Monday, October 29, 2012

Making Liquid Soap Last Longer

Making Liquid Soap Last Longer...
(Personal Photo)

I have an amazing BFF, who's mom gifted me the greatest smelling hand soap EVER (Caldrea - Lavender Pine) back in 2006/2007!  It's been 6-7 years since I've owned another bottle of this sweet smelling liquid... so I want to make it last!

Since owning this product, I've grown to love expensive hand soaps*... but I don't have the budget for them.  Yeah... totally blows.  
* Expensive to me = anything over the $2 range.

So when I saw that Caldrea was selling their Lavender Pine on - I snatched it up for FREE using my BB points.

At the writing of this post, the husband and I have torn through about 1/4 of the product... it makes me sad every time I look at the liquid getting smaller and smaller.  So last night, I goolged, "How to Make Liquid Hand Soap Last Longer" and came a crossed this amazing website, The Coupon Junkie, with the how-to!

Items you'll need:
  • Liquid hand soap (as the Coupon Junkie states, the clear liquid works way better).
  • Empty foam producing bottle.
  • Water.

Optional items:
  • Goo Gone (to take off the label).
  • Rag - to wipe the Goo Gone.
  • Rinse out the left over bottle/spout really well.
  • Add 1 inch of the liquid hand soap to the bottle of the bottle.
  • Fill the remaining space with water.
  • Put lid back on.
  • Turn the bottle from side to side and upside down to dispurse the liquid (DO NOT SHAKE).
  • Place near a sink and let the hand washing begin! :)
I've only done the Caldrea soap this morning... and should be getting ready to head out the door!  But when I get home, I'm going to try a crack at the new scent that I picked up from Bath and Body Works (Fresh Sparkling Snow)... It's not a 'clear' liquid but it's not a milky haze either... so I'm going to give it a shot and see what happens!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

OCP - Overseas Care Package #1

About 2 weeks ago, our family received an opportunity that couldn't be refused.  My husband was offered a position to work on Black Hawks as a civilian contractor for one year, stationed in Afghanistan.  After alot of talks to see if this would work for our family - the pros out weighed the cons, even with our first born on the way in 9 weeks, and 3-days ago we said goodbye at the PHX airport.  

Currently, my husband is going through processing in South Carolina before hitting Kuwait and ultimately Afghanistan.  So today, I sent him a small care package (that hopefully arrives before or on Friday).

(Personal Photo)

- Chocolate Fudge Pop-Tarts
- White Powdered Donuts
- 2 - $1 Sunny D's that I spotted while walking through Wal-Mart

It's not much but enough to show that I miss him lots!  

Thanks to Pinterest for the donut note idea!

Alot more to come - as I'll be sending him care packages bi-weekly... hopefully they will make the time fly, for the both of us!!! 

- Sara

Friday, August 17, 2012

Burp Cloths

(Personal Photo)

I knew when a baby came along that I wanted to make a ton of things!  Well, we're due in November and my sewing skills haven't improved much past beginner.  But one thing I do know: I can sew straight lines (a gals gotta start somewhere!!!)  So I started searching Pinterest for Burp Cloth ideas and came a crossed Sewin Sanity's post for the Best Burp Rags Ever.

So I ran out the Hobby Lobby (the closest fabric place) to grab three 1/2 yards of baby/nursery fleece and to Wal-Mart and snagged full-sized bath towels for (if I remember correctly) $1.97 each.  

Each 1/2 yard made 5 burp cloths each.  I did make a few changes to my design (all in measurements).

Sewin Sanity's Dimensions: 9.5"x17"
My Dimensions: 8"x16" (my dimensions worked well with the 1/2 yard of fabric... I had just TINY TINY scraps left over)

And mine were PLENTY big... so I can only imagine the larger size!  

(Personal Photo)

I'm hoping to get back in the groove of making more items before November comes!  Possibly some more burp rags (for friends who are also expecting) and a fabric teething guard for the nice crib we have... and plenty more.  Thank god for Pinterest. :P

- Sara.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Little Couponing!

(Personal Photo)

I normally don't do couponing - I think my math skills lack the challenge! ha. But I do subscribe to a few good feeds via Facebook (see below) and try to get some deals when I can.  

This week brought great coupons from Glade and Desitine.  So, my husband and I swung by Wal-Mart so I could feel special for using amazing coupons!

A+D: $2.97/each
Coupon: $2 off any 2 Desitin Products (any size)
Total: $3.94

AHVA Revival Bath Salt in Mandarin-Cedarwood: $20
Coupon: Used 200 points I had accumulated through my subscription + it shipped for free! 
Total: FREE

Glade Expressions Oil Diffuser Kit: $5.98/each
Coupon: $5.00 off (used two coupons)
Total: $1.96

Glade Expressions Fragrance Mist: $2.98/each
Coupon: $3.00 off (used two coupons)

Total: $5.90 for $43.86 (Savings of: $27.96)

My two favorite Facebook Budget pages are: &

I know that I didn't do mega-couponing: double deals and searching out stores with the best deals... but I'm still darn proud of myself! haha.  Maybe one day, I'll actually get the hang of mega-couponing!

I need to get back to this thing called blogging... :P
- Sara.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

DIY Glitter Shoes

(Photo Courtesy of Jennifer B. Photography)

Wedding Shoes.  I had an amazing shoe in mind and started hunting ALL OVER THE INTERNET for them.  After a long search and several recommendations from friends later - I.found.them.for.$25.dollars and of all places - Fashion Bug.  I have not stepped foot into Fashion Bug, in probably over 10 years, prior to getting these shoes.  But like everything - I had to make it my own.

1) The original shoes + other amazing items.
(Personal Photo)

Items Needed:
- Shoes - $25.00
- Mod Podge - $4.99 (or $3.00 with 40% off coupon from Hobby Lobby)
- Glitter - $2.99 (or $1.80 with 40% off coupon from Hobby Lobby)
   - The coarser the glitter the thicker that layers will apply.  Thus, less layers and less time.
- Adult Beverage - Varies  :D
- Redbox Movie - $1.00
- Small Foam Brush - $0.69
- Container to use for mixing.
The following items are optional:
- Tin Foil
- Sandwich Bag with zip closure.

TOTAL: $31.49

2) Mix Mod Podge with glitter and wha-la!
This was my first interaction with Mod Podge and I'm now addicted.
** There is no mixture ratio of Glitter and Mod Podge to follow - go with your gut.... pour and mix til your hearts content!!!   

When starting this project, I didn't have any 'crap' containers laying around to mix the Glitter/Mod Podge in... so I grab a small glass container from our kitchen and lined it with tin foil.

(Personal Photo)

It worked wonderful!  And since I spaced this project out over a few days, I just threw the dish of mixture into a sandwich baggie and it stayed fresh! :)

3) Begin applying the mixture with the small foam brush.  As you apply the layers, it will look like this:

(Personal Photo) 

If you start early enough in the morning/afternoon - you can most likely get two layers done per day.  Or be like me and forget about it from time to time and have this drag out for days... lol.

When the white turns clear - you'll know your layer is dry.

4) Completed! :)  
The Mod Podge firmly holds every piece of glitter into place - so no glitter trails!

(Personal Photo)

(Photo Courtesy of Jennifer B. Photography)

(Photo Courtesy of Jennifer B. Photography)

(Photo Courtesy of Jennifer B. Photography)

(Photo Courtesy of Jennifer B. Photography)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Amazingly Cheap Flower Bouquet

(Photo Courtesy of Jennifer B. Photography)

For my wedding, I knew I did not want real flowers.  I couldn't see spending our already tight budget on items that would die within a day or two.  Yet, I'm not a fan of artificial flowers either... so I had to come up with something to suit my taste and keep as a memento, if I wanted too.

Another large factor in moving forward with our wedding, was being able to transport any ideas/crafts easily.  At the time I started making these: my husband had received an Honorable discharge from the Marine Corps, we were living between the homes of family members and friends, and trying to move to New York state.  Since, I didn't want to stop planning for our upcoming wedding - I had to make sure that whatever I was creating was transportable, had a small footprint in the rooms we were crashing in, and filled my boring days with something creative.

After searching the internet for ages, I found and the amazing "T-Shirt Flower Wedding Bouquet".

These flowers fit all my criteria:
- Fabulous and unique.
- Portable! (Throw in a grocery bag and move!)
- Cheap and simple.
- Fairly fast to make (and kept my attention).

Items Needed: (* Notes items that I already had one hand).
- Thread - $2.50*
- 5-7 Old t-shirts (cotton works best) - $.50 to $1.00 each
- Scissors (or rotary cutter and cutting mat) - $6.00+*
- (Optional) Thimble. - Cheap!
The following items are needed but not necessary until you want to assemble everything together.
- Hot Glue Gun - $3.00*
- Hot Glue Sticks - $7.00*
- Twigs (or any other 'stem' type object) - FREE
- Fabric Tulle - $1.99 with 50% off sale.
- String/Hair Tie/Rubber Band - FREE
- Fabric Tac (optional - found at Wal-Mart in the craft/sewing area) - $7.00*

TOTAL: $30.49
Please note - 5-7 shirts makes a ton of flowers!  Not all the flowers from these shirts went towards the bouquet alone.  I used leftover flowers for centerpieces also (included in this total).

Since, these flowers were the FIRST concept for our wedding (we hadn't even set a date yet!), and I didn't have a job - I made a TON of these.  Usually, I was able to produce 10-15 a week... depending on how my poor fingertips felt. 

1) Start off with a basic t-shirt and cut all the seams off.

(Photo Courtesy of Google Images with my yellow edits)

I even utilized the sleeves, that way I had large, medium, and small flowers. :)

The Brides Cafe has an amazing photo tutorial for steps 2-9.

2) You then slice the cut-outs into 2" strips.  This part is WAY EASY, if you have a rotary cutter and cutting mat.  I, on the other hand had a yard stick, scissors, the floor (no table), and a fabric marking pen.  Took way longer then it needed too!  Once we had settled into NY and I had the cutter and mat - my life was a lot simpler!

3) Once you have your 2" strips, start making cut marks along one side of the long edge, like so...

My marks were very random... no rhyme or reason.

4) Place the 3 strips on top of each other... keep all cut sides together.

5) Start rolling all 3 strips together (like a Swiss Cake Roll... yum!).  

6) Once you get a tiny roll (or two) in, thread your needle into the non-cut side to hold all the pieces together.

7) Keep rolling and stitching.

8) As you roll/stitch, the inside layers will begin to push up and the strips will start to become more like a 3D flower.

9) Finish off with a couple over-lapping stitches at the end.


Items Needed:
- T-shirt Fabric Flowers
- Hot Glue Gun
- Hot Glue Sticks
- Twigs (or any other 'stem' type object)
- Fabric Tulle
- String/Hair Tie
- Fabric Tac (optional - found at Wal-Mart in the craft/sewing area)

These next few steps are super easy and fast!

10) Warm up that glue gun and go collect some twigs! :D

11) Fill the bottom cavity of your fabric flowers with hot glue and stick and insert a twig.  In most cases, your flower will be able to stand on it's own upside-down... if not, just prop it against a wall while the hot glue dries.  I used a total of 10 flowers for my bouquet.

(Personal Photo)

Making the wrap-around band (I have no clue what the correct term is!) :P

12) Cut new 2" strips or use any leftovers that you haven't 'fringed' yet... grab each side in your hands and pull to make the fabric curl.

13) See photo below "Braided Handle (Back)" - Using Fabric-TacI glued the tips of 3 strips together and let them set for about 1 min before braiding them.  Then again, secured the ends with Fabric-Tac.  YOU DO NOT NEED TO USE FABRIC-TAC... knotting the ends and braiding would work just as well.  I just did not want to feel knots while carrying my bouquet.

(Personal Photo)

 (Personal Photo)

14)  Grab all your flowers and wrap string/hair tie around the stems to hold them in place.

15) Wrap a couple layers of tulle around the stems, securing with hot glue from your glue gun.  (I'm not sure I would've originally used tulle... but I passed it in an aisle at the craft store for 50% off and thought of using it here!)

16) Next, wrap your braided t-shirts around the stems, also securing with hot glue.  It took several braids to get the look I wanted.  I tried to flatten out the ends of the braids as much as possible, as to not feel them while holding the bouquet.

17) You're done! :)  Sit back and admire your awesome creation!

 (Photo Courtesy of Jennifer B. Photography)

 (Photo Courtesy of Jennifer B. Photography)

(Photo Courtesy of Jennifer B. Photography)


(Photo Courtesy of Jennifer B. Photography)

(Photo Courtesy of Jennifer B. Photography)

(Photo Courtesy of Jennifer B. Photography)

Trying to keep some of the same elements through our wedding, I decided to use the leftover flowers and make centerpieces.  

Items Needed:
- T-shirt Flowers.
- Thrifted Vases or off containers.
- Optional: Green Flower Foam (not sure of the correct name).

- Hot Glue Gun
- Hot Glue Sticks
- Any type of material as a filler at the top of the vases/containers.

This is pretty straight forward.  On some of the skinnier vases/containers, I just simply glued the stems right inside.  On the larger ones, I used the Flower Foam to hold them in place.  Then you have the task of covering up the hot glue or Flower Foam... I used all sorts of stuff: (in the photo above) I used a leftover brown flower that wasn't going to be used, shredded newspaper, crinkled tulle, etc... let your imagine go wild!

- Sara.  :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Wedding Craft Challenge

I'm a HUGE fan of Dollar Store Crafts, and was stoked to find that they were holding a Wedding Day Craft Challenge! (June 1st-6th, 2012). Knowing that my wedding was ALOT of DIY and on a tight budget, I decided to sit down and re-hash the steps to create a few of the major parts of the wedding day.

But typing up directions, adding photos, and the DIY'ness might be a little harder than I expected.  With our lil'babe expected in the beginning of November... our growing bump has been reeking havoc on my eye sight.  Most nights I'm in bed by 6pm due to extreme eye strain.

It comes and goes - so hopefully I'm able to get through the next 2 posts with minimal effort. Let's hope! :)

Here's to the Wedding Day Craft Challenge!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Egg Mail (Pregnancy Reveal)

If you can't tell from the post title - We're Expecting! :)  

We're just over 2 months in and we can't keep the secret any longer.  So we're revealing the good news on/by Easter Sunday, by sending out Easter Eggs in the mail.

(Personal Photo)

** Here's where I got the idea... Giver'sLog **
I have a horrible time with the Post Office, so I actually added 2 more Forever stamps to these eggs  I probably didn't need that much postage on them but I wanted to be safe!  Through the link above, the blogger actually shows how much to stamp them with - I went overboard.

I'm super glad we have a holiday coming up (or by the time this post hits, Easter will have passed), because without it - I'm not sure how we would've spread the news.  Facebook/Phone seem so... informal for family members and our closest family members are my brother and sister-in-law in San Francisco, all the rest are plunked between Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Even though we're not able to let everyone know face-to-face, I figured the Easter Egg was the next best thing because:
1. Everyone finds out relatively around the same time.
2. Everyone finds out the same way.
3. Once family and close friends know, then we'll blast our amazing news via Facebook. 

We have some special news to say,
the kind of news that just can't wait.

The special kind that makes you smile,
the kind that is definitely worthwhile.

There's someone that you'll get to meet,
someone who will be sugary sweet.

We have some special news to say,
there is a baby on the way!
For the poem, I had searched the internet and didn't find anything that wasn't sappy.  So lastly, I searched Yahoo! Answers and saw this poem that someone had added in an 'answer' (I don't have the direct link) but it's not the original poem anyway, I tweaked it to work for what I was wanting.
(Left: Personal Photo)

Unfortunately, only 2 of the 4 eggs arrived in time.  The two that arrived were to my husband's parent's and to my brother and sister-in-law.  So we're Skyping today, to share the news, with 1 non-egger and waiting til Wednesday for the other egg to arrive.  

Well, I'm off to go lay down, woke up not feeling too swell.  Story of my life anymore.

- Sara.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Most Boring of Bedrooms

We've been settled in AZ for just under 2 months now... and while we love it, it's been hard piecing together a 'home' on a tight budget.  I use 'home' lightly because we live in the whitest of white apartments (even the kitchen cabinets are white). 

While picking a bed was the easiest decision we've ever made together - the decision on bedding was not.  We could not agree on anything... this went on for about a week of sleeping with just sheets - no bed spread/comforter/etc... finally we just agreed to get a simple white down comforter.

 (Personal Photo w/ Igor - Can you guess which side is mine! hahaha).

Down comforters: I love them and loathe them.

Love - They are super comfy and the possibilities are endless on style.

Loathe - Without a duvet, they get stinky and stained... and are dry-clean only.

For the last month and a half - I've been searching Pinterest, Macy's, Anthro, Urban Outfitters and EVERYWHERE for a great duvet.  Almost everything I saw was too expensive or just plain ugly.  I loved loved loved Urban Outfitters selection and the prices were even on target, but... rarely did any of the duvets come in a king size. 

Through Pinterest, I found wonderful Anthro knockoffs.  Though all beautiful - there was always something holding me back from making any one of these...

Not sure if I would still be in love with this style 6,8,10 months down the road. 


This style on a king would require piecing together three large sections on top and then pin-tucking... in my mind, I couldn't see this coming out correctly.


This one is way beyond my sewing ability! lol.

To make these, the cost would run upwards of $48+ (3 king size flat sheets from WM run $16/each).

I continued the search... with Overstock, Big Lots, everyplace that ended with a dot com... and then I struck gold with Amazon!

I found this plain beauty for $37.50 and ships for free! (5 out of 5 stars)
And this one for $39.95 + $5.50 shipping (4 out of 5 stars)
So... at this point, I have in my mind to do a Chevron stamp (DIY, of course) in a charcoal grey using fabric paint...

and then dye the fabric (the green in the center) to coordinate with the teal sheets/night stands that we have.  I'm not a fan of the shade of purple - so not sure I will incorporate it... maybe down the line?
(I cannot remember where this color photo came from! Sorry!)

I love to DIY but when the cost to DIY is more expensive then to buy (and alter) - I go with the latter.

Update on the finished look will come soon!  I hope to have the bedding ordered by Wednesday of next week and for it to become my weekend project! :)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Igor's Home: Console to Dog House **Updated**

I'm a Pinterest addict.  If I'm not searching photos on the computer, then I'm on the iPhone app 'liking' them for later.  (I generally only 'like' pins on my phone.  I like to look into the Pin to see if it has a legit website attached, etc... so many times, I've categorized a Pin and it's just a photo from Flickr... so frustrating).

Recently, I pin'd a revamp that got my creative juices flowing.  Erin Rages took an old console TV and made it into a dog bed.  As soon as I pin'd this, I hit Craigslist and found (a free!) one that someone had just posted.  So I dragged the husband from bed early the next day to go help me bring it home.  (AFTER we got it home - he asked me, "We got this for free, right?") hahaha.

 (Personal Photos w/ Igor)

Erin Rages had great before and afters but I'm a step-by-step kinda gal... and I needed direction.  At the time, I couldn't find anything to help me along.  But I did have a husband that had enough knowledge to know that you DON'T BUST THE TUBE (the part that shows your evening stories).  BTW - Fried Okra has a good inside look/tutorial on this process.  The husband had me really scared up until this point because I had no clue what would happen if this thing exploded (and I still don't).  Fortunately, it was an easy process to ratchet off the 8 bolts holding THE TUBE in place and send it out to the dumpster (the ONLY upside of apartment living). 

Cleaning out the guts took all of 5 minutes, then the real pain the ass started.  Once THE TUBE is out, you're faced with 35 bolts and 55 tight staples. Those 35 bolts and 55 tight staples TOOK.ME.ALL.DAY.  Not fun.  Maybe all console TV's are different and some don't have all those bolts and staples???  If I had known what I know now... I would've thought REALLY hard before starting this project. lol.  Not something I ever plan on doing again. 
Tools I Used to Clean Out the Console:
  • Small Screwdriver
  • Large Screwdriver
  • Needle Nose Pliers
Unlike the other revamps I've come a crossed, the other TV's didn't have a plastic frame holding the front of the TV together.  Sorry, since I don't have a picture, I'll do my best to describe it.  Behind the front of the TV (behind the 'wood') holding THE TUBE and the speakers is just a simple black plastic frame - that needed to be taking out.  Once that was taken out... 35 bolts/55 tight staples later, the TV was not sturdy.  We purchased "L" brackets from Home Depot/Lowe's.  I believe we used 12 of them.  There is no rhyme or reason to where to put these, each TV is going to be different.  Wherever your TV is shaky or loose - that's where they go. :)

Once the console was secure, it was time to paint.  I had no clue what color I wanted - so I just went to Home Depot and started looking around and found this:

 (Personal Photo - Behr 470F-4 Aspen Aura)

Looking back, I wish I would've picked the next color down... but what can I do?  I'm surely not going to paint this console again. hahaha.  

 (Personal Photo)

It's been a long time since I've painted anything... so I shopped for a primer and was going to buy the paint, but the paint lady suggested getting a paint and primer All-In-One for a slightly cheaper price.  I was hooked.  Then I got home and started reading HORRIBLE reviews on this paint - that I had just purchased.

Despite the horrible reviews - I painted anyway.  In the end, I have no hard feelings against this paint.  It worked wonders for me and more than likely I will use it again... I'm the type of person that buys what she needs with where she's at.  If I'm at WM, I'll buy WM paint... If I'm at Lowe's, I'll buy Lowe's paint... etc.  Just so happened that I was at Home Depot when I needed paint. lol.

Items I Used To Prep and Paint:
  • Ultra Fine Sanding Blocks (200 or 220 grit?).  The blocks and paper are/were the same price - so I went for the blocks, thinking they would be easier to work with (without a sander).
  •  4-Piece Tiny Trim-It Roller Pack
  • 2 - $.068 foam brushes
  • Water/Rags to clean off the dust from sanding 

I let the paint dry 4 hours in-between coats and only applied 2 coats total.  Pretty good for 'crappy' paint, huh? hahaha.

(Personal Photo)
Comforter - Brand: Waverly from Burlington Coat Factory... really cute but didn't hold up well.

Right now - it's liveable.  But I want to do more to it.  
  • Add manly curtains to the front (as the color turned a little more Miami, Florida'ish then I expected)... oops.  
  • Cover the back in fabric also - to hide the 'back of the TV' look.  

Igor looks SO SMALL inside that we've talked about changing out that old comforter to his smaller bed and adding his water/food bowls in there... sprucing it up to look like a mini-house!  The possibilities are endless but our wallets aren't - so those extras will come later. :)
Round-About Price to Make Dog House: $35
We barely had anything on hand to help make this (a major downside to apartment living). 
Words of Advice:
  • I don't recommend sitting THE TUBE down once you got it out.  It was heavy, and sitting it down allows for more possibilities for it to break/explode.  We got it loose and immediately took it out to the dumpster.
  • I was a little worried that the sanding blocks that I purchased weren't doing the trick... because the surface didn't seem 'scratched' up to me... but it all turned out and the paint is very much set to the console.  My husband said "if it's producing dust, it's working".
Hope you enjoy!  Feel free to ask questions - I'll answer the best I can. :)
- Sara.

UPDATE - 03.30.12

We have changed out Igor's large comforter and replaced it with his smaller bed and it's working out nicely!  

(Personal Photo)

I still haven't gotten around to adding pictures and/or curtains yet.  Frankly, I've been tied up with other projects, that I'm ever-so-trying to get done, and not feeling well for the past week.

2 of the projects are top secret and can't be 'released into the interwebs' until after Easter (they'll already typed up and ready to go!!!)  Until then... :)