Monday, January 30, 2012

Tip Junkie Idea Round-Up

One of my favorite blogs is Tip Junkie.  She has a wide collection of wonderful ideas.  Stop by and check her out.  Right now she is hosting a link to share great ideas with each other. 

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cents and Sensibilities: A Frugal Companion For Planning A Wedding

Free E-book for the Kindle!

My first ebook is published on Amazon and is normally available for $1.00.  This is a straightforward guide for pinching pennies while planning a wedding.  I have also included several ways to incorporate a Regency Period/Jane Austen wedding.  Check it out!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

Need an easy dessert for dinner tonight?  A special treat for your Valentine?  Make these simple mini cheesecakes! 

Cheesecake is a favorite among my family and friends, so we like to dabble with new recipes and flavors.  Sometimes our endeavors become time consuming and messy, but I thought I would share a tested method our family uses.  This is perfect for large families, gatherings, or times you just need a small snack to nibble. 

Cupcake wrappers make these bites perfect for individual servings and transporting.  You can add different toppings like crushed cookies or swirls of dark chocolate.  Today we used a simple melted chocolate bar to create squiggle designs.  The children love helping and often requests initials, smiley faces, or hearts.  The sky is the limit!

You will need:

Oreo Cookies (we used the store brand, but use what you enjoy)

3 (8 oz.) packages softened cream cheese

3/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

melted chocolate, crushed cookies, crushed candies, or cool whip for toppings

Here's how create your mini Oreo cheesecakes:

Place cupcake liners in muffin tin.

Set an Oreo cookie on the bottom of each wrapper.

Beat together softened cream cheese, sugar, and eggs.

Spoon mixture over the cookie.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until the center is almost set.

Cool completely, refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Drizzle with melted or other toppings.

Keep cool until served.

What have you made lately?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

How To Dry Wet Mittens and Hats?

It's hard to believe it's January here in Nebraska.  We've had temperatures in the high 40's and even hit 70 the other day.  AMAZING!  This break in weather is a far cry from what we normally endure.  I decided to post a simple solution that we rely on during a frosty spell and when the snow flies. 

A fun day spent romping in the snow is a favorite activity around these parts.  Bundling up to go outside is a necessity when temperatures hover around zero, but it left us with another problem. 

Where was  I going to store all this gear?  Snow crusted hats, mittens, socks, boots, and coveralls clogged up my coat rack and almost all of the heat vents. Soppy mittens and boots were becoming a major eye sore and tripping hazard.  There had to be a better solution.

Growing up, we would place our frozen mittens on the old radiator heaters at school or place them strategically over a furnace vent at home.  As an adult, now I had more children in the house than I did heat vents!  Ugh.  I won't even go into detail about how the boys would leave wet mittens in their backpacks or pockets.

My solution:

A Removable Hanging Clothesline!

I was desperate-  so I finagled a simple indoor drying line out of a pair of new shoe strings and an old plant hanger.  Are you laughing?  I attached the two long laces by knotting them around the metal hanger.  Then I slid the hanger over the woodwork.  You could permanently attach the hanger using screws, but I didn't want to ruin our wood or look at it for 12 months a year.  Now, I have the children use clothespins to hang up their wet gloves and hats on the string.

The mittens are paired and all in one convenient spot.  No more searching through piles of cold  knit to find a child's hat or running from room to room checking heat vents for a glove's partner.  We go to the mitten line and remove our air dried winter gear.

Do you have any simple winter solutions?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Crafts On A Dime: Crafting From The Indoors

Indoors Crafting:  Finding The Art Inside

This guest post was written by James Lander of, a site whose mission is to make couponing etiquette and techniques common knowledge.

Back when entertainment wasn't as readily available as it is now, people relied on something else entirely for amusement- imagination. If you put your reservations and pre-conceived ideas aside and you may be surprised to discover that crafting either alone or with family, not only makes the time pass quickly, but can be very rewarding.

A trip to your local craft supply store can be a little overwhelming. Supplies for projects abound and the price can be outlandish to say the least. However, like the crafter of yore you can find everything you need around either in nature or in your own home.
If you've exhausted  nature's resources or the weather is too inclemenent to even think of going outdoors, there are a multitude of things that can be used as craft supplies around your home. It's a
bonus to know that while you are spending almost no money on these crafts, you are also being "green".

Why not paint some burnt out light bulbs and decorate them with old fabrics or felts? 

It's amazing how something you might have thrown out carelessly can be transformed into Santa Claus or even an amusing light bulb portrait of a member of your family. If you are crafting with your children, using so-called household garbage rather than tossing it is excellent lesson, which will easily sink in while they are relaxed, and enjoying their own creativity.
Why not try your hand at Paper Mache?

The things you can create with Paper Mache are endless. From masks to piƱatas to figurines, it's an easy and versatile way to sculpt.   Although a little messy, the results are always worth it. What's more, you can make your Paper Mache sculpture for almost nothing. In fact, it may be the most economical craft of all!
Supplies :
  • Balloons, Wire or Wadded- up Newspaper (or creating the basic shape of your sculpture)
  • Paper Mache Mix (see below or here for another paper mache mix)
  • Thin Strips of Newspaper
  • Acrylic paints (for decorating)
Instructions :

Make your aperture (basic sculpture shape) using whatever medium you are the most comfortable with.  Dip the strips of paper into one of the following mixes and lay it onto your aperture:
Mix 1
1/3 cup of white glue
1/3-cup water
Mix 2
½ cup flour
2 cups of cold water
2 cups of boiling water
3 tbsp sugar
Allow your sculpture to dry in a warm place for a few days and then decorate any way you wish.

Exercise restraint and use your imaginations once and a while to source out amusement. Not only is this an important lesson to teach the next generation, you may find yourself strangely refreshed by the time away from the various screens in your home.

Thanks for the great guest post and for more thrifty craft ideas check out the Crafts and Activities section here on Plain Graces!  Happy Crafting.