A budget-friendly DIY & lifestyle blog

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pinterest Challenge Winter Edition 2013: DIY Terrarium

I've been slacking on the blog this week - there's just so much going on.  Track season started and we had our first day of practice on Monday and then I had a job interview on Tuesday at my husband's high school so I've been a little preoccupied, but I did manage to take part in The Pinterest Challenge Winter Edition!

Boy, did I need the motivation to get going on some projects.  Currently, I've racked up nearly 2800 pins.  That's a whole lot of inspiration, DIY, recipe and craft photos!  Last year during the Pinterest Challenge Winter Edition I was all about the coming of spring and made a Tin Can Man that still hangs in our yard.  Well, this year is no different.  I'm counting down the days until the rains depart and the sun takes up a semi-permanent residence.

Rather than getting my green thumb on outdoors I decided to bring the greenery indoors with a few DIY terrariums.

I was inspired by projects like this and this and was pleasantly surprised at the ease of the project once I finally got my butt to the store to purchase the plants and glass containers.  I scored three beautiful glass containers from the Goodwill in Bellevue, Wa while I was visiting my sister.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Since we just celebrated President's Day, I thought a good ol' shout out to the most popular President in history and, more importantly, in home decor would be fitting.  So this Friday Five is all about our 16th President, Honest Abe.

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

So what about you guys?  Are you on the Abraham Lincoln bandwagon or is Mr. Fillmore more your style?  "Fillmore, who?"  And you call yourself an American!  :)


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Houzz: Replace Your Windows And Save Money

Energy-efficient upgrades to your home can save you money in utility costs and help attract prospective buyers, too. Our century-old home has a laundry list of items that need attention. But for all the things that need to be updated, we lucked out in the window department; we have only four single-paned windows to replace. The four old windows were a break from the new, builder-grade vinyl windows that had been updated by the previous owners, and they had become a drain on our pocketbook as the months grew colder.

We replaced 2 of 4 in the kitchen nook almost a year ago and what a difference those made!  The nook was FREEZING cold - even with its baseboard heater.  Once we replaced those windows (and insulated the walls) it was like St. Bart's and family meals were much more pleasant.

The two remaining windows, one in the mudroom and one in the bathroom were the last to be replaced since their locations were pretty much separate from the rest of the house. 

The old windows did make for some cold bathroom time and I was more than excited when it was their time to go.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

DIY DECOR: Faux Bronze Hand Bookends

I love all things books.  Check that.  I love all things real books - not those fake e-books.  I love the look, smell, feel and our house is overflowing with them.  I've been on the hunt for some quirky bookends to organize and display some of our favorites and just haven't found anything that had the golden combo of being budget friendly and our style.  Then, while cruising the local craft store I stumbled upon a selection of paper mache craft hands and that crafty little lightbulb of mine went off quicker than you can say The End!

I've been on a roll with the simple DIY projects lately like my ottoman redo and my pillow covers and this one is no exception.  The supply list was short:

Monday, February 18, 2013

Presidentially Inspired - Red, White & Blue Home Design

Happy President's Day! Whether you lean to the left, to the right or are somewhere in the middle there's no debate that there's still something special about living in a country that celebrates democracy and gives a voice to their people.  So, in honor of our 44 presidential men that have served our country (where's the female representation?!) I'm sharing some red, white and blue eye candy thanks to my fave home design photo database, Houzz.

Let's just start off with one of my favorite rooms - this sunroom from the 2006 Southern Living Idea House, which uses multi-hues of blue and red, is absolutely gorgeous and has just the right touch of masculinity to keep the hubs happy and feeling right at home.


Friday, February 15, 2013


We may have experienced hints of spring last week, but winter is definitely still hanging strong.  Curb the chill and beat the winter blues with these budget friendly finds.

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

So how do you beat the winter blues?  Or are you a snow bunny who revels in the cold weather?


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

DIY HOME: The Mudroom & Breakfast Nook

Since we're on a tight budget, our mudroom is in a sort of limbo period since we replaced the window and put up the drywall.  But, even though work isn't progressing that doesn't mean our plans aren't.   I thought I'd share our ideas for the space and how it ties into our kitchen and breakfast nook.

Here's how the space looks now:  subfloor, window, and drywall.

And then here's one of the walls (with the door) that we want to remove to open up the space.  Don't mind the freezer - it was placed here when we were working on the mudroom.  I think we found a new home for it in the pantry/hallway closet but just haven't gotten around to moving it yet.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Making the Switch To MailChimp

While I love sharing all about our trials and tribulations of owning a fixer-upper home with all of you there are parts of blogging that I'm not too fond of.  Most of which have to do with coding and building an easy-to-use website.  If you've been keeping up you might have noticed that I had a complete crash with my RSS feed and email subscribers a few months back.  I've been using feedburner and I am not happy with it so I've been on the hunt for other options.

I finally found an email subscriber service through MailChimp that is free for blogs with a small readership (under 2000 email subscribers.)  MailChimp makes it easy to design exceptional email campaigns, share them on social networks, integrate with web services I already use, manage subscribers, and track my results. I can mix and match MailChimp’s templates, features, and integrations to suit my needs. 

The MailChimp platform was surprisingly easy to navigate and use, plus it is pretty nice on the eyes, too.  Much, much better than feedburner's platform.

Importing my feedburner email subscribers was a piece of cake.  I downloaded the feedburner .csv file, created a new list on MailChimp and imported the .csv file into MailChimp. Easy peasy.   As for setting up a new campaign to automatically send RSS emails when new content is published or creating a branded template, that was a little more tricky.  Luckily MailChimp had my back with helpful tutorials to guide me along the process.

Friday, February 8, 2013


I feel like I'm living in a zoo lately.  My little tasmanian devil has definitely been keeping me busy - whether I'm cleaning up the destruction after Tornado Luke, helping him save the world from evil or battling him over taking a nap - and I am tired.  But, what's a zoo without a multitude of animals, right?  We already have an owl, an octopus and a fish but a proper zoo needs more. These Friday Five finds are all a bit on the wild side - just like Luke.

Source List
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

I'm hoping things die down around here - or, at least, that Luke starts taking naps again because I'm really not ready for the glory days to be over.  Mama needs her breaks!

So, what animal decor makes you sing like a songbird?


Thursday, February 7, 2013

GREEN THUMB - Spring Planting in February

While it's February and that means it is still winter in many parts of the world - here in my neck of the woods spring is right around the corner.  I have big plans for our yard that include a produce garden, a few new flower beds and new shrubs and trees.  We might not get to everything this year - especially since we're trying to do all this landscaping on a budget, but little by little we'll be checking items off our to do list starting this month.

We have a good base to start with and our yard has come a long way since we first moved in.  Just last year, we built a deck, installed a pea gravel pathway, built a garden arbor and added some flowers.  Then fall came calling and I dug up all the flowers I had planted around the trees and replanted them next to our arbor.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

DIY DECOR: A Dark & Dated Ottoman Gets a Bright Update

Just like my trash to treasure cabinet, there's nothing better than taking a "seen-better-days" piece and transforming it into something beautiful.  This ottoman is no exception.  Plus, this had to be the one of the easiest upholstery projects in history - right up there with my chair cushion upholstery project!  If you can cut fabric and wield a staple gun then you can upholster a cushion.

I grabbed the piece from our local thrift shop for $3.99.  The floral needlepoint top was a little too traditional and dated for our home, but I knew with a little cleanup and update it could be a cool addition to our living room decor.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Clean It Up: All Natural Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

All the organizing and cleaning during the January Cure had me going through my cleaning products like wildfire.  Luckily I make my own all-natural homemade cleaners which are healthy and inexpensive.  I've already shared my recipes for liquid laundry detergent, powdered laundry detergent and lavender room spray.  In addition to those great cleaners, I also use an all-purpose spray to get all my surfaces sparkling clean.  Like all cleaners - you can add essential oils to give your home a fragrant boost.

All-Purpose Cleaner:
  • 28 oz spray bottle
  • 3 tsp. borax
  • 1/2 tsp. liquid castille soap (like Dr. Bronner’s)
  • hot water
Mix all together in the spray bottle then shake what ya mama gave ya.  This cleaner is safe on all surfaces and works great.  I used it on some tough stains (FYI:  coffee and unsealed grout Do.Not.Mix.)  Not to mention, it smells great!

So are you a loyal commercial brand cleaner or have you dabbled in some homemade versions?  What's your favorite?


Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday Five // Lovely

With Valentine's Day only 2 weeks away, this Friday Five has gone sentimental.  But, since I'm not really the lovey-dovey, pink hearts all up in my bidness type (aside from last year's 14 Days of Valentines) - I'm doing it my way.  Whether it's two parakeets sitting in a tree or a pair of quirky Mr and Mrs highball glasses - these are all things that represent love and, frankly, that I'd love to have.

Source List
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

So how are you spending the 14th?  With loved ones or hitting the town single-style?  I, for one, will be greeting my husband home from work looking fab in my sweats and my pretty much permanent top knot hair style - Eat Your Heart Out.

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