Make Your Own Butter

Because we’re always looking for ways to save money or make things into something new, I wanted to share this little tutorial I found on making your own butter. My only issue is that I never really find extra cream laying around the house… I can usually dream up something to bake or find some berries to drizzle it on. So I don’t know how much you’d save if you bought the cream specifically for this purpose. Here’s to someday having leftover cream in the fridge.

How to Make Your Own Butter
(via Prudent Baby)

Check out the tutorial on their website. Have any of you ever made your own butter?

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Creating is Beautiful Too…

Just look at that graphic again. Study it. Let it sink in. Let it affect you.

We both got rid of TV some year and a half ago. As in, we don’t have a television in our household. This doesn’t mean we don’t watch shows (Friday Night Lights…hello?) but it does mean we’re more purposeful with the things we do watch. No mindless SportsCenter, no HGTV on in the background, we try (and fail at times) to pick documentaries and interesting movies, forums for learning. Plus it’s cheap. Plus we took the extra time and started this blog. But this isn’t a post about why not to have TV (that’ll come later) this is a post about relativity.

Look at that graphic again….

…and click on the photo attribution, if you want to be occupied for hours by an awesome website.

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Photo Attribution: Information is Beautiful

Freebie Labels

I’ve really become obsessed with labels. Especially since I’ve been thinking about organizing our tiny food cabinet and creating a make-shift spice rack. While I love labels, I don’t love the thought of paying for them. I’ve done some research and bring you these fabulous free graphics (also attached to some fabulous blogs) in time to start a new weekend project. Your husband can thank me later. Start printing and start labeling. Jars, books, children. So many options.

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6. And for fun, some printable notecards for all of your pen pals:

Enjoy!

Improving Home Improvement (is that already taken?)

Because our home decor budget isn’t too hefty, I’ve really tried to prioritize our purchases so I’m not overspending or doing it aimlessly. One of the biggest issues I have is that I get to Lowe’s, forget which projects really need finished, and just buy what looks pretty. So I’ve done a very quick run through of our apartment, taken pictures of things that need the most attention, and saved it all in a file on our computer. The result is a quick project guide for tackling the uglies to make this feel like home.

Buy frame & chalkboard sticker for door

Need side table

Buy another hook to hang measuring cup
Bring back chairs from Oklahoma
Buy something to use as nightstand
Spray paint this shelf for bathroom
Buy art to hang on this wall
Buy tape to finish stripes in bathroom

List
Lowe’s:
Paint for living room & kitchen walls
Spray paint for frame and shelf
1 hook for measuring cup
Painters tape

Paper store in mall:
Chalkboard sticker

Thrift:
Frame
1 table next to couch
1 table for nightstand
Art for dining area

Other:
Get 2 chairs from Oklahoma

Anybody have any ideas for what we should add to these spaces?

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Photo Attribution

A Stitch in Time

Because a few of you asked (and because I love to share) this is the project I was working on during the infamous Sports Mentor video. I’ve just started playing around with embroidery thread because I was inspired by Anthropologie’s kitchen towels. Every year, I try to convince my family to make handmade gifts for everyone at Christmas. They say no, but I do it anyway, so these are probably what they’re getting. i.e. Mom and sisters speak up now if you want something different. Love you.

I spent about $9 on the 3 tea towels, $14 on thread and needles (but I bought a large amount of both that will last me forever, so I don’t count that in the price) and spent about 12 hours total on the bottom towel. I was so excited at how they turned out, but now I understand why they’re so expensive. The first only took 2-3 hours and the second is still in the draft phase.

I’ll probably have some patterns available online soon if anyone wants to try their hand at embroidery. It’s fun and pretty and girly and Christmas gifty. Who wouldn’t want to try it?

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Photo Attribution

Marriage Equals Shareage

There are the obvious things you sign up for in marriage. Sharing a household means cooking an occasional meal for the other person, sometimes washing dishes you didn’t eat off of, and keeping your stuff off the floor. I don’t even mind you using my toothbrush now and then, and I’ll even wake up a little early to make you coffee some days. But marriage is such a tease. It lures you in, one cute fuzzy moment at a time, and then it asks you to give everything.

There are dreams you have as a brave 24 year old woman that don’t hold water in a marriage. Suddenly your nights of independence fly by in a blurry haze of grocery shopping and cooking and cleaning and work talk. And the cute little apartment you’ve always dreamed of having is shared with posters of athletes and smells like boy. And so you form a new dream. Except that you can’t form it on your own because you’re only one half of this intricate twisted mess that God has thrown together. And I’m rarely grateful for only one half.

Kyle dreams dreams of things I can’t understand, of doing things neither of us can put our fingers on. He has an incredible job that we’re both thankful for, but he longs to start something on the side, to grow and cultivate something real and good and true. And there is risk in dreaming, for when you find the one thing you’re meant to do, it requires your whole heart. To him, it’s an entire universe of possibility. To me it’s simply maddening. Why can’t he just want one steady job like a normal person? You didn’t marry him because he was a normal person. What if he wants to start a side business and we lose tons of money? It’s only money. Yeah but our kids! Our kids need diapers and clothes and food. You don’t even have kids. Stop being dramatic.

And he dreams a new dream every week.

“We should try this…” or “What if I started this company?”

I bet he hasn’t even prayed about this and that’s just not fair.

“I really want to write for a living. What if I just started writing for a living?”

Seriously? You just have readers sitting around ready to shell out dollars?

“What if we just sold all our stuff and moved to Georgia?”

Don’t say mean things. Don’t say mean things. Don’t say mean things.

Some days it’s fun to dream. And some days I just want to hold my breath and stomp my foot and stay right where we are. Yet I have a feeling that our dream will be ever changing, that some days it will be solid and some days a complete mess. But this is life, and it’s messy and sometimes scary and usually unpredictable. And so I trust in my husband to lead us in whatever direction the Lord takes him. While I work on being encouraging and uplifting and a much better wife than I am right now. God knew what he was doing when he made men the spiritual leaders. No, it wasn’t a misprint, no, he wasn’t just joking around, and no, I am not an exception to the rule. There is joy and freedom in that if only I will open my eyes.

Tomorrow will be a new struggle. But today, I follow you.

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Photo Attribution

Polly Want a Haircut?

The reason I first cut Kyle’s hair was due to a cosmetology mishap: about 2 years ago he left his barber looking like a cockatoo. See above for visual. My job was to fix it, and so we came to the only conclusion either of us could think of: buzz it off and start over. Then I found out how much he was paying and we decided to try it for real.

Disclaimer: this activity is not for weak relationships or the faint of heart. We’ve had several domestic disputes over the cutting of hair, and though our relationship has survived, there have been words exchanged, blood spilled, and many imminent breakups on the horizon. (The first time we tried it, Kyle stormed out halfway through sporting a droopy version of a ’90’s bowl cut. He was serious about going to work the next day until I convinced him he looked like a homeless Zack Morris).

Yet we come out on the other side basking in this glory: By not spending those $16 every 2 weeks, we will save $16,640 over the next 40 years. Not to mention what we’ll save with kids. Check it out:

Photo Attribution

PS: This is Kyle and I have never in my life looked like that bird. I promise.

As We Promised: Part II

The things I love most in this world are not new or shiny. They’re used, maybe a little torn or discolored, but they have a story – even if I don’t know what it is. Thus begins the tale of our wedding. We spent hours scouring antique stores & flea markets to find the perfect combination of old things. From the quilts we had for eating dinner on the lawn (made by my great grandmother…or someone else’s) to the banner made from vintage handkerchiefs to the old doors we used as tables, very few things were new or sparkly.

Among those old things were a collection of used books. Because there weren’t even 100 people coming to our wedding, we could afford (economically and emotionally) to make something special for each guest. The books were by far my favorite part of everything we worked on, and they turned out to be even more beautiful than I had hoped. We got the idea after running across this blog about 2 months before we got engaged, and I found most of the books at an estate sale. Then I called my friend Sydney (a book hollowing expert) and she helped get me started on this tedious endeavor.  We started working on them about a week after the engagement and finished about 26 hours before the wedding.

Each included a personal note on a card handmade by me, a picture of us at our new home with our address on the back, and our marriage statement: see the card here. The back of the small card also had information about the blog we were starting and how to follow us on Twitter. Each was adorned with ribbon and a mix of eclectic buttons. Here are some visuals:

Books we handed out to everybody at the wedding
Books & Buttons

I also made my veil with a little help from this website and my mother. I planned only to wear it for the ceremony, but loved it so much I couldn’t take it off. If only I had an excuse to wear it every day.

My birdcage veil

Tomorrow: Envelopes! Bartering! The Cash System! How we pulled off a low-budget wedding…

Wedding Decor: The Tables

The Tables: Where we some people ate

It’s almost comical, and anyone who’s ever planned a wedding knows this, that you can spend every waking hour researching and coordinating your wedding, and yet it looks like it all came together in one flash of magic. Poof. Part of me was ecstatic at the thought, part of me wanted to stand on my pretty little table and yell, “You have NO idea how much work this took!!” But in the end I refrained, partly out of dignity, partly because I was wearing a short dress.

First things first: 5 years ago, the average cost for a wedding in America was close to $30,000. We’re bringing that average way down.  Here’s a little bit about how we did it:

I knew the flowers would be a big part of the décor, but I also knew how much flowers cost and how quickly they die. My self-efficacy is dangerously high, so I set out to play God and create the Garden of Eden in a little red barn. I found several websites with instructions on how to make crepe paper flowers, but it turns out Martha’s never really tried her own instructions (shocker). So I made my own version and commissioned my mom and sisters to create hundreds of them. (email me if you want instructions) In the end, it was exactly like I pictured. See below.

Our wedding tables with faux flowers

The rest of the table was pieced together over a few months. I wanted the tables to have the feel of an old quilt, so I went to the local quilt store and found colorful fat quarters for $1.25 each. The tulips (the only real flowers, picked up at Sam’s 2 days prior) are in 12 old wine bottles I found at Goodwill for $5. I found the large black vases at Big Lots for $10 each- see the before and after below- and the burlap table runner was $4 from Michaels and added the shabby to my chic.

My mom found the glass plates and hurricanes at her Salvation Army store, and paid around $5 for an entire box.  Oh, and the tablecloths? Flat sheets (yes, bedding) I encountered at WalMart and talked the customer service lady into giving me for $2 each.

So the table you’re looking at sat 36 people and cost about $95. Spread out over 6 months, it turns out to be about $8 per pay check. Yes, please.

Tomorrow: my love affair with flea markets and why they love me too.  Wedding décor, part duex.

Why The Surprise?

So in case you haven’t figured it out yet (I think some of our friends are still trying to figure out what happened), our wedding was a surprise. We invited about 100 friends and family to what we were calling an “Engagement Party.” Except that when they arrived, we showed them the video of our engagement that happened 6 months prior and actually got married that day. Some have called it brave, some call it crazy, but we just call it love.

So why the surprise?

Our general love of weddings never quite existed. They were something we both participated in because we love our friends dearly, but neither of us had a desire to spend our engagement ordering bridesmaid dresses, tuxes, registering for gifts, going to showers, or talking to caterers or DJs or florists. We just didn’t. Nor did we have a desire to burden others with cost or hassle. (One of our friends just dropped $280 on a bridesmaid dress, $50 on shoes, $50 on alterations, $150 on a shower, and one evening of awkwardness at a bachelorette party. For one wedding.) What we did have was a deep desire to honor God and learn to love one another at an even deeper level. So through much prayer and creativity, we spent our 6 months of betrothal in a state of secret anticipation and joy, pouring into one another and into our marriage. We never looked back.

Most of the wedding was handmade, with hours spent scouring vintage flea markets, second hand stores, and DIY websites. Over the next few days, I’ll post about some of the things we worked on and how it all came together. Here are a few pics to tide you over. Happy Tuesday.

"Engagement Party"
Picnic
Twinkle Twinkle

All these photos were taken by my beautiful friend and Tulsa photographer, Shari Hatfield. Find more of her work here.