Pillowcase Dress

My husband has an old pillowcase from his childhood that charmed me with it’s vintage flair and mix of bright colors. It was needing a little mending so I had thrown it in the to-be-mended-whenever-I-feel-like-it pile and forgotten about it. It was soon to become something new!

I’m usually not much into sewing but I guess the hot weather today drove me down to my mother’s sewing machine in the cool basement. I ended up converting that old pillowcase into a cute dress for my eldest daughter.

There are lots of tutorials online on how to make a pillowcase dress but here’s a couple I found helpful. I like tutorials with lots of pictures!

Jen Leheny: Pillowcase Dress Instructions

If I had a little girl she’d wear pillowcase dresses

Thrifty Kitchen Tip: Brown Sugar

image Are you doing a lot of holiday baking this year? Here’s a little tip to help you save when recipes call for brown sugar. My mother taught me this growing up. All you have to do to make brown sugar is pour a little molasses in with plain white sugar and voila! The more molasses you add the “darker” the sugar will be. Molasses keeps for a LONG time too. I keep mine in the fridge but you can also store it at room temperature.
On a side note, a spoonful of molasses a day can help to keep your iron levels up. I was slightly anemic while pregnant and my midwife suggested I take molasses. 

Thrifty Christmas Tips

image I’m absolutely shocked at what people seem to spend on Christmas presents these days! The idea of going into credit card debt for months after the holidays just to buy Christmas presents nearly knocks me off my chair! What ever happened to the days of Laura Ingalls where a hearty meal or a handmade doll was something special? When did we shift our focus from being with those we love to shopping ourselves to death and filling our homes with STUFF? I think we’ve bought into the lie that more is better and we’ve taken for granted the simple things. With the economy in the shape that it is hopefully more people will return to a life of simplicity where gratefulness and contentedness is the norm.
Christmas doesn’t have to be chaotic, expensive or stressful. Here are a few ideas for making your Christmas celebrations more peaceful and thrifty:

*Buy something that the person needs and would enjoy. - I remember how excited I was as a kid when I would get a new nightgown each Christmas. It was something I needed and because I grew up on hand-me-downs it was great to get something brand new!
*Give handmade gifts. I was totally excited when a good friend of mine gave me a set of fabric napkins that she had made. Not only are they a great way to save money, they’re a great GREEN option too!
*Don’t spend a lot on each person. - You might be surprised how far $20 can go!
*Give homemade goodies from the kitchen. Food and treats make excellent gifts because EVERYone eats! It’s a universal present! Some good ideas are cookies, fudge, home-made pasta, canned jellies, salsa, sweet breads, teas, or cookie mixes in a jar. It’s fun to get together a gift basket of things like these.
*Don’t be afraid to give something that’s been gently used. This is especially true of baby clothes and kids toys. This is after all one of the major themes of recycling (Reduce, REUSE, recycle). Most years we give our daughter something purchased from a garage sale and she loves getting something new to HER.

*Finally, take advantage of gift bags. I love gift bags because they’re reusable. As opposed to wrapping paper, they can be re-gifted many times before they need to be thrown out. I even re-use the tissue paper (unless it’s been torn). 

Save Gas, Slow Down

image Want a way to save gas? According to CNNMoney.com all it takes it slowing down a little. Evidently going over 60 miles an hour reduces your fuel efficiency. For example, going 70 miles per hour is like paying an extra 54 cents per gallon on gas! We probably realize this but feel our time is more important. You might be surprised to know that very little time is actually saved. In light of this I’ve started slowing down on the expressway. I thought having people pass me would be embarrassing but I haven’t felt that way. Instead I feel good knowing I’m saving money and using less of our natural resources. I’m also finding that I’m not the only one slowing down. :)

Just a note: It’s always best to try walking, biking or using public transportation rather than driving, however I realize this isn’t always possible. Reducing the number of car trips we make and carpooling are also great options when driving.

Source: CNN Money - Speeding Wastes Gas

Recycled project: Hopscotch rug

image Here’s a green project we did recently. I found several carpet samples for sale at a thrift store and thought they would make a fun carpet for our play area. I originally planned on sewing them together in a rectangle shape but then came up with the idea to make a hopscotch rug. My daughter has been into hopscotch lately so she loves it. This not only added a colorful accent to our floor but is functional too in that Emma can play on it.

At 50 cents a square the rug cost only $5 to make! If you try to make this yourself here is what I recommend: I found it hard to get a needle through the thick carpet (even a thick needle) so I first poked holes in it with an icepick and that did the trick.

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