May 31

Thrifty Thursday – For the Love of Coffee

I love coffee.  If you also love a cup or glass of delightful deliciousness read on.

I recently read an article on WebMD on the benefits of coffee.  According to the article and the studies conducted:

  1. Those who said they drank more than six or seven cups daily were 35% less likely to have type 2 diabetes than people who drank fewer than two cups daily. There was a smaller perk — a 28% lower risk — for people who drank 4-6 cups a day. The findings held regardless of sex, weight, or geographic location (U.S. or Europe).
  2. Coffee may counter several risk factors for heart attack and stroke.
  3. For women, coffee may mean a lower risk of stroke.
  4. For Parkinson’s disease, the data have always been very consistent: higher consumption of coffee is associated with decreased risk of Parkinson’s.
  5. Coffee has also been linked to lower risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
  6. All of the studies have shown that high coffee consumption is associated with decreased risk of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.

You can read article here.

Now that we all know coffee is good for you, let’s get to the nitty gritty.  Drinking coffee out is expensive.  Even if you only stop for a large specialty coffee on your way to work, at $3.50 every morning x 5 days a week x 50 weeks a year (hey you get 2 weeks vacation that I’m not counting) you would spend $875.00 a year.  Last can of coffee that I bought, the can claimed it yielded 270 cups of coffee.  I don’t believe that so let’s believe it yields 1/2 that or 135 cups – I paid $5.75 for the Clover Valley brand at Dollar General.  I always buy this coffee.  Tastes perfect to me.  That is $.04 a cup of coffee.  If I used the same calculation of only 1 cup of coffee every weekday for 50 weeks, that comes to $10.00 a year or a savings of $865.00.  That, of course, is not including the cost of creamers and sugars.  So here are some recipes for making your own coffee delights at home.

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Find the recipe for the Perfect Iced Coffee at the Pioneer Woman. Cold Brewed. This is my favorite recipe for iced coffee.  I promise once you make this recipe you will rush home for your own brew rather than stop and overpay for a store bought cup.

Here are some recipes for coffee creamers.  Not only is it less expensive to make your own but have you ever read the ingredients in a bottle of coffee creamer?  If you did, most likely you wouldn’t be using them. These recipes are inexpensive, do not contain all those unknown ingredients and are delicious.

Food.com has the same recipe I use for making French Vanilla.  Also included are instructions for making different flavors.

Here is another Food.com recipe – Bavarian Mint.

Budget101 has a variety of recipes using sweetened condensed milk and skim milk. You can find them here.

Salted Caramel Coffee Creamer

Cook Eat Share has a recipe for Salted Caramel Coffee Creamer.

Collies Kitchen has invented a copy cat version of McDonald’s caramel iced coffee.

Hope you enjoy some of these recipes.

Debbie

I never drink coffee at lunch.  I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon.  ~Ronald Reagan

 

May 29

Wow Me Wednesday – Drab to Fab Sewing Machine Redo’s

Is your sewing machine white and boring?

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have the fanciest sewing machine on the block. With a couple of standard craft supplies and a little creativity,  you will have the grandest machine on the block, neighborhood, state, country, maybe the world!!!  :)

Here is some inspiration and how-to-fancy-up-your-boring-white-machine instructions.

The button machine makes me smile. :)  Hop over to the Quilted Cupcake for her tutorial for decorating the machine. This is an old second-hand machine that she isn’t going to use, it is more for show but I don’t see why you couldn’t use it.  You would have to stay clear of openings and  levers but still doable.

Fabric on a machine!!!!  Like two peas in a pod. Fabric decorating a sewing machine is the ultimate decorating idea.  Stop by Dee Construction for her low down on how to make your own machine this lovely.

If you make a machine like that, do NOT drink any water if you take this with you to a guild meeting or quilt outing.  If you drink anything you will most likely get up to go to the bathroom and when you come back, someone would have stolen this baby for sure, for sure. :) Go to 33 Stitches to see her instructions for making your machine as cute too.

Crafty Confessions used vinyl stickers to add snap crackle pop to her dull white machine.  Lovin the dots for sure.

A Little Off Color did a great job restyling her machine with Mod Podge.

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Another creative crafter with Mod Podge in their hands.  I love the old prints and little bit of paint highlights. Beautiful! Stop over Cynthia Shaffer and see how she did it.

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What a different a little bit of scrapbooking vinyl makes.  Very elegant indeed. You can read more about it here.

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A member on QuiltingBoards.com posted a picture of her charming machine.  (You have to scroll a good bit down the page to find it)

Hmmm?  Not sure which one I like better.  Just kidding, love….love…love the red.  Stitch Nerd does a fabulous job detailing how she painted her old vintage machine.

Another snazzy makeover from drab to fab.  She used vinyl that she cut from her own vinyl cutter but you could just as easily buy some precut letters. Visit Sumo’s Sweet Stuff to read more about it.

 

May 23

Thrifty Thursday – Homemade Laundry Soap-All The Easy Recipes

Be Your Own Laundry Super Hero & Make Your Own Laundry Soap. 

Easy to do & save lots of $$$. I have collected all the laundry soap recipes I could find. It is an easy way to save a good bit of money. The ingredients are easy to buy, easy to put together, inexpensive and not loaded with unnecessary chemicals that are not good for you nor the environment.  What more could one want?

laundry soap with unstopables

Laundry Soap with Unstopables from Steph Makes Stuff.

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This recipe is from Adkinson Drive.  Her recipe includes OxiClean and Purex Crystals.

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Whipped Laundry Soap from The White Silk Purse.  Looks good enough to eat.

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Peppermint Laundry Soap  by Soule Mama.

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One Good Thing by Jillie has a recipe for no grate, no cook liquid laundry soap.

 

Stacy Makes Cents has an easy recipe for Homemade Liquid Castile Laundry Soap.

DIY laundry detergent

UHow Does She has a nice no grate, fragrant powder laundry soap recipe.

As frugal as you can get. Love it.  She calculated it cost  $0.0107 per load.  Check out the Rural Revolution for her cooked, gel recipe.

I’ve tried liquid (too much work for me), the dry (I like) but my favorite is the whipped.

Join the homemade laundry soap revolution and give one of these great recipes a try. Let me know which is your favorite.

Debbie

 

 

 

May 21

Craft Fairy Series – Part 5 – Make your own business cards

 Make your own business cards.

Here are some mucho loco ideas for making your own for cheap, cheap, cheap…..and if you ask me (you asked right?) wayyyyy more creative and memorable.  Go make some cards and post your pictures to our Flickr page.

The above business cards comes to us from C.R.A.F.T. using cereal boxes.  I love this but the stamp cost $45.00. I did a quick search for discount codes for the stamp and 40% off coupons seem readily available.

painted cards

These are fabulous. Creature Comforts used Photoshop for the design  and  I don’t have Photoshop but I own Corel and I could do the same with Corel.  I bet you could do it any graphic software including Paint. Go to Creature Comforts for her tutorial.

Color Me Katie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 years ago I may have used my picture as my business card – not these days.  I’ll save this one for you younger gals.  Your card wouldn’t soon be forgotten following Color Me Katie’s tutorial for her homemade business cards.

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These are stunning and easy to make.  Perfect for a photographer.  Take pictures of your wares and use the negative.  Would work for anyone.  Hop over to Peta Pixel for the how to make instructions.

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Jessica at How About Orange has a free printable template to make your own Argyle Business Cards.  Super Duper Cute.

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No directions on AllGraphicDesign  but endless stunning & different business cards ideas.  This is for your inspiration only.

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Mint Design Blog created this using old paper lying around and some tape.  The print was done on a regular printer. Simple and beautiful.

Tomorrow I will show you how to set up printing your own business cards in Microsoft Word.  Easy peasy.  We will all be looking professional in no time at all and for little $$$.

Debbie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 20

Craft Fairy – Making Crafts Your Business – Part 4 – Picking a Name

Picking A Name For Your Craft Business.

You want a business name that jumps out at your customers.  Something that is easy to remember. Cute, clever and creative names work best for craft businesses.  Start a notebook with name ideas.  Look for inspiration or ideas. Look at the successful shops on Etsy.    If you want to blog too, pick a craft name that still has an available domain available for it.

I want everything branded.  I want my blog name the same as my Etsy shop and my craft booth.  I had at least 25+ names that I thought would work great and I prided myself on being so creative for thinking up all these great names.  Guess what?  I wasn’t all that creative, at least not anymore than the 25+ other people who already owned the domains.  I picked “Wow I Like That” not because the domain was available, it wasn’t.  It was however ready to expire and there wasn’t an active domain using it.  So, I patiently waited for it to expire.  I had to wait two month for it to expire, then I had to wait several more before it finally showed up as available and for sale.

If you think you may want to blog or sell your goods online, look for a domain when picking your name.  Domain names are available for as little as $1.99 a year. Anyone can afford that.  Do a Google search for “Cheap Domains” and  you’ll find hundreds of sites offering domains for sale.  I paid for my domain name for 2 years so I wouldn’t risk missing the renewal before I even got the blog up and running.

You can blog for free but you will not have your own domain.  For example, if I wanted to blog with Google, my site name would have been www.wowilikethat.blogspot.com.  Or if I had taken the free WordPress blog my site name would have been www.wowilikethat.wordpress.com.  I didn’t want Blogspot or WordPress in my blog’s name and I pay for hosting to avoid this. (PS, I did sign up and have both the wowilikethat.blogspot.com and wowilikethat.wordpress.com names only so someone else wouldn’t come along and take them to confuse my all ready confused world.)  I will explain the self hosting another time.  The thing to remember now is to pick a name that you can own the corresponding domain. Buy the domain.  You don’t have to do anything with the name until you are good and ready but it is available when you are ready to move on.

You can search for domain names at any site that is offering domains for sale.  Here is IPage they are who host my service & you can check to see the availability of a domain name here.  Pick a name, see if it is available, then search for the lowest price to purchase.

Debbie

 

 

 

 

May 19

Craft Fairy – Making Crafts Your Business – Part 3 – Signs

Making Crafts Your Business – Part 3 – Signage

My Craft Fairy Series focuses on doing it yourself and doing it inexpensively.

I love this booth.  Look at the paper bunting.  If your craft business has a name, string it across the back of the booth or across your table. I got this picture from Flicker. Adorable.

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Click picture to be taken to Flickr page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have created a similar one in a Word Doc.  I have attached in an older version of Microsoft Word.  If you don’t have Microsoft Word, you can download and install OpenOffice, it should work perfectly.  (OpenOffice is free).

Paper Bunting

How to change bunting color

Some string, yarn or twine, add some clothes pins from the Dollar Store and you have super cute bunting.

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Chalk Board Sign from Flickr. Click picture to go to Flickr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is another inexpensive item for signage.  An old chalkboard. Love it.  They are a little pricey if they are new so hunt garage sales if you don’t have one. Looks to me the letters on the chalkboard are brown paper – like from a grocery bag. Cute, Cute, Cute.

Let’s make some money.

See you next time.

Debbie

 

 

 

 

May 18

Craft Fairy – Making Crafts Your Business-Part 2

Making Crafts Your Business – Part 2

Eeek, you registered for your first craft show, now what?  Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!

ca. 2001 --- White Daisy --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.   Oprah Winfrey

There are no secrets to success.  It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.  Colin Powell

Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.  Alexander Graham Bell

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”  Benjamin Franklin

Preparation, I have often said, is rightly two-thirds of any venture.  Amelia Earhart

Talent is cheaper than table salt.  What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.  Stephen King

Got that? Preparation is the key.
Here is a list of items you will need just for your booth decoration and set up.
  • Signs
  • Business cards (an absolute must have)
  • Do you have a website? Do you sell on Etsy?  Offer discount coupons. Have them in your booth.
  • Mailing List
  • Table clothes
  • Risers or baskets
  • Stool – don’t use a chair, it places you below eye level of potential buyers
  • Backdrop, banner or bunting – something to make your booth attractive and unique
  • Mirror (if needed)

Let’s make some money.

Debbie

 

May 17

Craft Fairy – Making Crafts Your Business-Part 1

Making Crafts Your Business – Step by step guide.

You want to sell your homemade creations at a craft fair but don’t know where to start.  Here is your starting point.

Depending on the size of the craft fair and where you live, a resellers permit can be required.  It will definitely be required when  your business grows and you attend the larger craft fairs.  You can find information here on obtaining resellers license on the Small Business Administration site.  I would suggest getting it before you sell anything.

There are many benefits to registering your business. First, you will be eligible to declare deductions and second you will now be able to buy supplies from wholesale suppliers. If this is to be your business, treat it like a business.  If you are in the business (and not a hobby) of producing crafts and handmade goods for sale,  you are entitled to many tax exemptions including car expenses, studio expenses, craft fair entry fees, etc. You must log all your information and keep every receipt. you can find more information on starting a small business at the Small Business Administration and also SCORE.

Here are the 20 questions on the Small Business Administration site to ask yourself before starting a small business – and selling crafts and homemade goods is a small business. Not all the questions pertain to a home-based craft business but they are good food for thought.

You have made the decision to move your craft forward and I hope you are proud of yourself.  Let’s make some money.

20 Questions Before Starting

  1. Why am I starting a business?
  2. What kind of business do I want?
  3. Who is my ideal customer?
  4. What products or services will my business provide?
  5. Am I prepared to spend the time and money needed to get my business started?
  6. What differentiates my business idea and the products or services I will provide from others in the market?
  7. Where will my business be located?
  8. How many employees will I need?
  9. What types of suppliers do I need?
  10. How much money do I need to get started?
  11. Will I need to get a loan?
  12. How soon will it take before my products or services are available?
  13. How long do I have until I start making a profit?
  14. Who is my competition?
  15. How will I price my product compared to my competition?
  16. How will I set up the legal structure of my business?
  17. What taxes do I need to pay?
  18. What kind of insurance do I need?
  19. How will I manage my business?
  20. How will I advertise my business?

Stay tuned for more information.

See you next time.

Debbie

May 10

Quilt Binding

I have made 2 quilts.  Considering I’m in my 50’s that isn’t anything to jump for joy about.  I used the “Quilt in a Day” technique from Eleanor Burns.  The quilts were log cabin quilts. (Pssst they took longer than one day too. Quick but not one day. )   I thought they were beautiful.  I gave one to my mother and the other I put on my bed.  Completely unrelated to  the quilt, but within days of finishing the quilt I got a puppy.  Loved that puppy.  Let puppy sleep with me.  Puppy chewed a three-foot hole in the quilt.  I remember waking up and not singing “Walking on Sunshine” when I saw the hole in my quilt.  Really, the quilt was nice and I was proud of it but I loved that puppy and could not be angry.  I thought “I’ll make another quilt”.  Best I can guess that was 26 years ago.

I have made quilted bags, placements and smaller things but no quilts.   A month ago I made my friend a baby quilt using my mid arm machine and that was the first quilt in 26 years.  It was spectacular but I didn’t take any pictures of it. I was so excited to finish it and give it away.  This blog will help me document and take pictures (however crummy I am at taking pictures – I’m gonna work on improving that skill).

Although I have sewed my whole life, I’m not a quilting professional.  This week I made a little throw to put outside to cover the cushions on the patio furniture.  The cushions are dark blue and I feed feral cats and let them live wherever they want —- therefore I have furry dark blue cushions.  Cost is always an issue with me so I made the throw out of an old flat sheet and the yellow binding is another old flat sheet.  Cost was zero – the batting was from a huge roll I got from Craigslist months ago. I paid $10 for it and used 3 times it’s value already so I consider what I used now as free.

Free motion flowers

I free motion quilted some meandering flowers on the quilt and did the binding following this video.  I did not want to hand stitch the binding – really this is for feral cats and not that they don’t deserve nice but they have life right – live and let live.  Again I haven’t quilted in 26 years and I wasn’t sure how perfectly I would get the stitching if I machined stitched the binding so I ……zig zagged it.  I love it.  I’ll do this again.  It looked as pretty on the back as it did on the front.  I used the edge of my foot as my guide and zig zagged along.  It also made the binding a bit stiff, which I love.  Try it if you are in a rush.

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Instructions  for meandering free motion flowers can be seen here.

Debbie