Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Money $aving Mondays {11.16.2015 Edition}

This post is an easy one. We are sprucing up our condo to sell. Our large sofa is something that no longer ties in with the décor. While she is a quality made piece, she needs to be a different color. I do not want to paint her or take her to get re-upholstered. My solution? Drop Cloths! They are durable, washable, and I love the color of this particular brand. It is a lovely shade of greige (gray-beige). I used 3 drop cloths for our sofa. I ran out of them before I got to the seat cushions so I used an old linen sheet we had in the linen closet. I plan on switching that to a drop cloth also.

I bought the drop cloths at our local Home Depot store. They are all 9'x12' and NO SEAMS! I washed each one separately and dried them in the dryer. I did not iron them before I began the cover up of our sofa. I love that they have a slight linen look to them.

I have a confession to make: I cannot sew. I want to, I just don't know how. I can hand sew a straight line if you can believe that. This is my temporary no sew solution for now. The back pillows on the sofa are attached, which will make any slipcover a challenge. I could have taken the easier pricey route and headed over to Pottery Barn and paid $89 for fabric to drape over the sofa. They call it the loose draped slipcover. Really PB??? I can go to Home Depot and buy the largest size canvas drop cloth for $31 and do the same thing for less than 3/4 the price.

Anyway. Here it is moving right along. I placed one drop cloth over the back cushions tucking in around all of them (not individually like I would prefer) and tucking into the back near the springs and frame. Our sofa is seen from the back so I had to be sure it draped properly.

Draped down the backside of the sofa.

I then took two drop cloths on the bottom of the sofa and down the sides and tucked to cover the skirt around the sofa and to stay in place. I also pleated the arms slightly for a more custom look. I pinch pleated the middle of the "skirt" to hide the seams where the two drop cloths would meet.

Since I ran out of drop cloths, I used a linen sheet to cover the three seat cushions. Just wrapped them up and tucked.

I covered our two sofa pillows (18" x 18") with burlap pillow covers from Hobby Lobby (30% off this week :), the smaller pillow covers are also Hobby Lobby and are 14" x 14" with a nice gray linen look. The studded wrap with the "A" added to each burlap pillow are made by Mud Pie and I purchased them on clearance at our local Ace Hardware of all places.

In a perfect world, I would sew a custom slipcover with piping. An alternative would be to cut pieces and staple to the frame. This one has no staples and is no-sew. A temporary look tying the couch into the design updates I am going with for staging our home. The sofa will eventually have a home in my husband's man cave at our new home.

This is the perfect cover up and only took me 30 minutes to place and tuck.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Money $aving Mondays {11.10.2015 Edition}

My post did not upload properly yesterday so I am uploading again today. I am in the midst of DIYing our condo. Some are easy DIYs and others not as easy, but I want to share with you all one of the easier updates. It's time consuming but relaxing in an odd way. Well, not so odd if painting relaxes you.

I want to introduce you to the power of a product called Rub n Buff by Amaco. I am not paid to endorse this product. I have known about the wonders of Rub n Buff for years. A little bit goes a long way so don't let the size of the little tube scare you. Professional Framers have known about Rub n Buff for years also. Got a scratched frame? Rub n Buff can fix it or even transform it to another color.

I am taking all of our brass hinges (think 90s brass) and giving them the Rub n Buff treatment. I chose Silver Leaf because it looks close to Brushed Nickel. I also prefer the look of it. You could transform them with Ebony or Spanish Copper for a slight Oil Rubbed Bronze type look, or even one of their pretty golds since real brass is making a comeback. Here's a preview. The old brass hinge is on the right and the updated hinge on the left. The inside of the hinge got the treatment also. There is no right or wrong way to do this. You simply do as the name states: You rub it on, let it set up a few minutes since it dries so fast and buff with a soft cloth. The makers of RnB recommend sealing with WATER BASED Varathane if you are going to seal it. Hinges don't get a lot of touching so I am not sealing them. I still have to paint the trim so don't judge. :)

I also gave our very functional, but outdated Antique Brass Ceiling Fans the Rub n Buff treatment. I chose Pewter for this application. I wanted the look of Antique Pewter, which does not have a shiny metal look to it and boy did it deliver. On with the show... Before and After...

I forgot to take the Before with the blades on... Before: Antique Brass

After: Rub n Buff Pewter turned our fans Antique Pewter

And with the blades flipped from Oak to Cherry (I flipped back to Oak today - too much red and we have a beige and gray color scheme going on right now):

The Oak Fan Blades before I wiped them down to give them a good cleaning:

Another close-up of the After:

When I flipped the fan blades back to Oak, I also Rub n Buffed the screws once they were all in place. I did not want to mess them up with the screwdriver.

Rub n Buff has an odor since it is made of metallic pigments (real pieces of metal) and carnuba wax. My fingers looked like the tin man when I was finished. I used a small paint brush and my fingers. That's my choice. Feel free to wear nitril gloves and have at it.

The ease of this was that I did not have to take the fan down. I just did not want to go there so Rub n Buff while mounted to the ceiling was the perfect choice for me. With the taping around the fan mount, there was no bleed through to worry about. Remember a little goes a long way.

Have you tried Rub n Buff? What do you think?


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Good Grief, Charlie Brown!

This is a snippet. A small snippet. This is a piece extracted from writing I did for a small group retreat in 2006.

I did not even want to put it out here. Well, yes and no. However, having walked down Grief Road many times myself, I want to put it out there for several friends currently walking down this same road.

I've certainly had my share of grief. My parents passed away within three years of each other. I went through a divorce from my college sweetheart during my Mom's battle with Lymphoma. That divorce was a blessing in disguise, but it took a rear view mirror perspective to understand that. Anyway, grief is hard, it's tough, and it's magical in its own way. More than that, it is healing. It is a friend we have to allow to stay and bid goodbye when it is ready to go {or rather, when it decides we are ready}. It's not that I am an authority, but I am charged with passing on the knowledge I know or have learned. If I hold these little tidbits tightly in my hands, they will rot. If I give them away, they will prosper and bless others just as they blessed me.

A wise friend once told me, "take what you want and leave the rest". So, here's to grief. Embrace it and allow it to do its healing work. There is no magical timetable. Don't sweep it under the rug, friends. If you do, you are cheating yourselves and she will rear her head at a not so convenient time if you choose to forego her medicine now. Embrace her and bid her adieu when it is time. So here's what I know about Grief.

GRIEVE. “What am I supposed to do?” I asked my counselor one day in the midst of my divorce and in the middle of my mom’s battle with cancer. I had so many gaping holes in me that longed to be filled, I did not know what to do or which one to address first. My marriage was bleeding and dying, my mother was dying, my beautiful home had been sold, and my dreams were slipping right through my hands. I had cried an ocean of tears, I had journaled a thousand thoughts, prayed a million prayers. The burden is too great at times, the struggle too intense for us not to just let go. With the wisdom of Job, my counselor looked me in the eyes and placed a box of tissues in my hand and said, “Put your head on the chest of God and weep.” I could not have stopped the tears if I tried. I wept openly, out loud for a long period of time. So, my advice to you: Put your head on the chest of God and weep. Cry a river. Let it go! Take it from one who has been down Grief Road. The energy that it takes to hold it all together would be better spent on other things…like healing.  When I finally pulled myself together enough to speak, I uttered, “I think I’m dying!” He leaned in and responded, “I think you’re living.” I sat there for a moment. If this was living, I wasn’t so sure I wanted what this life had to offer. But then I recognized the gentle voice of my Savior, telling me that He would be with me in the deepest parts of my life. And has He ever. He has walked along beside me and carried me at times through some of life’s greatest sorrows. I’ve no doubt He’ll stick around through all the joyful times ahead as well. I don’t think Jesus named the Holy Spirit our Comforter on a whim. Only strong people can grieve. In fact, I believe it’s a weakness to not grieve. Until we grieve, we cannot be comforted. Until we lay our longings at the feet of Jesus, we cannot be ministered to by His presence. He will woo us, but He has perfect boundaries. Until I come to the end of “longings management” – holding it all together – I cannot trust Christ. But when I bring Him the longings I’ve held so tightly in my fist, He will hold them for me. He will be enough. So how does one survive the grieving process? By taking it a day at a time. Step by step we inch toward wholeness. Sometimes we take two steps forward and three backwards, but that’s part of the healing process, too. Every day will not be a good day, and that’s all right. Good days will come. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy will come in the morning. Reflect on that scripture for a while if you need to. It may not be tomorrow morning or the morning after that. But joy will meet you one morning. If you keep getting up.

The grieving process is a delicate one. There is a time for nursing and rehearsing past events. A time when every memory and feeling has been vented and exhausted. A season of silence. Resting. Allowing God to mend the heart. There will be times when grief will overtake you. Bowing you over, causing you to stop until its wave has passed. Then there will be respites when cool breezes of comfort will blow. The urge to rush the process of healing must be resisted. As one who picks at a scab discovers, trying to find the new skin only creates an unwanted scar. We must let air and time do their work in our wounded hearts. We must walk patiently toward healing. Sorrow cannot be hurried. If you hurry it, you will re-visit it at a less convenient time. You cannot leap ahead of it or hold it back once it decides its season is over. Grief is a friend that reluctantly bids you goodbye in its own time. It will slowly extricate itself from your arms, and kiss you farewell once you are strong enough to stand on your own. But, like any good friend, it will walk along beside you for a while. Allow it. But don’t count on it to remain.

When we cling to grief, it becomes bitterness. It will cloud our vision and make our ways difficult. Don’t go there. Don’t become attached. Don’t feel guilty about letting go when it’s time either. Don’t blame others or blame God (we’ll revisit that one). Release your grief as you walk into each new day. Release it like the many layers of clothing that have become too heavy as the day warms. Release it slowly, steadily until you find acceptance of your circumstances. Don’t blame life or adversity. Simply settle into the now and look toward the future. What is on the horizon, we don’t know; however, we will find it one step at a time. There’s only One who knows what is unknown to us. He has numbered our days, the good ones as well as the bad ones. He has spaced them out according to our ability to bear them. Therefore, choose to trust and keep moving. Don’t run. Don’t become impatient. You’ll only stretch out the process even further.  The pain will only come back to haunt you until you give into it and lie broken in its arms. Do not despise being broken, but extricate the good parts from your pain and brokenness. Brokenness increases our value. Remember, Christ was broken before we ever were. Here’s the good that comes from being broken: Compassion, passion for the causes of others, selflessness, greater character, humility, and finally strength. Brokenness is a beautiful gift. Yield to it. Remember, it’s a season just like anything else and it too will pass if you allow it to do its precious work. If you don’t, you’ll become bitter and repel anyone who comes near you. Allow others to comfort you and you will rise again. Talk it out, walk it out, journal it out (it's cathartic!) just don’t make it out (as in bail on it before it has time to do its work in you). Ask God to reveal to you the purpose of the gift you were privileged to have for a time, and accept it as such. Let that revelation equip you to embrace your pain for a season. Squeeze it. Learn from it. Drain it out. Sweep away the ashes and renew your strength. Strength begins with the decision to cling to the One who keeps it in reserve. In our weakness, His strength fills us in ways that will surprise us. Ask Him to give you strength, and drink deeply from the cup He offers.

Morning comes whether you are ready for it or not. Its light overtakes the darkness and forces you to face the day. And so it is with life. The bills are still due. People expect you to function. Your boss expects you to produce your work. Life goes on…one day at a time. It has a way of pulling you back into the reality of the present. Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow; today comes with enough troubles of its own. Do today well and deal with tomorrow…tomorrow. When manna rained upon the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness, God told them to collect only what they needed for the day’s food. Whenever they gathered more than they needed, it spoiled. Why? Because God was trying to teach them to depend on Him DAILY. Just like their fresh bread that arrived everyday, there's fresh grace to handle all that occurs within the space of twenty four hours. No more. No less. Why do we struggle to reconcile massive blocks of time in our minds? It is unnecessary and it’s impossible. Deal only with what you are able to grasp for now. That, my friend, would be today. You are only responsible for the moment you are in, minute by minute, step by step. God will be with each of us as we walk through our pain, wade slowly through our tears, and let suffering do its perfect work of mending our hearts.

Looking Within:

Ø  Are you taking one day at a time or worrying about tomorrow?

Ø  What things or persons from the past are you clinging to?

Ø  Why does looking back keep you from moving forward?

Ø  What is within your ability to do today?

Ø  What small step can you take toward healing today?

 Looking to Him:

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19).

As you journey down Grief Road, my prayer for you is that you open yourself up to the One who understands your grief and pain, and that upon walking beside your grief that joy comes for you in moments. That a ray of sunshine reminds you of your loved one(s) or friend, that a child's laughter brings you joy once again.

May His face shine upon you and bring you many blessings...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Money $aving Mondays {11.01.2015 Edition}

Hello Lovelies!

Forgive my absence. I was never paid for blogging; it was a hobby of mine. Life happened. Our condo was flooded by a negligent neighbor and our master suite was gutted and renovated due to all the damage. We paid for our bathroom to be tiled (slate = swoon) and a new shower to be tiled. We love it. That story and those updates will be coming your way another day. In order to ease myself back into blogging, I have a short one today.

It's Money Saving Monday so here's what I did to save money on my monkey fist doorstop crush. This was before all things nautical arrived at Hobby Lobby at an affordable price. I love those monkey fist doorstops made of rope. Love them. Before Hob Lob, they could be found at Pottery Barn and Ballard Designs for a pricey song. I saw this dog toy at TJMaxx and for $3.99, I went with it. We use it as a doorstop in our Master Bedroom. Can't beat the price and I love that it looks different from all the others. Besides, if our dog ever grabs a hold of it, it's soft and we have no worries about her carrying it around. She has never tried to grab it. Our dog has manners. She won't gobble food dropped on the kitchen floor unless she is told she can do so. Barking at people passing by or ringing the doorbell is another story. She is kind and I like her manners. It's what makes her unique.

Anyway, here's the photo of the dog toy that is now our Monkey Fist Doorstop.

Not too bad. Photos were taken with my phone so forgive the lack of quality. What are your money saves?
Linking up to these old favorites of mine, DIY Showoff and Linda at Coastal Charm...
And a new blog friend...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Money $aving Mondays {No.2}

I'm behind on this post due to the 4th of July Holiday falling on Monday and spending quality time with family. I opted to post about adoption first since the article I read really brought up some feelings and I've been wanting to share the news with you all, so the timing of that post was perfect.

1) In cleaning out our parents' estate, I've found myself having to clean things in order to make them sparkle, whether we are selling them or keeping them. I had forgotten my mom started wrapping her silver in plastic wrap and storing in plastic bags. It sounds ridiculous but that silver has not tarnished and it has been wrapped for close to 20 years. Wrap your silver and eliminate as much air as possible as this is what tarnishes it. It will not tarnish. Wrap it after you wash it, and it dries ~ thoroughly.

2)If you prefer, you may store your silver in flannel bags that have been treated to prevent tarnish. Take these special cautions with silver or silverplate pieces: Rubber may corrode or permanently etch silver. Never leave silver in contact with rubber bands. Also, never leave silver with prolonged contact with the following: eggs, olives, salad dressings, sulfur, vinegar, fruit juices, and alcohol ~ including perfumes or colognes.

3) Gold jewelry has not been that big in the South for years, but it will make a comeback, I know. In the meantime, if you ran out of jewelry cleaner and some pieces need extra cleaning, below is a great recipe. Use caution with fashion jewelry as those costume pieces may just be glued together and this recipe may loosen the glue.
You will need:
1 tsp. mild dishwashing liquid
1 tsp. plain ammonia
1 quart water

Mix the above in a small bowl and get a soft toothbrush that is new or has been sanitized and will strictly be used for this purpose. Immerse the gold to be cleaned in the solution, then brush gently with the toothbrush to get into the cracks and crevices. Rinse in a bowl in lukewarm water and allow to dry. You can also rub with a chamois cloth to restore a lustrous shine.

4) To remove grease from gold (either from baking or automotive grease), simply dip the gold briefly in rubbing alcohol (at least 70% isopropyl), then wipe the grease off with a soft cloth. Rinse briefly in cool water and dry with a soft cloth. DO NOT DIP gemstones, pearls, or other non-gold items into alcohol.

5) Pearls are so extremely delicate and should be treated as such. I have a very long strand that was my mom's and I triple wrap it around my neck. After I wear it, I rub it gently with a soft cloth and store it in a safe place. You can wash pearls in a very mild solution of mild dishwashing liquid and warm water. Rinse them in cool water and allow them to dry. Diamond jewelry may also be routinely cleaned this way.

6) And speaking of polishing, let's not forget the furniture: Lemon Oil Furniture Polish. You will need 1 quart of Mineral Oil + 1 Tbsp. Lemon Oil. Add lemon oil into the bottle of mineral oil. Shake to mix. To use, wipe it on and wipe it off with a clean, soft cloth. Note: Oils are flammable. Avoid open flames and do not smoke!

Until next week, shine on!

These Children Are Our Responsibility: Foster Care Adoption » Adoption » Content — SixSeeds.tv

This post today comes from an article I've read {I've only read a few hundred since fall 2010 on this subject} and I cry every.time.I.read.one. Is it because I am sad for these children or is it because my Heavenly Father has awakened my heart knowing that one day Mr. Fabulous and I may be blessed to adopt one or a sibling group of sisters? I say sisters because brother and sister cannot share a room in our 2-bedroom condo, the siblings will have to share a room until the real estate market stabilizes enough for us to move.

At first, the idea of adopting from foster care was a little daunting {read that as scary}. I had the same misconceptions about it that most people have, but I very quickly warmed up to it so much so that hotflashes would be in order here. These children are in foster care through no fault of their own and they deserve to know what love, stability, security, safety, and healthy boundaries look like. While I will never be their birth mother, I do feel God is birthing children in my heart every single day. I do not know what age they will be, what color hair they will have, what color eyes they will have, whether they will smile at us the first time they meet us or cower in fear because we are just another set of strangers to them. So many questions without answers, but I do know this: God knows who are our children are. That alone brings me comfort. He is keeping them safe, warm, loved, and fed until He times everything perfectly for His plan when our world meets their world and they become ours. Will I be mad at their parents for not taking care of them? I think I will be mad at any injustice done to them ~ abuse, neglect, abandonment, etc., but I will be grateful to their parents for giving them life, for that life {or those lives} will be a precious gift to us. That's part of the reason that if you look to the right of this blog, I have a widget that highlights children from the United States Foster Care System that are legally free for adoption. I'll wait while you go take a look... Did you see them? Those are the faces of the fatherless in our country. Not every face is represented here, but you get the idea. Did you see one that just captured your heart? Don't you want to find out how you go about adopting them? :)

The topic of adoption is not a new one for me. Being the youngest child of 4, with an age gap of 7.5 - 10 years between my three older siblings and I, I was begging my parents to have another child. When they said, "No. You are the icing on a 3-layer cake", I insisted they adopt. I had a great reason or two: So I would have a sibling to boss around, and so I would have one closer to my age that I could play with. Well, that never happened. And yes, I am close to my siblings {my sister is sandwiched between my brothers and they were born literally one year after the other}. By the time I came along, Mom had 3 helpers for me, not to mention "instant babysitters". My sister contemplated adoption and I wish she had taken the plunge and done so {Dear Sissy, it is never to late...}. I could be an auntie to one of my siblings' children {none of them have children}. I'm an auntie to Mr. Fabulous' nieces and I think they are wonderful; in fact, they will be great role models for our girls. :) Fast forward to my single-again days in my 30s prior to meeting Mr. Fabulous. While at a Stephen Curtis Chapman concert in December 2005, he mentioned Show Hope, and my friend Emily who was also single and longing for a family, purchased ornaments from Show Hope for every woman in our small group. It was at that concert when I prayed, "Lord, if I am not married by the time I'm 40, can I adopt?" I always assumed it would be a little girl from China. And God has gently pointed the way. From the time adoption entered our world last fall until now, every time we turned on the TV, we'd see a commercial, a newscast, a movie or a show, not just featuring children who were adopted, but children adopted from foster care or children in foster care. We even started laughing about it saying, "OK, Lord, we hear You." So, we attended two orientations in February of this year. One was from our local county regarding foster care and foster-adoptions, the other was from Focus on the Family and our eyes were wide open. We saw God's loving arms wrapped around each person in the stories we heard that day, and those stories were from every end of the foster care and adoption spectrum. And, we learned, you don't have to be perfect to be parents {Thank You, Lord, because I am perfect at being imperfect!}. I still remember at the end of the FOTF event, Mr. Fabulous looked at me and said, "I believe this is a ministry for us in some sort of way." Why yes, Mr. Fabulous, it is. It is redemption for those children and redemption for us. It is introducing those children to Jesus when they might have never had the opportunity to meet Him. It is pouring love into them and letting them know they are finally home. Back to China: the cost and regulations are keeping us from International adoption. I kept asking myself, "How can we adopt overseas when so many need homes here, in our own country?" I'm not condemning anyone adopting overseas as I feel some are called to do so. This was a personal question that came up for us. Believe me, I'd adopt every orphan if I could, but that's just not feasible or realistic.

I believe this one is so close to the Father's heart that He weeps for them. Thankfully, He is a Father to the fatherless... Psalm 68:5-6a (NIV): "5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 6 God sets the lonely in families..." I don't just feel God places orphans (the lonely) in families, but I do believe with all my heart that He placed me in Mr. Fabulous' family. Many blessings have come from our being married. Both of my parents are deceased. In fact, the 10th anniversary of my mother's passing is this August and this year, I find myself missing her more than ever. Anyway, one of my prayers when I was single again, was for me to be close to my future husband's parents. God has answered that prayer. They are kind, loving, good, and most of all, a blessing. Seriously, I have the BEST In-Laws, but then, I'm a little biased. I would love to sit at my Mother-in-Law's feet in her kitchen and just take notes on how she does what she does. I can hear her laughing now as I type this because "she does not really have a system", she would say. I believe she does, she just might not realize it. She is an amazing cook and hostess, and she is always doing for and serving others.

I'm working on getting our house in order ~ literally. Our office is in the 2nd bedroom and that will have to be turned into a bedroom for our homestudies and for our children. Our sunroom will have to become our office. There are things I kept here that will need to go into our storage, and ideally, we'd love to pay off our debt. We've been on one income since our marriage as my industry was real estate and we know how well that has been going {sarcasm}. I feel like all of that ~ the minutia of it all ~ is standing in the way of the adoption process for us. I'm profoundly saddened by that every single day. So, I am humbly asking for your prayers. Pray the resources come in where we are financially able to adopt. Pray that the book I'm writing is a success because that could potentially pay off our debt, pray my brain gets an organized scheme going every day {in my professional life, I am highly organized; in my personal life, it is more sporadic} so I can move mountains to get our place where it needs to be. Pray we have peace about when to take the plunge and dive in, knowing God has our backs as well as our best interest at heart, and He knows our child{ren}. I'm forever humbled and grateful for your prayers.

There are many other scriptures I could leave you with to ponder. Again, this one is so close to the Father's heart. I do recommend reading two extraordinary books: Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman {I grew to love this woman in that book!} ~ you will need tissues. My Sister-In-Law read it while here for Christmas and kindly loaned it to me {little did she know!}. I would go to open it and quickly close it because I was crying before I ever cracked the book open. It was just that close to my heart. Needless to say, once I started reading it, I could not stop. The other book I recommend is: Fields of the Fatherless by Tom Davis. I read that one in about a day. Both are so poignant and right on target. They are on my list of favorites! And no, I'm not being paid for the shout out.

Finally, the article I linked within this post. Here it is without further adieu!

These Children are Our Responsibility: Foster Care Adoption » Adoption » Content — SixSeeds.tv

Thank you for allowing me to share my heart today.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Money $aving Mondays {No. 1}

This is a new series that I plan on adding tips, tricks, and ideas to each week in order to $ave you money and hopefully, time, too.

Around the House:
1) Contain Pot-Lid Clutter: If you have not been fortunate enough to have the newest kitchen organizing cabinets, then this tip is for you {& myself, too}. Dinner prep would be smooth sailing if only we could find the right lid for each pot without pulling everything out of the cabinet while we search. In order to avoid those lovely search parties: In a deep drawer, insert 2 or 3 tension rods from front to back about 1-1.5 inches from the top. The rods will divide the drawer in 3 slim sections so the lids are stored on their sides and stay securely in place. Use this tip in a not-so deep drawer for plastic lids, too!

2) Turn Yellow Plant Leaves Green: High pH levels in the soil typically caused by hard water are to blame. To resolve the problem, combine 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar and 1 qt. of water, then water the plant(s) with this mixture as soon as you notice yellow leaves. Do this once/week for three weeks. The mixture will lower the pH level in the soil by increasing its acidity, turning the yellow leaves to green in a matter of weeks.

3) Salt Stains on Hardwood Floors: Do you have salt prints on your harwoods after every snowfall? Give them the boot with this trick: Pour 1 Tbs of apple cider vinegar onto a soft, damp cloth and dab at the marks, starting at the edges and working toward the center. The acid in the liquid will neutralize the salt particles, removing the stain without damaging the wood's finish.

4) Freshen/Clean Your Coffeemaker: Run a half pot of white vinegar, followed by two pots of water through your drip coffeemaker. The vinegar helps prevent the buildup of mineral deposits.

5) Got Belt, Scarf, or Tie Clutter? Use the plastic rings from a 6 or 8-pack of soda to organize them. Simply hang one of the rings over a hanger, then loop belts, scarves or ties through the remaining rings. Great way to reduce and re-use!

Beauty on a Budget:
1) Out of Dandruff Shampoo & Having a Bit of a Flaky Issue? Reach for the apple cider vinegar once again. Apply 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar to dry hair and gently massage into your scalp, rinse thoroughly with cool water. You can use this trick prior to shampooing. The alpha hydroxy acids in the vinegar will loosen the buildup of sebum that causes the embarrassing problem. Within a day or two, you'll be flake-free and have fabulous body, too! {OK for color-treated hair and there is no residual odor}.

2) Banish "Bacne" With a Bubble Bath: This protein-honey soak contains astringents from egg whites and natural antibacterial agents from honey.
1/2 mild liquid soap {Dr. Bronner's Pure Castille is fabulous!}
1 egg white
1Tbs. Honey
Stir ingredients and pour under running water. Soak for at least 15 minutes.
Note: Don't want to use an egg white? Use a packet of powdered milk instead.

3)Feeling Like a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof? Cool down with this refreshing cucumber mist.
In a blender, combine until smooth:
1/2 fresh Cucumber, chopped
1/2 Cup Distilled Water
2 Tbs. Fresh Mint leaves or 1 Mint Tea Bag
Cheesecloth or coffee filter
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour through cheesecloth or coffee filter into clean spray bottle. Chill in the fridge and mist onto skin after bathing. Mist should be good up to 5 days.

4) Whittle Your Waist & Prevent Viruses: Sound too good to be true? Extra Virgin (Unrefined) Coconut Oil is the most powerful virus-destroyer experts have found. It's the monolauric acid - the same protective fatty acid found in breast milk - which attacks germs such as staph, strep, and influenza. Your Rx: Add 3 Tbs to your daily diet. It does have a slight coconut taste and can be used in any recipe that calls for butter or oil. {When I diet, this is my #1 weapon and the only additional fat I use}. It's great for baking, stirring, sauteing, or try spreading or drizzling it on toast. It is solid unless it is below 70 degrees. It won't raise your cholesterol (as long as you are eating healthy = Lots of veggies, lean cuts of meat, fruit). It's one of the healthiest fats around {MUFA ~ Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acid = think olive oil and nuts}, but a proven weight loss aid. Cherie Calbom's Coconut Diet book explains this in-depth.

5) Want To Banish Oil Without Looking So Matte? Oil glands go into overdrive in higher temperatures. To smoothe skin and dry up the oil slick, combine 1/2 Cup Orange Juice {Fresh or Florida Naturals ~ NOT concentrate}, 1 Tbs. Corn Starch, and 1 tsp. Salt. Massage over entire face and leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse. Repeat twice a week. The citric acid in the juice melts dead skin cells, while the cornstarch and salt soak up the surface oil without drying out skin. Your oil glands will give up and say, "We're not needed here".

Until next time, Keep it simple, keep it frugal, and keep it chic!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Encouraging Words ~ A Little Something To Store Them In

The Nester over @ {in} courage is hosting a giveaway for Dayspring, but I love her lead into the giveaway. It's about the fact that we all keeps notes of encouragement or cards of sentiment and if we keep them, where do we store them? This post is about that...storage.

I have stored all the notes and cards from the fabulous ladies who were in the first ever single women's group that I led for 3 years in a beautiful hat box. I had hopes of scrapbooking them one day, but the nice thing is that I know where they are and I can open that box of love anytime I need a little encouragement.

While I no longer lead that small group and we've all dispersed into other groups, most of us stay in touch and still meet for coffee, lunch, dinner, a movie once in a while. Most of the group has remarried so our hubbies tag along from time-to-time, which is nice. These women and I have been together through sunshine and shade so I love reading their notes every once in a while and I think they need a pretty box to be stored in. That box may one day need to be upgraded to a vintage suitcase. The one my mom had in the 1940s would be great, don't you think? It even has her maiden name initials.

I had a special box for keepsakes from my husband while we were dating. I would store cards, dried roses, random little things. It was a box from Philosophy and it stored the fragrance set I wore at the time, Falling in Love. The photo from Philosophy's website is below. I purposely used that box to store momentos from Mr. Fabulous because I was Falling in Love {sigh}. After we married, my box became our box so it has been upgraded to a beautiful blue storage box with a nice seaside theme {did not take a photo of that one}.

I also am starting a box to store cards from each of my parents or both of them to me over the years. They are both deceased and I'm oh so glad I kept those momentos as they are sweet treasures I pull out whenever I find myself longing for some time with Mom or Dad or both.

I hope this post got you thinking about storing your treasured keepsakes in something pretty...

Remember: Keep it simple, keep it organized, keep it lovely, & keep encouraging!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tablescapes ~ Patriotic Style

I brought out the patriotic 4th of July decor from storage this afternoon and crafted a couple of tablescapes and a "drink counter". I know it is two weeks away, but I'm patriotic and my Sister-in-law sent me a G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S navy blue patriotic tea towel with fireworks on it for part of my birthday gift from her family, of which I have not taken photos of yet, but it is prominently displayed in our kitchen right now. The main gift was a gift card to Hobby Lobby {I'd say she knows me well ;)}. My apologies to any followers who are not American, but perhaps you will get ideas for celebrations that are specific to your countries. Back to the decor...

Below is how I designed one of the tables {ignore the foam soccer balls, they were in the stash for who knows why?!? ~ Mr. Fabulous said they are from the FIFA Soccer games last year and are to be displayed when we watch the women this year} and I forgot to remove them prior to my photos. The wineglass candleholders I already owned, same with the 8-inch red pillar candle, ribbon, and white milkglass dish that I inherited from my parents {I love, love, love milkglass!}. I also already had the inscribed rocks on hand from Coldwater Creek. The rest was purchased at Hobby Lobby {not with the gift card!}...

I just realized my little wooden flags that were Mr. Fabulous' prior to our marriage are on the display, too {I ended up sticking them in the vase with the flower arrangement, which you will see below}. I also forgot to light the candles for this shot {I'm striking out on this post thus far...wawa}. The whole point of this post is for you to see how cheap and creatively you can pull off a tablescape on the fly.

Details, details... The larger white table mats are stiff felt from Hobby Lobby and I got them half off so they were $1 each! They are 11"x17" in size and my thought was that they can be re-used on Valentines, Christmas, B'days, etc. The flag tablemats are felt and are 8.5" x 11" or close to that size. They are soft felt and I also got them half off for like 25 cents each! The foam stars were also half off for less than $1. The bandana was on sale (think of patriotic subway art). It was less than $1. The tray was from their spring/summer collection and I bought two on clearance for $3 and change. I plan on spray painting them down the road. The ribbon on the candleholders I had on hand already, but I've seen clearance and $1 at Hob Lob, too.

Here is tablescape 2, which is so similar...

The only difference is the milkglass vase is not in this one and a star dish is in its place. The star dish was something Mr. Fabulous owned prior to our marriage. Yes, Mr. Fabulous owns fabulous things and he has great taste {or maybe it is great to me because it is so similar to my own?!? ;)}.

Below is the Drink Counter...

Don't you love the dog bowl that I had unloaded on that counter {it's clean}? The photo displayed is simply an LP Frame I bought at Ross years ago with a patriotic scrapbook page of highlights from the United States Constitution. Thought it would make a nice added touch. The cups are for the hometown baseball team that Mr. Fabulous and I both L-O-V-E: The Atlanta Braves! Besides, their colors are red, white, and blue. Can't get more patriotic than our home team! Bobby Cox, we miss you, but we are adjusting to Gonzalez as Manager. The 2 pillars are from a set of three LED lights for our wedding from a friend {thanks, Ken!}. Notice the wooden flag picks I mentioned earlier? They are in the vase of flowers, which are fake, by the way. The vase is an olive oil jar that I scraped the label off and sanitized. The jars remind me of vintage milk bottles.

Here's a close-up of the scrapbook patriotic page {given to me from my fabulous sister, Kathi's, stash {bad grammar}...

So my point being... use what you have and add to it frugally. Frugal can be chic. It's all a matter of what you like. If you are on the beach, stars can be starfish. You get my point. I'd love to see how you are decorating this 4th of July so post your link in the comments below {I need a Mr. Linky tool, don't I??? And a button for my blog...worked on that button way too long, by the way...).

Remember, keep it simple, keep it frugal, keep it creative, and keep it chic!

Happy 4th of July!

I'll be linking to the below parties... Visit them for inspiration!
The Girl Creative

Keeping It Simple


The DIY Show Off

Tip Junkie handmade projects

<br />http://www.thethriftyhome.com

Linking up to Blue Cricket Designs {her button is having issues so here is the link}: