A budget-friendly DIY & lifestyle blog

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

To Each Their Own: Anthropologie Trinket & Treasure Candlesticks

I just received my Anthropologie catalog and as I'm flipping through I'm thinking "Man, I dig pretty much everything.  Not that I would wear or use it, but I definitely dig it."

Especially these vases.

And these pillows.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

DIY // Handmade Holiday Gift Tags

Here's a quick & easy guide to making some handmade gift tags.  Enjoy!

Let's start with the supplies:
  • Pre-cut paper tags ($2.99 for 25 tags in various sizes)
  • Sharpie
  • Paint (or markers)
  • Gift wrap

Step 1:  Draw onto the blank tags (even if you think you're not very artistic.  Hello, penguin below.)

Step 2:  Paint or color in between the lines.

Step 3:  Cut out gift wrap (use tag as template) and glue to back of tag.

Step 4:  Attach to gift.

And there you have it!


Friday, November 25, 2011

DIY // Homemade Hot Pepper Jelly

Everybody's doing it.  Except me.  That was, until this past week when I crossed over into the popular crowd and became a home canner.  And with that I've hit full-fledged domesticity and I'm loving it.

Hot Pepper Jelly is one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasures.  I love to plop down on the couch, watch some trashy reality tv and munch out on wheat thins, cream cheese and Apple Valley Country Store hot pepper jelly.  The best in all the land!  It's sweet, perfectly spicy and pretty darn beautiful with its champagne-colored jelly and red bell peppers.  I've been wanting to try my hand at making my own, so that I can avoid a mad (3-hour) dash to Hood River to pick up some more whenever I get the craving and so I can share my love with those around me.  So, with Christmas lurking around the corner, I finally pushed up my sleeves and got to business.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

DIY // Handmade Thankful Turkey Cards for Thanksgiving

Gobble, Gobble!  (or in non-turkey tongue, Hey there, Vamps!)

Check out our little "What I'm Thankful for..." cards that I quickly put together for our impromptu Thanksgiving meal.  We wrote down what we were thankful for on the inside and shared them at our dinner.  So easy and a great addition to our table decorations. I love handprint crafts.  (Stay tuned for a special Christmas handprint craft in the coming weeks.)

Break out a blank card (I folded up copy paper) and the paint.  I used Tempera in red to stamp the handprint and then used some crayola art paint from the kiddo's stash to add some brown, yellow, and orange. Like I said, quick and easy.

Any Thanksgiving-inspired crafts that you included in your table decorations?


An Impromptu Thanksgiving

I hope to find you well and thankful on my all-time favorite of holidays.  Christmas is cool and all, but how can you beat a day where you can eat your weight in mashed potatoes and gravy, unzip your fly mid-meal and get a high five for it?

Our typical Thanksgiving holiday involves traveling to either of our family's homes which are both three hours away in opposite directions.  A couple years, when we lived closer to one side, we managed to cram both houses into the long weekend.  Crazy, I know.  But for two eaters and lovers of family like us, we just couldn't bear to miss it.

This year is a whole 'nother story.  We're moving in a week to our new house and with so much to do before the big move we just couldn't make it up to the hub's grandparent's house.  So, for the first time ever, we are on our own for Thanksgiving.  And with only a day to plan!

Since it is just going to be us two (and a half), cooking a whole turkey and all the sides was crazy-talk.  We  bounced around ideas for our dinner like the classic backup chinese dinner, but I just couldn't go without my candied yams & buckets of gravy.  And then it hit me!  A lazy man's carb-loaded thanksgiving dinner with combination homemade and storebought items to keep it simple and keep us traditionalists happy.  On the menu? Pre-cooked oven roasted turkey breast from Costco, yummy & preservative-full Stove Top stuffing, homemade mashed potatoes with jarred turkey gravy, homemade candied yams, peas, dinner rolls, homemade cranberry sauce, storebought pumpkin pie and the hub's family tradition, frog eye salad.  A perfect compromise. I can't wait to dive in!

And as for the table decorations?  All things I had on-hand aside from the flowers and pumpkin.  Thankfully, (ha) I LOVE orange, so there were plenty of items to choose from.

So, who's at your table?  Any special food traditions?


Sunday, November 20, 2011

DIY: Family Photos

We just completed our family photo session and just in time for Christmas cards!  While in the past we've had our awesome and talented friend, Tina Patenio Photography, behind the lens,  this time we decided to try it out ourselves.

A few Christmases ago I got the hubs (or myself?) the GorillaPod by Joby.  I think we've used him once before.  Sadly, he's usually hiding in our junk drawer.  At the last minute before we left the house, I had the foresight to bring him along thinking he might just come in handy.  And boy, was I right!  This little gadget can attach to everything!  I'm so in love with him that he's gone from inanimate object to part of the family.

I don't know what we would have done without him.  Probably the ol' "extend the arm out as far as you can facebook profile pic" method.  Something like this...

But, because of our handy little GorrillaPod, we were able to get some great "professional-looking" shots all on our own.  Thanks, GorillaPod.  (Cue Thumbs-Up pose.  Cut.  Print.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

DIY // How To Make Fabric Coffee Sleeves {Tutorial}

Stop using those wasteful cardboard coffee sleeves, break out that sewing machine and make your own reusable and stylish fabric coffee sleeves in just six easy steps.

My fabric sleeves came out to under $.25.  I used fabric remnants bought from a quilting shop.  A large ziploc bag cost $1, plus I got to pick and choose the pieces.  I also found a bag of binding at Goodwill ~ 10 unused packs for $1.99.  ALWAYS check their craft isle.  The only item that I purchased for full price was the 1/4 yard of ironing board fabric which ran $5.99/yard.


How To Organize a Classroom

November, and specifically Thanksgiving, has most of us thinking about what we're thankful for.  At the top of my list is my family.   When Nikki from Everything Under the Moon invited me to participate in her Random Acts of Kindness Week this past Nov 13-19th, I was overjoyed and I knew exactly what I could do.

I am lucky.  I am blessed with a very handsome, hardworking and scarily smart husband and a carbon copy 1 year old son, with a sense of humor that rivals my beloved Chevy Chase.  The hubs will wash dishes, wash laundry, cook, and give me nightly back rubs all without a single complaint.  And, while he does, and is, a lot of things, organized he is not!  (Just take a peek at his classroom.)  He's so busy with graduate school (Go Aggies!) and teaching that he can't find the time to clean up.

So, I put my organization skills to use.  It's the least I could do to show him just how thankful I am.

His biggest issue, as you can see, are the stacks and stacks of papers.

 So, I thought these would help.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

DIY // The Best Starbucks Banana Bread Copycat Recipe Ever

It's a food post!  I know I'm swaying a bit away from "homegoods", but this is home related right?  Plus, I just had to share this recipe.

With an abundance of overripe bananas, I set out to find a banana bread recipe using bread flour (what I had on-hand).  And in my search, I found the best banana bread recipe EVER!  It's dense, yet moist, with a slight crunch to the crust.  I. Can't. Stop. Eating. It.

The original recipe came from Copykat Recipes and I made just a few adjustments (butter instead of margarine & added vanilla. I also left out the walnuts.)

Copycat:  Starbucks Banana Walnut Bread

Monday, November 14, 2011

Home Depot Workshop: Martha Stewart Living Holiday Projects

Did you know that Home Depot offers FREE Do-It-Yourself workshops?  Or that they offer FREE Do-It-Herself workshops geared towards women?  Neither did I!  I recently learned about this incredible resource from my local MOM's Club and I am stoked.  I can't wait to attend EVERY SINGLE ONE of these.  I'm going to be there so often they're going to get tired of me.

The November Do-It-Herself was Martha Stewart-ified.   We learned about her new collection of paint, faux finishes and glazes, plus ways to use them to create easy holiday projects.

First Up?  Tile Coasters.  I first attempted to use the Gold Glitter glaze, but the glaze kept seeping under the stencil and looked far too messy for this semi-perfectionist.  So, I went with the Oatmeal Crackle finish and it seemed to work a little bit better.  Still a bit of seepage.  Hot tip:  You HAVE to apply a coat of MS primer/finish prior to using the crackle finish which reacts with the finish to create the crackle effect.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Art @ the POP

For those of us that live in the Pacific Northwest, we know rain.  And we outsmart rain.  In Astoria, there's a great indoor play place, called the Port of Play, where the kids can burn some energy and the parents can socialize.

Our visit today had me appreciating the rain cover, as well as the art.

So what about you?  Where do you take your kids when the weather is less than stellar?


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Architectural Digest: December 2011

Do you read Architecural Digest?  If you love home decor and drooling over multi-million dollar homes then this is the magazine for you!  While I typically scour online design mags like Lonny, somehow I received a print subscription and I am so happy I did.  Especially this month.

The December 2011 issue, "Winter Magic," landed in my mailbox last week and I have finally taken time to look it through.  My heart stopped at its "Most Wanted" shopping guide.  I want EVERYTHING!

Fouta towels ~ Scents and Feel

My Beautiful glass teapot ~ Mariage Frères

Sunday, November 6, 2011

DIY // Handmade Yarn Wreaths

I made a trip over the river and through the woods (literally) to my hometown this past weekend for some much needed quality time with the family.  We ate, drank and were merry. And then we decided to get all crafty and bust out some yarn wreaths.

We tried to do it on the cheap by using The Penny Parlor's tip to use foam tubing from the hardware store ($.97) for the round bases, but the only stuff I found had a slit in it and I just couldn't manage to make a nice round shape.  We also tried to score some free yarn on freecycle.  No one was giving it up.  So, to Joann Fabrics we went, without a single coupon in hand.  Fail, Fail, Fail.

The Supplies:


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Craigslist, Goodwill, Freecycle...Oh my!

Haggling aside, I absolutely heart thrifting.  I am addicted to craigslist, goodwill and yard sales, but my most beloved of all is freecycle.  Why?  The stuff is straight up free.  I love finding unique treasures and bringing them home to my exasperated husband just to hear him ask, "now, where the heck are you going to put that?"  Luckily, he's the most frugal guy in the world so when I tell him it was free his protests typically end.

Here are some photos of my most recent scores. The can on the left is a vintage 50 lb. Armour Star lard container. 50 LBS!  Yikes, that's a lot of lard.

Lard container & large basket from flea market

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