Sunday, January 21, 2018

Truly Is The Last This Winter

I'll bet you can't believe I'm still talking about Christmas! But, yes it's true. 

Rather than a Christmas Post, I like to think of this as a Crafts Post

And honestly, if you wait until next December to start thinking about making Christmas decor, it will be too late! I learned that lesson the hard way...many, many times over in fact.

As I said in this post, I plan to make more "Chair Bows" for my counter stools based on the one I bought a few years ago. 

I've been looking at the After-Christmas sales for unusual items to add to the bows, like the bells on the original Chair Bow.

I was able to find sets of bells exactly like that set. These sets of bells were on sale for $1.99 each after Christmas. Originally they were priced around $10 each.

I found this cute candy cane, with rusty bells attached, which is made from red and brown twine and a leaf made of stiffened green burlap. The original price was $6.99, but on sale after Christmas for $1.50 each.

I was thinking it would be easy to make additional candy canes to use on a wreath or such, but if you can buy them for $1.50 that's probably cheaper than making them.

Here's another cutie that I thought would look good hanging on a Chair Bow with some greenery. It's one of those things that can be described as " ugly it's cute..." 

I bought it before Christmas for around $7 knowing it might be cheaper after Christmas, but maybe not!

As it turned out, they were all gone when I checked during the After-Christmas sales. I only needed one anyway. I'll use the snowman with a set of the bells and some greenery to make one of the Chair Bows. 

Now that I've gathered up all the Christmas-oriented items I needed at the After-Christmas sales, I'm putting it all away until maybe July when some of the TV channels show Christmas movies for their Christmas in July month. 

Right now I'm more interested in organizing and renovating. I've been doing a little painting around the house that I'll be sharing with you soon. By July I'll be back in the Christmas mood again and making Christmas projects will sound like a lot more fun then.

How about you? Did you get any bargains in the After-Christmas sales or were you totally done with all things Christmas as soon as the new year started? 

Thanks for dropping by!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Crafty Home Cottage $25 Amazon Giveaway!

Over at Crafty Home Cottage, Connie has announced a giveaway. 

Yup...a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate Giveaway! 

Connie also makes some pretty cute crafty stuff...just like her blog name implies. So if you don't win the giveaway, you'll at least get some crafty inspiration!

She's doing the drawing on the 20th, so hurry on over to Crafty Home Cottage soon.

Thanks for dropping by!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Throwback 70's And Love Never Dies

A good many years back, I happened upon a photo of these curtains. I wasn't crazy about them, but there was something about these curtains that was so familiar!

Source Unknown

I  rummage around in my mind a bit, and then I rummaged through an old box of photos. 

OK...I have to admit this. I once had some brown and white bell bottom pants in 1971 very similar to those curtains! 

Do you remember bell bottoms and pinball?

So sorry for the bad photo here!  It's an old black and white instant photo from 1971. I had just returned from Clark AF Base in the Philippines after a year and a half overseas. I couldn't wait to get back and buy some stylish clothes! WooHoo.

That's my mother on the left and my little brother and sister playing pinball. Do you remember pinball? When I was a little kid, I was a pinball wizard along with my cousins and next older brother. 

My cousin Doug and I were fanatics. Later in life, Doug's older brother Dale (nickname: Einstein, one of the first computer professors) wanted to surprise Doug with a refurbished copy of Doug's favorite pinball machine. 

Soon after he secretly ordered the pinball machine, Dale died unexpectedly right after surgery, due to a blood clot. A while after the funeral, Doug got a call out of the blue that someone named Einstein had ordered a refurbished pinball machine for him, and it was ready to be delivered. Love Never Dies!

Notice the cigarette machines to the left of the pinball machines? Anyone could buy cigarettes back then! 

I remember going to the liquor store by myself when I was 8 or 10 and buying Tiparillo Cigars for my father for a "surprise" birthday or Christmas present instead of the usual socks. No one batted an eye back then. 

Geesh, in re-reading this I don't know what was worse...that a child would be completely fine walking into a liquor store alone, or that they would sell a child a pack of "Ciggies" or cigars without a moments hesitation! Trust me, life was much simpler back then.

And, P.S. I've never smoked, but I still love the smell of cigars. Whenever I smell someone smoking a cigar outside, I try to get as close as I can to them without looking like a stalker.

How about you? Have you got any 70's or 80's pictures and stories you're brave enough to share?

Thanks for dropping by!

Joining the party here:
Share Your Cup with Mrs. Olson

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Bits Of News And Ideas

Happy Saturday! We're staying in and trying to stay warm since it's down in the teens here in NE Texas today. 

I like to read blogs, especially ones where I can find good tips and ideas. I thought I'd share two of my favorites today:

Recently Katie at Let's Add Sprinkles started hosting a new Tuesday Link Party for bloggers to connect. It's called Keep In Touch and starts at 4 p.m. every Tuesday.

Katie is always up to something, whether it's dyeing her leather purses to trying out a new bed and mattress in her newly refreshed guest room. 

Do you ever wish you had more square footage in your house, but have no plans to move? Drop by Harvest Lane Cottage and try Laura's idea of gaining more square footage in your home...RIGHT HERE

A Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage

Laura has lots of cost saving tips and inspiring ideas to share with you so just hop on over and watch your square footage grow! For a more current post of Laura's you can find it HERE.

Hope you'll have time to visit with Katie and Laura today if you're trying to stay warm too. And thanks so much for joining me here from time to time, I always appreciate your visits and enjoy your comments.

Thanks for dropping by!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Use It Up: No-Spend Low-Spend January

Our family and friends "group" has done well with the No-Spend/Low-Spend January challenge for the first 10 days of January. 

In fact, I'd say we've all gotten pretty good with the "Use It Up" portion of Grandma's favorite quote!

Use it up, Wear it out,
Make it do, Or do without

Five households are participating in our group. We've been creating menus from what we have in our cupboards and freezers, packing lunches, making our own coffee drinks as much as possible and trying to buy only necessities like basic staples and cleaning supplies. 

Eating down the cupboards and freezer this month also provides an additional benefit of reducing the possibility of food items going bad soon and needing to be discarded. 

The first thing I did this month was check the "Use By" dates on all our boxes and canned goods up in the cupboard. Items that have expiration dates within 4 months were put on the lowest shelf to be used first.  

In our house, what we don't eat on that shelf during January will be donated to a local food bank as -- if we don't eat it this month -- we probably won't eat it before it goes bad.

Reducing waste pays off! One of the daughters commented to the group that she had used a package of ground turkey in her freezer that she had been avoiding. 

A while back she bought a couple of packages of ground turkey, cooked one, but found she didn't particularly like ground turkey. 

Because of the challenge to reduce buying during January, she cooked a meal with the ground turkey and used up what probably would have gone bad.

What if you don't like the taste of something? There are alternate ways to use up food if you think about it creatively. 

I think our daughter said she made Lettuce Wraps with her ground turkeyOther ideas to use up ground turkey (or meat that's been in the freezer a while) would be browning it for a soup, or mixing it equally with ground beef, bread crumbs and spices to make meatballs or a meatloaf. There's always some way to use it up!

So for us this month, as far as spending far so good! How about you? Are you avoiding spending this month too?

Thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Winter White Mixed With Green And Brown

We finally took down most of the Christmas-related decorations in our house and left our twinkly lights, whites and rustic decor up for a Rustic Winter White look for January. 

The little platter by the sink is Christmas-related, but the dish and hand soaps cover the words so it stays.

I'd planned to pour the Watkins dish soap into the little decanter, but I like the black lettering on the white label and how it matches the hand soap pump dispenser so it stays. 

In the entryway, our snow boots are just waiting for some snow to fall! We need them when we visit the kids in Illinois, but here in NE Texas we only get snow once or twice in the winter.

When we do get snow though, it's really handy to wear them to keep from falling down. I was happy to have them in 2015 when the snow really fell here and then decided to stick around a while.

I wanted to leave the red and white in the entry, but the long plaid pillow was a problem. 

Luckily all I had to do tde-Christmas the entryway was to turn the red plaid "Merry Christmas" pillow around so the words don't show.

 Don't we wish every problem was just that easy?

Thanks for dropping by!

Joining The Party Here:
Share Your Style at The Essence of Home
Keep In Touch  at Let's Add Sprinkles
Talk of the Town at The Interior Frugalista

Sunday, January 7, 2018

January 7th...The Neighbor Called

My favorite neighbor called today to ask: Do you know your Christmas lights outside are still on? 

She hasn't been over recently or she would know our house inside is still lighted up like we're expecting Santa any minute too!

Right before she called, I had just told my daughters by text that the other house that still had lights yesterday took theirs down, and so now we are no longer fashionably late, but just look lazy! 

While I think about those lights, I'll show you the other pieces that got painted when the coffee table got another layer of Fusion Paint the other day:

This little reindeer guy is a metal candle holder and was originally a dull gray when I bought it. 

I first painted him with another chalk paint, but gave him a final coat of Fusion Paint in the Casement color I used on the coffee table HERE if you missed it the other day.

In case you thought I was joking about our inside lights, as you can see...the lights are still in full glory over on the Hot Cocoa/Tea bar too! 

I'm loving the reindeer and won't be putting him away with the Christmas stuff!  Instead he's going to hold hearts for Valentine's Day. 

I tried one on him the other day in between painting him and the other things.

Besides the coffee table and the reindeer, I painted two wood pieces and an Ikea Wooden Lazy Susan.

Both the wood pieces hold cloches and are inter-changeable and can be used together.

I'm letting the paint cure a little on these pieces, then in a few days I'll give it a coat of Miss Mustard Seed's Tough Coat, which will give them a little more protection.

By the refrigerator, the Lazy Susan I painted holds a glass drying rack from World Market with our Super fancy pint drinking jars.  

I've lost count of how many things I've painted with my jar of Fusion Paint in Casement. It amazes me how far that jar has gone! And I still have 2/3's of the jar left, so I've got a lot more I can paint with it.

I'm joining Cindy's party at Amaze Me Monday this week. Hope you'll hop over and check out all the links.

Thanks for dropping by!

Note: I do not receive any compensation for using products from Fusion or any other company whose products I like and use.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Finish It Up Friday

We managed to stay home all week with only one or two quick trips out. 

That really helped with "Low-Spend January" for us! Surprising how much money you don't spend when you don't go out, right?

The coffee table, my favorite victim, has been in the garage (in the repair pile) for over a year. 

I had a "fail" a while back when I tried to put a shelf on the bottom cross bars, and the weight of the shelf broke one of the bars off. 

Bar Front Bottom Broke So I Removed It...Well It Removed Itself

I plan to add the shelf back to the bottom, but this time I'll remake the shelf as a platform with wheels and then set the coffee table on it.

I got that idea from walking past this coffee table at Weir's Furniture a while back... 

I'm Going To Copy The Bottom Shelf

So for now, I repainted the coffee table with fusion paint, which is a mineral paint that is similar to chalk paint, but leaves a slight coat of protection on the furniture. 

I used the color Casement, which is a whiter white than the Limestone color that I've been using since seeing it used by Linda over at "Q is for Quandie". 

If you want to improve your DIY skills, Linda's blog is a great place to hangout and learn!

You don't have to wax or protect furniture painted with Fusion Paint, but I do plan to add a layer of a protective coating to the top once I'm completely finished with the re-do.

Here's some "action" shots! I painted a few other small pieces while I was painting the coffee table. I'll show you those another day.

Started Painting The Bottom First - Suggested By DIYers

I plan to use a product called Tough Coat on the top of the coffee table for a harder finish. 

Limestone On Left, Tough Coat, Casement On Right

For now I've got my coffee table back in the house, and one less project on the Fixing To Do list. Best of all, I didn't have to spend a penny on it since I already had the paint and Tough Coat sitting on my shelf.

If you want to see some great projects over at Q is for Quandie ... just click HERE. 

Thanks for dropping by!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Making Things Instead Of Spending Money

My Grandma was frugal and always liked to repeat the quote: 

Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, Or You Do Without!

One of the best sources of inspiration for using things up is the blog... Confessions Of A Serial DIYer.

Christy used two old picture frames and a few odd pieces of crapola to make this adorable Cupcake Stand.

She recently posted a Top Ten Projects From 2017 post that will tickle your fancy and hopefully inspire you to make something out of the junk you were going to get rid of anyway.

If you're participating in No-Spend/Low-Spend January, Christy's ideas for creating things from what you have just might help you stay away from the stores this month.

If you want to know more about how she made the cupcake stand, you can get all the details from her Repurposed Pitcher Frames post HERE.

If you're looking for lots of inspiration and ideas, check out her Top Ten Projects From 2017 post HERE.

Thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

No-Spend/Low-Spend January

Welcome To 2018! 

It's going to be a very good year.

On the first day of January, we started our annual attempt at No-Spend-January, although Low-Spend-January would probably be more appropriate.

Way back in January 2012, we saw the idea on a blog post and decided to try it.  Wild Bill had just retired in December of 2011 so we were going to be living on a lot less anyway. 

It turned out to be fortuitous since he was paid only half his retirement pay each month until the company got his retirement pay straightened out. 

We actually ended up going many months on the Low-Spend Plan since it took a lot longer than we expected to start getting a full retirement check and the back pay he was owed! 

With frugal living, we managed to pay all our living expenses on half his retirement income for 10 months without going into our emergency fund.

Since then, we have tried each year to be ultra-frugal during the month of January. Some of you may think it sounds crazy, but it's just a way to appreciate what you have and put some thought into your spending plan. 

It's also a great way to clean out the cupboards and get things in the kitchen organized too! I call it "Eating Down The Cupboards" and, since there's less in them towards the end of the month, that's the time to organize them and give away food or appliances you're never going to use.

Five families in our group have committed to some form of No-Spending or Low-Spending January. We're leaving it up to each household to determine how they'll track their progress, but in our house we will be writing down any purchase that is not a need.

Let me know if you decide to play along, and if you've done No-Spend January before, please let me know how it worked out for you.

If you need any help or encouragement at an attempt at frugal living, I recommend Dave Ramsey's daily radio show, which is also available for free on-line and via free podcasts too. 

Dave has a best-selling book, The Total Money Makeover, which you can even check out of the local library for free if you're doing No-Spend January.

I'm joining Katie's new Tuesday link party, Keep In Touch, which starts today with the very first one. Hope you'll hop on over and join in too.

Thanks for dropping by!

Note: I receive no products or payment for recommendations. I spent my work life as a trainer and training manager, and I still have an inherent need to pass on good information and sources of learning.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Christmas Almost Gone

When does Christmas end for you? Does New Year's Day signal an end of the Holiday Season? Is that when you take down your decorations?

It's so hard to let go! I try to push it as long as I can.

We used more green and red in our house this year. It's grown on me, and I'm thinking of keeping red and green around a little while longer -- even after the Christmas tree is long gone!

This little bush from Trader Joe's is somewhat brighter than we usually see at Christmas time. It has a nice lemon scent to it too. 

I wish I had bought a few more of them as they were inexpensive, brighten up the spirits, and seem to last well indoors before they are set outside.

Here's my find this week. Four faux ironstone salad plates with scalloped edges that I found at a Vintage Mall the other day for just $3 a piece. 

For now they're mixed in with these little holiday plates that have barely survived over the last 15 years. There were 8 at one time, but now there's only 3 left. I'm a "saver of things" after all so I'll hold them close right up until the very last one breaks. 

We're calling these decorator cookies. Don't they look so good under the cloche? Who wouldn't love peanut butter chocolate chip?

That's what I thought the other day when I whipped them up real quick, but they turned out so dry I quit baking them after the first batch. No one will eat them past the first little nibble, so for now they're just for looks. 

We've got a family debate going on how to use them...One daughter suggested adding melted butter to them all crunched up to make a crust for cheesecake. 

I secretly chuckled! If I can't make a silly little cookie that's edible, how would I ever make a decent cheesecake?

Since it's really amazing how these cookies can look good, but be so bad, I'm taking these AMAZING cookies over to Dwellings-The Heart Of Your Home for the Amaze Me Monday party. Hope you'll join me HERE.

Thanks for dropping by!

See you next year...