Friday, April 26, 2013

DIY Decorative Pillows--on the cheap!

Materials Needed:

1 standard bed pillow ($2.50 at Walmart)
Fabric (45x13 inches for one pillow)
Sewing machine

Start by cutting your standard bed pillow in half.  Look at all the batting in there!  I love thinking outside the box for materials.

Next, sew the open end of the pillow shut.  You'll need to stuff and squish the batting into the lining to do this.  Take your time and be sure to hold it shut with pins before you begin to sew.

 Now you have two nice little pillows!

On to the fabric cover.  If you are using a half of a standard pillow like I did, cut a fabric rectangle that is 13x45 inches long.  Fold each short end over twice and sew to create a 1/2 inch hem.  This finished end will be visible when the pillow case is finished.

Take the hemmed ends of the pillowcase and bring them together to overlap over each other in the middle.  Be sure that right sides are together.  It should measure 19 inches from end to end.  If it does not, adjust it until it does.  Also, be sure the hemmed ends are overlapping at least 2-3 inches.

Pin the unfinished edges together and sew.  DO NOT SEW the hemmed, overlapped edges together.  This is how you will get your pillow in and out of the case.

Turn the pillow case inside out and iron flat.

Insert the pillow into the case through the opening in the back...and tada!  You have a pillow with a handy removable case for easy washing.

The total cost for one of these pillows was about $3.50 if you include the fabric.  Compare this price to the following throw pillows I found at Target:

That's a whole lot of savings for pretty much the same results :).  I'm also planning on making some larger square pillows to go with these smaller ones on the couch.  

That's all for today! And now I'm off to enjoy my new pillows on the couch...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Smoothie, Anyone?

Aaah! I love when Spring & Summer roll around and fruits and veggies are plentiful and lower priced.  During this time of year, I am trying to allocate about 30% of our grocery budget to buying fresh fruits and veggies.

One of our favorite things to use fruit for are smoothies.  Super refreshing and full of healthy vitamins! I've tried several different methods and recipes for making smoothies, and I've finally settled on a method that works well for me.

The first step is to get your hands on fresh fruit.  Keep an eye out for sales and stock up when you can.  For example, this week blackberries were on sale for 99 cents at Aldi.  Since the normal price is around $3.00, I obviously stocked up!

Sometimes, if I'm not able to get decently priced fruit, I'll also check the frozen fruit selection.  A lot of times you can get your hands on reasonably priced frozen strawberries and raspberries.  However, my experience has been that it is usually cheaper to buy them fresh when they are on sale and freeze them yourself.

After rinsing the fruit and slicing the strawberries, I package them in freezer bags.  Normally, I'll divide each of the strawberries packages into two separate bags.  If you use freezer bags to store your fruit, make sure to remove as much air as you can to prevent freezer burning.

Now, whenever we feel like having a smoothie, I have my fruit all prepped!

To make a smoothie for two, I grab one of my fruit bags straight from the freezer and pop it into out awesome ninja blender.

Next, I blend the fruit by itself for a few seconds to break it down.

I add a couple tablespoons of sugar to the fruit, but any sweetener or honey would work as well.  Finally, add about 2 cups of milk and blend...

If the smoothie is too thick, add more milk until it's the consistency that you like.

And that's all! Serve and enjoy...

It's like drinking ice cream! What kind of smoothies do you like?