Archive for April, 2008

Clay update

Eeek, I have less than 2 weeks to make things for the show and sale.  I’ve been going to the studio on Saturdays and Sundays but I need to start going during week nights now if I want to get anything into the next couple of kilns.  I thought I was doing pretty well on soap dishes but the last time I went to see my family, my mom took 6 soap dishes (she asked me how many she could have and I said a couple – so she took SIX!).  I tried to make some more yesterday but since it takes time to dry and bisque pieces, I think I’m done making pieces.  It’s all about glazing now baby.

Forest Gump

This is a plate that I made for the class banquet at the end of the semester (we make our own plates and use them for the banquet – here’s what we did last semester).  This is thrown on the wheel and altered.  The glaze is called Forest Gump!  I like this glaze a lot because it shows off texture very well. 

The studio show and sale is less than a month away and I’ve been going to the studio regularly on Saturdays to make stuff but I need to go in more often now that’s its crunch time.  I try to make something new for every show and sale besides my regular things and this time I’m making divided dishes.  I haven’t fired any of them yet but hopefully they’ll turn out OK – I’m crossing my fingers.

Thrift store find!

I stopped by the Goodwill in Davis Square yesterday after my dentist appointment and I found 2 of these glass containers!  I have a good collection of vintage pyrex containers (these actually don’t have any markings on the bottom so I don’t think they’re pyrex) and everytime I see them, I think about all the yummy foods I can put in them.

Found fabric!

I found this pretty fabric on the curb on trash day.  One of my neighbors had thrown it out but I couldn’t let it go into the landfill.  This used to be a window shade and the material is like a light canvas which is perfect for bags.  I think there’s enough fabric for me to make a couple of grocery bags.  Yay, free pretty fabric! 

Taxes Done!

All I have to do now is drop them off at the post office and then I don’t have to think about it for another year!

I have a big mental block about doing taxes – I can read a knitting pattern and assemble IKEA furniture without batting an eye but I cannot follow instructions to do taxes on paper for some reason – thank god for TurboTax.

Cooking with what you’ve got

Dinner on the left and packed lunch on the right – they are yummier than they look.

So in my last post I mentioned that I buy what’s on sale at the grocery store and then I come up with meals with what I bought as one of the ways I save money.  I wanted to show you how simple it is and it’s easy to save a lot of money when you cook this way.  Granted, I only cook for myself so I don’t have to worry about other people’s tastes or food restrictions.  I’m also fine with eating the same thing for a few days because I don’t want to cook everyday.  My dishes don’t have names and they’re almost always one pot meals (again, to limit cooking and washing dishes during the weekdays).  When you buy things on sale, try to stock up what you always use so you can have them around all the time.  Onions, carrots, and potatoes keep well for weeks and of course canned beans and jarred sauces last for years.

I went to the supermarket and got some ground chicken, green beans. and broccoli (all on sale), now I shall attempt to make a meal out of them!

Cook some chopped onions in olive oil.  Brown ground chicken with onions.  Throw in some chopped green beans.  I had some Soy Vay left (but I could’ve easily used soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and minced garlic) so I added some of that, a couple spoonfuls of hoisin sauce, a little water, and a few big squirts of hot sauce (I like my food spicy).  Throw some broccoli on top of everything and cover with lid and cook until broccoli is tender.  Eat with brown rice.  Pack leftovers for lunch. 

That’s it!  Inexpensive, yummy, quick, AND healthy!  I like saucy dishes because I like to mix the sauce with my rice.  I think I probably got 6-7 meals out of this.  I could’ve easily made something similar with ground turkey/tofu/chickpeas for protein and any kind of vegetables that are on sale.  So, should I write my own cookbook, How to Afford to Eat When Inflation Outpaces your Annual Raise?  Any book publishers out there reading this post?  I have other recipes and ideas… 

Don’t let rising costs get you down


I’ve been reading a lot of personal finance blogs lately and I really liked Lily’s list, One Hundred Ways to Cope with Inflation, and I thought that I would share some of the things that I do to save money.  Now these are things that I do whether we’re in a recession or not.  I was brought up as a saver and I hate to be wasteful.  

1. Do the CVS ExtraCare Bucks (ECB) deals.  I just started this and I think I will be able to get a lot of personal care products for next to nothing using ECBs.

2. Some people swear by meal planning and sticking only to buying the ingredients they need at the grocery store.  I do sort of the opposite and buy what’s on sale that week and then come up with meals with what I got.  Even with rising costs, most grocery stores still have sales on lots of things every week.  If you like curry like I do, it’s easy to make a big pot of curry with whatever’s on sale.  Eat the curry with rice if that was on sale, or bread, pasta, salad, etc.  Oh, and don’t forget to pack the leftovers for lunch – this alone will save you lots of money and possibly a few pounds.  While you’re packing your lunch, make sure you eat your breakfast at home or pack it to go.

3. Shop at Asian or other ethnic grocery stores. They often have cheaper produce and a 20 pound bag of rice (or brown rice like what I have above) beats on sale pasta any day and it lasts a long long time.  Plus it’s a good thing to help support independent grocery stores at a time like this.

4. Don’t go out and buy something new if something’s broken. Try to fix it, mend it, or live without it if you can.  If you can’t live without it, try Craigslist , thrift stores, or ask your friends and family before replacing it with something new.

5. Sell things you don’t need on Craigslist, someone else might be looking to replace something they need.  Better yet, give them to friends and family first and then donate or sell if no one wants it.

6. If you can pay your credit cards in full each month, get a cash rewards card.  If you’re going to pay higher prices for things, mind as well do all you can to try to get some money back.

7. Barter with others.  I made some tiles for my friends’ kitchen and I hope they know that means that they owe me big time.  They better be ready to help me move heavy things or tile my bathroom when I call on them!  😛

8. Make your own cleaning products (they’re much safer and cheaper than store bought ones and they use less packaging).  There are tons of recipes using vinegar, baking soda, and other household items on line.  I won’t ever buy Windex, Mr. Clean, or Tilex ever again!  But if you still want to buy cleaners, do the CVS thing and you should be able to get them for pennies.

9.  Make your own [fill in the blank] from scratch – it’ll probably be cheaper and more fun and you can do something productive with all the extra time you have now that you’re saving money by NOT going out to eat, going to movies, watching premium cable, shopping for fun, clubbing, etc.  I want to try to make my own bread one of these days.

10. Lastly, think about others.  Everyone is affected by rising costs.  If you’re able to give things away to friends or charities, by all means do it.  I was having a dilemma about whether or not I should get the practically free shower gels using my CVS ECBs even though I don’t use shower gels but I’ve decided to get them and give them to friends who use them and to women’s shelters. 

That’s it for now.  If I think of any others, I’ll make another post.  Meanwhile, please share your money saving ideas in the comments section!

The smell of burning tooth

I spent a little over 2 hours in the dentist chair yesterday afternoon getting a temporary crown.  I have to say that I am a very good patient now but I was HORRIBLE when I was very young.  I cried and cried and flailed my arms and legs around – I was pretty much your basic PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME GO TO THE DENTIST kid.  Every dentist visit was traumatic for my parents, the dentist, the staff, and me.  I think I might have kicked a dentist in the groin once.  I remember him limping into another room and giving me a pink rubber gorilla toy.  Mr. Dentist, if you’re reading this, I’m very sorry for kicking you in the groin…I was just a scared little kid back then.

Now I’m a super dental patient.  I don’t wince when the needle jabs into my gum and I don’t mind the piercing drill.  What weirds me out a little is smelling your own burning tooth.  That doesn’t happen very often, mostly only when they’ve been drilling for a long time.  Oh yeah, and inhaling the cloud of tooth dust (at least that’s what I think those fine particles coming out of my mouth is) weirds me out a little too.

So what do you do with your eyes when the dentist is working on you?  Are you supposed to leave them open or closed?  For 2 hours I darted my eyes around thinking about this.  I feel weird closing my eyes but I wonder if the dentist gets distracted with my wandering eyes.

The suckiest part about this whole crown thing is that I can’t have swedish fish candy until I get the permanent crown…boo.

The beginning of the Green Tea Soap

I’ve been very slow at making soaps and I hope to do a couple of batches a week starting tonight!  I made a strong green tea solution for my green tea soap last night.  The ground green tea leaves will be added to the Green Tea Scrubby soaps.   So here’s what I have so far:

1. Lavender Sunrise soaps

2. Honey and Oatmeal soaps (they smell like cookies)

3. Green Tea soaps (will make tonight)

and here are the others that I plan to make until I run out of oils:

4. Yellow Flower Power

5. Citrus Clary Sage

6. Herb Garden