Frugal Gift Giving


My friend Tara loves horseback riding. She volunteers at a stable. She takes riding lessons. She loves horses (and just about anything related to horses) She also loves to bake and cook.

My friend Fred and his wife are continually tweaking their flower garden.

Fred and Tara both have spring birthdays.

What’s a frugal spinster to do?

dalhia post card

A Dalia Club holds their annual tuber sale at a neighborhood church. I purchased some tubers for my garden and picked out some for Fred too.

Now, how to wrap them.

Because I’m  a packrat frugal I have a stash of boxes. I found this one that was just about the right size.


I don’t have much in the way of masculine gift wrap in my closet. Purchasing a roll of giftwrap at retail would have been as much as the tubers. NOT frugal!

Looking closer at the box I realized that it was a pretty good looking box as is.


Except for a sticker on one end. Nothing a felt marker couldn’t handle.IMG_3477

I decided to cut the letters of FRED’s name from gift wrap, and glue them to my black box.


I tucked the tubers and planting instruction inside and checked Fred’s Gift off my to do list.

Now on to Tara…

I always check out fabric while second hand shopping.

taras fabric4547

When I came across this horse print I thought of Tara. I purchased it with no specific plans in mind.

Then weeks later I came across these.

Horse fabric

As Tara’s birthday approached I thought about what I could make with my collection of Horsey fabric. An apron seemed to be the perfect project.

Tara's B-day Apron_4718

I think she likes it.

Do you hold to your frugal ways when it comes to gift giving? or do you allow yourself to spend a little extra?

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There is something SO wrong with this

I have fond memories of late nights around a dimming camp fire, small tree branch whittled to a sharp point suspending marshmallows over the glowing embers, chocolate bar and graham cracker waiting nearby. When the golden blisters on the marshmallow are just right it’s was time to sandich all three elements together and enjoying one of life’s simple pleasures the S’MORE. (S’mores are so named because you always want SOME MORE. )

Simple that is until someone realized there was money to be made by moving production of  this delightful treat from the camp ground to the kitchen.

While perusing the aisles in thrift stores I’ve come across more than a few contraptions that claim to give you the s’more without the campfire.

Some use a regular oven

smore to love

like this S’more to Love brand.

Some use the microwave oven

$5.99 GW Progressive

like this Progressive S’more maker. $5.99 at Goodwill.

as seen on TV Micro Smores

or this As Seen on TV version. $4.99 at Value Village.

75 cents at DI

but I found one at Deseret Industries for just 75 cents.

Some are powered by electricity

$10.99 Hershey SA

Like this Hershey S’more Maker, $10.99 at Salvation Army.

Isn’t the little “fire” cute?

plastic fire

Some use Sterno fuel

$10.99 Roshco SA

Like this Roshco brand

I’ve seen it at Value Village for $6.99, and Salvation Army for $10.99. It originally sold at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $34.99

$7.99 Hersheys GW

And this Hershey S’more Maker that was $7.99 at Salvation Army but $5.99 at St. Vincent de Paul.

Some even use real fire

$4.99 smore grill basket

Like this $4.99 S’more Grilling Basket at Goodwill

$3.99 Smore grill SA

or this one at Salvation Army for $3.99

As for me I think I’ll build a camp fire and sharpen a stick and make my s’more the old fashioned way.


How do you like your S’mores?

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I’m so disappointed

In Goodwill.Renton GW6713

Recently I walked in on a Monday to be greeted by this sign:$1.79 GW sign

Until now select tag were marked down to $1.29 on Monday.

That’s not the only change they have made to their pricing.IMG_7783

Select tags were marked down to 50% off on Thursday, they would continue at that price through the weekend and then be $1.29.IMG_7781

Now they are 30% off Thursday & Friday, 50% off Saturday & Sunday.

I’m pleased to see that (at least so far) Value VillageVV 99 cent sign and St. Vincent de Paul

99 cent sign @ SVdPContinue to have 99 cent Mondays.

INHO if the thrift stores would lower their prices overall they could make more money and move their merchandise more quickly. Have you ever seen how over crowded they are at times. So many books, so many vases, so many knic-nacks that you can’t even see what’s for sale.

While I’m ranting about increased prices….grapefruit juiceI treated myself to bottled grapefruit juice recently. I noticed that the bottle felt different in my hand. I looked at the label to find that it is now 60 oz. not 64.64 vs 60 oz. I wish they would just be honest and just raise the price if they have to, because although I’m never happy to pay more for my groceries, the thing that is most upsetting in this case is that for every 16 bottles they sell one more plastic bottle will end up in the land fill.

End of RANT!

How do you feel when you see prices go up?


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This weeks show & tell

This honey bee cake was a one to make.7566honey bee

This cake was for a grandfather and two of his grandchildren. Another one of the grandchildren, a four year old, was asked What shall we put on the cake?” his answer, “a rainbow, a dinosaur and a football” tying those three things together wasn’t too hard, but I doubt dinosaurs played football.7587 rainbow dinofootball

For Bob’s 60th birthday the customer wanted to show all his interests, hiking (including mountains, trees, a stream, rocks and ferns), handy man, piano and music, and martial arts. That’s a lot for a 1/4 sheet cake. But we pulled it off.7570bob's 60th

I was surprised that this art nouveau design was for a four year old. It seems like a style that would appeal to someone older.7568art nouveau

A customer found a cute baby cake on pinterest she wanted us to copy. The only problem was her picture was of a small round cake and she needed enough cake for 50 people. Unfortunately the design wasn’t as cute on a sheet cake.7581 moon& star baby cake


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Freecycle solution

My sister’s collie Glory is 12 years old.

Technically Glory belongs to my sister, but we refer to her as a time-share dog.

Her original owner was our mother. Sadly she had a stroke when Glory was only a few months old.Mom and Glory

My sister and I took Glory to obedience school together. first day of SchoolWe trained her to be a Therapy Dog. We took her to Mom’s nursing home everyday. Sadly Mom never recovered.

From the beginning it was understood that Glory would become my sister’s dog.

I tell you all that so you will understand why I do so much for and with Glory.

Years ago I made Glory a pretty, plump, plush, purple, princess pillow.   Its no longer plump. pretty plushI’ve been reading the book “Caring for your aging dog”. One of the things they recommend is a egg crate foam mattress.

I posted a request on Freecycle for some egg crate foam. This is what I received.recieved egg crat foamI used the green foam (it is the thickest), cut it to size, replaced the original padding in the pretty, plush, plump, purple, princess pillow.

Glory gave it her seal of approval.glory's new bedOur time-share arrangement works well for both all three of us. I have a dog anytime I want one. My sister has a reliable dog sitter anytime she needs one (she travels quite a bit). Glory gets all the love and attention she could want.

When I finished the dog bed I offered the remaining foam on Freecycle and someone asked for the rest of it.

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another grocery tote

This one started life as a pair of jeans. I found them in the 50 cent bin at St. Vincent de Paul. IMG_7873

I was so eager to get started, that I forgot to take a BEFORE photo until I had begun removing the waist band. 50 cent jeansIMG_7881

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Repurposing Thrift Store Finds

On February 21st I bought these binders at Eastside Community Aid for  $1.50.2-21-15eastside community aid$1.50

I used them to stabilize the bottoms of Shopping bags I made with the blue fabric I bought at Goodwill on Presidents day3yds blue fabric

I question the USDA’s claim that it takes $36.50/ person to buy a week’s groceries.

My monthly food budget is $70.00.

Regardless of statistics, I’m happy to help those who struggle to put food on the table.   I have so much fun buying groceries to donate to Hopelink’s Food bank.$120 groceries

In his gospel, Mark records Jesus saying “For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good” I believe he intends for me to help the needy whensoever I will.bagged groceries

(As you can see only two of these bags are homemade, but as time allows I’ll be making more)


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