April 26, 2009

Candle Decorating

Pin It Now! I had some plain white candles that needed some "sprucing up" to go with our new decor, so I decided to whip out the old hot glue gun and go to town.

They were very easy to do, I just used ribbon and a piece of black "cobblestone textured" scrap booking paper. I made mine very simple-looking for the living room.

Thanks to fellow Nestie TXsun for the awesome idea!!

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Today's Great Shopping Trip

Pin It Now! Another successful shopping trip today! I shopped at Safeway and Albertson's today - both are very close to my house - and found some amazing deals as always!!

General Mills Cereal - 3 boxes at $1.20, 1 box at $1.50
Bounty Paper towels - $1
2 Liter Soda - $.87 each - I bought 6 (Husband is a soda fanatic!!)
American Greetings Cards - Buy 2 Get One Free - I bought 6 (For the upcoming holidays)
Cut Flower Bouquet Seeds - $6.99 retail, I got it FREE with purchase of 3 greeting cards
Wish Bone Salad Dressing - I bought 5 - all for FREE
English Muffins - $1 each - I bought 3

Husband went produce shopping earlier this week, so we really didn't need many groceries.

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DIY No-Sew Curtains

Pin It Now! I decided to make curtains for my office window, and I wasn't going to let my inability to sew stop me! I found this gorgeous black and white damask fabric at JoAnn's for $3 per yard, and IKEA's SY no-sew tape for $1.99 for a 33 foot package. It only took me about 40 minutes for the whole project, and that includes all the times Finley tried to pull the fabric off the ironing board!

The supplies you will need for this project:

Ironing board
No-sew or hem tape

1. Cut your fabric to size. I bought 3 yards (44" wide) to cover a 75"x 40" window.
2. Heat iron on cotton setting, or the hottest setting your fabric will allow.
3. Lay out one fabric piece along your ironing board.

4. Create a hem along the edge of your fabric about 1" wide along the entire side.

5. Insert the tape underneath your hem. Make sure to leave about 2" of tape out of the end of the fabric. You will use this to hold, to make sure you don't crease your tape to ensure the smoothest hem possible. (Also, cut the loose strings from the fabric during this step.)

6. Slowly iron along the hem starting in the middle and working out to the sides. You will want to iron over the fabric several times to ensure the tape to stick properly.
7. Do this for all sides.
8. If you want to create a loop to slide the curtain rod through the fabric, the you will need to create a fold at the top of the curtain. I used curtain clips, so I did not need to create a final loop. But this is up to you and how you prefer your curtain to hang.
9. Again, create a crease with the iron. Insert the tape along the bottom of the hem and iron.


I decided to tie back the curtains with a green ribbon that matched the walls. I think they're pretty cute, don't you? :)

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April 19, 2009

New Furniture Set

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We sold our Ashley furniture set and bought this beauty! We desperately wanted a sectional, and love the matching ottoman. And we got it for a smokin deal too!!

It's dark grey micro fiber with black leather, and a black leather ottoman. Now we can seat more than two people in our house!! :)

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April 18, 2009

Funny video of Finley

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Thanks Amy for letting me borrow your camera!
(And the howling you hear is from Blue Bear - he was pretty upset to see the puppy jumping on his daddy!)

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April 15, 2009

Yummy Greek Salad Recipe

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On Sunday my aunt made an amazing Greek Salad, and I want to share the recipe with you.

  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • 1 sliced onion
  • lettuce, cut
  • 1 sliced green pepper or sliced red pepper
  • 7 ounces feta cheese
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar or a few drops of balsamic to taste
  • 5 ounces black olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers (optional)
  • oregano and/or basil
  • salt and pepper

  1. First wash all the vegetables very well.
  2. Slice the tomatoes in thin quarters.
  3. Peel and slice thinly the cucumbers.
  4. Add the cucumbers, lettuce, oregano, black olives, onion, green or red pepper, and the caper (optional).
  5. Dress the salad with the olive oil, vinegar, and salt and mix well.
  6. Add the feta cheese broken into small pieces.

Happy Tax Day

Pin It Now! Who said tax day can't be fun?

Here's some of the most interesting things that have been taxed:
  • Bachelors (England in 1695 A.D., and Missouri in 1820 A.D.)
  • Beards (Russia, 1702 A.D.)
  • Cooking Oil (Ancient Egypt, approximately 2000 B.C.)
  • Souls (Russia, approximately 1682 A.D.)
  • Urine (Rome, 1 A.D.)

Besides taxing beards and souls, Peter the Great of Russia also taxed: hats, boots, beehives, basements, chimneys, food, clothing, birth, marriage, and burial.
- From the University of Illinois at Chicago Library

  • It costs $2.45 for the IRS to collect each $100 in taxes.
  • 21% of paper returns have errors.
  • 0.5% of e-file returns have errors.
  • Aztecs used cocoa beans for money. Owners were taxed four cocoa beans for one rabbit.
- From MSNBC

Taxes, after all, are dues that we pay for the privileges of

membership in an organized society. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Michelle Obama's Garden

Pin It Now! Organic gardening, great, right? Well, not if you're in the pesticide industry. Below is from Democracy Now!

Pro-Pesticide Group Criticizes First Lady’s Organic Garden

And First Lady Michelle Obama is coming under criticism from a pro-pesticide industry group for deciding to plant an organic garden at the White House. The Mid America CropLife Association recently wrote to the First Lady to urge her to consider using pesticides, or what they call "crop protection products.” One official with the pro-pesticide group said, “While a garden is a great idea, the thought of it being organic made [us] shudder.” Mid America CropLife represents agribusinesses like Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences and DuPont.

Monsanto is the company that invented the chemical Agent Orange used during the Vietnam war. Currently, they (contractually) sell farmers genetically modified seeds that can't be replanted every year, requiring farmers to re-purchase each year. In the past, farmers save their seeds and replant. Now, farmers aren't able to pay the exorbent, and growing, price of seeds yearly, causing small farms to shut down, allowing industrialized farming to thrive.

If organic farming is the natural way, shouldn't organic produce just be called "produce" and make the pesticide-laden stuff take the burden of an adjective? ~Ymber Delecto

April 13, 2009

WooHoo! Honor Roll!

Pin It Now! I am currently a full-time student, which is quite a life change from the corporate world, to say the least. So I was thrilled to get an email this morning stating that because of my high GPA I am now on the Honor's List!! I'm pretty thrilled :)

April 12, 2009

Savings Techniques I Believe In

Pin It Now! I can list for days about different ways to track your grocery spending and save the most money, but what this blog is for is to give you the best tried-and-true ways that actually make sense. I don't expect people to dedicate hours of their days to save 45 cents on a can of peas, because that's just crazy. I wouldn't do that myself so why should you?

I spend, on average, about 45 - 60 minutes per week. This time includes cutting out the coupons, making my list, and selecting and printing out my Grocery Game lists. With the average dollar amount I save, that time I have spent is well worth it.

If you decide to buy two Sunday newspapers instead of just one, which I recommend, here's a trick to cutting your coupons faster: double up each corresponding page and cut out two at a time. Voila! I do this really quickly, then file, then I'm off to the store!

Happy Shopping!!

Anyone who believes the competitive spirit in America is dead
has never been in a supermarket when the
cashier opens another checkout line.

~Ann Landers

Coupon Distribution Schedules for 2009

Pin It Now! For those of you wanting to know the coupon schedule, or the days not to buy the Sunday paper if you use it just for coupons :) - here are links to the schedules online:

Smart Source
Red Plum
P&G Brand Saver does not offer an online schedule, but on their website they do show when the next distribution date will be.

Find the newspaper near you that carry these particular inserts:

Smart Source
Red Plum
P&G Brand Saver

The Grocery Game

Pin It Now! I won't be doing my weekly grocery shopping today (Sunday) because we are completely stocked up on everything, so I wanted to explain The Grocery Game. TGG is an awesome service that helps you save an incredible amount of money, and does all the work for you! All you have to do is cut the coupons and go shopping.

Their service is very reasonably priced, it's just $10 every 8 weeks for the first store LIST you choose, and $5 every 8 weeks for each additional store LIST (if more than one store LIST is available in your area). The lists are based on the stores in your area. In my area, for example, the lists I subscribe to are two grocery stores and two drug stores - Albertsons and Safeway, Rite Aid and Walgreens.

To do best at this program, I recommend buying 2 Sunday papers. I cut out every coupon, except for the ones I will absolutely not use ever. I have my coupons organized in a binder with baseball card holder sheets in it. (You can buy them at Target)

The new list will be available each week on a specific day, usually Sunday. When you log in, it will show you the lists available, a different list for each store, and all items on the list. You can check off each item you are interested in, and sort your list that way. On the list it will show you the original price of the item, the store's sale price if applicable, the coupons that you can use on that item, and the ending total.

In the past couple weeks, I've saved about 60 - 75% on my grocery bill, and received several free items, like eggs and milk. I've purchased cereal for as little as .50 per box, and tuna for about .40 per can. TGG will let you know about special store promotions that you may otherwise not pay attention to in the store circular.

You can try out The Grocery Game for $1 for your first month, too!

Here's a picture of my shopping trip 2 weeks ago. I only spent $33 on all this!! Everything in the picture was either on sale or I had a coupon for, or both.

6 boxes Kraft Macaroni & Cheese
2 boxes Kellogg's Rice Krispies
1 box Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats
1 package Azumaya Tofu
1 Physician's Formula foundation powder
1 Febreze Air Freshener
2 packages Kraft shredded cheese
1 jar Taco Bell taco sauce
2 Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner
1 2 liter 7 up
1 2 liter Dr. Pepper
2 boxes Capri Sun
2 Glade Sense n Spray air freshener
2 cans Chicken of the Sea chunk tuna
4 bottles Softsoap handsoap
2 packages Reynold's Wrap foil
5 Del Monte fresh fruit cups
1 Real Simple magazine

"A penny saved is a dollar earned." B. Franklin

April 11, 2009

Create Your Own Picture Wall

Pin It Now! I have been planning to do a picture wall in our living room for quite a while, so now that we have the furniture where we want it and the walls painted, I've decided to work on it this weekend.

Some pre-made or pre-designed picture walls can cost anywhere from $100 - $350 for the template plus frames! The picture wall I am making today only cost me $30. That's a deal!!

This photo is what inspired me:

1. Frames. You can use any shape, color or size. Michael's, Dollar Tree and IKEA are great places for inexpensive finished and unfinished frames. I bought my unfinished wood frames from IKEA and Michael's, all for about $1 each. I am using a total of 15 frames that are a combination of 5" x 7" and 4" x 6".

2. Spray Paint. Any color will work, I have chosen black. I recommend Krylon Indoor/Outdoor Satin. I bought mine at JoAnn Fabric Superstore with my 40% off coupon, but it's much cheaper at Home Depot, and they have a larger selection of colors.

3. Primer. You will need a primer for unfinished frames. I used KILZ Interior Oil-base white primer. You can buy this at Home Depot or Lowe's for about $3 - $5.

4. Nails. I have chosen #17 - 1" Wire Nails by Crown Bolt, from Home Depot, but you can use any sort of nail you choose. Only $1.24!

1. Lay down rags or a towel thatyou don't mind ruining onto the ground outside. If you are a novice spray painter, you will probably want to wear something that can be ruined also.

2. Take the glass and backing out of the frames, leaving the prongs up to elevate the frames a little off the ground. (This will help when you spray the sides of each frame)

3. Arrange the frames on the towel about 4" apart.

4. Shake the primer can vigorously for about 45 seconds with the cap on.

5. Before spraying, test the primer on a little spot on the towel, to make sure to get an even spray and to get a feel for how it comes out.

6. Spray each unfinished frame with a light coat of primer, holding the can about 6 - 8" from the frame. Use a quick sweeping motion while spraying. *You do not need to prime frames that are already painted or finished.

7. Let frames dry about 40 minutes.

8. Shake the spray paint can vigorously for about 45 seconds with the cap on.

9. Again, test the paint on a small area of the towel to ensure that the paint comes out evenly.

10. Spray each frame with a light coat using a sweeping motion, holding the can about 6" away. Make sure to spray each side of the frames, as well. It's okay if the frame is not completely coated. It's better to do a lot of very light coats, that way your paint doesn't glop or become gummy. You will probably need to do 4 or 5 coats, depending on the color you chose. Allow about 30 - 60 minutes to dry between coats. After last coat, let dry overnight.

11. Once frames are dry, (the next day) bring them inside and lay them out on the floor or on a table near the wall where you will be putting them up. But the frame back together and insert the photo of your choice.

12. Arrange the frames into the grouping that you would like them on the wall.

13. Start with one of the frames that is to be on the perimeter. Hammer the nail into the wall, and hang that frame. Working inward, hang all your frames. Don't be afraid if you make a mistake, you should be using small nails, and nail holes are easy to paint over! :)

14. Voila! You have a picture wall. You can always add on, or rearrange the pictures.

(I'll post pictures of my finished product tomorrow, hopefully!)

Also, if you're like me and are really slow about printing out your pictures, you can use a nice piece of scrapbook paper as a place holder. I bought a few sheets at Michael's on sale for .25 each that match my living decor, and are fancy enough that it doesn't just look like plain paper. You can also decoupage your scrapbook paper before framing it, creating a shiny, textured look. I recommend Mod Podge Satin decoupage, with a sponge brush.

A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.
~Eudora Welty

April 8, 2009

Let's Get Physical

Pin It Now! I'm writing this in my blog because I need a big kick in the ass to start getting serious about losing weight. I ordered Jillian Michael's 30 day Shred from Amazon, which should be arriving on Friday - for only $8.49! Today I started walking, I tried to jog, but hah! yeah right! I also am doing 100 crunches and 100 heel beats each day. I have a goal to lose 10 lbs. by May 20th, so help keep me in check, ok? :)

April 7, 2009

Regularly scheduled crafting will continue after these messages

Pin It Now! I know I know, this blog is about crafting and couponing! So why am I rattling on about dirt and dogs? I love the sunshine so much, and in Portland we get so little of it, that I have taken a break from crafting for a couple days to enjoy the outdoors. But I have some fun projects to work on later this week when the rain comes back. So stay tuned.

Silliest Dog Award

Pin It Now! Since I talk about my dogs so often, I might as well give them each their own post!

Finley wins the silliest dog award. He is our six-month old mutt that we love more than anything. He is the laziest puppy we have ever met. We have been taking him to the dog park this week now that he has all of his vaccines, and he'll run for a few feet and stop and pant. He's kind of like an old man in a fat, stubby-legged little package.

We got Finley off Craigslist in January on Neil's birthday. For some insane reason, we thought that a third dog would be a good idea. What the heck were we thinking??!! But he's such a great addition, and he's so small that he doesn't take up too much more room in the bed.

He's learned sit, and how to ring the bells at the door when he wants to go outside. He's obsessed with food and treats, and will take your hand off if he doesn't get his food fast enough! We recently took him to the vet because he had some rib cage issues from being the runt of the litter, and being carried (improperly) by a toddler early in his life. When we asked the vet if we should worry about him being so slow and lazy, she looked at us as if we were crazy. But sure enough, he made us eat our words. Literally the next day after his vet visit he started running and playing, chewing up toys and rough-housing with his big brother. Now we have a sometimes crazy, mostly lazy little puppy.

The Garden

Pin It Now! It has been unusually sunny here and we have been loving spending the past few days outside in the sun and at the dog park. Finley especially loves to sunbathe! If he isn't outside in the sun, he sits and cries at the door until he can go out and soak up the rays. We've also been able to do a little bit of much needed yard work.

Neil planted a cute little veggie garden in our yard today. Yesterday, while I was in class, he took advantage of the sunny weather and dug up a small area of our yard and fenced it off in hopes for sunshine today to plant. Today he brought home some butter leaf lettuce, red cabbage, Walla Walla sweet onions, tomatoes and strawberries and planted them. I love when my husband is bored! The dogs and I all enjoyed sitting outside watching him do the hard work and working on our tans.

The garden before. Yep, just dirt.

Our garden is very small, but so is our yard. He's really packing it full of plants though. We'll see how it turns out.

The garden after! So pretty!! I can't wait to have fresh veggies for dinner.
My two little ones sunbathing in the lawn chair. Aren't they the cutest?!

Hi and Hello!

Pin It Now! Welcome to my blog! After talking about starting one forever, I finally have. I'm currently under-going major home redecorating on the cheap, so you'll be able to follow my journey of coupon clipping and thrifty shopping. I love to create and craft, so I'm fairly resourceful when it comes to making my own items. And I love anything used!! Goodwill Outlet is my sanctuary and I can spend hours on end there. I put on my gloves and I'm ready to dig!

I am a full-time student earning my degree in social services. I spend my time enjoying life with my husband and dogs, decorating my home, crafting, and basically creating a giant mess of trying to figure out the next project to work on. I am also coupon savvy, and love to share my couponing ways with friends and fellows thrifties.

I don't work right now, so I'm loving using my time to come up with fun projects to work on to beautify my home.

As for my couponing, I love to share my ideas with other frugal ladies. I am currently using The Grocery Game - which I HIGHLY recommend! I usually get a full week's (plus more!) groceries for about 60% or more off the marked price. And it's easy. I'll be posting more about my awesome shopping trips, so you may want to stick around. :)