Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas! May you make many wonderful memories with your friends and family this holiday season. 

   With much love and prayers for this next year,


Friday, December 21, 2012

Secret Santa

I know the real meaning of Christmas is not in the getting of presents, but it sure makes it more fun, doesn't it? This year I opted to join the Hometalk Blogger's Secret Santa gift exchange. If you aren't familiar with Hometalk, you are missing out.  It is an online sharing site where anyone (professionals, bloggers, or just regular homeowners and renters) can share home and garden ideas, crafts and DIY projects for the world to see. If you are a blogger, they have a Facebook group you can request to join that is a treasure trove of information, support, and encouragement. That is where this fun gift exchange began. One of the bloggers asked if anyone was interested in doing a Secret Santa gift exchange; 38 of us jumped right in.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

DIY Gift Ideas - Save Money By Making Your Own

DIY Gifts

In my last post, I shared some ideas for DIY Christmas decorations for your home.  Today I would like to share some fabulous ideas for do-it-yourself gifts, which are way more thoughtful and fun to give than bought gifts, not to mention easier on the wallet!

I have already posted about two items I made recently: the magnetic chalkboard from the $1 silver tray, and the no-sew burlap pillow made with the $1 felt ornament.  Here are some ideas that I have pinned to my "gifts to make" board on Pinterest:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

10 DIY Christmas Decor Ideas

DIY Decor

Everyone loves Christmas and I am certainly no exception. One aspect I love about it is the chance to make my own decorations and gifts.  It is easy to run out and buy them, but I think you miss out on the fun of creating something that shares a part of you with your family and friends, and also shows them you care enough to put thought and time into something special for them.

This year is especially fun because there are so many great ideas from which to "borrow" on the web. Pinterest can point you to an endless supply of ideas with which to begin.  Just to get you started, I am highlighting a few DIY Christmas decor items today that I have pinned on my holiday board.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

No-Sew Burlap Pillow

Holiday Burlap

Can't sew?  No worries if you have a glue gun!  This pillow is put together totally with glue.  All you need to make one like it is:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

DIY Chalkboard and Chalkboard Paint

Looking for "a little something" to give someone in your life (neighbor, teacher, friend) but don't have lots of money to spend?  Look no further - I have an easy and inexpensive gift idea that you can make yourself!

DIY chalkboard

This Christmas chalkboard is just the thing, and will only cost you a few dollars and a short amount of your time. It all begins with a beautiful silver tray from ... Dollar Tree!

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Little Extras on the Window

use for old windows

In my last post I shared with you the old window  that I rehabbed and repurposed into a beautiful message board. Now I would like to show you the "little extras" that I made at the last minute that added so much to the final look and function.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Making an Old Window Useful and Beautiful

Window rehab

Many of my friends know I have a love for trash picking.  They may laugh about it most of the time, but when needing a special gift for someone, guess who they call?

Our sweet friends, Laura and Ken, are leaving us in a few weeks to begin a new life in ministry.  Our mutual friend, Stacey, called and asked if I would turn one of my "dumpster dive" windows into something special for them to remember us all by.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Novice Makes a Slipcover Part II

Yesterday I told you the sad tale of my worn-out sofa. Today I will begin to explain how I went about making a slipcover for it - my first ever!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Novice Makes a Slipcover

How many times did my mother try to warn me that "you get what you pay for"? I am very hardheaded;  I have to learn things on my own.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hide that Ugly Thermostat!

Go ahead and guess.  Give up?  Scroll down for the answer.


This unattractive (but necessary) object:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

No More Expensive Dryer Sheets! Make Your Own Dryer Balls

I couldn't finish this series on saving money in the laundry room without moving from the washer to the dryer. That's what you do with the clothes you're cleaning, right?

In the last 6 months I have not bought a single box of dryer sheets; that was an expense that did not excite me. I found something better and cheaper!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Make Your Own Laundry Spot Treatment for Less AND the Wonders of Hydrogen Peroxide

In the last few posts I have written about saving money by making your own laundry detergent - both powdered and liquid. Today I am sharing with you a stain remover that could help keep a few more dollars in your wallet while getting those nasties out of your clothes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Make Your Own Liquid Laundry Detergent

Don't they just crack you up? Maybe laundry would be more fun if I invited 5 friends over to help me. Any volunteers?

Yesterday I shared a recipe for homemade powdered laundry detergent and promised you a recipe for a liquid detergent.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Save Money By Making Your Own Laundry Detergent

Yeah, me neither. It is one of those things that is never finished at my house. There is always a load in my washer, another in the dryer, and more in the hamper (or on the floor in my kids' rooms) waiting to be dealt with. I especially hate spending money on laundry.  Detergents and spot treatments must somehow have gold in them; why else would they be so dog-gone expensive?

That is why I was willing to try making my own. When I first heard of making your own detergent, I pictured being outside with a big iron pot over an open fire. Isn't that how they used to make soap? Any-who, I discovered it wasn't nearly that much trouble, nor did it involved fire (much to my sons' disappointment).

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Free Food and Fun Memories

If you love Chick-Fil-A and (especially) love eating free, then this Friday is your day! July 13 is Cow Appreciation Day at all Chick-Fil-A restaurants.  Anyone, of any age, who shows up looking like a cow gets a free meal.  In the past, my kids and I have simply worn white pants and t-shirts with cut-out black construction paper spots taped to us, with construction paper "cow ears" taped to our ears and black painted noses.  That is about as simple as it gets.  This year, CFA makes it even easier with these printouts.

Although you think you may feel silly (and you will), there will be so many others at CFA that day that look even sillier than you do; trust me.  And you make really fun memories with your kids in the meantime.  What if you don't have kids to take with you?  Go anyway.  Grab some friends and eat lunch together.  Just make sure to take pictures and feel free to send them to me.  I'd love to feature them on this blog!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

How To: No-Sew Burlap Window Treatment

For 3 years, this poor window was treatment-less except for the sterile wooden blinds.  I don't know why it took me so long to figure out what it needed except for the fact the room has been in constant flux the whole time.  First, it was my oldest son's room.  Then, he moved out and it became the catch-all room. I needed an office/craft/work room, so I began to clean it up and move all of my necessities into it.  Not long after, however, we had company coming and realized that it needed to be a guest room, as well. (This unfortunate room doesn't know what it wants to be when it grows up!)

Friday, July 6, 2012

No-Sew Curtains - Easier Than You Think!

The beloved glue gun

I have a confession to make.  Many of the window treatments in my home are held together with glue from a hot glue gun.  Yes, I know the basics of sewing, so don't feel sorry for me and offer to teach me.  I even own a sewing machine, but I hardly ever pull it out of the closet. I have found it much easier and faster to pull out the handy-dandy hot glue gun instead.  

For example, here are my kitchen curtains:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Stars and Stripes: Old Barn Style from a Pallet

This morning I was looking at this pile of wood:

 And by this evening, I was admiring this (in honor of July 4th):

Last week I wandered back to the trash pile at church again, eyeing the remaining pile of pallets left from our recent construction project.  I knew that I could do something with that wood, rather than let it rot and wait for the fall bonfire. I hauled one of them home, not really sure what I was going to do with it.  After browsing around the web and eyeing numerous wood flags, I knew I had to try one, in my own fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants style.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Make Your Own Chalk Finish Paint

A few days ago I shared with you the beautiful dresser that was painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, and I gushed over how wonderful this stuff was. No sanding or priming needed beforehand, no matter the finish on the piece you are starting with. That is huge for me, as I am naturally very lazy and impatient, which means I hate to go through all of that rigamarole before I get any peek of what my finished piece is going to look like.  I am all about the instant gratification. 

The one downside to the ASCP is its price - about $40 for a quart.  Yep, that was quart, not gallon (I know - eek).  In its defense, it does save you money since you don't have to buy primer and it goes a long way.  A penny pincher like me, however, gets the shakes when forking over that kind of cash for paint.

I was excited when I came across several online sites that said one could make their own concoction for much less $$$, so I had to try it.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Isn't She Lovely? Furniture Makeover Using Chalk Paint Part II

Remember this from yesterday? My $25  Goodwill find.

Here she is today:
Now isn't she lovely?

Paint, on furniture, is kind of like make-up on me - causes a miraculous transformation. In this case, it was two cans and one small bottle of paint, along with clear wax.  

Friday, June 29, 2012

Isn't She Lovely? Furniture Makeover Using Chalk Paint

Well, maybe she isn't yet - but she's gonna be. I picked this dresser up at Goodwill about a year ago for $25 and thought it had much promise.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It Doesn't Get Any Better Than Free

When watching a movie, somehow the show is always better when I have popcorn and Junior Mints - preferably together. Regal Cinemas is making the popcorn part free for the next few days! Click here to download a coupon for a free small popcorn, good until July 1.  

I love free.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Where Does Your Garden Grow? Make a Raised Bed Garden in a Pallet Crate

pallet crate garden
We have an evidently-fertile group (flock? pod? swarm?) of chipmunks, rabbits,  and squirrels in our yard, which has made it quite difficult for us to have a garden.  I have known that I needed to do a raised-bed garden, even though I know some of those suckers can climb, but I at least wanted to make it a bit more difficult for them to feast. I did not, however, want to spend money on wood. When our church did some renovations this spring, I saw my chance for a nearly-free raised garden when new tiles were delivered and came in the most sturdy-looking crates.

I asked my husband to bring a few of these home as they were emptied.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Something Old into Something New: Make a Drying Rack from an Old Crib

Ballard Designs has a fabulous drying rack that I longed for.  I saw it in the catalog every few months and would long anew each time I perused.  Just take a gander:

Unfortunately, I could not swing the $200 price tag. 

Then, while checking out blogs one day, I came across an even more fabulous drying rack.  It was more fabulous because...IT WAS FREE!

Friday, June 1, 2012

More Trash Pile Treasures

Although I am a great fan of thrift stores, does anything beat free? In that light, here are a few of my trashy-treasured discoveries over the last year:

My Front Porch Chair

This beauty was on the trash pile a few blocks away from my house.  I spotted it while walking in my neighborhood the night before garbage pick-up and RAN (really I did) home to get my car before someone else snatched it up.  I didn't even have to paint it - it was already this fabulous grey-blue color.  Can you believe it?  The only thing wrong was the lower right front leg had a bit of loose wicker, that I easily tucked and hot glued.  Yea for me!!! Free chair!!!

Here is the leg that was ever-so-slightly unraveling.    I  tacked it with the glue gun and stuck a plant in front of it (cause I'm sneaky like that).

  I don't know what to call this next item, but I liked it when I saw it on another neighbor's trash (my poor neighbors; I hope they never put anything personal and embarrassing out there):

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Trash Pile Treasures

My life has been on hold the last three years as I returned to teaching high school.  Whew.  After having no life outside of teaching, planning, meeting, and grading, and even though I greatly enjoy the teaching-and-being-with-the-students part, I have decided to retire from teaching for now to do what I love...spending more time with my family, serving my church, and finding trashy treasures to repurpose or rehab. I hope this blog will be a diary of that last part.  

I made a great restart today (the day before trash pick-up), as I made great finds on the curbs around my home.  Wanna see?

 I sure hope my neighbors don't read my blog.  

 This chair is in perfect shape - just some cobwebs.  Been in their garage, perhaps?

 A sofa!  It does have some outward issues (see below for an example) and is a bit dirty, but I am willing to attempt cleaning it and making a slipcover for it.

I think this is for holding plants, maybe??

I hope my husband is still speaking to me after he gets home and discovers my most recent acquisitions. I promise I am going to get down to the basement to clean up, honey. Soon!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My First Post: About Me

The basement - where the magic happens!
Hello, my name is Patty, and I am a trashoholic (if that's a word).  I love other people's castoffs.  You know - those things that other humans have deemed used-up, no-good, ugly, broken, "past their peak", or, more simply, trash.  Goodwill, Salvation Army Store, Habitat for Humanity Restore, my neighbors' trash piles, Craigslist, etc..., these places are where I find my treasures.  I know that it is a sickness, or at least my poor family believes it is. They cringe when we go driving through the neighborhood on the night before garbage pick-up in my trusty 8 year-old Suburban and we cannot pass a promising-looking pile without stopping for mom to take a peak.  I like to think of it as "keeping the landfill emptier by filling up my basement." One of these days I am going to actually finish refurbishing, repairing, and repainting all of those cast-offs, and my husband is going to beam, look at me lovingly, and say (in an amazed and adoring voice) "Let's go look on the curb for more treasure!"  Yeah, I know I am dreaming: about actually finishing everything in my basement, as well as my husband being willing to go trash-picking with me.  Because, as long as I breathe, I am never caught-up.  It's always something.