September 29, 2011

My 3.00 fall wreath. . .

Confession.....I have yet to make a single fall decoration...yet!  When I get the inspiration, I am sure I'll be crafting like a lunatic, but I'm just a tad bit overwhelmed with putting my basement back together. Do you ever notice how if one area of your house is out-of-order, it just spills into all the other areas?? ( can make one a little grumpy??)

So I didn't actually make this wreath this fall....I made it last year and just today hung it on my door....but, it really did cost only $3.00!

I love all of the round wreaths, but I wanted my door to look unique, so I opted for square.  My inspiration came from Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick.

(I apologize in advance for some of these was before I learned how to use the manual settings on my camera and how to edit with Picassa and Picnik.)

I started with a $1.00 piece of foamboard from The Dollar Tree, a utility knife, a large measuring squarish device and my hubby!

I decided how large I wanted the opening and then drew a perfect square in the center to cut out with a utility knife.

After I had my square, I took some $1.00 packs of leaves from The Dollar Tree and started randomly gluing them on with hot glue.

My compulsive personality made me do a pattern so that no two identical leaves were next to each other.... was an inexpensive solution to a rather boring fall door and I love the unique square look to it!

What does your door look like?

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September 28, 2011

Thrifty Thursday #28

How do you like the new look?  It's the first Thrifty Thursday with my new design and blog buttons! Krystal from Sassy Sanctuary designed it all for me!

Sassy Sanctuary

Krystal is a-mazing to work with and her prices are SO reasonable!

So let's get this week's Thrifty Thursday party started...

One of my favorite ideas was linked up by Everything under the Moon....

These have got to be the cutest pumpkins that I've seen yet!!

The Shady Porch linked up this gorgeous rustic fall centerpiece....

....such a simple but beautiful idea!

There were some a-mazing furniture before and after's this week! 

A Step in the Journey transformed this ugly chair into something worth bragging about!

Sister of the Wild West gave this table a beautiful new life....

Art is Beauty created this champagne crate-inspired table.....

And You're talking too much (whom I dub Queen of the Chalkpaint!) painted and distressed this beauty!

Finally, Fancy Frugal Life created this sweet Halloween Pillowcase Dress that looks amazingly simply to sew!

If you were featured this week, feel free to grab one of the new buttons!

Here are some very simple suggestions for the party:

1. Please become a follower of Thrifty Decorating.
2. Be sure to link to your POST and not your blog.
3. Please copy and paste my link button somewhere in 
your post or blog so that others can link back.

After you've linked here, hop over and say "hi" 
to Johnnie at her Thrifty Thursday link party
at Saved by Love Creations!

ThriftyThurs SBLC Buttons

You can also head over to visit Erika 
at Thrifty and Fabulous and join 
her Thrifty Thursday!

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Sneak peek of the basement progress. . .

I am so excited about our basement progress.  When a complete overhaul got dropped into our laps a couple of weeks ago, I was majorly depressed....I was overwhelmed by the task in front of us!  

But as my husband and I talked about it, I had to confess that I never really liked the color that I had painted the basement 3 years ago. But, because the room was so large, I would have never voluntarily committed the time or expense to redoing it.

I realized this time that if I was going to repaint such a vast section of room, then I really need to L-O-V-E the color!  I have never bought paint samples before, but this time I decided to "splurge" and spent the extra $12 on 3 sample cans.....

I am SO glad that I did that because when I put the samples up....they looked nothing like the paint chips and I would have picked the wrong color!  (The "messy" looking swatch was my daughter helping....I so should have taken a picture of her in her Crayola smock!)

The other decision that we made was to go with real beadboard.  We would have had to pay someone to professionally finish our drywall seams.  As much as we are DIY'ers at heart, we knew that having a seam that was 12 inches up and ran around the perimeter of the room would be impossible to disguise ourselves.

We figure that the cost to buy the beadboard offsets the cost of the professional drywallers.

Here's a little side-by-side comparison of the red and the gray...

*Do you see that circle on the screen?  That's dust, people.....we were running a fan to try and remove the dust and that's how much is still stuck on the screen...UGH!

The change in color has made a HUGE difference in the feel of the feels larger and more "airy!"  It also is making the room feel a whole lot "classier!"

We still have a long way to go...but I am SO excited at our progress so far!

Now...I'm calling in the "big guns" friend, Cheryl.  At some point, I will show you her kitchen makeover.  She has an incredible gift of decorating walls...and she uses inexpensive items!  

I can't wait to see what she suggests!

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September 27, 2011

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce. . . . super easy!

I wanted to have this recipe posted ages ago....but then life happened!  While you may not have an abundance of fresh tomatoes right now, you are still able to get fresh ingredients at a supermarket or farmer's market and make you own sauce....

This recipe is very easy!!  I use whatever fresh vegetables that I can get my hands on....

For this batch, I used red peppers, green papers, garlic, onions, zucchini, carrots, and tomatoes...

Not all my veggies were completely fresh either....our country store often has a table of not-so-fresh food for pennies and I usually grab those to cook with!

My recipe is from a friend in Germany and I've had it for about 7 years!

My husband took me to Germany for my birthday one year....yes! He's awesome!  I'll have to write a post sometime about that trip and how we travel so inexpensively!

We stayed with friends and Sabine was making this amazing spaghetti sauce.  Everything she made was homemade!  She had also worked a deal with a friend and they would get the leftover produce from the local supermarket.  Instead of the store throwing away the fruits and veggies, Sabine and her friend would get to use them....for FREE! about a deal!

First you want to chop your veggies.....notice.....I didn't even chop them up into small pieces!

Throw them into a large pot....I have a huge pot.  I think that it's called a stock pot and it holds cups of soup, stew, sauce....

Add about 6 cubes of chicken bouillon.  You can also add vegetable bouillon, just add something that will add some flavor...

Next, just start shaking on the spices.  I'm a little curious as to why I have dill weed in the pile??  I think that I meant to grab basil for the photo....oops!

You can see from my photo that I didn't measure anything....I just shook various spices on.  You can always add more later depending on how it tastes. Also, you will want to add salt and pepper to your liking.

Next, you just put it on medium-low heat and walk away!  Truly....go make a craft while the wonderful smell of simmering vegetables fills your house!

It will start to look like this.....and I did not add any water to the veggies!

After it has cooked for a couple of hours and your veggies are very tender, you want to either run it through your blender or food processor.  I have a hand blender that enables me to just blend it in the's SO easy to use!

After blending the veggies, mine was still too watery so I just keep cooking it until enough water evaporated....

I also discovered that sometimes your sauce can taste a bit acidic.  If it has that sharp taste to it, just add some sugar.  Add by the teaspoonful until you get the taste that you like.

I froze most of my sauce in freezer bags so that I can use it this winter.
*Did you know that if you fill your freezer bags and then stack them flat on a cookie tray to freeze that they will then store very nicely in your freezer?

I did use some of the sauce to make some homemade pizza....

We use frozen bread dough, homemade sauce, and the toppings of our choice!


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September 26, 2011

Homemade laundry detergent. . . .

I just love this money saving idea from Heather over at the blog Banana Pudding!

Well hello, I'm Heather from the blog Banana Pudding and I finally whipped up some of my very own laundry and dishwasher detergent! So I just had to share!

This little DIY project will save you a lot of money and takes no time to go buy the ingredients and mix it up. 

Ingredients needed:

Borax 4lb 12oz for $4.09 
Washing Soda 3lb 7oz for $3.00 
LemiShine 12oz for $2.59 
Vinegar 32 floz $.73 
2 bars of soap for $.88 
coarse kosher salt 48oz for $1.75.

**1 batch= 50 loads for both laundry and dishes

**With supplies above I have enough to make at least 6-7 batches, which is 300-350 loads, which is 150ish loads of dishes and laundry each, at a grand total of about $13.00!!!

Dishwashing Detergent: 1 Batch

1 cup of borax
1 cup of washing soda
1/2 cup of salt
1/2 cup of lemishine, some people use citric acid but I didn't

Mixed in a 32oz plastic container with lid and shook until thoroughly mixed. Use a tablespoon per load. Added up to about $1.89/batch.

Laundry Detergent: 1 Batch

1 cup of borax
1 cup of washing soda
1 bar of soap, grated, I used dial because it was the cheapest

Mixed in a 32oz plastic container with lid and shook until thoroughly mixed. Use a tablespoon per load. Added up to about $1.32/batch

It is that simple to have clean laundry, for cheap! The laundry sadly doesn't have a scent, maybe I will try a more scented bar soap next time. Until then I can afford my favorite fabric softner! :)

I also finally cleaned up my closet and used some cheap little shower rings I had lying around to keep my purses organized! 

So happy to have a clean apartment! I hope you'll use these DIY tips to help make your house a little cleaner, too! With it being this easy and cheap, anyone can do it! 


Heather...thanks so much for sharing those terrific money-saving ideas!

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DIY Viking Ship. . . .

Recently, I haven't posted much about homeschooling....mainly because I am smack in the middle of doing it! But, when I saw this idea....I just had to share!

For history we use Story of the World....

I absolutely adore this curriculum!  In a span of 4 years, your elementary student will study ALL of world history! And the best part.....the texts are written as stories!  My son actually asks to take his text and just read it....for fun!

In SOTW part 2, Vikings are covered and I stumbled across this cute idea to make your own Viking ship!

You can head over to quirky mama to get the full tutorial for how to convert an average cardboard box into this viking longship.

Oh...and while you are there, you need to check out her other amazing ideas!!  Like this sight word ball!

Your kids will love you for making learning fun!

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September 25, 2011

Pretty chalk paint pumpkins. . . .

I have been working hard in my basement and I can't wait to show you what we are doing!!  It's a completely different look and I am lovin' it!  

My husband keeps telling me that I got an extra special gift for my 40th birthday.....a new basement!  (I punched him in the arm!)  Actually....I am grateful for ALL that he is doing and has done....he is working like crazy down there and he trusted my vision and is loving the result.

I hope to have a sneak peek later this week.....

But today....welcome to Bonnie, from a wee Meenit....


The fall is my favorite time of the year!
Nothing beats the changing color of the leaves, cooler temps, the need for a jacket in the evening. I would live in a climate like this all year round!
I also love to decorate for fall. I figured I better get started before I had to add the Halloween decorations that I love too, but that is just not as pretty as just fall!

So here are a few things I did (with my super awesome, 6 year old helper girl!) ;0P

I just got back from an Annie Sloan Chalk paint workshop & was excited to see what I could do to the finish on faux pumpkins. I did a few in Greek Blue (LOVE that color, I see a table in my future in GB). I started with an assortment of faux pumpkins, mostly orange. I love the shape of these two, got them from local craft store (they are all running together so I don't know which store), they are not your standard 'round' faux pumpkin.

I only did one coat as I knew I would be doing a wash on it with Old White: after completely dry I added a bit of water to Old White & brushed it on over my kitchen sink, while wiping away what I wanted to with a damp paper towel. When it gets too full of paint to wipe away, just rinse it out & use it some more. I found it easier to break it up into a few sections and that way I didn't have to work so fast.

The picture frame in the photo above I finished in the workshop
& as soon as I get a new hard drive for my laptop ( back it up people!!!) I will do a post about that.

I also did a taupe pumpkin using an oops paint tester from Home Depot, it was only $.50! I did the same Old White wash over it & I love this one too!
I painted another small one Paris Gray but no wash on it but did use some of the high gloss spray paint from Deco. It is in a photo below with all the other pumpkins.

Lastly I did a cute little pumpkin that started out white & covered it with Provence. After it dried completely I painted thick & thin spots on top with Old White.

I hit it with a hair dryer so the thinner spots would be dry but the thicker spots not.
I then took a damp paper towel & started to rub off the thick areas.

I then took a sanding block & distressed the pumpkin!! The last step I glazed it with a wash of Old Ochre but no high gloss spray as I liked the matte finish on the ASCP pumpkins!

The Metallic pumpkins on the bottom shelf are a knock off of pumpkins I saw & loved @ Hobby Lobby and can be seen here&l t;/a>.

what do you think, did I make them look better than the craft store orange faux??


Thanks, Bonnie!  And remember.....if you want to try making your own chalk paint, you can go to HERE to get a link to a tutorial!

As part of our basement redesign, I am going to be painting the furniture downstairs......I am going to try the make-your-own-chalk-paint tutorial and I bought some paste wax recommended at my local True Value Hardware store....

I'll keep you posted!

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