Slideshow Widget

Free Pattern: 1940s Midriff Knit Blouse

Monday, June 20, 2016

Here's a pretty spring and summer knit blouse from 1946 for a simple but elegant blouse with a sexy netting over the midsection.

Check out my Free Patterns page for more free vintage knitting, sewing and crochet patterns. Enjoy!

free 1940s netted midriff vintage knit blouse pattern from Va-Voom Vintage

** this pattern is posted for free so that everyone may enjoy it. Please do not sell this pattern but please do share it! **

Lady in Green- Estella Dress from Lady Vintage

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Last weekend, we took the kids out to Tower Grove Park here in St. Louis before the temperatures got too hot to enjoy being outside. I love Tower Grove especially because its filled with so many interesting, twisted trees and beautiful ornate gazebos for picnics and of course, pretty pictures!

lady vintage dress review and vintage victory roll and snood hair tutorial from Va-Voom Vintage
plus size vintage reproduction Estella green poppy dress from Lady Vintage London

I wore my newest dress, the Estella dress from Lady Vintage from the Lady Voluptuous collection. I can't tell you how much I love repro clothes during the sticky St Louis summers. I do wear authentic vintage most of the time but nothing is better than an easy, comfortable wash n wear dress that you can wear no matter what the temperature is. I love the bold green poppy print with my red hair and wore my handmade snood to match. Snoods are my go-to to keep my hair up in the summer! This one just pins in place on the sides and you can see my video tutorial for this hair style on my facebook page

vintage 1940s hair snood hair tutorial

This dress has a flattering cross-over bodice and short sleeves and a nice sturdy weight to the fabric. Next time, I'm going to wear it with my vintage petticoat. Although I wore this dress on a hot June day, I think the green will be perfect for Christmas time too, don't you think? The Estella dress is also available in grey damask and Japanese blue floral print

Today Lady V has a discount code for Va-Voom Vintage readers. Save 10% off your order with code BRITTANY10

Dress from Lady Vintage
1940s V for Victory brooch- flea market
vintage green rhinestone earrings-gift from a blog reader
snood- handmade by me

This dress provided for review c/o Lady Vintage

Chatting with Mary Zophres on fabulous shoes, vintage on a budget and costumes for Hail Caesar

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Recently, I had the pleasure of chatting with costume designer Mary Zophres about her beautiful work in Hail Caesar. Mary's work can also be seen in The Big Lebowski, True Grit and Catch Me If You Can to name a few. After watching Hail Caesar, which is now available on Blu-Ray/DVD. I had some questions about the fabulous costumes and the actors who wear them and how to create an authentic look on a budget.

Brittany: In previous interviews, you've spoken a lot about how a studio's costume design nowadays is so much different from that of the 40s and 50s. In what ways is a modern costume designers job different from those in the 40s and 50s?

Mary: Well I think one of the big differences is because up until the early 50s, people were contracted to a studio so you were assigned a film. And on that same token, you had access to the staff that could work for you. There are photographs of 20-30 sewing machines set up with people with multitudes of talent, different levels of talent being able to sew the garments that you had designed. And rolls and rolls of fabric. And access to using the fabric that you wanted for a particular suit or a particular dress. And it never wrapped, it never shut down and the people were on on payroll. So, you finished one film and you might turn around the next day and start another because you were on contract and you probably have a month's vacation during the whole year. They were not freelance like we are today. I just finished a film on Friday and I don't know exactly what my next job will be! Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't!

Brittany: That's so fascinating!

Mary: So nowadays, you find fewer and fewer people that are skilled in some of the techniques that they used. Tailoring has become that way too, its much harder to find someone that can do that kind of work. In the 50s, every time a man appeared in a suit or a tuxedo or shirt....anything, you know, they didn't shop for those, they made them all.

Brittany: That's amazing!

Mary: I know! I know, That concept alone is just....In modern film you either rent a costume or you make it and sometimes you can go to a vintage store and buy it but otherwise, with contemporary movies, often times you shop it! And now, we're to the point where you don't even walk into a brick and mortar, a lot of times, you're ordering online so, it's just a different animal! Also, I'm not saying it was better then,  it's just different. We also have moved through a time where films were idealized and it was pretty rare when you found a film that was about reality. In the 70s that became the vogue of how to make a film, to make it more realistic. And now we have both, its like the best of both worlds, we have films that are idealized, we have films that are gritty, we have films that are futuristic, that look like another time period so its a whole different system now. But, the whole industry has shifted, its not just the costume department.

Brittany:  I wear vintage clothes every single day and a lot of my readers do too. You know, I have to be careful to not wear the rayon dress to clean the bathroom! So, my question is: I read that with Josh Brolin's suit, you found an original and you tried to replicate it but you loved the original so you stuck with the authentic garment for his suit, is that correct?

Mary: Yes, we did, that's correct!

Brittany: So, do you find it difficult to fit modern actors in vintage garments and are they nervous about wearing such an old garment because if you have to wear it for several weeks for shooting, does he worry about it getting ruined or rained on or....?

Mary: Well, we all made the decision...because we had a replica...we found vintage fabric at Western Costume. They had some, very very few, but they still had some and I found a piece of vintage suiting and we made a suit for Josh but it wasn't quite the same and it was a little bit more of a vivid plaid. So, our tailor on Hail Caesar made sure that all of the seams were intact and there was nothing that looked like it was going to come apart. To be honest with you, suits from the 1940s are made to last! And as you know, since you're a purveyor of vintage wear, which I am myself.  But look at the advertising "built to last" was what the motto was! They weren't trying to get you to buy a new suit every month like we are now. You could own that suit for 20 years and wear it every day and it would still last.  The way the fabric was woven, the way it was stitched, everything about it was made to last. Once we made sure all of the seams were intact, it was okay. Oh and was in a private collection at Western Costume so the temperature was right. Before that, it had come from Connie Norris's collection and you know, her clothing was not rented over and over again and it was climate controlled so it was very well taken care of and Katie, who runs the private collection at Western Costume kept it in an air conditioned car with padded hangers and was kept in very good condition so, I don't think Josh was nervous, we weren't worried about it, once we gave it a once over and everything was good. Once we saw something start to go on the suit, we took it to our tailor on the show and we'd just make small repairs if we needed to. But, I guarantee that suits today will not be around 70 years from now.

Yes, absolutely! I could buy a cheap outfit from Target and it wont last me any time at all, compared to some of my 40s dresses, which have been around forever and I wear over and over again.

Mary: Yeah, now we're into disposable clothes, which, I heard the other day, the clothes are just filling landfills from people throwing them away and there's a whole new business of recycling clothes. Like, even if your clothes has a hole in it, don't throw it away, take it to Goodwill and they'll recycle it, otherwise we're going to have landfills full of $10 tee shirts and $20 jeans and that's not a good thing for our planet. But that was part of your incentive to buy back then because you're going to buy one suit and it was going to last you a really long time. But Josh wasn't nervous about it, it was partly his choice and he wanted it.

Brittany: Yes, I loved that suit! I read the interviews about it but when I saw the movie I was like Oh yeah, it's fantastic, I mean, he had to go with it! So, I wanted to talk about Scarlett's outfit, that was my favorite scene and I read that you used the same pool that Esther Williams used at MGM and I thought that was so cool! So, I wanted to hear more about her mermaid suit and those fabulous swimsuits. I read also that you didn't have the time to test the fabrics underwater on set, you had to test in an outdoor pool but I wanted to know more about the beading and everything.

Mary:  Yes the question was, would we mould it and make it out of latex or would we make it out of a beaded fabric and I felt pretty strongly that we should do it out of fabric. It just felt more like a vintage suit, they way Esther Williams' were done, they were made out of fabric that was beaded or sequined by hand. I've read that all of her stuff was made by hand so that's how we came upon this idea. We knew that the swim suits were going to be orange and yellow so it then was a process of elimination. The pool was going to be blue. So at one point, we thought about pink and then I decided to use this beautiful green and it would look great on her and really stand out and with her skin and be a graphic contrast to the swimmers. So we started with a fabric that had some beading on it and then we had beaders that work here in Los Angeles.  There were 3 or 4 strands that were twisted and hand beaded to make the scale. And there were, maybe almost 1,000 scales on each outfit, it was a really crazy number! You know, It needed to pop and it needed to sparkle. It needed to have some of that old Hollywood glamour so that's how we decided to do it and it wasn't a place where you could take a short cut. Originally, we were only supposed to have one and in the end we ended up having to have four and that's how we kind of broke our budget because one of the most expensive things for this movie was making the mermaid costumes. And Scarlett has that great curvy hourglass figure.

Brittany: Yes, she looked spectacular and you're right, that color with her skin was beautiful. So, I wanted to talk about Tilda Swinton. Dressing her would be amazing, I love her figure and her bone structure and everything about her look and I really love all of her hats!

Yeah, everything for Tilda was made. A lot of it was based on original suits but we made everything for her. I wanted her to be very dramatic. Every time she enters one of her scenes, she kind of causes an interruption and that's why her clothes are more vivid in nature from the other characters in the film. We made all of her hats too. The gag is, we wanted the audience, the first time they see the two sisters to be confused like "What is this? didn't we just see her?"  From the very first time you're introduced to both of them, we decided to do a hat with a feather going one way and then in the next scene, you see the sister with her feather going the other way. She has a suit with grays with yellow accent and the sister has a gray suit and green is the accent with that gigantic feather. It was so long, it didn't even fit into the frame of the camera. We wanted her to be very chic and like she buys a suit each season or maybe even two, very high fashion. She was in a very fitted, sculptured silhouette with very straight pencil skirts.  We used the same silhouette for her skirts throughout.  We used very big shoulders which was very popular in the late 40s and started to go out of vogue in the early 50s . But because Tilda is a middle aged woman, we felt we had the right look. You know, you found a look that works for you and you stay with it! It was all based on suits that we found from that time period that we adapted for Tilda. Tilda is almost 6 feet tall, she looks great in clothes. Some of the clothes that we found in that time period were too small for her and we wanted it to fit perfectly. And because of the gag of the twin sisters, I had to have something in just the right size, the right silhouette, the right colors with blocks of colors so we ended up making everything for her handbags, to her hats, suit, the gloves. The gloves are handmade and stitched with contrast stitching. Everything except for the shoes, the shoes are from Remix!

Brittany: Oh yes, we all love Remix!

Mary: Yeah me too!  They have a pump that a very good copy of a 1940s shoe. Probably a 2-3 inch heel. There are a couple of changes that we made like adding a shoe clip but other wise she wore that. We spent a lot of money on everything else and I don't think we even saw her shoes in the film.

Brittany: I know, I was looking for them! I always do look for the shoes!

Mary: Yeah, I don't think we ever had a head to toe shot, so from the knee up, that was about it!

Brittany: Well I'll tell them you used Remix, we love them!

Mary: Yes we love them too and thank god for Remix!

Brittany: Okay one more question, You've commented in other interviews that you had a very tight budget and even sewed some of the things yourself. My readers are also putting together vintage looks on a budget so do you have any tips for them on putting together an accurate look on a shoestring budget?

Mary: I think you have to find the right vintage clothing store. Every vintage clothing store is owned by someone picking those clothes. My two favorite vintage clothing shops in Los Angeles are Playclothes on Magnolia in the valley and now down in Long Beach. And there's another one called Kaboom in long beach, its right next door to Meow. There's some vintage clothing stores where the prices are astronomical, I think. You have to find a reasonably priced one or even sometimes in small towns, the thrift stores, the salvation army has great pieces. If you don't know how to sew, find someone in your town who knows how to sew. So many vintage pieces need a little bit of tailoring so make it fit your body, that's what will make you look like a million bucks, if you can make something inexpensive work for you like that.

Thank you to Mary for her wonderful interview and pointing us vintage loving girls in the right direction! Check out Hail Caesar on Blu-Ray/DVD to see Mary's exquisite vintage designs!

What's Been Going on Lately....

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Wow, its been a really long time since my last post, we've been enjoying summer with the kids home so much, I've lost track of time!

Having both kids home all day again has been really fun but definitely a challenge that they're not used to. It's been very rainy here in St Louis so my roofer husband has had a lot of week days off. We've been taking advantage of the time, taking the kids to the zoo, the movies, picnics at the park and our favorite, family movie night at home!

I did a quickie video tutorial for this hair scarf on Instagram:

We had a pool party two weekends ago with all of the little cousins and it was so much fun. I bought myself a fabulous watermelon umbrella from Five Below, which we tried out at our lakeside picnic last week.

Aside from family play time, I've been purging and organizing every room in the house! I start the morning with breakfast and a couple of episodes of Hoarders and suddenly I have a new perspective on getting rid of things I haven't touched in months. It's a great feeling to de-clutter!

I'm also working on making things for my etsy shop, which is reopening this fall with a new name and face. Check out Tinsel Town Accessories on Instagram for a peek at my latest happenings and inspiration for my shop. I'm stocking up on all materials pink, plastic, sparkly and fluffy!

Also this summer, I started doing some really fun live video tutorials on Facebook on Vintage Updos for Modern Girls. My style lately has been "messy mom who needs to look halfway decent in a hurry" so I'm sharing some quick tips for fixing your hair when it's a mess to start with. If you're not a member of the group, you can also check out my tutorials on my Facebook page. I've never been very comfortable doing videos, which is why my You Tube channel is so sparse but I love the live feature, being able to talk directly to people, answer questions, laugh and feel like I'm talking to friends, not just a camera. I hope you enjoy them and my frequent use of certain words ("like" and "so") , my no-makeup face and my disastrous frizzed out hair!

Free Pattern: 1950s Vampy Babushka scarf knitting pattern

Friday, May 20, 2016

I am so in love with this 1957 scarf, that dramatic widow's peak is begging to be done in black and red or metallic sparkly yarn. I hope to see several of you ladies rocking these on Instagram this winter! I know I will! See my free patterns page for more vintage knitting, crochet and sewing patterns.

Friday the 13th Novelty Brooch

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Tomorrow is Friday the 13th, the only one we'll get this year so I'm planning to wear my DIY Friday the 13th brooch. This brooch is inspired by a spectacular vintage Bakelite brooch with several cute bad luck charms.

Fork and knife:
A crossed fork and knife in some parts of the world shows that you are not finished with your meal. In others, it's bad manners. An old superstition is that a crossed fork and knife symbolizes a cross and
represents death.
8 ball:
to be behind an 8 ball means that you're in a bad spot or experiencing bad luck
black cat:
If a black cat crosses your path, they say you'll have 7 years of bad luck
Ace of spades:
In fortune telling, the ace of spades is the Death card
match sticks:
during WWII, a superstition held that if 3 soldiers lit their cigarette from the same match, one of them would be shot or die in battle. This was known as “3 on a match” or “the unlucky 3rd light”

I've included the templates and full photo tutorial for this brooch in my e-book, Pins for Pinups: DIY Brooches for Retro Girls. This brooch uses printable templates, which are cut out of thin rolled clay, so there's very little clay working skills needed. (Trust me on this, I tried to sculpt one by hand and it was a mess!)

Pins for Pin-Ups includes 11 other step by step tutorials for vintage inspired novelty brooches, using a lot of materials from your recycling bin or things that you already have around the house. This ebook is delivered automatically via email in PDF format, so you can read it on your computer or any device with a PDF reader! 

Celebrating Vintage Mamas

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Motherhood is what ultimately turned me on to wearing vintage. I was wearing pajamas, sweat pants and ugly maternity clothes for so long, I wanted to wear something beautiful and unique and take time to fix myself up a bit. Now that Olivia is in school, I'm getting pictures drawn of us at school, me in a dress with bright red hair and bright red lipstick and sometimes she borrows my brooches for special days at school. Someday, if she likes vintage too, I'll pass on my collection to her!

With mothers day this past weekend, Daffny from A Vintage Nerd and I are celebrating some of our fellow vintage mamas.

blogger, Molly Maka shares her life as a vintage mom and some tips for us!

Molly Maka says "I'm a 1940s girl at heart and am actively seeking publication of my World War II romances.  I'm also a proud volunteer of our local Honor Flight hub, serving as one of their two Bombshells.  I'm the mommy to a three and a half year old little boy.  He's our miracle child and we are so blessed to have him in our lives."
Molly Maka and her sweet boy
Q: Do you have any struggles as a vintage mama?
"I don't get to dress vintage and 40s everyday as I would like.  But, when I do, it is a struggle because it means I have to get up even earlier than our early wake up call to ensure my hair is dry and brushed out, make-up done and look achieved all before getting The Boy (as he has come to be known on social media) up and ready for the day.  Honestly, the hardest part for me and the reason I don't take the full plunge is my hair.  It's stick straight and I have a lot of it.  It takes a long time to dry as well.  So, I need to make sure I have the time devoted to how long it takes to set my hair adding in time under the bonnet dryer in the hopes that it will be completely dry by morning.   My normal everyday style has a very retro feel to it,  so I don't feel as bad that I can't dress how I would like.

When I do doll myself up, my son already knows that we don't touch Mommy's curls and he has been known to ask me, "Mommy, are you wearing red lipstick?"  When I say yes, he responds, "You can't kiss me."  The way he says it always makes me laugh.

Q: Do you have any time saving tips for other vintage moms? 
The big ones for me are to set my hair after my son goes to bed and make sure I'm as ready as I can be before getting him up.  I also try to have everything set out to wear the night before, making sure it is comfortable to move in, especially when chasing a pre-schooler.  Worst case, I sometimes just dress the front of my hair and throw a snood on.  Or on days when I can't do my hair, I have what I call my faux-40s look.  It takes me about 2 minutes to throw up and looks okay with straight hair.

Q: What are your favorite shopping spots for vintage moms on a budget?
 I'm always looking for a deal.  I try to keep an eye on Etsy, the local vintage shops (of which there aren't many) and the Ooh La La group on Facebook.  I'll also watch for sales from some of my favorite repro/retro designers and snag things as I can.  Otherwise, I just look for retro looking items at regular stores.

Ella @uptoongirl on Instagram, shares some sweet pics of her and her with her little lady:

she says "Vintage parenting is hard but cocktails help!"

"She has been coming along to my swing dancing sessions since she was born"

"She has absorbed it all and can join in the Shim Sham at the drop of a hat"

See part two of Celebrating Vintage Mamas with more tips and peeks into the life of other vintage moms at A Vintage Nerd.  Thank you to all who sent in their photos and stories! 

A Day in the LIfe of a Vintage Housewife: Grocery Day

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Yesterday was grocery day! We usually shop on Saturday or Sunday mornings but there are few pleasures in life like grocery stores on a Monday morning. No chaotic parking lots, long lines or aisles full of people, just me and my list and all the time in the world. Pj was off work so we took advantage of the morning. In this post, I show how I spend my grocery days, not only shopping but planning menus, cutting my budget back, saving money by cooking from scratch and making the most out of a very full and busy day as a modern housewife.

7:00AM I wake up to Pj talking about giving Olivia some overnight oats that were actually made 3 nights ago and I forgot about them. I yell from bed "No! Pitch that shit, it's old and slimy! There's waffles and berries in the freezer" and with that, it's probably time to get out of bed. Today was "favorite hat day" for Olivia so I let her choose from my vintage hat collection. She picked this pink 1950s bow hat to match her pink Littlest Petshop shirt.

Since Pj is getting Olivia ready, I take a few minutes to pick out a dress and brush out my pin curls before the bus comes. I pick a simple early 50s dress and my gray ballet flats. Every morning, Olivia and I sit on the porch and talk about the mama bird building her nest on our porch or the flowers in the garden. Rhys is just inside, enjoying cartoons and breakfast, usually but today he's outside with all of us.

After she gets on the bus, Rhys wants to go for a walk. Its a beautiful morning so I put my makeup on and we go out.

My daily makeup products include:
Neutrogena oil free moisturizer for combination skin
Maybelline Baby Skin instant pore eraser
Revlon Colorstay foundation for oily/ combination skin in 150
ELF blush in Glow
Coty Airspun loose powder in translucent
Wet n Wild Geometric Highlighting Powder in Sun Ceremony
ELF brow palette in medium
Maybelline Full n Soft Waterproof mascara in Very Black
Wet n Wild Fergie Creme Eyeliner in Little Black Dress
Too Faced Matte Eye shadow palette (tufted suede, velveteen bunny and chinchilla are the ones I use daily)
Besame lipstick in Carmine

Wow, that's a lot of makeup.

After makeup, Rhys says I look "byooo-full" and we go for a walk to the river

It's the train!

We made the mistake of going for a walk before having breakfast so I'm hangry for the walk back home and Rhys is feeling it too so he hitches a ride home.

 At home, I throw together a quick breakfast of sauteed asparagus, over medium egg, feta cheese on a home made English muffin with iced coffee and a bowl of berries.

After breakfast, we hit the road to the grocery store and I make sure I have my menu and shopping list I made yesterday, grocery bags and my Aldi quarter. Both of the stores that we shop at use the Quarter cart return system so I am very protective over my Aldi quarter. It all started back when Pj's office job had soda machines with a can of soda for 25 cents so finding a quarter in this house was near impossible.

How a modern housewife earns money by saving money
As a housewife, I spend a lot of time finding new ways to save money and cut back on spending. In this modern day, many families don't have any idea how you can live on a single income. I admit, it gets hard from time to time but I think I'm always learning new ways to be smart with our money. A housewife doesn't receive a pay check but I bring money into the home in other ways. Some by blogging but mostly by saving what we do have and spending my time in the home wisely.

I'm doing a shopping challenge this month to try to cut our grocery budget down and plan weekly menus that I will rotate each month.  Like many families, we spend way too much money on food so I'm trying some different methods of cutting back. 

My grocery money saving rules:
  • I plan 2 meatless dinners and a home made soup for lunch throughout the week. Usually something easy like pasta con broccoli, stir fry, broccoli or potato soup or our favorite, fondue night!

  • We plan meals that stretch a small amount of meat like stew, beef stir fry, loaded baked potato night, kabobs or tacos. 

  • We plan one dinner at a sit-down restaurant per month and one lazy, fast food or takeout dinner per month, to use when we want to

and sauce from House of Yumm

  • I make English muffins, french bread and Greek yogurt from scratch weekly. Here's the difference:
                store bought English muffins $2.99 for 6            or               home made  .70 for 12
               french bread   $3.49 for twin baguettes                or              .60 for twin baguettes
               Greek yogurt  $3.39 for 2 cups                            or               $2.49 for 6 cups

Just making these 3 things from scratch every week saves my family 316.16 per year! With that, I can plan a weekend vacation to Lake Michigan, buy a new piece of furniture, tires for the car, pay for Christmas and birthdays or just sack it away into our savings account. Maybe next I'll start making pickles or jelly or sauerkraut or pasta. The breads and yogurt are easy too, I maybe spend 30 minutes total in the kitchen, the rest of the time is just waiting for things to rise and do their thing...and kneading bread dough is incredibly therapeutic!

The home made versions of each taste so much better than the store bought versions. My kids love to snack on the breads too, so I buy less junk like chips and fruit snacks. My kids love to help in the kitchen so this is a great way to get everyone to pitch in with the work!

At home, I make breadcrumbs and yogurt. For my breads, I set dough starters and rising dough on the rack outside my kitchen to rise and bubble on this beautiful warm day.

 The yogurt will have to sit in the kitchen overnight and be strained tomorrow.

I made some breadcrumbs from stale bread that I'll use in meatloaf later this week. My food processor made a crazy noise, which is why I made a strange face. I added some Italian herbs and these breadcrumbs smell amazing!

Guys, I was terrified of making my own yogurt. I don't drink milk because the idea of a liquid getting solid in a few hours grosses me out but I did it and holy cow, it is amazing! I can't get enough of it and the kids love it too. If you make your own yogurt, save a cup for the starter culture for your future batch (you can freeze it) and hand wash your cheese cloth to use again and again! The difference between Greek yogurt and regular is that it is strained longer. I add vanilla and sweetener to my yogurt right after I put the culture in. If you add it after it is strained, it will get thin and runny and will need to be strained again, which is hard when you're impatiently waiting for a fruit and yogurt parfait. Here are the recipes that I used:

Crusty french bread from
English muffins from The Kitchn
Greek yogurt from Mainly Homemade

Pj said I was making a weird face, so I made a weirder one.

I set my dough to rise outside and clean the kitchen

Look at that hair! I can't wait for my bangs to grow out, cutting them was not the best idea.

Planning Meals and Price Checking
Noon-ish Pj works on a You Tube video and I check our receipts for this week's grocery budget. Instead of having to plan a new menu every single week, I plan 5 weeks of meals that will rotate each month. If we get tired of something, we can always try a new recipe and switch things out seasonally but this is a huge time and money saver because I will know each week exactly how much each meal will cost and we can finally settle down into the same grocery budget every week instead of spending very little one week and going over budget the next.

First, I add items and prices from our receipts to a master list on my computer. This makes it easy to know which stores have better deals on which items regularly. Since I already shop at discount grocers, I don't bother clipping food coupons because Aldi and other discount grocers sell groceries for less than the cost of sale and couponed food elsewhere. I generally only shop at 2 stores so price comparisons are pretty easy. You wouldn't think this would make a huge difference but it absolutely does!

I shop at Aldi and Ruler Foods (which is a discount grocer owned by Kroger stores). Aldi cucmbers are 49cents. Ruler cucs are 78 cents. Black olives are 99 cents at Ruler and $1.19 at Aldi. So, when I plan my lists, I do one for each store and add the items to each list according to price. Sometimes, there are taste or quality differences too. We don't buy a ton of produce from our Ruler Foods store because things seem to go bad sooner than Aldi produce so most of our fresh produce goes to Aldi, no matter what. Ten cents isn't a big deal but if you can take a few minutes to save 10 cents here, there, here again, before you know it, that's adding up to dollars, which may amount to hundreds over the course of the year.  Here's my list this week, with washi tape to mark off what I already have:

Now I go through the receipts again and see what we bought this week that we didn't need to buy or what meals cost more than I anticipated. Last week, I planned a soup that turned out to be very expensive for a soup (it used pre-packaged tortellini, pork sausage, fresh store bought herbs) so I cut it out entirely and replaced it with ham and swiss sliders instead, which the kids prefer anyway. Last week, we shopped before eating too, so we bought a bunch of junk we didn't need and bought things that were actually much cheaper at another store. So, this week I was more conscious of that. 

I love this sign on the St. Charles Rock Road. At night she lights up and twirls her baton

I checked the Aldi sales ads this week and found some good buys like eggs for  89 cents per dozen, a whole roasting chicken for $4.74 (Which I stretch into at least 3 meals) and a bag of chicken breasts for $1 less than the usual price. We have a deep freeze in the basement so I'm always on the lookout for dairy, meat and produce that we can buy at a discount now and freeze for later use. The chicken came from Ruler foods, which puts sale meats out in the early morning, so it pays to get there early!

Even with our unanticipated sales buys, we bought 7 days of groceries for about $30 under budget, which makes me so happy!

It's almost 1:00 pm and I have an hour and a half until we have to leave home again so I work on a new wall hanging and get my bread and muffins on their second rise while we're out.

We pick up Olivia from school because we have to take Rhys to the doctor for his pre-K check up at 3:30. He is not a happy camper but Pj had a pack of Yo-Kai medals for our brave boy. While in the waiting room, I crochet a snood.

5:00 PM Back at home, I pop my breads in the oven and move my yogurt to a table where it will hang out until tomorrow morning and wind down while some potatoes bake. I cook the English muffins in the electric skillet. They were supposed to rise all night in the fridge but the last time I did that, they turned out hard and flat so this is how I do it now.  Also, my hair is a disaster by now

7:00PM After dinner and clean up, we all get into comfy lounge clothes, veg out, have bath time and get ready for bed. I've had a bit of a sinus thing lately so I curl up with some tissues and a cup of root beer. I pick out Olivia's clothes for tomorrow, make sure her library books are in her backpack and make a little to-do list for tomorrow,which will include rocking out on laundry, sewing a skirt and maybe organizing my basement craft storage.

9:00PM  At the end of the day, I feel like I didn't get much done since I spent a great deal of time in the kitchen, at the doctor's office and at the grocery store but looking back, it was a really productive awesome day!  This time next month, I can grab my pre-made grocery list and go shopping, knowing that my menu will be way under budget and I planned easy meals for the week. Little things like fresh English muffins, a few bucks in savings from my hard work and happy full bellies make me feel that my job as a housewife isn't a lazy or wasteful one but a very important job that makes me feel like my talents and time are being used very well.

I hope that you enjoyed a day in my life. If you liked this post, check out my other Day in the Life of a Vintage Housewife, just a regular kind of day at home with my kiddies!