Thursday, September 26, 2013

Money Saving Round-Up

I like to save money. Especially now that we're on one income, it's become more important that I TRY to save some money. It used to be a fun challenge to see how much I could save when shopping, and now it's a fun challenge with a high-five from Hubby for doing a good job!
One  of my favorite ways to save is by couponing. I've heard some people say they don't have time, or don't "need' to coupon. Get over yourselves. Saving money in one place means you get to spend it in another, and the "another" should always be something fun.
I've been asked by several people how I do my shopping, especially at the grocery store (my favorite!) and I wanted to share some of my money-saving tips with you too!
I'll try to break this down easily. Pick and choose what you can use. It takes a while to develop a system, but once you have one, it makes shopping easy and a lot cheaper.
Find them where you can!!
-Sunday Newspapers
-Online Databases
-Product Websites
Here is my list of where to find coupons online:
Most sites will let you print 2-3 of the same coupon. This isn't cheating, it's allowed for a reason!
If there's a product you use a lot of, print the coupon a couple of times and USE it. They wouldn't put them out there if they didn't want you to buy their stuff.
If there's a product you love, visit their website directly. Some of my favorite products offer coupons straight from their website.
If the website doesn't offer printable coupons....use their "Contact Us" section and ask if they mail some!!!
*This is where some people don't have time...It is a time consuming process to actually e-mail them, but worth it if you buy a lot of product*
Just by e-mailing the companies we like, I got a LOT of coupons in the mail. Some of the companies even sent "Thank You" letters along with the coupons. Talk about Happy Mail!

This was quite a pile of money saving for just a few e-mails!

Of course all companies don't have coupons, or will send you an automated response saying "check your Sunday Paper".
Being organized before you go grocery shopping can save you a lot of time and $MONEY$
We've all watched "Extreme Couponing" and while I'm impressed that they can actually make money sometimes, nobody actually needs 100 bottles of barbeque sauce, or 400 toothpastes.
I like my coupons organized, but in a reasonable way (read: not in a 4" binder) I have a little coupon holder from the dollar spot at Target. It's perfect for my little family of 4.
Here's how it's organized:
Each section is a month.
When I cut out a coupon, it gets filed into the month that it expires.
Before I go shopping, I grab that month's coupons and write down what I have a coupon for. This goes straight onto my grocery list.
For example: if I have a coupon for $ off of 6 yogurts, I write "6 yogurts" on my grocery list. If I have two of those coupons, I write "12 yogurts", and so on. This way I'm not fumbling through my coupons in the store. It's all right there on my list before I leave home.
Once my list is made, the coupons I'm going to use to in the front of my little coupon holder. That way when I get to the checkout, I just hand her the stack. No fumbling, no checking, no finding. I know I have what I need because it was ON MY LIST.
The only time I mess with coupons in the store is if they're out of my item, then I'll take the coupon out of the stack.

Nice. Neat. Still fits in my purse.

These can get a little extreme, but if you keep an organized and usable one, they're great!
With your coupons...always look at the weekly ad for the store you're going to. Check out their sales, and especially the buy one/get one free section.
Are there items you need or use a lot? Now's the time to get them!!
Got a coupon for one of those items? Even better!
This is where you can get items for dirt cheap, and sometimes FREE!
If an item is Buy one/Get one free, and you have TWO coupons (remember printing multiples above?) you can use both coupons to further reduce your cost.
(This is depending on your store's coupon policy, but mine allows one coupon per item)
Stock up on savings with items you KNOW you're going to use. Our stockpile is full of cereal, toilet paper, detergent, cat litter, paper towels, etc.

I pay very little for toiletries, because they are always on some kind of sale! Combine that with coupons and you pay just cents a piece for a lot of items.
There are always, always Buy one/Get one deals on deodorant, shampoo, body wash, and soap. So we have another stock pile in the house of those!! Hubby gets really excited to know that he will NOT run out of these items any time soon.

Finally, a really good way to save money, is don't buy it unless you need it! Just because I have 6 coupons for deodorant, doesn't mean I HAVE to use them. If we have plenty in the cabinet, there's no need to spend the money on more just yet. The same goes with food. It's always good to have a nice pantry or freezer of food, especially if you can save by buying more at a time, but if it's going to go bad, expire, or not get used, then there's no point!
I hope this has been a little helpful. Make your own system. Do what works for you and enjoy saving some money!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

For the Love of Halloween

Pinterest is quickly reminding me that October, and Halloween, are just around the corner! Here is a little round up of some Halloween goodies from Grits & Giggles.
Still one of our most popular posts EVER...
The Funky Halloween Wreath
If you need a little costume inspiration, both of these are good starting points for TONS of costume ideas!
Make any princess or fairy you would like with a sweet little tulle dress.
And this hooded fleece outfit could be made out of ANY animal print, or make a good base for another costume. The fleece will keep your little one nice and toasty while trick-or-treating.
I'm still debating what the costumes will be for this year. I have something in mind that the whole family will love....but we'll see!
Check out our Tutorials Page for ALL of the sewing and crafting goodness from Grits & Giggles.
Happy Crafting

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Memory Quilts: 2nd Edition

July was a long and sad month for our family. Granny lost her battle with Leukemia, and went to be with Papa. There aren't a lot of childhood memories that we had that didn't involve Granny in some way. She was the kind of good southern Granny that everyone should have the privilege of knowing.
She cooked lunch EVERY Sunday for her family of 10. She kept the 4 grandkids straight on Sunday mornings in church while our parents led the music. She taught me all of the good things a southern girl needs to to cook, how to sew, how to cross stitch, how to crochet.
She had two wonderful children, 4 grandchildren, and was able to love 3 of her (should be many more!) great-grandchildren. She was Mama, Granny, and GiGi to those who loved her the most.
She was able to go with us to the beach this spring while Hubby was in Germany. It was baby boy's first trip, which made it even more memorable.


She was able to see all of her grandchildren get married, go to school, start their careers, and start their families.

We all miss her dearly, especially the open arms sitting in her rocking chair at their house, but she will never be forgotten.
Just as I made 4 Memory Quilts out of Papa's clothes, I wanted to do the same for Granny. While Papa's were a beautiful mix of woven plaids, of every color, Granny's closet was full of soft florals.
They made beautiful quilts.

4 matching quilts, sewn with love, full of memories.

Gran was famous for her "house coats" and each one was well loved and worn a LOT. These quilts were made using those coats. The soft, delicate floral prints were lovely.

I don't think I ever saw her wear anything but blue jeans. Ever. Except to church of course. I used her jeans to bind the quilts. It made a neat and strong border.

The backing of each quilt was a piece from her bed sheets. They were of course floral as well.

The quilts still smell like her closet.
It's sad to loose a loved one, but when our family is together, their legacy is there too. These quilts are a soft, simple reminder of the love of a Granny for her babies.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Game Day Skirt

Once I saw that Hobby Lobby had stocked some brand spanking new ORANGE chevron, I of course, bought a lot. I needed a skirt, Gray needed a dress, her baby cousin needed a dress, and so on. I may have stashed some too! You can't live this close to Clemson and not have a good stash of orange fabric.
Football games are notoriously hot. It can be 50 degrees the week before, but somehow, on game day, it will be 90 degrees and sunny. I needed something a little nicer than my usual shorts and t-shirts. I wanted to class it up a bit, but still be really comfortable. A nice skirt was in order!
It came together in a snap. It's lined, has a hidden side-zip, and a BIG bow to tie it all together. And it's a nice, conservative length, so no oopsies going up the steps in the stadium.

Some of my tiger-loving friends must have liked it too, because I've got a few orders lined up already! Yay!

It received a test drive at the first game of the season versus Georgia. Quite an exciting game!!The girls were decked out in their chevron, while the boys just sported their tiger paws.
Gray loved that we matched! Her dress was made using the Zoey Bow Dress pattern.
Now...what to do with the rest of my stash of orange chevron....

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Animal Print Chevron Pillow {Tutorial}

I was in a stash-busting mood a while back and decided that Gray's pillow needed a new cover. You may remember her Scrapbuster Pillow from last year. It was dirty and dingy and needed a facelift. I let her rummage through my fabrics and she picked out some animal prints. I wanted the pillow to be a little funky, so I decided to make the animal prints into a chevron pattern. Are you tired of chevron yet? Me neither!
To make this pillowcase I used 6, 3" squares of each animal print, so 18 printed squares altogether. And 18 white 3" squares. You'll also need a zipper if you want the pillowcase to be removable, or you can stuff and sew up the side. Either one is great!
To start:
Place a print square and a white square right sides together. Sew two lines, 1/2" apart down the middle of the square, from corner to corner. 

Use your rotary cutter or scissors to carefully cut between the two lines of stitching. This will give you two triangles.

Once you open your triangles, you have two squares. Half print and half white.
Do this with all of your squares until you have 36 blocks. Press the squares open with an iron so they lay nice and flat.

Now, to arrange them in a chevron pattern. Twist and turn your blocks until they line up as they should, in a large zig-zag.

Sew columns together, then the rows, creating your pillow cover top.

I decided to quilt mine a little bit by outlining the seam lines on the zig-zags. It added a little extra durability. After all, it's for a 3 year old!

Add a pillow backing and either sew in a zipper, or stuff and sew it shut to finish off your pillow!

Of course the back of the pillow had to be animal print as well.

And with a pillow this loud, a bold zipper was in order too.

Goldilocks LOVES her pillow. Even though she's got a room full of pillows after her Big Girl Room makeover, she still loves to pull this one out for lounging around in the living room, or for "sleepovers" in our room.

*Happy Sewing*

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sewing for Boys

Although my little man is 7 months old, I haven't done a lot of sewing for him. Why?? Because sewing for boys can be hard. Their clothes need to be more detailed, rugged, embellished. They can't be ruffled and cute like girl's clothes. Let's face it, it's not too difficult to think of a million ways to make a cute dress for a little girl, but boys clothes can be a real challenge.
One clothing item that little boys DO get to wear is a short all, or Jon Jon. Hubby hates these, but I think they're adorable, and they look soooo comfortable! Naturally, baby boy needed some, so I got to sewing. You know I love to share when I make something that I love, so in the works is a pattern for YOU!'s REVERSIBLE!

When you're talking babies and toddlers, any time you can get one side dirty and flip their outfit over is a major PLUS!
The prototype, of course, had to be game-day appropriate.
Little man's has his Clemson tiger paw on one side, and the other side is for a sweet southern gentleman. Khaki and navy can't be beat.

The Jon Jon buttons over the shoulders, and has crotch snaps to make diaper changes a breeze.

You can use one set of buttons, or two, depending on how well your two sides coordinate.

I always want my babies to have "seasonal" clothes, for holidays and such, but I hate that they can only wear it for one day. With reversible patterns, you can have your fun holiday outfit on one side, and make the reverse side appropriate for every day wear.

This pattern is in the early construction phase, but I'm hoping to get it done and ready for you to sew before fall really sets in. There will be an option for long legs as well to carry the pattern into the fall and winter months.
Stay tuned!!
To find all Grits & Giggles patterns, hop on over to Grits & Giggles on Etsy
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