December 31, 2012

my word for 2013....

I don't often jump on the bandwagon of New Year's resolutions.....
it's just too easy to set unrealistic goals and expectations and 
never meet them.

How many people make New Year's resolutions only to forget where they put the list the following week?  Guilty!  I know that I have done it!

We commit to exercising regularly....dieting....getting out of debt....quitting 
smoking....organizing our house!

There's a reason plastic containers and exercise equipment go on sale the first week of January!  Somehow, in the date...January 1, 2013, we see new beginnings....hope....a fresh start.

But, how often, come March, the exercise equipment is collecting dust in a 
corner....the plastic bins are empty and missing lids and our credit card 
statement sits unopened on the desk for fear of seeing the actual bill.

Last year, I watched a lot of bloggers choose a "word of the year". 
I didn't pick one because I just couldn't think of a word that I could fulfill.

I didn't want to look back in a year and think.....oh yeah, that's right, I picked 
a word of the year...oops, forgot about that!

Recently, I've been reading the book Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst and it 
has really been challenging a good way.

As I have been reading, I think that I found my word for 2013......
Too many times we expect that by giving our unmet expectations and goals a new name.....resolutions......we somehow think that they'll miraculously be accomplished.

Instead, this year, I just want to see progress.....a slower measure of movement forward.

I may not organize my entire house....that overwhelms me to a point where I just don't know where to begin.  Instead, I can organize my pantry....progress.

I may still lose my temper, get annoyed, and yell at my kids, but I am going to do it less......and those 
times when I make the right choice, I am going to mark that as....progress.

I have the tendency to over-commit and then find myself overwhelmed....I'm 
going to start with one thing to drop from my busy schedule....progress.

Do you want to join me this year.....a new year that will be marked with progress.

Read more ...

December 4, 2012

"Gourmet" Muffins from a $0.50 Mix

I am a bit embarrassed to confess this, but there are moments when I 
feel like I just don't have time to even cream butter and sugar together....

The pace of this season in my life feels a little frantic, so making an array
of home-baked good feels like an unreachable goal, but my kids love
sweets and treats.

The other night, I looked in my fridge and saw half of a bag of cranberries
left over and I remembered that I had one of those $0.50 blueberry muffin mixes.

Now, on their own, the muffin mixes can be gross, but with a few "extra" ingredients, I realized that I can make "gourmet" muffins!

Take 1 package of your dry muffin mix....

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk (this was an original ingredient from the package)
1 egg
1/3-1/2 cup flour
1/2 bag of cranberries
sugar for sprinking

I just mixed in all the extras but the cranberries.  Add enough flour to
make a thick, almost paste-like consistency.

Add in the cranberries and spoon into muffin papers.

I then like to sprinkle about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sugar over the top of the muffins.

Bake at 425 degrees about 15-18 minutes, just until the tops are brown.

You'll end up with "homemade" muffins in no time.......and no creaming involved!!

Do you have any creative "shortcuts"??

Read more ...

November 30, 2012

Muslin-Wrapped Garland

I recently saw this muslin garland idea at Down to Earth Style and was
impressed by the ease and price to make it.

I tore my muslin into strips that were about  12 inches long, folded them,
and tied them into knots.

Total cost: $8.00

2 yards of muslin from Walmart..................$4.00
Twinkle lights from The Dollar General.........$4.00

For the complete look, I used Dollar Tree wreaths that I took apart and wired
together as a garland.  I also had a different type of pine garland that I bought at our local Goodwill.

I stuffed in some pine cones that I bought at Michael's and red berries from
The Dollar Tree....the whole mantle was put together for about $15.

Here's last year's mantle....

Yikes!......I'm not quite feeling the love.  That's even the same starter pine garland!  
What a difference layering makes!

This year I feel way more natural....using greens, pinecones, muslin, and burlap through my house.

Which one do you like??

The Lettered Cottage
Read more ...

November 28, 2012

Amazing Art Blog

I recently stumbled across an amazing art blog that is just too good not to share with you all....

Since I am more of a science/math person, art tends to be my homeschooling weakness.
I didn't take many (any) art classes beyond elementary school and my drawing
skills are quite pathetic. tends to get a slim showing in our homeschool portfolios.....but not this year.

This year, I am being assisted by the blog Deep Space Sparkle.  Patty is an art teacher who shares these gorgeous art lessons....for FREE!!
She also includes step-by-step instructions with photos.

Here are some of her projects...

We recently did the watercolor birch trees and they turned out gorgeous!!  Even my non-artsy son has a project for his portfolio that looks artistic.

My daughter and I are off to make the winter trees today.

If you are looking for more homeschooling ideas, check out my Pinterest Board!

Read more ...

November 22, 2012

Dropcloth Ruffle Pillow

Using THIS as my inspiration, I used dropcloth to make more neutral {inexpensive!} pillows for my living room chairs.

Remember the before.....

Here's the after.....

Instead of buying new furniture, I spent about $35 on a 12 x 9 dropcloth
from Home Depot.  

It took 3 packages of drop cloth to recover 2 living room chairs and 6 dining room chairs.

The cute basket on the left was from Goodwill....$4!!!  Don't you just love a great deal!

HERE's the tutorial for the Faux Grain Sack pillows.

Now to tackle the couch......

Read more ...

November 21, 2012

Faux Grainsack Pillows

I love dropcloth! It is just so inexpensive to decorate with!

Recently, I have been continuing to work on my family room furniture.  It's about
10 years old and the fabric is falling apart!

Armed with drop cloth, heavy-duty needles and a tutorial from Miss Mustard Seed,
I began recovering my chairs.

Marian's tutorials are amazing and I successfully neutralized my room, but I was still left with the "coordinating" floral pillows.

So using the same technique that I used here with my dining room chairs....

......I made myself some pillows.

I'm thinking about making some red-striped pillows to get ready for Christmas!

Read more ...

October 23, 2012

Inexpensive Fall Wreath Idea

Have you decorated for fall?  

About 2 years ago, I made a wreath using materials from The Dollar Tree
and I am still using it on my front door!

The whole project cost about $3.00!

1 piece of foam board:  $1.00
2 packs of leaves:  2@$1.00

I love the look of a square's just unique!

What fall decorations did you recycle this year??

Read more ...

October 18, 2012

Fall Mantle Reveal

I'm staying out of any political discourse, but the reality is......with 
gas prices pushing $4.00 per gallon, life is expensive!

So when it comes to decorating, my options are to {mostly} use what I have.

One thing that I've had for maybe 2 years now is my corn husk wreath...

I used corn husks that I bought at a Mexican food store and cut them into triangular strips.
{ takes a lot of hot glue and many burned fingers to complete this!}

The next thing that I had was dropcloth, burlap, felt and sticks.

There are many tutorials on Pinterest that show how to make the stuffed pumpkins.
I resorted to my method of using old pillows to stuff, again!

My one splurge was the "wheat"...and it's not actually wheat.  
I used a foam form from The Dollar Tree and hot glued a wheat-like grass 
to the form.  

If I had been patient, I could have gotten it for free in my backyard.....I'm not patient!

{The printable was free from Dear Lillie.}

So for spending practically nothing.....I was able to create a simple fall mantle
out of what was lying around my home and yard!

Do you decorate for fall or Halloween?

Read more ...

October 17, 2012

Fall Mantle Peek

I know that I have been missing for has been a much
needed break from blogging.  I realized that I had some evaluating to do
about why I was actually blogging.

During this break, I've been doing minimal crafting and maximum homeschooling.
We hit Junior High this year and takes a whole lot more time and energy on my part!

So my posting here will not be regular....expect it to be sporadic, but
I will be visiting a little more often than every 3 months!

For's a sneak peek at my fall mantle...

Read more ...

July 31, 2012

On the Grill Potato Packs

I have been a little AWOL....but I have been loving my break from blogging!

As I have mentioned before, my boys have been swimming....and 
swimming...and swimming!

It has, by far, been the most exciting summer of swimming!
They each made it as far as they could in their individual events, placing 9th and 11th!

While I have not felt like blogging, I have been doing a lot of summer cooking
on the grill.  It has just been TOO hot to turn on the oven!

Here's a quick and easy side dish that you can make on the grill....

This is one of the easiest side dishes to throw together and can be
made a variety of ways!

The first thing that I do is slice the potatoes and cook them for about 5 minutes 
in the microwave.  This decreases the cooking time on the grill and insures
sure that the potatoes are cooked through.

Here is what I put in my first packet:

I've also been know to throw in some mushrooms!

After assembling the packet, you can add pats of butter of the top
or I drizzled some olive oil over this version.

My kids don't like all the veggies, so I made a simpler version for them, leaving
out the "extra" veggies!

After you add and season your ingredients, just seal your packet and put it on the grill.  Cook it for about 10 minutes until it's steaming and smelling delicious!

You could make these on the grill or over a camp's one of my favorite summer sides!

Read more ...

July 30, 2012

Contest Winners!

A BIG thank you to everyone who participated in "It Pays to be Cheap Contest"

We had SO many awesome entries, it was really hard to choose winners. Be sure to check out all of the amazing projects under $10... you will be inspired!


$20 Target Gift Card from Cheap Crafty Mama goes to:

125x125 sidebar ad for 30 days ($15 value) from Chic on a Shoestring Decorating goes to:

Craft stash goodie bag ($25 value) from How to Nest for Less goes to:

290x140 ad space for 1 month ($20 value) from Nifty Thrifty Things goes to:


Vinyl kitchen chalkboard labels and a Chalkboard menu board from Thrifty Decorating goes to:

Brought to you by some of your favorite "creative on a budget" blogs:

How to Nest for Less{nifty button}

Read more ...
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