Thursday, March 31, 2011

Full of Great Ideas $0 Budget Party


{The $0 Budget Party is below}
Here is my last $0 project for the month of March!

Have you seen the Ikea commercial for their Winter Sale? It starts with a woman looking at her receipt in shock and running out the the store yelling "Start the Car!!!"  Well that was me last week. No, I didn't cheat on my $0 budget month and head to Ikea, I went shopping at the Sidewalk Boutique (Thank you Amy at Chestnut Tree Lane for the wonderful new saying! I no longer have to tell my husband I pulled something out of someone's garbage).

So I was driving to pick up my kids at our wonderful home daycare (Hi Bonnie) and I spied a gorgeous cream colored headboard being featured in the Sidewalk Boutique :). I drove past at such a slow speed you could have walked faster. But knowing my husband would roll his eyes, I drove past.  When I got to the daycare, about 5 houses down, I knew I had to go back. With the support of another woman who loves a great deal, I ran back in my high heels to see what it was like. I was in awe...so beautiful! Well it was actually hideous but I knew with some paint it would be amazing.

Here is where the Ikea part comes in. I am a pretty tall woman and with 3 inch heels on I am a good size...well just image me running with this queen size headboard over my head down the street yelling "open the van". Hoping that no one would see me before I managed to wrangle it into the back of my minivan. Bonnie and I wiggled and pushed and somehow managed to get it in. All while her husband (thinking exactly what my husband would be thinking) laughed at us.  I knew my husband would not be overjoyed so when I got home, I carefully (meaning secretively) moved it into the garage and did not say a word. I didn't hide it but I knew once it was in the house it was easier to keep. Well it took him a couple of days to find and all I got was a few "garbage digger" comments. Well worth it in my opinion!

Here is the before (the small patch of cream is where I tested the spray paint):
And the amazing after. Look what a can of Heirloom White spray paint can do!

That is my last $0 project for this month!  What have you done with $0?






A Few Party Guidelines
*Party is open to any project you've made or created with materials you had on hand. So $0 Budget!!
*Please do not link to Etsy shops because they cost money :). Remember $0 Budget.
*Link to your actual post title (not your blog homepage). If you need help, send me a note and I can help you.
*It would be nice if you added the $0 Budget party button to your post (code above) or a link back to the party and if you Followed me but this is not required.
*Please visit other people's ideas and Leave Some Comments. We all love comments!


 I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend and lets PARTY!

1 month, 15 projects, 100s of family hours, $0 = Priceless


It has been 31 days since I stepped foot in a Dollar store, home decor store and craft store! I have not spent a dime on crafts, clothing and home decorating. I am shocked and can't believe it myself!

To start I want by thanking everyone for their words of encouragement over the past month; we have read and enjoyed every comment and email. Just a quick reminder tomorrow is the $0 Budget link party and everyone is invited to stop by to share their ideas.

When my husband and I gave up spending for the month of March, I never thought I would accomplish what I did. I am amazed at how I was dependent on running to the store to buy something in order to complete a project. I just need this or that..but could I do it with what you have one hand? I proved the answer to that is yes.

I will admit it got tough towards the end. I ran out of hot glue pretty early on (I should have planned a little better :) ), I am nearly out of mat Mod Podge and had to resort to glue sicks..horrible little things. I ran out of black spray paint in gloss so I have had to substitute with Satin.  But in the end, shockingly, I still have enough supplies to go one more month (maybe even two-but that is just crazy talk now) which as you know is what I have to do. I am keeping this $0 budget going until Easter.

Not only did I accomplish so many fun and amazing projects this month, I also got so much done around the house. By not going shopping, I had the time to do things I thought I never had the time to do.
  • I cleaned, defrosted and used up so much in my freezer. 
  • I purged my pantry of all old and expired food (I am embarrassed at how much I had to throw out because it was bad). 
  • I cleaned my linen closet and donated old towels and sheets that we haven't used since we moved it. 
  • I purged the hundreds of books in my office and donated bags full to a local charity.  
  • I cleaned my kids closets and organized a system for laundry. This is a huge step for me because I hate doing laundry!
  • We spent many hours playing games and spending time as a family! This is by far the best thing that came out of this month. AMAZING.
Since tomorrow is my big party and I have one more amazing $0 budget post (you will see it tomorrow...it is breathtaking!!!!). I thought today I would do a summary page of my favorite top 10 $0 projects.  Here are my top 10 favorites..let me know if you agree:

#1. The stair basket out of an old cardboard box.
# 2. Custom cutlery drawer divider using hard board.
 
 #4. Wood Dice out of a 4x4
 
#5. Conversation Cards
 #6. Toilet Paper Roll Art
 #7. Dry Erase Freezer Inventory List
  #8. Magnetic Board with Old Picture Frame and Roofing Flashing
 #9. Recovering Old Photo Albums
 #10. Teacup topiary
My flat screen TV frame is not included in my top 10 but is my absolute favorite for the month.  I can't include it because it was not with a $0 budget. I had purchased the materials a couple of months ago anticipating making it...so I don't think it fits into my top 10 $0 projects. But I will show it to you in case you missed it.

Remember tomorrow (or late tonight) is the $0 Budget party. Please stop by to share all your craft, home decor, gift giving tips, family secrets...anything you want as long as you did it with stuff you had on hand. I am looking forward to seeing ideas that will get me through one more month with a $0 budget!

See you tomorrow.
Stephanie

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The recipe for a happy life is to be organized - on my $0 budget

I love cookbooks! I will admit it, I have hundreds of them. Do I use them, not so much. Am I a gourmet chef in the kitchen, not at all! If you call opening a can of condensed soup and adding it to meat and veggies gourmet...well then maybe I am :).  So I have hundreds of cookbooks in my kitchen cabinets and what do I do when I need a recipe? Go online and print one off. So I`m left with hundreds of stray pieces of paper with all my favorite recipes on them.

Plus, when I got married, my family has a tradition at the wedding shower to send 2 or 3 blank recipe cards with the invitation. Everyone who is invited, writes down their favorite recipes and brings them with them to the wedding shower. I love this idea and have carried it on for every wedding shower I have hosted. When I had my shower, I was given a lovely recipe book with a teddy bear on it. At the time it might have been cute (not) but I loved the family recipes I received.

[Side note to anyone planning a wedding shower..this goes over really well and you get some amazing recipes. Just send 2 or 3 4x6 index cards, instructions  and when people arrive, slip them into a nice photo album. Great gift!]
So I knew I needed to organize the stray pieces of paper and keep the family recipes without having to type or rewrite everything. This is what I came up with.
I found an old photo album in our office that was destined for charity. It holds 4x6 photos and has a space for descriptions. I cut the printed recipes to fit, slide in the old recipe cards and any other stray bits. In theory I could organize the recipes by type, leaving a couple of pages empty in between so new recipes can be added, but I was far too lazy. This might be a task when I am watching TV one night.

Simple solution but it works great! So much neater.

Remember this Friday is my first link party! Please, please, please stop by and share your $0 Budget Craft and Decor ideas no matter how big or how small. If you have something to share but can't make the party, just send me a note and I can post it for you. If you have nothing to share, stop by and see how others are saving money! I hope to see everyone on Friday, April 1st.

Stephanie

Friday, March 25, 2011

4x4 Wood Dice on my $0 budget


I was flipping through an older decorating magazine and I stumbled upon a picture of an beautiful office bookcase with a set of large dice used as bookends. I immediately knew these would look adorable in our home office against the dark bookcase and I knew I could make them for nothing!

I immediately ran outside and found the left over 4x4 cedar post we have used on many projects and worked up the nerve to use one of the most intimidating tools in my husbands collection...the sliding miter saw.

I measured 3.5 inches from the end to make a cube (since a 4x4 is actually 3.5 x 3.5) and with my husband's safety glasses not to securely on my face, I cut it! I could have run down the street yelling with pride...I did it! and it measured 3.5 inches. Then I cut a second one. It is amazing the feeling I got from using it!

Back to my dice. I painted them with an off white paint (had on hand) and not so patiently waited for them to dry. On a few of the sides you could still see the knots in the wood and I loved the look of it so I gave the two blocks a little distressing around the edges.

I cut small circles on vinyl with the Cricut to use as the dots on the dice. You can use a paper punch and Mod Podge the circles on if you don't have a cutter (like me :( ). I did use dice from a Yahtzee game to see which order the numbers are to be in.

Tah Dah. Nice and simple but oh so cute!
Remember April 1st is the $0 budget party. Please remember to stop by and share or just to take a look at what other have been up to.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Recovered Photo Albums on my $0 budget

 All of you will let out a collective gasp when I confess this. I do not scrapbook!  I know it is hard to believe that someone who loves to craft as much as I do has no desire to scrapbook. My mom does though, so I get beautiful scrapbooks as gift. As a result of not being a scrapbooker (is that a word?), I have a huge pile of old fashion photo albums that are very 'dated' and stand out in my office bookshelves (and not for a good reason).

A couple of weeks ago I decided to purge our home office. What I thought was a simple task ended up taking husband and I almost the entire weekend. We both are avid readers, so we had collected hundreds of books that we would never read for a second time. We brutally eliminated all the items we had no intention of reading again and passed them on to family members and charity. We felt amazing.

Our shelves looked so clean and organized but those darn photo albums were even more obvious. I knew I would not be able to cover them with scrapbook paper since the biggest size I have is 12x12 so I had to find another solution. And I DID!
Aren't they prudy! You should have seen the ones that looked like green marble...very fancy :)

For years I have been using the huge roll of Ikea paper (meant for kids to draw on) as gift wrap. We wrap the gift in the thick cream colored paper and then my kids draw on the paper as decoration. Everyone gets a custom wrapping and the entire roll (that has lasted me over 4 years) only cost $5.

I had just enough of the roll left to cover my 5 hideous photo albums. I simply Mod Podged the paper to the  photo album, making sure it can bend to close, and then secured the inside with some invisible tape for extra security. Nice and easy...just the way I like it.
When I put the photo albums up, I loved them, but my husband had a good point, how will we know that was in them.
So with my borrowed Cricut (it might never be returned to my mom..what is the saying "possession is 9/10ths of the law" :) Just kidding mom it will come back.) I cut out some circles in left over teal colored paper and then numbers/letters in a brown paper. Using a glue stick (since I am running out of Mod Podge) I secured the blue circles and then attached the numbers.

Side note: I now understand why my kids are always sticky...glue sticks are horrible! My fingers are sticking to the keyboard even though I have washed them three times!
I made sure I lined all the blue dots up because nothing bothers my husband more than things that are crocked :) Almost everything I make is slightly crocked. I think my eyes aren't parallel :)

 I love how it looks and how much it cost ~$0!
What do you think?
Stephanie

Please remember April 1st is the $0 Budget link party. Please remember to stop by and share you ideas no matter how big or small. If you want something posted, but can't make it, just send me a note and I can post if for you. If you have nothing to share, that is OK too, stop by and see how everyone is saving money with their $0 crafts.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Laptop Vinyl Decals on my $0 budget


I know this isn't a problem in most peoples eyes, but it is for me. Don't judge until you read the entire reason :). Here is the problem I face..my husband and I all have the same laptops. I know...it is not horrible but it is a cause of stress for me. When I am rushing out of the house to catch a train for 6:45am, I am always afraid that I will end up at work (after an hour and a bit commute) with a computer that is not mine. Granted, I only go into the office a couple of days a week, I am still always worried.
 (I know I need to tackle the cables under our desktop computer...that is a challenge for me)

So with my desire to get a Silhouettte growing and my jealousy of all you bloggers out there who have won one turning me green (just kidding, I am happy for each and every one of you), I decided to make (with my borrowed Cricut and some scrap vinyl) my own vinyl decals to clearly distinguish my laptop.

I only have two pieces of vinyl, so my color choice was made for me.  Black vinyl would not show on my black laptop, so the decals had to be white.  Side note: I can't believe the top of my laptop has greasy fingerprints on it...yuck.
After debating what to put on my laptop, I decided against flowers, a couple bugs and went with some swirly images in two different sizes.  I don't have the transfer paper that is recommended (and I can't buy it) so I thought I would have some trouble transferring the cut vinyl, but it worked out fine. I started with one corner and allowed the vinyl to dictate where it was going to go.
I like the fact the vinyl will come off if I ever need it to, that it dresses up my computer without making it too unprofessional and I especially love the fact I can grab my laptop in the dark without any worry I will have my husband's when I get into the office.

What do you think?
Stephanie

Remember April 1st is the $0 Budget Craft link party here. Please stop by and share your ideas and see what others are doing to save money.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

DIY Cutlery Drawer Divider - on my $0 budget

I have always disliked (more accurately hated, but I taught my kids that hate is a strong word and it should not be used easily) the drawer divider for my cutlery. We have not been able to find one that fit perfectly into our drawers so we had to buy a 'standard' size one, and cut it so it fit. It never did fit properly, especially it was not wide enough so I had to place the large knives on the side of the divider. 


So to continue with our "make it on a $0 budget" we made this:

I got the idea to make my own wood dividers for this post on Under the Table Dreaming.  Stephanie Lynn used thin pieces of poplar wood to create dividers for her kitchen drawers but the wood she used still works out to be expensive here in Canada. Plus, I am still on my $0 spending limit for this month so anything other than what I had in the house is too much money!
 Before:
After:

So my husband came up with a great idea to use wood paneling board (I don't know what it is actually called) cut into strips. I originally purchased the 8 foot x 4 foot piece of materials for under $10 and had intended to do a magnet/chalk board for my son's room. I might still do that but we had lots of extra materials to play with.

We decided to make an outer box that fit perfectly into the drawer and then insert inner dividers. The reason I decided to do it this way, as opposed to gluing it to the sides of the drawer, is so I can take the wood divider out to clean all the crumbs and stuff that seems to mysteriously appear in with my cutlery.

We (again this means my husband) measured the width, height and depth of the drawer and cut long pieces to be the height of the outer drawer. We made an outer box by gluing (Gorilla Wood glue) and stapling the corners. If you don't have a stapler, you can do this with just the Gorilla glue. It is amazing stuff!

Once it was set, we cut more thin strips of wood (this time we made them 2.5 inches so it wasn't too deep to reach the cutlery) to make the inner dividers.  I mapped out where I wanted the cutlery to be placed and my husband cut the wood to the exact measurements. We glued all the pieces together with some more Gorilla Wood Glue. Again..amazing stuff!
I really wanted a knife block divider in the drawer so my husband came up with the idea to use an old piece of cedar (I had from the Block letters that everyone in blog land has done..including me :) ) and he put 1.5 inch deep slits every 3/4 of an inch. He then he cut the bottom of the block off 3/4 of an inch below where the slits ended.


We placed the block with the slits and the extra piece that was cut off in the drawer. The knife blades fit in the slots and the handles rest on the extra piece.
Pretty amazing isn't it! I have to say my husband amazes me on a daily basis! Who would have thought an Electrical Engineer could build stuff...not me :)

I put that cheap rubbery bumpy gripy stuff under the divider and that is it!

The entire project took us about an hour and a half and cost us $0!! If I were to go out today to buy the materials, it would have probably cost us under $3 ...cedar is pretty expensive :)  $0 verses the ridiculous prices they charge for these dividers! I will never buy another one!

One more AMAZING look! Come on, don't you agree this is a WOW moment?
The next project is to tackle my junk drawer..I don't think any divider will help that :)

Please let me know what you think. I really do love comments...it makes me know people are actually reading this.

Remember April 1st is the $0 Budget party here. Please stop by with your frugal ideas or stop by to see what others are doing on e $0 budget. Hope to see you all!

Stephanie

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