Soon to Come

All I can tell you right now is that my house smells like amazing food, I've just rearranged all my furniture, and I'm halfway through two new blog posts. We're having a party tonight, so the new posts may need to wait a little bit depending on how much time I have, but they'll be here soon.

Guest Post: Magazines

Today's offering for all of you is a guest post by my childhood best friend and scrimpy pal, Emma, who writes a great little blog called Simple Pleasures. Be sure to visit her and give her some love once you're done reading about this fun project she did!


Surgery

It's been an exciting time at Casa Scrimp. I had to have emergency surgery yesterday to take care of an issue that wasn't immediately dangerous but could have become dangerous if not taken care of asap.

Home again now, feeling tired and sore, but good. Look for a new post later today.

Our First Fake Tree

I'm so ashamed! I never, ever thought this day would come.

Mr. Scrimp and I have a fake Christmas tree this year.

And I even like it a little bit.

What possessed us to do this? I've never had a fake tree in my life, and I've always been very clear that I didn't ever want to have a fake tree. But we're going out of town for Christmas this year, we didn't want to leave a live tree behind for a week where the cats could get at it and a housesitter would have to water it, and Mother-In-Law Scrimp offered us a very cute, 3-foot-tall artificial tree.

To compound the problem, I went and picked up some absolutely embarrassingly artificial pine garlands at the dollar store. I'm so ashamed.

Ok... let's be real. If you want to have an artificial tree--more power to you. I have heard and understand all the myriad arguments in favor of fakery. But the artificial tree is lacking something crucial. What's that, you ask? The smell! It can't really be Christmas without the scent of pine needles wafting through your home.

Well, that problem has been solved for me this very day. Merely by salvaging some cast-off branches from the closest tree farm, putting them in water with a little cinnamon and clove, and warming the water up, I can make my house smell like the freaking North Pole and not worry about coming home to a living room carpeted in pine needles the week after Christmas.

And so can you! Visit Organic Authority to get their quick and easy recipe for Christmas tree scented potpourri.

(Seriously, though--next year? We're back to a live tree. )

Trying This At Home

Tonight, we had another cooking adventure. And I'm really not sure how I feel about this one.

Have you ever heard of sweetbreads? If you have, and you haven't eaten them, you're in one of two camps--either you're intrigued, or you're totally disgusted.

For those of you who don't know, sweetbreads are organ meat. But not just any organ meat. This is the thymus or pancreas of a calf. And we decided (why did we decide this??) that we wanted to try cooking and eating some.

This is our story.



Who Does the Cooking?

Who does the cooking in your house?

In case the "Mrs. Scrimp" moniker didn't give it away, I'm a lady. As a cursory glance through this blog will show you, I do a lot of the cooking in the Scrimp household.

But don't let my "happy housewife" attitude fool you. Mr. Scrimp does fully half the cooking, cleaning, and crafting in this house, and I'd be up a creek if he didn't. I think it's a fabulous thing about life in the 21st century that we both work, we both cook, and we both clean equally.

Why do I mention this? Well, I read an article today over at An Attitude Adjustment. It's called Women in Aprons, and it points out that a lot of us in the foodie movement (and I'm thinking particularly about bloggers just now) have put a lot of focus on women cooking for their families. Don't get me wrong, that's awesome, but... well, I'm just going to let them speak for themselves, here.

"I’m fine with a food revolution. I’d love some simple, tasty ideas for nightly meals that don’t make me break a sweat or gain five pounds. But if the food revolution is going to take hold, we need to make sure it is a joint venture. Men and women roasting garlic and chopping onions. Men wearing the aprons as much as women . . . It’s best if men and women can tackle this new endeavor together, even when the chicken is burned"

Go read the whole thing. There's some real food (ha!) for thought in there.

So, About That...

So maybe you've stopped visiting Scrimpalicious recently.

Maybe you've noticed the dearth of posts.

Well, let's be real. I love writing Scrimpalicious, but work comes first, and work has been crazy crazy crazy lately!

We'll be back soon, with lots of exciting new stuff. Hang tight, friends.

Julia I Ain't

So, my in-laws are coming over for dinner tonight, along with Mr. Scrimp's grandmother, who has never been to our house before, and for whom I have never cooked.

Naturally, I am also trying to wrap up a massive project at work, my house is a mess due to a series of welcome parties and beloved weekend guests, and I am in a tizzy of panic about, well, everything.

So, of course, I decided that French cooking would be a good idea on a full workday, especially if I made a recipe that I'd never made before. With grand visions of the most delicious boeuf bourguignon EVER dancing in my head, I dropped Mr. Scrimp off at work and headed for Whole Foods.

Recipe: Homemade Oat Flour and Pancakes

I'm not gluten intolerant (as far as I know) but I do have an intolerance to both wheat and corn. When I was first diagnosed, back in grade school, my parents cut them both out of my diet. Over time, we phased them back in (on the advice of my allergist) and things seemed fine.

Recently, though, I've started having allergy problems again, so I'm cutting wheat and corn back out of my diet. As I start to explore wheat-alternative recipes and foods, I'd like to share my findings with you. Many of these will be gluten-free and safe for people with celiac disease. Others won't. Remember, wheat-free and gluten-free are not the same.


What can I do with these delicious looking things?

Link: Mila's Daydreams

This morning, I'd like to share one of my very favorite blogs with you.

It's not a craft blog, or a cooking blog, or even a blog with any writing on it. Nope, it's a photo blog--not just any photo blog, though! In the style of Oren Lavie, Adele Enersen waits until her baby Mila is asleep and then creates beautiful landscapes using blankets, books, and other props and starring sleeping Mila in an interpretation of what she may or may not be dreaming of at that moment.

I just can't get over this. It's definitely going into my Things To Do Someday When I Have a BabyScrimp file.


Depression Cooking

Right around when I got married to Mr. Scrimp, I found a video channel on YouTube called "Depression Cooking With Clara." It was one of the things that ultimately inspired Scrimpalicious.

Clara is a 94-year-old great-grandmother whose grandson decided to help her make some instructional cooking videos for family use. He put them on YouTube, and it just took off--they're now into a second season and have released a cookbook and DVD.



Equal parts memoir and cooking show, Depression Cooking With Clara includes reminisces about the Great Depression, and cheap family recipes (averaging about $1/serving). Go here to watch it. I really recommend it.

Recipe: Brie Quiche

I made a modified quiche lorraine for breakfast this morning, and it was so quick and easy (and delicious!) that I decided two things -- one, I will be making this much more often from now on, and two, I have to share the recipe with all of you.

I used a the frozen vegan pie crust from Whole Foods, and it turned out rich and delicious.


Facebook Love!

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Roundup: Pumpkin Patch

We're halfway through October and the neighbors two doors down have started lighting up their jack-o-lanterns every night.

Remember me saying how I love pumpkins? Well, there seem to be a lot of other people on the Internets who feel the same way I do. I was looking for one or two DIY pumpkin projects to share with you all, and I found too many to choose from. There's one here for pretty much every taste--or you could mix and match and have an assortment of pumpkin decor that lasts until it's time to put the Christmas things up instead.


DIY Project Inspiration

So, I was looking at some of the products available for sale from the. and I thought, as I so often do, "I could make that."

And I bet you could make it too--or some really cool spinoff of it.

Take a look at the picture under the cut and suggest ideas for other objects that would work for this framed object art.

Tutorial: DIY Garland

I am an incorrigible fabric collector. I can't help it--there's just something about fabric that speaks to me. If you're like me, you have boxes or bags of fabric scraps.

I've got little bits left over from past projects, too small to ever be part of a new sewing project themselves. I've got remnants I picked up at JoAnn with no plan in mind. I've got old clothes that don't fit, or aren't in style anymore. I have an entire shelf just about full of fabric.

Here's a project that uses bits and scraps from old projects to create a decorative garland. I used fall colors for mine, but your color scheme is really only limited by your available fabric.




Rental-friendly Wallpaper

Apartment Therapy has done it again, locating a new way to cover your wall even if you can't paint or put up wallpaper. And, if you're savvy about it, it shouldn't even cost too terribly much. I'm thinking about doing this in our hallway, or possibly in my craft room.


Pumpkin Village

So, Mr. Scrimp and I don't really do much for Halloween. I grew up in a no-Halloween family, and while Mr. Scrimp has many happy trick-or-treating memories, he's not super devoted to it. We go to a party with some friends, but that's it.

I do, however, love pumpkins. I love them uncarved. I love them carved. I love them painted. I love their seeds, and I love them in soup and pie. There is pretty much nothing about pumpkins that I don't love, in fact.

Which is why I thought this idea on ohdeedoh was so cool (picture after the cut)


Recipe: Thai Chicken

Gosh, it's been a while since I posted a new recipe!

I don't know how authentically Thai this recipe actually is--my mom made it when I was a kid and called it Thai chicken, so Thai chicken I call it.

Mr. Scrimp and I are both big fans of it, I can tell you that much. It's hot and spicy and will warm you up on a chilly fall day.


25 Cheap, Healthy Foods

In this economy, believe me, I know how hard it can be to buy healthy, unprocessed food when the pre-made stuff is so handy and cheap. I read the sales flyers in the newspaper every week and then sigh over the fact that nobody ever seems to have magical piles of coupons for fruits and vegetables, and that if I want to emulate all those coupon-shopping blogs that manage to get $75 worth of groceries for five dollars and a few scissors-blisters, I have to compromise on what I eat.

So, I was really happy to find this article on SparkPeople that lists 25 healthy foods that you can buy inexpensively. Almost all of them meet my criteria for defining unprocessed foods (I don't count freezing or canning as "processing" for the purposes of that particular discussion), and the only other thing I disagree with is the favoring of low-fat or nonfat dairy products over full-fat or 2%.

What else do you buy that's cheap and healthy?

Alphabet Wall

This would make such a cool decoration for a child's bedroom or playroom, or, with a darker set of colors (ebony, mahogany, gold, etc.) even in an office or library.

Alphabet Wall!
Check out a time for everything for more photos and a description of how she did it!

Make Do and Mend

During World War II, the British government had a fantastic propaganda campaign going. War rationing hit the UK hard, and new clothes were not easy to come by. We need those nylons for the boys on the front!

Well, nobody's under war rationing right now, but the economy isn't showing many signs of getting better any time soon, and I think it's worth revisiting that old campaign to try and re-learn some of the tricks our grandmothers were using to keep themselves in stylish clothes when money and new fabric were scarce.


Recession Fashion

I think most of the people who read this blog like to shop at thrift stores. Right? Right? I mean, if you don't, why not? They're the best! Seriously, most of my favorite clothes come from the good old Salvation Army up the road.

But I'm also sure that all of us who have braved these temples to unwanted stuff have had the following experience...


CHOCbite

I've got a whole lot of new things for you that I've accumulated in the last month (eek! month??) since I posted. Yikes. Since when is summer busier than the rest of the year? I'm not in school anymore but it hasn't been long enough for me to lose the association of summer with vacation and leisure.

Anyway, if you're looking for something fun and unique with which to take the edge off of how busy your summer has been, why not check out CHOCbite? They've got a whole range of customizable chocolate bars. No, seriously! You pick your chocolate, you pick your toppings, and then they're custom-made and sent to you.

Alternatively, I guess you could just hack it and do it yourself. ;)

Busy Bee

So, I have a history of making impulsive decisions and then immediately following through on them because I'm too impatient to wait, and by wait I mean "stop, think it over, and make a plan."

By and large, this has worked out for me. I feel like my gut  instinct is good. However, I still don't think of this as a particularly great quality about myself because occasionally and eventually it inevitably leads to trouble.

That being said.. this time, I think it's going to be ok.


DIY Swiffer Cover

I am a big fan of the Swiffer. I use it to mop my kitchen, and to pick up cat hair around my house.

I am not such a big fan of constantly throwing away Swiffer pads, which never last as long as I feel like they should.

Enter Berlin's Whimsy, with this awesome Homemade Swiffer Cover pattern. Now you can Swiffer to your heart's content, unbutton (or un-velcro, cause there's no way I'm sewing buttonholes into a double layer of terrycloth), and then toss them into the wash to be re-used.


The terrycloth looks like it would be great for wet-mopping. I wonder how it does with picking up lint and cat hair.

Maybe I'll experiment with a different fabric for that--perhaps one of those really cheap fabrics that they make dollar-store stuffed animals out of. You know the ones. Five seconds out of the package and they're already covered in hair and dirt. It would be perfect!

Any other suggestions for dry-sweeping fabrics I could try?

Yuck, Yuck, Yuck

Ok. So I've talked before about processed foods. Today, I want to focus specifically on one of them, one that--for no particular reason other than personal caprice--is possibly my most-hated example of the entire genre.

I'm talking, of course, about margarine.

Seriously? This is not even close to appetizing.

DIY All-Natural Lip Gloss

Want to protect, adorn, and nourish your lips, save some money, and stop using gross chemicals on your mouth at the same time?

Of course you do!

And PlanetGreen is here to help, with a quick recipe for do-it-yourself, all-natural lip gloss.

I never do these because I always feel like the huge bottles of things like aloe vera and coconut oil that people want to sell me are just too big. I'm never going to use that much! But, as a way to cut costs and spread the chemical-free wealth a bit, why not consider going in with some girlfriends on the price of this gloss, instead?

Happy July, everyone!

I'm back from my unnanounced vacation! Sorry that I forgot to announce it--I knew it was coming and in the fuss and bustle of getting ready to drive halfway across the country and back, I forgot to pass that knowledge on to you.

Now I feel bad.

This is really just a filler post, but get ready for more later this week, both from me and Mr. Scrimp (if I can manage to convince him to use some of his remaining time off for blogging). Possible subjects I'm considering and working on? My vendetta on margarine, the progress of our container gardening project, the fun vintage jewelry I found in Connecticut, and my look at and suggestions about ways to weather the increasingly gloomy economy.

Stay tuned!

Your Fly is Down!

Ha. See what I did there with the funny pun for a title?

Seriously, though--I'm here to update you on how that experiment with the bay leaves turned out.


More Food Pondering

It's been a lovely weekend. Mr. Scrimp and I just celebrated our first wedding anniversary! That's right, we've been married for a whole year, which is next to no time at all to those of you who have been married for a while, and an eternity to those of you who think marriage is terrifying.

All in all, I gotta say I'm pretty happy with the deal I got, by which I mean that Mr. Scrimp is the best and I wouldn't trade being married to him for anything in the world.

I was mulling over things I could talk about on the blog today, and then I drifted into daydreams about our lovely anniversary picnic yesterday (we went to the beach. There was grass! There was sand! There was water! There was a picnic!). So I figured I'd talk to you a bit about food, which you know is a favorite topic of mine.

How much do you spend on food each week?


DIY Summer Top

Newest item on my list of wicked cool things? Sew Mama Sew, a repository of hip patterns, design ideas, tips, tricks, and techniques for sewing. They also sell some really beautiful and unique fabrics and maintain a blog with inspiration photos, links, and advice. What's not to love?

I'm particularly enthralled with this pattern, which I'd like to try very soon, especially because Mr. Scrimp and I are getting ready to take a trip to the beach, and I'm going to need something cute to wear there!


Doesn't this look like it will fit the bill nicely? I'm a fan.

Eww...

Summer is here, and with summer comes my least favorite group of creatures--bugs.

There's a long list of critters that I hate, hate, hate! Spiders, centipedes, cockroaches, flies, ants--I can tolerate them outside, but when they get inside my house, I am not a happy Mrs. Scrimp.

Unfortunately, ants and flies have both arrived in our house--mainly in the kitchen. Our kitchen has a door that leads into the back steps and then right out into the driveway, so it's not really a surprise, but it definitely is an annoyance.

The problem is, I refuse to even let chemical insectisides into my house. So, what's to be done? Well, I did some poking around online and have some ideas.


New Layout

Hey guys! Check it out! Scrimpalicious has a new look!

Be sure to leave a comment and let me know how you like it!

Reader Feature: Jill

It's long been a bloggy hope of mine that people will send me photos of projects they've done (or meals they've made, or gardens they've planted, or what-have-you) so that I can feature them here on the blog and share them with the world.

Today, I'm happy to present the lovely handiwork of Scrimpalicious reader (and personal friend to the Scrimps), Jill!


DIY Reusable Shopping Bags

Mr. Scrimp and I have a growing collection of reusable shopping bags. I like this. They're stronger than the paper bags we get at Whole Foods (and often hold more), and of course they sharply reduce the amount of plastic bags that we use.

What I don't like is the fact that every time I use one, I'm advertising for someone. Granted, if I bought a bag from them I'm probably ok with giving them a little shout-out, but I'd be just as happy having something prettier that I can take anywhere. I only use my branded bags for shopping. I don't use them, say, for a trip. Call me picky (I am). I don't wear many brand-name clothes either.

Well, now I know what to do about it! Living With Punks has posted this spectacular tutorial on how to make your own reusable shopping bag, and I love it!

She even managed to find cute shopping bag fabric at JoAnn online, so as soon as you read her tutorial you can order some fabric and prepare to get started.

(via CraftGossip)

Why Organic?

One question I've never been asked is why Mr. Scrimp and I make an effort to eat organic, local, and/or unprocessed food whenever possible. I think that's because, particularly amongst our 20-something age group, eating organic and local has become a very fashionable thing to do, which makes it a very unfashionable thing to question.

But, I think it's worth discussing our reasons, because I know there are so many people out there who aren't doing it, and I believe it's very valuable.

So, here's a list of the reasons we changed our lifestyle like this.


Recipe(s): Strawberry Rhubarb Dessert

This week's CSA delivery included a pound each of rhubarb stalks and strawberries. Well, every Mrs. Scrimp knows what to do with those two fresh ingredients... make a pie!

I knew I'd be doing it as soon as I picked the food up on Friday, but I also knew that Mr. Scrimp and I would be camping in West Virginia for the weekend (I came home with literally eighteen--eighteen! I counted!--bug bites on my right arm alone, and that's after practically bathing in citronella). So, I washed and dried the rhubarb and put it in the fridge, and I washed, hulled, and halved the strawberries and froze them for the weekend.

On Sunday, we were invited to a barbecue, and I knew it was time for some pie action.  But I had no recipe... so, I made up my own.


DIY Maraschino Cherries

There are few drinks more evocative of childhood than a Shirley Temple. I can remember countless trips to restaurants with my grandparents and parents, plunging my fingers as discreetly as possible (read: not very discreetly) into the icy depths of my ginger ale to fish out the impossibly red cherry at the bottom.

Even as an adult, I'm a huge sucker for maraschino cherries. However, I rarely eat them because they're full of sugars and dyes and weird things, and I never buy them.

But I see no reason not to buy fresh cherries, and if I happen to also buy a little maraschino liqueur to soak them in for a few weeks? Oh well. I will blame NPR, because they're the ones who told me that I could make grown-up, original-style maraschino cherries at home and forgo the gross processed stuff.

(Note: for readers with kids who don't want to give them alcohol-soaked cherries, the page also has a non-alcoholic version of the recipe)

Container Gardening Experiment: Phase Two

Well.

A few seedlings have sprouted.

Some of them are already dead. In this case, because they got a little too much sun and dried out, poor things.

I'm going to give the rest another few days to see if they sprout, but then I'm going back to the nursery and just buying plants already-started. Clearly, I continue to be no good at gardening.

BUT...I have fresh inspiration. Want to know what it is?


Facebook

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Frilly Wreath

Want a quick, girly, summery decorating project on the cheap? Of course you do!

My favorite for today is the book-wreath-inspired coffee filter wreath, made by Lynda at Sports Mad Southern Girl. I love how it looks like a giant mass of carnations.



I may try this with unbleached filters instead of white ones, as I think it would match the aesthetic I'm going for a little more. Man, there is just never enough time to do all the projects I want to do.

Homemade Hanging Baskets

I am in love with these hanging bathroom baskets posted by Lorie at Be Different...Act Normal. All you need is some string or ribbon, spray paint in a color that coordinates with your decor, and three nesting baskets.



For that matter, you could put these anywhere else--wouldn't they be beautiful in a pantry, stocked with fresh produce and dried herbs? Or perhaps several sets in a living room, displaying objets d'art and collectibles? They'd also serve well in a child's room, or hanging on the inside door of a guest room closet.

(via Dollar Store Crafts)

Recipe: A Radish Revelation Revolution

Well, Mr. Scrimp and I have begun to work our way through the massive pile of fresh local produce that came with our CSA yesterday.

And I have made an amazing discovery. I like radishes.

I say this as someone who has had a fixed dislike, if not loathing, for radishes, pretty much forever. They're like peppery, crunchy, raw potatoes--there is nothing I enjoy about them. I appreciate them aesthetically, but if you put radishes in my salad, I will eat around them and leave them sad and alone at the bottom of my bowl.

Until now. Ladies and gentlemen, you can cook radishes, and it transforms them into an entirely different food. I have become, in a matter of an hour, a radish lover. A radish aficionado. Someone who actively thinks about how I can possibly obtain more radishes.

This revelation was delivered to me via the newsletter that came with our delivery, which claims that people eat cooked radishes on sandwiches all the time in France. Intrigued, I gave it a try--and my only regret is that I didn't have more radishes.

And, because I want you to have this same experience as soon as possible, I am posting a recipe.


CSA

It's cold here in Ohio, so things grow slowly... but, at long last, today is the first delivery for our CSA (community supported agriculture) program! I won't be picking it up till about 4:30 this afternoon--nevertheless, I am so excited!

We got an email with a list of what we'll be receiving, so I'm going to share it with you in the hope that it will inspire you to look into a CSA in your city, too.


Container Gardening Experiment: The Saga Begins

According to the chart that Burpee published and Home Depot hung in their garden center, today, May 25, is THE BEST DAY OF THE YEAR to start planting seeds in Northern Ohio. So, I have duly planted a host of seedlings and am settling into the waiting game to see if any of them actually work their magic and, you know... grow.

I know some of my readers are fortunate enough to live in areas with a fair amount of available land to them. Mr. Scrimp and I, however, have a postage-stamp front lawn, a front step with a foot or two of space on it, and no back yard at all. So, traditional gardening just isn't really an option for us. We have a couple strips of rocky, weedy ground off to one side of our driveway, that gets just about the right mix of sun and shade to be perfect for growing plants in. That's it.

So? Container garden!


Free Stuff

Mr. Scrimp and I are making moves towards doing some container gardening (we're running late, honestly--we should have already started). In our quest to make that happen, I've been looking around for cheap sources of pots and clean soil. I'm also on the lookout for some old/scrap windows to use for a decorating project idea, a filing cabinet, and some bookshelves. And a mandolin.

Which brings me to the subject I wanted to discuss today.

When you're trying to be frugal, but also trying to do things in your home that require you to obtain things that traditionally cost money... what do you do?


A New Meaning to "Window Treatment"

So here I am, slinking quietly back into blogland. I think I'm finally settled enough at my new job to maybe start posting regularly again. Let's hope!

Meanwhile, I am madly in love with this awesome and easy-looking project from The Shabby Chic Cottage:


I would not complain about having one of those in my house. Time to start looking for windows!

Be sure to visit the Shabby Chic Cottage and see all the awesome posts there.

DIY Lighting

While surfing the web this morning, I came across this little piece at Greenopolis.



Titled "18 Green DIY Lamps You Can Make Before Dark," it's a collection of links and photos with inspiration, directions, or links to kits for lighting made from repurposed around-the-house (mostly) materials.

Definitely be sure to get a load of my two favorites, the cardboard fairy lights (pictured here), and the plastic cutlery chandelier.

No-Impact Man

Now that I'm a work-from-home-Scrimp, I find myself watching a lot more movies to pass the time and keep it from getting too isolated and quiet here at the house.

Yesterday, I watched a documentary about "No-Impact Man," a journalist who decided a couple of years ago that he was going to attempt to live for a year with zero impact on the environment. He and his family stopped buying anything disposable, stopped eating meat, only ate local food, and even went so far as to shut off their electricity for 6 months.

I don't really have an interest in being that extreme. But the lifestyle appeals to me nonetheless. Mr. Scrimp and I do what we can to eat local and we'd like to try growing food and doing other things to generally limit our involvement with the synthetic wasteland that is so much of the modern world.

What about you? Does it even appeal to you? Or do you think the whole thing is blown out of proportion?

What Do You Do?

What do you do when you have one of those days where everything seems to go wrong?

For instance, I'm going on a business trip today, but one thing after another has been going off the rails. All of a sudden, my flight leaves ten hours from now, I'm not packed, my car just got towed to the mechanic, Mr. Scrimp has to leave work early to take me, and there's not even anybody at his work today to approve him leaving because all the people in charge are out.

We could stress out, but instead I'm going to light a scented candle, try to relax, get things done, leave Mr. Scrimp some love notes, and look forward to the trip.

Homemade Cleaning Products

More cost effective over time (because you can make them in bulk), and not containing perfumes or long lists of strange chemicals, homemade cleaning products are a great option if you don't want to spend the extra money for natural cleaning products.

If you want to try making your own, you can try these recipes posted at Women's Day.

If you don't want to use ammonia, but do want to try some homemade recipes, google has tons to be found.

Happy cleaning!

Easter

Mr. Scrimp and I went away for Easter to visit my grandmother, fully expecting that when we got there, I'd be able to update the blog from her house. Sadly, we had no such luck--the phones were down and the Internet was wonky and I was a very sad Mrs. Scrimp.

What's the best part about going away on vacation? Coming home, of course! Our house was clean, our cats were frantic with excitement that we were back, and the weather is beautiful.

Posting will now be going back to a regular schedule, at last!

Recipe: Homemade Bagels

So yesterday, on Facebook, someone posted a recipe for homemade bagels.

Now, I love bagels. Love. Them. And I've always sort of been under the impression that they were very difficult to make.

I'm here to tell you now, that isn't true. Bagels are complicated, but not difficult at all. If you have any experience working with yeast doughs at all, these shouldn't give you a moment of pause, really. I don't have a ton of experience, but I'm learning, and these were fast, easy, and delicious.

Bagel sandwich at a deli or bagel place? $2-5 apiece. Homemade bagels? About $3 for 8. 


Product Review: Pomi Tomatoes

First off, sorry about the lack of posting this week. Things got crazy all at once and I was just so overwhelmed by it all that honestly, even logging in to say I wouldn't be posting felt like a bit too much. But I'm back now, so let's not dwell on the past!

Instead, let's talk about delicious food.


I've discussed my concerns about tomato products here in the past--the quality control issues, and the issues with chemicals in canned tomatoes. So you can imagine how happy Mr. Scrimp and I were to find that our local Whole Foods and our local Italian/import grocery store both carry Pomi tomatoes.


Lá Fhéile Pádraig

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! I want to encourage you to check out other blogs around the Internet because everyone else has been posting such neat stuff.

Also, for dinner tonight, how about you try one of these ten recipes to make with Guinness?  Of course, any stout will work for these.

Have fun, be responsible, and don't forget to wear something green!

Pottery Barn Hacking

For those of you not in the loop on the latest slang, "hacking" in this sense just means copying something expensive and making your own for cheap or free. Want a good example? Check out this Pottery Barn hack by Angie of The Country Chic Cotttage.

Inspired by this Pottery Barn banker box storage set, Angie made these out of some left-over Christmas tins and some chalkboard paint:


Instructions here at Someday Crafts.

CSA

This week, Mr. Scrimp and I did something new--we signed up for a CSA delivery.

The way this works is that for 22 weeks, we will pay a weekly fee and in exchange, we'll get a big box of local produce from area farms, sometimes even including milk, eggs, and meat! The box is not delivered to our house, but to a pickup location about a 30 minute walk (or 5 minute drive) from here on Friday afternoons.

I would like to recommend looking into a CSA if you are trying to eat more fresh produce. We will be paying the same amount we already pay for groceries, but with an added guarantee that everything we get will be fresh, local, and newly harvested, and that our money is going to support farms and small businesses close to our home. Community supported agriculture, people! It's super!

As an additional plus, because you don't choose what gets delivered to you from week to week in your CSA box, you're pretty much guaranteed to eventually get something you don't usually buy, don't like, or have never cooked. This means you're either going to have to get creative and try something new, or be generous and give food away to your friends and neighbors. Either way, I approve. 

Sadly, because of our local climate, 22 weeks a year is the most we can get for our CSA. If you live in a place with a year-round growing season, however, you can probably find a year-round delivery.

If you are in the Cleveland area, our CSA still has spots available. If you aren't, try looking for a CSA in your neighborhood either just by googling it (which is how I found ours) or checking on Local Harvest. If you follow the link, it will take you to a page with a function where you can enter your ZIP code and they'll find local CSAs. Bear in mind, that website did not find the CSA that we ended up deciding to use, so I'd try several search methods.


Image Credit: "First CSA Delivery of the Season" by Flickr User sharynmorrow

Be back soon..

Mr. Scrimp and I are going to be out of town attending a funeral tonight and tomorrow. Blogging will resume on Saturday.

Spring Cleaning

The spring thaw seems to be here. It's in the high 50's out today, there are birds everywhere and the sun is shining. I feel like I've come out of a cave or something--everything is so beautiful. I'm so excited just to sit out on our front stoop and enjoy the sun!

Today, I spent about two hours scrubbing the baseboards in our living room. I got a trusty spray bottle full of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day, an old toothbrush, and a rag, and went to work spraying, brushing, and wiping clean. Dirty baseboards seem like a small thing but having them clean makes such a difference! I don't think the baseboards in this apartment have been cleaned in.. well.. a long time. Definitely years.

I also read the newest issue of Martha Stewart, shopped online for heirloom vegetable seeds (so that we can start container gardening this year!) and washed the windows.

What are you doing to greet the spring?

Handy Tip

So I've posted at least two bread recipes here thus far. By now, I hope you all have tried one or the other of them, or made another bread recipe of your own.

If you've ever tried making a yeast bread, you know how insane it can be to try and clean it up. Bread dough just never seems to come off of anything. If you are like me, you still haven't figured out how to deal with that. Soaking only sort of works. Hot water is a disaster. The stuff eats sponges alive. What to do?

Well, A Year in Bread will answer those questions and tell you the best way to clean up raw bread dough. Go read!

Five Dollar Decor - Child's Room

I've been remiss lately with the Five Dollar Decor posts, I admit. You'd be surprised how tough it can be to come up with ideas when there's nothing that I find immediately inspiring.

I still wasn't terribly inspired when I chose this theme, but I got more and more excited as I went, and now I'm really sad that it hasn't got any applicability for Mr. Scrimp and I at this time.

We don't have kids of our own yet, but I started working in childcare around the same time I started high school and have been doing it ever since. Babysitting, nannying, teaching preschool--you name it, I've done it. If I ever teach preschool again, I'll use these ideas in my classroom. If not, I'll use them when Mr. Scrimp and I manage to successfully make a Tiny Scrimp. Scrimpette? Mini-Scrimp? Well, the point is, someday we'll have one, and I will be ready.


Product Review: Yogi Tea Cold Season

This morning, when the alarm went off and Mr. Scrimp shook me awake, there was only one thought in my head:

Blllllllleeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrgggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh.

That is what I groaned into my pillow as I shoved my face in it and tried to hike the covers up over my head even as Mr. Scrimp insisted that I had to get up and start getting ready for the day. I whimpered. I pouted. I whined. I coughed pathetic little coughs. When the lights went on, I clutched my poor aching head and winced in pain like a hungover vampire.

I has the sick.

There is some illness that has been making the rounds amongst our friends. Mr. Scrimp was the most recent one to have it, and so it was only a matter of time before I, too, fell prey to it. I feel miserable. I'm still dragging myself to work, but I admit that I am doing it with bad grace, because my head hurts.

I started feeling sick yesterday morning, and so I made myself a cup of the tea that I'd bought for Mr. Scrimp when he got sick--Cold Season, by Yogi Tea.

First of all, this stuff is delicious. Delicious. It has a great blend of herbs and spices in it, including just enough black pepper to warm it up and give it a little kick without actually being spicy.

Second, it actually works. I am a big believer in medicinal herbs and this tea combines all the ones I otherwise would have had to take separately into one delicious beverage. I found it, mixed with a little honey, to be very soothing on the throat, and very relaxing to drink.

I recommend this stuff without caveat. It's excellent. I will warn you, though, that the Cold Season formula has valerian root in it, which is an herbal sedative. Some people are fine drinking that throughout the day, but some aren't. I drank some with my lunch yesterday and it knocked me right out. I fell asleep at work, in spite of my best efforts to stay awake.

That can also work to your benefit, though. Mr. Scrimp and I each drank some right before bed last night and both fell asleep almost as soon as our heads hit our pillows. No being kept awake by coughing, no lying awake feeling uncomfortable. Just warm, delicious sleep.

Drink some. I promise, it'll be great.. until the alarm goes off and you have to get out of your nice warm bed again.

Note: This is an unsolicited and unsponsored review, reflecting my opinion and experience only. I was not compensated in any way for providing it.

Sanctified Space

Sanctification. It means "setting something apart."

We all have things in our lives that we sanctify, whether it's that one outfit that you only wear for extra-special occasions, or something more abstract, like the exact way you feel about your significant other when they give you that one look that makes your knees go a little weak. You know exactly what that feeling is like, but you don't share it. Those things are set apart somehow, to a greater or lesser degree, and their set-apartness gives them a kind of reverence, a kind of holiness.

But what about an actual place? Have you ever thought about sanctifying a space?


Gross!

"Federal agents descended on Kraft’s offices near Chicago and confronted Mr. Watson. He admitted his role in a bribery scheme that has laid bare a startling vein of corruption in the food industry. And because the scheme also involved millions of pounds of tomato products with high levels of mold or other defects, the case has raised serious questions about how well food manufacturers safeguard the quality of their ingredients."

If you haven't yet made the switch away from processed foods, I urge you to read this article in the New York Times and reconsider.

Mr. Scrimp and I do believe that, by and large, our food is well monitored and safe. We do eat some processed foods now and then, and Mr. Scrimp has yet to totally break his Taco Bell habit.

Still, I have to be honest and say that this is going to make it easier to break myself of those last few food habits that I haven't changed yet. I want to grow tomatoes this summer and can my own so that I can eat pasta sauces and soups without wondering exactly what I'm eating. I am angry and I am sick and tired of not knowing where my food is really coming from and how.

The peace of mind that comes with knowing that everything I eat and feed to my family is safe and fresh is well worth the extra effort and minimal expense involved.

via Accidental Hedonist

Product Review: Mint.com

Well, I'm back. Mr. Scrimp and I had a great weekend in Pittsburgh, eating, playing games, hanging out with great friends, and sleeping on an air mattress--I'm really glad to be back home and able to sleep in our own bed!

Sometimes I start to get really burned out on life in general and these mini-vacations are a really good way for me to step back and recharge my batteries. I'm feeling ready to to face the world again.

Today I'd like to recommend you visit my new favorite website--Mint.com


Hmm..

Well I just can't seem to pull my mind together this week, I've been so distracted by all the real-life drama. So I'm going to extend the mini-hiatus until Monday, and Mr. Scrimp and I are going to brave the snow and take a weekend off in Pittsburgh.

I'll probably tweet a lot of the trip, but aside from Twitter, don't look for another post until then, when I expect to be refreshed and ready to jump back in!

Mini-hiatus

Blogging has been light for me these last few days, I know. Partly this is a money issue--we had some car trouble, so we don't have extra funds this month for buying the items I need to complete craft projects, leaving me with less to blog about.

It's also a health issue. While I am generally healthy in the sense that I'm rarely sick via contagion, I do have a chronic illness (endometriosis) that frequently leaves me tired or in pain. We've just started dealing with a new issue connected to that, so I spent a lot of time at the doctor's yesterday and was so emotionally exhausted by it that I didn't do anything last night except curl up in bed with Mr. Scrimp and watch TV.

Tonight is our weekly game night with friends, so I expect I'll be ready to go back to regularly scheduled blogging tomorrow morning.

In the meantime.. leave a comment and give me one link to YOUR blog and at least one link to another blog you read so I can have some fresh inspiration!

Product Review: Hot Prints Photobook

Last month, I found a website for a company called HotPrints that is running a year-long promotion--one free photo book per month, with free shipping, for twelve months. Crazy rad, right?

Figuring I had nothing to lose, I decided to go ahead and see what I could do with it. I uploaded some photos from our wedding and went to work.

The website itself was pretty easy to use. It took a while to upload enough photos to fill the book, but it was very simple once everything was uploaded--just a lot of clicking and dragging. There were a tolerable number of layout and design varieties, and I was pretty happy with the potential of my book when I finished.

Well, it got here a couple of days ago. I'd say it took maybe 3 weeks but I was silly and didn't actually record the exact interval.

All in all, I can't complain about something that was free. Still, I wasn't completely satisfied. Photos were smaller in the book than the preview made it look like they would be. The book was paperback, more like a 20-page comic book than anything else (slightly heavier paper). The print quality wasn't bad, but the photos did turn out a little dark, so if I do it again I'll have to be sure that I lighten my photos more than I think they need before uploading them.

The promotion is sponsored by advertising of course, so there was a full 2-page spread of ads printed in the middle of the book, although it's designed to be easily torn out. I have to admit, I didn't even look at it--just ripped it out and tossed it in the trash.

There are also ads on the outside back cover, which is of course a little harder to tear off and throw away.

I'll probably make another one or two of these, because hey, it's free, and you could put together a nice little collection of comic book-sized mini photo albums without much trouble.

Overall verdict? It's definitely not a service I would pay any significant quantity of money for, when there are much higher-quality services out there with better layout options and hardcover books. But, if you've got some photos that you want to put into a booklet without spending a ton of money and don't care about those things, you've got nothing to lose, really.

Note: This review represents my opinion only, and was not sponsored or paid for.

Five Dollar Decor: Framed Art

One of the things that I find makes a home feel most finished is hanging framed artwork on the walls. I don't even care what's in the frames, really--there's just something about one or two or twenty(!) frames, neatly hung, that says a place is lived in by someone who cares about their surroundings.

Thing is, framed artwork--if you just buy it--is really expensive, especially when you get into bigger pieces.

So, what you should do instead is make it!


Theme Songs

I was reading the Blah Blah Blahger today in my feed reader. First of all, I realized that I haven't really done any blog reading since Wednesday. Oops! Well, I've been busy not procrastinating, so there's my excuse.

On Wednesday, JJ talked about theme songs, and how finding and applying a theme song to your life can really help you get a sesne of purpose or calm. Odd as this sounds, because I think the concept smacks of the sort of self-help-y nonsense that normally drives me crazy, I have found this to be totally true. I've always had theme songs over the years, although I tend not to trumpet the fact. There just always seems to be a song that fits how I feel about myself and my life at a given point in time.

I'm going to admit right now, my theme song is one that you may think is hackneyed or over-used. You might think it's totally trite to pick this... but, well, I don't care.

Anyway, it's really Mr. Scrimp's fault.


Three Excuses for Procrastination.. and why not to listen

I didn't write a blog post yesterday, because I had a lot of things to do off the computer. I drove Mr. Scrimp to work. I worked out. I drove me to work. I worked. I came home and we made dinner and then I spent hours cleaning.

All in all, sounds pretty good, right? Well, no, because...


Link: Shabby Chic Cottage

Mr. Scrimp and I are in the middle of organizing and setting up our spare room to be an office/craft room, after almost eight months of using it for storage (read: piling things up when we don't want to deal with having them in the rest of the house). As a result, all my crafting stuff has been moved from disorganized piles on the floor to semi-organized piles on a shelf and I've been too busy to actually do much crafting.

But... when I do, this is the next project on my list--a rectangular cloth basket, designed by Gina at the Shabby Chic Cottage.



Go here for the how-to.

Valentine's Day Recap and Recipe: Strings of Flats

Well, in spite of having said he wasn't really big on Valentine's day, Mr. Scrimp came through for me, like I was sure he would.

This is our first-ever Valentine's Day together. Last year, we were engaged but in different states on Valentine's Day, and the year before that, we weren't even dating yet! Needless to say, this was a pretty memorable day.

Link: Valentine's Day Wall Art

I love this Valentine's Day wall art from Secret Pie Shoppe! The whole project was made with nothing but scrapbook paper and a little cardstock--just a few dollars, if you don't have the materials on hand.

You could do this with pretty much any shape and color--squares or circles, hearts, what-have-you.  It definitely isn't limited to a Valentine's Day craft.

Follow the link for a how-to.

Mr. Scrimp

Almost exactly nine years ago, I met this guy...



Money Stress Management

I'd like to take a moment to talk about money, something that I haven't done a lot of recently but which definitely comes under the Scrimpalicious heading and mission statement (which is in my head). After all, I did start this blog with the intention of being helpful to people who haven't had years of practice at budgeting, making things, and trying to save money.

I just opened our gas bill, and to say I'm experiencing a little sticker shock is an understatement. I think that's probably the case for everyone, and those of you living in Southern states that have had all that unexpected snow can look forward to a similar experience next month, most likely.

So what do you do when a bill is way over what you budgeted for?

If "way over" just means an extra $20 or $50 and you can scrape it together, that's fine, but what if it's an extra $200 or even an extra $500? 

Well first, you make this face:



Then...


Snow

Well, we haven't had half the snow that places East of us have, but there's still been a fair amount of it here in Ohio.

Mr. Scrimp spent an hour and a half shoveling out our driveway yesterday. When I came home, I found that while he'd been shoveling, he built up a wall along the side of the driveway, along with some pre-Valentine's day graffiti.


When I went to take a picture this morning, a bit of the heart had been knocked down, but it says "D. <3 B. 4ever."

Very romantic, no?

Beating the Blahs: Yellow!

Winter is not only cold in terms of its temperature, but its color palette. Every where I look, things are hard white, black, blue, and gray. This is a fine color scheme to have but after a while it just gets so overwhelming and dreary. I can feel myself starting to get depressed because of the weather, and that is just no good. Time to be proactive and focus on things that will make me feel happier.

I did a lot of blog reading last year while planning the Scrimp Wedding Extravaganza (n.b., if you're planning a wedding, be sure to read this website for inspiration), and I fell in love with one of the color schemes that was a Popular New Thing last year--yellow, gray, and blue.

So I collected some pictures of yellow things-around-the-house, to lift your spirits and mine while we dig out from under all this snow.


Recipe: Challah

Although my family has a Jewish background, I was raised Christian, but in spite of not being a traditionally observant Jew (although I do celebrate the big holidays), I am trying to learn how to observe some kind of sabbath.

I really love to make challah. I've recently started a goal of trying to make a loaf every Friday morning, since Fridays are a late-start day for me and I don't need to go to work until 1. That way, we have fresh bread for the weekend and something special to eat on Saturdays.

This recipe takes me about two hours, from getting out the ingredients to taking the finished loaf out of the oven to cool. It's not as sweet as a traditional challah, but we like it that way because it means we can use it for sandwiches without getting a weird overly-sweetness to it, but can also sweeten it up with a bit of honey and butter, or with jelly.

I will say, I am generally afraid of trying kneaded, yeasty breads because I have had a lot of past experiences where what I got was a heavy, dry, crumbly loaf of flavorless blah... but this recipe so far has always turned out well for me, very elastic with few crumbs.


Project: Frame It!

Yesterday, while Mr. Scrimp was getting very involved with a new video game, I decided to do a little on-the-fly craft project. Back in October, we'd picked up four $5 black frames at Wal-Mart, hoping they would fit some prints we had on hand. Sadly, they didn't, and I never got around to returning them, so they just sat in a bag in our spare room for months.


Until yesterday!


Saturday!

Oh my gosh--this is my 100th post in this blog since October. That isn't a ton, but it's still a milestone and I feel good about it.

Sadly, it's going to be a short and pretty unmemorable post. I have spent my day doing crafty things and redecorating our mantel. There are pictures, but Mr. Scrimp and I are about to run out the door to a friend's birthday party, so I don't have time to download them off the camera just yet. Look for them tonight or tomorrow morning, along with instructions for copying my project.

Happy Saturday, friends!

Five Dollar Decor - Arts & Crafts Style

So, Mr. Scrimp and I were trying to figure out a good five dollar decor topic. We couldn't come up with one for the longest time, and then it hit me! Instead of talking about five variations on one thing--wall coverings, or whatever--what if I looked at five things you can add to or change about a room to make it feel more like a certain style of decor?

So this week, I dug up five things that you can do to make a room feel more Arts & Crafts. Now, when I say Arts & Crafts, I'm not talking about the thing you do with fingerpaint and popsicle sticks in kindergarten. No, I'm referring to the design movement pioneered by William Morris and John Ruskin at the turn of the century.



Think early Tiffany lamps, Stickley furniture, Frank Lloyd Wright, exposed wood beams, simple fabrics, geometric patterns, and leaded glass. The key here is simplicity. You should be able to replicate all of the following things for five dollars each.


Friday Mornings

Fridays are a late-start day for me at work. I don't go in until 1pm, but Mr. Scrimp still has to be at work by 7:30, so I have Friday mornings completely to myself.

Generally I write a Five Dollar Decor post if I haven't finished one for the week already, tool around on the Internet, maybe go to the gym,and just generally take it slow.

This morning, I had to drive Mr. Scrimp to work because my car is in the shop having its computer and brake lines replaced. I thought about going to the gym, but I wasn't feeling great. I thought about going back to bed, but I'd had a cup of tea when I got up. I thought about watching a movie, bu that's never as fun without Mr. Scrimp.

So instead, I made a loaf of challah, cleaned my kitchen and pantry, and tidied the dining room in preparation for the weekend. Normally, we just do our big cleaning jobs during the weekend, but what inevitably happens is that I get to Monday and feel like I didn't really relax. There's nothing relaxing about coming home to three days' worth of dishes, a dirty floor, and five loads of laundry.

The challah is baking, I have an hour before it's time to go to work, and now I can take my apron off without feeling irresponsible. Tomorrow, we'll have a day off the way we really ought to, with the chores and worries of the week set aside and nothing to do but get back in touch with what it means to be quiet.

Five Dollar Decor will be up, but tonight, after I get home from work and we pick up my car from the shop, probably.

In the meantime, think about planning a real day off, from housework as well as job-work--doing chores ahead so there are none to do except the most basic ones of cooking and tidying up after yourself as you go.

Shabbat Shalom!

Artful Framing

This is going to have to be a short blog entry this morning. Our rent check is due, which means I spent my morning (after dropping Mr. Scrimp off at work, because my car is in the shop), rushing around in a frenzy of tidying and last-minute cleaning to get our kitchen presentable before I leave for work, since the landlord will be letting himself in to collect the rent check off our fridge later today.

If I learned one thing from years of art classes, it's that anything looks better if you put it in a frame. There's something about framing that speaks of intention, forethought, and order. I'm sure it's got something to do with some deep psychological need for boundaries and organization and blah blah blah, but I'm happy to just stop with "I like how it looks."

I have six frames sitting in a bag in our all-purpose/storage/guest room that we picked up at Wal-Mart months ago, incredibly cheap. When I get home from work, I'm going to start framing things. What things? Ehh, who cares? I have plenty of things that would look nicer in a frame. I'll pick some.

For what I think might be the best example of how anything looks better in a frame, check out this five-minute project by The Nester. Also, check out this one. I was already planning to write about framing things, but she inspired me to get it done sooner.

I'll take some pictures tonight or tomorrow, to show you the results of Framing Mania 2010!

Winter Blahs

The weather here in Ohio has been pretty crazy this year. We've gone back and forth from balmy mid-40's to bitter, bitter cold (windchill -2) in the space of a day or two.

It was warm yesterday, and I had hopes that maybe it would stick around, but instead I woke up to this out my front window:

 

It's not that it's snowing very heavily, or that there's been a lot of accumulation (yet), but just the pyschological impact of yet another day with steadily falling snow and no sunlight. Blah.

I'm stuck in the doldrums, people. All I want to do is mope about the weather and the fact that it isn't spring yet, and that's no good.

What are you doing to beat the winter blahs? Leave a comment and give me some ideas for how to fight it off!

Fleischmann's Giveaway

I really love fresh-baked bread. I've even posted the recipe for the no-knead bread that I make. I also love cookbooks (and I've done a blog post about that, too!).

I was reading the fabulous blog A Year in Bread, and blogger Farmgirl Susan posted a link to a Fleischmann's Yeast giveaway for a no-knead bread cookbook! All you need to do is go here, fill out the form, print it, and mail it with $1 for shipping and handling to the Fleischmann's Yeast company (address on the website).

This offer is only good while supplies last, so you should probably jump on it now. I know I'm going to.

Project: Apothecary Jar

I am in love with apothecary  jars. Actually, I'm pretty much in love with all decorative jars. Unfortunately, the nice ones (like the three Pottery Barn jars shown here on the left) can be very expensive--starting between $40 and $60 apiece.

This weekend, after months of sighing and ogling and envying, I decided to jump on the bandwagon, imitate a project I've seen done various ways all over the Internet lately, and make my own darn jar. It was incredibly easy, and incredibly quick.

I spent roughly five minutes on this project, four and a half of which were waiting for my glue gun to warm up. Total cost? $2.

Pictures and instructions after the jump.


Five Dollar Decor - Cardboard

Today, I'd like to talk about cardboard.

Mr. Scrimp and I have an entire closet that is filled from top to bottom with cardboard boxes from moving. We can't bring ourselves to throw them away (I have packrat tendencies). After all, the cardboard is perfectly good, and if we don't use it for a project, we'll need it again eventually anyway.

Well, I think it's time to break into the closet, because I've put together a list of some really great ways to use cardboard in your home.

Most of these involve a fair amount of DIY effort from you, but if you're like me, cardboard is going to cost you nothing because you have already accumulated so darn much of it. So it's a fair trade-off, I think.


Link: Unhappy Hipsters

Every so often, I find an interior design idea from a magazine or website that looks beautiful but not like someplace I would ever live.

There's actually a blog out there that takes those images and puts captions to them. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Unhappy Hipsters.


"And one day, a ladder appeared. Julien climbed with guarded optimism; could this be the way out for which he’d been searching all these weeks?"



(via dornob)

Why to Cook at Home

I'm no superwoman. I'm easily bored and tend not to finish everything I start. So, how do I keep going with making homemade meals in the face of cooking fatigue and general flakiness?

There are lots of ways to answer this question, but I don't think I could express them much better than Kristen of The Frugal Girl did this week in her Monday Q&A post. Go read it and be encouraged.

Recipe: Zucchini Bread



I had this one friend in college who made amazing zucchini bread. When Mr. Scrimp and I got married, I knew I had to get her recipe and make some, because we both love it so much. I altered it here and there (for instance, I added grated apple for a little extra sweetness and because I didn't quite have enough zucchini), took a bunch of pictures, and made two batches. It was the first thing I ever baked in our house. You can tell, because in the photos everything was mixed by hand in a salad bowl. What can I say? Everything else was still packed.


Project: Five Minute Wall Decor

We're having unseasonably warm weather here, but it's still wet and gray. In order to add a splash of color to one of our bare walls, I whipped up this little project based on an idea I saw a while back at Dollar Store Crafts. I kid you not, it took me less time to complete the project and hang the finished result than to write this entire blog post.


Other Blogs

I follow roughly a hundred blogs these days, and I add more to my feed every day. There's a pragmatic element to that--it's a lot easier to write blog posts of my own when I have a collection of cool links to send you on days when I haven't been cooking, crafting, or writing decor posts about crazy things you can do with toothpicks or something. But I also just really like reading blogs.

I found a new one just today, which looks to be right up my alley, and want to recommend that you check out Post Grad Hair Cut, especially because until February 1 she's doing a giveaway for a book all about how to make macarons. All you have to do to be entered is leave a comment on her blog.

Is it really only Tuesday, Internet? By the end of the day yesterday I was convinced we had to be all the way into Thursday at least.

Pie in a Jar!

I really like making pie, but we don't eat a lot of sweets, and with just the two of us one pie is really too much. The answer? A single-serving pie made in a jelly jar! These can be made in a large batch, frozen, and pulled out to cook one or two at a time when you're ready to eat some.



We also really like pot pie, which can also be made as single servings in a jar and frozen until you're ready to cook them. I don't have a problem with frozen, pre-made food--as long as we're making it ourselves.

Check out the Our Best Bites blog for directions, a ton of great photos, recipe variations, and more.

Happy Monday, everyone. Have a great day!

Link: Custom Fabric at Spoonflower

I was browsing around the other day and came across Spoonflower, a company that lets users upload their own fabric patterns and prints them on organic cotton. Previous patterns are available for sale and there are some really, really beautiful and unique fabrics there.

It's pricey--ranging from $18 to $20 a yard, with 8x8" swatches going for $5 and fat quarters going for $11. Still, if you find something you really adore, a swatch or fat quarter is enough for a smallish project where it's a trim or a feature in a larger piece. Perhaps the center of a pillow or cushion, or the front panel on a purse or reusable shopping bag?

Even if it's not in your price range, go browse around for a few minutes just for the sheer enjoyment of the artistry in some of the patterns.

Recipe: Pain au Chocolat... sort of




We lived in France when I was little, and it shaped a lot of things about me. I haven't been back, although I often wish we had the means to go. There was a fair amount of pidgin French spoken in my house when I was growing up, and we ate a lot of French food, watched French movies, and read French books.

I think my dad has never quite gotten over having to leave behind the pâtisseries of Paris. He'll occasionally go out early in the morning and pick up croissants or pains au chocolat and bring them home to have for breakfast with a strong cup of coffee.

I woke up this morning with a sudden urge for pain au chocolat (often just called chocolate croissants in America). Now, I've tried to make croissants before, and never done particularly well at it. Puff pastry is a finicky, time-consuming, demanding thing to make, and I didn't feel like putting in all that effort for a breakfast that would be, as a result, way after breakfast time. But there was a roll of puff pastry in my freezer left over from some brie en croute that my mother-in-law made for a Christmas party we threw, so I pulled it out and started improvising. They aren't real, as I said to Mr. Scrimp while we gobbled them up, but they're delicious.


How I Keep House

So a few people now have asked me how I manage to fit in all the cooking and cleaning and general housewifery that I (try to) do while being out of the house 40 hours a week, doing my hobbies, maintaining a social life, sleeping, and writing in the blog.

In my head, my first response was "gosh, I dunno. I feel like I waste a lot of time doing nothing, to be honest."

As I've thought about it more, and sort of analyzed my day-to-day methods, I've come to realize that, in fact, I've picked up a lot of small habits that help.


Recipe: Pasta



I recently got a pasta recipe from my old friend Liz, who writes the blog Slow Home Grown. I fiddled a bit with the proportions, put on my apron, rolled up my sleeves, and went for it.

Well, I'm happy to tell you that it worked really, really well, and I am here with photos to prove it, and a recipe so that all of you will immediately follow suit and make yourself some pasta from scratch. It was delicious. Neither Mr. Scrimp nor I had eaten all day and we ended up wolfing down pretty much all that I made... but that's ok, because it was also very easy.

If you own a pasta maker of some kind, well, good for you, and I'm envious. I don't, so my directions include how to make noodles without a pasta maker.


Five Dollar Decor - Tape

Every Friday, I'll be posting Five Dollar Decor--five ideas for interior decorating that can be achieved by spending only five dollars. For five dollars, you can add one new element to your in-home design. For twenty-five, you can revamp an entire room around a new theme. Hmm... a trip to Starbucks, or a weekend redecorating proje

Geeks, mechanics, theater people, and college students the world around know the value of a good piece of tape. I use tape way more than I should, probably, but I can't help it. It has everything going for it--it's sticky, it's decorative (if used properly), it's versatile, it's cheap.

Today, I'd like to feature five decorative uses of regular old tape. Prepare to have your mind blown.


Unpackaged, London

So I got a link today to an article about a small grocery shop in London that doesn't sell packaged food. Just about everything they have is sold in bulk, and customers are responsible for bringing their own packaging, eliminating waste and long-term plastic storage of food. This is brilliant, and I desperately want a store like this to open here in Ohio so that I can shop there.

In the world of my daydreams, someday shopping will universally go back to this--recognizable food, sans plastic or styrofoam, that you can buy in exactly the increments you need, no more, no less, from a small store.

Totally apart from whether hardcore environmentalists have got it right, it seems to me that this is just a more desireable way to live, and it's what really lies behind the Scrimpalicious ethos. I have no problem with home-processed, dried, frozen, or otherwise stored food, but it's time to do away with all of this fake, processed stuff, wrapped in plastic, sterilized, and totally disconnected from its source.

You can read the full article about Unpackaged and see more photos at the Inhabitat website.

Link: I Heart Switch

I got an email from a friend of mine with a link to a great techie craft blog called I Heart Switch.


What are techie crafts? Think LEDs, scarves with built-in electronics, and DIY glow-in-the-dark sketch walls (paint on your wall with glow-in-the-dark paint, and then draw on it with LEDs).

It's definitely worth a read if you're even a little bit of a geek.

Wearing the Uniform

Pretty much the only gift I specifically requested for Christmas this year was an apron.

Many years of life experience have taught me that sometimes it's a lot easier to do a job when you're wearing the right uniform. For me, those jobs are cleaning and cooking, and the uniform is an apron. I love aprons--partly because I tend to get things all over myself when I cook and clean and prefer to keep my clothes clean, but partly just because they are a uniform that add psychological ease to a job I don't always want to do.


Reminder

I'm working on getting some new links up in the sidebar--will probably get on it tonight after I get home. In the meantime, don't forget to visit the Scrimpalicious facebook page and become a fan. Help spread the word to your friends that it's easy to live well, be healthy, and still save money.

My Nemesis


I hate wearing pantyhose. Still, sometimes there just isn't another option, so I sigh and pick up a pair at the store, and wear them once or twice. Maybe they get a run. Maybe they don't. Maybe they accidentally end up going into the dryer and turning into a mess of horrible static. Maybe I just get sick of them and throw them away.

From  now on, though, I think I'm going to try and use them around the house. WiseBread put together a list of 20 money-saving ways to reuse old pantyhose and I'm going to give it a shot. I feel guilty throwing anything away when I can still get good use out of it, even if that use has no connection to the item's original purpose.

Gym

It's been over six months now since Mr. Scrimp and I stopped eating processed foods or using plastic for food storage. I'm really happy with how well it's gone, and I feel like it's a habit now deeply ingrained in each of us that it's time to take the next step.

So, today, I signed up at a gym.

Shortbread Buttons


Well, I've just finished making eight jars of jelly, and Mr. Scrimp is making us a delicious dinner involving lots and lots of fresh veggies and a little bit of sausage (mm).

But I hopped on the computer for just a minute and found, on CraftGossip, a link to a recipe and how-to for these adorable shortbread button cookies, designed by blogger forty-sixth at grace.

I love shortbread to death. It's one of the easiest types of cookie to make, and pretty much always comes out delicious. I will definitely be making these in the near future.

Five Dollar Decor - Paint

Every Friday, I'll be posting Five Dollar Decor--five ideas for interior decorating that can be achieved by spending only five dollars. For five dollars, you can add one new element to your in-home design. For twenty-five, you can revamp an entire room around a new theme. Hmm... a trip to Starbucks, or a weekend redecorating project?  

When I first started writing these posts, Mr. Scrimp suggested I write something about paint. I was hesitant, because it's nearly impossible to find sufficient quantities of good paint for $5 or less, but while the title of these blogs is "five dollar decor," the idea is that you can redecorate one room for about $25, and you can definitely change the entire look and feel of a room with nothing but paint.

For people who live in apartments where you can't paint--well, this isn't for you. We aren't allowed to paint, but I still daydream about it. But if you live in a rental where painting is ok, or are fortunate enough to own your home, painting is a perfect and low-cost way to totally revamp a space.

So, here are five suggestions for ways to transform a room with paint. Some of them are pretty straightforward. Some of them, though, maybe you haven't thought of yet.


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