Frugal Life Skills: Mending Clothes

cohdranknsewing4.JPGPrior to being a blogger, I made costumes. All kinds of costumes from Jedi Robes to A Prince Charming Costume for someone’s wedding. One skill that I am adamant about everyone having is the skill of sewing. You don’t need to be able to stitch a wedding dress, but sewing on a button, fixing a fallen hem, and repairing a seam rip are all simple and good, money-saving skills that everyone should be able to learn.

To get started, you’ll need a sewing kit. I have one like this. If you want to gather one on your own, here are a few items that you need:

  • Needles: I usually have a variety pack, like this.
  • Thread: A good variety of colors may not be needed, depending on which colors are in your wardrobe. I recommend Coats and Clark thread. Essential colors are- Black, white, tan or natural, navy blue.
  • Scissors/snips
  • Pins: I prefer pins that have a large colorful head. They are easier to find if/when you drop them on the floor. Spoiler alert: You will drop pins on the floor.
  • Safety Pins: Always good to have safety pins in the house. I usually get a package from 99 Cents Only or Dollar tree and stash them in my sewing box.
  • Seam Ripper: Seam rippers are great for picking out hems that have fallen. Or, you know, ripping out seams when you make a mistake.
  • I also like having a pin cushion. This helps cut down on losing pins and then finding them later. With your bare feet. Ouch. Fun Fact: On the Tomato pin cushion, the little attached pepper/strawberry is full of  pumice/sand that is used for sharpening your needles and pins.
  • I keep all my sewing goodies in a box like this. It’s big enough that I can also stash the foot and cord to my sewing machine in the box. (BTW, if you want to buy one from Wayfair, here is a link where you can get an extra 10% off your order).

Now that your kit is assembled, You’ll need to learn how to actually sew. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I searched on YouTube and watched a bunch of videos trying to find one that is the easiest. I really thought that this video from Nifty teaches 4 simple ways to mend most things.

Recently I had to fix a pair of jeans that had a worn out pocket. The back pocket had worn thin because of  where my husband keeps his leather wallet.

I picked up a package of Denim Iron on patches at Joann’s- I used a 50% off coupon, so they were only $2.14 with tax! And I still have half a package left, so I can repair another pair of jeans too!

I set up the ironing board and iron and set to work.

 

IMG_16461-Find the hole, and make sure that the patch(es) are cut to the right size. You want to cover the hole completely, and the surrounding area, so the patch has some stable fabric to fuse to.

 

 

 

 

 

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The shiny stuff on the back side is the fusible adhesive.

I like the iron on patches- they have fusible adhesive attached to the back, which is basically a heat activated fabric glue that bonds the patch to the garment.

Once fused to the garment, it takes a lot of get the patch(es) off. For this project, I used two patches: one on the interior of the garment, and one on the exterior. Basically making a hole sandwich.

2- Place the patch(es) over the hole/rip, and fuse into place with the steam iron.

IMG_16513-Once the clothing/patch has cooled, you can stitch around the edge to make it extra secure, however, in this case I did not. I would do that for the knees of kiddo pants or other high wear areas.

Overall, this is a very simple project that anyone can do.

Our culture tends to discard garments as soon as they are not longer shiny or new. If you take care and mend clothing and other household goods, they will last longer and you will not have to spend money constantly replacing clothes and household items.

I spend about an hour a month mending clothing. I do it while watching TV at night. It is worth the time to fix a pair of pants for $2.14 instead of spending $30 to buy a new pair of jeans.

Talk Back: Can you do a few simple stitches to maintain your clothing? How do you take care to keep your clothes looking great?

Disclosure: Some of the links contained within this post are affiliate links. Meaning, if you click on the links above and make a purchase, I may be compensated with a small commission. for more information, check out my disclosure page.

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Earn Gift Cards with Radial Insight!

With Halloween coming up, I’ve been busy busy busy! Trying to find fun and free events for the kids (and to share with you!), making costumes, and getting into fall with baking. I had to put the brakes on all my crazy busy-ness to share a great way to make money: Radial Insight.

Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 9.40.56 AM.pngIn addition to doing surveys to earn money, Radial Insight has a program called Receipt Rewards. Receipt Rewards is a new and exciting way to earn rewards from Radial Insight. By submitting receipts for your online shopping at Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Target.com, Jet.com, Costco.com, and DollarGeneral.com, you’ll earn instant rewards.

Please note — you must be a member of Radial Insight’s public opinion panel to participate in Receipt Rewards. If you want to join, leave me a comment with your email address and I’ll shoot you an invite!

 

It’s super easy and quick. I joined and added the Chrome Extension to our browser yesterday and followed the steps (it took less than 15 minutes, BTW) to get everything connected to my Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Costco accounts. I really wasn’t expecting to earn that much, since I’ve been cutting back on our online shopping, but look what was in my inbox this mornings:

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Uh…. WOW. And it’s totally legit because I just cashed out for a $49.60 Amazon Gift card, which I will use to buy stuff that has been on my wish list for a while. And I’ll earn more rewards! There are gift card options for over 25 retailers and restaurants.

Still unsure that Radial Insight Receipt Rewards is for you? Here are the FAQ:

Receipt Rewards Frequently Asked Questions

From which websites does Receipt Rewards accept receipts?
Receipt Rewards accepts receipts from Amazon.com, Target.com, Walmart.com, Jet.com, dollargeneral.com, and Costco.com. If and when we accept receipts from new websites, we’ll be sure to let you know.

How old can the receipts I send in be?
There is no limit to how old your receipts can be.

Are there any types of receipts you do not accept?
We do not accept receipts for Amazon.com digital orders or gift card purchases, balance reloads, or in-store pick-ups from any website.

What do you do with my receipts?
We use the receipts you send us to learn about how Americans shop online and about current retail trends. Your personal information is kept secure and used according to the Radial Insight Receipt Rewards Terms provided below.

How will I get paid?
After you’ve accumulated $1 in Receipt Rewards, and for each full $1 you earn, you’ll receive a Tango Card with your reward. Tango Cards may take 24 hours to be sent.

And if doesn’t seem like a good fit for you, but are still looking for some other ways to make money, check out my post about side hustles.

Review- The Camp & Cabin Cookbook: 100 Recipes to Prepare Wherever You Go

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 10.13.47 PM.pngWe are big into outdoor cooking: Grilling, Dutch oven cooking, heck, even sometimes cooking over fire (ok, so that’s usually just s’mores, but that’s cooking, right?). When Laura Bashar, the author of The Camp & Cabin Cookbook: 100 Recipes to Prepare Wherever You Go offered me copy of her book for review, I jumped at the chance!

If you’ve never cooked in a Dutch Oven or over coals, Laura gives you the primer! She goes over all the deets: How many coals you need to achieve specific cooking temps, various cooking techniques (over flame, over coals), and how to translate the recipes to be cooked indoors (just in case you want to try these awesome recipes and aren’t planning on camping any time soon).

The recipes are easy to follow and follow you through the day: Breakfast, lunch, appetizers, dinner, desserts, and even side dishes. And it’s not just the typical camping food, there are recipes for the kinds of food you eat at at home! Just because you aren’t at home, doesn’t mean you have to live off of hot dogs, Dinty Moore canned stew, and cold cereal.

My family poured over this cookbook during our last camping trip and we have planed an outdoor cooking afternoon to try out a lot of these recipes in the coming weeks. Check my Insta Feed in the coming weeks for pics of some of the dishes we create.

 

Simple Sewing Project- Pillow Cases!

I love making Pillow Cases- They are quick, simple projects that you can make for a very small amount of money, and they really can tie together a room.

I tend to buy plain colored sheets for the kid’s beds. Then I make pillow cases with colors or characters they like. In the past I’ve made Batman pillow cases and Thomas the Tank Engine pillow cases for Henry, and floral print and eyelet lace trim for Margaret. Most of our blankets are either down comforters in plain colored duvets or handmade quits.

I found a bunch of 1 yard pieces of fabric this morning, so I decided that today for art for 100 days of art, I was going to make a pillow case or two. I’m doing 100 days of art and chronicling it on Instagram. I’ve done some pretty cool projects so far!

You only need a yard of 45 inch wide 100% cotton fabric, matching thread and about a half hour of time. Oh, and a sewing machine. If you are looking for a good, basic sewing machine, I like this one-  It’s similar to the one I use.

Pre-wash your fabric in hot water and dry on high. This gets all the sizing out of the fabric. There will be no further shrinkage.

IMG_8710Lay fabric out, right side facing up.

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Fold fabric in half so selvedges (the finished edges)are together.

IMG_8711.jpgUsing a straight stitch on your sewing machine and a 5/8 inch seam allowance around one skinny end, turn the corner and sew up the side with the selvedge. IMG_8713

My sewing machine has measured out and notated hash marks on the throat plate (that’s the silver part in this photo).

I use a 5/8 inch seam allowance. It’s what most commercial patterns use as well.

 

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Trim off any stray strings. Set your machine to zigzag stitch, and stitch over the free edge of the fabric. I recommend using matching thread, I used a contrasting thread, so you could see my stitches.

 

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Fold the open edge over twice, pin or press down. Stitch down the folded edge. Take care to open the pillow case and slip the arm (the part of the machine with the bobbin in it) into the pillow case so you don’t end up sewing your pillow case together.

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Clip off any stray threads, and turn the pillow case right side out. Pop your pillow inside the case and you are all set!

This is a great 1st sewing project for kids and adults. You can make your pillowcase a little fancy by adding lace or ribbon around the hem of the open side.

I’d love to see what kind of pillow cases you make!

Playing and Learning with Safari LTD.

2B6678AB-B924-49B9-81D9-A9E4F2510AAE.jpgEver since Henry was itty bitty, one of his favorite kinds of toys were what he calls “Mean Animals”, you know those plastic animals that you can buy everywhere? Some of them are realistic, and some not so much.

We have a pretty hefty collection/menagerie of mean animals, but we are always open to increasing our herd. Last week we received a package from Safari LTD that contained our three newest friends: Frogfish, Hermit Crab, and Sea Turtle. As you can see from the picture above, Margaret has taken a shine to Sea Turtle.

IMG_8450.jpgThese new friends are not the usual tiny animals that come in a plastic bag or tube, these guys are BIG! I mean, look how big the Sea Turtle is in Margaret’s hands! And they look realistic too! That’s what I love about the toys from Safari LTD. Regardless of the size, all of their toys look real. No purple rhinos or bright green whales. Everything looks like it could come from a nature magazine. In fact the hermit crab scared the cat!

Safari LTD. has a great selection on Amazon, but you’ve probably seen their “Toobs” at Michael’s and some of the Good Luck Minis and Fun Packs at museums and aquariums. You can also buy them on the Safari LTD. Website too. Henry loves animals. Some of our favorite family animal based shows include: Wild Kratts, Octonauts, Blue Planet, Dinosaur Train, Zoboomafoo, and Coyote Peterson on Youtube (it is one of the few things I am ok with the kids watching on YouTube), so I was stoked to discover the SafariPedia on the Safari LTD. website. The SafariPedia has a full, amazing wiki with tons of information about all of the animals and creatures of the toys they make.

IMG_8457.jpgWe play really rough with out toys, and our ocean gang has held up to some pretty rough play. They are no worse for the wear.

I asked Henry if he would recommend the Safari LTD. toys to his friends, and he said, “Yeah, these guys are awesome. They are cool and look real. I think we should buy some Mean Animals for (insert the name of two of his friends) for their birthdays!” So there you have it- Mom and kiddo approved!

Thanks to Safari LTD. and Mommy Con for the three new animals. All opinions are my own, and I received no financial compensation for this post. Some of the links posted may be affiliate links that may generate a commission or revenue. Please refer to my disclosure policy.

 

 

Shopper Army: Contests, Rebates, and more!

Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 3.42.59 PM.pngI recently learned about Shopper Army: A website that offers great rebates on products people actually buy.  They also have really cool contests.

You can sign up here.  Here are just a few of the rebates they are offering right now:

20171110222411_head.pngFree Friendly Farms Organic Lowfat Chocolate Milk

Free Premier Protein Dark Chocolate Mint High Protein Bars

Free Elevation by Millville Protein Powder

Free The Greek Gods Seriously Indulgent Marionberry Yogurt

Free Nature’s Path Dark Chocolate & Red Berries Granola Bars

Free Runik Red Blend Wine

 

Many of the rebates are for 100% of the cost, but a few are 75% or so. Either way, if these are items you buy or use, this is a great opportunity to stock up and save!

If you like rebates- This is a great website. They have tons of rebates available now!

Baby Deals and Freebies

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I know so many people who are either expecting or adopting in the next few months. I thought I’d share some really great deals and freebies, since we all know kids are super expensive!
Looking for a great Baby Shower Gifts? Here are a few free, cool gifts that are actually useful!
Free Walmart Baby Box! Includes samples and coupons

Regardless of any personal beliefs, a fed baby is best. I always recommend having a stash of formula samples and different types of bottles on hand. Thankfully, there area few formula companies that send samples and coupons! Similac and Enfamil are the two that send goodies most often.

When you sign up for a registry at Babies R Us  you will get a little welcome kit, and that frequently contains a bottle, samples of toiletries, a few diapers and wipes. I recommend starting a registry online, and then go into the store to check out some of the bigger items like a travel set and furniture. You can add items to your registry in the store.

If you are an Amazon Prime member, check out this free baby box of goodies!

And don’t forget that there are always great printable coupons for much needed baby supplies online!

Here are just a few of the ones available right now:

Save $2.00 any ONE (1) package of HUGGIES® Diapers (Not valid on 9 ct. or less)
Save $0.50 any ONE (1) package of HUGGIES® Wipes (48 ct. or higher)
Save $1.00 on any (1) JOHNSON’S® (Excluding 1oz to 4oz, trial sizes and gift sets) or any (1) DESITIN® product (Excluding 1oz size)

Looking for more tips on how parents can save money? Check out this post.