Tag Archives: DIY

Cheap and Easy Halloween Costumes for Dogs

Dobby Dog Costume

Since this is our first Halloween with Bambi, I wanted to make it special. I had planned to make her three costumes for her first Halloween. I am an unstable dog-mamma, obviously. I didn’t have time to make her three costumes, because, well, mama has a job, but I did manage to make her one costume and find a bunch of super cheap and easy Halloween costumes for dogs.

Easy dog costume - Dobby from Harry Potter! Bambi as Dobby
This year I made a simple Dobby costume. Dobby is a house elf from Harry Potter, in case you aren’t a huge HP geek like me. With her ears, I think she looks just like him! I took an old t-shirt, dyed it with coffee, let it dry, then cut up the neck and sewed up the sides to fit her. Easy peasy.

Here’s my favorite cheap and easy dog costumes from the web-o-sphere! I picked them with the my fellow procrastinators in mind :)

It’s raining cats and dogs!

Dying over this one– it’s Lamb Chop!

A Hostess Cupcake! 

Cotton Candy!

A M&M! Make this one even easier by using hot glue instead of sewing.

This is too damn cute! A chia pet!

Clowns can be creepy or insanely cute.

There’s no bones about it, this dog is adorable (and warm!) as a skeleton! 

A bat! This one is great for those dogs who don’t like wearing something on their heads.

A lovely ladybug!

Are you dressing up your dog this Halloween? I’d love to hear your costume ideas in the comments!

love,
melanie

Link Love: 13

rp_Link-Love-1024x1024111111.jpg 5 beauty products to stop buying and start making

Get free money advice on Financial Planning Day this Saturday!

Can getting one month ahead save your budget?

Think of retirement as freedom, not a deadline

Super affordable mattresses sent right to your door
Where was this when I was buying a mattress?!

This tiny house is the bees’ knees

31 tiny house hacks to maximize your space 

This 1955/56 Silver Dome Travel Trailer is for sale and I am smitten.

How pretty are these DIY leather file folders? 

David Sedaris’ Reddit Q&A Thread was just delightful. He’s definitely my most beloved author.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for the weekend!

love,
melanie

Frugal Friday: The Importance of DIY

nail polish I’m usually a gung-ho DIYer. I mean, we fixed up the Airstream ourselves! And you can catch me on any given night knitting, cooking or making candles. I even tried to make all my Christmas gifts last year and plan to do so again this year! But there are some things that I just plain don’t like to do. I don’t like to clean my own car and I don’t like to give myself pedicures. I just don’t like to do it. #truestory. We’re going down to truth city today, folks.

But since I started the Spending Fast (spending only $100 per month on non-necessities) I’ve had to do many chores that I would outsource before because I didn’t like to do it. I’d like to say that it hasn’t been so bad, but I still hate doing those chores. I’m putting those things in the same category as working out— something I don’t like to do, but I have to do. (Both are in the same category as stuff that isn’t so bad once you start doing it.)

Even though I hate it, when trying to save money, DIY is at the utmost importance. There are some things I’d never DIY, like electrical stuff (it’s too scary and dangerous!), but if I can do it and feel safe doing it, I will. DIY not only saves me money, it also teaches me a new skill. DIY is empowering. Saving money is empowering.

DIY has totally changed my life. How has DIY changed your’s? Let me know in the comments.

love,
melanie

Adventures in Wine Making

wine making I’m calling this post “Adventures in Wine Making” instead of “Homemade Wine Recipe” or “DIY Wine” because really, I can’t believe this wine turned out half-way decent. I also don’t want to share a recipe just yet because I may have just been lucky with my first batch. And I don’t want to be liable for poisoning you all. I tried using this recipe from All Recipes, but the portions were off, so I just heated up some sugar with water, threw in the yeast after it had cooled, mixed it with Aldi-brand fruit juice and went with it.

Five weeks later, the balloon deflated, I filtered out the yeast with coffee filters and BAM! I had drinkable wine. It was a little too sweet for my liking, but my friend, Gabby loved it. It also helped that we called it “toilet wine” and thoroughly researched “How to Make Prison Wine” while drinking it. Did you know prison wine can be made with fruit cocktail, ketchup and bread? I HAD NO IDEA. This wine would be perfect for an Orange is the New Black party.

Have you ever tried making your own wine? How did it turn out? When I perfect it, I’ll have a recipe to share!

love,
melanie

How to Make Beeswax Candles

beeswax candle DIY Did you know that beeswax candles are honey hole full of benefits? Ok, that pun was forced. But seriously, beeswax candles can help with allergies, have calming benefits and burn slower and cleaner than paraffin candles. I’ve even heard that beeswax candles give off negative ions that actually purify the air. I also love the scent of beeswax candles.

In elementary school we went to visit the town of Old Salem, a living history town that depict Moravian life in the 18th and 19th century. Well, one guy, dressed in his period-correct finery, was pouring candles. Even as an elementary schooler, I thought that was pretty cool and I bought one. My parents didn’t let me play with matches, so I ended up just smelling the unlit candle like a weirdo. But I’m still obsessed with the natural scent of beeswax candles.

Anyway, I know that beeswax candles are one of those things that I can make cheaper than I can buy. So I did just that. It took me a couple of tries to perfect the process, but here’s how to make beeswax candles.

Supplies

glue wicks Glue your wicks to the bottom of the jars. The glue helps the wick to stay in place during the pouring process. Let dry, then trim the wicks to slightly longer than the desired length. (I didn’t do that and regretted it later.) Pour your pellets and coconut oil into the pitcher. 1/2 pound of pellets makes about a 1 pint jar candle. Fill large pot of water 1/4 of the way full of water.

candle making pitcher Put the candle making pitcher in the water. It might float a bit. That’s ok. Stir until the wax is melted.

candle cooling As the wax is melting either heat up your oven on low or prepare a bowl of warm water and put your jars in it to cool the candles. I did both and both methods worked. The addition of coconut oil and the intricate cooling process ensures that the candles don’t crack. The coconut oil also gives the candles a lovely baby yellow hue.

beeswax candles cooling When wax is fully melted pour carefully into jars to not disturb the wick.

candles covered in tinfoil If using the water cooling method, cover in candles in tinfoil. If using the oven method, turn the oven off and let the candles cool inside.

We just made beeswax candles! All my childhood dreams are coming true! Also, wouldn’t these make great gifts?!

Have you ever tried candle making? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

Frugal Friday: When Hassle Trumps Money

Bye. bye glasses!

Bye. bye glasses!

I’m all for the DIY lifestyle. And I’m all for saving money. If I can make something for cheaper than I can buy it, 9 times out of 10, I will do just that. But there are some things that are just too much of a hassle to try to put up with or to try to DIY.

To determine if it is worth the cost of DIY or the hassle, I’ll do the math. I’ll figure out the time and supplies it will take me to DIY versus the cost of purchasing it. Por ejemplo (that’s Spanish for “for example”) I really enjoy beeswax candles. They have air purifying properties that soy candles just can’t beat. But pre-made beeswax candles can be pricey. Most true beeswax candles start in the $20 dollar range and steadily work their way up. The instructional videos and blog posts I found online didn’t sound very difficult or time intensive, so buying the supplies to make candles ($30.58) on Amazon was a no brainer. I’d make my money back in 2 candles. And I get to learn a new skill. (Once I perfect the process, I’ll share it with you all.)

But some things in life are more complicated. For example (in Spanish that’s por ejemplo) I’ve put up with wearing glasses or contacts for most of my life. I’ve worn glasses or contacts for 18 years. I started wearing glasses in the 4th grade and I switched over to contacts in high school. Over the years, it’s been a hassle, but I’ve just taken it as a part of life. But lately I’ve no longer been able to wear contacts due to my allergies and I just can’t stand wearing glasses everyday. They slip off my face when I’m gardening or working out. They get dirty and covered in finger prints. I loose them and then can’t find them because I can’t see. (I have super bad vision.) I’ve had it.

So I used my trusty math to figure out if laser eye surgery was worth the hefty price tag. And it was. It may take me 11.8 years to break even, but if I figure in the cost of my hassle I’ll break even faster. And if I end up not having to wear glasses or contacts I’ll eventually start saving money because I’ll have one less expense.

If you are curious, I figure out hassle by the minutes it took me a day to mess with my glasses or contacts. I figured that was about 10 minutes a day. I then took my hourly wage and divided it by 60 minutes to find out my minutely wage. Then I took my minutely wage and multiplied it by days in the year. In a year, I spent $912.50 worth of time hassling with my eyes. Kind of insane. Then I divided the cost of the surgery  by the cost of time spent and ended up with 3.89 years. Lastly, I factored in the $300 per year expense of buying glasses or contacts. I ended up with an approximation of breaking even in three years. Plus, if this surgery works, my life is going to be greatly improved and I can’t calculate that.

All this math makes my brain hurt. But as this post is published I’ll be going under the laser to fix my eyeballs! Wish me luck!

Do you ever use a formula to calculate hassle? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

Frugal Friday: DIY Car Maintenance

under the hood of a car To be honest with ya’ll, anything car-related scares me to death. I’m afraid I might mess something up, then my car will be messed up and it will definitely blow up. Yet, I teach my student’s every day to not fear technology. Oh the irony. Well, lately I’ve been conquering my fear of car maintenance by doing small car maintenance tasks. Last time I had my oil changed, the mechanics also noticed I needed a cabin air filter change. They wanted almost $20 to change it. With a few click, click, clicks on my smart phone, I looked up the cost of a new air filter– $8 on Amazon (free shipping) and politely refused their offer. I ordered the filter online, Googled where to find the air filter in the car (I’m a beginner, give me a break!) and changed it myself! That simple task saved me (after taxes) almost an hour’s worth of pay. I’m going to learn how to change my oil next!

Here’s to learning (and the weekend)!

love,
melanie