Frugal Find: Headphones

For about a month my earphones have been hanging on by a thread. Well, one cord because only one earbud works. ¬†Since they still function to a degree I’ve been keeping them in use and salivating over this colorful pair:

Product Details

Skullcandy headphones

Maybe I’ll still get them at some point, but while I was de-stashing my craft room I actually found a pair of headphones! And dang, the bass sounds good ūüôā

I’d like to get to the point where I’ve sorted through and trimmed down every room in the house–that’s a pretty big goal so I’m tackling one stack at a time for now. For my craft room, the end game is ¬†to make better use of the space I have and be able to display some of my vintage feather weight sewing machines. Plus, there’s fabric and materials that have been hanging around in excess of five years. ¬†“I might…make something out of/use/need that later!” ¬†That’s my eternal cry, but being able to donate¬†craft and sewing supplies to The Scrap Exchange¬†makes the process less fraught. Finding things I forgot I had¬†is even better!


Bullion stitch for the win

I’m beasting the crochet hook. Maybe besting is the better word? Whatever, the point is that I can now crochet a bullion stitch. BOOM. In a circle yo.

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Up close and personal:


That is all.

Is it charming or fugly?

Is the pattern boldly florid? Is it useful and colorful? Chances are I truly like it, or it’s ugly enough to be awesome. Case in point:

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(Excuse the poor photo; the rug truly is rad)

I think this hand crafted rug is awesome. I was browsing a flea market near my parent’s house in the Appalachians Mountains, and I started talking to one of the sellers. As it turns out, she was downsizing and moving to Florida and her good friend hand hooked this rug about thirty years ago. At two dollars, and with that shade of avocado, I just ¬†couldn’t pass it up.

It makes me wonder about who decides what ‘good taste’ is or what ‘classy’ looks like. Does it look like this to you?

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Yup, it’s Crate & Barrel.

I feel more comfortable in surroundings where my personality is given free range, ¬†and I place value in the¬†history, color, and functionality of my selections. I’m waving my yo-yo bracelet-ed arm goodbye to that streamlined, sterile living room…

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Heck yeah I made this bracelet, and I’ve worn it to work too.

…and picking up the next book on my reading list–Deborah Cohen’s Household Gods: The British and Their Possession. As discussed in this blog post:

But what interests me most here is the tension that she [Cohen] establishes between the home as site for self-expression and as a site for identification with others. To a large extent, I think this is correct. When we design our homes for resale value, we’re no longer thinking of our home as ours, but as an investment that will someday have to suit the needs or tastes of someone else.

I think it’s an interesting idea, but I’m still renting. There is no investment other than what I’m willing to spend on a wooden painted parrot to sit on a bookshelf. This house is a shell and when I leave all my goodies are coming with me! Would¬†a doorknob shaped like a fish head put off the hypothetical buyer of my future house? Will the purpose¬†of my decor change once I buy a home? Did yours?

I don’t believe we are defined by our possessions. I do think, however, that your life is enhanced when you can operate in an environment that makes sense to you on a personal level.

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Kitchen Bake

It’s…not a breakfast casserole.¬†Not quiche.¬†Not Mexican dip.¬†It’s not exotic enough to have the kitchen sink in it either so I’m calling this a kitchen bake!

It started out as a way to use up a big bag of kale, and you know, I think kale is great. Kale goes in smoothies, transmogrifies into stir-fry, and I guess you could crunch on the odd leaf by itself. I don’t really get that last urge…the stems can get awfully tough. So after I’ve eaten through a bagful for a week and the kale STILL isn’t gone, I have to think of new solutions. I¬†didn’t want to toss the rest so I decided to cover it in cheese instead. This is what I did:

  • Grease a large pan
  • Dump all the kale in
  • Toss in a can of black beans and a can of diced tomatoes
  • Crumble up some frozen hash-browns on top
  • Smother in an egg mixture (includes 6 eggs, half a cup of milk, a packet of taco seasoning and some hot sauce)
  • Cover in shredded cheese, bake for forty minutes

I am in love. It’s like I used a recipe or something; it tastes legit. I automatically favor any meal that only requires four dishes to make it, and when I tally up the ingredients, I’d say each serving cost about a dollar to make. Not bad for a Monday!

Singer: Leather machine belt

Leather machine belt

Leather machine belt

Kind of looks like a goat chewed on it, right?

After a bit of google-fu, I have determined that the belt on my Singer would be fairly easy to replace. Essentially, it’s a four sided cord that can be purchased in lengths of 25 feet and cut down to size. The finicky bits would involve punching a hole in either end and clamping with what looks like an industrial strength staple into it so that a continuous loop is threaded through the wheels.

Today was not the day I replaced the leather belt.

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Oh yeah. I went there.

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Worked like a charm. But then I noticed the leather was pretty dry and flaking little pieces of leather/dust onto my work space ūüė¶

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So I broke out some elbow grease and saddle soap and went to town. Bonus: had a little extra time and now my shoes look great too.

If feels a bit¬†sacrilegious to be honest, like taping up an antique book cover instead of getting ¬†a plastic protector (BTW NEVER GONNA DO THAT). But I’m satisfied that the materials to update it correctly are easily accessible, and that can be a project for a future to-do list.

The sound of music ain’t got nothing on this Singer

…even if I can’t say it sews as pretty as a song just yet! ¬†After a week of cleaning, reading and fiddling, my Singer sewing machine is looking pretty good:

1917 Singer sewing machine...aaaaaand Wolverine.

1917 Singer sewing machine…aaaaaand Wolverine.

A couple years ago a relative pieced together and refinished this beauty, and I’m just now diving into how to keep a treadle machine in working order. At this point I’ve got more questions than answers, but I figure starting a master post and then linking to everything useful I find will be helpful for future reference and other people just starting out with an older sewing machine. If you have additional resources or advice, feel free to drop a line in the comments!

  1. How do I wind thread on the bobbin?
  2. When I unscrew the ‘brake’ knob as if to wind the bobbin, the needle still moves. Whyyyyyyyyyy?
  3. How do I clean old oil out of the innards of the body of the machine?
  4. How do I thread this effing bobbin holder.
  5. Adjusting thread tension: how, when, why. Will I be doing this on test swatches for every project sewn?
  6. Where do I put my feet on the treadle?
    1. Why does my treadle have a ridge at the front if a common treadling method is to have one foot further away and the other closer with a heel on the ground?
  7. Methods for taking care of the leather belt
    1. Does the leather belt always stay on the wheel or do you take it off/loosen it like the bow on a violin?
  8. When I use the treadle it feels like it gains momentum and overbalances (not going backwards though). Is it supposed to feel like that?
  9. What are all these attachments?
  10. How do I use each attachment? I really wanna learn do make a button hole using an attachment!

Southern Belle Plans Weekly Menu

I just had such an intense brain fart that I had to google ‘little green balls vegetable’ to figure out that yes, I do plan to make Brussels Sprouts as a part of this week’s menu. That pretty much shows you how long they’ve been iced over in my freezer.

It’s cool! I’ve got this whole thing under control. Totally. In an effort to trim my grocery spending and food waste, I’ve been cooking to the beat of regularly scheduled drum. And it drums on Sundays.

Because if I don’t grocery shop, prep, and cook things on Sundays, it doesn’t really get done. Then I end up letting produce go bad, eating out, or eating pancakes and in general being inefficient and bad to my budget. At my best, I can cook enough mains and sides to keep things varied during the week, and if I get tired of all my options by Friday, splurging for pizza won’t break the bank.

Speaking of pizza, I made an awesome one yesterday from ready made dough from Trader Joe’s. I shopped my pantry and came up with canned chicken, home-canned banana peppers, cheese and ranch dressing. It was far more delicious than it had any right to be.¬†Unfortunately, those leftovers are long gone so here’s the plan:

  • I have dried Lima beans and carrots=soup
  • I have ground corn=cheesy corn grits
  • High time to use the aforementioned Brussels Sprouts=Brussels Sprouts
  • Use that random box of potato latka¬†¬†mix
    • BTW, plain yogurt with dill and garlic salt makes a great dip for just about everything
  • That just leaves buying fresh fruits and veggies for breakfast smoothies and snacks.

I think I’m all set!