No Sew Pennant Banner (Just $7)

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No Sew Pennant Banner

I loved this project so much that I made one for my in-laws a few weeks ago, and had to come home and make one for our home too! It was so. easy. to do, and I used a few tricks the second time around that I didn’t see online, so I thought I’d share a quick tutorial with you.

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I have no sewing skills, so I wanted a quick and easy way to make mine without a whole lot of extra steps. This was so simple, and in less than an hour it was completed!

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Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Burlap (I bought 1 yard – cost was $4)
  • Sharpie Marker
  • Jute string (I had this at home, you can find it at your local craft store)
  • Stencil kit (I found mine at Hobby Lobby for $2.99)
  • iron
  • glue gun & glue sticks
  • cardboard box

 

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And here’s how you’ll make it . . .

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  1. Create a template out of a cardboard box. (This is the hardest part ~ promise.) ;)  Using a ruler, create a triangle the size that you’d like your burlap pieces. (Mine measured 6″ long by 5″ wide.)
  2. Trace your template onto the burlap with your sharpie marker – but instead of just tracing the triangle, once you’ve done one long side flip the triangle over to actually create diamonds. (See the picture in step 2 above.) This will actually create the pennant shape to hang over your ribbon.IMG_9566
  3. Once you’ve cut enough letters for whatever word you’re using, use your stencil and Sharpie marker to trace each letter onto the bottom section of each diamond shape on the burlap. Then, just use the Sharpie to fill in your letter. IMG_9573
  4. After your letters are finished, fold the burlap in half with your letter on the outside, and use an iron to iron it down into place.IMG_9572
  5. Lay your word out in order over the jute (leave extra jute at either end so you have plenty of room to hang it with.) Leave about 1 1/2″ – 2″ inch of space between each letter.IMG_9574
  6. Once your letters are in place, use your glue gun to place a thin stream of glue between the burlap and jute to hold it in place. (I didn’t get a great picture of this – above is when I flipped it over to make it reversible, but basically you’re just going to open up the triangles and put a thin strip of glue between the jute and the burlap to make your banner stay in place.)
  7. Once the glue is dry, you may want to press it out with the iron again just to make sure the pennant stays in place. You can also flip it over and stencil another word on the opposite side to make it reversible!

 

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Looking for more frugal fall decorating ideas? Click the images below to see a few of my favorites:

 

Frugal Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Be sure to stop back next Friday when I’ll reveal my big piano painting project ~ I’m so excited about this one and can’t wait to share!

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I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

 

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The Smartest Financial Decision We {Accidentally} Made

Goodness, I have been so hesitant to share this but feel like there might be someone out there who needs to read it. Please know that I grew up in a single-parent home and I COMPLETELY know that for many of you this is not an option (I don’t know how you single mommas do it all!), but I felt like it was something worth sharing. And I know that we ALL come from different financial places, but this is something that’s changed our finances and might help you out too!

 

My husband and I had a long drive back this weekend with three sleeping kiddos in the car after visiting Cedar Point for a conference, and started talking about our finances (and really, how we got from HERE to HERE.)

 

A long time ago (way back in 1996 to be exact), we decided as a young married couple that we wanted me to be able to stay at home with our kids. So, when we bought our very first little-fixer-upper house (even though I was working), we based every financial decision we made on my husband’s income alone. (I never made much more than minimum wage, so it wasn’t all that difficult a decision in some ways!)

 

In fact, when I sat down to interview for a better paying position in my first job, the interviewers asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

 

Naively stupidly (at age twenty-one), I replied, “Um, I really just want to be a mom.” ;)

 

Yup, moving up the ladder to success with that position clearly wasn’t going to happen.
That very clueless comment was the truth though, and shaped the way we looked at every financial decision we were faced with. It made us purchase homes that we could afford on just one income (even while we both worked outside the home), and forced us to stay frugal when our children were small as we were determined to stick it out.

 

That’s when we learned to just live a frugal life. And how to clip coupons. And how to watch our grocery prices. And it’s when we decided that we wouldn’t live in debt other than our home.

 

Fast forward 18 (really?) years.

 

All those things I learned in those early days apparently paid off, and I’m lucky enough to write about them for a few several hundred thousand readers each month. (Can I just tell y’all that’s crazy?????) And while this blog does now earn an income (learn more about how to make money blogging HERE and HERE), we’ve chosen not to spend any of the money we make from it.

 

(We have spent a little of the income on a few specific splurges, but the bulk of it goes towards saving for our kid’s college and for giving.)

 

I wish I could give you just a taste of what it feels like to have that financial freedom after years of working towards it. It’s still so weird to know that if something unexpected comes up our finances are in decent shape (which was an incredible blessing during our recent move!), and  I wish I could just let you feel for a moment the peace that comes with that.

 

Do you know what’s the coolest thing about our decision? That one choice has given me so much freedom as a business owner. (I really don’t think of myself as a business owner, more a crazy-momma-who’s-too-excited-not-to-share-a-deal-with-you all day long? Ahem.) Our choices early on gave me the opportunity to learn this crazy blogging thing; it gave me wisdom in an area that some folks don’t really understand; and it gave me the ability not to worry about making an income while I was learning the ropes of blogging and running a business.

 

We didn’t make the decision to live on one income purposefully because we wanted an extra savings account or extra cash flow or anything. We simply decided that it’s what we wanted for our own family (and don’t feel like it’s bad at all for moms to work – it was just what we hoped for when we looked at our future!) However, in a crazy turn of life, it’s turned out to be the best financial decision we could ever make.

 

I have no idea where your family’s finances are at. I do know that we are incredibly blessed to be in this position after many years of hard work, and I know that it simply won’t work for some folks.

 

But, maybe you’re a young couple just looking at your future and trying to determine where you really want to go. Maybe you’re a mom thinking about re-entering the workforce now that your children are a wee bit older. Or maybe you’re a family that does have two incomes, and have never considered trying to live on one and allowing the second to go towards savings.

 

I encourage you to maybe consider what life would look like with just one income (if that’s even a possibility – I know it absolutely won’t work for everyone!)  Even if you have two incomes (which is fantastic if both of you love your jobs – I’m not at all against mommas working here!), consider what would happen if you continued those jobs and chose to live on just one income to allow the excess to bulk up your savings account?

 

I firmly believe that the only way we did it in those early lean years was by clipping coupons and shopping the sales ads.  Even today our grocery budget rarely exceeds $300 a month, and I talk to so  many folks who are spending two to three times that on groceries alone (almost enough to be a second income alone!)  Please understand that I know this won’t work for everyone, but as we’ve watched the peace that’s come from years of penny pinching, I guess I don’t want to miss this opportunity to tell you something that we (truly accidentally) learned along the way.

 

Your turn now? I’ll be honest, I’ve been a little afraid to share this post as I hate the thought of offending anyone, but I’m so thankful (truly, overwhelmingly thankful) for the peace that we’re finally feeling after so many years of penny pinching.  I just wanted to mention it as a possibility to consider, and would love to hear your thoughts too.

 

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How To Create A Command Center {For Free}

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As school’s back in session for the fall, I’ve been debating over what to do about creating a “command center” in our new home. I love this one (and this one and this one and this one), but the thought of using an entire wall was daunting.

 

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Because I hate clutter to be out where people can see it as well, I also wasn’t loving the idea of putting holes in the walls that I might not always want.  So last Sunday I started thinking about this little “butler pantry” area that sits right as you come in from our garage. It dawned on me that with a little work I could make what I already have useable, and not mess up a single wall! I can’t believe it didn’t dawn on me to get this project tackled sooner, and I’m so much happier with the results.

 

Success!

 

Here’s what we started with. (Don’t judge.)

 

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(I’d just cleared out the top of the cabinet to put the lightbulbs somewhere else, but then realized after de-cluttering I actually had room for them!)

 

And here’s the (free-other-than-my-time) after . . .

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My absolute favorite spot is that little area in the middle right hand corner which is for any paperwork that my husband wants to hang onto or bills he needs to keep up with. Paper clutter makes me nuts (and he’s a self-described-paper-hoarder), so this way he can keep any paperwork he wants to hang onto without fear of me throwing it away. (And I don’t have to look at it on my kitchen counters.) ;)

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Here’s what I used:

  • mason jars
  • a cookie sheet
  • burlap frame that I’d been looking for a place for
  • ribbon

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I considered ordering magnetic sheet adhesive paper or even chalkboard contact paper (like I’ve done before) because I would love for the inside of my cupboard doors to be more useful, however I wasn’t sure enough of about the reviews on these and I’m not really ready to make any major changes to our cabinets just yet. It dawned on me that I could just use an old cookie sheet that we already had in the back to hang things on, which worked perfectly!

 

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What I realized (and always seem to be reminded of), is that a lot of times I think I need lots of money to make something in our home better, when often just a little time and attention will do the trick. (Don’t believe me? See this and this.)  I’m not saying that this will be my favorite ever command center or that we’ll live with it forever (although we might!), but it is better. 

 

By just going through my house and finding a few things that I already had on hand to get things organized, I made this little area so much more useful to our family, and didn’t spend a penny. If you’ve got an area in your home that could use some tidying just to make it more useful, this weekend might just be the perfect time to get started!

 

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Here are a few more bits of our home you can also check out:

 
I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)  See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

 

 

 

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Fall Football Fluffing

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My friend Staci sent over pictures of what she’d done to fluff up her home for football season (any Auburn fans will feel right at home in her house), and I couldn’t wait to share them with you! Here’s what she used . . .

  • Orange Rug- HomeGoods $12.99
  • Blue Rug – TJMaxx $9.99
  • Orange placemats – Home Goods $9.99 for package of 4
  • Coasters – Michaels’s previous purchase but 19.99 and then used a 50% coupon
  • Pillow – pillow cover from Cents of Style (a few weeks ago on sale) ~ instead of buying a pillow form I bought stuffing and stuffed 4 pillows into with one bag
  • Ribbon- $5.99 at Design World and used a 50% off coupon – was able to use on wreath and am going to weave it through my Southern Living plate
  • Platter – previous gift
  • Southern Living plate with slots so that you weave any ribbon through it to change it up, and will have my daughter Kaitlynn use dry-erase markers to draw a Toomer’s tree with toilet paper in it!
  • Made a burlap wreath, and purchased the monogram for it at Doodles in Madison, Alabama (love that store!)

 

 

See how to make the burlap wreath over HERE, and let us know if you’ve done any fun fluffing up for football season! 

 
Thanks so much Staci for sharing – this made my day!  I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

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Fun Friday Fluff Up: Updating My In-Law’s Hearth


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Oh my.

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I have been itching all week to share this Friday Fluff Up with you, because it’s just a little happy that (I think) brightened someone’s day! Last weekend we visited Western Kentucky (anyone know where Calvert City is?) to visit my in-law’s.
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As most of you know, my father-in-law became ill with West Nile Encephalitis five years ago (part of the reason that I’m here typing each day on PPP) and since then my mother-in-law Jennie hasn’t had a whole lot of time for fluffing up her home. She’s a wonderful decorator (and does a wonderful job choosing flowers and arranging them), but needless to say updating her home has been far back on her to-do list.

 

So, when we got there Saturday I told her I was in desperate need of a trip to their local Hancock Fabric in Paducah (they have a huge selection of fabric because of the annual Quilting Convention there), and when we didn’t find anything there I thought we might just need a trip to Hobby Lobby. (For my house, of course?)

 

We slowly muddled through the store, and I mentioned maybe we should look for a few items to fluff up her front door. 

 

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(It was time I think?)

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Jennie found some beautiful greenery that suited her home perfectly, and we easily tackled that updated basket. (I love what she did – so pretty and it’s just perfect for her!)

 

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Along the way somehow we decided that just maybe we should update her mantle (yes, those were their Christmas items from last year), and since fall’s right around the corner it was the perfect time to get started.

 (Before) 
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So, we went through a jillion floral stems, tried really hard to settle on something to use as a focal point, and I kept mentioning that I wanted to make a burlap banner for our home. (She informed me that she hated burlap and anything rustic – I told her that was fine, I’d be taking it home with me.) ;)

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We picked up the blue tray for the center of the mantle (her sofas – that have held up amazing well for twenty years – are that shade of blue), as well as a few fall picks and stems, and headed home.

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Once we were there we did a little hunting in their barn and attic, and I knew we were set.

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(This was Don’s grandfather’s lantern that he used in their barn in Illinois as a kid. Perfect, don’t you think?)don
So we fluffed,

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and fluffed . . .

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and fluffed a bit more . . .
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and then it was just done.

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Goodness, I am so far from a decorator that I have no clue as to whether or not this is really “right” as far as interior design goes (I might just love to see that brick painted white though?), but I do think it’s better.  Don actually decided they needed to keep the Harvest banner (I’ll be making one for our house this weekend . . .), and I think they were pretty pleased with the end result.

 

(Y’all, I had to laugh at Jennie when she told me in Hobby Lobby she really didn’t like “rustic” stuff – her entire mantle is just as rustic as they come, but it’s perfect for them and delightful for fall!) ;)

 

I don’t know what’s going on in your life now, but if you have something that’s just so overwhelming that you haven’t taken time to “fluff” things up, it might be worth spending a few hours this weekend seeing what you can do. 

 

It just makes life feel a little better ~ a little more manageable ~ and a lot more fun. ;)


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(I’ll share more directions on how to make the banner next week, but basically I followed these instructions somewhat loosely and used a sharpie marker with a letter stencil to make it. Let me know if you have any other tips!) 
I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

 

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Fun Labor Day Shopping Deals (And We Finally Have Grass!)

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I haven’t done a bit of fluffing this week. (Unless sweeping floors a hundred times and wiping finger prints off our windows counts?) ;)

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We did finally get grass here in Ohio ~ wooooohooooo! I had no idea that having grass would make me so happy, but goodness . . . it sure did.  (Who knew they just roll grass out like carpet? I had no idea!)Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 12.30.08 PM

 

Yesterday though, I snuck out to enjoy a much needed lunch date with my hubby as well as a little shopping, and lucked into a few fun finds that I thought you might enjoy seeing. (It was just such a beautiful day for shopping – kinda wish I could do that every day, but then I’d be far from pinching any pennies!)

 

 

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First I stopped by the Frontgate Outlet near the Easton Town Center here in Columbus. I love everything they have (and scored a great deal on barstools there a few months ago), but their prices are high if you’re not careful. I would love to find some lanterns like the ones above, but these were still priced at over $50 each (yikes!)

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They also have beautiful items for bathrooms, but even after sales they’re a wee bit higher than this penny pincher can justify. But, then I saw these beauties . . .  20140828-142850-52130337.jpg

In the middle of the store there’s a deeply discounted area, which included a few pretty-beaten up chairs, and these fun upholstered chairs that I totally should have bought. I have no idea what I would do with them (I’m wondering now if they could work on the ends with our dining room furniture?) but am seriously kicking myself for not snatching them up.

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Then I headed to the Container Store. (You folks down in Alabama know how much fun it is to get to visit stores like these!)

20140828-142935-52175420.jpgThey had lots on sale (not major savings, but some discounts!) I noticed these Click Clack Space Cubes were on sale for $8.99 (compared to $14 on Amazon).

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I’ve been wanting some of the larger ones to store flour and sugar easily in our pantry, so I grabbed those (and my kids were bummed I didn’t buy more for snacks – they’re pretty convenient, and I love that they easily stack!) They were on sale for $13.99 each compared to $19 + shipping on Amazon – not too bad a price!

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And they also had these cute Lego Water Bottles for just $4.77 ~  they’re $14.99 on Amazon right now . . . eek!
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Then I ran to TJMaxx where they had these super fun fall wreaths – priced at $32. They also had the great lamps below for $27, which I thought were a steal (if you had a place for them . .  . )

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But my favorite deals ever were at C. Wonder. I can’t share all the deals (I’m saving one as a gift . . . ), but goodness, that’s one store that you need to check out for their sale items. (Their clothes are cute, but my favorites are their housewares!)

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I ended up getting these 4-packs of fun Pom Pom Trimmed Napkins for $7.99 (they’d been $32 – crazy!), which were perfect because I love using cloth napkins every night for dinner instead of paper. It just makes dinner feel a little more special, and saves a ton on paper napkins!
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(Plus, the green ones match really well with the placemats I found a few weeks ago at TJMaxx.) ;)

 

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I also snagged this sweater for $24 (it had been $98.) Since my hubby brought me way up North, I figured he owes me a sweater or two. ;) (Not really, but I think I’ll need them, and really liked this one!)

 

C .Wonder is normally a store that I wouldn’t even walk into (it just looks a little too posh for me!), but after my sister-in-law took me forced me in there a few months ago I’m hooked. They have some of the best sales I’ve ever seen (think shoes for $10, a super cute coat marked down from $140 to $24, and boutique-like tops priced under $20.) Don’t ever be afraid to step in a store because you think it may be a little too fancy for your budget ~ you really never know what fun deals might just hide inside!

 

Sooooo  . . . that’s it! I’m thinking you’ll find oodles of deals this weekend as the Labor Day sales are in full swing, so if you see something great leave a comment to share (I love hearing from you!)

 

I’d love for you to also join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

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Winner Of Five Minute Challenge Week of 8/18/14

 Thanks so much to all the folks who participated in this week’s five minute challenges!  As promised, one lucky person who commented won a $10 Amazon gift card ~ here’s the comment that won (chosen at random) from Kelly at rebn….@aol.com

I love to wake up to a clean kitchen. Thank you for the reminder of how a few minutes can make the start of a new day so much better.

 

Remember, every time you comment on one of these posts you’ll be entered to win a $10 gift card (watch for them again starting next week), and please let me know if you enjoy these posts. (It’s just something nice as a break from deal hunting!)  Congratulations to Kelly, and thanks to all the folks who commented this week!

 

Do you know an unique cleaning tips? I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment to share those too . . . I’m always looking for new ideas. See previous five minute challenges.

 

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Tiny Bathroom Update: Added Wallpaper, Trim Work and Board & Batten Work (Whew!)

 

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Our powder room is just about done . . . woohoooo! I’m so thankful that my husband encouraged me to dream of what I really wanted instead of just settling for something done halfway, and by starting on a small room I was able to see something marked off our list.

 

The only thing that isn’t finished is adding a small piece of trim around the chair rail – we’re looking for one like this that’s in our dining room . . .

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but so far haven’t found that match, so my husband’s headed to the local lumberyard to hunt it down. Because the room is so small, it was hard to get good photos that would really let you see it, but here’s the best peak I can share!

 

 

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Here’s what we tackled:

  • My super talented husband added molding to the ceiling as well as from the chair rail down
  • I wallpapered the walls. (Note, if you ever hear me mention papering another room, please leave a comment letting me know I’ve clearly lost my mind. I survived it, but it was not easy, and it’s far from perfect. I do love the results though, and am pretty sure a small bathroom is just about the only place I’d ever like wallpaper in our home . . . whew!)
  • Painted the trimwork and walls behind the molding.

 

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Here’s what we ended up spending:

  • Trim wood = $151
  • Nails & caulk = $10
  • Wallpaper = $96
  • Total = $257

 

I can’t even tell you how pleased I am with this little room (although I’d just love to see the extra molding finished up soon!) We definitely could have saved even more by simply choosing to paint it, but I’m thrilled with the way it turned out.

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Have you done any fluffing up in your home this week? I’d sure love to hear about what you’re up to, and if you have any thoughts on where we might find that molding, leave me a comment to share that too!

This post is linked to Living Well Spending Less Thrifty Thursday - thanks for the opportunity to link up!  I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!) If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

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Five Minute Challenge: Clean The Shiny Surfaces




Here’s today’s five minute challenge for the day . . . you can do this!  Stand up, walk away from your computer, set your timer for just five minutes and wipe down on all the shiny surfaces in your kitchen. 

 

Grab a bottle of Windex or  your favorite cleaner and an old rag, wipe down the front of your fridge, your oven, dishwasher, and microwave (although that microwave’s already clean right?) It’s amazing how good it feels to get any fingerprints cleaned off!

 

And, to motivate you just a wee bit more, each time that you comment on any of this week’s five minute challenge posts, you’ll be entered to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card. (I’ll pick one lucky winner on Friday night.)  So, hurry and get to work for just five minutes, then come back here and let me know how it went!

 

Do you know an unique cleaning tips? I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment to share those too . . . I’m always looking for new ideas. See previous five minute challenges.

 

 

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5 Minute Challenge: Scrub the Kitchen Sink




Here’s today’s five minute challenge for the day . . . you can do this!  Stand up, walk away from your computer, set your timer for just five minutes and scrub your kitchen sink, then lay out fresh dish cloths for the morning.

I promise, there is no better feeling in the morning than to come into a kitchen with a freshly cleaned out sink, especially if you leave out clean dishcloths and towels (it always makes me feel like I’m walking into a hotel!) Go ahead and get it done . . . I promise you’ll thank me for it. ;)

And, to motivate you just a wee bit more, each time that you comment on any of this week’s five minute challenge posts, you’ll be entered to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card. (I’ll pick one lucky winner on Friday night.)  So, hurry and get to work for just five minutes, then come back here and let me know how it went!

 

Do you know an unique cleaning tips? I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment to share those too . . . I’m always looking for new ideas. See previous five minute challenges.

 

 

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