Living Frugal

More Padding Please

A little less than a year ago Michael bought himself a new office chair. It took a long time to find just the right one. The right feel of the leather, the right height of the back, the right padding on the seat, oh and because we are cheapskates frugal people it had to be less than $100. Not easy, but he finally found one. You can imagine how upset he was when the padding on the chair started going flat. It was just before our trip to Ikea (hallelujah) in April so he asked me to pick him up a cushion for his chair. No problem! I found this for $2.99 and made the promise that I would put a cover on it to make it pretty manly.

Monday Michael and I went shopping for fabric for a different project and he found some that he liked for this cushion, so it quickly became time for me to make good on my promise – yes, I know it’s been 4 months since I made the promise. After 4 months of sitting on a $2.99 cushion from Ikea (hallelujah) it had become a little sparse in places so rather than making the cover 20×20 like the original size was, I made it 16×16-ish. The reasoning for this is that I have a rotary cutter and mat and my mat is only 17 inches long. That was the only reason I decided to shrink the size of the cushion by 4 inches. I’m nothing if not practical. So I cut two pieces from this bomber jacket fabric that were 17×17 squares which would allow for 1/2 inch seam allowance on all sides.

I put them right sides together and then armed with brown thread and a bobbin of black thread, I stitched all along three sides with a 1/2 inch seam allowance

Then I had to sew shut the fourth side. I was going to do it by hand and try to do an invisible seam…then my patience wore thin and I just folded it under and stitched it shut with my machine.

Wow the lighting in our house is not good for taking pictures. Check out the difference between the colors on the fabric pieces and the finished cushion.

Project total

  • cushion from Ikea (hallelujah) – $2.99
  • fabric from the clearance section – $4.75 for 3/4 yard and we still have some left over for another project. Yeah, I don’t know what either.

All in all, I don’t think it’s bad since it could be used as a pillow too…in the man cave. Plus the hubs is happy, that’s worth it.

Categories: Living Frugal, Projects | Leave a comment

What Are You Going to Do with That?

Since I mentioned the blue bottle tree, I’ve had people saving blue bottles for me – remember the the counter from kitchen curtains post with some bottles sitting on it? There was one bottle that just didn’t look right on the counter so I had to find another place for it until we are ready for the tree. My SIL Jenna’s aunt was at Sam’s one day and found a bottle of wine that she “just had to get”…you know for the bottle, the plethora of wine in that bottle had nothing to do with it.

Last weekend I was perusing Pier 1 ’cause I love it there. Where else can you find a giant pair of metal flip flops for your wall (which by the way were gone when I went back to get them – hoping for an Ebay find on that one)? Pier 1 almost always has something I need and  Saturday was no exception. Enter $4 flower

I usually don’t go for the whole fake flower thing, but I thought this one looked pretty good. Not real, mind you, but pretty good. Have you put it together yet? That’s right, in a moment of genius, I brought the flower home and stuck it in the vase. Yeah, the word genius was probably stretching it a little. Anyway, I had a white flower in a blue wine bottle, now what? When you walk in our kitchen door from the three seasons porch, you can see behind the refrigerator and it can only be described as blah. Plus having sat empty and neglected and uncleaned for over 4 years the space between the fridge and the bar that was there had collected some dirt…and stained the white linoleum to a horrible gray color. Who really wants to see that? Woo hoo, a place for the wine bottle vase. I know I’ll have to find something else for that spot when we start in on the blue bottle tree, but for now, I’m enjoying the fact that my eye is drawn to this instead of the wires and tubes and whatever that is behind the fridge

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The great debate

I absolutely love our house, but there were two things that I really disliked about our house when we looked at it. I knew both could be changed very easily, so I looked past it (and a lot of other things). Those two things are ceiling fans and mini blinds. I know that some people love ceiling fans and mini blinds, but I am definitely not one of them. When I say that there was a ceiling fan in every room where one would fit, I’m not exaggerating at all. You’ve seen the one that was in the entry way in this post and you can kinda see the one in our bedroom in this post. This one was in my creative space.

There was even one in the upstairs hallway that had a 15 foot string (maybe longer) that dangled down the stairs so it could be turned on from either floor of the house. Awesome.

Michael is a fan of fans…but I think that he could sense my disdain for them so those fans started coming down right away. We found some lights on sale at Menards for $7 each or Michael might have fought for the fans a little harder.

We still have two more that will need to come down when we start working on those rooms, but I have to find lights for them still. I’m waiting to see if Ikea (hallelujah)  comes out with a fixture that I can’t live without for the dining room and the closet this summer when the new catalog comes out.

It’s been quite the struggle to get rid of the mini blinds though. If it was up to me alone, all of the mini blinds would have come down right away and we would have lived with nothing on the windows until we decided on curtains, but since marriage is about compromise, the mini blinds have stayed. It’s been relatively easy for us to decide what we want to do in our house. Some things are a little more difficult, like the plan for the future kitchen, but I think the most difficult thing has been curtains. It really should not be this hard to decide what to hang on the windows. A couple weeks ago I was on Pinterest (when am I not?) and found some adorable half curtains for the kitchen.

From Woman's Day

That’s it! That’s what I want. Let in some light, but still have some privacy since our kitchen windows can be seen from the street…or the neighbors house. They were the perfect solution, I just had to find the right fabric! Remember that fabric I got at Wal-Mart a while back? No? I may have been slightly over-shadowed by my unnatural fear of Wal-Mart confession.

I used it to make half curtains that were hanging up on one window in the kitchen since I showed you the fabric. I put them up and immediately loved them, however our curtain debate continued. I love the half curtains, Michael hates them. Michael likes full curtains and while I have become a fan of the high and wide curtains, I am not with these – it just doesn’t work in the space. Michael would be okay with the half curtains if we had blinds behind them, while it would be an improvement from the red paper that covered the windows for a while, this chick does not like that…at all. I put up the half curtains in the window hoping that it would grow on Michael. That didn’t happen so it was time for me to face my fear again and head to Wal-Mart for more fabric.

With fabric in hand I headed home to make curtains to fit the full length of the window. My evening was filled with cutting, ironing and sewing but the curtains are up. I would have still liked the half curtains, but the full ones are much better than the mini blinds that were there. Don’t worry the blinds will not be going to waste…they will be re-purposed into something pretty. Want a hint? Check out my Inspired DIY board on Pinterest. But I digress.

To make the curtain I cut my fabric double the width and the exact size of the height since I knew I would be using ribbon for hanging and my curtain rods were $3 tension rods from Menards that would hang inside the window frame. I also decided to spray paint the rods copper to make them look a little more classy and I’m all about classy…well maybe not.

My windows were 28 inches wide and 36 inches tall so I cut my fabric to 36 inches and I used the width of the fabric for my width because it was close enough to the width I needed. I then cut the width in half so I would have two curtains and hemmed all sides in 3/8″ then folded them over another 1/2″. Seem tedious? Yeah, it kinda was. But it was worth it. After all the panels were ironed I added the ribbon hangers. To do that I cut 5 pieces of ribbon for each panel that was 12 inches long, folded it in half and then sewed them on by hand. The only reason I did this part by hand is that we were having a heat wave (heat index around 125) and our 100 year old house doesn’t have air conditioning in all rooms so my creative space/sewing room was hot! I was sewing one panel then going to cool down then back to sew another so it took quite a while to sew all of them with the breaks between each one but I finally got them done! To make sure I got the curtains at the right length, I hung up my pretty copper rods and took my pretty curtains and tied them in place there.

Once the curtains were hung, I had to break out some paint because the paint on the windows was chipping and falling off. This would be your classic “one thin leads to another” situation. I mean really, the windowsill looked like this

I want to make sure to tell you that I’m not thrilled by the fact that the fabulously gorgeous woodwork was painted and I promise that it won’t stay that way! When we do the big kitchen reno, we are planning to take off all the trim and strip all the paint off and stain it to match the rest of the woodwork in the house. I know that’s years down the road so with the help of Sherwin Williams, the woodwork around the windows in the kitchen got a fresh coat of Creamy paint. (Creamy is the color BTW, not a description of the paint consistency)

I’m glad I painted because the woodwork looks better solid than chipping and peeling and with the new curtains up, I love them!

Those blue bottles are temporarily there until I get started on the blue bottle tree we are going to make for the garden (posts here and here about the blue bottle tree). I’m hoping to get started on that next week after Michael and I decide on a final design for the tree. But I digress again…seriously, this is what it’s like to talk to me too. I have ADOS: Attention Deficit…Ooooo Shiny!

Project cost breakdown:

  • Two 28″ tension rods – $6
  • Two yards of fabric from WM – $14
  • Two rolls of green ribbon – $4
  • Copper paint – no cost, we had it our paint stash, but it was $7 when we bought it
  • Not having mini blinds in my kitchen anymore – priceless

Our kitchen and entry room are one big room so you can see the kitchen when you walk in the front door too which is how the color from our state canvases from yesterday ties into the rest of the room. It’s all in the curtains, but I’m doing a little painting in the kitchen too. I have quite a bit to do on that part before I post it. I promise to share once it’s completely done.

What do you think of the curtains? I had plans for pendant lights to take the place of those two fluorescent ones, but now I think I’m going to have to revamp that with the patter in the curtain. I don’t want to hide any of it! The most important thing I’ve learned in the last 20 months in our house is that the plans are constantly changing. That might be my ADOS though.

Anybody else still catching up from the Pinterest Challenge yesterday? I know I am. So many great projects to see!

Categories: Let's shop!, Living Frugal, Projects, Tour | 2 Comments

A Revealing Party…and Now We Know

A couple months ago, I begged and pleaded with my friend Ashley to let me plan her a party to reveal the gender of her little bun (that would be a baby). It really took some convincing and just-short-of-constant IMs and emails to convince her and Jeremy, but I did it! I’ve given you a couple sneak peeks at party details (here and here) but the party pics are in and here are the full details.

The inspiration for the party decor was fully inspired (p)inspired by balloons (original pinspiration here) and here’s how they looked

Even though I knew it was a girl, I knew that I had to add blue in too…just in case. It was not easy to find the polka dot balloons without spending a small fortune (found the best price on Ebay BTW) but got them ordered and delivered and I was off on a brown/blue/pink/white/polka dot mission! It was a big misson

Drinks were pink lemonade and blue kool-aid

The invitation had polka dots

Images used to create the inviation are copyright of Stampin' UP! Created using My Digital Studio.

The cake(s) had polka dots

This was the pink one

This was the blue one

The cake boards were wrapped in some great white polka dot wrapping paper and surrounded by chocolate polka dots cupcakes

There were pink and blue tissue polka dots pom poms hanging from the curtain rods (tutorial here)

Everyone was asked to dress in pink or blue and then we had a “photo booth” where people had their picture taken. Of course the picture backdrop had polka dots. Here’s Ashley and Jeremy

…and the soon-to-be big brothers

We ate, we drank, we chatted, but we were all there to find out one thing in a fun way! Seriously…what is this bun. A little after 7:30 after waiting for someone to come to the party

After a phone call, Carly made it and it was time to cut the cake. It was a difficult process to figure out how to know how to do the reveal and finally it was decided. I made a card for Ashley and Jeremy to take to the ultrasound and it was sealed in a top secret envelope and it made the trip to their house buckled into a car seat and then it was tucked away in a closet where no one would open it. That night at the party, the photographer opened the envelope and then took away the wrong cake so only the right colored cake was waiting to be cut.

Seriously, I’ve never seen anyone soooo nervous to cut a cake. Kaden (the oldest brother) had to help her. See it?

Here’s a closer up picture

Yep. I was wrong. Oh well. Their reaction

Ashley’s grandma invited everyone back in two years to have another party…you know, for the girl

Suppose I can save the leftover decorations for that one? In case you were worried, the pink cake didn’t go to waste. It got eaten at work the next week

It was such a fun evening. There were things I had planned that I didn’t get to do, but the miracle of planning a party is that you’re the only one who knows what was left out. No one had any idea that I forgot the pink and blue ice pops for the kids or the paper for the kids to do bubble paintings for Baby Boy Bun. I’m so glad that I asked someone else to come and take the pictures. The photographer was my SIL Jenna and I thought she did fantastic. It was such a relief to not worry about the pictures and just worry about the logistics (drinks made, chips and salsa filled, etc) and Jeremy and Ashley were free to spend time with their guests.

Jeremy, Ashley, Kaden, Parker & Xander – Thank you for letting us share in this special time with you. Thank you for letting me plan this party for you and giving me something to focus on. I love your family and I feel so blessed to call you friends! Oh, and thanks for my new Scentsy warmer for the guest bedroom!!! Can’t wait to get it in there.

Categories: Everyone Loves a Party, Let's shop!, Living Frugal | 2 Comments

Inspired DIY

It’s time for another Pinterest post. I know that I mention Pinterest a lot, but remember the post where I showed you how I roll? What about this one where I revealed that I have an entire board dedicated to s’mores? I also have a board entitled Inspired DIY and I think it’s high time I showed you some of my favorites from that board. If the idea came to Pinterest by way of another blog, you can click on the picture to take you to the tutorial

A wine rack to hold towels in the bathroom

A little oil rubbed bronze paint to a Dawn foaming soap dispenser. LOVE that paint!!!

Michael and I are from different places and I'm thinking I have the perfect place for this!

Slip proof a rug instead of buying the gripper pad. That Martha is a genius!!!

With our huge family, we could use something to help us remember all those birthdays

We need these! They would be much prettier than the bags in our open shelving...probably less messy too.

Contact paper and etching cream and there's no question at potlucks anymore

This mega-fabric softener sheet made from an old towel and your favorite fabric softener should be good for at least 40 loads of laundry. In the winter when we can't hang clothes on the line anymore, I'll be doing this.

A bath mat made from old bath towels

So perfect for a homeschool room or a craft room!

Would it be mean if I made Beau & Bella walk through paint then walk across some canvas?

For all my cake decorating readers - this is an ahhhh-maaa-ziiiing way to save yourself from washing all those blessed decorator bags. Click on the picture to go to the step by step tutorial from Chef Mommy.

Classy striped umbrella

River rocks to dress up those free boot trays we got with Menards rebates

If I have do dishes, I'd like to be cute doing them

A much better idea than just sticking them on my sewing table and hoping they stay there

Perfect little ironing board next to my sewing table! I think I would press my seams a lot more often

Holy cow, that’s a lot of projects…and there is plenty more on the board. Even if you’re not on Pinterest, you can check out the board and all the other projects by following this link. Did you find any projects that you want to do? If you’re not pinning yet and you’d like to be, comment here and let me know. I’d be happy to send you an invite!

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Back to the Future

Take a little trip back in time with me. Transport yourself to a few years ago. We were still in the world of apartment living but I desperately wanted to redecorate our bedroom. Not only are Michael and I DIY people (hence the name of the blog), but we are also working on a total money makeover with a little help from Dave. So we operate with cash…crazy right? Consequently it takes us a little longer than your average bear to get things done, but we’re okay with that if it means that we don’t owe anyone anything! One thing we desperately needed was a bed. When we got married, neither of us had a bed that was meant for more than one person so we did the frugal thing. We spent $45 on this (you know I’d get it on sale) and turned our two twin beds into one king sized bed. Genius right? We thought so…until we realized that it works best if the two twin beds are the same height. We lived with it for a long time. Then we were shopping one day and saw the perfect bed frame. Four poster, black wrought iron and on clearance (my favorite word). So we bought the frame (with cash) and into the storage garage it went. Fast forward another year to 2009 to the day we got a mattress. Woo hoo! Finally we get to put our bed together! We take a trip to the storage garage and pick up the bed frame drag it up the 2 flights of stairs to our apartment and start putting it together. At this point, I’d like to give you a helpful hint about the purchase of a 4 poster bed: Measure your ceiling before you buy it to make sure it will fit in your room. There was literally 2 inches between the top of the bed and the ceiling. Difficult to set up, but we managed. (Picture from our last apartment)

When we were looking for our house we were sure to look for a place where our bed would fit. The first house we made an offer on had low ceilings that we knew we would have to fix.

In hindsight, after one ceiling redo, I’m glad we Michael didn’t have to do more. Plus we would have had a lot to do with the sponged walls and that really awesome carpet. Oh, and there was a small radon problem.

We’re so glad that one didn’t work out…or the one after that and we ended up in our house where the bed fit perfectly in the bedroom. The master bedroom, like everything else, needed work to make it liveable. It doesn’t look too bad in this picture, just needs new curtains and some paint on the wall right?

The day we closed on our house there was a snowstorm and that night I found myself in a snowdrift…in our bedroom. There’s something I never thought I would say.

Ya see, there was a gap at the bottom of this makeshift cover that showed us the dangers of a missing window on a window in winter in Iowa. The gap gave just enough room for blowing snow to make it’s way into our bedroom. Needless to say, the window had to be replaced and quickly. Thanks to some help from my dad, we replaced the window and with some help from my mom, we got some paint on the walls. We went through three paint samples for the bedroom. Thank goodness for Sherwin-Williams paint samples. We ended up with a variation of Viva Gold, I’m not sure what the variation was, but I’m sure that this was one difference in the room

Believe it or not, we went with the lighter color of paint right next to the window. These pictures are a perfect example of why we do color samples instead of just a strip taped to the wall. The Sherwin-Williams samples are only $5 and in this room (since we had so many) we used it as a primer of sorts. The last picture (taken during the day) and the next one (taken at night) are the same color. Huuuuge difference!

Ready for some post paint and move in pictures.

That stool in front of the window was for the kids to sit on and look out the window. It’s been replaced by a different one by now. It needs a little extra touches before we break out those pictures. More changes are coming, I just have a project or two to do before it’s really done done.

Side note: we did not pick the colors of our bedroom because we’re Hawkeye fans. I am, but that had no bearing on the colors of our house. Go Hawks

Categories: It's Our Life, Living Frugal, Projects, Tour | Leave a comment

Extreme Makeover: Coupon Edition

I’ve told you before that I’m a couponer. I have family and friends who do much more than I am able to right now, but I love a good deal! So when Ashley IM’d me Monday morning to tell me about an awesome deal on laundry soap I had to check it out. I took an early break and bought some coupons on Ebay…or rather I bought someone’s time to clip and organize 20 coupons for $3 off 150oz bottle of Purex laundry soap (and I also bought the priority shipping for them). It was probably the most exciting thing that happened this week (other than the foil adventure). You would be excited too if you realized that you were going to pay $28.34 for laundry soap that will last for the next 12-18 months and still donate some to a camp. Do you know how much paint we can get with the $139.60 that we’re saving on laundry soap? Yep, three gallons (stay tuned this summer).

If you haven’t seen it, you’ve probably heard about it. Extreme Couponing. I can appreciate what TLC was trying to do with this show. I mean, who doesn’t want to save money or learn how to save money? Isn’t that was drives most of us to DIYing? Here’s my beef with the show. Rather than portraying people who participate in ethical couponing, they follow some people who participate in unethical, fraudulent and illegal forms of couponing. Some of you know who I’m talking about – there’s even a facebook group dedicated to trying to get her removed from the show (like it here). The method (of fraud) she uses is barcode matching – if the codes match, it’s okay. The reality is that using a coupon for anything but what the wording is on the coupon is fraud and illegal. The argument that I’ve heard over and over and over really doesn’t hold any weight with me. “Well the register takes it so it’s okay.” That’s like saying “Well, my kid can slip the candy bar in his pocket, so it’s okay.” Theft is theft no matter how some people may try to disguise it. Taking coupons out of papers that you don’t pay for is also theft. This is a snip-it from the Richmond Times-Dispatch (read the whole story here)

“While we welcome the promotion of coupon usage, some episodes appear to portray shoppers using illegal methods to obtain and use coupons, including going to newspapers to obtain multiple copies of our SmartSource coupon inserts,” wrote Bob Cole, senior vice president, media, for News America Marketing. “News America Marketing needs your help and cooperation to protect this valuable product that is so important to your company and ours. It is imperative that News America’s strict security policy is followed 100 percent of the time.”

News America is a valued partner so we are well aware of the consequences for deviating from rules. The coupon vendors could drop us and possibly prosecute.

Criminal charges? Come on, you say, we’re talking about 50-cents-off coupons. Where’s the harm?

Simple — it’s the difference between saving money and making money. It’s A-OK for a subscriber to cut a family food bill by matching a coupon to a specific purchase. It’s not OK to turn couponing into a business or scheme. Simply put: you can’t sell or buy coupons

Here’s another story from the Idaho Stateman (full story here)

On a Sunday last month, the Idaho Statesman reports all of the ads were taken from a newspaper rack without being purchased. The value of the coupon inserts on that particular day of the week ranges from $300 to $1,000, said Statesman Circulation Director Frank Peak

“It is becoming a real problem on Sundays because of the value of the coupons and the local interest in couponing over the last few months,” Peak said.

The newspaper filed a police report after sales manager Don Waters staged a stakeout at a Boise restaurant and watched a woman remove all the advertisements from a nearby newspaper box after she had purchased only a single copy.

So where do you get coupons?

  • On Ebay you can get coupons by paying someone for their time to clip and sort the coupons. That’s where I got 20 for my Purex.
  • Buy multiple papers. If you live in a bigger city, see if you can get an early edition of the Sunday paper on Saturday for cheaper.
  • Ask your friends and family for ones they don’t use.
  • Look for printable coupons online.
  • I posted something at work asking for people to throw their flyers in an interoffice envelope instead of their recycling bin

There are plenty of places to get coupons…ethically and legally.

Another problem with XC? It shows that shelf clearing is okay. This causes problems for other people. By taking every last thing on the shelf because you’re getting a good deal on it causes inventory problems for the store. It also causes problems for anyone who might come behind you for the product. Sure it might be someone else who knows about the same deal you found, but it might not be. If there was a single mother standing there with her four kids trying to make good choices for her family would you take that food out of her hands? I didn’t think so. But just because she’s not standing there doesn’t mean it’s not being taken from her. If you know what coupons are coming out and that you are going to need a lot of one item, contact the store and see if you can special order a large quantity. That way there is enough for you and enough for everyone else! One of the blogs I like to look at is FabuLESSly Frugal. She did an excellent post on shelf clearing – read it here.

Enough of the bad…cause I don’t like being Debbie Downer. Do you want to get started couponing, but like Rachael at Lovely Craft Home, think it’s just too much? Trust me, you can do this! You can coupon and you can save and you can do it legally and ethically! I know it can be overwhelming at times, but you can do it. I learned some in a class that my SIL Jenna taught, but I still have a lot to learn. Our first assignment in the 5 week class was to find a blog to follow. Many of them have the same information, so it’s a matter of finding one or two that you like. Make sure that in your search you are finding ones that participate in ethical couponing methods and that is written by someone who has been couponing a while. Many “expert” blogs have shown up lately as a result of this XC show. Considering the unethical methods portrayed on the show, it’s probably not a good idea to follow one of these. A couple of my faves are FabuLessly Frugal and Frugal Living and Having Fun. Feel free to post your favorites in the comments. I’ll be happy to update the post with more too!

Disclaimer: I had Jenna read this post before publishing so I could make sure to not have anything couponing questionable in it. Maybe we can talk her into doing some guest blogging posts about ethical couponing and how to do it. Just the basics? What do you say Jenna?

I followed the wording on the coupon and did 20 separate transactions and I bought different varieties so I didn’t clear the shelf of any one kind. Now Michael and I along with Camp of the Woods will be enjoying this laundry soap for the next year or so.  These bottles are 100 load bottles…that’s 2,000 loads of laundry. Did I mention that we already have 4 bottles this size from the last time we got this deal? So 2,400 loads of laundry for $35. For this week, I’m going to call this one a win.

Categories: Let's shop!, Living Frugal | Leave a comment

185 feet of foil & 2 hours

Early this week at work, someone made a mistake when he told me when his birthday was. Cue the evil laugh – Muahahaha. I immediately emailed Noreen and said “help me think of something”. Noreen didn’t miss a beat and came back with aluminum foil…lots and lots of aluminum foil. Fortunately we had a few days to plan, so I had plenty of time to search all over town for the best price on aluminum foil and do some recruiting. Who would have thought that bargain hunting would be the key to my undoing, but more on that later. We did some online research and found out that it would take 500 square feet f foil (proof you can find anything on the internet), so I emailed my mom, Jenna & Ashley and said “I need an aluminum foil deal”. Turns out I had missed a great deal by a couple weeks…boo. It also turns out that it didn’t take nearly as much foil for Dan’s desk as our research had shown, so it all worked out in the end. Dollar tree had the best price, in case you were wondering…but I do still have 10 rolls of foil that I would be willing to part with.

Thursday came and I had 16 rolls of aluminum foil sitting under my desk. In hindsight I would have hid it somewhere else because I was nervous all day that Dan would walk by and see it sitting here and our plan would be foiled (yep, I thought of that pun all by myself)

I did some more recruiting that day and got one more volunteer to help – thanks Andre! I took the foil to Dan’s desk and took some before pictures

Andre got started on the foiling while I finished with work.

Then I headed over to finish it up. A little over an hour later and this is what we had accomplished

On my way to work Friday morning I stopped and got a silver happy birthday balloon to add that finishing touch.

In that picture you can see the sea of cubicles. It’s a long walk from the front door all the way back to Dan’s desk (I’ve heard that the building is 1 1/2 football fields long and wide) so he may have been looking at this balloon with an uh oh feeling the whole walk to his desk. I don’t know though because he doesn’t know for sure it was me (and Andre) yet. Well after reading this post, he probably knows. Ya see, Dan IM’d me Friday morning and said “You should see my desk.” I went along and pretended like I didn’t know what had happened, went over to see the desk and had to act like it was all new to me and when the “IT WAS YOU!!!!” IM popped up, denied or confirmed nothing, but totally played it off like it was someone else. I told you that my bargain hunting was the key to my undoing, well he also said “Knowing you, you got some kind of deal on foil”. Last I knew he thought that I just bought the supplies and I knew who really did it…which is all accurate. Just so you know Dan, Christie was my first volunteer to help, but had a sick child so she couldn’t help. She remembered a story though about you thinking that this was hilarious when it happened to someone else…ahh poetic justice.

If this is something that you would like to DIY – which is probably the only option for something like this – here are the details

1. Attention to detail is highly important. We wrapped every piece of candy in a bowl, we wrapped the Christmas train salt and pepper shakers, we wrapped an interoffice envelope, we wrapped a trash can, we wrapped a bag of Cheetos…we wrapped everything!

2. Depending on how much someone has on their desk you might need more than 180 square feet of foil, but I can’t imagine it taking 500 for a 6×6 cube

3. Buy your foil at Dollar Tree unless it’s on sale somewhere. I checked Target, Walgreens, WalMart (those who know me, know that for me to check WM is a big deal…I’m kinda anti-WM)

4. Get some volunteers to help. I would have been totally burnt out had Andre not spent 45 minutes wrapping before I started wrapping.

5. It was worth every penny and every bit of time we spent. I overheard conversations about this all day long. If you work with me and want to see the masterpiece in person, stop by Monday morning and see it…it’s all still wrapped!

Before and afters anyone

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All in a day’s work…or a weekend

If you want to hear a little more about our Ikea (hallelujah) trip, then this post is for you. If you missed the first post, you can find it here. Fortunately when we got to Ikea (hallelujah) we got to try out these fab chairs.

In case you missed the first post, that’s my niece Evalee, the fantastic little road-tripper. You all know that I love Ikea (hallelujah), right? How could you not know? I mean I hear angels sing the hallelujah chorus as the mere mention of it. I love everything about Ikea (hallelujah)…except their $.99 breakfast. But we’re going to keep this positive so here’s a great picture of my mom and Evalee from breakfast at Ikea (hallelujah)

Of course we had to get a car cart and Evalee knew just what to do. Put on your seat belt and put your Dora purse in the seat next to you.

Then later when no one is looking Auntie Amy will let you sit on top of the car instead of in it

Remember the light that I wanted for our 3 seasons porch (post here)? Well, I finally got to see it in person and I love it even more! Evalee was kind enough to snap this picture for me

So can you tell who the star of this trip was yet? You see, I subscribe to a strict “Spoil them rotten then send them home to my siblings” philosophy when it comes to my nieces and nephews. I almost feel sorry for my brothers and sisters…well maybe not. All in all, Chi town was AWESOME! I got a ton of stuff, Evalee got to have this chocolate cake

Mom got all new glasses so when people come over all their glasses match and Jenna got to use one of those neat Target carts

We all got to share this at Rainforest Cafe

In the end it helps to remember this

Good thing the craziest thing we did was make sure we made it to Dollar Tree on Saturday night to get the early edition of the Trib with all those coupons. I’m okay with that being on facebook. Oh wait, I think I’m the one who put it on there.

Categories: Let's shop!, Living Frugal | Leave a comment

Pure Adrenaline

Yep, that’s what I was running on Saturday. Ya see, I hadn’t slept much in the days before. Thursday night we said goodbye to Michael Scott. Did anyone else cry like a baby? Nope, just me? I was afraid of that. I think I was just starting to process the fact that Noreen isn’t coming back to work. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! Of course on Friday morning I had to get up and watch a wedding. Michael asked me why women were so interested in this wedding. Well dear, “Because every girl wants to be a princess.” Okay, I know that some don’t, but I do. I mean, how cool would Buckingham Palace be with a little DIY touch.

Friday night, I was soooooo excited that I couldn’t sleep! My mom, my SIL Jenna, my niece and I had been planning a Mother’s Day (yes I know that’s next weekend) trip for two months. Girls’ weekend had finally arrived after two…whole…months!!!!!! If you are one of my facebook friends, you almost certainly know where we went because of two months of status updates with a countdown. If you work with me, you probably know too because for the last two months I’ve been working overtime waiting for this trip. For the rest of the world, here’s a hint

Nothing?  Doesn’t really surprise me because that was just my clever way of working in a picture of my adorable niece who, by the way, when you give her the iPad, is a fantastic little road-tripper. Ya see, it was a 4 hour trip for us to ge to where we were going. Here’s another hint for you

That one was a pretty good one, don’t ya think? It was finally Ikea (hallelujah) day! I though that day would never come! I’ve been to Ikea (hallelujah) before, but not in the US and considering I haven’t been to Europe for a little over 10 years, it’s been a very long separation.

More will come later of the haul I made (and stayed in budget)

But for now, a cute Evalee story. Friday Jenna asked Evalee what she wanted to get at Ikea. Evalee said “Pizza”. She didn’t get pizza at Ikea, but how could we deny her pizza? When you’re in Chicago, there is one place to get pizza though. Nummy nummy Giordano’s!!!

Now I’m hungry…

Categories: Let's shop!, Living Frugal | 1 Comment

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