Trashtacular Treasures

When living on a tight budget, it can be hard to spread the kind of gift lovin’ you wish…like on birthdays.

Often I get creative (in my mind) and hope my thoughtfulness doesn’t come across as a cheap, tacky “why in the F did you give this to me” gift.

I designed the cake below for a former boss and fabulous friend who always used to demand (I kid! I kid! But she doesn’t read this, so I can say what I want) Diet Cokes 14 times per day. Hence the choice of beverage here (of course, if I made one for myself, it would have bottles of wine on the bottom, Captain Morgan bottles in the middle, topped off with vodka – but we’re not talking about me, so I digress).


Perfect treat for a Diet Coke lover?

Here are the ‘ingredients’ for this cake…

1) Start with a 12 pack of the recipient’s favorite beverage (or beer/liquor if money is no object).

2) A fake silver platter (it really fancies up the look overall, yes?).

Can be found at a flea market or the Dollar Tree. Really fancies it up.

You can find this at a flea market or the Dollar Tree. And doubles as a pretty clear mirror.

3) Packing tape, duct tape and your choice of ribbon. (You could skip the duct tape but it really takes cake decorating to a whole new level).

here I go again with my duct tape...

To read about my obsession with duct tape, click here and here.

Start by arranging cans on the platter, secure with packing tape.


Continue tiering to desired height, making sure packing tape is all over the place (making it feel more like a gift, for sure).

Diet Coke

This cake was going to a gal who loves black and white, hence the zebra print duct tape icing.


The $6 trashtacular tiered treat.

This was a perfect way for me to bake. No dirty dishes. No recipe ingredients or steps I couldn’t decipher. And all done in about 20 minutes.

If cake baking isn’t for you, become a jewelry designer (and if you’re lucky, an overnight sensation).


One of a kind piece.

Go to your local hardware store and purchase a plant chain (for around $2) and two plastic numbers (intended for the side of a house).  Small string, fishing line or wire will work to attach the number to the chain.

This priceless piece will cost you about $8 to concoct.

And voila! You’ll have one bewildered, amused (?) and possibly annoyed recipient!


Wearin’ 50 well!

And that’s how you, too, can give a tad on the trashy side gift and still buy groceries for the week (or in my case Teddy’s prescription cat food).

Happy Birthday!



Fancy Fraidy Cat

I get so excited for the holiday season that I’d start decorating in July if I could (actually, I probably could because I live in an area of the world where folks love to keep Christmas lights up year round).

While I have plenty of decor already (and only 700 square feet to spruce up holiday style), I was perusing the aisles of a local store and came across the most needed pumpkin accessory.

How could I live without this?

Turning a pumpkin into a cat was the easiest decorating I’ve completed during Halloween season – all for $10.00.

Cute but oh so ordinary…

Not being a tabby cat owner, the orange color just wasn’t cutting it for me.  It didn’t remind me enough of my Russian Blue mix, Ted.

Enter one can of silver spray paint and…

From boring to bling in 30 seconds flat.

A little more fierce than fraidy, huh?


Pigskin Sushi

Want to really wow your party crowd with ‘sushi’?

Here’s an affordable, three ingredient, five minute, dirty-no-dishes delicatessen.

You will need:

Dill pickles, one block of cream cheese and thick-sliced, cooked ham.  Total cost – $7.00.

Place a paper towel under the slice of ham (this will absorb some of the moisture due to packaging) and spread cream cheese over it.

You can use light and/or whipped cream cheese, just be sure it’s at room temperature for easier spreading.

Next, roll the pickle up in the cheesy slice of ham.

Cut the pickle-in-a-blanket to your desired size.

And voila! A plate full of Pigskin Sushi.

This snack was such a hit at the last tailgate, we made another batch of the low carb, gluten-free delicatessen for the second half of the game and still had no left overs.




Bangin’ Buffalo Dip

Another cheap eat from my party arsenal is a tasty treat that hails from the state of Mississippi, compliments of my buddy Bri.

This dip is welcome at any social gathering but it’s perfect for the tailgating crew on game days (and much less messy than actual chicken wings but provides the same taste).  And if you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that I’m all for easy, frugal eats (because I don’t want to dirty too many dishes, as I don’t have a dishwasher – and only three clean pieces were sacrificed for this palate pleasing snack).

Here’s what you’ll need:

All ingredients for this dip cost under $10 at my local grocery (I couponed and purchased brands that were on sale).

2 – 8oz cream cheese blocks (helps if they’re at room temperature but not a must)

½ bottle of hot sauce

½ bottle of blue cheese dressing

1 can of chicken (or two chicken breasts cooked and shredded or cubed)

Celery (optional – but if you’re watching carbs, great replacement for chips)

1 bag of corn chips

To make:

Mix the cream cheese, hot sauce, blue cheese dressing and chicken in a bowl and put into a baking dish.

My mix was a tad chunky because my cream cheese was chilled when I threw the ingredients together.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

I let the dip cool about 5 to 10 minutes to let it thicken, then transfer to a serving platter (this Pyrex dish just doesn’t cut it).

This tasty tailgating treat will really wow your crowd without breaking your bank (or chipping your nail polish while you slave away washing dishes).

A side dish of celery, along with a bowl of chips complete this cheesy chicken heaven of a dip. If you serve along with last week’s Shit Dip, you might just become an effortless Betty Crocker in your own right.


Skull Boardin’

I received this kick ass roll of skull and crossbones ribbon from my friend Amanda and have been dying to put it to use.

Recently, my boss asked me to create a dry erase board for weekly tracking purposes but didn’t want it to be a typical calendar.  So I got crafty because the choices at the store are just so ordinary and if you’ve been reading this blog very long, you know that just won’t do.

For $13.00, I found an 18”x22” magnetic wipe board framed in cork at Target (all office supply stores were at least 25% higher in price for the same item).

Here’s what I used in addition to the board:

Scissors (don’t have to be so blingy but it does make it more fun), double sided tape and the ribbon of your choice.

First, I measured how many columns I would need with a ruler.

Then I applied the tape to the back of the ribbon.

And stuck the ribbon to the board (a ruler helps to set it straight).

I found magnets with the days of the week to use at the top of columns and coordinating dry erase markers do the rest!

White board, $13.00. Target. Ribbon, gift. Magnets, $3.00. Target. Dry erase markers, $4.00. Target.

A simple board (bedazzled to whatever degree you wish) with rock star statement that took about $20 to create. Easily tailored to be used as a daily family calendar, a menu planner, chore list, or weekly concert schedule (as shown above)…and best of all, you can always change the ribbon to update the look for next to no cost.