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

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

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

Monday, June 13, 2011

Making Memories {French Memo Board Tutorial}

Our niece, Ashley, graduated from high school at the end of May. One of her gifts was a French memo board I made for her in the colors of her dorm {she starts college this fall}. I did not even think to check blogland for tutorials, and I've never made one. I had one that I purchased brand new, unused at a garage sale 3-4 years ago. It was fucshia pink with orange ribbon. Not my style and not the colors of Ashley's dorm decor. I did not take a before picture of the memo board {sorry, I forgot}. I was thinking more about getting the project done in time rather than a blog tutorial. It hit me after I removed the buttons, removed the fabric panel on the back, ironed my fabric and stapled it on there that I should have taken a picture {Oops!}. Since I have been MIA from blogging, I just was not thinking, but you will get photos and the steps below. :) Hopefully the end result will make up for it.

· Inexpensive memo board
· 1 1⁄4 yards fabric of your choice
· Iron and ironing board, optional
· Fabric scissors
· Staple gun and staples
· 5 yards seam binding or grosgrain ribbon, 5⁄8 inch wide, color of your choice
· Covered-button kit with 3⁄4-inch buttons or re-purpose the buttons as I did
· Wire cutter
· Frame hanging wire
· Fabric for backside of board {muslin or cotton sheeting}
· ½ grossgain ribbon to cover staples on fabric on backside of board.
· Fabric glue

1. Remove and discard the buttons and ribbons from the original memo board. Note: If you are using a template board you made, be sure to wrap it in batting and then fabric. I remembered the ribbon pattern as I drew it on a piece of paper so I would know how to place my ribbon {a large "X" and 4 parallel pieces}.

2. Iron your fabric to remove any wrinkles, if necessary. Lay the fabric facedown on a flat surface {if using burlap, you will need to double the fabric so it is not see through}; lay the memo board facedown over the fabric. Cut excess fabric so there is approximately 2 inches fabric overhang on each side of the memo board.

Wrap the fabric to the back of the board, stretching the fabric so it is tight. Using the staple gun, secure one staple at the center of each side.

3. Wrap fabric over diagonally at each corner, and secure with a staple. Neatly fold in the remaining fabric and staple in place. Finish stapling the fabric around the memo board.

4. Turn the memo board face-up. Cut two ribbon pieces a few inches longer than the distance from corner to corner diagonally. Wrap one end to the back, and staple in place. Stretch the ribbon tight to the opposite corner, wrap the end to the back, and staple. Repeat with the second ribbon, forming an “X”. Add four more ribbons parallel to the first ones {this makes a diamond shape when looking at the “X”}, stretching them tight from the mid-points of each side.

I used two different colors of grossgrain ribbon, but you could use all the same color.

5. Insert a staple at each ribbon intersection. I used scraps of 2 inch wide silk ribbon and made five covered buttons, hand-stitching the ribbon to cover the buttons. I attached the buttons with fabric glue hiding the staples at each ribbon intersection. Furniture brads would be another great idea. Because I was gluing buttons on {used fabric glue so they don't pop off like they would if I used hot glue}, I covered the staples at each ribbon intersection with the finished button.

6. I covered the back of the board with fabric I had from a cotton sheet. I used pinking shears to cut it so it would not fray, stapled it in place, and covered the staples with 2 inch blue grossgrain ribbon {I took a photo of the fabric and did not take one of the ribbon covering the staples}. I glued the ribbon in place with permanent fabric glue. The tape on the unfinished board back was to cover where the staples poked through.

Voila! Here's the finished French memo board. {I put the buttons in place and snapped a photo prior to gluing them down}.

Sorry for the lighting in the photos looking so yellow. Batteries were close to dying and I took the photos the evening I made the board as opposed to daylight, which would have made for better pictures! You get the idea...

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As for our niece, the graduate, she loved it!

Remember, keep it simple, keep it crafty, keep it thrifty, and keep it chic!

I'm linking up to these parties this week. Stop by for some creative inspiration. I'll be adding new party links everyday:

Blue Cricket Design's Linky Party Button is not working so here is the link to her post:

Keeping It Simple

The DIY Show Off


Tip Junkie handmade projects



Transformation Thursday


The Shabby Nest



Boogieboard Cottage