Saturday, April 30, 2011

Entry Hall Table

There is a table in my entry hall that has survived many years and many makeovers.  It has been painted several colors over time.  It used to be in my nursery - yes, that's right.  Not my children's nurseries, MY nursery.  I won't say how many years ago that actually was in order to maintain the general assumption that I am still 29 (you all do think I'm 29, RIGHT?). 

The table has seen better days and is beginning to get a little rickety, but I can't seem to part with it.  I have always had a hard time trying to find the right piece of furniture for this space because it is a little odd shaped and there is really no wall to put something against.  It looks very barren without something there though.  This table is also a little odd shaped and just works there.  I am on a mission to get rid of the overabundance of the color brown in my house and lighten things up a bit.  The little old table was one of my first targets. 

Here is the table before.
I decided to go with the same weathered cream paint color I used on the stool in my bathroom.  A couple of coats and she was ready to go.
Done?  Not quite.  It now looked  I am a lover of all things old.  So...I did a little distressing and then I was done.  Here it is finished and back in place.

Better views of the distressing:

What do you think of the new look?  Here it is one more time, before and after.

Now I am off to finish up a few other projects in the works. Check back soon; I will be blogging about them!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

You Can Make Picture Frame Mats Out of Anything

Both of the kids begged and begged to have their faces drawn while we were in Disneyworld.  They love these drawings and won't keep their grimy fingers off of them so they had to be framed immediately in order to keep them safe.  I went scavenging around the house for frames, which I found, but I didn't have a mat for either one.  So I had to get creative.  For Lake's picture, I went digging in my fabric box and found some blue polka dot fabric that would work just fine in his room.  I got a posterboard and cut it to fit inside the frame. 
I cut the fabric about an inch wider than the posterboard on all four sides and sprayed the back of it with my favorite spray glue.  (My fingers are still sticky - that stuff is serious.)

I laid the posterboard on, smoothed out the creases, and glued down the edges. 
I flipped it over, sprayed the back of Lake's picture and stuck it on.  Put the frame on it and we were good to go.  Another option would have been to cut a hole out of the middle of the posterboard and put the picture behind it like a true mat, but this was easier and had the same effect. 
Now on to Lilly's....I looked in my fabric box and found nothing that would go with her room decor.  So I started looking around for another option.  Wrapping paper!  We found one in my stockpile that matched well enough and we went with it. 
I actually took a frame that was already on her wall with a butterfly she and I (mostly she) made a long time ago in it.  I just reused the butterfly as it was on cardboard to begin with.  So I flipped it over and taped the wrapping paper in place.
I put a little spray glue on her picture, stuck it in the middle of the "mat", and put it back in the frame.  Done!
You can make mats out of anything and they add so much character.  It's such an inexpensive and easy way to spruce up your pictures! 

Lilly keeps asking me if I think she looks like Hannah Montana in hers...sure, honey, whatever you say... :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

More Couponing - Walgreens ROCKS! 4/17/11 and 4/18/11 Trips

It's a great week for shopping at Walgreens.  I think I am getting this couponing thing down.  I still haven't crossed over the threshold of being a true Extreme Couponer with savings of 90% or more (that's my definition of EXTREME).  I did do pretty well in my last two visits though.  I went last night and was pretty successful; then I checked my favorite couponing blog this morning and saw that I had missed several deals!  Can't let that happen now can we?  So...I headed back to Walgreens for some more action.  Here are my goodies from last night.
I spent a grand total of $27.11 and my total should've/would've been $94.57 without my winning coupons and sales combination.  WINNING!  That's a savings of 71%. 

I had to do 5 separate transactions to make this magic happen.  Here's how I did it:
1.  2 tubes of Colgate Total toothpaste - on sale for 2/$6 with a $4 Register Reward.  I had 2 $1/1 coupons so my total was $4.56 - that's 2 for $6 less 2 $1 coupons.  I got back a $4 RR - which technically made them free.
2.  4 Dove Men's deodorant on sale for 4/$15.00 with a $5 Register Reward.   I had 3 $1/1 coupons, so the total was $12, and then I used the$4 RR from transaction #1.  So total purchase was $9.39 and I got a $5 RR.
3.  Garnier Fructis Hair Care on sale for 4/$14 with a $4 Register Reward.  I got a shampoo, a conditioner, a hairspray, and a mousse.  I had 4 coupons for $1/1 so that made it $10.  I also got the Schick Intuition Razor on sale for $8.99 with a $3 Register Reward.  I had a $3/1 coupon so that made it $2.99.  I had to buy a filler in order to use my many coupons - I got gum that was $0.99.  I used my $5 RR from transaction #2, and the total was $14.20.
4. 2 Dove Body Wash and 2 Dove's Men Body Wash - same deal as in transaction #2.  I used 4 coupons for $1/1 making it $10.  I used the $4 RR and $3 RR from transaction #3.  Total purchase was $5.39.
5.  Eggs for $1.09, Scott paper towels - on sale for $5, had an in-store coupon for $1/1 and a $1/1 coupon from Scott making this $3,  Softsoap Body Wash is on sale for $4.49 and buy one get one free.  I had 2 coupons for this that would've made it a STEAL, but I didn't check them closely enough and they had expired the day before.  Ho hum.   I used my $5 RR from transaction #4 and the total purchase was $4.54. 


So I went back today and got:
Yes, that's 12 Aveeno lotions...the total of this purchase (in 3 transactions) was $21.87 and should've/would've been $82.82.  That's a savings of 74%.  I am smiling.

Here's what I did:
1.  Another Schick Intuition Razor for $8.99 with a $3 Register Reward.  I had a $3/1 coupon so that made it $2.99.  2 more Colgate Total toothpaste - on sale for 2/$6 with a $4 Register Reward.  I had 2 $1/1 coupons.  Total purchase was $11.38.
2.  12 Aveeno lotions - on sale for 25% and a $5 Register Reward when you bought $25 or more.  They were $2.99 each, 25% off made them $2.24, and I had 4 $3/2 coupons and 4 $1/1 coupons.  I used the $3 RR and $4 RR from transaction #1.  Total purchase was $6.37, making the lotions $0.52 each. 
3.  Gillette deodorant on sale for buy one get one 50% off.  I had a $2/1, a $1/1, and a buy one get one Gillette Body Wash free coupon.  Also got 3 Scotch tape, which I had 3 $1/1 coupons and a buy 1 get 2 free coupon, so I actually made $1 on these.  I used my $5 RR from transaction #4 and my total was negative, so I had to buy a filler in order to continue checking out.  I bought a $4 worth of Easter basket fillers (which I didn't picture because I had to hide as soon as I got home) and my total was $4.12. 

So there you have it!  You are probably thoroughly confused!  It seems complicated but it's really not.  Each time I go I learn more and it becomes easier and easier.  I think I am addicted to the deals.  I am quite quickly accumulating a stockpile...

  This is one of two cabinets full...and this is only my second month couponing.  I spent less on this stockpile than I would have spent on toiletries in an average month before couponing.  Isn't that cazy?  This is FUN!


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lake's Room is DONE!

Lake's room has been in halfway done state for quite a while.  He had a bunkbed in here but we sold it and opted for a regular old twin bed.  The bunk bed was the kind that had one bed going one way and the other bed going the other way, and it literally took up his whole floor.  He had no room to play Wii or anything else.  He loves board games and really needed some floor space to play those.  So we ditched the bunk bed and got another (from his aunt - thanks Tis!).

He decided that he didn't like the khaki I had painted his room and wanted something bright and crazy - like orange.  For the whole room.  Ummm, no.  So we compromised.  He got a bright orange stripe (softened by a smaller navy blue stripe at mom's insistence).  We also got him a desk with storage above for his many collections - rocks, snow globes, seashells, etc. - at his insistence.  He felt these collections should be on display because they are so valuable.  If he only knew I got that seashell collection for $2.99 in a Florida airport giftstore...
His desk:
To me it looks like CLUTTER, to him it looks like GOLD.  I have realized that the older they get, the more opinionated they get about their space.  This is disappointing for me.  I am quietly dealing with my grief and despair over not getting to make all the decisions in his room anymore....ho hum. 

In case you were wondering, that IS Abe Lincoln made out of a 2 liter coke bottle on top of the desk, a project he had to do for school.  He loves it and so do I.  He put a lot of heart and soul into that project, so I don't mind it being displayed. 

Here is an idea for some cheap artwork in a kid's room - have them draw pictures of what they are interested in or things they think they draw well, add a little scrapbook paper as a mat, and frame them.  Here are Lake's personal contributions to his room, which are my favorite things in here.  They are so...him.  I am very proud of him for his artistic ability and he is very proud that he contributed to his room.   

Here are some more pics from around the room. 

Lake likes that it is not too babyish and I like that it is not too grown-up.  Kinda perfect for that in-between a child and a teenager stage...right at the point when they start telling you they want to decorate it by themself and you have to say NO.  Can you imagine if I had agreed to an all bright orange room?!?!?


Revising the Bathroom for Spring

Here is my bathroom.  We recently remodeled it and I love everything about it.  But it's really really brown.  With the weather getting nicer, I thought it was time to make a few accessory changes and get this bathroom ready for spring. 

More of the brown winter bathroom look:

Note the brown decorative thingies hanging above the toilet.  These are about to get a facelift.  Here they are up close:
With about $20 and a can of spray paint, I added a little spring flair.  I changed out the candle, added a new rug and vase, and painted these brown things guessed it, turquoise!  My favorite!  Check it all out:
The minor changes made a difference (well, to me they do).  Here are the decorative plaques a little closer.  I distressed them a bit after painting.  You know I love the antique look...
Here is a pic from another angle.
Very subtle, but significant none the less.  I certainly didn't want to change anything major considering we had just completed the overall remodel less than a year ago, but I wanted something that was...just enough. 
Stay tuned to the blog because I am quite certain that I will change it again and again as the seasons (or my mood) changes. 


Strawberries Strawberries Strawberries

Do your children eat their weight in fruit each week like mine do?  We spend sooooo much money on fruit each week.  Fruit in their lunches each day and fruit when they get home and then fruit after dinner and this doesn't even take into account all the fruit they sneak without us looking.  They would live off of fruit if we would let them.  Fruit is expensive, and as a newly self-proclaimed extreme couponer (haha), I have discovered that you just can't get a deal on fruit. 

We thought of something fun and cheap to do with our children and it was a success, so I chose to share with my fellow blog readers.  Before I get into the story, please note in the picture above that my fashion diva of a child had to accessorize with a scarf tied around her waist and another around her neck before she could participate.  Back to the story...

Danny took them to the orchard and had them pick their own fruit.  They were in heaven.  They had a blast.  Strawberries at Jones Orchard are about $2/lb if you pick them yourself, and unless Kroger is running a deal, this is cheaper than we can normally get them.

Once the kids got home with their strawberries (they picked 5 lbs. in 30 minutes), they washed and de-stemmed them.  They were actually very excited to do this (my children excited about "work" = not normal).  They were proud of their strawberries and wanted to see the project to completion. 
We split the strawberry load in half.  We are going to eat half now and freeze the rest.  We took the ones to freeze and stood them up individually on a cookie sheet and then stuck the sheet in the freezer.  Once they were frozen solid, we put them in individual ziploc bags and back in the freezer.
Lots of great things came from this adventure:
  •   We now have fruit the kids can snack on anytime.  We can keep these in the freezer for long after strawberry season is over.  They are bagged and in snack sized portions.  We can pull a few bags a week out to thaw or the kids can eat them frozen (and they love them frozen as much as they love them fresh).
  • It didn't cost as much as buying fruit from the grocery store (generally).
  • The strawberries are unbelievably tastier than the ones you buy in the store since they are fresh off the plant and without chemicals all over them.
  • Most importantly, my children learned a lesson.  They are PROUD of their hard work and they see what rewards they got from it. 

So I think we will be heading back now to pick peaches.    What exciting adventure are you doing with your family this weekend?


There's a use for everything...

How horribly ugly are the flowers painted on this ratty old stool?  Very 1980's country decor.  Yuck.  I bought this at the antique store for about $4.  Why, you ask?  Well, if you only buy the pretty things, the ugly things get their feelings hurt.  And I knew somehow, someway, I could find a use for this thing.  It's been sitting for about 2 months in my to-do project stack, waiting on me to determine exactly what to do with it.  It finally came to me.

Do you have a place to put your towel when you take a nice, long bath?  I do not.  My towel comes out of the linen closet and sits gracefully folded in the floor while I take a bath.  The ledge of the bathtub is not big enough to hold it.  I've tried.  The towel slides right into the water. 

So there you have it!  My brilliant idea for the ugliest stool EVER.  Of course, it wouldn't make it into my bathroom with out a quick little makeover...

I started by sanding off the ugliness (aka flowers), or at least enough of them to not show through when I put a light coat or two of paint on it. 
Please note the blue paint all over my fingers...I've been working on another project that you will see on my blog soon...

Next I put two coats of weathered cream colored paint on it.  After that dried, I got the sanding block back out and distressed the edges.  This thing was old and had cracked corners and edges already, so no chance of it looking new.  I might as well go with the antique look.
  I sealed it with polyurethane and it was ready to go.  Here it is in action holding my towel, my candle, and my glass of wine...all ready for a relaxing bath. 
So what do you think?  Was it worth $4?  I say yes.  I have to go for bath is waiting....


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Winning with Coupons - 4/9/11 Walgreens trip

I have been asked to write about my couponing on my blog - so here it is...

I am by no means an extreme couponer.  I do not have time to take it to the level you see from the people on tv.  I don't dig in dumpsters for coupons and I don't go door to door asking for other people's coupons.  I get mine from the Sunday paper and the fliers that come in the mail on Tuesdays.  I am new to couponing and am slowly learning the tricks of the pros.  My goal is not to get everything free, but simply to cut our monthly grocery and toiletry bill in half.  I am beginning to enjoy finding the deals and I won't say I don't enjoy getting items for has now become a game for me, a challenge to beat my own savings week to week.  I am in competition to beat myself and to beat the store...and I have to win.

Today I had my most successful shopping trip yet.  I went to Walgreens.  I have found that if you play your coupons right, you can get quite a bit for little to nothing or for free from Walgreens.

Today's purchase included what you see here:
 The total of my purchase should have been $37.40.  My total was $4.37.  That's 89% savings!  Here's what I did:

The razors were on sale from $3.99 to $2.69 and I had 3 $2 off coupons for that brand, making them $0.69 each.
The Snickers and M&M eggs were $1.00 each and I had a coupon for $1.00 off any 2 Mars candy products, making them $0.50 ach.
The Snickers eggs were $0.50 each and I used another $1.00 off 2 Mars products making them FREEEEEE.
The toothpaste was $2.99 but gave me a $3 register reward so it was FREEEEEEE.
The Dawn dishsoap was on sale for $0.99 and I had a $0.25 off coupon making it $0.75.
The cereal was on sale from $3.99 a box to $1.88 a box, and I had a coupon to get $1.50 off 3 boxes, so they were $1.39 each.
The gum was $0.99 and I had to buy it because when I checked out the second time, I could only use my register rewards from the previous purchase if I had one extra item or my total would have been negative and they won't let you do that, so I grabbed gum by the counter.

I had a $4 register reward leftover from a purchase earlier this week.  I used that register reward to check out first with the toothpaste, the Dawn, and the razors.  My total was $1.44 and my savings were $16.80.

I got a $3 register reward from the first checkout from the toothpaste and used it on the second purchase which included the cereal, the candy, and the stinking gum I didn't really want.  My total was $2.93 and my savings were $17.23. 

This may sound complicated but it really isn't.  You just have to pay attention to your coupons and your register rewards. 

It is actually fun to try to beat what you have been able to do the week or month before.  And you save tons of money!

And now that I put that disclaimer paragraph at the top about how I don't solicit coupons from people...., if you don't use your coupons,give them to me!  

How About a Little Curb Appeal?

I have been so focused on all of my furniture projects and room remodels that I have totally neglected the outside of our house for a really long time, like since we moved in 11 years ago.  I did paint the front door about 8 years ago.  It was white; I painted it brown.  Yuck.  Please note the ugly brass doorknob.  Yuck again. 

The landscaping hasn't been updated in years.  I just don't enjoy yardwork.  Well, to be more exact, I don't enjoy sweating.  And you don't do yardwork without the sweating.  So I avoid the yardwork.  But it was time for an overhaul.  This weekend I was feeling a little spring-y and called in some backup to give my house a little curb appeal.    Here are some before shots of the front door and flower beds:

The old bushes had to come out. Immediately.   Here is the house without the bushes.  Pretty blah.
And here is the house with the old bushes all over the yard....
And here is how my children entertained themselves while we worked.  Burying each other in the mulch.  They smelled horrible. 
As the new bushes and flowers went in, I got to work on  the door.  I removed the disgusting brass doorknob, sanded, and primed the door.  Then I painted it turquoise.  Yes, that's right.  I painted the front door turquoise. 
A little too bright, don't you think?  I went over the turquoise with my new best friend, antiquing glaze.  I love it and it loves me.
I had my husband add new hardware and we were finally done after a really really long day.
So now for the big reveal!  Here is my new front door and my beautiful new flower beds.  Please note the handsome new door handle.

I have to admit, the only part I played in this whole process was doing the door and standing around making decisions about what plants I wanted.  No real sweating happened on my end.  I have to thank my father, his wife, his crew, and my husband for all the real work. 

I love love love the new look of the house.  It no longer looks dated; it looks trendy and fun.  What do you think of my new look?

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