Friday, January 28, 2011

I started my new job on Monday!

I'm so happy to be back amongst the working again!  I NEEDED to be working again.   I've been unemployed since moving here to CT, and truth be told, it's kinda been driving me crazy.

I'll totally miss having moments like this any time I want...

yep-- we totally have matching sweatpants and Cat in the Hat socks!
but I also am really looking forward to having some adult interaction during the day too.  Plus a little extra income doesn't hurt either.  

But before I could start a new job, I HAD to try this one other project.  

I made myself a new necklace.

I've made a few other types before and I loved those (I'll post later), but I L.O.V.E. this one!!

ps-- I made it the night before work so I haven't quite finished off the back of it yet because I don't know what type of chain/ribbon etc. I want to end up with yet. I just used what I had on hand.

pps-- the tutorial I used can be found  on Brittney's Budget Crafts (or all over on this thing we call the internet by googling fabric rosette necklace.)  

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I love glass.

*please excuse the poor (and inconsistent) photography in this post *

Alright—I caved.  I just couldn’t take it anymore—I HAD to have one (or two, or four)

Everyone in blogland is has been (I’m a little behind) making their own hurricane vases.  They looked SO GOOD and it’s a great project for a cheapskate like me so… I did it.  And I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!!

Actually, since discovering E6000 glue- my new obsession- I have made a few things to add to my collection.  Yes—I have a collection of glass.  I LOVE glass serving/d├ęcor pieces.  Glass just goes with everything- making it versatile- and cheapskates like me like versatile.

 The first thing I made was this cute apothecary jar. 
It’s a dollar store lidded glass jar and a dollar store glass candlestick and my new favorite E6000 glue!  Brilliant right?  I can't take credit for the idea though.  I think I first saw it on Dollar Store Crafts. 

Then I found a cute pack of 2 small candlestick holders at a different dollar store.  
2 for a dollar!  That makes them $.50 each! 
I had in my collection already a really plain glass vase from the dollar store so I decided to try something kinda unconventional.  Since these candlesticks are roughly the same size at the top and bottom, I glued it to the vase upside down.  This made a dual use piece (hooray versatility!).
I’m not sure I love it as a footed vase (it's kinda awkward looking), but then again… I don’t hate it either... and if I group it with other glass things it probably wouldn't stick out so much. 

I do kinda love it as a tall candlestick.  Makes it something that you can customize with the seasons (or for holidays or parties etc).  Once I can find another matching plain vase (my usual dollar store doesn’t have them anymore) I’ll use the other small candlestick to make a set.

Then I went and made what everyone in blogland has made—because I HAD to.  The inspiration piece from William Sonoma is so beautiful.
Williams Sonoma had these in 3 sizes with prices ranging from $56 - $118 each (I think they are discontinued)
But for $2, I just COULDN’T not make one (or two).  So…

2 dollar store fluted vases + 2 dollar store glass candlesticks + 2 bags of dollar store rocks + 2 small dollar store white pillar candles + a little dollar store hemp twine = BEAUTIFUL! 
naked hurricanes
notice the glue is almost completely invisible.

Now I just have to find a place for them… for now they reside on my dining table.  And I love them.

P.S.  I have plans to make a glass cake stand too once I find just the right flat glass plate to put atop another glass candlestick.  Stay tuned…

Friday, January 14, 2011

Trash to Treasure: Coffee table

I've been a cheapskate for a long time and my coffee table is a project that I did a long time ago.  Well, it was a total fluke actually.  I feel today may be the time to tell it's story though. 
*please ignore ugly apartment carpeting*
When I was in college a couple of 12 (yikes!) years ago, I worked at a custom frame shop in the mall called 'Prints Plus'.   The store was located next to an eclectic furniture and home decor store (name rhymes with 'Pompey' Company).  My store manager knew our neighboring store's manager and learned that when items at their store were damaged, they were required to throw them away.  If it was a "set" of some sort though, the different pieces of the set had to be thrown out on separate days.

Being a mall store, all of our trash was put out in the back hallways for trash removal.  That means our trash was put out right next to the trash of the eclectic furniture store.  One day our store manager came back from putting out the trash lugging a heavy iron circle.  She didn't know what it was or what she would do with it, but she wanted it - it had great detail.   It sat in our back room for a few weeks until it found the way to her home..  

Weeks after that when I was putting our store's trash out to the back hallway, I came across 4 legs to something.  I swear I wasn't even looking for trash-- they were just set out next to the bags-- not even IN anything.  They were really pretty.  So... in our store they came.  I wasn't sure what I would do with them either.  I thought of cutting the screw part off and using them as decorative pieces somehow.  

By this time my manager realized that she couldn't figure out exactly how to use her iron piece,  so she said she'd bring it back in for me if I wanted-- she noticed that it had holes in the bottom, roughly the size of the screws in the top of my table legs she thought.    

yeah, we both squealed when we saw the perfect fit
Once we knew they would fit, the next question was of stability. Would these legs be able to bear the weight of the iron circle thingy and a glass top.  The thick metal screw thingy (clearly I'm a technical writer) runs the entire length of the leg so I had no fear of it snapping off at the top.  
I've had the table for 10 years and my 3 year old son now sits on it (which he's not supposed to do) and pushes on it with his feet and we've had NO issues.

Anyway, my mom found a great, thick piece of pre-cut beveled glass somewhere (I don't remember where) for $40 and it just happened to be the PERFECT size -- It's like this table was meant to be!   My only other investment in it was a $1.97 package of clear gel "bumpers" to cushion the glass and help it stay in place.  

To this day I'm not sure if these pieces were mean't to go together or not.  So until I see otherwise, I'm saying $41.97 is a pretty good investment for a one-of-a-kind, interesting, eclectic coffee table.
Before - pieces...
and after.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Perfect Notebook

I have been wanting a couple of new notebooks (I kinda love notebooks-- weird I know)

I wanted to have a way to keep some of my son's crazy ramblings/funny comments/cute mispronunciations all in one place so that some day we can all have a good laugh at the things that came out of his mouth. Right now I have dozens of little papers all over the place with Cole-isms on them.

I have also been looking for a place to keep some of our family traditions written down- so that we can pass them down to the next generation.  We didn't have too many traditions when I was growing up, but the few that we did mean a great deal to me to this day.
my most favorite notebook ever
I have a favorite notebook that I used to keep myself organized with everything that was involved with our move.  I love the size, I love that it is hard covered AND spiral bound (so I can rip out pages if I make a mistake- see I'm a perfectionist too), and I love the pattern/colors.  I have been looking for something that I will love just as much and want bring out all the time.  Most people would just buy a notebook.  Not this chick!  
I've looked a bunch of places.  I just have not found 'it'.  I DID find a couple of options however that MAY work if I don't find something better.

In the dollar bins at Michael's I found these beauties:

They are the perfect size-- almost exactly what I have been looking for.  The patterns are so cute and the colors are great.  In this case I actually really LIKE the fact that they are not spiral bound because I want these to be keepsakes of sorts and I wouldn't want the pages to accidentally rip out.
For now, I'm thinking of using the green one as a 'Book of Cole-isms" (maybe one page per quote/funny saying and a page to chronicle all of his cute mispronunciations), and the yellow notebook for our family traditions.  I may also add a strip of ribbon down the front with enough overhang to use as a "bookmark" - I haven't quite decided yet though.
Anyway, along my journey for "the Perfect Notebook" I also purchased these two "regular sized" notebooks at Target.  I already have plans for the composition notebook.  I love the pattern and it was only $1 so I couldn't pass it up.  
I am going to find a coordinating piece of scrapbook paper to cover the label part so it doesn't look quite so academic.
How cute is that spiral notebook?!  I was immediately drawn to it, but couldn't quite think of a use for it yet.  I flipped it over and saw my favorite sight-- the Target red clearance tag!  So for $.74 I figured I could certainly FIND for a use for it!
I think my favorite notebook cost $2.99 at a store that we don't have here in Connecticut (kinda expensive for a cheapskate like me, but it was SO worth it!)  For $3.74 I was able to grab these 4-- I think I'm O.K. with that.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Finding Beauty in the Ordinary - Snow

It snowed last night and looked so pretty today - felt like the perfect opportunity to practice some photography.  BTW-- digital photography (once you have a camera) is FREE- and it makes me happy!  These are my two favorites from today.

Hope you're all warm and cozy and enjoying your day!

Friday, January 7, 2011

What is a cheapskate exactly?

Let’s define cheapskate shall we? 

According to

noun, verb, -skat·ed, -skat·ing. Informal .
a person who is stingy and miserly

That’s not EXACTLY what how I define cheapskate (and who are you going to trust really?  A bonafide trusted website or me?)

Right.  Now here’s how I define cheapskate (at least when it comes to ME):

a person who is frugal and likes to brag about all her great finds and DIY projects (see photo below).

And here’s how I define being frugal:

entailing little expense; requiring few resources; meager; scanty
a person who uses the following chart (developed by moi) as mantra:

that last part of the graphic should read $.01 - $.49 and I'm too lazy to go back to fix it -- Sorry!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My "new" lamp.

So this project I actually did before we moved to CT, but I am in LOVE with it so I thought I’d share.  My new favorite thing in the whole world might just be spray paint (or these delicious pumpkin cookies I can’t stop making—seriously, they are so good!  I’ll share the recipe later).  Spray paint is so easy and makes a such a HUGE difference that I may never again buy anything new, just spray paint what I already have.  
Anyway — I bought this lamp at a thrift store back “home” in Syracuse—the Thrifty Shopper for those in Central New York — for my office at work.  It was … are you ready for this?  Two dollars!!!  It didn’t have a shade but it worked and I had a shade in the basement from an old lamp from of my grandmother's that worked just fine so for just $2 I had a new lamp for my office.
It's very '70s, but I really kinda liked the detail (for my office)
The apartment that we moved into had little to offer in the lighting department so we knew we’d have to bring lamps.  Instead of buying all new, I decided to transform this little gem into something we would actually use in our home. 

I taped off the top socket part of the lamp and the cord to keep those parts clean and started with a coat of spray primer.  Just a quick coat was all it took.  I may have been able to do without it, but I didn’t want to find out the hard way.  Plus it’s just a couple of bucks for a can of spray paint so… couldn’t hurt right?
When that was completely dry, the lamp took 2 coats of flat black spray paint.  I debated flat or glossy but flat paint won out in the end.  I figured if I ended up not liking the flat paint I could always add a coat of clear glossy spray.
I was going to purchase fabric to custom cover the shade, but I was afraid (since I was doing this project as a way of procrastinating packing our belongings into boxes)I wouldn’t have the opportunity to give the project the time it needed.  Luckily it was Target to the rescue!

(insert rousing trumpet blare here)  Lampshade:  $9.99!  

Aaaannndd…. It’s done and residing in our new home.  So easy.
yeah-- it's a photo from Halloween.  We don't always have skulls on display in our home.
Hooray!  I love our ‘new’ lamp!

Anybody got any good spray paint transformation stories they want to share?