September 29, 2010

What’s Going On

I haven’t posted my other winterizing posts yet because we got the wrong part for one project, and we got too little material for the other project.  Both will get done this weekend, and I’ll have some winterizing ideas to show you next week :)

We were at a fall wedding this past Saturday, and Sunday was for shopping and football.

I took a day off from work on Monday to do some pre-winter yard work.  I forked all the remaining compost in the compost bin into the newly cleared out vegetable garden, and put those plants into the newly empty compost bin to start a new batch.  I did leave one tomato plant in the garden though.  This is VERY uncharacteristic of me, but I left it because it has one of the largest spiders living on it that I’ve ever seen.  I looked up the spider one day and I think it’s a harmless “argiope” garden spider, and because I have actually seen it catch meat bees and grasshoppers in its web (both of which I’m happy to get rid of), I’ve left it alone.  I strategically work around it.  And I felt a little bad about ripping out its plant (plus I would rather have it on a plant where I know exactly where the spider is than displace it and run into it somewhere else!!!)  


Here’s a picture from probably a month ago.  I think “lunch” in the picture below is a grasshopper, judging by the leg sticking out.  (Yeah, gross.  I know.)


And here’s the booger now:



I say “whoa” every time I see it.  And “whoa” is right. (!)


I also cleaned out most of my plant containers and put them in the garage for the winter.  I kind of messed up this year by using garden soil to fill the pots instead of spending money on potting soil.  So my container plants really didn’t do that great.  Next year I’ll actually buy potting soil, and then I’ll store the pots over the winter with the soil in them, instead of dumping it out.

I divided a tall hot pink phlox and put half of it in the back garden, and I transplanted a balloon flower to a sunnier spot in addition to the usual weed pulling, etc.  For those of you who are gardeners, it was fun.  For those of you who aren’t, that was probably TMI :) 

Oh yes, and I bought a lovely trellis on sale and tied the ridiculously large climbing rose to it, only incurring a few scratches and scrapes in the process.  Now the rose actually looks decent instead of its former glory as a sprawling, stickery-tentacled beast.



Is anyone else doing winter-prep in the yard yet? 

September 23, 2010

A S’Boo’ky Candelabra

Not too long ago, I saw Sandra at Sawdust and Paper Scraps turn some old lamps into one seriously fantastic spooky floor candelabra.  Is this not the coolest candelabra ever??
Sandra's Candelabra
Thanks Sandra, for a great idea!
I didn’t have any lamps, and I wasn’t sure how my version would be supported, but I started with a candle chandelier I found at Goodwill several months ago.  I think it was $3?
Did I mention I found this exact same candelabra on Amazon?  For $32 + $9 shipping?

Ok, so then I grabbed some old Mardi Gras beads I had been keeping for some reason, and some black spray paint. (Actually it’s leftover from painting our kitchen light fixture.)
Did some spraying….
Cut the beads apart….
Attached the beads strategically…
Added a really cool crow from the dollar store….
And then I had an awesome candelabra!  But no place to hang the darn thing…
But then I got another idea.
I brought in a shepherd’s hook from the garden….yanked some spent plants out of a pot on the porch and brought the pot inside…
Covered up the dirt with a pumpkin and a dollar store leafy vine…
I now have a “S’boo’ky Candelabra” that has a place to hang!

Thanks for stopping by!  I’m linked up to:

September 22, 2010

Easy Winterizing Part I – Vinyl Clad Seals

If you’re like us, you have a great little house that has its fair share of drafty corners and cracks.  Maybe you even have cheaper windows than you’d prefer, possibly a vaulted ceiling that sucks warm air up and far away from where you want it, and maybe you also store your paint in the basement like we do because your garage gets cold enough in winter to freeze anything stored in it.

Well, as relatively new homeowners (of a year and a couple months), we’re still learning how to seal up the house and deal with all those little energy suckers.  This is Part I of my Winterizing Series.  I know it’s not glamorous or a crafty project, but it’s an important project!

There are lots of easy ways to winterize and/or do other small projects to conserve some energy and bring down the utility bill.  I’m going to talk about weather stripping today.  Recently, when we had our storm door installed, the installer pointed out that the “vinyl clad seals” around our doors were very old and needed to be replaced.  Then he told me how to do it, and he even cut a little sample piece off the vinyl clad seals he had in his truck to show me what to look for at the store.

We got it done over the weekend, and it was surprisingly easy.  In fact, it’s so easy and cheap, there’s really no excuse not to do it.

So what exactly am I talking about when I say “vinyl clad seals”?  I’m talking about the vinyl-wrapped foam pieces that go around the inside of your door jamb.  When shut, a door is resting on these, and they prevent drafts from coming through around the sides and top of the door.

Open your front door and take a look.  You should see a strip of squishy vinyl that wraps all the way around the door frame.  It might be black, brown, grey, or white, and if you’re like me, you’ve never noticed it before!

Now, honestly, I don’t know what it was about ours that they needed to be replaced.  (If it weren’t for the storm door installer pointing it out, I would never have thought they even COULD be replaced!) But, ours were probably original to the house (11-12 years old) and generally worn out, so use your judgment in determining whether yours could use replacing or not too.  For the $10 and 10 minutes it takes to replace it, it’s probably worth it to just do it. 

You can buy “Vinyl Clad Seal” from any home improvement store, and we actually found ours at Walmart.  $10 per package, and one package is enough for one door.


Ok, so step 1 is identify the squishy vinyl strip.  In our case, it was black.


Next, you should notice that the top piece was installed first.  So find the top of one of the side pieces, and gently pull the rubber strip out of the crack it was pushed into.  You might need a needle-nose pliers to get a good grip and so you can pull it out without tearing the rubber from the foam part. 


Remove the vinyl pieces from all three sides.  (Or let your husband do it while you take pictures!)


IMG_2816 IMG_2817Then, install the top of the new seal first by just pushing the rubber portion into the crack.  After that’s done, cut a 45 angle off the back of just the top of each side piece with a scissors, so that the front of the seal angles up to the top of the door jamb, and push those into their respective cracks on each side of the door.  Then keep pushing that rubber piece into the crack all the way down on both sides, and you’re done!


IMG_2819  IMG_2821

No breezes will be getting through the sides or top of your front door after replacing your “vinyl clad seals”.  :)

Could that have been easier?  I don’t think so!


Part II : Insulating Your Garage Door is coming soon :)


I’m linked up to:

My Backyard Eden

September 20, 2010

Thank You and Giveaway Results!

I was featured this week!  Kaysi at Keeping it Simple liked my 3-C Centerpiece enough to include it in her Motivate Me Monday post today.  A giant thank you to Kaysi!

And now…..What you’ve all been waiting for….<cue music>

Ha! Ok not really.  It’s pretty exciting winning something….but maybe not exciting enough for a soundtrack :)

So first, thank you to everyone who left comments and entered the giveaway for the adorable “white pumpkin”.  There were eleven comments total as of this morning, and…..


Number 4 was the winner!!!

Brooke said:  “I think I would put in on my table with some fall leaves and pinecones.

Brooke, congratulations, you just got one new piece of fall decor for the best frugal price: Free!  Shoot me an email to collect on your prize.  Have a great day everyone! 

Projects coming up this week are:  Spooky Halloween Chandelier, Easy Energy Savers, and maybe I’ll show you the Custom Ledge Shelf too.  Or not, we’ll see how it goes ;)


September 17, 2010

A(nother) Mason Jar Dispenser

By now, everybody knows about my new favorite decor accessory: mason jars (I usually call them “canning jars”).  I just think they are super cute here and there around the house. I use them as vases,  in centerpieces with filler in them, and I recently just glued a couple to some candlesticks to make my own version of hurricane lamps.

Well, then I saw someone make one into a soap dispenser and I was sold!  I WISH I could remember where I first saw it, but recently, I’ve seen a second version, and the fire was officially lit to finally get going on one.

But to get started, I needed a smaller jar than what I had…and a lid to match.

So while I was visiting my mom over Labor Day weekend, I started rooting around in her cupboards for a smaller jar WITH a lid. 

I did find a jar with a lid, and she was nice enough to let me steal it :)  Thanks Mom! 

I used the pump out of one of our “Softsoap” dispensers (left in our house by the previous owners)…

Then I needed to poke a hole in the lid of the jar.  Since I don’t have drill bits large enough, I used a hammer and nail to perforate in a circle in the middle of the lid.  Then I used the closed head of a pliers to just poke the center hard enough that the middle piece broke enough that I could just wiggle it until it came off.  My dad used to always say, “You need to use the right tool for the job.”  Obviously…. I didn’t do that here, but you’ve gotta work with what you have :)

Then, with a little bit of effort, I pushed the pump down into the top of the lid, where it’s tight enough to not need to be glued.

Finally, I used some twine to decorate the outside of the lid just a little bit. 

 IMG_2768 IMG_2769  

So now I have a nice little decorative soap dispenser for my kitchen sink, and it’s small enough it can even sit right on the sink instead of on the counter.


Thanks for stopping by!

Don’t forget to hop over to the “Frugal Fall Decor” post from a couple days ago to enter the giveaway.


I’m linked up to:

The Shabby Nest

Finding Fabulous

Chic on a Shoestring

Making it With Allie

Tatertots & Jello

September 16, 2010

Frugal Fall Decor – And a Giveaway!

It’s a milestone!  This blog officially has 50 followers, and to celebrate, I’m giving away…
A cutie patootie …


Classic white pumpkin for your fall decor collection!

Back when I was picking up my “frugal fall decor” at the dollar store, these cute little white squashes were almost gone.  I grabbed the last two, one for me and one for you. 

Here are some ideas for the frugally fabulous white pumpkin:

You have two chances to get your name in the running for some pumpkin cuteness:
1.  Leave a comment with an idea of what you would do with it.
2.  Leave a second comment letting me know you’re a follower or if you become a follower.
3.  Or do both and double your chances!
Easy peasy. 
And now sit back and cross your fingers :)

I’m linked up to:

September 13, 2010

A 3-C Centerpiece: Cute, Compact, Cheap!

I have a small kitchen table.  Our table seats 4, with really no room for any more butts, no matter how hard they try to get in there.
So because our table is small, it needs small centerpieces.  And it also needs centerpieces that are easily picked up in one piece to move out of the way.
With that in mind….I needed a fall centerpiece but didn’t know what to do.
So I went into the guest room, where all my dollar store fall goodies are laid out on the bed, and I stared for a while.  Looked around the room, looked in the closet (never know where you’ll find something that might work), and I got an idea!
I grabbed
  • A little Goodwill copper bucket thing.  I was really wishing I had some kind of wire basket though…like the cute $5 one I saw at WalMart over the weekend…..
  • An unused white pillar candle
  • The grocery sack of pine cones I keep in the pantry for various uses.
  • A jar of artichoke hearts.  Then I saw something better and put the artichokes back.
  • Finally, from the guest-bed-fall-decor-pile, I took a roll of dollar store ribbon and a package of fake leaves
  • And then, because I’m lazy as all get out, I grabbed the packing tape.
Let’s see… do I make this tutorial as short as possible so you can run and make your own centerpiece?
Ok – I got it….
Throw it all together!
Wait, first take your leaves and arrange them around the basket/bucket and bend their stems underneath.
Secure stems with packing tape :)
Ok, NOW throw it all together!
Set your candle up on your jar of artichokes inside the basket! (or on the “better” jar you’re using instead)
Toss the pine cones in around your candle…
Wrap some ribbon around your candle…

And now you have a CUTE, EASY, and CHEAP centerpiece! 
…which would also work great on a side table, on your hearth or wherever else :)

IMG_2744            IMG_2745       
Thanks for stopping by!
Don’t forget- there’s a giveaway going on over at the “Frugal Fall Decor” post – so hop over there and check it out!

I’m linked up to:

September 9, 2010

Solar Jack O’Lanterns


Earlier this summer, I saw a fantastic project that I just had to put on my list.  Amanda at the Hand Me Down House made some Mod Podge solar garden lanterns, and I just loved them!

I loved them so much, I asked my mom to pick up some inexpensive (like $2 each) solar light stakes at the Menard’s in her town.  Took me quite a while to get my hands on those little guys!

Side note: Menard’s is such a cool store!!!  We don’t have any in my state, but if you see one you should definitely check it out.



Well, by the time I had everything I needed and was ready to do the project….summer garden lanterns had lost their luster (no pun intended).

But I reheheheally wanted to make some solar lanterns… I modified the plan a little and instead made some solar jack o’lanterns!

Yeah, yeah, so it’s a little early for Halloween stuff.  They’ll just be all ready to go once October 1st hits :)

First, I took my inexpensive solar lights, and unscrewed the light portion from the stake portion.


Then I made sure the light portion would fit on top the opening of some canning jars.

It didn’t fit.  Fell right into the jar.  But I realized I could put the lids back on and the solar piece would still work.  So I just poked a hole right in the middle of the lids for the solar bulb to fit into.


Then I slathered orange-tinted (with food coloring) Mod Podge all over my jars.  My glass jars :) 


Amanda used “Outdoor” Mod Podge, but I couldn’t find it, and I’m impatient.  So I used the regular stuff. 

I let them dry, and then I got out the closest thing I have to black puff paint - “Liquid Leading”.  I got this for another project (miserable failure) but it worked great for this one!


I had some fun drawing faces on the jack-o’lanterns….

Sadly, anyone who doesn’t know how many children I have (that would be “none”) will probably assume my kids drew those cute, sloppy little faces.  All the folks with Cricuts and vinyl cutters and such could probably do a much cuter face with vinyl than I could with freehanding the puff paint!


Then I used twine and a coat hanger (cut and twisted around the lip of the jar) to make hangers…

Used two dots of hot glue to secure the solar light to the jar lid…

Grabbed some unused garden support stakes…

and moved them outside where they are just DANG cute! :)

It’s a pre-October Halloween welcome-wagon!

Trick or Treat?


Thanks for stopping by!

Don’t forget to become a follower if you’re not one already…there will be a giveaway when we get to 50!

I’m linked up to:

The Shabby Nest

Sawdust & Paper Scraps

Finding Fabulous

Chic on a Shoestring

Tater Tots & Jello

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