Call me what you'd like but I have taken a liking to the ever so popular monogrammed idea. However I am not taking a liking to the price. Even for just one cheap-o cardboard letter it can be pretty pricey. So I decided I'm make my own.

Step one: Mark out your letter or design on your medium. Now, I'm not so fancy as to go all out with the 3-D idea but I did want a little depth so I cut my letters out of 2 layers of cardboard from a box that was headed to the recycle bin. I hot glued the edges to give it a little more stability.

Step two: I mixed up a little school glue and some water and pasted on some scrapbook paper and hot glued the edges around the back.

Step three: I added a little bit of brown paint with a paper towel to give it a little bit of a distressed look and I'm done!!!

They look AWESOME with the paper lanterns!  Sorry about the night shots But I promise I'll get you some better ones when I finally decide on how to decorate the rest of the room ;)

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Kitchen Aid Subway Art

To be honest I don't know what I think of subway "art" but I am all about personalization! When I saw this post from A Little of This, A Little of That I knew I was going to use her free template! Here's my before and after:

The best part is that since she already made the template all I had to do was cut it out! The whole deal took less than 10 minutes!


A Splurge

I really love to get anything and everything for free to super cheap but every once in a while you just have to splurge a little. My Cricut was a huge splurge! I did get it on a really great sale but at $80 it was still quite a lot for me. Here was my reasoning; I spend money like mad on alphabet stickers for scrapbooking, I LOVE vinyl decals but there is NO way I'm shelling out $$$ for something so cheap and easy to make myself and I can use it at home, work, for church...pretty much in everything I do. So it was. I talked myself into it and ran it by the hubs and now I have a Cricut. I've gotten plenty of use out of it too. 
$1Tub+ Vinyl= Branded Tub

$.50 Container + Vinyl = Sweet Little Crayon Box

Walmart Containers $3 ea? + Vinyl= Super cute + Functional

This is one of my favorites! I used Picasa 3 (Free photo editing software by Google) to make my pictures black and white, letting the pink show through. With a little white paper, a glue stick and my Cricut this page was a snap!

This is a perfect example of why I should have a Cricut. We are looking at 4 E's, 3 M's, and 4 R's.  In some cases buying stickers for that many multiple letters could be quite costly.  

Since I got my Cricut my boundaries have seemed limitless. In addition to all of the above I have made promotional signs for work, numerous other scrapbook pages, labeled just about anything I've cared to, added quotes to my walls and the list goes on!!! I'm sure you will see quite a few of these things pop up as I go along :) 
The FREE option: Borrow one from a friend!  Also, some craft stores have rooms they used for classes that are open to the public when not in use that have all kinds of craft tools and machines. 


We all have those days!

     Everyone has "those days" but this week it felt like everyday was one of "those days." Though this story is not in exact chronological order believe me when I say it is much easier to read this way.
     First, my lovely 2yo got a hold of the petroleum jelly. It was all over everything form her head to her toes, not to mention the bedding, the white carpet, the toys, just everything!
     While we were still recovering she managed to get a hold of a JUMBO black permanent marker. Oh, the joy. She had her room to herself for a few hours while she was supposed to be napping. The furniture was a breeze. Mr. Clean, your Magic Eraser is my hero. The carpets and the walls didn't fair so well. Repainting was necessary. In short my one coat paint was actually three coat paint, I thought I had a great idea, put a lot of time into it, it was a BUST!!!
     In between coats of paint I turned on the wrong burner and BOOM! My Pyrex pan is no more. While dealing with the shock of having stood less then 2 feet a way from a glass bomb I started sweeping. And here's where it really gets going. Though I'm sure you've heard of the wonderful glass explodes if it contracts/expands too fast stories I bet they never told you that if you don't get your rear end in gear and pick it up with lightning like speed it will melt your laminate flooring. Yeah, I'd never heard that either but I'm telling you now that it's true.
     Great. New paint on the walls, still haven't figured out how to get permanent marker or petroleum jelly completely out of the white carpet, and now we need new flooring for the kitchen. Joy. A this point I thought the one thing you should NEVER think aloud. "It can't get any worse, right?" The answer rang loud and clear as if it were timed when I looked to my left as I was sweeping up glass shards. The freezer drain had clogged and was now flooding my kitchen. Ya, seriously.
     It's not over yet! The hubs brings me a $1,500 medical bill for a consultation visit. The lovely people over in the billing department didn't code the visit right so we all know how many calls that is going to warrant. Throw in a last minute call from a lady in church asking if I will teach her class of 4 year olds and you've got my weekend. So, other than actually painting the room, which because of the three coat thing still isn't finished, NOTHING crafty or other wise was actually achieved this weekend.
  Chin up. Breath deep. Deal.


An office make over on a $0 budget? It can be done!

This is my office. This is my kids's play room. This is my scrapbooking station. This is my crafting room. This is my painting room. This is drawing room. This room is everything BUT organized!

Lets just review what you've seen.
Ran out of paint during a long forgotten scheme.
Art from High School is all over the walls.
Hubby made me a peg board. It's scratched and dinged from whatever it encountered before he found it.
Scrapbooking stuff is everywhere.
Kids toys are all over the floor, the table, the everything!
The window seal has too much junk in for the blinds to hand straight.
Left over art project stuff from Hubby's Scouts.
Wrapping stuff that didn't all make it back to it's home.
The 3 boxes of stuff I have put off for forever sitting under the table.

Something has got to change!!

Step one: The paint! I had a whole gallon of this lying around. Time for it to go to use!

Step two: Some design! I did this free hand but there are sites where you can pick out templates that are similar or you could use a projector. The white paint was just waiting to be used as it sat in my garage! Boy did we put it to work!

Step three: Some storage! A MUCH needed addition.

Oops! The brackets are too big for the shelves!
The solution:

We bent the brackets up so we can use them for hooks! Works perfect for a home made paper towel dispenser. 

Step five: A space for the girls. I scored the table free on Craigslist!

An over all view. Ahh... I can breath! Some general cleaning and putting away later and It looks GREAT! I toyed with the idea of covering my table but with all the careless painting, gluing, and cutting it's not worth the cover.

 I love that the girls have a little table of their own to do their thing on.  The best part about it was that it was free!!!  Shortly after starting this project a post went up on craigslist with a variety of things. Normally I don't go unless there's something I want but the paint was drying, the dogs needed a walk, it was less than a block away so why not right? 1 plywood table + a coat of paint= perfect!
 I found all kinds of plastic and glass containers around the house which were perfect for the shelves! Now that I can see my things I can use my things!
 I hardly even recognize my closet! Hello gorgeous!!!

Lets get one good before and after in here:

Like all projects this will continue to evolve over time. A little up date here, a little splurge there but for now, with what we have what a great starting point!

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Give Away!!!!! Hosted by a favorite blog of mine:

Get entered to win a FREE Silhouette SD Machine by becoming a fan of a great decor site and following them on face book! Check out the link for even more ways to enter!!!

Design without a dime!

Some people think that if they get a good sale they saved a lot of money. To that I say it's only the beginning. Here are some tips to help your $$$ go even further, or better yet stay home!

#1. ALWAYS keep an eye on the free section of whatever list(s) you have in your area. USE it and ABUSE it! I mostly use Craigslist because it is the most popular here in Alaska. We also have Alaska's List and Freecycle but I don't find them as productive. Check with friends and the internet to find what's near you.
      Not convinced the free section pays off? Just yesterday, in the middle of my $0 office makeover (still in production) an add caught my eye. Just one street over was a bunch of stuff sitting out in there driveway. Mostly it was the antique chair that caught my eye. So, why not have a look? A got all bundled up and took the dogs out with me. Boy did it pay off. We ran all the way back home to come get the truck! In my little treasure trove I found:
      A table just exactly the right height for my girls
      Metal shelving for the garage
      An awesome bread machine
      The antique chair
      An organizing caddy
      And a cute little metal pail
All at one stop!

#2. ASK first. Facebook and other social internet outlets have become a very common way to interact. Call, text, walk over to the neighbors, e-mail, chat with family...whatever. Word of mouth spreads far and wide, you never know what you'll turn up.
     Example: I asked on Facebook if anyone had and pillows they were going to throw out anyway and if I could have them for my entryway project. In under 15 minutes I had two garbage bags of practically new down pillow inserts coming my way! The next day, after scouring thrift stores and the internet for a suitable bench for the same entryway, I complained to my mom about my lack of results. She was actually the one who came up with the idea to use the solid oak table leaves from a table that didn't come with us when we moved. It was perfect!

#3. Look at what you have, sometimes the thing you need is right in front of you. Shedding a different light on things you have lying around can produce things you never knew you had! In looking for a bench I knew that I wouldn't be able to afford the type of bench I really wanted unless I found someone pretty desperate, and I did. It was me! Desperate for space in the garage and desperate for an adorable bench. That was when a crib rail caught my eye. When we got our daughters crib free off of craigslist last year she really only needed a toddler bed, so there it came to rest all alone. I knew it would make just the perfect back for my bench.

#4. Dumpster dive! You can take this any way you'd like but the curb can be a treasure trove. Aside from the usual ideas of drive-by's and following the garbage truck around, try just going to your local dump for things like paints, lacquers, and stains. They are not supposed to just throw them out so many dumps have places where you can go "shopping" for such things. It's free to take but you do have to sign out for them.
      Also in the dump category: Call them up to see if they have things like gravel and wood chips free to the public. Many offer services of cleaning these things up and offer them again to the public.
     One more tip: Usually cities have a free trash day where you can dump just about anything you would ever imagine. Find out when this is for some ultimate trash treasures!



Making an Entrance

I HATED my entry way but I had no idea what to do with it until I came across this post from House Tweaking: Mini Mudroom.

It was like a light went off in my head, this light bulb that had never worked before sparked to life and I knew exactly what I would do! 

Here is my entry way closet before:
OY, eyesore right? (Not in reference to the cutie at the bottom corner)
So we cleared it ALL out. From the cheap-o Walmart furniture to the wanna-be shelving that the last owner "hung" in there it all had to go. That was the easy part. 

Next we patched up the holes. A bucket of spackle will go a LONG ways, aesthetically and physically.

I love color! Well, mostly I just love making a statement. This bold green was exactly what I needed to spruce up the area:

I painted an extra crib railing white for a bench back. The bench itself is two leaves from an old table! We cut one in half for the legs. 

Some home made pillows (the inserts were graciously donated by a friend of mine who was going to donate them to a thrift store)and a bench and ta-da!

Some other elements: 
Fabric from JoAnn's: on clearance at 40% off +1/2 off sale = $3.00 a yard. 
Batting was the most expensive at something like $4.00 a yard on sale
The frames were $7.00 each from Walmart
Fabric for the pillows came in a package I only used 1/2 of. Whole package from Walmart $12.00
Cute paper flowers were $1.00 each from Michael's
The two shoe racks are from before. 
Closet Shelf (You can just see it peaking out at the top left corner) $12.00 from Walmart.
Paint left over from a previous project so, FREE!!!
Bench is 2 leaves from an old table, one cut in half, FREE again!
Bench back made form an extra crib railing (from a free crib off Craigslist) FREE!
Pillow forms given to me by a friend: FREE!!!

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