Sunday, June 26, 2011

I'm a bit unconventional at times

I debated whether or not this was too weird to divulge or not, but.... I'm putting it out there.  I know you won't judge!  :)

Especially when you see that I got this great pullover sweatshirt for $1.98!

In case you are not aware, Target has a place on it's website where you can print Target store coupons.

AND {tip} you can use Target store coupons in conjunction with manufacturers coupons for extra savings.

From time to time they also post apparel and accessory coupons as well.  I ALWAYS print these.  They don't last too long on the site as I've heard that they will only allow a certain number of these to be printed, so when you see them-- act fast.

The other day I printed a coupon for $3 off a certain brand of clothing at Target-- hold on-- I'll tell you what brand in a minute.  I thought on the crazy off chance that something from this brand really caught my eye, I'd try it on and see what it looked like.
I don't know what happened to this photo-- it's so fuzzy and weird looking.
Wouldn't you know -- in the clearance rack was this sweatshirt - marked down to $4.98.

I don't usually wear much purple, but this was cute and at less than $5 for a sweatshirt I thought I'd give it a try.  It looked like it was about right size too -- it would be roomy, but I kinda like my sweatshirts to be roomy.

Upon further investigation the tag revealed this:

Yep-- maternity wear.  And guess what my $3 off coupon was for?  Yep- Liz Lange maternity item.  So I HAD to try it on and see for myself. 

It's actually pretty cute!  And if there are ever any more children in our future, I've got one less piece of clothing to buy! 

I know the following pose doesn't help, but I wanted to show you the side details.  What do you think?  Does it look maternity to you?
Nevermind that it totally doesn't match my pants, I just put it on for photo purposes.
And-- just for the record.  No, I am not pregnant.  :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sometimes you gotta' act fast!

Ok moms and dads out there (or grandparents or Aunts and Uncles or anyone really)!  For 3 days only you can get a FREE photo brag book at Walgreens!  And if you have it shipped directly to your closest Walgreens location you don't have to pay for shipping either!  TOTALLY free! 

I'm just trying to decide if I want to make one for myself or to use as a gift...

Thanks for the heads up Gina!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I'm pretty much an International Superstar!

So when I sent a text to my husband today to tell him that I had discovered that I was pretty famous he replied with, "because of the flag?"  I had no idea what the heck he was talking about until he reminded me that a month ago I bragged for two weeks about how I had served our country well and saved reunion at Smith College (where I work).  Ya' see I helped to coordinate the fundraising awards for Smith College reunion classes this year and I was set up on the stage during reunion ceremonies with some students.  During the ceremony the American flag started to tip over and was about to fall off the "stage" when I jumped up and snagged it-- thus saving reunion from ultimate disaster (noted with an audible gasp from some of the audience members- no joke!).  Need proof:
This is AFTER I saved the flag.  After the "incident" I kept my foot on the base-- it almost got away 1 other time, but... not on my watch... this is patriotism in action my friends!
Yeah-- I served my country proud that day, but... that's NOT why I'm famous!

A few weeks ago someone asked me if I'd ever checked the "stats" for my blog.  I don't do this blog for "stats" purposes so... 'no' I hadn't checked the stats page.  Today for whatever reason I decided to take a peek.  I was SHOCKED by what I saw.

(note:  for many of you with blogs, this will not be at all impressive, but to little 'ole blogs like me, it's really exciting!)

Check me out!

WHAT??!!  123 page views from RUSSIA?  Poland?  Malaysia?  Philippines?  Who knew?!  I get it that some of these page views are people who just clicked here and then clicked away, but for now I am happy to live in my own delusion thank you very much.  Of course now I'm just worrying about not posting enough and disappointing my leagues of fans.  :)

I also found out that I am featured on another blogger's blog roll (list of blogs that she frequents).  That makes me so very happy!!  I think that's where at least some of my international fans have come from. Hi Jenn - thanks for reading and letting me know you're here!

Now... what did I take away from this discovery?

#1.  I am going to need to start demanding more "things" because of my new found fame-- maybe diamonds... maybe a couple of new cars... hmmm...

#2.  If you have a blog-- even if it's small, you should totally check out your stats-- you never know what you'll see and... it's exciting!

#3.  I want to know more about who is reading my little 'ole blog, so.... if you check my blog regularly, or just once in a while, or even if you only check it when I post a link on Facebook, could you please do me a favor?    On the right hand side of my blog, there is a button to "follow" my blog.

Just click it and it will give me an idea of WHO is out there - crickets... crickets .  You don't have to sign up for anything or have any special account to do it and you won't receive e-mails or anything-- it just lets me know you're out there.

Oh-- and on the off chance that any of my international friends DO in fact come back I just wanted to say:


Oh and in the interest of continuing my patriotism, I'm thinking of printing this from eighteen25 and using it in some 4th of July decor.
Seriously.  Isn't it awesome!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I finally cleaned off my dresser.

And I'm revealing my secret project from a while ago.  Remember this:
I finally had time to get back to it after the "my spray adhesive bottle doesn't have a spray nozzle on it" debacle.


The top of my dresser had been really messy for a while -- like REALLY messy  -- like so messy I was too embarrassed to take a before picture of it messy.   I FINALLY got all of  my jewelry organized which was most of the mess and got rid of TONS of receipts too (why do I hold on to this stuff ??-- grocery store receipts-- not even big purchase receipts-- I'm like a receipt hoarder).

LOTS of jewelry that I don't wear or haven't worn in a long time went straight to Goodwill.  I was able to consolidate most of the rest into 1 jewelry box (that I'd like to make over someday soon) BUT I still had a bunch of big, chunky necklaces that didn't really work in a "dainty" jewelry box.

I knew exactly what I wanted to make to hold these, but I couldn't find all the right materials until a few weeks ago.  So I finally made myself a place to store my necklaces and get them off the top of my dresser!

Here's what I did:

First I gathered all my materials--

  • a small cork board (this was the hardest piece to find-- big ones a plenty-- small ones not so much)
  • a fabric remnant
  • coordinating ribbon
  • matte white spray paint
  • spray adhesive
  • hot glue/hot glue gun (not pictured)
  • embellishments (as desired)

I watched Goodwill for weeks for a small cork board to refinish, but it just wasn't showing up for me so I had to buy one new.  All the big stores-- Target, Walmart etc.  only had large ones though.  Luckily I happened to find a small one (11" x 17") at JoAnn's Fabrics for $9.99 plus I had a 50% off coupon-- score!

I would've preferred real wood, but... this will do.
I covered the cork part to avoid overspray, but in hindsight I totally could have skipped this step.  I wasn't sure just how permanent the fabric would be, but it's pretty darn permanent so it really doesn't matter what the cork underneath it looks like.
 I'm a cheapo (obviously) so I bought the $1.97 spray paint at Walmart-- I didn't even spring for the $3.74 can -- and so far it seems that I DIDN'T need to spring for a more expensive can.  I'll let you know if anything changes though.
Cut your fabric to fit.  I cut mine just a tiny bit smaller because I knew when it was wet it would stretch a bit but you could also cut it a bit larger and trim it down with an Exacto blade if you prefer.
Make sure before you do the spray adhesive step that you cover the newly painted frame part-- otherwise you will forever have a sticky frame.
I used Elmer's Craft Bond-- #1. because it was the cheapest one I could find and #2 because it was the smallest can I could find and I wasn't sure how much I'd be using it for the future.  It was pretty fun to use though so ...
I  followed the instructions on the can- it took just a few minutes.  Then I added a ribbon accent around the edges with hot glue.  I've still got a thing or two to learn about hot glue as mine got a little thick in places-- if you look closely (note-- DON'T look too closely :)  ) you'll see small sections that are not as flat as I'd like them to be.

Then I just added a length of ribbon to the back with hot glue and a couple of fabric flower embellishments that I made and... there you have it!
ugh-- that corner... that's where I had the most trouble with the hot glue getting all gloppy on me. 

 One custom jewelry holder.  With some awesome fabric!  I'm kind of in love with it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I love Target.

So, thanks to tips from my new favorite website,  Thrifty and Thriving, a few weeks ago I did some amazing cheapskate shopping at Target.  

I bought a t-shirt, a bottle of Sally Hansen nail polish and 2 Reese's Peanut Butter cups (for the hubs).  Can you guess how much I spent?
 If this helps, the shirt was on clearance-- marked down to from $14.99 to $3.74.
And.... I used coupons.
What if I told you I only spent $1.57!  Yes-- one dollar and fifty seven cents.    Here's how I did it.

For those of you who don't know-- Target has a place on their website where you can download and print Target store coupons.   For the shirt, I used a $3 off women's apparel item coupon so the shirt only ended up costing me $.74.

Another fact-- Target will allow you to use a store coupon in conjunction with a manufacturer's coupon on an item.

So.... the Reese's Peanut Butter cups-- were $.74 each.  I had a Buy One Get One Free printable Target coupon and a $.50 off Reese's Peanut Butter Cup manufacturer's coupon--after both coupons, total for both-- $.24.

As for the the Sally Hansen nail polish was $1.49 BUT I also had a $1.00 manufacturer's coupon-- so make that $.49.

$.74 shirt + $.24 for two Reese's Peanut Butter cups + $.49 nail polish = $1.57 (after tax).

I'm not THAT good at couponing yet, but Christy at Thrifty and Thriving lays it all out for you-- it's so easy!  Check it out-- get one good deal like this and you'll be hooked.  Getting a good deal is such a thrill.

Let me know if you get any good deals!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm patriotic.

I have a special place in my heart for Memorial Day.  First because it's a day off of work :) , but more importantly because I have a brother who is currently active duty military.  He is a Captain in the Army and is currently stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  He is a purple heart and bronze star recipient from his previous 15 month long tour in Iraq where he was shot through the shoulder while helping a fellow soldier.  He is my hero.
bad photo taken the last time Jeff was here visiting
I've got a big party planned for the day that he decides to get out of the Army -- which I have to admit I hope is sooner than later-- so I've been "collecting" red, white and blue party items for some time now.  It should be one HECK of a party when he does get out!

This also means that I have lots of decorations for Memorial Day and 4th of July picnics.  This past Memorial Day I decided to break some of them out-- although most of them are still in storage in our attic in Syracuse.
We were supposed to have a picnic at a local park, but early morning rain and the threat of inclement weather later in the day changed our plans a bit and we ended up just picnicing in our house.  Not quite the same as being outside on the unofficial start to summer, but fun nonetheless.

ps-- I don't have many good photos as we were getting ready to sit down to eat when I realized that I forgot to take photos (and then I rushed through the photo process-- sorry).

FYI: burgers and hot dogs were on there way to the empty trays you might see.  Like this red one:

We had turkey burgers, hot dogs, chips, fresh strawberries (with whipped cream of course) and all american cherries -- all easy to make/bring/store foods perfect for picnics.   And we topped things off with ice cream sundae cupcakes.  That's right-- those are cupcakes-- and I love them so much you'll see they show up in almost every picture of our Memorial Day picnic.  :)

 I LOVE fresh cherries!  They are so summery to me. (sorry again about the blurry photos)
I created special Memorial Day cups using the free printable found here.  There are 4 different designs so it also helped distinguish peoples drinks.  And we used a blue sharpie to write each person's name on the back of the cup.

The left over printable squares (which can also be punched out into circles) became other party decor (as kinda seen on the bowls of strawberries and cherries).
 A $.50 roll of striped ribbon I found at Goodwill served as napkin rings.  The blue flatware (and the tablecloth) were left over from the birthday party a couple of weeks prior.
 The fun star straws were found in the dollar bins at Target.  Perfect for a patriotic party.
The two paper fan circle decorations (actually I had 4 total) came from the Dollar Tree.  I would've DIY'd them myself using this tutorial, but for $1 for 2, it was actually cheaper (and more efficient) than making them myself.  I also got the patriotic lantern from the first picture at the Dollar Tree too.

Our "centerpiece" (kinda seen in the background of this photo and in the photo of the custom cups) was a tall glass vase filled with Twizzlers.  I stuck a few small pinwheels in it to add to the festivities -- in red, white and blue of course - and wrapped the vase with another piece of that Goodwill ribbon.
These cupcakes were a HUGE hit-- and a huge hit the next day as well when the left overs went to the hubby's work. Can't have cupcakes in the house when you're trying to loose weight you know!

(FYI-- I got my ice cream cups from Michael's.  A set of 6 for $2.99 and then I used my 40% off coupon)

And we ended the afternoon with a little story time thanks to Cole.  I had to include these because I think these photos are just too cute.  I LOVE photos of a little boy and his big brother!

Christian is such a good sport for listening (and with intensity) to Cole's version of 'A Very Hungry Caterpillar'!

The best thing about our Memorial Day picnic.  Getting to spend time with the kids.  And the best thing about most of the Memorial Day picnic decor-- it can be used again next year (or for the 4th of July) AND for when Cole's Uncle Jeffrey comes home from Afghanistan.

Cheapskate Tip:  buying solid colored (or simple patterned) items in colors like red, white and green are good investments.  They can be dressed up with additional embellishments (like ribbon or scrapbook paper) and can be used for multiple holidays-- Christmas, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, etc.

       I also "collect" blue items for the patriotic holidays and because my step-kids' school colors are
       blue and white (as are many of CT's schools AND of course for the orange and blue of Syracuse
       University) so I've got all my bases covered for graduations and sports parties as well.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tutorial - Custom T-shirt

You know you're a CRAZY mom when you make a concious decision that your son has to have a "commemorative" t-shirt for his birthday party that matches the theme of the party.   The good thing is that there are lots of other CRAZY moms out there in blogland so I didn't feel like I should be committed.

But-- as a cheapskate, I couldn't imagine spending $36 dollars on a t-shirt for a 4 year old for 1 day (like I've seen other places) so... I took matters into my own hands.
AND I don't (currently) have any actual sewing skills, so I had to come up with another option.  BTW-- I'm hoping to work on the sewing skills in the future.  It's on my list.

Enter Heat & Bond.  (sorry I don't have a great picture of it-- I was so excited to try it out I ripped into the package before taking too many photos)

So, I gathered my supplies: 
  • a white pocket t-shirt from Walmart: $3.50
  • A fabric quarter from Joanne's Fabrics: Clearance $.99
  • Coordinating embroidery floss  $.59
  • Heat N Bond sheet:  $2.99 (and I only used a VERY small portion of it  -- woo hoo-- more that means more fabric projects to come!)
First thing I did was remove the pocket from the t-shirt using my seam ripper.  I did this last year for the custom t-shirt I made for Cole's birthday last year and it worked really well so...  immediately after removing the pocket you'll see the outline of "holes" but both times I've tried this, after I've washed it (instructions say to wash both fabrics before "adhereing"), the lines have disappeared.

Following the Heat N Bond directions--I  ironed it to the patterned fabric, cut out my shape (using my computer paper  template that I made earlier) and ironed that onto the t-shirt.  Seriously it was THAT easy!

note the template had to be cut out backwards because the heat n bond was ironed on to the back.

But wait!  There's more...

It didn't quite look finished so... I broke out the embroidery floss and went to town.  In hindsight I would have used a lighter green floss-- I don't feel like this green color stands out as much as I wanted.  Not enough contrast in colors.  And I probably would've left more of an outside border of the patterned fabric, but...  here's what I ended up with.
To get the desired thickness of the floss I cut a long piece, strung my needle to the middle part of the piece and tied the two loose ends together-- that way I had a double thickness when hand embroidering the detail.
My spacing and length of the stitches leaves a lot to be desired, but... it was my first embroidery project (since elementary school) and Cole's four.  He didn't care.

Ta da!
One custom t-shirt for one cute four year old.

Cheap and easy!