Monday, June 25, 2012

Chicken Napkins Save Money

One of the few things I have always hated was that we were always running out of paper towels.  That and the fact that we were using way too many of them!!!  Seemed like it was just easier to use them in our busy lives then it was to do something out of our normal routine.  I had decided this is the year we would cut back on our use of paper towels but I didn't have any idea how it was going to happen or when.  I was also looking forward to the money we would be saving not buying as many too.  
Over a month ago I was shopping and found a stack of 8 cloth napkins in the clearance bin.   They were brightly colored and not anything that would match our home but I bought them hoping we could start using them instead of the piece of paper towel we have been using (5 per dinner plus what we used at lunch).  The first few nights we used them off and on but then we started using them all the time.  Still it seemed like we were still having to resort back to paper towels as I could not clean them fast enough.  Lately it seems we have not used hardly any paper towels as when we didn't have clean napkins the kids were using some of our 30+ washcloths as a napkins which the kids thought was just great.
A roll of paper towels started lasting longer and longer.  It was so nice not seeing an empty roll there all the time.  Surprising myself as even I had cut back on using paper towels to clean up spills or drying my hands by using dish towels.  I have tons of dishtowels but never seem to use them.  I was surprised how such a small change in our every day routine made such a big difference.  We actually had a roll of paper towels last us more then a week!!!  And we were going through 1 every few days!!
I did feel bad for the kids using wash cloths as napkins so today I decided to make some napkins out of some of my material.  While I was searching for a good material I came across my chicken material.  This is material I have had for a few years.  Thad bought it for me because it matched my chicken themed kitchen.  I loved it but never used it because I didn't want to have to give it away which seems to happen with most of the things I make. I hadn't been able to find a use for it till now.  I folded it till I had the size napkin I wanted and then sewed the edges.  The whole process took me less then 30 minutes and we ended up with 16 napkins.  I haven't done the math but I'm sure we will be saving loads of money not using all those paper towels.  Plus I finally got to use my chicken material for something for us.  It was a win, win all around.

Sunday, June 24, 2012



Every year at my sisters there is a huge celebration for the 4th of July with food, carnival games, horseshoe tournament and even fireworks.  It is a great time and I usually help her with what I can to get everything ready for the party.  I know from previous years the decorations are starting to dwindle or get shabby looking.  She called me one day and asked where I found all my DIY projects so she could try to make some new decorations with out it costing a fortune.  Myself I just search the Internet till I find what I'm looking for and then try to recreate it with what I have.  But I did tell her to check out Pintrest.  She did and found a few that she liked so I decided to save her a few dollars and make the decorations myself as a birthday present to her since her birthday is the day before her party.  Lets hope she likes them.

Fire crackers!!  Made from scrap wood.
7 firecrackers made from scrap wood, piece of old clothesline, and scrap wood

The scrap lumber was cut into random lengths and painted with Red and Blue paint that I already had from other projects

I arranged them in to different patterns and painted words on them
To add the wick to the top I drilled a hole and hot glued the clothesline in the hole
1 of the 7 different fire crackers I made for almost nothing.

My Pennant Garland.  It was really simple and took less them a half hour.
Here is a small section of the finished garland.

I started with 5 red white and blue colors and cut them into triangles.  The size of the triangle is determined by how big a pennant you want.  Mine were only 6inch.
I took some blue material and cut it into strips about 2inches wide to use as the string.
I folded the string and sewed it.  I also sewed the triangles on at the same time.
The end result is over 100 feet of pennant garland.  You could also sew the triangles next to each other but I chose to separate them so I would end up with a longer garland.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Welcome Summer

With summer only a week away and the temps getting warmer already I was looking for some new pool toys.  Some that are safe and gentle enough for the kids and the pool.  This year we upgraded the pool for the kids as they are no longer babies and the 3 of them didn't fit in the kiddy pool at the same time any longer.  I needed some toys that wouldn't risk popping our inflatable pool because being a single income family we really can not afford to have the expense of getting another pool and actually we probably will have to go back to using the kiddy pool if this one gets damaged.
I searched the internet looking for some inexpensive suitable toys.  Of course they are all too expensive or not something I want to risk popping the pool with.  Then I discover some cute do it yourself pool toys on Pintrest that used 3 sponges cut and tired into sponge balls.  These were just what I needed since they were soft and gentle enough for my kids and my pool.  So I set out to our local dollar store in an attempt to recreate them.  Each ball required 3 colored sponges so I figured I would need to buy 10 sponges (5 of the 2 packs) which would make 1 ball per kid with a left over sponge for me to use for cleaning.  However when I got there the store had no sponges so I searched the shelves looking for an alternative and discovered the automotive sponges and the gears in my head started turning. 
Here is how I turned 3 automotive sponges into 12 pool toys and only spent $3.00 on them.
I started by slicing the automotive sponge in half thus doubling the amount of sponge I had to work with.  If you would prefer a bigger fatter sponge you could probably leave it at is original thickness.
I then cut the sponge into strips across the sponge.  If you wanted a bigger ball you could cut it the long way.  Since my kids are little still I opted for the shorter balls.
I followed the same procedure with all three sponges.  Then took them in groups of 12 to make the sponge ball.
I used a rubber band to hold the sponges together and then trimmed of any longer ends.

My end result was 12 very nice sponge balls for only $3.00 ( my 3yr old helper is holding one so its not in the picture).
These were actually super easy to make and my kids love them.  They do not hurt when they throw them at each other and float so my little guy doesn't have to struggle to reach them at the bottom of the pool.