Category Archives: Bargains

Another New Rug Pad

I was all set to order a rug pad from RugPadCorner.com like I did for the living room rug.

The living room rug is on a rug pad from Rug Pad Corner.

The living room rug is on a rug pad from Rug Pad Corner.

The new rug pad for the bedroom rug is approximately the same size (8′ by 10″-7″ versus 7′-11″ by 10′-9″) as the living room rug so I expected the quote for the rug pad to be about the same: $89 (before 15% coupon).

This is the invoice from July's purchase at Rug Pad Corner.

This is the invoice from July’s purchase at Rug Pad Corner.

Unfortunately the total for the new rug pad came to $105, about an 18 per cent increase in price from the one I purchased in July, less than 2 months ago.  And no coupon available this time.

Our bedroom rug needs a new rug pad.

Our bedroom rug needs a new rug pad.

Not cool. So I went on another website called USARugPads.com where a comparable item was $89.99 less a 20% coupon. Final price $71.99.

I think the quality of the two rug pads will be similar so I used cost as the determining factor.

I think the quality of the two rug pads will be similar so I used cost as the determining factor.

I ordered one, this time in the 3/8 inch thickness.

Do you shop around?

 

Homemade Mayonnaise

I have been encouraged by Twiglet at Twiglet’s World to make my own mayonnaise.  The most difficult thing about making anything at our house is finding the right tool and making sure it works before one “breaks the eggs” so to speak.

The ingredients for basic mayonnaise are simple: eggs, vinegar,  oil, mustard, salt.

The ingredients for basic mayonnaise are simple: eggs, vinegar, oil, mustard, salt.

I pulled out our two (almost) identical Cuisinarts to use in the mayo making process.  While they both work, each has its own issue. I’ll save that boring story for another day. (As a side note, after making the mayo we threw out one of the Cusinart bases so now we only have one.  How enlightened committed to decluttering are we?!)

A food processor is definitely the fast way to make mayonnaise except it's difficult to taste along the way.

A food processor is definitely the fast way to make mayonnaise except it’s difficult to taste along the way.

Anyway, using Twiglet’s suggested recipe I put all the ingredients except for the oil (which I reduced by half cup) in the food processor and started it up. (I used Dijon mustard instead of dry.)

Even Charlie wanted to get in on the mayo making; he poured some oil.

Even Charlie wanted to get in on the mayo making; he poured some oil.

Little by little we drizzled in olive oil until we realized the food processor has a tube with a small hole in the bottom which allows you to pour in all of the oil and it self-drizzles.

When we opened the top we had perfectly creamy mayonnaise.

When we opened the top we had perfectly creamy mayonnaise.

The resultant mixture was smooth and creamy but didn’t have enough mayonnaise tang for us so I added a little more salt, some vinegar, and a soupçon of sugar.

Homemade mayonnaise.

Homemade mayonnaise.

Making the mayonnaise was easy and satisfying.  I’ll be making it again and branching out on the spices and flavoring.  I’m sure it would be fabulous in a crab salad or on a lobster roll.

Do you make your own condiments? What should I try next?

A Horrible Placeholder

In order to have a final electrical inspection we need to have a vanity fixture in the conservatory bathroom the over the spot where the vanity will be.

I guess we won't be putting cabinet recessed between the studs over the sink.

The electric wire for the vanity light is right next to a dryer exhaust pipe which prohibits installation of an electric box.

The fixture must be a strip light because it’s impossible to put an electrical box in that spot.

The area for the conservatory bathroom vanity is still in need of a fixture which is the only issue holding up the final electrical inspection.

The area for the conservatory bathroom vanity is still in need of a fixture which is the only issue holding up the final electrical inspection.

I have never been a fan of strip lights but we bought the cheapest one ($11) Lowes sells. (Home Depot prices started at $15.)

This 18-inch fixture is supposed to have globe bulbs which are not included.

This 18-inch fixture is supposed to have globe bulbs which are not included.

First Charlie hooked all the wires together with wire nuts matching same color wires coming from the wall to those on the fixture.

The light should hang on the two screws.

The light should hang on the two screws.

Then he tried to hang the fixture on screws and it just wouldn’t happen.  That’s when I read the directions. (I know, girl stuff.)

Since there is not a box in which to stash the wires we pulled them through to the front of the back plate which was screwed tight to the wall.

Since there is not a box in which to stash the wires we pulled them through to the front of the back plate which was screwed tight to the wall.

Following the instructions we took the thing apart, rewired it, hung the back plate on the screws, and attached the front plate with the trim cups.

The fixture actually calls for globe bulbs but we didn't spring for them.

The fixture actually calls for globe bulbs but we didn’t spring for them.

When we flipped the switch only one light bulb worked but that’s because 2 of them were faulty.

I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

Now isn’t that about the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen. I hope it passes inspection.

What cheap and tawdry decisions have you made?

 

 

Indigo Vintage Pillow Slips

I have a lot of vintage linens that are “precious” and I don’t mean that in a nice way.  They’re not my style; just too cute for me.

These are heavy cotton hand-embroidered pillow cases.

These are heavy cotton hand-embroidered pillow cases.

I decided to dye some of them.  The rage now seems to be grey and indigo so I started with indigo.

I would prefer a less lively color palette.

I would prefer a less lively color palette.

The choices of dye are vast and it’s difficult to know exactly what color you’re going to end up with.

Rit dye comes in liquid and powder.

Rit dye comes in liquid and powder.

I stopped by JoAnn and picked up 2 bottles of liquid Rit dye: one in Navy and the other in Evening Blue.  Going to The Rit Studio Guide was helpful to understand the undertones of each color. Navy has a violet (red) undertone while the evening blue has an aqua (green) undertone so I mixed the two to try and tone down (ha!) the undertones.

I used one bottle of Evening blue and a half bottle of navy.

I used one bottle of Evening blue and a half bottle of navy.

My recipe for indigo dye is 1 part navy to 2 parts evening blue.  Mix the dye as recommended on the package.

The dye color, even diluted, looks black.

The dye color, even diluted, looks black.

I used my kitchen sink for dying and left the clean, pre-wetted articles in the hot dye bath for about 45 minutes stirring and swishing them around from time to time.

I found moving the items around by hand easier than swishing with a stick so I wore rubber gloves.

I found moving the items around by hand easier than swishing with a stick so I wore rubber gloves.

.After everything was well-colored I ran each item under cold water until the water ran clear.

I carefully rinsed each item.

I carefully rinsed each item.

After rinsing I wrapped the items in an old towel to absorb much of the water then threw them in the clothes dryer.

The color came ourt as a true indigo without any purplish tinge which I found difficult to photograph.

The color came ourt as a true indigo without any purplish tinge which I found difficult to photograph.

The thing I really like is that the colors of the embroidery have also been muted.

I must have learned something from the last time I tried to dye something.

I must have learned something from the last time I tried to dye something.

I can picture these sturdy embroidered cases in the décor now.

I'm not planning to use them on the sofa but I could.

I’m not planning to use them on the sofa but I could.

What old item are you repurposing?

Back of the Stove Potpourri

I put 3 ingredients in a little pot on the back of the stove and let it simmer.

Lemon slices

Lemon slices

One cut up lemon.

I used one vanilla bean left over from making vanilla extract.

I used one vanilla bean left over from making vanilla extract.

A vanilla bean.

Lavender

Three sprigs of lavender from the potager.

The aroma fills the whole house.

The aroma fills the whole house.

The house smells sweet and spicy.  Mmmm.

What scent would you add? Cinnamon? Mint?

 

Fabrics for the Living Room

I know when I get the living room set up I’ll need to consider curtains, maybe shades of some kind, and updated pillows.

The old living room set up had buff colored shades (no curtains) and stingy-sized throw pillows.

The old living room set up had buff colored shades (no curtains) and stingy-sized throw pillows.

To that end I pulled out my own stash of fabric that might work in the new living room now that the flowered love seats have been moved into the conservatory.

The chairs are remaining blue so finding these fabrics in my collection is a bonus.

The chairs are remaining blue so finding these fabrics in my collection is a bonus.

I found a roll of gorgeous grey interwoven with natural canvas.  This fabric is too stiff for curtains but might make a wonderful framed valance or pillow cover or ottoman upholstery.

Grey and natural linen weave canvas in the upper right-hand corner.

Grey and natural linen weave canvas in the upper right-hand corner.

I also have the printed fabric from the mid-century chair I recovered.  I think there’s enough for the seat of a padded bench in the mudroom and some pillows for the living room.

"Deauville Dance" in the color Luna is a Jacobean print on an Ikat diamond background.

“Deauville Dance” in the color Luna is a Jacobean print on an Ikat diamond background.

Finally I found a soft, creamy-colored textured cotton which would look great on some pillows.

This nubby soft cotton has a wide wale that would add a modern texture to the living room.

This nubby soft cotton (like chenille) has a wide wale that would add a modern, casual texture to the living room.

I’ll be looking for a fabric that drapes well near the color of the first fabric above, the canvas, to use for curtains.  I like curtains that continue the color of the walls so the room is not broken up too much.

Our old roller shades need a pick-up.

Our old roller shades need a pick-up because they don’t go with the new colors in the room.

One thing is for sure, the Smith and Noble roller shades in the light ochre color which used to match the walls are going to be changed.  Either I’ll recover them with something new or get rid of them altogether.  I must say they have held up over the past 15 years very well.

Do you keep a stash of fabric? Paint?

Advice: Measure FIRST

That’s right, measure BEFORE you place the order for ANYTHING. I ordered 2 runners from Ballard Designs to use on the stairs. The narrow stairs. The extremely narrow stairs.

These are the stairs that really need rejuvenating.

These are the stairs that really need rejuvenating.

The runner is 2′-6″ wide the stairs, 2′-3″. And the runners that I bought are beautifully banded and finished on all four sides so I really can’t just cut them down to size. (Oh, I thought of it though.)

This Ballard Designs runner is bordered and banded on 4 sides.

This Ballard Designs runner is bordered and banded on 4 sides.

Errrrrgh! I can’t find a runner narrow enough that it would cover part of the steps with a little margin on each side. It’s very difficult to even search for such a thing.

Various colors and designs are available and they're machine washable.

Various colors and designs are available and they’re machine washable.

Then at Ikea a saw a little rug 1′-10″ wide by 2′-9″ long which will just cover to two steps. I wanted the blue and white one (first on the left above) but could only find the black and white (which I really think is navy and cream, 4th on the right). These are not orderable on the website; I had to go to my local store for availability.

I'm hoping these Ikea rugs will work on the stairs.

I’m hoping these Ikea rugs will work on the stairs.

So I went for them. Ten of them. At $2.99 each the entire lot was less than $30. I hope they do the trick.

And, fear not, I have some other places where the Pottery Barn runners will work. I hope.

Do you measure first?