Friday, December 7, 2012

Bookmarks and Journals

A few months ago,  I made some bookmarks and journals for gifts.
I took photos to share with you, and then forgot about them.
But I found them yesterday!
 I upcycled a tailor's tape measure I found at Target.  
I love this color, but they also had pink.
I made bird's nest charms from tutorials I saw at Just Something I Made (she has an amazing collection of tutorials on her blog).
 I made this one based on Andrea Singarella's beautiful inspiration.
It was frustrating, because I'm finding
I need to order good craft supplies online because
stores like Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabric
have a really terrible selection. Terrible.
It turned out ok, but I would love to order some
better supplies in the future and try again.
 I bought these small journals at Target's Dollar Spot,
and just added some stamped charms.
 Target also had these little chevron bags, which I used to wrap the journal.
It turned out to be a pretty cute gift for $2.00 plus supplies I already had.

For more gift inspiration, here is my Pinterest Board for Gift ideas.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cheapskate Gardening

I thought I would share a few money-saving ideas for the garden.

I've had these iron baskets for a while, but I didn't want to go out and buy coconut liners or moss.  I lined them with burlap and just inside the burlap I put a plastic grocery bag with a few holes punched in it.  Then I added the soil and the plant.  I could have skipped the grocery sack, but it helps the soil keep moisture and the holes allow for drainage.   I did this about a month ago and they seem to be doing well.
I used Swedish Ivy for the first time because it was on sale.  So far, I really love it because it is low maintenance.  It does well when the soil is dried out, but hasn't been too finicky about wet soil or the extreme heat we've had in the month since I planted them.

I really love the look of sweet potato plants in baskets and pots (it's the bright green foliage).  There couldn't be an easier, more dramatic plant to put in a container.

I'm too cheap to buy as many plants as I want, however, so I found Mr. Brown Thumb's blog post about how to propagate ornamental sweet potato plants.  It is so easy!

You just take a cutting, cut off most of the leaves and stick it in water (Check out Mr. Brown Thumb's directions for more specific instructions).  I kid you not, within 1 day the thing will start growing roots.  Within 1 week, the jar will be full of roots and you can plant it.  I have made several plants from the two on my porch.  By the way, don't eat them.

I really love hydrangeas and want more, but I'm too cheap to spend $25 on a new plant.  I suspected this would be more difficult than sweet potato propagation, and fully expected they would all die.  Nevertheless, I gave it a shot and then left for a 2 week vacation.  When I returned, they were all alive and growing.  Nice.

I found instructions on the Backyard Gardening blog.  I used 2 liter soda bottles with the tops chopped off to make little greenhouses and keep them moist.

I have had problems with weeds growing in between the stones in the back patio.  With kids and dogs running through all the time, I don't like spraying poison.  I had read once that vinegar kills weeds (plants as well, so be careful).  I tried pouring vinegar on them, but it didn't work.  So, I remembered the cleaning solution I made from 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup dawn liquid soap (I saw this on pinterest as a shower cleaner, and it works for that too).  This essentially makes a vinegar gel that stays on the plant and takes more time to evaporate.  I sprayed it on the weeds and it took about a day to kill them, but it worked.

Lastly, a gardener at a garden center told me to use epsom salt on some sale plants I was buying that looked wilted.  If you put a little epsom salt in the water after you plant them, or mix some in the dirt, it will help revive them.  I have since discovered that giving a little ES to houseplants and garden plants makes them healthier.  Rose plants especially seem to love it.  Outdoors I sprinkle the dirt below each plant with a tablespoon or two about once a month.  Indoors, I put a little ES in the watering can.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Anyone heard of Craft Gossip before? It's a great place to get all kinds of crafty ideas and I have been a fan for a long time. Well, apparently they featured my ribbon organizing idea. It's always such an honor to me when a blog or website features my ideas, when I see that someone has pinned one of my ideas on Pinterest, and when anyone takes the time to read and/or comment on my blog. Thank you Craft Gossip, and thank you beautiful readers!

They are talking about me at

Monday, March 19, 2012

Recycled Art

I got really tired of the picture hanging in my bathroom, but it just stayed because I didn't know what to do with it.  One day I snapped and painted it with chalkboard paint.  I have enough chalkboards in my house, so I turned it into a lazy subway art.
I found these letter stickers at Walmart for about $2.50.
Pretty minimal effort for the subway art, which I really like.  I can change the message any time I want, too.  I'm not sure if I'll keep it though.  What do you think?  I would also really love to do this project from Little Green Notebook with a photo from California (maybe the beach? or the boat Mr. Jones and I got married on?) or I could frame a map of California.  We'll see ... this is a better temporary solution, though.

I've been having an art "thing" lately.  Anyone else catch this bug?  Here are my art pins on Pinterest if you want to take a look.
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Imperfect Wall Mirror

Have you ever thought to yourself, "That project looks pretty easy.  I could get that done today"?   That's what I said to myself after I saw the tutorial at Salvage Savy showing how to make an antiqued mirror that props up against the wall (despite the warning in the tutorial that this is not easy).  I thought I would get it done before Mr. Jones got home from work.  It has been 3 months since I started the project.  Not done yet.

I was going to blog about this project when I was done, but I saw that Nester is having an "It's Not Perfect But It's Beautiful" party, so I thought I would show you my mirror in all its imperfect glory (The other reason I'm doing this today is that I should be studying for a biology test.  Perfect day to blog).
I thought a mirror that goes above the sideboard would look better than 1 or 2 that stood against the wall, so that was my plan.  Let the problems begin:  Supplies at my Lowe's were more expensive than planned.  MDF board was way too heavy to hang on the wall, so the guy at Lowe's told me to get a thinner board despite me telling him it had to be strong enough to hold mirrors (The people at Lowe's "helping" me that day thought I was crazy and didn't try to hide that fact).  Turns out, the board he told me to get was not only too floppy to hold mirrors, but warped in light speed.  Mr. Jones told me we should just bolt the board to the wall, and then put the mirrors on the board.  The problem with that was that he would have to do something special to the board so the screws would go into the wood and the mirrors would be flush.  I absolutely did not want to glue the mirrors to the wall.  Add to all that, the fact that antiquing mirrors is a real pain in the butt.  There is a learning process, and it will not turn out exactly the way  you want.  Imperfect by nature.  Then tiles crack, chip and break because your kid threw a pillow on it (not because I left it on the living room floor for 3 months).
A week ago I was deciding whether to throw it all away or get it done.  I really want a mirror over the sideboard, so I chose the latter.  Then I had a great idea:  Hang foam board on the wall instead of the wood.  The screws just go right into it, so it's flat, and it is really light.  So I bought the foam board and screwed that sucker into the wall.  Then I tried to use the special mirror glue to start gluing the mirrors on.  I couldn't get it to come out of the bottle.  As I'm jamming on the stupid thing and trying to force it out, I keep seeing all these "WARNING: EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE" notices all over the bottle.  Just what I need to do is blow myself up trying to beat the glue out of a bottle.
So I grabbed some of those 3M tabs from my laundry room and put those on the mirror.  Purely by accident, they happened to be velcro.  This was truly incredible, because I can now pull the tiles off and stick them back on.  The first row of mirrors were a little crooked, so I ripped them off and stuck them on. 
This is what the back of a tile looks like.
There are some tiles I truly need to replace, but some of them have chips or scratches and I'm just going to use them anyway.  After all, they're antiqued, right?
Some tiles are a little too antiqued for me, but I'm still using them.  The one on the right is actually a little darker in the photo.  With the tiles that are too spotty for my liking, I sprayed the back with a silvery-gold spray paint instead of black so it looks a bit mellower.

If you are wondering why there is a towel jammed between the sideboard and the wall, I did that in case the 3M wasn't strong enough and the tiles fell off the wall.  I didn't want my dogs to get their heads chopped off while napping.

So that's it.  The project is almost finished because I have a few more tiles to fix up, but it's looking good.  We may even frame it some day.  But maybe not.
Here the link to Nester's party if you want to stop by there.  Here is a link to my Pinterest board of mirrors if you want to see that.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Grapefruit-Carrot Juice

Do you have a juicer?  I thought long and hard before buying one, and then I saved up.  It was a purchase I'm very happy I finally made. 

Here is a recipe I tried from Whole Living Magazine.  It is 2 grapefruits, 5 carrots and some ginger (I don't always use the ginger).  Seriously, it tastes just like grapefruit juice.  Mr. Jones even drinks it, which is saying a lot.

It's good to EAT fruits and vegetables, but above and beyond what you eat, juicing helps you get an amazing amount of nutrients in your body.  I feel like I'm treating my body like gold when I drink something like this.

Monday, January 2, 2012

How I Keep Track of Books

I love to read.  That set in about the same time I had kids and didn't have time to read.  Then I really wanted to.  Here's how I keep track of my books:
Part I:  My Journal ...

I moved away from my home and friends several years ago.  One of my friends from the old neighborhood moved close by recently and started a book club.  She is Wendy at Simply Brookes.  We shared lunch with some amazing ladies once a month.
Then she left.
I had this great idea to give her a journal to keep track of books she has read as a going away present.  I took some quotes about friendship and some quotes from books we had read, printed them and glued them into the journal.  I gave it to her at our last luncheon.  Guess what gift she had for the rest of us?  Yep, a journal.  She explained that when she finishes a book, she jots down the name of the book and date in her journal.  I can't remember for sure, but I think she also keeps a "to read" list on the last page of the journal and crosses them off as she goes (I need to do this).

I printed the same quotes I put in Wendy's journal and put them in mine.  I used the friendship quotes as well as the book quotes because to me, books are intertwined with friends, love, emotions, home, family ...
I love quotes (probably obvious at this point), so  in addition to writing the name of the book and when I finished, I write a quote or two from the book.
No need to be perfect about it.  Write what is meaningful, and that is what I enjoy when I flip through the journal.

My favorite books from book club were East of Eden by John Steinbeck, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  **Updated** I'm not sure how I forgot this, but I also loved Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.  These are at the top of my all-time favorites list. 

Some other books I really enjoyed this past year:  Bossypants by Tina Fey, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, True Grit by Charles Portis, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne.

(Middlesex is in the photo above, but not my favorite.  Glad I read it, but not sure I would recommend it).

Part II:  GoodReads ...

This morning I found a website called to keep track of my books online.  I previously used a different website, but it's not there anymore.  In addition to their website, GoodReads has an iPod app and an Android app.  I have a list of read, currently reading and want to read books.  I can friend people, read reviews,  see quotes, post to Facebook or Twitter, rate books and get recommendations based on how I rated my books.  I can post directly to my blog (haven't tried this yet) and make different kinds of widgets for my blog (my favorite widget shows quotes I liked from my books).  Stop by GoodReads and friend me.

**Update** Thanks to Bonnie, whose comment reminded me that I have a Shelfari account and had completely forgotten about it.  I will have to compare it to Goodreads and see which I like better.  I'll let you know.

This afternoon I was catching up on Nester's blog and she asked how her readers keep track of books.  So I'm going to link up to her ... check out the link if you want to see what others are doing.

Have you read any good books lately?
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