Friday, December 6, 2013

Buy Ritz Crackers, Get $10 Walmart Photo Gift Card

I just saw this and wanted to share.  If you buy one of any size of Ritz Crackers (10 oz. or larger) between Dec. 5 and Dec. 12 at Walmart, then text or email a picture of your receipt by December 17th, you will receive a $10 Walmart Photo Center eGift Card!  Go to this link to see more details.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Using Chalk Finish Paint on Wallpaper - Yes You Can!

My 19-year-old son, Ben, lives and works away from home during the week, but comes home on the weekends.  I wish I could say it was because he misses his momma, but I think it is a different, much younger, blond female he comes to see. Sigh.

Anyway, I wanted to redo his bedroom last week as a surprise.  It was looking like a tired version of a 14-year-old boy's room, and I thought it was time for it to grow up.

I started with a trip to Ikea (my favorite go-to store) where I bought bedding: a twin-sized duvet for $24.99 and a pretty, but still masculine, brown and white checked duvet cover and matching sham for $9.99 (yes, $9.99!). Unfortunately there wasn't a dust ruffle there, but a quick trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond (with a 20% off coupon) took care of that for around $15.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall Decorating Doesn't Have to Be Scary

Do not hate me, but I don't love Halloween.  It is not that I am against dressing up, having parties, or giving out (and eating!) candy; I don't like all the goriness or scariness that many others love.  To me, it feels as if we are glorifying death and I would rather celebrate life.  Don't get me wrong:  I don't judge those who like skeletons and ghosts, it is just my preference to go in a different direction.
From Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss
Because of this, I like to concentrate instead on fall colors, fall produce, and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday season when it comes to fall decorating. Much of that can work for Halloween decorating also, without the blood or bones.
From Jane at Cottage at the Crossroads

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bed, Bath & Beyond Beats Amazon. Who Knew?!

Have you seen this report? It has really taken me by surprise today. I have always thought of Amazon as a "low-price leader" and it has been my go-to, more often than not, when buying anything costing over a certain amount (usually $20). My perception was it was the best place for low prices and, because we were Amazon Prime members, there was typically no shipping cost. The one drawback was waiting for my purchases to arrive. If I needed a product immediately, I headed to Walmart.

According to the report, Bed, Bath & Beyond's prices average 6.5% lower than Amazon's, and that is without the 20% off coupon that comes in the mail pretty regularly.  Throw in the coupon and the savings is that much greater!

Bed, Bath & Beyond does not carry everything we need, but when it comes to wedding gifts, appliances, kitchen tools, gadgets, linens, etc..., I will be going online, checking Amazon's prices, as well as Walmarts, then comparing them to B, B & B's prices. Hopefully, I will be heading to the B, B & B store 5 minutes from my home to then make my purchase!  I love saving money, don't you?

**Bed, Bath & Beyond in no way sponsored this post, but if they'd like to send me a gift card, I'd be glad to spend it:)   

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Peach Pie or Cobbler in a Jar

Cobbler is one of those desserts that is tasty in the summer and (to me, at least) even better in the winter. Put some ice cream on it, and it is warm and cool all at the same time. Who doesn't like that warm, sweet, gooey deliciousness? Well, my friend Karra, for one. She makes it because her husband loves it and she loves him. Isn't that sweet, too?

When Karra and I finished canning the peach jam last week and still had plenty of peaches left from our 50 lb. load, we decided to make something else rather than more jam. Karra had made "Apple Pie in a Jar" last fall, so why not make peach pie or cobbler in a jar?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

An Easy Way to Can

I did it.  I really did it:  I actually canned something.

To be honest, my friend Karra helped me can something - peach jam and peach cobbler. My head didn't explode; the house did not burn down. It was really very painless and quite rewarding.

Karra called me last week and said that "local" peaches (really from Georgia, not North Carolina where we live, as we were amused to discover) were on sale for $0.79 that day and asked if I would like to make peach jam with her. What I didn't know was that she was planning on buying 50 (that is five-oh) pounds of peaches.  Yikes! Did she know they have to be peeled??

I jumped right in, though, so I could learn the mystical art of canning.  Best thing I learned, however, is that it is not so mystical after all.  It was really pretty easy and Karra has a great way of doing it with no canner needed. Would you believe it involves the dishwasher and beach towels??

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Good Sites for Learning How to Can

  1943 Poster. Artist: Parker, Alfred, 1906-1985.
 United States. Office of War Information.

It used to be that when I needed to know something, I looked it up in The World Book Encyclopedia, went to the library to find a book on the subject, or called someone I knew who was an expert.  Yeah, I am that old. Now, it is right at my fingertips online.  Convenient and faster, for sure, but for some reason I felt smarter in the end when I did it the old fashioned way.

Even though I didn't go to the library this week, I have been learning much on the web about canning.  As I shared with you in my last post, the thought of canning has always intimidated me a bit, but I am determined to tackle it this summer.  It is amazing how much is written on the subject, and how many people are doing it.  Where have I been??  The grocery store, I guess.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Learning to Can

I am going to do it.  I have toyed with the idea for quite sometime, but something about it scares me.  I can't explain why.  In the past I have said I was going to do it, but chickened out and used my freezer instead.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bye, Bye Google Reader! What To Do Now That Google Reader is Gone

If you have been relying on Google Reader to keep up with your favorite blogs, you probably received notice by email quite a while back that Google was doing away with it.  Well, brace yourself - that time is here.  As of today, July 1, it is no more.  So, what to do?

If you have been using it to follow my blog, or if you would like to start following my blog (major hint, hint!), you can sign-up on the sidebar to to the right to receive it directly by email, through another reader like Feedly or Digg, or through the service I have chosen called Bloglovin'.  If you are unfamiliar with Bloglovin', it is a great way to keep up with any and all blogs you adore.  You can even easily import your current list of Google Reader blogs into their service with just the click of a button (better do it today), and it is not scary or hard to sign-up with them...I promise! 

Would you like a little tutorial in the process?  No problem!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Pallet Flag Tutorial in Honor of July 4th

I love July 4th, don't you? It is a great time to stop and reflect just how blessed we are to live in the United States, a land of democracy and much opportunity. Both of our sons are in the Army National Guard, and our oldest is serving over in the Middle East right now; I have been following the events in that part of the world with renewed interest these last 7 months since he has been gone.  It has made me all-the-more aware of just how fortunate we are!

Last year I showed you how I made this pallet flag in honor of July 4th.  In case you missed it or forgot, I am going to show it to you again. It really is fitting for the July 4th theme, since it is a 13-star flag. If you happen to be a bit fuzzy on your history facts, let me remind you that when the American Continental Congress declared independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776, we were a country of only 13 colonies (which were then declared states).  Hence, the original flag of 1777 only had 13 stars.

If you would like to see the tutorial and make your own, click here.  And whether or not you choose to make a colonial flag, celebrate well on July 4th, giving thanks and appreciation for all our forefathers fought so bravely long ago to have, for that which our soldiers fight so bravely today for us to keep, and for the liberties we enjoy here everyday!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Easy DIY Home Repairs


I categorize my spending into two groups: fun money and un-fun money (and yes, I know - Dave Ramsey would not approve). It is probably a good thing my husband manages our finances.

Any-who, as you could probably guess, fun money is way more rewarding to spend than is un-fun money. I consider fun money to be money used towards new clothes, new jewelry, a new couch, a vacation, a pedicure, etc....  Un-fun money, on the other hand, is spent on items like: a new dishwasher because ours broke (last week); a new toilet because ours wouldn't stop leaking on the floor (us last week also); having a tire replaced because I was going too fast and hit the one spot in the curb that had a sharp point (you guessed last week).  Needless to say, last week was not a "fun" week. Sigh.

Whenever I can, I like to save that un-fun money for something fun later on.  This is why I love good tutorials on do-it-yourself home repairs and have created a "clipboard" on the Hometalk website with 20 great home-type repairs I can easily do myself. Now I can put that money that I would have used on repairs toward that hot stone massage I want!

If you are not familiar with Hometalk, you are missing out. In their own words, "Hometalk is the largest home & garden knowledge hub on the web. It's fueled by the firsthand experience & advice of hundreds of thousands of home enthusiasts and professionals." 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

All-Natural, Better-than-bought, Homemade Ketchup Recipe

Ketchup, for me, is a guilty pleasure. I am addicted, but hate that I am for several reasons. One - it is embarrassing, as I am the butt of jokes in my husband's family:  "We're having steak? Better get out the ketchup for Patty. We're having eggs? Better get out the ketchup for Patty. We're having ice cream?  Better get out the ketchup for Patty."

I do not eat it on ice cream, I promise. Not yet, anyway.

I am trying to eat healthier these days, which brings me to the second reason I hate that I am addicted: it is not healthy. It is full of sugar - usually in the form of corn syrup (which is one of the worst things to put in your body, according to all of the health experts out there).

I am not willing to change my diet, however, to become ketchup-free. Instead I  begin looking for homemade recipes and adapting them until I hit upon a recipe I liked. All the recipes I found called for either white cane sugar, brown sugar, or Splenda. I was trying to eat more "naturally" along with healthfully, so those were not options. Stevia is a sweetener that is calorie free and natural, so that is what I put in my recipe. I have to say that it is delicious and way better
than store-bought! Plus now I think I can count it as a vegetable serving:)

My friend, Jen, is featuring it today on her blog Balancing Beauty & Bedlam. Go check it out!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Deal Alert #2: Free Paint!

Ace Hardware is giving away free paint today!  Go here to get your coupon, then head on over to your local Ace Hardware store and pick out your free quart of Clark + Kensington paint.  It doesn't get any better than free! 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Deal Alert: Yarn 40% Off Today at Jo-Ann's

If you have been wanting to make those fabulous wool dryer balls, today is the day to go buy yarn at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts.  They are having a one-day sale with all yarn 40% off.  Go get 'um!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bon Voyage!

For the next week, I will be on vacation, so I will not be posting until after March 6th. See you then!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

DIY Toilet Repairs know...does it.  We all use the toilet.  It is not one of those pleasant facts, but it is real life.  That also means, however, when our toilet is not working properly, it is something we have to have fixed - and fast.  I hate spending money on a toilet, though; it is not fun or exciting, nor does it make a big difference in the way we feel about ourselves.  It is just necessary.

Not all toilet repairs are DIY-able.  There are some things you probably should turn over to the professionals (if you aren't one of them).  For example, when my then-toddler-who-shall-go-unnamed flushed a Jello pudding cup down the potty, I called the plumber.  Not a good day, trust me. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bargain Shopping: How to Find the Real Deals

When I was young, I can remember a shop in my town called The Bargain Basement.  It was downtown, dark, dusty, musty, and full of junk (and not the good kind). It was not a friendly place and I was glad my mom rarely shopped there.

Thank goodness we don't have to go there today if we want a good bargain.  Deals and (almost) steals are in your normal, everyday stores - if you know where to look.  Great bargains are usually found in the clearance sections of stores, which are never in the front of the store or on the main aisles of your stores. Typically, they are in the very back of the store, sometimes near the bathrooms, or sometimes on the endcaps closest to the walls.

I have found some of my most-treasured or most useful items on clearance at Target, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Kohls, Ross, and HomeGoods. For instance, I discovered this clock at Hobby Lobby for $10, reduced from $60 because it is a two-sided clock and one side no longer worked.  No problem - I just put that side toward the wall in one corner of our family room and no one was the wiser.

Last week I was lucky enough to come across a great deal at Michael's: a ribbon carousel for only $4.99, marked down from $11.99.  It was in the very back of the store in the clearance section because the box had been a bit smashed and it was now missing two of the small knobs that screw onto the tops of the spindles.

I quickly snapped this up, brought it home, and dug into my stash of leftover knobs from other projects. Now I have a great ribbon carousel!

On my (seems-like-daily) trips to Target, I usually start my shopping by heading to the endcaps nearest the back walls of the store to see what is available on clearance.  I saw some great items while there today in the home decor section... the cleaning section...

...and in the very back left-most corner of the store (farthest spot from the entrance and, strangely, with the outdoor supplies), some great deals on toothpaste, deodorant, and hand soap.

Of these clearance items I spotted today, I bought :

Oxiclean       $5.99 (was $7.54)
42-pack Finish Powerball dishwasher detergent with free bottle of Power Booster included    $7.68 (was $10.99)
2-pack of  Colgate whitening toothpaste   $2.98 (was $5.99)
3-pack of Crest Complete   $2.99 (was $5.99)
3-pack of Old Spice deodorant   $3.50 (was $5.00)
56 oz. refill bottle of Softsoap with free bonus small bottle $3.85 (was $5.50)

The total for all of these items would have normally been $39.36, but I got all of this for $26.99. In addition, Target currently has a promotion in which you receive a $5 Target gift card for buying certain personal products together.  I received a $5 gift card for having bought the two toothpaste packs and the Softsoap together.  To save even more, I have a Target Red Card, which is totally free and is not a credit card, but works like a debit card. When it is used to pay for your purchases at Target, you immediately receive 5% off the total. Because I used it, my clearance purchases today cost me about $20.64. If I had been a good couponer, the savings could have been even greater.

Do you have ways you find great bargains?  If so, please feel free to share as a comment below!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How to Get Rid of Static in the Dryer

It is never the one I would have guessed, but the most-visited post on my blog (by far) is on how make your own dryer balls.

They are great, I admit, but not very exciting until you realize how much money you save by using them: no continual cost (like with laundry softener or dryer sheets), and your laundry dries much faster, saving on your power bill, as well as wear and tear on your dryer. As a bonus, you also get fluffier laundry and more absorbant towels! Fabulous, right? Mostly.

The one down side to using these instead of dryer sheets (or laundry softener) is that the wool balls don't do a bang-up job of eliminating static.  Nothing like looking for that lost sock, only to have someone at work peel it off the backside of your pants.

I began searching for a solution when winter came this year and we seemed to have static coming out the wazoo.  This is my first winter of overcoming the dryer sheet habit and I had no idea of the amount of electricity that evidently is generated in that contraption and transferred to our pants, shirts, socks, towels, and unmentionables.

Monday, February 18, 2013

No-Sew Ottoman Recover: Faux French Grain Sack Style

It is hard to believe the ugly castoff ottoman at the top of the picture is the very same pretty ottoman at the bottom. I pinky-swear it is. That pitiful creature at the top wasn't naked like that when I found it, but once I rescued it from the curb of a close-by street, the ugly fabric that was covering it had to go...right then. And then it sat in my basement for 1 1/2 years.

I don't know why I neglected it for so long, but one day I finally had a vision: drop cloth cover, French graphic transfer, black trim, and pretty legs. It must have pretty legs.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Bargain Shopping: Ikea! Do You?

*Note: Ikea in no way sponsors me, gives me any free merchandise, or even knows I exist.  But how I wish they did....

I always love a good bargain and Ikea usually can make me happy. Yesterday was no exception.

The store nearest to where I live is in Charlotte. I was coming through there yesterday afternoon on my way back to Greensboro, and I thought, "why not run in real quick? They might have something new."  It was such a joke to think I would run in quickly to see what new things they might have; I stayed for 3 hours!


I came home with some wonderful buys, however, that have made me downright giddy. So giddy, in fact, that I had to share them with you.

If you have never been to Ikea, you really can't comprehend what an experience it is. They very cleverly start you out winding through their showroom, where you see display-after-glorious-display of their goods in staged "rooms." Bedrooms, kitchens, dining rooms, laundry rooms, living rooms, family rooms, offices, etc....

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Make a French Poetry Valentine's Pillow

When I saw Days of Chalk and Chocolate's gorgeous Valentine's pillow, I had to have one.

I really liked the "love note" pillow on the right, but I loved the "oops" pillow! Why can't my oopses turn out like that?  Mine always have to go into the trash.

Checking out Jenny's instructions, it sounded pretty easy.  Of course, I had to make a few changes to make it my own.  She used red felt to make the ruffle, but I had some red cloth left over from my chevron hearts pillow and French postcard pillow that I put to use.  I also decided to stay with the French-y theme, so I chose a French love poem by one of my favorite authors, Victor Hugo.  I used Google translator to read it in English first to make sure it wasn't a sad - or even dirty - poem before I decided for sure:)

Materials I used to make this pillow:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

DIY Valentine's Day Decor - Decorative LOVE Letters

 I fell in love with both of these ideas that I pinned to my Valentine's Day board over on Pinterest and thought they looked easy and festive.

From Remodelando la Casa (left) and Simply Designing (right)
To make both, however, seemed a bit redundant.  So what to do?  Combine them! 

Monday, February 4, 2013

DIY Valentine's Day Decor - Make a Valentine Heart "I Love You" Picture

There are still 10 more more days left before Valentine's Day; have you been busy making some fun and festive decorations for your home?  If not, what are you waiting for? Here is a quick and inexpensive decoration you can make for your home or workplace, or even to give as a gift!

You will need:

picture frame
graphic to go in background (can print off from computer or use an old book page)
red buttons
heart template
hot glue gun

Thursday, January 31, 2013

DIY Valentine's Day Pinterest Projects - Pottery Barn Knock-off French Postcard Pillow

In my last post I showed you how I made the above chevron hearts pillow like the one I saw on Pinterest.  Today I would like to share the Pottery Barn-inspired french postcard pillow like the one originally shared on the Confessions of a Plate Addict blog. It may be my favorite!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

DIY Valentine's Day Project - Chevron Hearts Pillow

I have been busy trying out some of the great Valentine's Day projects from Pinterest and I am loving them! Yes, the pun was intended:)

The first project that I took on was the chevron hearts pillow, found originally at Uncommon Designs. Their version was no-sew, which is always great, but I decided to sew mine this time. Our lab puppy, Jackson, is still in the "grabbing a pillow and swinging it around" stage, and this tends to be hard on my pillows:(

I know he looks innocent, but trust me - he's not.

I decided to use fabric rather than fabric napkins when I came across 1-1/3 yards of red material on clearance for $2 at Jo-Anne Fabrics. A quick trip to Hobby Lobby was productive as well - for only $.61 I bought 1/8 of a yard of the black and white chevron material, which was plenty of fabric to make 2 chevron hearts pillows and still have a bit leftover for another project.  I also picked up the rick rack and Heat 'n Bond while there.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Valentine's Day DIY Decor

I know.  I am very behind on posting on my projects for this month.  I have been quite busy and will post all soon - I promise.

In the meantime, I can't help but be thinking about Valentine's Day and all the wonderful ideas on Pinterest for DIY decor!  I keep getting sidetracked by all of the great ideas I am finding.  Today I am featuring the ones I am planning on making and will let you see as I make each one.  Feast your eyes on these 7 great projects (warning: I seem to have a pillow fetish!):