Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bonne Année !


The last post on the last day of 2009.  Reflecting back on the year with it's triumphs, trials and tribulations, the joys and heartaches, discoveries and new experiences.  I started a blog in July that has had 10,000.00 visitors, which is incredible in it's self.  I have made wonderful friends through blogging, learned an amazing amount of new things through your tutorials and made wonderful meals sharing your recipes.


I am blessed to be a part of this community...Thank you for taking me in, allowing me to be a part of your lives and experiences.


Here is to 2010, may we all have a Happy New Year~!


Bon Chance!

Audra

Audra

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Red Jacket

My daughter is a minimalist.  She has always kept a smaller amount of "stuff" than her friends, kept her clutter to a minimum and has sought ways to keep it manageable.  She follows the rule of bring something in, get rid of something, maybe even to an extreme, where she brings in two and gets rid of six or eight things.



College Diva's dorm room this year is smaller than her previous two rooms.  This room was meant to be a single dorm room and it is shared by two girls with limited space.  She decided to cut back on several of her clothing and decorator items in an effort to save space.  As she states, a book bag, shoes and books on the floor make the room look like a complete mess.


She had purchased two jackets two years ago when getting ready to attend NAU.  One black bomber style down jacket and one red parka style jacket.  After nearly three winters in Northern Arizona she found she wore the black jacket more, and could fill in with her pea coat for the rest of the wintry months.   So the red jacket came home and hung in the hall closet.  It made an appearance at the last yard sale, but no one wanted to buy this jacket for $5.00 because we just don't have that type of winter in our area.  Not wanting to donate it just yet, I put it back in the closet and waited hoping someone might need it.



My brother came for a visit the day after Christmas bringing his family.  As they live in Utah, we rarely get to visit them and are always thrilled for the chance to catch up.  He brought his step daughter and her little girl for a visit as well, which was an added bonus as they live out of town and since the divorce we have not seen M very often.  As they got ready to leave, my brother remarked that his step daughter was coming with them to visit for a week, and would probably be moving to Utah later in the spring, as M's home situation had changed when her mother remarried.


I looked over M's hoodie and asked her if she had a jacket.  She indicated that she did, gesturing at her hoodie.  My brother lives in Central Utah, where the temperatures dip to the belows...below ten, below twenty in the winter.  Brrr! That hoodie was not going to keep her warm against the Utah winter. I had College Diva get the Jacket out of the closet to see if M might be interested.   I was not prepared for the reaction.  Not only did M love the jacket, it was her favorite color and fit her perfectly. She stood there in shock, she had seen one like it before, but not having $80.00 to purchase it she had been making due with the hoodie.  I wish I had taken a picture of her and this jacket, it was such a wonderful moment. 


These are the moments in life that I live for, when something that is no longer needed by someone is passed on to another person who needs it, wants it or desires it.  That feeling of joy and relief.  The knowledge that someone is better off because you were able to help.  What a wonderful feeling.

ttfn....

Audra

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Joyeux Noel!


Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and wonderful holiday season.  I hope to be back soon to blogging, taking a small break to share time with College Diva and The Reluctant Teenager.

Enjoy your families and the wonderful memories you create with them.  

                                                    Audra






Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thifty Holiday Ideas from Real Simple

While scanning MSN today, I came across an article about every day uses for ordinary things - holiday edition.  I loved the ideas showcased that  I had to share it with EVERYONE and what better way than to create a post about it?  You can these frugal ideas and more at Real Simple.


In my attempts to use what I have and to stay frugal not only in my everyday life but the holidays as well, I have looked at everyday items in a new light.  Who knew that five or six winter scarves could become a tree skirt? 


CAAAUUUTE!




I know this idea has been around forever, newspaper or comics as wrapping paper.  They take it a step further with maps and enlarged copies of dictonary pages. 







How about using photo corners to secure home made tags?  Fabulousness!



Anyone for pasta bows?  This is darling tied with raffia and plain paper.  I found several rolls of plain and holiday printed brown paper at the dollar store.  I love the simplicity of this.





What about paint sample cards and twine to add a modern twist to your package?





Or a hand towel or kitchen towel to wrap a bottle of wine or home made cordial in?  Two gifts in one!



If you are anything like me, those pesky Christmas lights get tangled and you spend half a day trying to get them staight.  How about this idea?  A hose storage wheel for lights!  Incredible!


Check of these and more frugal and thrifty ideas at Real Simple magazine.  All photos property of Real Simple.


Ta Ta For Now...

Audra

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mmm, Mmm Good

Soup, it does the body good!  In an effort to keep up with the frugal life style, I have taken on the challenge to use leftovers in other meals, as not to waste or toss them.  That is a major pet peeve of mine...food going to waste.

I didn't think to photograph the ingredients before I put them in the pot to make Cheddar Vegetable Soup.

College Diva wanted to have Cheddar Broccoli Soup which is an all time favorite of hers and since she is home for the next month, I wanted to spoil , uh treat her to her favorite dishes.  Using the leftover steamed broccoli from last nights dinner, some steamed carrots from Saturdays dinner and the mashed potatoes from last night as well.  Tossed in the left over gravy (about half a cup) with 1/2 cup of half and half, 1 cup of water and 1 cup of shredded cheese (left over from Friday nights meal).  I came up with Cheddar Veggie Soup, simply delicious and satisfying.





Anyone else out there just toss things together in a hodge podge sort of way?  My mother was wonderful at doing that, making something out of nothing and it tasted amazing.  I think I may have a little bit of her ingenuity.


Ta Ta For Now, Mes Amies...




Audra

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

O' Christmas Tree

This year in an effort to simply my life and downsize to a manageable chaos , I gifted my 9 ft tree and went with a free to me 6 1/2  ft tree. At first I was hesitant, though this smaller tree is growing on me.




I used the ornaments I had from my previous years trees, ivory poinsetta, glittered pine cones, green mistletoe picks and muted gold and sage green balls.  




Imagine my surprise and absolute joy when I opened the boxes of decorations to find new ornaments I picked up last year at Target's 75 and 90 % off sales!  It was like shopping all over again! Dark bronze birds, glittery gold leaf picks and gold beaded picks.  




I use to change out the theme of my main tree every year, until four or five years ago when I decided to stick with green, gold and ivory.  I add to it now and then when I find something that catches my eye. What a change from when I use to decorate three trees!  Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!





Christmas tree skirt...found at a yard sale three weeks ago for $5.00.  I love the greens, golds and reds...how perfect since I am introducing red into my Christmas decor!
 




Headed to Northern Arizona tomorrow afternoon to pick up College Diva and two friends to bring them back home.  Thrilled to have my little girl home for the holidays!

I am following Rhoda at Southern Hospitality Home for the Holidays Party.  Be sure to head over and see her lovely home and all the others who have joined in!

Joyeux Noel!

Audra

Monday, December 7, 2009

Finally decorating for Christmas....

 It seems I have been running behind the past three months, something keeps coming up getting in the way of my decorating for the holidays. 


Quick trip to Hobby Lobby to pick up a few greenery and berry picks to make a couple of arangements for my entryway table.  Not finished with the rest of the decor yet, still working on this, but I wanted to share how these turned out!


I purchased these urns three or so years ago at a consignment shop for $12.00 for the  pair.  I have defintely gotten my money worth out of these.  The fruit was a 90% Hobby Lobby fall clearance find.  I snatch up fruit in shades of red, gold, yellows and greens as I use this theme in my French country inspired kitchen and we know that fruit is always a good thing!  I paid .24 for each pick with a fruit, pear or apple.  I bought 12 !  Originally $2.47 each, it's like getting twelve for less than the price of two!  Say it with me....FRUGAL SCORE!

I purchased the greenery today for a $1.00 a pick, I can't seem to locate my box with the garland and greenery picks I had previously...hmm... I wonder if I gave it away (gasp!). The ivy was a free to me from a friend.  I will be putting ribbon on the urns later tonight...


I also found these frosted red berries for 3 for $1.00.  I love these, I think I have had them in every color imaginable over the years. 



The cloth is actually a dark red velvet wrap that I picked up at Savers for $2.99!  This baby is heavvvy!  I use scarfs, fabric remnants, and lace for table runners, dresser scarves, and on occasion a wrap!  I could never have afforded to purchase the fabric to make a runner, this is high quality fabric.  I keep my eyes open everywhere I go, you just never know what you might find.  I priced this type of fabric today, it was $35.00 a yard on sale!  There has to be two yards in this wrap!  Score again!
Sorry for the flash in the mirror...
No easy way to photograph the mirrors is there?
Here's Reluctant Teenagers attempt...
 

The red candle holders I found at a yard sale two years ago and used in the decorating for my wedding.  I found them in the garage...brought them out for the Holidays, since I have decided to incorporate red into the decorating theme this year.





I think I paid three dollars for these new in the box.  Don't you just love yard sales?



The mirror was found at the Episcopal church thrift store for $3.00.  It is wood with Made in Italy stamped on the back.  Now you know why I nearly knocked over those ladies to get to it!  Uh,  you can revisit that story here. I think it is safe to say  I have a slight obsession love for mirrors.  Sorry for the flash, I just wanted you to see the curves and flourishes this beauty has. 


Headed to start the tree, will be back soon to share the results.  Still working on the manger, it is a work in progress.

Linking up with Between Naps on the Porch: Metamorphosis Monday 





Ta-Ta For Now, Mes Amies!

Audra

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ramshackle Manger

Why would I dig a manger out of the garbage at an Estate sale in Sedona, Arizona?  I know that the woman who threw it away kept asking me the same question.  She tried to sell me a nativity set from Italy for $75.00 (oh it were so pretty too!)

Why?  Because I guess my remodeling diva saw potential.

I wanted to do an Extreme Makeover, Manger style.

To Recycle it?


Maybe because I just hated the thought of baby Jesus being tossed away.


Yep.  Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, all Three Wisemen, Shepherd and Six stray sheep, one contented cattle and a burned out, has been cord with Christmas light attached.


All of it in the trash just begging, pleading for me to pick it out.  So I did.  I even told the lady I would give her $5.00 for it.  She declined.  I rejoiced.


I wasn't kidding.  This place is a hot mess, dilapidated broke down roof, in fact the manger came in two pieces.  All that was missing was the condemned sign. 


Some well meaning soul tried to fix it....with staples.  Sixteen staples to be exact.
 
Don't ask...I can't begin to tell you what they were thinking.


The figurines are hand painted, made in Japan, probably early 60's, made of chalk ware or plaster.\


I really just wanted the figurines.  I took the manger because I felt funny leaving it in the trash.
I know, I get funny like that at times.



 


Besides, there is really a "flock" of sheep.  Seven if you count the one on the shepherds shoulders.
I am loving the lambs...



Entire manger and figurines...See what I mean, could you have left this in the TRASH??? 

The pole by Mary is a real tree limb.  (Who does that these days? Uh, no one.)


  I am hoping with some hot glue, an angel, camel or three and some lighting we might have a manger.  Or maybe not, but I am going to give it my best DIY makeover possible.  Linking up with Reinvented Trash To Treasure Tuesday and Kimba at A Soft Place To Land DIY Blog Party



To be continued....

Audra