead of purchasing a new sofa, I have decided to dive into the world of furniture re-covering and purchased two 9x12 beige canvas drop cloths from Menards for about $36 after our rebate.

I used some Christmas money I received to stock up on pattern drafting and sewing notions as I learn how to make my own patterns. I had a 60% coupon which saved me $30 on supplies at Joann fabrics. Even though there are some things I don't buy there, I like to take advantage of their notions coupons to add to my sewing tool collection, but of course, they have to be tools that I know I will need.

I also purchased some craft thread and Chenille #22 needles after listening to this podcast on sewing with kids. I discovered this past year that my boys like to embroider, but it has been a pain to pull apart DMC embroidery thread and thread new colors for them. The podcast interviews Amie Plumley, a kindergarten teacher who is brave enough to put needles and thread into the hands of her students and teach them how to sew. I was so inspired by her story, and she shared that basic craft thread is much better for sewing with small children. I found a 150 skein bag for $8.50 after a 50% off coupon at Joann fabrics. Each skein is 10 yards long, so hopefully this will keep us busy for awhile!

Five Frugal Things I Did

  • My husband and I watched the Martian after I placed a hold on it at the library for a date night.
  • We tried to avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store this week.
  • I sewed my daughter a polar fleece tunic and leggings using this free pattern for the tunic (I drafted in sleeves of my own) and this tutorial for making your own leggings. I paid about $3 for the fabric and got two warm and cozy mix-and-match pieces for her wardrobe.
  • I listened to several of Abby Glassenberg's podcasts this week while I sewed - I love the interviews she does with other crafters and sewists, and find it is almost like attending a craft conference from the comfort of my own home.
  • I made five quilt squares from fabric I already had on hand for a patchwork quilt I am working on. I precut all the squares a few weeks ago, and now it's easy to pop into my bedroom for 15 minutes and stitch up a square. I hope to have the quilt pieced in a couple of weeks.

2 great inexpensive breakfast recipes

A couple of weeks ago my husband made this Impossible Ham and Cheese Pie after the boys and I saw the recipe on Cook's Country. This is a very frugal, easy and delicious quiche-like pie, and a great way to use up leftover ham!

He also made these "Quicker Cinnamon Buns," from the same episode, and they were DELICIOUS. This recipe is "quicker" because it uses a combination of yeast and baking powder to proof the dough quickly, and the texture was light on the inside and almost crispy on the outside. These are going in our permanent recipe file!

A money-saving tip at the grocery store

It didn't occur to me until recently that a 3-lb bag of apples is probably not exactly 3 pounds. I have weighed several pounds of apples when I got home (yes, I am weird that way) and discovered that I often get between half to three quarters of a pound extra in the bag. I discovered the same thing for pre-packaged fresh broccoli from Aldi - it was 20 oz when the package said 16 oz. So if you plan on buying pre-packaged bags of fruit or vegetables, do a quick comparison just by holding to see which feels heavier.

Next week's frugal goal

I need to get back on the homemade yogurt, granola, and bread train. This week my goal is to make one batch of each of these things, and to plant my leek and parsley seeds.

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