Sunday, May 30, 2010

Diving for craft supplies

In the recycle bin. The other day I got to thinking about how much I love Suzi's new Green Toys dump truck. It's really cool. It made me wish I could make things out of old milk jugs. I thought for awhile and wondered if anyone had ever made flowers out of them. It turns out yes. I googled and there's an Etsy seller, Artwork by KD, who makes beautiful jewelry and accessories out of plastic bottles and metal cans. I love her stuff! So with all that as my inspiration I made the above flower button ring and these...

Two butterfly hair clips and a thistle pin

The funny looking purple flower is a thistle. You see them a lot at highland games, but usually crafted from pewter or some other metal. I thought it'd be cool to have something a little different with some color to wear with my everyday Scottish attire. Maybe with my "KILT ROCK!" shirt or on our baby bag. It still needs a little work; this was my first try. The translucent white plastic is from milk jugs, and both the purple and green are from vividly colored liquid laundry detergent containers. I still have lots of this left. I almost forgot that I also made Ivey an unfolding flower button toy but I let her play with it before I took a picture and now I don't know where it went. The beauty of this whole thing is that even if I screw up a project and waste a bunch of this stuff, I can put my cut up plastic back in recycling and grab some new one for free! And to be honest, recycling (or upcycling) is awesome, but what I love even more is the idea that anyone can make things with almost no money, tools, or training. It should be a basic human right--and it makes me happy. Now what I'd really like to do next is figure out a good way to make mother/baby themed stuff this way.

And here is what Jordan and I did with the handles of the detergent containers:

They make great ergonomic handles for grocery bags (or tote bags) that cut into fingers. Placed around several bag handles at once, we are also thinking they'd be great for keeping bags together and stopping your groceries from rolling around in the car.

Now I can't stop thinking about what other fun garbage I can use to make stuff. Have you ever tried this? What did you use and what did you make?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ceilidh and the highland games in Greenville

Friday night. We were having a good time in our front-and-center seats at the ceilidh. Even Ivey was enjoying the fresh air and goldfish crackers.

Until people started hollering when the bands got ready to play.

What did I do?

Why's everybody yellin at meeee?

Once the music began, she had a good time jumping up and down in Daddy's lap.

We'd never seen Albannach before, and we liked them. Their set emphasized high-energy drumming and was fun to watch.

But Grandma and Grandpa preferred Coyote Run, I think.

Suzi loved this because it looked to her like he was playing a big stick. The girl loves sticks.

And we were having a great time enjoying the music. But, alas...

We ignored it for a while.

Suzi and Jordan danced through a couple of songs.

And Ivey snuggled up to Grandpa. But then it became obvious we weren't getting out of this one. The announcement was made, equipment was covered, we ran back to the van and I got two eyefuls of pollen and dirt from the wind. The drive home was fun.



Then we went to the games today and Suzi got her face painted in the Wee Scotland area. She wanted it painted Braveheart-style blue but I talked her into a blue butterfly.

She explained how the lady painted the butterfly on her.

The Montgomery clan in the next tent brought bubbles to share!

Prince Edward was there, it's true, but he was pretty much constantly surrounded by a big crowd of people. Suzi didn't care though. She was much more interested in meeting the gorgeous fairy lady.

She's holding her little hand out like that because the fairy gave her some fairy dust. I'm pretty sure this fairy spent 98% of her day talking to kids and posing for pictures.

Then Suzi rubbed the fairy dust on her cheeks so she sparkled.

We said goodbye to Grandma and Grandpa, packed up the stroller, and headed for the van. (It was a long walk.)

By the time we got home, we had a sleepy blue butterfly girl.

And now I realize I didn't get any pictures at all of anything important, like the prince or the parades or the competitions, did I? Nope. No I didn't. Oh well.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Participate in Coke Rewards, even if you never buy Coke

My husband Jordan and I enjoy the occasional soft drink. We used to drink one or more a day, but over the past few years we've cut back, both for our health and to save money. However, this doesn't mean we can't participate in the Coke Rewards program! My husband Jordan first signed up and entered the codes on the drinks he purchased, but it didn't add up to much because he hardly bought any. Then, while at work, he noticed a bunch of Coke bottles lying around in hallway recycling bins. He unscrewed the caps and entered those codes, too. (Since many recycling programs request that lids are removed but most people don't do it, it's almost like a public service. Sort of.)

This was on my mind tonight because we drove by the recycling center on our way home and found 15 or 20 caps in the plastic bin. A community recycling center is a great place to look for caps because there are so many in one place and you don't have to dig through trash to get to them. Have a peek when you are already there dropping off your recyclables. I would definitely take some hand sanitizer and/or gloves, though. Those bottles are sticky. I have long thought that a sporting event (after a game) would be a good place to rack up some caps, but we rarely go to any. Next time we do, I will be running around like a crazy woman unscrewing soda caps. Powerade caps, too!

So what can you get with the points from your caps? My husband subscribed to a magazine he enjoys and wasn't even charged shipping for it, although many of the items do require you to pay shipping. You can get prints from Snapfish, gift certificates for online shopping, a whistling tea kettle... Lots of stuff. A bunch of saved up points come in handy around Christmas shopping time when you've got lots of gifts to buy and would like to stick to your budget. That's the thrifty part. And recently my husband used a few of our points to get $10 off our dog's heartworm preventative.

Anyway, the points come in handy, and they can be had for free. Might as well grab those caps when you see 'em.

For more frugal tips, check out Kristin's Thrifty Thursday post at Bits and Pieces from My Life!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New on Etsy: Unbutton and nurse your baby!

Just listed these little mamas in my Etsy shop. They are the first in a new collection of mamas I am making. These mamas are much smaller than my previous ones and are necklace charms instead of ornaments. The perfect accessory to wear to a nurse-in, breastfeeding support group, or everyday. More will be listed later--hopefully by tonight. Unbutton and nurse your baby!

And a shout-out to my mom: the buttons are from Grandma's button box. Thanks Mama!

Friday, May 14, 2010

I cut my own hair (with pictures)

I have needed a haircut for months. I hate going, though. It costs around $20 (after tip) for me to get a simple dead-end trim, and I refuse to accept that this is the way it has to be. I mean maybe if I was getting a whole new style I could see paying that much, but I just need two inches trimmed off, people! I'm not into expensive hairdos. I've never even had my hair dyed.

It's not just the money. I had a stylist I really liked and never thought I'd go anywhere else. She did a better job with my hair than most anyone I'd ever been to. Then one day she got sloppy. Her cuts weren't as good. I kept going until she started chit-chatting with the other ladies in the shop about how one of her relatives was such a lousy mom--for doing most of the things I think are good parenting practices. I never went back there again. I don't enjoy cattiness in a salon environment.

Nor do I enjoy having to explain that no, I do not want my hair shampooed, because I in fact never use shampoo. So just wet it please. I'd rather skip that whole conversation. Jordan teases that I "don't like talking to people," but that's not true! I do like talking to some people.

There is one lady right here in my town who has always done a great job on my hair and has very reasonable prices, but she is always booked solid for a few days whenever I call. For me, haircuts are emotionally cleansing and when I need one I need it NOW NOW NOW!

Anyway, my hair had been long and tangly and past ready for a spring trim. My split ends had split ends. So when we got home today, I ran upstairs with the scissors from my sewing kit and cut my hair. What did I have to lose? I was going to get a haircut one way or another. If my hair looked like crap I'd just go to a professional in a day or two, admit I so foolishly thought I could cut it myself, and pay the $20.

It turned out okay, though.


See how uneven it is anyway after it grows out for a while? How much worse could I possibly make it?

I wet my hair under the faucet on the tub and brushed it, then clipped up almost all of it on top of my head. I trimmed a couple of inches off the lowest section.

Then I held up each higher section to the lower one and trimmed it to match. Also, I angled the front pieces toward my face. This was the hardest part and I'm pretty certain I didn't do that great of a job. I'm also pretty certain it's not that noticeable.

Here's how it looked after a quick blow-dry. Looks a little uneven in the picture but it's really not. I checked that.

I like to play with my hair after a cut. So, hair accessory: yes or no? A little too Alice-in-Wonderland? (Alice is actually my middle name.) Jordan likes this hairdo.

Savings analysis: If you consider how much I'd be saving per year by cutting my own hair, it's not much. I only get my hair cut three times a year or so, which would come to around $60 a year. Less if I go to Great Clips. However, if you go by Amy Dacyczyn's method (from the Tightwad Gazette) of calculating savings per hour, it's pretty worthwhile. It took me a little less than an hour. Let's just say I spent one hour cutting my hair to save the $20 I would've paid to have it cut--and either way I would've spent that hour getting a haircut. $20 an hour and no time lost? I think I'll keep doing it. So long, Great Clips.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gasp! Oh my goodness!

Last night we decided to do a bit of grocery shopping. We picked up bread, a Bi-Lo Meal Deal and a couple of other things. Then we went over to the peanut butter aisle and I saw it.

There was an audible intake of breath. "Oh my goodness!"

My heart beat faster. Every bad thing that had happened to me during the past week faded into nothing as my brain flooded with warm fuzzy happiness.

There were other shoppers around too who may or may not have been staring and laughing, but I didn't notice any of them.

It was just me there, alone with...

...the really really big jar of Nutella.

Here is how it compares to the regular jar (which, as you can see, I have scraped dry):

26.5 ounces of pure heaven. All I need now is a giant wooden spoon, my recliner and a good magazine. And maybe a glass of milk. Ohhhhhh it's so good.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Little Ivey D, has it been 9 months already?

I have been so slack in posting about her milestones!

In the past month or two, we have had:

1) Teeth! There are two of them!
2) Real crawling
3) The ability to go from one thing to another unassisted; basically, to play all by herself for a few minutes at a time (welcome back, my sanity!)
4) Pulling up on furniture and starting to cruise
5) Saying "hey," "mama," "dada," and shaking her head no
6) Waving--this started at the beach with my cousin Tricia
7) Pee-pee in the Baby Bjorn potty! EC is going somewhere!
8) My mom swears Ivey kissed her but she hasn't done it again since

Also, Ivey has started eating. She isn't too enthusiastic about it, but she will definitely decide for herself to take a bite or two of banana, chew and swallow. It's real eating--not the shovel it in, shovel it back in routine we foolishly did with Suzi. So far she's sampled a few different things but banana is the only thing she's eaten a significant amount of. My mom gave her plain baked potato at dinner the other night and she liked that. We don't trouble ourselves with making her three meals a day or anything yet, but we do give her opportunities to eat, especially when we're eating something she'd enjoy.

Days around here have gotten a little more tolerable with Ivey's ability to entertain herself. She can crawl around on the rug, sit up and play with a toy, pull up on the coffee table to see what she can find on it, and help herself to the toy box to see what strikes her fancy. She's getting too busy to yell at me anymore, unless she wants to be held or I try to stop her from doing something or change her diaper or have the gall to think I can put her down after I've nursed her to sleep. We still do have bad days, but I think things are starting to get better!

The other day I went to visit Carey and Caryn (my midwife and childbirth educator) and we discussed how it would help a lot to babyproof the whole area for Ivey. I did that for Suzi and now it's time to do it again.

And here are a few more pictures...