Monday, March 28, 2011

Soap Stars

This weekend I decided to attempt making my own laundry soap. After doing a little research, I've found lots of great laundry soap recipes online. They were all fairly similar so I choose one and went to town with it.

I used A bar of Ivory soap and grated it into little pieces with an old cheese grater. After that I boiled a cup of water on the stove top and slowly added the soap pieces, stirring constantly as it melted.

In a separate bucket I added 2.5 gallons of hot water. Then added the melted soap mixture from the stove top. Stir until mixed!

I then added 1/2 cup of washing soda and 1/2 cup of borax. Stir until blended.

I poured this mixture into a container with a lid and let it set for 24 hours. It turned into a gel like consistency. I stirred this and then transferred the laundry soap to my empty laundry soap containers! I also added a touch of lavender oil to the container and shook it up. Shake before each use and use a cup per load.

More info and interesting blogs to checkout
  • I found this really great site that shows just how well home made laundry soap works compared to Tide and how much money you can save by making your own....The Simple Dollar
  • You can also check out this frugal simple blog called....Down-to-Earth Lots of great ideas to be found there!
Next on my list of things to make to save money is homemade pet food!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Kinda Sunday

I spent today baking up a storm. As you see below, I had a special request from one of the dogs asking me for more yummy could I say no to that cute little note? I also made a weeks worth of breakfast muffins for myself and sent a batch home with the Sgt too. I topped off my day by whipping up some bread for the week in my R2 bread maker. I love that little bread maker and use him all the time, it's one of my best auction finds ever and I totally have gotten my $10 out of it! Plus, it saves me lots of time because he does all the hard work for me!

Saturday I went off to an auction just because it's been months since I've been...I wasn't planning on buying anything, I am being faithful to my self imposed frugality, I just needed the fix. I bought absolutely nothing and to be honest, it made me feel extremely powerful. Being frugal has given me a weird sense of power. I love figuring out how, where, and what I can do to save money. Like for instance, I also made laundry detergent this weekend! Now I will never have to buy laundry detergent again....hahahaha...suck it laundry detergent companies! *insert evil laugh here* My philosophy is becoming more and more.....Why continue to buy something if you can make it, fix it, or grow it yourself? I ask myself I really need that? Is that what I want or need to spend my money on? Usually the answer is no and I actually feel better for not buying it! Being frugal gives me self discipline and a sense of power. It's pretty amazing. Auctually, I think living frugaly is living more of a vintage lifestyle then going out and buying all the vintage you can get your hands on with the use of your little plastic credit card. People back then didn't do that. They lived for the most part very modestly. I always think it's funny to see people in today's society trying hard to look vintage and live a "vintage lifestyle" by going into debt doing it. What a complete oxymoron!

Enough with my rant onto the recipes!


PB dog biscuits.....aka Puppy Crack

6 cups whole wheat flour
2.5 cups of water
2.5 cups PB
2 tbs blackstrap molasses
2 tbs canola oil

  • Combine wet ingredients in a bowl and slowly add flour until a thick dough forms.
  • Roll out dough to desired thickness and cut shapes.
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 min. Treats should be crunchy and dry. Let treats dry out over night and then store in an air tight container.


8 Week Cholesterol Cure Muffins

2 1/4 cups Oat-bran cereal (Quick Oatmeal is what I use)
1/4 cup chopped almonds (I usually don't add the nuts)
1/4 cup raisins (I have started using blueberries also)
1 tbs baking powder
1/4 cup brown sugar or 1/4 cup honey (I use honey)
1 1/4 cup skim milk
2 egg whites
2 tbs veggie oil

*Note...I will sometimes through in a cap full of vanilla extract too.

Pre heat oven to 425... combine all ingredients in large bowl and bake 15- 17 min.

Muffins are 130 calories each, are made with no flour and high in fiber! Good for lowering your cholesterol!


Sour Cream Bread

Water 2 1/2 tbs.
Sour cream 1 1/3 cup
Salt 2/3 tsp
baking soda 1/4 tsp
sugar 1 1/3 tbs
bread flour 3 1/3 cup
yeast 2 1/2 tsp

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Master Bedroom Project

This is a big project that has been slow and steady in the winning the race department. How did I know that my simple request..."Please build me a walk in closet in the master bedroom"...would turn in to Sgt's nightmare? But really, you can't put the hardwood floors down or build a closet until the floor beam above the kitchen gets replaced. Sgt deserves a round of applause as he has been the one to take on most of this never ending project. But not to worry, I get the pleasure of re doing the master bathroom this Summer! So, I'm sure I'll get mine soon enough.

Before: Shot of the master bedroom. Don't mind his mess, remember, he's a straight man and a me, I was very happy to see his bachelor pad looking like this when we started dating, it proved to me that he was in fact single! So ladies don't be so hard on a guy who's a little however, if you can't find the floor to walk across it due to all his dirty clothes, well then, that's another story and he probably needs a maid not a girlfriend.


In Progress: Look at the formation of my walk in girly closet below! All that lovely space for all my girly vintage things! Oh and I'm sure there will be a little space for some of Sgt's things too. ;-)


Before: I took this shot from where the new closet is . The old closet and door are now gone! Part of the wall has been removed to open up the room and let more light in. The yucky wall to wall carpet was also removed to make way for the hardwood floors Sgt and I bought at auction. Since the back stairs only lead to the master bed room there really is no need for a door. The stairs on the other side of the house lead to the other two bedrooms. Gotta love old farm houses.


In Progress: See closet gone. Door way gone. Wall gone. Just waiting on the electrician to come out and move the wires. Then it's on to the rest of the dry wall and finishing up the hardwood floors! Then I get to paint and layout the walk in closet. I'm dreaming of color combinations as we speak. Fun times ; ) Poor Sgt's aching back.....I think Sgt must really love his MaryDeluxe!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

For My Chicago Vintage Lovers

Hello Dolls and Gents!

I was contacted today by Kathy from ReCollections Ltd, who wanted to let me know about a huge estate sale that they are having this weekend in the Chicago area. Now, some of you are thinking, well so what, lots of estate sales happen across the country everyday, what's so special about this one? Well, Kathy wanted to let me know that this estate sale featured a fab Moss DeLee Hawaiian girl lamp that I raved about wanting to own someday in this post!

Here's the picture from the sale.....Kathy says the lamp also has the original shade too! OMG! Then I also looked at the other pictures of the sale and began to droll upon my key board! No kidding if I lived any where near this place I would be camping out on the front lawn the night before!


A few more pictures to make you drool! It's so not fair that I'm the only one drooling.... so I'll share and we can all sit at our keyboards in puddles of open mouthed drool! If only I lived closer and wasn't on a self imposed budget!! DANG!!




All pictures are taken from the ReCollections Ltd website and they have more pictures over there to look at so bop over and have a peek! Please somebody in the Chicago area.... go buy things and take lots of pictures so I can see what you snag.

Now back to the chicken coop for MaryDeluxe!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Spring!!

I'm back from my online vacation and feeling much better! I'm still of course crazy busy with my real life, but I can definitely see the light at the end of my tunnel. All I saw last month was dark winter days that just dragged on and on and on and on...yuck! Nothing I could do but keep my nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel, struggle on, and wade through it. Sometimes life just gets like that.

Just so you all know, I haven't been lounging around and eating bon-bons on my little break, I've actually been planning and working on projects both here and at the Sgt's. And let me just tell ya, this living in two different places, 2 hours away, and in 2 different states.... has gotten old really fast. My things are here, my things are there, my things are in a storage unit, my things are every where....MaryDeluxe has too many things and I can't find anything I need! hahaha Just kidding, it's not that bad yet, but I bet it will get to that level about mid May. That's when I'm really planning to lose my last thread of sanity and or dignity too. Keep reading and watch me unravel, it should be a good time!

Onto the garden project!! Sgt and I happen to both love gardening and so it's only natural that we spent much of the Fall and Winter months planning and dreaming about the projects we would begin to do in the Spring. The first thing on the list is to create raised garden beds in the back or on top of the hill. We wanted to do this ASAP so we can use them for early Spring planting.

Look, there's the bottom garden followed by the can see Sgt's swanky patio project that he built last Sept. here. At the top of the slope are the newly built raised garden beds. Three so far with more to follow I'm sure.

Top of the hill with the king of the raised garden beds! Just so you all know I had dirty knees too! Sgt made me dig up the dirt from the lower garden and bring in up the hill in the wheel barrow...he's a slave driver and I wasn't even allowed to take water breaks! Okay I'm kidding, he did most of the work lifting and putting together the wood beds....but really, I did bring some of the dirt up the hill in the wheel barrow. I swear, I did help! I also transplanted from the lower garden volunteer spinach plants that seeded themselves from last year and then Sgt added some more from seed. Then I planted the top bed with a variety of lettuce. Peas will be put in the bottom garden.

Not only was I dirt girl for the weekend, but I also did a little abandoned chicken coop exploration and pulled out a metal chicken nesting box that I plan on using in our chicken coop this Summer. Yup, I said chickens! Sgt and I both love chickens and we have both raised backyard chickens before. There's just nothing like fresh eggs people, so we decided to put chickens on our garden project list. YAY!!! Someone told me chickens are the cool, trendy new thing to have! I can't wait to see women walking around with them in their purses or under their arms! hahaha

The ole chicken nesting box in all it's glory. Not bad for a rusty old relic! See the old delapidated chicken coop in the background...lots of crap in there to look through but I better get a tetanus shot first. I was afraid it was going to fall on my head! I did spy an old metal chicken feeder in there too that I plan on rescuing later. We plan on ripping down the old chicken coop and building the new one in the same area. We also plan on building our compost beds back there. Nothing makes good compost quite like chicken poop!

Lots more projects coming soon!