Archive for the ‘Do It Yourself’ Category

Sewing Maternity Clothes.

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

We are almost to 18 weeks and out of nowhere I finally got my baby bump.  Yay! I can finally wear my maternity clothes again.  I LOVE those stretchy pants.  If I could, I would convert all my pants into stretchy top pants.  No more buttons and zippers. 

Speaking of maternity clothes, I am 60% finished with my first sewing project.  I am making a maternity top for my 20 year reunion this summer.  I think the fabric is nice, but my husband says I look like a big bumblebee. 

My sewing class on Tuesday nights has worked out great.  I wish I had the time and energy to sew at home though.  Even in class I get so tired that last week I sewed the wrong arm pieces together and I have to spend the weekend picking out every last stitch. 

Has sewing been worth the investment?  I’m not sure yet.  The class cost $80 through our local community college and the supplies/fabric probably cost me about $60.  Granted, these are startup costs and I hopefully only need to purchase fabric/notions/patterns in the future.  The cost of making the top alone has been $24.  A nice maternity top in the store retails for $40-$60.  I should factor in the time spent sewing, but I think the pleasure derived from making my own shirt negates those costs.

We’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.  I’ll be finished with the class in 3 more weeks.  If my shirt is wearable, then score!  If not, then I can always dress up as a fat bumblebee for Halloween.

Free Bricks Project: Adding a path to the driveway.

Saturday, April 10th, 2010 is an excellent resource for the frugal do-it-yourselfer.  I constantly search under the “Free” category to find things for our various home improvement projects.  One day I saw a post titled, “Free Bricks – All You Can Haul.”

I drove the pickup truck to the address in the post and a demolition company was tearing down a house.  The old professor who had lived there had recently died and his family sold the entire property to a developer.  They had been tearing down the brick walls to expose the “bones” of the house.

I started loading the truck up with bricks, one by one, until I had gathered over 2,000 of them.  Later that same month, I spied another ad for Free Bricks.  This time an old church was being torn down.  Over 3 days, I gathered 3,000 more.

Ever the watchful hawk, I saw that someone was giving away the excess sand from a patio job just to get the pile off his driveway.  I grabbed a shovel and filled the truck up with free sand.  Next came a lady who was tired of her gravel and was giving it away for “free” to whoever wanted to come dig it up.  2 trips later, we had a mountain of rocks in our driveway.

We had all the ingredients for a nice walkway or patio.  We have decided on a walkway on both sides of our driveway and a small patio on the side of our house where we can store our garbage cans.

Here’s what we did today:  Phase 1

We chose a brick pattern from a library book and measured the width of the path.  My husband then cut squares out of the sod to preserve the grass for another location.

Removing the Sod from the Pathway

This is the path cleared out to the depth of one brick.  We will excavate more inches down later so we can add gravel for drainage and sand for a base.

The Staightaway Dug Out

Next, we dry-fit the bricks to see how the pattern would look and to see how many bricks we used.

We Dry Fit the Bricks to See How it Would Look

We had barely dented our stack of bricks and decided to go ahead with the patio for our garbage cans.  We outlined our plan.

We Decided to Go For the Patio

The hard part was trying to figure out how to angle our path pattern 45 degrees.  My  husband loves solving puzzles – he has yet to be stumped by any puzzle that I’ve bought for him! I left him to figure out how to merge the two paths together at the corner.

Figuring Out How to Merge the corners with bricks.

Once we decide on the final layout of our path/patio, we will move all the bricks and finish excavating the earth.   Without the added width of the pathways, we stomp the grass flat when we get in and out of our cars.  Without the patio, we have two ugly garbage cans sitting directly in front of our house in the driveway. I think this will be a nice improvement to our house!

Stay tuned for Phase 2!

Frugal Tip of the Day: Search often for freebies and be ready to pounce the moment you see the ad.  Most freebies are gone within the hour of the post.  Most people are willing to set up a pickup time convenient to you so you don’t have to drop everything that moment.

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