As many of us are reminded often, Anthropologie can be a cruel and unrelenting mistress; a siren who lures us in with her gorgeous wares only to have our bank accounts come crashing down on the jagged rocks of reality. I’m swooning over the Verdant Bread Bin, for example, but my wallet is drawing a hard line in the sand at the $158 price tag. One item I can get away with? This set of Milk Bottle Measuring Cups, $24. The colored enamel interior is an adorable detail in this stackable set, and the compact size and palatable price can surely sweet talk both my tiny kitchen and little budget into a guilt-free purchase. — Sarah C.
Chances are if youâ€™re a certified science nerd or a foodie with a serious study habit, youâ€™ve at least heard of Nathan Myhrvold. In the mid-1990s Myhrvold took a leave of absence from his job as the chief technology officer at Microsoft to attend a professional chefâ€™s school in France. The lifelong love of the science of cooking not only spurred that trip, but also inspired his next project, Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. Self-published with the help of co-authors Chris Young and Maxime Bilet, the 40-pound, six-volume cookbook provides an in-depth look into how the incorporation of science and technology in the kitchen can change the way we experience food. While its stunning, cutaway photography, 2,438 pages and 1,600 recipes deem this a one-of-a-kind find, the $625 price tag ($462.61 online), might just keep this one in stock. A perfect candidate for the top spot on that â€œFor The Foodie Who Has Everythingâ€ list? We think so. â€“Sarah C.
1) $298 is too much for a stepladder. Even if it looks splendid hanging on the wall, Megan B. is going to have to pass on her chic, functional but pricey find. Kimberj says: â€œAs much as I love the designer step ladder (yes I would absolutely hang it on the wall), thereâ€™s no way in the world I can justify $298 for a step ladder. I would be afraid I would chip the paint when using it so what possible good is it then?? Iâ€™ll stick with my $39.99 step stool from Loweâ€™s. Iâ€™ll use the leftover $260 to buy fabric for my art quilts.â€
2) Kitchen gadgets, chocolate and wiper blades are just a few of the items we splurge onbut we tend to leave sunglasses to the discount department. We all seem to have specific money rules. What are yours?
3) Crowd sourcing is key when stocking up on reusable dishware for outdoor parties. Friends, restaurant supply stores and establishments that are going out of business are proven resources for scoring dishes for free.
4) More light and a change of soil might be the saving grace for our terrarium tragedy. Becki S. shared the sad news of her suffering succulents and a change to cactus soil and more appropriate plant pairing could be just what the doctor ordered. RLL Gardens says: â€œSorry about your terrarium. Sprout is right on the money with this.The succulent is very unhappy with the moss and is dying because it is too moist. It also looks like it is not getting enough light. The moss likes low light and moisture and the succulent likes bright light and dryness.I would start over with this one and throw out the old soil. Use a cactus soil or mix 1 part sand with 2 parts regular soil. Good luck, and donâ€™t give up.â€
I’ve mentioned before the cavalcade of expectant mothers that have been parading through my life lately — but one in particular I am really excited about. For her shower a few weeks ago, I had fun finding some adorable stuff (some Hanna Andersson onesies and coordinating Baby Legs, to name a few), but I felt a handmade gift would mean so much more to the mom-to be. I remembered the super-adorable Petit Collage pieces a friend made for a new arrival in her world, using templates and instructions from The Martha Stewart Show. Being a huge decoupager in the past, this craft was right up my alley.
I loved Martha’s owl pattern, though the flowers the owl sit on are a bit girly, and since they are only 80% sure of a girl, I decided to change the owl up by adding a tree branch and crescent moon. But the elephant, though darling, just wasn’t my taste, at all. I had to free-form the second collage completely, and without hesitation, my mind went to a cat.
I sketched up a few shapes on my computer’s drawing software and used them as cutting templates, and then placed them on an 8×8 birch board to make sure it looked ok. I cut out my pieces using a combination of handmade papers, bleeding tissue paper, and even old takeout menus and got ready to decoupage.
The cat really needed to be sitting on something, so I decided to construct a fence out of strips of different papers — this was possibly my favorite part of the whole piece — the color combination makes me really happy. A little more Mod Podge and I was done! Two pieces of art done in about two hours, more or less, and they’d be something I’d love to hang up in my home. In fact, I just may end up making more! — Megan B.
Here at Shelterrific we’re serious about rules to live by. We’ve discussed food rules, but outside of the kitchen, I’ve noticed that many of my friends have strict rules about a couple items that they either vow to always spend little or no money on, or those that they’re willing to splurge on to satiate a guilty pleasure. I have one pal who refuses to spend money on handbags because she knows she wouldn’t treat them well and hers always show signs of immense wear and tear. I love the cute, bright umbrellas I’ve been seeing recently at Kate Spade and J. Crew, but am hesitant to spend any significant amount on them because they seem like prime candidates to be left behind or lost. I also have the same theory about sunglasses, though I know many who love to splurge on designer sunnies, and still others who are thrifty in all areas except when it comes to shoes. If I had more green to burn, I’d definitely like to amp up the look of the items in my pantry and experiment with food, so a gourmet food and kitchen gadget exception might be in my future. What about you, readers? What are your favorite items to spend on and where would you rather save? –Sarah C.