photo by Jem Stone

photo by Jem Stone

Here’s something fun for the kids today: a homemade playdough recipe using common food ingredients. It’s technically edible, although not recommended due to a high salt content.

My friend Amy swears by this recipe, and I watched her whip it up in minutes while her children waited, rolling pins and cookie cutters in hand. It’s quick, inexpensive, and you probably have everything you need in your cupboard, (except for cream of tartar, which I only use in baking, but you can find it with the spices in any grocery store.)

It makes a huge batch. You can divide it up amongst the children, who can each pick their own color, and the cream of tartar keeps the playdough soft and pliable for them to enjoy during many a rainy day or play time while mom chops vegetables.

Best Ever Playdough

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 cups water
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
Food coloring of your choice

Mix all ingredients in saucepan until soft. Heat on low, mixing with spatula until stiff. Remove, divide if desired, and knead in color. Store in an airtight container.


Coming up next week…ways to eat less meat.



Sometimes I feel a little like Phoebe from “Friends,” where even though she doesn’t like mass-produced items, she really loves the apothecary table Rachel buys from Pottery Barn.

Collections of glass bottles, furniture with patina, vintage-inspired, cozy rooms. I know it’s mass-produced, but I love the look. I just have a hard time buying a brand new item that has been designed to look old. Anyone else remember the Seinfeld episode with the old phone? They were so good with product placements!

I’ve discovered that Appleton has an amazing secondhand market, where I’ve found some Pottery Barn-inspired treasures, saved some money, reused perfectly good items, and spent money at stores committed to good causes. Of course, like Phoebe, sometimes you gotta go for the name brand. If no other window sheers will do, go ahead and get the ones you love.

Their beautifully photographed rooms always feature collections, some of which are for sale, like apothecary jars or silver frames. Here are some of mine.

DSC05853Glass bottles
I love collecting something that only sets me back 50 cents to a dollar whenever I find one. I use them all over the house to store things like scrapbook supplies, bath salts, or pretty rocks my children find on walks.




DSC05854Mirror collage

I already had the oval mirror, but I found the rest of the mirrors on a few trips to St. Vincent de Paul. The most expensive one was $2.50. I’m still on the hunt for a different oval, and I have a crazy plan to do something similar with frames.




I found this “set” of five at Goodwill. I love the odd number. You could do the same with glass candlesticks.





DSC05851 Then there’s those things that look old…I love rustic, worn items, like this copper still, which I think was $30 at an antique mall. I was giddy when I saw a similar log holder in the catalog for over $200. (I think we need to add some logs!)




 Can’t fake it, make it

DSC05798 Spray paint transforms just about anything. Some spray paint, beads from Christmas ornaments, and wedding decorations turned an unwanted brass fixture into a chandelier for my daughter.



I was going to write about something else, but I’ve been obsessing about thrift shops and Pottery Barn ever since I read this post from Melissa @ the Inspired Room. And for more “hawt” ideas using Goodwill finds, check out Thrifty Décor Chick.

How about you? Have any more favorite knock-offs from the thrift shop?