Tag Archives: DIY

Captain America’s Lemonade

Happy Thirsty Thursday Everyone!

I hope you are getting ready for a relaxing weekend and I hope this drink helps contribute to your relaxation!

But maybe you’re like my hubby and me and between you both you hold down 6 different jobs and one or both of you have to work through the weekend again. I’m not complaining. The Good Lord has seen fit to make sure we can pay all of our bills which is a blessing many people don’t have. And if your situation is anywhere close to mine, I hope this drink helps to take the edge off in a very tasty way!

Captain America’s Lemonade

1 shot of Rum $0.42
1 shot of Blue Curaçao $0.34
3 oz of Squirt soda $0.07
Juice of 1 whole lemon $0.10
Pour over ice
Top with grenadine (approx 1/2 shot) $0.05
Garnish with lemon slice


Restaurant price $6+
Total SAVINGS: $5.02+




What am I Wearing Wednesday – Black tube dress

What am I Wearing Wednesday

What am I Wearing Wednesday

Happy Wednesday!

Thanks everyone for bearing with me as I make a few changes to the blog, mostly the addition of new content. As always, though, it will always be relevant to anyone who wants to live the champagne life on a beer budget. Or Diet Coke, whichever you prefer!

I’ve mentioned previously that I am a poor newlywed college student and that comes with many demands, oddly enough, on my wardrobe! I’m expected to:

  • dress “like a young professional” while I’m teaching my classes as a graduate student
  • dress for my on-campus job
  • dress casually while in class
  • dress for performances {choir dress is ugly and uniform, other choir dress is our choice but black and formal}
  • dress for other performances {something like “Sunday Best”} during the day time
  • dress for recitals {ball gowns}
  • dress for auditions and job interviews
  • dress up to meet the inlaws
  • dress up to go to church
  • dress appropriately for professional rehearsals
  • dress for dates with the Hubby!
  • casual outfits
  • dress for the gym or the pool
  • dress for girls nights

Sure, sure. Some of these are unique to my major {I don’t think pre-meds or business majors need a closet full of ball-gowns} but many of these are real needs for college students and other young wives! And how am I supposed to accommodate all these demands on a newlywed’s budget? Especially since many college towns don’t have H&M or other places to buy cheap clothes, and the options drop to almost nil when you include the Tall & Curvy Factor! Dress pants are high-waters on me! Appropriate length skirts are NOT appropriate on this body! Nice blouses aren’t supposed to show the bottom of my belly button, right? And yes, I do buy my pants online, on-sale for $30 a piece. I own two pairs of black pants. Boring. And even when I order online there is no guarantee that they’ll be tall enough, wide enough in the hips, and are rarely quality products. Not worth it!

So what’s a girl to do?

Make her own clothes!

Admittedly, this outfit is a bit simplistic but it fulfills several roles. I wore it to work on Monday. I’ve paired it with a black cardigan and worn it as my “Black Dress” to performances. I’ve worn it to teach in. And the creation is so easy it’s almost criminal! In fact, you’ve seen something similar from me once before.


Sorry that the image is so bad. My husband took with my iPhone before I downloaded the Camera+ app that makes all iPhone pictures better.

All you have to do to make one for yourself is:

  1. Get a length of fabric that wraps 1 1/2 times around your body. $5 with coupon
  2. Fold it in half “hamburger-style.”
  3. Sew together the two cut edges.
  4. Cut a length of elastic to fit around your chest, just under your underarms. $0.75
  5. Sew that length into a loop or a circle.
  6. Sew it onto the “ugly” side of the fabric, 1 inch below the top of the dress, using the zig zag stitch.
  7. Flip it right-side-out.
  8. Wear it!

Normally I’ll have step-by-step pictures, but I made this dress 6 months ago.

For this outfit I’ve paired it with a red cardigan and a belt. Had I thought about it, I’d also be wearing a necklace, but sometimes when you’re running late to work you have to forgo the final touches.

Dress: $5.75 Homemade
Cardigan: $30 from Lane Bryant {one of my last retail-price purchases}
Belt: $5 from Eloquii’s going out of business sale

Outfit total: $40.75

Thanks for joining me today!

What article of clothing have you sewn for yourself lately and how have you used it?

Creation within a newlywed’s apartment – Step 1 AGAIN

Sunday! A time for rest and reflection. Right?

I hope I’m not the only one like this but rest and reflection absolutely cannot come until I’ve done something productive. Unfortunately today’s productivity comes as a repeat {sort of} of a previous post. As you can imagine, I am not pleased with that.

When my family and friends were in town for our reunion, we dragged the smoker out of the closet we had previously stuffed it into and grilled up a brisket and wings and jalapeno poppers. It’s been two weeks and the smoker has been shoved in my office with all the boxes that were packed in with it laying all over the floor making the room completely unusable for me. Do you see my poor, lonely little sewing machine in the background there behind all those boxes? Yep, I haven’t sewed a stitch in over 3 weeks! But my office was not unusable for Hubby who took advantage of my refusal to enter that room by eating in there while working online. I chose to take the picture before cleaning up his wrappers and boxes so that while I’m working at making our home its best, you can see it at its worst.


There is still some cleaning up to do but I wanted to share with you our closet before and after.


If you compare the final product of the closet in the last post to the final product of the closet in this one, I think you’ll notice a huge improvement!

I hope everyone’s having a wonderful Sunday and we’ll see you tomorrow for Museum Monday!

Refashion Plus – Maxi dress with cardigan and belt

What’s so wrong with being “Plus Sized”? Someone tell me, because I genuinely want to know. And don’t tell me that plus sized women are lazy and out of shape and it’s dangerous for our health, because any amount of research will tell you that what’s dangerous for our health is mostly our genetically modified, nutritionally voided food. Also I can bench 100 lbs. and will probably throw you over a wall just to prove how “Lazy and out of shape” I am not. Seriously, I have guns and curves. I can flex my pecs and shimmy with the best of them. I’m maxed out about 1/4 of the leg machines at my gym but still have “thunder thighs.” And I like the way I look. So why doesn’t the fashion industry like me? I would buy their clothes if they fit me!

To be fair, 90% of the battle is that at 6-feet tall, I’m too tall. And when you combine tall and curvy, the fashion industry thinks that equals frumpy. Just so we all know, I AM NOT a frumpy person. I’m not even thirty! I am such a long way from “Frump” that to be presented with neutral colored high-water peasant skirts is insulting. So sayonara fashion industry. Arrivederci ugly, ill-fitting clothing! I will see you on the other side of my sewing machine!

While I’m still getting my office set up (Creation within a newlywed’s apartment: Step 1) I will be sharing with you some of my previous creations. Today I have for you what I’m wearing to work. I’m warning you now, I am NOT photogenic and my hubby is still getting used to working with my junky camera.

A while back I was shopping at Joann’s, my town’s ONLY fabric store, and I came across some fabric on their sale table that caught my eye. It was $2/yd so I bought 2 yards for $4 (yay math!) and took my new lovely fabric home.


Sorry for the awkward folding but isn’t that gorgeous!!! I love the way the browns and black work together next to the blue. So what did I do with this fabric to fit a tall and curvy frame? {For all my future work I promise I’ll have step-by-step pictures like everyone else. I made this dress a while ago and it was my first adventure in sewing clothes since about 2007.}

First, I folded it, front-sides facing each other, with the cut edges together. I sewed that side shut with a straight stitch and then secured it with a zig-zag stitch. I threw it over my body really quick to see what it was going to look like.  I looked like I was in a giant, colorful potato sack with the bottom cut off.

I then folded over the top, leaving enough room to thread the elastic through later, and sewed it almost all the way around. I left about 2 inches open by which to feed the elastic through. The elastic came from a set of wicker baskets we got from the wedding. There were two long pieces of elastic holding the biggest wicker hamper shut and there were 4 smaller wicker baskets inside of it. When I got this amazing gift (Yay Bed Bath and Beyond Wedding registry!) I just saved the elastic that came with the packaging. Hooray for free elastic!

I threaded the elastic through using the old Two-Safety Pin method: Pin one end of the elastic to the opening of the whole. Use the second safety pin to fold over the other end of the elastic. This makes it bulky enough to shove through the fabric tunnel. When the elastic came out the other side, I sewed the two ends together and called it DONE!

When I wear this I always pair it with a cardigan and a belt. It’s my firm belief that ladies with curves should wear belts around the smallest parts of their waist to emphasize their shape. And this is how it wore it today!

Tube Dress 1

This is really a terrible picture because it makes me look short and jawline-less. But really I get a ton of compliments on this dress. And notice how it goes down to the floor instead of being awkward high-water ankle length. This picture also doesn’t do it justice because the fabric is billowy and not tight in the awkward areas lots of maxi dresses are. AKA no panty lines or butt clinging!

Outfit total:Dress: $4 total – DIY
Cardigan – Lane Bryant $30
Gladiator Sandals – Torrid from forever ago
Belt – Lane Bryant – $15 on sale.

Creation within a newlywed’s apartment: Step 1

If you’ve planned your own wedding within the last decade, you’ve probably used TheKnot.com. What a helpful and pushy website that is! If I’d sat down and thought about it, I would have seen that 90% of what they said I had to do was completely bull and was a direct cause of me spending way more than was really necessary. Don’t get me wrong! We had a FUN day! But it was expensive.

The next extension of TheKnot.com is TheNest.com, a website built to “help” newlyweds navigate the perils of newlywedhood in categories such as Home Buying, Money Matters, Home Decor, Food/Recipes, Holidays, Tools, and Quizzes. Take a stroll through their website and you’ll see some pretty unrealistic pictures of how most people spend their first few years of marriage.

In our first year of marriage, we did NOT buy a home because we may only be in this town for another year or two. We have not decorated it to the 9’s because it’s a rental apartment. We are still working on paying off all our pre-marriage debt, including student loans to which I, as a graduate student, am still adding!

The newlyweds featured on TheNest.com, however, have beautiful {and I mean BEAUTIFUL} houses, and if not houses then spacious apartments with wood flooring or pristine white carpeting, huge windows and exquisite window coverings. Their storage space makes me green with envy and their leather couches and stylishly upholstered loveseats make me wonder if I forgot to pick up my Wedding Money-Pot after the honeymoon. I understand that these newlywed featured are supposed to serve as inspiration for how to decorate and live stylishly, but all I’m inspired to do is rob a bank.

And the decor itself is right out of a magazine! These photos come from either the homes of actual newlyweds or from the minds of the editors and contributors of TheNest.com. Let’s just examine the Southampton Living Room: The cheapest thing in there is probably the throw pillow on the couch which I have to guess the going price to be between $25-$40. Tack on the rest of the furniture from the Libby Langdon collection and you’re looking at more than I make 4 months. Not to mention that potted tree which, real or fake, is not going to come cheaply. I could show you more examples of “Nestie’s” homes but why bother when I think you’d get such a kick from visiting TheNest.com for yourselves.

Now on to my home…

What you are about to see is my starting place.
◊ Have we decorated? Barely, with what we already had or have found for free.
◊ Do we have expensive furniture? Nope, what we do have was given to us, purchased at 50% off as a floor model, or is simply the illusion of furniture. {The illusion of furniture is definitely a real thing. Get excited for that.}
◊Am I intimidated to show you my messy apartment, home to one dog, one puppy, one husband, and me? YOU BETCHA!

Today I am starting with the second bedroom, AKA Our Office! I teach voice lessons from here, I keep our books and scores in here, our desktop is in here, and the worst: The Storage Closet!

Before Far wall

What we can see here is a room in desperate need of some TLC. In the bottom left corner is the desk {covered in stuff} and behind it are two bookcases packed with books, a record player, some records, and my hymnal collection. On the right is my treasured collection of sheet music, opera scores, oratorio scores, choral scores, opera magazines and calendars {exciting plans for those later!}, Met Librettos, a bugle, a picnic basket, and a box of winter clothes covered by a decorative sarong.

Before Piano wall

Moving around the room, you see my keyboard; it is actually a lot better than it looks. There are also two mirrors that I use for teaching and practice. Singers are so vain!

Before Closet wall Before Closet

Here is the Closet of Doom! So much storage space being wasted! Boxes packed hurriedly, without care! Shoved on top of or underneath the Smoker {Yes, we’ve shoved our Smoker into the closet! We didn’t have another place for it and Hubby was NOT getting rid of it!} Maybe this needs to be one of the areas I clean first?

Before Computer wall

And back around to the computer desk and Erda’s derriere. Hideous room, isn’t it? Not much in the way to inspire creativity at all! If this is going to be my Command Central for all family and home planning, Refashion Plus inspiration, and Tall and Strong Bloggery, then we need to get this room looking better!

Before Before Floor

I show you this “Floor – Before” picture to show you the “Floor – In progress” picture:

In Progress - Floor

What I’ve found so far:

◊ All my yarn! Plus a few unfinished projects. Oops.
◊ My wall sconces! I love these things! Hubby likes them less.
◊ Paint from over a year ago plus fabric paint that Hubby used to decorate a shirt. He’s thrifty too.
◊ Thread, needles {safely packaged}, and fabric! So excited!
◊ A whole bag of Hubby’s old clothes that he says I can Refashion Plus! Expect something later this week, y’all!
◊ Painters tape and scissors!
◊ A bunch of pictures from the wedding as well as the Engagement shoot! I feel a project coming on!

My first priority is to clear the back wall to make room for a small desk upon which to place my sewing machine which as been living in Hubby’s bathroom. Why Hubby’s bathroom? Because when I asked him to move it when we had guests coming over, that is where he chose to put it. I can’t be mad, he did move it.

After Bookshelf

Isn’t that much better? Okay, not “much” but it is better! And I swear it doesn’t lean like that in real life. It’s just the angle of the picture. Now I just need to find a desk.

What I did was take the top layer of books from the shelf to make it easier to move. I then dragged it over by pulling from the bottom of the bookshelf so as to avoid tipping the center of gravity or upsetting the books. Working slowly, I moved it toward the wall on the right, then again pressing from the bottom, I pushed it into place. Easy peasy! I replaced the books on the top shelf then began to sort through the remaining folders, calendars, sheet music, books, etc. and decided on the best way to store them until I get more shelves.

I’m planning to cover the ugly folders very soon in a creative and CHEAP way. Look for that soon.

And voilà! My new music area! The picnic basket and the box of clothes went into the closet. And now, the cleaned out Closet of Doom!

After Closet

The cost of this renovation: $0

Since cheap is good, I will be attempting to spend much less than TheNest.com all while showing you how to live beautifully in an ugly rented apartment. I hope you will enjoy my room-by-room renovation!

Refashion Plus

Are you familiar with this woman?

Jillian the Refashionista

Jillian the Refashionista

If not then, oh my goodness, you should be! This woman is incredible. She takes some of the most hideous clothes you wish you’d never seen in your local thrift shop and turns them into amazingly wearable outfits! Every outfit she makes gets worn once by her, then donated to Revente’s Last Call where all profits go to the Women’s Shelter.

How awesome is that!

I’ve been following her blog the Refashionista for about a year now and have begun searching for plus sized refashioning blogs with minimal success. Standing at 6-foot-nuthin’, the majority of the clothing in stores is simply too short. I’m also curvy (buxom, voluptuous, curvaceous) and the trends in fashion favor the lithe and slender. But all bodies are good bodies and I simply want to clothe mine without feeling like my goodies are going to fall out and I’d love to include you on my journey. Therefore, I will be rearranging my home-office to better serve my sewing and refashioning needs and will be posting pictures of my creations! Check back soon for pictures and such!