A New Beginning

So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality, nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit.

Christopher McCandless

 

June; the perfect time to start a new chapter.  My son and I are finally getting a one bedroom apartment!   If we can ever get moved in-it’s been one hurdle after another; but you can’t stop this stubborn red head!

 

The universe always has her own timing, so it is very important we listen to her!

 

This past weekend we planned on moving, but our unit flooded!  We would’ve lost all of  the few things we do own, AND I decided to get very sick.

I spent a few days in the hospital with some stomach issues, which told me it’s time to take my health a little more seriously.   I guess level 50 is the magic number to start thinking about that sorta thing.  The good news is, now I am part of the medical system and I have more options for care.

New carpet, new eating habits and a new outlook, I am ready for my next chapter!

 

So, with all of that life stuff happening, it’s time for me to get back into my handy dandy budgeting skills I am so famous for in unknown circles and get to budgeting!

These are a few of my old school tricks and some new ones that I have picked up along my journey of surviving this world on a budget!

big things

Big Things

Word of mouth works great when gathering things from scratch.  I clean house for a dear friend, she has been so wonderful, and if only everyone had a fraction of her giving heart; this world would be a hundred times better than it is right now.  Not only has she shared her home with my son for the past year, she has a garage full of furniture just waiting for a new home and has generously given it to us for our fresh start.  If only I could return the gratitude to her to show her and her family how this fills my being.

cool shop

 

Little Things

Of course, now I have the perfect excuse, I mean reason, to hit the Goodwill shops!  Oh, how I miss my second hand shopping!  I can do so many magical things with my findings from Goodwill!  Curtains, throw pillows, baskets, odd pieces, whatever my whimsical heart desires!  I have a few blogs on this very topic, since it is one of my many favorites, but check this out for some ideas.

lady in bath

Saving money and the environment

Since I have to watch my budget and my health; I was trying to think of ways to do both.  Since paper towels can turn into a huge expense-what about using finger towels and linens for wiping and drying?  The dollar stores and secondhand stores have both for very cheap and I can reuse them!  I also found bleach tablets where the fabric dye is in the cleaning supplies at your favorite grocery store, so I can sanitize them during each wash cycle.  Not too shabby!  I can use the pretty baskets and dishes I found to display them nicely in my kitchen and bath to add some personal touch that blends with my décor.

pests

Pests

Living in an apartment can make it challenging to keep the infestations to a minimum, so I am going to have succulents that have natural repellent properties. I haven’t actually tried these yet, but there is lots of info in the great world wide web, Mother Nature Network has lots of great info.

pooches

 

Pooches

Since my furbabies have to share a yard with other critters, large and small; I will need to keep an area by the door with wipes and sprays to keep my babies from bringing in unwanted house guests.  This not only is healthier for me, but for them too.  I can use some hand towels to wipe them down so we all can be happy puppies!

 

Since we are also on the second floor, my poochieweenie doesn’t have a great attention span and a tiny bladder, so to remedy this, I can have an indoor potty yard just for her.  Keeps her off the carpet and instills the mindset of grass being the potty place for pooches.  You can find all kinds of grassy yards of all sizes and prices to fit your needs.  So far, I found that Amazon has the most variety.  I found one that is reusable that lasts for about 2 weeks depending on frequency of potty stops.

It is also very important for my babies to be current on their shots and flea maintenance.  There are always clinics to make sure this can be possible.  Check out humanesociety.org  to find out more.  And never skimp on your flea regimen.  For more info on my tips for caring for your fur ones check out my blog here

vintage shopping 2

Pantry

With so many convenient options nowadays in the grocery store and the cost of food items, staying healthy and budget friendly can be quite a challenge.  My cure for this problem is buying fresh fruits and veggies and dividing them up into meal size packages and following food guidelines for proper storing. Good Housekeeping has some very reputable tips.

I could keep on going on and on,  but I do tend to get long in sharing, so maybe another day.

I just got a phone call that the apartment is still being worked on, so just a few more days…….

 

When I do finally get to move in, I am kissing the floor and am going to have a good cry!

Thank you for reading and

Hugs and Hope!

 

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Celebrate Independence Day on a Budget

Diane's Thrifty Cupboard

Buying themed party supplies and décor can get very pricey, as well as the menu.  Here are some ideas I am using to make my outdoor celebration fun without breaking the bank.

The Basics:  I went to my local Goodwill Store and dollar stores and shopped around.  I found a white linen table cloth, some linen napkins and some red, blue, and white plates of different sizes.  I also found a nice assortment of glassware to use for cocktails and table decorations.

table2

The Main Attraction:  My table, where all the yummy food will be displayed is my focal point.  My finds at the dollar stores included aquarium rocks, flags, candles, ribbon, silk flowers and anything else that looked festive.  My layers started with the white table cloth.  The linen napkins, I dyed red and blue.  For the accents, I used the items I found.  This is where I got…

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5 of my Favorite Tools for all of my DIY Projects

 

 

I love doing projects, especially when it comes to creating a unique space in my home on the cheap.  Although my skillset is mediocre at best, I do have some favorite cheats to cover up my lack of skills.

Many of my ideas on home interior usually involve stuff lying around my yard, garage, attic, etc; and things I don’t have always come from a thrift shop or the local dollar store.  But, what do you do with this stuff and how do you make it work?  Well, I am going to share my little secrets to make that project come to life!

staple gun

  • Staple gun; I love my staple gun! I can use it on any surface that is sturdy enough to hold the staples.  When I put shelf liner paper on my back splash in my kitchen; I used a staple gun to hold it up.  Reupholstering chairs, head boards, frames, any project that is wood like gets the staple gun treatment!

penny jar

  • Hot glue gun; remember that phase about 20 years ago when everyone was hot gluing everything onto anything they could get their hands on?  Well, I still to this day use mine.  My glue gun has been my tried and true friend for taking care of smaller projects, like hot gluing things to stuff.

cushion

  • Safety Pins; yes, I use them when I recover couch or chair cushions, or even recovering pillows. I do not have a sewing machine so this is my way of ‘sewing’ things together.

sconces

  • Battery operated screwdriver; this is a must for your bag of cheats. Any time I am putting together furniture that comes in a box of planks, and when I am hanging curtains or wall hangings.

tape

  • Tape; some projects just require a little creativity where my other tools don’t quite work. Not only that, if you are painting something, you can use tape to cover things you don’t want painted.  I also use tape to make sure my wall hangings stay straight.  I also use tape for those hard to reach places that need to be attached somewhere.

 

All of my secrets are out; now you know what I keep in my tool bag.  If you have cheat tools you use and would like to share, please comment below and happy DIY’ing!

Making a Bold Statement in a Tiny Bathroom

tiny bath

I don’t know if it is a Texas thing, but every house I have lived in, always had that one tiny bathroom.  Sometimes, more often than not, it was in the master bedroom; like the house I am in now.  Of course, it is the dreariest plain space, with no invitation to even go in there.

Depending on your sense of style, you can make this tiny space more appealing, by using some DIY bold statements of color and shapes to make this your favorite refuge without spending your emergency savings.

First of all, stand in your tiny space and look around.  Sometimes a good scrubbing can make a world of difference.  Is there caulk that needs to be updated around showers and sinks?  Old paint dribbled on counter tops and tile that need to be scraped off?  How about that place behind the commode that no one wants to clean?

Now, that we have our boring bathroom sparkling clean, let’s look at some ways you want to make your powder room pop.

bath cabinet

Wood staining; my new best friend in staining cabinets and furniture is Java Gel Stain.  My skill set is mediocre at best, but this stuff is so easy to use.  No sanding or prep of any kind; just tape along the edges and ‘paint’ it on with some good quality sponges.  A pack of sponges come in a variety of sizes so you can reach those tiny corners and grooves.   The bold wood adds the right amount of contrast and you can still add some bold statement pieces without looking overwhelming.  A quart goes a long way, and you can find it pretty cheap on Amazon.

paint

Paint; this is always a fresh option; there are so many colors to choose from to satisfy any insatiable need for color.  Depending on the boldness of the paint you choose will decide how much you want to use.  If you are going for a deep color, try to only do a partial wall or one section.  For example:  behind the water closet or above the vanity.  Too much of a good thing will swallow up your space and make it appear even smaller.  A good tip is the more bold paint you use, the more streamlined your decor and fixtures need to be.

stencil

Wallpaper; I cringe at this word because I have seen a lot of over use of wallpaper in my day; but there are so many choices and patterns now, you can find the right paper to satisfy your wallpapering addiction.  There are even stencil patterns that would look fabulous on a bare wall.  You can even add some shelving to break up or incorporate your wallpapered area.

mirror

Statement Pieces; If staining, painting, wallpapering or any other major time consuming project doesn’t fit your time schedule; you can still make your potty shine with statement pieces.  Replace that boring square mirror with an embellished one you found at World of Imports on the clearance isle.  Hang some fabulous curtains for that tiny window and have them drape to the floor and don’t forget (if there is space) to use a fancy curtain rod.  Hang one large wall art on a spare wall.  Add a mirror adjacent to your vanity mirror to add depth.

bath curtain

You can add some finishing touches by adding some shelves to keep your toiletries off of the counter,  some nice smelling soap in a pretty dispenser; even  keep some soaps in a dish on a shelf with some candles to give it that spa feel.  One very important thing to add, make sure your towels have a nice place to rest when airing out between showers.  There are cute ladder style racks you can lean on a wall, if attaching a rod on a wall is not an option.

All of these ideas can be done in 100$ or less.  Just remember not to overdo your boldness, and enjoy your new tiny space.

 

I’m not a Cheap Date; Just Budget Friendly

shoe flowers

 

Ah, Valentine’s Day; in my opinion a day created by Media Advertising and Hallmark.  The stores are filled with candies in fancy boxes, stuffed bears, balloons and special cards for our loved ones.  And the not so lucky that aren’t paired up with their significant other; can be reminded of their single-ness.

Despite my opinion on the subject, I do enjoy getting flowers and trinkets from my sweetheart, maybe a nice dinner date as well.  After all, who wants to be left out?  Not me!

So I thought this would be a good time to come up with some fun and inexpensive ways to celebrate this love fest and not overdraw the checking account.

table

The Traditional couple; If you are one of those that likes to stick with the tried and true; you can create the perfect date without going over budget.

Instead of making reservations at that fancy restaurant, create that cozy atmosphere using a little imagination.  Depending on where you live, can decide on where your setting is going to be.  Such as the rooftop of your apartment, the gazebo in your backyard, or even the comfort of your kitchen.

Shop around at the local dollar stores and thrift stores to find those items that suit your fancy to create your romantic space, and depending on your culinary skills; you can whip up that special dinner, or if cooking is not in your vocabulary order some Chinese takeout or visit your local Deli for your food fare.

Don’t forget to add some flowers from your florist and pick them up, having them delivered is what makes the cost skyrocket!

picture frame

The Crafty Couple; Do you have a knack for crafts?  Make your sweetie something that they can cherish, knowing you put time and effort in, makes that trinket that much more special.  One of my favorite handmade gifts is taking a picture frame and adding memorabilia inside, such as concert tickets, or maybe you kept keepsakes from your first date, or even cut out selfies of the two of you.  Another idea is to knit matching scarves and hats for you two lovebirds.  Anything you have a crafty knack for and make that special gift for your special love.

pier

 

The Active Couple; Is outside your favorite place to be?  Exploring new parks or caves?   You can pick a new spot that your partner has never been to before and surprise them with a picnic on the edge of a waterfall.  Or if you have a favorite place and surprise them with a place setting already made up.  Take advantage of your environment; if you live near a lake, grab a 6 pack of your favorite beverage and pair it with some food fare from a local vendor, whether it be Tacos from Texas or Shrimp and Sourdough bread from the California Coast.

video games

If Tech Wiz is the name of your game, make a favorites’ on an IPod; or download your favorite video games and spend the day or night, just the two of you hashing it out on the PS4; or a better twist, download those old Atari or Nintendo games for some nostalgic game playing.

heart sand

The Single and Loving it; when my daughter was in College, and not interested in pairing up she would throw Anti-Valentine’s Parties.  All her unpaired friends would come together and celebrate Un Valentine’s Day.   BYOB was the theme (should I have knowledge of this?) and since she loves to throw parties, she would create the perfect smorgasbord of delectable snacks.

There are a lot of ideas to make your day special without spending tons of cash.  With a little planning and creativity, you can have a Special Valentine’s Day to remember!  If you have ways you celebrate and want to share, please add comments below!

 

Making my Boho Chic Guest Room

boho bed

One thing about this time of year; it gives me lots of time to work on indoor projects.  I have so many ideas whirling in my head to make my new home my own.  My house is the typical contract house with standard contractor cabinets, counter tops and paint.  It does have nice flooring though, I did get fortunate there.

So one of my easier projects is the décor in each room; I am going to set the pattern for the flow of my house, then work on hardware which is more tedious and time consuming.  My goal is to get all of my indoor projects finished, so when spring comes and the weather gets warmer I can work on making my landscape look just as inviting as the inside.

Today, my project is the guest room.  I have already finished my book nook, now I am going to incorporate the rest of the room with that Boho Chic style that I have fallen in love with!  One thing that is so awesome about decorating in this theme is, you can use anything you want. And I mean anything!   I went to my favorite shopping place and found drapes, Knick knacks and furniture pieces using as many colors and patterns that suited my whimsy.

curtains

Window Coverings;  I started off by hanging some nice big bold curtain rods; then took three or four different style of linens and curtains and draped them over the rods in a Hodge podge layered sort of way.  I could get fancy and add beads or string lighting to add some flare.

Walls; I have lots of canvas paintings from my daughter’s art classes and used those for wall hangings.  I even used a big linen tapestry and hung on one entire wall.  Anything can be used as wall hangings; gramma’s old bead necklaces, animal antlers or pieces of fur, wood pieces from the back yard, anything that catches your eye.   Like I said before, I love this décor style!

Furniture; anything goes with furniture pieces.  Shop around in the attic, garage, back store room, yard sales, and thrift stores to find those have to have staples.  I found some old shabby dressers, nightstands and a desk and spray painted them.  I also found an old desk chair and recovered it with some fabric I had in my sewing box, and added some beaded fringe around the bottom.

head board

Bed; another great thing about this style is even the bed doesn’t have to be traditional.  Depending your budget and style; you can use anything from a futon to a mattress on the floor and anything in-between.  I decided to use mattresses (mattresses should never be bought second-hand) and a low bed frame.  Since I didn’t have a head board, I made one out of fiber board and covered it with a quilt using my handy-dandy staple gun to secure it.  Just lean the homemade head board on the wall and push the bed against it for a quick and easy alternative.  I tie dyed some sheets, added a comforter and used multi colored pillows to tie it all in.  Added some funky area rugs and my room is complete!

All of these ideas are budget friendly and easy to do.  My skill set is simple but yet I can make my home look warm and inviting without breaking the budget.  I hope these ideas inspire you to create your own space with you and your family in mind.

DIY Book Nook for those Cold Winter Days

booknook

I don’t like the cold; it’s cold.  You have to bundle up to go outside, and if the wind changes direction it blows cold air on you and it gets really cold.   Did I mention I don’t like the cold?

Because it is so cold outside, I spend most of my time inside; the temperature controlled environment of my home.  Because of my dislike of being cold, this is a good time for me to work on crafts or projects around the house.  One of the projects I am going to work on is making a cozy book nook so I can read my kindle or write my blog in my nice new comfy warm space.

drape

The Space; my first step is going to be finding the right space; an unused closet or corner of a room is usually ideal for this project.  I have an extra bedroom, which I am going to decorate boho chic will be the perfect place for my nook.  This room has extra walls and corners, so for me it is perfect!

chair

A Place to get Comfy; There are so many ideas floating in my head; I can get really detailed or keep it simple.  Since my room is going to be boho shabby, I am going to stick with this theme for my nook. First thing to consider; what am I going to sit on?  I could use a big oversized comfy chair or make my own.  I decided to keep it simple, so I am going to use oversized pillows and cover them with a thick comforter and add smaller pillows to lean against the wall for a back rest.

shelves

 

Other Things;I went to my favorite shopping place-Goodwill, and I found a cute little table to put my lamp on and a cute little wooden box to put books in.  I hung some inspirational wall hangings and draped some old curtains from the ceiling to create a cozy private place to sit and relax.

I put some candles, incense and some pretty Knick knacks for my table.  Now I have a nice hiding place to stay warm and comfy away from the bitter cold outside.  I also have a little heater by the foot of the nook to keep my feeties  warm.

I hope this inspired you to make your own nook, and the best part is you can make it any way you like.  This is YOUR space after all.  Stay warm and happy reading!