A Month of Thrifty Birthdays

October 19, 2009

Oh dear – it’s happened already. Another month has gone by! It’s been a busy one here at the Thrift household. We are a family rather dominated by Librans, so we are suffering from birthday-fever around here.

I’m very proud to say that we managed to completely avoid the temptation to buy the gorgeous Steiner-esque dollhouse for Toddler Thrift’s 2nd birthday. However, completely coincidentally, my mother-in-law spotted it in a shop and couldn’t resist, so it now has pride of place in our lounge-room. How’s that for coincidence! In fact, the toddler was so thoroughly spoilt by her grandparents that we didn’t even bother giving her half of the presents we had been collecting from the op-shop over the previous months. At two, her patience for present opening is limited to a few at a time, which means that we now have Christmas fairly well sorted as well – in terms of toddler presents, anyway!


Paper-bag Party

September 16, 2009

Making toddler party invitations with only things that came to hand posed a slight challenge in this paper-poor house. However, a bit of hot-pink embroidered cotton-drill, a recycled paper shopping bag, a sewing machine, and jute twine produced pleasing results:



Apologies for the teensy tiny pictures. My phone only has a teensy tiny camera. The basic gist was:

  1. Cut out rectangle from brown paper bag.
  2. Cut slightly bigger rectangle from suitable fabric (one that is the same on both sides – ie cotton drill – is ideal, not prints unless you fancy doing something clever and sewing 2 bits together).
  3. Sew the two together a centimetre or so in from the border of the paper.
  4. Write invitation out with nice black pen.
  5. Allow birthday child to ‘help’ decorate with crayons
  6. Roll up and tie into a cylinder with a piece of brown string. Or embroidery thread. Or any string you have hanging around.

I was fortunate enough to have a lot of hot-pink cotton drill embroidered with stars in my fabric stash. As such, I made sure there was a central star on each invitation so that it could be seen when rolled up. It also meant that people thought I had hand embroidered them, since they were clearly homemade. If only!

They were reasonably labour intensive, but I only had to make six, so it wasn’t too taxing. I think paper and fabric works quite well together, don’t you?

Temptation… Already!

September 4, 2009

Drewart Doll's House

Can you see why I might be tempted? Just a credit card transaction away… But I must be strong. I’ll post it here instead, just on the off-chance that someone with a spare $400 might fall in love with it like I have… Honeybee Toys seem to be the Australian distributer – and they offer a 15% discount for schools, playgroups, toy libraries, and homeschoolers. But not plain old thrifts, unfortunately…

Back on the bandwagon! Hurrah!

September 3, 2009

I’m pleased to report that we are back on the thrifty bandwagon. We probably need to pretend that August didn’t happen, thrift-wise, and we very nearly quit altogether. However, there are still four more months of the year – probably the hardest four in our house – so I’m pleased to report that we’re sticking it out despite the setbacks.

In the next four months we have to contend with father’s day, Nannie, Grandma, Bubba and Mama Thrift’s birthdays, plus Christmas and at least three toddler friend birthdays.

Bubba Thrift’s birthday is my main concern at the moment, and I’m pleased to report that her main present will be an exciting set of corduroy curtains (complete with appliqued flowers) that I am converting from a second-hand doona cover. It doesn’t sound very exciting, but heavy curtains are a much needed addition to her north-facing bedroom. If I ever get around to sourcing a second hand digital SLR, I’ll have to post a picture when they’re complete.

I’m also going to try to blog a bit more frequently. Winter was a bit of a disaster what with moving house twice, pregnancy, endless colds and even a bout of gastro that only I managed to catch. However, the weather is warming up and we’re all feeling a bit more optimistic. We’re spring cleaning today, so it’s out with the dust bunnies and in with the bicarb and vinegar. Hurrah!

The Anti-Thrift

August 11, 2009

Wel, I have to confess to deliberate avoidance of this blog. For once, it has had nothing to do with internet connectivity issues and everything to do with the week-long shopping spree I’ve been on.

It all started when we had to buy a new carseat from Target. I’m pretty sure a new carseat is allowed on the grounds of safety. The pair of $4 toddler trackpants I grabbed on the way to the cash register were definately not exempt on any grounds. Papa Thrift raised his eyebrow at me quizzically, to which I responed “Bugger the Thrifts!” and grabbed another pair. Actually, the word I used was not bugger, but a four-letter expletive, but I am too much of a prude to see it in print.

The downhill spiral continued, and then turned into a full-on rampage. Washing up gloves, toilet cleaner, maternity tops x3, hoodies x2, little plastic sea animals, a haircut at a real hairdresser… you name it, we probably bought it this week. Cotton tips, crayons, lightbulbs, liquid handsoap… the list goes on.

Admittedly, there were no ridiculously extravagent purchases in there, but it felt very, very rebellious. (In fact, it felt kind of like the time I nearly got caught wagging school – a friend and I running down Hay St Mall in our distinctive lime green uniforms with a teacher in pursuit. My friend, who was more experienced in such matters warned me not to look back because they’d see who I was – apparently one Mercedes girl looks much the same as another from the rear).

Anyhow, I think I’mback on the bandwagon now. Mind you, it’s much easier to be on the thrifty bandwagon when you have enough liquid handsoap and little plastic sea animals to see out the year.

Normal life

July 13, 2009

Well, we are back to some semblance of normality. Except we are missing one thing. The internet. As such, I’m checking in from a laundromat which is also an internet cafe – innovative indeed. I have many thrifty plans in the making, but they mostly involve the house being unpacked first.

Our holiday was great, but not entirely thrifty. We did have one slip up which involved the purchase of a jerry can to convince the borrowed car to chug the last 100 metres to the petrol station. I should also mention here that this was the same incident (ie the car ceasing to work whilst driving) that had Papa Thrift insisting that it was a dodgy spark plug, despite the fact that the petrol guage was on the last bar, which was flashing. A mechanical genius is Papa Thrift! Needless to say, the spark plugs were fine, and a full tank saw the little toyota chugging along happily, once again.

We had forgotten about the treasures that can be found in kerb-side rubbish collections and scored a plastic kiddie slide for the duration of our stay. When we finished, we returned it to the verge (for the benefit of Melbournians, a verge is the same as a nature strip). And so the great kerb-side swap-meet of life continues. But now, with minutes left my internet account, I must press submit, lest my words disappear into cyberspace forever. Tragedy!

Flipside, here we are!

June 23, 2009

Here we are on the flipside! We survived! Admittedly, we did use removalists this time and they were an absolute lifesaver. Best money we ever spent, I reckon!

We’re in the midst of unpacking the house and simultaneously packing our bags for our holiday which starts tomorrow. We haven’t organised anyone to look after our cat yet, or even organised a ride to the airport. It isn’t very thrifty, but at this late stage I think a taxi and a cattery will be in order.

Every cent we’ve spent moving back has been worth it, though. In the chaos of unpacking yesterday one of our neighbours dropped around with dinner, warm and in bowls. Which was lucky, because we’re not sure where our bowls are at the moment. With neighbours like this, I’m struggling to remember why we ever left!

Here we go again!

June 18, 2009

Well, we’re off on our next moving adventure. The removalists are coming at 9am on Saturday morning whether we’re packed or not – most likely not. We’ll be offline for a few weeks afterwards, as we’re heading off for a fortnight to visit friends and family, and hopefully some much needed R+R too.

If I can impart one lesson from this whole debacle, it would be this: moving house twice in the first trimester of pregnancy should be avoided at all costs. Particularly when one of the moves involves an outdoor toilet, and particularly when the whole family has swine flu a cold. But then, I’m probably the only person who needed that lesson, and I doubt that I would have paid any attention even if I was warned. Sometimes you actually have to do things to discover whether they are right or not. I’m just thankful that despite the huge cost and hassle this move was able to be undone.

Ctrl Z: Life

June 13, 2009

OK, well, it’s time for an embarrassing admission. We I made the wrong decision about moving house. Not only was the timing terrible, it was a rash decision that has left us in a bit of a pickle. Papa Thrift blames my pregnancy hormones, and I think he is probably pretty close to the mark. I’m a Libran, and not normally one for rash decisions. I should probably stick to indecision, in which I am much more experienced.

We are used to high density living. We bitch and moan about our neighbours drumming, amorous pursuits, and the noisy backpackers making their way to the beach, but we love to feel connected. Out here in suburbia, we just feel so… alone. No neighbours to chat to at the washing line, no pedestrians stopping to pat our presumptuous puss-cat, no sign of life at all really most of the time. It can be a little depressing.

Anyway, I’ve been hunting around for life’s equivalent of an Undo button. Embarrassingly, but also thankfully, I found it. It’s expensive, and completely and utterly ridiculous. We had a chat to our former real estate agent, and it seems that, by a stroke of luck, our former abode has not yet been let. We are now awaiting the owner’s decision about whether or not we shall be allowed to move back in. At increased rent of course. It reminds me a little of the story The Best Nest, which is read a lot at bedtime around here.

Sigh. Oh well. It was an expensive lesson, but one that I don’t think any of us will readily forget. And so, on that embarrassing note, I will get back to the repacking. Gulp.

My MIA Mojo

June 9, 2009

My blogging mojo seems to be MIA at the moment, but all is well in the thrifty world. I’m told that moving house is one of the five most stressful life events, so I’m thinking that perhaps it got left behind in the move.

Or perhaps this has got something to do with it:

Ultrasound Baby

While the picture above is not the actual baby (no ultrasound), there is indeed a teeny tiny thrift on the way! It’s still early days and I am right in the throes of morning sickness. We’re expecting our new addition at some point late in summer. Apart from the nausea, which I hear is a good sign, all is going well. It’s easy to be thrifty when you don’t move off the couch!