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Instead of posting links to Making Do Ideas on this blog now (I'll just post my own projects here though they are few and far between now), I'm now posting them on my Pinterest Board named Making Do Stuff.
You do not have to have a Pinterest account to see it.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wowser Wednesday - How much soap to use in appliances

I came across this wonderfully detailed article about how most of us use too much soap and therefore are wasting money in our washers and dishwashers. Complete with expert testimonials and directions for how to determine if you are in fact using too much soap.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Make Your Own Taco Bell Baja Sauce

When I am pregnant, I crave Taco Bell Baja Chalupas. That sauce just always calls to me during those times for some reason.

So this last time, I was determined in those early craving days not to single-handedly support Taco Bell's operation especially since eating out is not frugal. So I made my own Baja sauce, I looked the idea up online and then worked at a version I didn't have to buy fresh produce for, I think it turned out well. (My hubby finds it especially good on turkey sandwiches.)

I forgot until just now that I have to make up some more that I didn't post it.

Baja Sauce:

1 cup mayonnaise
1 T vinegar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp onion flakes
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cumin

Mix together and chill in fridge for several hours before use to let the flavors penetrate.

(I think I might actually try sour cream here instead of mayo, but it wouldn't be as long keeping in the fridge if I did it this way. So only if I am going to use it in large quantities quickly would I try it. I like that the mayo version though since it lasts as long as mayo.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fake Silk Screening/ Free Dress Refashion

The other day, I got an itch to shop which is unusual. I have no money this month for frivolous things, so I went to the thrift store with the free rack. I used only the coins in my purse and car to buy anything (a total of less than $4.) and limited myself to the free rack after that.

For $2.45, I got my husband a pair of jeans, one almost new cloth diaper (I'm sure it was used only for a burp rag), two wool sweaters (off the men's 10cent sale rack), a black ribbon and a dress with some fabric I plan to refashion that is so ugly it shouldn't deserve to exist. This would have actually upped my price to $3.45 now that I think about it, but that's not what I was charged. The two old ladies exclaimed (literally) over the beauty of the dress material when I left my pile with them to be counted while I went to the free rack. I think they felt sorry for me that I was actually going to dispense money for the 70's horrible paisley silk thing, that they decided it should have been on the free rack and let me have it despite its "beauty."

The free rack gave me 5 white pillowcases, one shirt and one dress that is actually wearable as is, which was a pleasant surprise after trying them on at home, a prom dress for making a dress up dress

and several refashioning/use for fabric items.

Here is free item number one:

It fit, but ugh, plain and washed me out. Since it was linen, I was planning on making cloth napkins, but since it fit, why not try to make a dress I would wear?

I took that black ribbon I bought and some more black ribbon I had at home and outlined the edges of the dress. Then I googled "black vector drawings" to find a paisley pattern to copy (that 70s paisley dress was messing with my mind), but thankfully I found a non-paisley alternative. I used photoshop to print out two of the same patterns, had my hubby help me pin the papers behind the dress where I wanted them to be as I had the dress on. Then I used my auction light box (although a sunny window would have worked) to light the pattern from behind, then I used my different sized black sharpie markers to trace the pattern onto my dress.

And there you have it. My neckline is wonky, since I'm a sewing failure, but livable enough that I would still wear it out.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Belt Refashion

So I saw this really cool belt that would fit an outfit I intend to refashion at home, but it was meant for a woman 3 times my size. No problem for a quarter!

I cut the seam that was holding the end of the belt to the buckle and pulled it through til it was the size I wanted.

Then I sewed it along the edge as close to the buckle as possible. Obviously, without the specialized machine they use, you will see the seam, but I'm ok with that. I got it as close as possible and tried to stay straight (I'm so bad at that, I almost did it) and cut off the excess.

Now the 2X belt is a size M.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Free Random Picking Software and Book Winner

If you need to pick something at random, or put a list in random order, I use this free software called "The Hat." Now, if you have a blog giveway, like I did, this makes it totally fair by randomly picking one name. Or what if you want to shuffle an entire list? Let's say you have several children and you need to decide who cleans toilets which week. You can type in each name and shuffle the names and then you didn't decide what order they have to go in, the hat did. Or you have the option of importing names from a file. So lets say you want to encourage your kiddos to do something in order to win a prize. So if they wash the car, you can import your reward list from where you saved it, the kid can press the hat button and out pops either "Get $5" or "Choose a movie to watch" etc.

But that does require typing (If you are going to use the list again, save it).

If the list will never be used again, you could easily take a count of how many comments you have on a particular blog post (just look on your dashboard) and go to, change the number parameters and whatever number it generates, is the winner.

Using, the winner of The Country House Courtship is WENDY.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reader Spotlight - 9 year old making doer

I had a lovely little email asking me if I would be interested in spotlighting a young lady's work/blog. Emily, the blog author of Super Stitches, made this decorated picture frame that she posted this morning.

Do you have a kiddo that's crafty or wants to blog? Check out Super Stitches' project on making rings with pipe cleaners or an easy sock doll tutorial. Maybe your crafty kid/beginning sewer might want to look her up and they could follow each other and share all their crafty stuff (Emily even did a giveaway, how fun would that have been as a kid? Sharing crafty ideas across the country? Bet I would have been better at that then those pen pals I tried to keep in contact with in elementary school.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Reusable Worksheets

Thanks to a frugal commenter on my post on tracing worksheets, I now have a reusable workbook!

Just slide your workbook pages inside page protectors and use a dry erase marker. A rag will wipe it off right away. I left marker on it for several days and a rag no longer worked, but it came off nicely with just a little rubbing alcohol.

I'll just keep a folder of these worksheets and switch them out anytime she gets bored with the ones in her current folder. This also could work for a homeschool consumable workbook that you want to use for more than one child.

Since she now wants to do letters and numbers, here are some more sites for free printables. The last site lets you make a worksheet with whatever words you want. I used it to print out her name for her to trace.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rag Curlers

My little girl wants curls everyday now. When I was little, when I stayed at Grandma's, we always put in rag curlers and slept on them.

So, I took a knit sweater (We used to use flat cotton material, but the thicker and spongier the material the better, keeps your hair from being really tight at the ends) and cut it into pretty thick 3 inch strips.

When you start the hair on the middle of the strip, be careful to get the end of the hair tucked around nicely and not off to the side otherwise you'll have a kink instead of a curl at the end.

For this day, she wore the curlers from 9 am through her nap and took them out at 5pm for church. She's modeling her curls. She's proud of them.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Saving Tips for the Dryer

If you've read my blog, you know that I line dry and advocate line drying, but I do use my dryer on occasion (like when it rains all week and the house is cold and humid making it take twice as long to dry and you need something, now!)

I'm guilty of just shoving clothes in the dryer without thinking, but here are a few tips on how to use less of your energy dollars when you use the dryer.

  • I always shake my clothes before I line dry them, but did you know if you do that for the dryer not only will they be less wrinkled, but they take less time to dry? How did this fact escape me?
  • Save up your several loads of laundry to dry and dry the lighter fabrics first, as soon as they are done, use that residual heat to dry the heavy fabric loads quicker by tossing them in right away.
  • If your machine has a humidity detector, use that, but I was told by an appliance man that unless you have a really expensive machine, that humidity detector isn't the best. Check your laundry periodically through the cycle for awhile to get a feel for how quickly your machine dries the load, if your humidity sensor seems to be good, fine. If not, start using the timer set at the time your machine dries certain fabric weights.
  • Always empty the lint catcher, makes your dryer work more efficiently and less chance of burning down your house. Seriously, the few seconds saved by not pulling out lint will not be worth it if you loose your possessions in a fire.
  • Also, regularly check the vent from the back of your dryer to the outdoors. Same reasoning as above.
  • If your clothes feel really heavy with water out of the washer, put them back in for a spin. Spinning your washer takes less energy than extra time in your dryer.
  • Do not overload your dryer; do not underload your dryer. Both are electricity wasters.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Make Adjustable Jeans

Does your kiddo have problems keeping his/her pants up? Julie K has a tutorial on converting your child's pants to adjustable pants.