Tag Archives: thrifty

The Fall-ification of a House

So, I have hinted around that I was attempting to decorate for the season.  Over the last month or so I’ve slowly added fall touches to the house.  I thought I would share them with you.  As always, I tried my best to spend as little money as possible, even if it meant “recycle bin diving” at the local recycle center.  Of course, being me, I asked permission first!

We’ll start with the front door.  The front porch isn’t looking fallish yet due to the lack of pumpkins.  Hopefully we will get some soon and I can complete the front of the house.  Anyhow…the front door.  I wanted to make a wreath.  I have been checking out fall wreaths online and found one I liked over at HomeStoriesAtoZ so I thought I’d give it a whirl but keep it simple.

I found the wreath at Goodwill covered in awful fake flowers. I ripped them off and was left with a simple grapevine wreath.

I made the flowers from felt and fleece.  My Hobby Lobby didn’t have a great selection of felt colors, so I checked out the fleece and picked up the orange and gold.

Aren’t they cute?

Right inside the front door is my little refinished pedestal table.   I think this is now my Goodwill spot…the table is Goodwill, along with the little crate and wreath ($0.50 each).  I added a little jute frame I already had and filled it with the first colorful leaf from our yard.

Who knows how long the leaf will stay colorful.  First I tried ironing it between wax paper.  While that was ok in elementary school, I wasn’t cool with the look.  So, I removed the leaf from the wax paper and simply ironed it between fabric to completely dry it out.  It’s been about two weeks, so I think I may have found a good method!  Finally, I added a delicious smelling Apple Cider votive to complete the vignette.  ( I am silently chastising myself for the use of the word vignette but I guess if the word fits, use it).

Next up, the mantel…

This was a conglomeration of things.  I am finding this is how many people decorate for fall.  They look around their house for anything fall-like and go with it.  So…

I made the ceramic canister back in college and though the ochre glaze and red clay worked well.  I loved the idea of glass bottles (thanks recycling center) wrapped with twine, so I went with it.  First I tried the glass cutting technique of wrapping a nail-polish-remover-soaked string around it and lighting it on fire.  It sounds way more dramatic that it actually was.  I couldn’t get it to work, so I stuck with the whole bottle and opted to wrap them in different ways.

The little white “barrels” are doctored up cardboard canisters from the pantry.  I really wanted some twigs or wheat to put in them, but I couldn’t get the nerve to walk up to someone’s brush pile and snag some.  I think I’ll have to plan a nature walk and take some from the woods.  We shall see…

Next up, squishy pumpkins.  I am still not sure how I feel about them, but they are kind of cute.  I saw the idea over at Bungalow.  I tea stained some flour sack cloths that I pilfered from a closet in my old school building that was being torn down.  Of course I had permission to pilfer…

Finally, the last fall project was a little raised dish of pumpkins for a centerpiece.  I am not satisfied with it as a centerpiece, so I may switch it out for a wooden pumpkin I got for zip zilch nada at Kohls with my $10 off coupon.  Anyway, it’s on the table now, so I ought to show you…

The dish is a little glass bowl I glued to a candlestick…courtesy of Goodwill for $0.75.  The pumpkins were an ugly fake orange, so I spray painted them cream and aged them a bit with watered down brown paint.  The original stem was lovely green plastic, so I ripped it out and hot glued some mulch in its place.

I L-O-V-E the pumpkins, I am just not crazy about the whole thing as a centerpiece.  I threw in some extra felt flowers from the wreath project, but that’s not cutting it.  Hopefully when I go out on my stick finding mission, I can collect some acorns to fill the bowl.

The grand total for all of my projects was less than $10, with the most expensive thing being the wreath at Goodwill for $3…still cheaper than one from the craft store.  While I know I am not finished with my fall decor, I’m good for now.  I don’t have anything else around the house to utilize, and there is no fund for crafts in our We-Just-Moved-And-Bought-A-House-Budget.  So, until nature hands me some more inspiration I’m on pause.


Posted by on October 4, 2011 in Home Decorating, Life


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It’s Been a While

I knew this would happen.  I knew I would start blogging and do a great job writing frequent post…for a little while.  I knew I would eventually fall off the blog-wagon and wouldn’t know what to write, felt I didn’t have anything to say, or just plain forgot.  Now it’s been two weeks and I’m feeling the pressure!

When I started this blog I didn’t want it just to be about my DIY projects and such, I wanted to share parts of our new life in Ohio.  So, while I haven’t taken a break from being creative around the house, I decided to take the time to share about life in general.

One of the  most exciting adventures lately was our spectacular Carnival cruise to Grand Cayman and Cozumel last week.  Being the seasoned cruisers that we are (this was our second) we knew we didn’t want to spend the oodles of money for excursions through the cruise line.  We spent what seemed like an endless amount of time researching things to do in our two Ports of Call.  The thriftiest of our adventures was in Grand Cayman:

Walk five minutes from the port to Eden Rock dive shop….$0
Rent snorkel, mask, and fins……………………………………..$14 each
Rent a locker for the stuff we brought but didn’t need……….$5
Walk ten yards to the ocean………………………………………$0
3 hours of snorkeling in one of the most popular spots…….$0

Grand total for Grand Cayman……………………………………$32 What?  That’s pretty awesome!  It would have been at least $50 a piece if we went with Carnival. Plus, we would have been bumping elbows with a bizillion of our closest shipmates.

On to Mexico…From the beginning I’ve kind of been against Cozumel.  I hate how touristy it is.  Having spent time in Zacatecas, in central Mexico, for a service trip years ago I couldn’t handle the fact that people get off a ship in Cozumel and think that is what Mexico is like.  The thought infuriates me, as Jonathan will tell you.  So, this time around (we went there on our honeymoon cruise too) I thought I wanted to go into the actual town, and shop at actual Mexican shops.  Once we got off the ship the heat and touristy-ness was way too overwhelming so we hopped into a taxi with another couple from the cruise and went to our heavily researched and planned destination…Paradise Beach.

So, apparently Cozumel is lined with beach club after beach club and you could probably go to any one of them and have pretty much the same experience.  Paradise Beach turned out to be a great way to spend the day for not too much money.  For $14 each we got beach chairs, umbrellas, access to kayaks, snorkel gear, inflatable ocean toys, and a fabulous pool.


Add in about $12 each in food and drink and it’s a pretty good deal.  My absolute favorite part of the day was the inflatable ocean toys like the Iceberg and slide.  We had a blast swimming out to the toys and attempting to scramble up them like we were 12.  I conquered the Iceberg on my second attempt.  It is harder than it looks.

All of our time at sea was spent in and out of the pool and in and out of buffet lines.  To accomodate for this factor I wore maxi dresses…everyday.  My expanding waistline thanked me.   It was a great cruise and we enjoyed ourselves.  We especially enjoyed the conversations we had with random people in the pool.  Those were the best!

Finally, since it is Friday and I foolishly set out to make a photo post every Friday I will leave you with this:

The view from our beach chairs in Cozumel

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Posted by on August 12, 2011 in Life


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My “New” Lamps

Ever on a quest for inexpensive craft projects, I decided to take advantage of the ugly brass lamps that litter every Goodwill store from coast to coast.  I went to my local Goodwill and purchased three lamps for a grand total of $14.  Now, I would like to have paid less, but I was anxious to get started!

Here’s what I did:

First, I scrubbed each lamp with soap, water, and a piece of steel wool.  After drying, I primed them with Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Primer in grey.  I used grey because the paint color for the larger lamps had a grey base.  The two larger lamps got two coats of Krylon Stainless Steel Finish and the little lamp was sprayed with Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Satin Green Apple.

Check out the before and after:

A little pop of color in the reading room

 A lamp for the living room

My personal favorite…on the sofa table

In retrospect, I know this wasn’t the thriftiest of projects, but I am absolutely thrilled with the outcome!


Posted by on July 12, 2011 in Home Decorating


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