Painted Pinecones

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Note from Laurie: My friend Cheryl made this amazing craft with her daughter, and I’m so-so-so in love with it! I also love that this is a great craft to do with your kids (and now I can’t wait to try it with my girls.) Thank you so much Cheryl for sharing ~ it’s perfect!

 

I fell in love with this idea when I saw it HERE and knew we had to try it!  

 

I showed my 9 year old daughter and she couldn’t wait to get started.  We had the best time finding pinecones … and choosing colors … and painting … and talking.  I just love the way they turned out and how they bring a little spring to our cold February days.

 

Bonus? Easter centerpiece is done. 🙂

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First I found the perfect bowl in Hobby Lobby’s 80% off section.

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Then gathered up the rest of my supplies.

Supplies:

  • Pinecones
  • Paints (we used acrylics but any paint will do)
  • Paintbrush

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I used bunched up paper towels in the bottom of the bowl to help the pinecones sit up right.

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And we added our extra pine cones in a clear glass bowl.

 

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Done!

 

Have you found any spring crafts to make this Spring? I’d love to hear what you’re making! Leave a comment to share. 

 

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!)

Looking for more penny pinched projects? Here you go . . .

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Dollar Tree Valentines

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Need a quick idea for your child’s Valentine party at school? Head to the Dollar Tree fast! 🙂

 

My friend Cheryl shared these Dollar Tree Valentine’s that she made for her daughter’s class, which came out to just 27¢ per child for a class of 18. Easy way to let your kids have treats for the whole class and stick to a penny pinched budget. 🙂

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Supplies:

  • Happy Valentines Day Bags – $1.00
  • 1 set Valentine Sticker Boxes (box of 18) – $1.00
  • 1 bag Sixlets – $1.00
  • 2 bags Sweet Tart Hearts – $2.00
  • Total = $5 or 27¢ per child

 

 

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Looking for more penny pinched projects? Here you go . . .

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{Healthy} Valentine Robots

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Super fun (easy!) Valentine treat! I loved this idea when I saw it over HERE and tweaked it with what we had on hand.

 

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Grab these supplies: 

  • fruit cups (applesauce are best but I ran out when I took the picture)
  • ribbon
  • raisins
  • juice boxes
  • valentine stickers
  • hot glue gone

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And make these . . .  (my 8 year old did the faces herself ~ I thought she did a great job!) 🙂

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Done! 🙂 
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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!)

Looking for more penny pinched projects? Here you go . . .

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Dollar Tree Valentine Project

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Looking for an easy Valentine’s craft to tackle with your kids? We loved this one!

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We don’t have tons (ummm . . . any?) decorations for holidays really besides Christmas, so this was an inexpensive quick centerpiece that took less than an hour and brightened things up at our house in the middle of winter.

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I’d seen several cute ideas over on Pinterest for mason jar Valentine treats, and knew this would be an easy one to tackle ~ love that!

Here’s what we used: 

  • mason jars ($1 at Dollar Tree)
  • spray paint (I had blue and white spray paint at home, picked up the pink at Michael’s with a 40% off coupon)
  • heart stickers (found those at Michael’s as well, could also make them using a Silhouette or Cricut cutter if you have one, and I noticed heart stickers at the Dollar Tree as well!)
  • ribbon

 

 

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Have your kids make “valentine” designs on the front. (Honestly? I wanted just plain hearts on all but they wanted hearts everywhere. I didn’t have the heart ~ ahem 🙂  ~ to tell them they wouldn’t look quite as pretty, but for a dollar it was worth letting them choose!)

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After sticking on the hearts just spray the mason jars . . .

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Then peel the hearts off once the spray paint is dry.

 

We used styrofoam stickers which were a little difficult to remove ~ if you can find vellum stickers it should go a little more smoothly.

 

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Like I said, the ones they did weren’t perfectly Pinterested, but they had fun for $1!

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And, if you’re smart like me you know you can just turn them around and add some flowers ($3.99, courtesy of Aldi. . . ) 🙂

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I also found this cute little tag from my crafting stash to add on to our lamp jar from last week  . . . 

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All done! 

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Looking for more penny pinched projects? Here you go . . .

 

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Foyer Lighting Updates (And 3 Options When You Think You’ve Messed It Up.)

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You know how sometimes you do something in your home and love it, and know-right-then-and-there-it’s-perfect, and other times you just don’t?

 

Yup, I’m there right now.

 

After almost finishing our foyer last week, I was itching to have it done. 

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I had some free credit at Amazon courtesy of Ibotta (y’all, I love Ibotta), so when I came across these star pendant lights I decided they would fix up those lighting fixtures perfectly.

 

So I ordered.

 

Over the last twenty years we’ve slowly updated four homes (this house really was beautiful when we moved in, just kind of plain and builder grade.)

 

And in all those years of home updates, only once (maybe twice), have I splurged and gotten exactly what I wanted. 

 

I’m not so sure today was that day.

 

love what my husband did on the walls in the foyer by adding trim work.

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I am in love with my $3 updated blue front door.

 

And I even love the small blue table I found at Home Goods.

 

But.

 

I’m a little on the fence about these lights.

 

I found the ones I wanted over here and decided these at Amazon would work even though the color and weight of the fixture wasn’t quite right. (Although in all honesty I expect them to be more chrome/pewter color which would match the other fixtures in our home better from the pic ~ however I should have seen “rubbed bronze” and know that wasn’t chrome. I’m really no decorator though and hardly ever take time to read fine print ~ oops.)

 

After looking at light fixtures I know they cost a ton (seriously, a LOT), and I easily could have spent several hundred dollars per fixture, which just isn’t in our budget right now. 

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So now I’m left with three options:

  1. Get rid of them (eek.)
  2. Love them for now.
  3. Love them for now and get courageous one day to spray paint them chrome to more fit the rest of our home.

Getting rid of them is not going to happen. (My husband might get rid of me. ahem.)

 

So I’m going with option 2 for now, and may opt for option 3 later.

 

(My super smart decorator friend also recommended adding a little more black throughout the space. I’m going to start looking!)

 

My sweet friend Mara reminded me though this morning of Young House Love’s amazing foyer update, and made me feel like the black (rubbed bronze?) may not be all bad? (But, why-oh-why though did our builder place three light fixtures in such a small area ~ goodness that’s half the problem because three of any fixture is a bundle! Similar ones cost $455 A PIECE. YIKES.)

 

And y’all.

 

For real.

 

I didn’t get exactly the lights I’ve always dreamed of.

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But I have a crazy beautiful space to call home each day, a husband who loves me, and three pretty fun kids most of the time.

 

I am crazy-amazingly-blessed-overwhelmingly-so-much-that-it-really-does-hurt-some-days.

 

These lights are just fine, and so much better than what we started out with ~ don’t you think?

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Now, if you’re doing a major re-modeling and have money to spend, I really encourage you to have a little more patience than I showed today and wait for what you really want.

 

But sometimes (I think?), settling for something that’s second best really can be okay, and it might just grow on you.

 

And if not, there’s always a can of spray paint, right? 🙂 

 

***However. Do NOT be like me and always in so much of a hurry that you pick the only think you can find. I searched and searched Amazon for “star pendant lights” and found very few, which is why I ended up with these. Had I done a little more research I would have learned the correct name for these is “Moravian pendant lights” and I would have had dozens of other options which were a little more pricey, but I could have held out for. (Who knew?) Patience and taking time to really research things has never been my strong suit (clearly), but maybe I can at least encourage you!***

 

 

If you’d like to see more pictures of our home as we’ve been updating it, here you go . . .

 

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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What $3 & A Little Courage Can Do

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See updated pics after new light fixtures over HERE.


I’m so excited about a tiny fluffin’ I did this week in about 30 minutes (that only cost $3!) 

 

As I shared a few weeks ago my husband’s been adding oodles of trimwork in our foyer (it’s not quite finished yet ~ more painting to do while we’re still doing it ourselves to save $2000.)

This week though I finally got up my courage though to paint our front door after seeing a few ideas on Pinterest that I just loved.

 

The foyer has kind of been an area that I’ve just been so unhappy with since moving (even after the trim work, which I know is so weird?) But just $3 of paint (I used a sample from Menard’s that they mixed up for me), and 30 minutes of work had it done.

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Success! 

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I really wanted to share all the updates after we had the new light fixtures and painting completed, but I’m just so excited and couldn’t wait. (Check out the light fixtures I got over HERE ~ I’m a little nervous about them but going for this look . . . we’ll see.)

 

I COULD NOT BELIEVE that 7 ounces of paint would make that much difference, but good gravy, it did. 

 

 

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I also just moved things around in our home a bit. Although I’ve loved the picture of the horses that hung in our foyer, for some reason it never felt just right. I swapped it out with the teal-medallion-thingy from our breakfast nook, and I’m so much happier (and really like the horse picture in the breakfast room so much more too!)

 

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(See more pictures of our breakfast room HERE – it’s amazing what such a small change can make! Still dreaming of a new light fixture one day but for now this one works.) 

If your home needs a little fluffing, you don’t need to spend a bundle. Look at inexpensive ways to make an update (paint helps so much), shop your own home, and just give your home a good look-around with a fresh set of eyes.

 

And, HAVE COURAGE. 

 

I almost talked myself out of this one, until it dawned on me that it was only paint. If it turned out horribly I could easily re-paint it white ~ so I really only had $3 and 30 more minutes to lose!

 

So worth it. 

 

If you have a project that you’ve been fearful of, maybe decide to tackle it this weekend. 🙂 You might just be glad you did! 

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Okay ~ here’s a bit of how the progress has gone in the foyer . . .  ffu9

Before ffu8

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hanging trim at ceiling and chair rail

 

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that boy is going to make a great husband one day 🙂 
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 trim work starting up the stairs
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trim panels added inside and painted
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you can see there are still a few spots where we’re going to need to touch up paint, and everything white still needs one more coat, but we’re closer!



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If you’d like to see more pictures of our home as we’ve been updating it, here you go . . .

 

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 Best Calendar Ever (And My Crazy Ridiculous Desk.)

 

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Y’all may think I’m a dork, but I am so stinkin’ excited about this little addition to my office! I am the world’s worst calendar keeper (really, SO. BAD.), but so far I’m thinking this thing’s actually going to work.

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A few weeks ago I saw Jon Acuff mention his amazing calendar, and thought I should at least check it out. Because it was pricey ($24 ~ yikes?) and so big, I really hesitated.

 

But goodness, I might just be hooked. 

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The only problem was that it was so big, and not especially pretty, so I struggled with how to make it fit my cute office. (Folks, I’ve waited a long time for this pretty office, so putting up something ugly just wasn’t going to work!)

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But then it dawned on me that Hobby Lobby might have a poster size frame that wasn’t so ugly, and having glass on it would make it easily dry-erase-able. 

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I love that. 

 

The giant poster frame wasn’t quite big enough, but I was able to shave off a tiny bit on the side and it works just fine.

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What I’m loving so far is that I can easily scribble on notes that I don’t need all year and have everything in one place, and I can see the whole year at once. 

 

It’s lovely. 🙂

 

If you’re looking for a fantastic calendar to keep everything in one spot for the year, I’d highly recommend this one! 

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And now, on to my ridiculous (seriously, ridiculous) last purchase from 2015. 

 

I’ve heard for awhile crazy reviews on these amazing standing desks, which I was so curious about since I sit at the computer way too much of the day. My posture is awful (I work hard to sit up straight, but it’s so easy to slouch!) so I finally decided to try this crazy Varidesk out. 

 

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Guys, this baby’s a monster. 

 

I’m really not sure if I’m going to keep it or not, but I’ve only had it two days so am giving myself a week to really make a good decision.

 

It is SO NICE to work on (really, super hefty, handles my big computer, pops up and down easily, and really is just amazing.) But I hate that it kinda messes up my cute little space. 🙂

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So, the verdict’s still out on this one.

 

If I was at a regular desk and didn’t have this amazing view I’m pretty sure it would be my favorite purchase ever, but the jury’s still out. (And it’s so heavy that it would be really hard to move, so just moving it when not in use really won’t work!)

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I know I should be completely practical and do what’s best for my back and neck, but y’all, I just like a pretty room. And covering up that window just makes me a wee bit sad! 🙂 

 

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(office space before the desk. See? perfection.)

Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions? I’d sure love to hear what you think (I’m debating asking my husband to build me something similar out of pretty wood. Not sure he’ll likely go for it, but worth a shot!) 🙂

 

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(this was that some office space when we moved in 18 months ago. wow.)

Curious how we designed this office space? Go HERE to check out the before and after pics (I really do just love this space and feel so thankful each day for it!) Leave a comment to share any ideas on the desk (or other calendar tips ~ I’d love to hear!)

 

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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How To Get Rid Of Stinky Mildew Smells: Just 2 Ingredients

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My husband asked for bath towels for Christmas. 

 

What man in his right mind ever asks for bath towels as a Christmas gift? 

 

Ummmmm . . . the one who has a house full of stinky-slightly-mildew-smelling towels. 

 

Bleck.

 

Because I’m a recovering leave-it-in-the-washer-way-too-long-before-swapping-to-the-dryer-user, a few of our towels (ahem, all of our towels?) had gotten taken over by a slightly stinky mildew smell. Add in a new HE washer (which I love, but doesn’t use as much water so those things get stinky faster), and it was just bad.

 

But, many of our towels were in decent shape, and the thought of just throwing them out nearly killed me, so I did some research and found this way to get rid of stinky mildew smells, and it worked. 

 

Here’s what I did:

  • Added towels to washing machine along with 1 cup of vinegar in my detergent dispenser. (I actually used 1 1/2 cups because my washer’s huge ~ if you have a large capacity machine I’d recommend using 1 1/2 cups as well.)
  • Did NOT use any laundry detergent, just washed on hot for one cycle.
  • Then added 1/2 cup baking soda to the load and washed again on hot cycle.
  • Dried as usual
  • Voila!

 

Even the stinky dish towels we have (which are the worst) came out smelling fresh and clean ~ I was shocked. 

 

I’ve heard before that certain dish soaps tend to make dish towels smell stinkier faster (I’ve even read that my favorite Dawn could be the culprit?) and am trying to find a better alternative, but in the mean time this helps.

 

I’d love to hear your tips on getting rid of stinky mildew smells if you’ve struggled with this one too ~ I definitely think moving things over from the washer quickly to the dryer helps, but I’m up for any extra suggestions too (so my poor husband can get better gifts for Christmas!) 🙂 

 

Looking for more penny pinched cleaning ideas? Here are my favorites:

 

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Super Simple Dollar Tree Decorated Christmas Tree

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We’re heading to visit family this weekend, but I wanted to race and show you all a peek at my Dollar-Tree-Decorated-I-love-that-store-Tree in my office! I should have showed it off a few weeks ago, but figured better late than never. 🙂

 

Several years ago after Christmas my husband and I passed by this (kind of puny?) tree at Walmart for $8. 

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We really didn’t need another tree (we already decorate this one and this one each year), but for $8 we just couldn’t let her go.

 

So last year we stuck her in the basement and let the kids decorate, but this year since my office is finally finished I figured we could fluff her up a bit. 

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I found this at Michael’s with a 40% off coupon (I’d never used it but I loved. it.)

 

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And did a quick spray. 
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Then I added some garland I had leftover from somewhere else in the house to bulk the tree up a bit . . .

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And some ribbon on sale 50% off at Hobby Lobby (if you look close in the next picture you can see it ~ I am so loving this burlap waffle style ribbon and one roll worked for two trees, well worth $7!)

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Then we stuffed in a few berry springs  . . .

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Some fancy silvery-pinecone thingies from Michael’s, also on sale . . .

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And loaded her up with a bunch of Dollar Tree ornaments I’d picked up last year.

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Success! 

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The only thing I wasn’t  happy with was our pitiful angel (we bought her at Kirkland’s way back in 1996 when I refused to have a regular angel with matted hair), so she headed to our family tree after I lucked into this super cute snowflake from Home Goods at our neighborhood ornament exchange. 

 

So, there you have it. Nothing earth shattering, but goodness I do think you can decorate a pretty cute tree on a penny pinched budget! And, while it isn’t quite designer and all that perfect, it’s plenty good for me. 🙂

 

Looking for more Christmas fun at the Dollar Tree? 

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How We Saved (More Than) $2000 By Doing It Ourselves

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The foyer is now almost done ~ check out the (almost?) completed project over HERE. 

 

Goodness gracious, I cannot begin to tell you how important it is to try doing a few things yourself! I’m not going to do a complete update of my husband’s foyer project (watch for that in January when we’re all done), but goodness, just last week in 8 hours he saved over $2000.

 

And that didn’t include any of the trim work. 

 

Back in October he decided to add to the trim work in our foyer, and after a few weekends with an air compressor and nail gun he was almost done. So last week, as I determined to have things looking a little more put together before Christmas, I called a painter to come tackle the paint job.

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We’d budgeted money for the project, and as it’s a crazy time of year I knew I wouldn’t have time to paint, and felt like James really didn’t either. 

 

Until the estimate came back at over $2300. YIKES.

 

The estimate did include painting and sanding the trim work several times (to make it look like real wainscoting), and it went the entire length of our hallway upstairs as well as on the stairwell. So, in fairness to the painter, it was quite a job, but he estimated it would be done in 3 days.

 

So we did the math:

24 hours of work ÷ 2300  = $95 per hour

$95 per hour? For painting? Even if that estimated for two people working, it still would come out to $47 per hour.

We just couldn’t justify that.

S0 my sweet husband set out to start painting (which is his least favorite DIY project ever. He’d rather build a fireplace any day.) 

And after about 8 hours of work he’s primed, sanded and painted the entire project.

Success.

I think he’s still got another 8 hours ahead of him, but 16 hours of work to save that much money was the best choice for us! 

If you’re looking to hire something done for you that you can realistically do yourself, before hiring it out make sure to just do the math on the hourly rate! Sometimes it’s well worth it hire help for certain projects (I’ve shared before that we have housekeepers who come every other week and I. love. them. They’re worth every single penny to this way-too-busy-working-mom.)

But sometimes the math just doesn’t add up, and if you have a few hours of free time doing it yourself can be oh so worth it. For James it’s meant giving up a few nights of watching football on the couch (he’s been listening to it instead .  . . ) and we’re thrilled to have it almost done.

The best part? I didn’t have to wait for a painter to fit us into their schedule ~ as soon as we decided to start he picked up the paint. I love having control of our DIY projects, and never dreamed it would be almost done before Christmas!

So for us it was worth it on this one. 🙂 Have you tackled any DIY projects in your home? I’d love to hear what you’re up to!

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Looking for more penny pinched projects? See how we saved $10,000 on our outdoor fireplace.

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(UPDATE: here’s a peek at the finished foyer. We love it!)

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