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Blog Posts on My Frugal Life:

Bargains Galore!
Thursday, November 05, 2015 | By pamphyila

Bargains all over the place....#1 I have a a deal on a local Curves, to get me to work out.  Free for 3 wqeeks, if I keep to 3 times a week, which will keep me motivated. Thge place is convenient, has lots of parking and the workout is good but not killing. Fine to start with.

#2 U have been shopping and have finished getting together the outfit for my niece's wedding way in advance of the July date.  First I found an Edwardian-type kacy hacjet ti wear iver a peach shift dress I had bought new at a thrift shop for $7.  The jacket is teh big ticket item, at $40, but it anchors the whole ensemble.  Then I already have ivory hsoes, another long time bargain, so I needed a dressy ivory bag.....which I FOUND yesterday at a thrift shop in Pasadena. 

It is an invory leather Giani Bernini bag, of ivory leather.  And I looked it up, because it is fun to do sod it would cost $50 to $60 new! But I got it for $7!!. All I halve to do is add a cord or chain so I can convert it to a shoulder bag, the way I prefer, on the loops already there. So, for under $70 I have an outfit that is alctually WORTH much more.  That tickles my fancy.  And I can wear the REAL pearls I found in a thrift shop in Michigan on a trip there, and earrings I aready have and it is DONE. VOILA!  I reallyl enjoy that procxess and I thought I would share it, as we all have occastions like weddings to dress up for, and who wants to break the bank to do it.  But as you see, it can be done the frugal way and you still look fabulous.....It's our secret.

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last rites
Saturday, October 31, 2015 | By pamphyila

There was an article in the L.A. TIMES today about artistic urns for ashes of our dead loved ones and they hd very nice ones for$300 to several thousand dollars. That reminded me of what i had done when looking to spread the ashes of my parents in the Pacific ocean.  In the end, as i was consigning the urns to the sea, I finally decided on a handmade pottery jar, a cookie jar to begin with? Which I found in a local thrift shop for less than $25.  There is a lot of handthrown pottery from the hippy era in the local thrift shops...it was perfect for the simple ceremony we had in a boat and i felt no guilt tossing it overboard. i wonder how man pots of various kinds will find their ways to the ocean at the mouth of the harbor?  Rest In peace.

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floral RX
Thursday, October 29, 2015 | By pamphyila

Got some long-stemmed roses the other day and today already hd started to droop.  So, floral rx. for this problem florists use pins or floral wire, but i cut up a drinking straw in inch long segments, slit them down the side, and then snugged them up against the bloom along the drooping stem, reinforcing it, then i positioned the stem straight. voila! Rejuvenated roses, good for another few days!

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I am BAAAACK
Friday, October 23, 2015 | By pamphyila

Gee wiz, it's back to the future, and I haven't posted in almost a YEAR???? So sorry, folks.  but, ok, I was in a dowwards cycle, as part of my bipolar disorder.  But I worked very hard on it with my Dr.s and changed meds and vitamins (I added COQ10 to my regimen, hwic h seems to give me more energy) and here I am.  AS I tried to share on Thriftyfun, I did a movie called HOW TO BEAT A BULLY, and it is finally out of Google Play.  That's the new reality of indie distribution.

Sio I get to put on my PR hat and get to tell everyone about my movie!! It is a really lcute comedic take on the whole issue of bullying, and is timely as October is National Anti-Bullying Month!  In it, I play the humorous, clueless teacher in a home sc hool, who loves hats! It's really a cute little movie, and a way to start a dialogue with your kids about the whole issue of bullying.  This is even true for older kids, as I was bullied in high school as a new kid in town, and a "brain"/  Wish I had had the resources that are now available to kids.  It took me years of thereapy to work all that through, and if it had been addressed at the time, it would have been much, much easier.....

So, hello again, thrifty funners.  As we all know, frugality is timeless!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dirty Knitting
Friday, February 21, 2014 | By pamphyila

For the past few days I have been knitting up a storm & have almost finished a stole/shawl made out of my yarn stash.  That's one way I save on yarn costs by collecting yarn from sales & thrift shops in bits & pieces and them putting the yarns together to make scarves or shawls.  I have made it faster by using TWO strands of regular worsted weight yarn (& sometimes THREE with a specialty yarn such as a mohair) to create a tweedy effect.  I put it on size 11 needles - casting on 50 stitches. Then I change the combination of yarn every 3 to 4 rows (at the end of the row). 

As I said, this creates a tweedy effect - in rows. And I am adding just a bit of fun fur along the beginning and ending edges just for a bit of flare. (I didn't have enough fun fur to do more than that & I mixed the fun fur with a strand of worsted weight, and a strand of a light novelty yarn.) 

There is not fixed formula - you mix and match yarns as you will and according to what you have in your yarn stash.  I found out that I wound up following a loose pattern of alternating yarn colors - & as I get closer to the end, I am trying to reproduce the pattern at the beginning of the shawl with more accuracy.

And that's it! Quick & VERY easy technically with a satisfying artistic effect. (I use the knit stitch throughout  as I think it has more of a hand-knitted effect.)  It is also very forgiving of errors. I did a blue one before I started this one with a white/green/purple mix and I could go back and make knots where I found holes or dropped stitches somehow - & the effect is so "dirty" - so craftily messy - that it doesn't really show or matter. (That one was an experiment and was done on larger needles with 100 stitches across, which was almost too wide for the needles, but I jammed the yarn on there & continued.)  But then these are really all experiments of a sort - which is what makes them interesting.

The lesson is that even with knitting you can use your own creativity.  And of course, it makes all those balls of yarn go together in a  version of a rag rug - but with more chic. I love the shawls that come out of it.  And in California weather shawls are perfect for cool evenings.  I wear them by themselves, or draped over a jacket for when it's chillier.  So that's it - what I call  "dirty" knitting.  I am looking for an excuse to wear my NEXT new shawl - & there's still stuff in the stash for another one or more!

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Extreme Cheapskates & Me
Thursday, February 13, 2014 | By pamphyila

Checked out the TV program EXTREME CHEAPSKATES the other night. What antics! the woman who peed in a jar & put it on her compost heap & wanted her boy friend to do the same (he wouldn't) - Or the man who re-used dental floss (as well as paper towels....) It doesn'[t fit in with my philosophy.  I read Town & Country & muse at the jewels & the socialites.  My idea is to get more luxury & fun & fashion into my life on my extremely limited budget. That runs into contradiction like wearing old $.99 jeans & an old sweat shirt while at the computer at home - but having a nice cobalt vintage ultrasuede jacket to wear to a recent gathering (with an African brass necklace I bought at a farmer's swap meet for $10 - & a shawl I knitted just recently from my yarn stash. )

My confidence was boosted & from the contacts at the gathering I now am a book reviewer for the 3 TOMATOES website! (That means free BOOKS - a savings for a voracious reader!)

So I sort of understand re-using things - but one wants to do it with FLARE. And reusing dental floss or scamming samples from an ice cream vendor, thereby embarrassing his mate - just doesn't cut it.  I want to surprise my hubby with an invite to the stylish SKYBAR at the Mondrian Hotel in L.A. where I can work off some of my chic hunger (on the cheap - for the price of a drink & the parking!)

Fun. I want fun. Like the recent movie date to see THE MONUMENTS MEN (a great movie) on the gift card I won at a drawing - with a dinner of meatballs at the nice IKEA restaurant across the street. (Parking was free.) Or watching old obscure Joan Crawford movies which I recorded digitally in the middle on the night on our new digital video system installed free by Time Warner Cable (And after some work on the phone by hubby we got a free tablet from their offer, too - which I adore for my professional emails.)

Ok, my apartment in Little Armenia is rent-controlled - but we can afford a boat that way! (And the boat was used to begin with....) It's a great getaway.  A few weeks away due to crummy weather & activities has made me long for it.  There was a book years ago called CHEAP CHIC & that's what I shoot for.  And on some days like the day I wore the cobalt jacket - I do just that!

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Window shopping
Friday, February 07, 2014 | By pamphyila

It's fun to window shop on the net between tasks - I saw a Louis Vuitton wallet like mine on Tradsey.com for almost $200 - mine is slightly worn & I got it for a few dollars at a Pasadena Salvation army! Have to confess that that coated finish is killer.  Wears like iron.

Also like onekingslane.com - give you a sense of the pulse of the collectibles market - although not for any BARGAINS.  Again, I saw a pinch chrome ashtray like mine, which I bought cheap there for $100+! I  bought it because it remind3ed me of my childhood, when everyone smoked....

Can recommend thredup.com. as a thrifty place to get gently used clothes. I bought a pair of maryjane athletic shoes for $20 - when they are $100+ new & the quality was excellent.

Just saying....

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miscellany
Tuesday, February 04, 2014 | By pamphyila

Thought I would just muse on my frugalities recently....doing my "dirty" knitting which means I use multiple yarns, mostly worsted weight doubled to make tweedy effect & I switch out with coordinating color combinations.  To keep the yard on the needles when I put my knitting down , I use old plastic wine corks!  Working on one of my shawls - I have a whole collection of them - so good to wear in S. Calif. Maybe I can finish it for a meeting I have to go to this weekend....The dirty knitting is great for using up the odds & ends in a yarn stash - economical! 

Enjoying the new tablet we got thru Tame Warner cable for signing up with their bundled service.  It's so FAST.  Found an agenda type case with a zipper that hubby had picked up - he loves cases - & it just fits the tablet, with a pocket for the power cord - so voila! You can be thrifty even with computer accessories.....(for my phone, I picked up a stylus for 99 cents at the 99 CENT STORE! So frugal living goes on -

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Long Time No Blog
Thursday, January 23, 2014 | By pamphyila

It's been ages since I blogged due to tech problems on the thriftyfun side which FINALLY have been worked out! So I am BAAAACK....

And here is my tale of the purses. I don't know how purses became such a big deal. I remember only having one for everyday & a fancy one or two for dress - But big they have become a big deal- so I am presented with a thrifty challenge, as the prices have gone up considerably, too! One doesn't just have a purse, but a purse collection.  I had  a nice utilitarian and sporty canvas one - but I finally wore it out & had to go on the hunt for a deal on a purse.

Well, I found several deals - There is a thrift shop up in Ventura that seems to have good deals on purse - as they are priced under $10 - the quality varies, but I managed to get a black leather Coach bag and a Tommy Hilfinger dark blue fabric tote. (I had to add a chain to the Coach bag, as it was missing a strap - but I bought one for a few bucks at the hardware store and voila) But neither of these seemed good for every day..l.so the hunt continued -

I had also found a Ralph Lauren linen one with dark leather trim for under $10 - (I had to polish the body & put a colored marker to a scratch on the body - but when I did that it looked swell - wrong season, tho....And at another thrift shop, I found a light woven leather one for $10 - but it was a bit small in the end...

Then I found a tote at a vintage clothing store for $30 - but it turned out to be an oriental make with leather trim & still not right for every day....And I found a patent purse that goes for $100 retail at a Goodwill - nice for dressy, Spring.

In the end I decided to use one of the purses I first talked about for the winter - it's a boho patchwork, which I had to warm up to - but it is good for everyday wear.

Last but not least I just found a fairly large leather tote with shoulder straps and nice hardware for $20 (it was on sale at a charity resale store.)  The leather is light, so I plan to switch over to it when the seasons change.

So now I have my own collection of purses to add to the ones I already had - but I have a tendency to wear them out....So I have over the course of a few months spent - let's see

2 for $15, the Ralph Lauren for $7 - the woven one for $10 - and one for $30 and another for $20.  All that adds up to $89 - less than the going price for trendy/designer bags (You do enough shopping around and anything under $100 looks good, I must confess.)

So I live in trendy L.A. and have to keep up appearances - no one but you guys is going to know how little I spent on all these - and I have 2 go-to everyday leather bags Plus some dressier ones. And the hunt for bargains was fun - That's all for now - glad to be back. Talk to you later....

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Our Frugal Funeral Trip to Michigan
Thursday, May 30, 2013 | By pamphyila

It was a nice trip - but a sad occasion.  My mother-in-law died suddenly and we found we were bound to Upper Michigan for a week for the funeral. My husband got the time off as bereavement - so that helped...) We flew no-frills SW Airlines, which allows you to carry more bags without cost than other airlines.  And there is no food on the plane, but we made sure to eat well before we departed, and had plenty of water with us from the airport. (They make you abandon your water bottles at security, so have a disposable...)This is probably old hat to anyone who travels a lot - but I somehow hadn't flown in years, so it was fairly new to me.  Also remembered to wear slip-off shoes with pants stockings (and jeans) to help go through the check point. I was also glad I had a book to read - because there was no in-flight movie or music! Also, I marked the bags with gold-colored ribbons, so we could identify them when they came out on the turntable.  

(Hubby had run out to our local Goodwill to buy our luggage - 4 bags for about $20! and they were perfectly nice....)

Once there, we rented a car with a discount from SouthWest - They tried to sell us insurance that was more than the daily rental costs - but we have coverage on our auto insurance, so we passed that by! Wheelie luggage of the sort we had made it easier to go through the airport without renting a chart - and we had packed fairly light - leaving room for anything we took back.  So, all in all, we didn't incur any airline fees beyond normal. Southwest had no designated seating, and we had gotten our tickets late (and there is no accounting for bereavement nowadays) - so we were the LAST on the plane - but on the way back we remembered to confirm EARLY and then got in the middle of the plane. (And on the way back, we took one of the bags as a carryon - because it had breakable things in it...)

Once there, we stayed at our mother-in-law's old place along with hubby's brother Peter, and we were glad that we could be with him at this hard time.  There was some planning for the funeral - but my mother-in-law had planned most of it out beforehand - so all was left was to get the lilacs she loved from local bushes (and somewhat force them to bloom by putting them in warm water...) and putting up her art work on easels in the vestibule of the church - One of her daughters put together a big photo collage of her life and family - and there was also a book of family photos to look at. Both very nice ideas,  Afterwards the people in the church had a nice hot lunch for us, too.

I found a place to wear my bargain thriftshop black Chico's jacket top, over a long-sleeved black tee, and with soft pants. - Everything traveled very well, and nothing needed ironing! I had run across a natural pearl necklace at a steal price at the local Goodwill the day before (I always check out the thrift stores, etc.) and I wore it to the funeral - not telling anyone when I was complimented on it that I had just acquired it that way! I don't think they knew at Goodwill that it was real - but it was handknotted and had the right sheen and texture and weight.  It was worth at least several times what I paid for it.  Who would think about finding pearls in Upper Michigan?  And my hair held up nicely - expensive haircuts do have their value, as they grow out so nicely.

The service was very nice and simple - and her musical daughter and her husband and friends played 2 gospel hymns - which made the service more personal and memorable. The night before all the children (with children and step-children, they numbered seven, plus THEIR children and spouses - ) we had a BBQ with discount steaks and homemade salad and local pies and lots of beer - and listened to the bluegrass group rehearse over the evening. We all talked, and my husband caught up with everyone, as he hadn't been home in too long.

The rest of the time hubby and his brother caught up with old friends - I went antiquing and found a STEAL in a 19th/early 20th C. German bisque doll dressed as a Dutch girl- which I got for $25 - and which is probably - according to my internet research worth at least $125-165! I never thought I would be able to afford another bisque doll for my small doll collection! 

We also drove around and saw places they used to go for picnics - and there was more antiquing and I found some nice blue-green glass insulators - lovely color and ANOTHER short strand of pearls I think may be cultured - for $1. We also found a handmade Packer wooden plaque which we bought and gave to Peter - as he has a collection of Packer memorabilia and wouldn't have anything like THAT.  We drove around my late mother-in-law's old car - which had gas - and which was larger and more comfortable than the smaller rental - 

We also headed out to a resort that hubby's mother and father had liked to stay in. There were deals on a game of golf - so hubby and Peter played a "memorial golf classic" in this course which is beautiful and on an island, so it is surrounded by a river.  They have a Friday night fish fry at the lodge (Al Capone is rumored to have stayed there) - a tradition in those parts - and quite inexpensive.

One day after the funeral we drove up to Door County  (you have to swing down and around to get up to the peninsula - saw an historic light house  and went up and visited again with one of  the sisters.  It is beautiful country. Pure Michigan, as the ad campaigns say and all that green spring nature was beautiful and a balm, giving one a sense of continuity.  There are visitor centers in both Wisconsin and Michigan (they are across the river from each other here) - and there are bountiful brochures and guides, and even a booklet that had B&W postcard pix of the lighthouses (there are HUNDREDS in this area!) Hubby had breakfast with several old friends, and generally re-connected to his roots. It IS a different life up there! Coming back to the pace of even Milwaukee - where we flew out - is a big change! And the people did look different in LAX!

P.S. If you are up in that neck of the woods,  I recommend the pasties - meat pies said to originate with the Cornish miners who worked in that area, who brought them to work with them.  It's a real local specialty! 

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