July 30, 2012

Budgettabouddit!

Repost!  Somehow Part Deux posted *over* this original post, so your comments are actually over there.  What a mess!

 

Get it?  Ha! I crack myself up. 

So I’m feeling the urge to have a little chitchat with my online pals about moolah.  Budgets.  Making ends meet.  Bringing home the bacon, and cooking it too. 

Recently, I found out one of my good friends is totally clueless about her finances, and I was shocked.  She’s a smart chick, and hearing that she’s totally in the dark (and stressed) on her money issues really surprised me.  I don’t want to be the pushy friend who’s like “OK, sit down, let’s do this”, but I can talk about it here and maybe it’ll help someone else.

I feel strongly (is strongly strong enough?) that having a budget is THE ONLY place to start to get a clear financial picture of what’s going on now and where it’s taking us, because our finances are definitely taking us somewhere.  Unless you’re the rare family who spends *exactly* what they earn, our finances are either taking us forward in life, with savings and nest eggs, or they’re taking us backwards with overspending and maybe even debt. 

I’m a huge, huge, HUGE proponent of budgets.  I’ve had one pretty much from the day I got my very first “real” paycheck and we definitely have one now.  I look at it almost every day to see how we’re doing.

It’s nothing special – just an Excel spreadsheet that’s been tweaked through the years.  It’s a budget, but maybe more importantly, it also tracks our spending.

The starting point is actually the tab that shows our official budget, starting with our gross income, all our paycheck deductions (and what percent they represent of our gross income – good to know, peeps), and then it calculates our net income.

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Further on down the page is our expense budget, starting with the “basics” – preset expenses like our cable bill and intended expenses like how much we (want to) spend on groceries.  I have our mortgage payment broken out because insurance and property taxes *change* every year!  You knew this, right?  Usually they go up….this year they went down.  I also have our expenses color-coded by what could get cut first.  Red text is essential; black text is stuff we could cut if we had to.

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Next we have a category for our vehicles.  There’s a saying that you should only finance a car one time in your life: your first car.  Once it’s paid off, you keep driving it and set aside what used to be your monthly payment until you have enough to pay cash for your next car.  Paying money to borrow money SUCKS (unless you’re the lender!!).  We try not to do it, so we have a line for ‘savings for our next car’ in our vehicle expenses.  We also include our yearly registration costs, insurance and gas.

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“Other vehicle expenses” is what I estimate it will cost for two oil changes per car per year, new wiper blades each winter, and a contingency amount for those annoying little extra repairs that pop up now and then.  (New tires or  a “steering fluid flush”, anyone? Ug.)

Finally, we have the “Misc/Discretionary” expenses.  These are things that can (and would) be cut first if necessary:  Gifts, Christmas, Vacation, Travel and Fun/Eating Out.   

Next to each category is the percentage of our take home income it represents.  I like to know how much we spend on our necessaries versus how much we spend on the extras. 

Knowing where and when the money comes in, and how it’s spent is just plain HUGE for my peace of mind.  Late fees?  Overdraft charges?  Interest on credit balances?  These things seriously FREAK.ME.OUT – like I probably have some kind of mental issue, they freak me out so much. 

Obviously, I don’t make all the decisions as to where or how our funds are spent, but I do all the tracking of it and I’m the “enforcer” (the cute, friendly, kiss-on-the-cheek-honey kind) when the budget is approaching oblivion.  Or when we might go over in a particular category. Smile

SO.  Everything we spend falls into one of those categories. 

This is Step #1 for being on top of our finances (and not letting them be on top of us).  Knowing actual income - to the dollar - and intended outflow.  Step #2 is knowing actual outflow – to the dollar.  But we’ll get to that later.

Finally, at the bottom of the budget is the summary of how much is 1) deposited 2) spent and 3) saved. 

It’s pretty major to see the single figure that represents your expenses for the *whole* year.  Do you know what your family spends in a year?  $20,000? $50,000? $80,000? More?

Do you know how much of that goes to tangible items?  Payroll taxes?  Food?  Depreciating items like cars, boats, campers, etc?  You can, and you should. 

Do you have a budget?  Is it working for you? 

Is this helpful for anyone?  If so, leave a comment and I’ll come back with some more.  And, maybe, if anyone’s interested, I could even figure out how to provide an Excel template for your budgets. 

Thanks for letting me yak about budgets.  I *heart* them because not knowing who’s getting our hard-earned cash?  Budgettabouddit! 

HA!

ASig

July 27, 2012

Budgettabouddit! Part Deux: Expenses

Last time we talked about moolah, it was all about budgets.  That is, having a cold, hard, system for tracking the cold, hard cash that comes into your house and having a plan for how that cash will exit your house as well (though hopefully not all of it will be leaving….).

 

Let me get all Dave Ramsey up in your biz now: Our money shouldn’t control us.  We should control it.  Right? Right Smile  (If money stuff gets you into ‘deer in the headlights’ mode, check out a Dave Ramsey book from the library.  You’ll be glad you did.)

My little soapbox was inspired by the shocking revelation of a friend of mine that she’s totally clueless about how she spends her money.  In a nutshell, she is consistently out of money at the end of every month and has no idea where it goes. 

So here I am, pontificating to the bloggy world and trying to share what I can in the hope that it might inspire some good-budget-ideas for some of you lovelies.

I started with describing our budget: actual income to the dollar and *planned* outflow.  Ours is on an Excel spreadsheet (still working on getting you guys an Excel template), but it’s just as easy to do it with pen and paper.  Here are the basic steps:

     1.  List your income, all your bills, and any other expense category (like “groceries”, “gas”, “eating out/entertainment”) that applies to you.  Put the monthly dollar cost next to each of them.  If you don’t know, guess or pick a number you think is reasonable. 

     2.  Calculate what should be left over. 

BOOM! You have a budget!

Below is a simple example.  Above the “subtotal” line are bills and essentials, while below the subtotal are the more discretionary expenses.  Next to your “budget” column should be columns for months, where the actual amounts spent in each category are recorded.

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At the end of the year, take the average of each category and use that number to make next year’s budget. (Say you actually spent an average of $60 on your electric bill. Next year’s electric budget will be $60.)

SO.  TRACKING.  This is really the important part.  The “budget” portion is the door to the Keebler Elves’ tree.  A list of what you actually spent over the last month(s) is the cookie factory inside the tree.  I dig the door, but the cookies are the whole point of the tree, right?

Ok, weird analogy.  Moving on.

How do you track what you spend?

Well…the way we do it is we use either our debit card or our credit card for everything.  This works for us for a couple reasons: 1) we pay off our credit card every month and 2) we don’t get carried away.  Then, about once a week I download all our transactions into my spreadsheet onto a tab for that month.  I categorize each expense, then I add the categories up and enter the totals on a summary page.  Sounds a little complicated, but it’s not.  If you’re moderately to very familiar with Excel and want to know how I do it, let me know and I’ll get back to you. 

Excel.  Debit.  Credit.  Download.  Hold. Up. 

Totally new to budgeting? Totally freaking out? If *my* method sounds totally over the top for where you’re at, don’t worry.  There are tons of ways to go about this. 

My suggestion is this:

1)  Enter bill amounts into your monthly expenses as you pay them.  As in, record the bill amount on your budget, THEN write the check.  If your bills are on auto-pay, change your preferences so you get an email whenever something is paid.  Do what you need to do to know every amount that leaves your account each month. 

Then, for daily purchases, there are two options:

a) Use cash only.  Withdraw what you need in cash at the beginning of the month.  Once it’s gone, it’s gone, and it will hold your feet to the fire to be careful with spending.  (If you regularly overdraft your account, the cash method is the only way to go.  You’re literally paying a price for overspending.)

OR

b) Keep your receipts.  A pain, I know, but what’s worse- a pile of receipts to organize once a month or frustration ALL month?  At the end of the month, categorize your receipts into your expense categories (by store would be easiest to start with.)  Say, all the grocery store receipts into one pile, Home Depot receipts into another.  Gas station into another, etc.  Add them up, and enter what you spent into your categories.

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Don’t sweat it if you overspend in a category, just make sure 1) you cut back in other categories or 2) you underspend next month. You want the average at the end of the year to come out as close to your budgeted amount as possible.  If your budget (the list of what you thought your bills should be) is way off from reality, adjust it with the actual bill amounts.  After a couple months, you may want to adjust it again, this time using the average from the last few months.

Once you’ve got one month of data, take a good, hard look at it.  Is there any money left over? Is it enough?  Are you okay with what you spent in each category?  Could you do better? 

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If you need more left over or you think some expense was too expensive (pun intended!), make a date with your list of last month’s expenses.  The next day, do the same thing.  Sit with it. STARE at it.  Talk about it with your spouse.  Evaluate your needs versus wants.  I do this at least once a week.  I sit and think about whether our spending in the last month was really as low as we could get it, and what we could do to get it lower (meal planning and one grocery trip per month is my current goal – I’ll tell you more about that later).  And I wonder what we could do with the savings. 

There’s probably a few places you could trim or eliminate, too.  Don’t sneeze at the little stuff – small cuts add up. 

So there you go.  Tracking actual expenses is really Step #2 of financial housekeeping and the meat of this sandwich, er, cookie?  Hopefully you’ve gotten a few ideas, and if you have any other systems that work great for you, leaving a comment could be super helpful for someone else out there.  Just sayin’ Smile 

Finally, there’s one last thing to cover.  It is Step #3: forming a plan to *kill* debt with a snowball.  And I mean – KILL it.   If you have debt, you’ve already got an expense you can completely eliminate.  I’ll cover it next. 

I know you can’t wait!

ASig

July 25, 2012

In a Bindweed?

While I was out spraying some weeds the other evening – my gardening time now falls in the 30 min or so right after Avery goes to bed – I realized I needed to bust out the big guns for a couple of particularly nasty culprits.

Usually, I pull weeds.  For weeds I know I can’t successfully kill by pulling, like dandelions (you’ll almost never pull the root out unless you dig it out) and a few others, I use Round Up.

But….Round Up is potent.  And I usually mix it a little strong, since I have one weed in particular that seems to need a little more concentration or it just wilts and chuckles.  Nothing more annoying than taking the time to actually spray a weed and then realize it’s still there a week later and practically gloating. 

So I mix it strong…and sadly, I’ve definitely killed a few good plants with it.  By “good”, I mean ones I actually wanted to survive =(  Every summer I seem to take out at least one good plant with the Round Up sprayer.

I think I might have killed our tiny little lilac this summer.  Woe is me, truly, if I did, and it’s not looking good.

So okay. Back to the point.  Dandelions etc = Round Up candidates.  

BUT sometimes you need to spray a weed that’s way too close to another plant, or <GRR> twining itself through another plant as in the case of this guy:

Bindweed - ugh.

Bindweed.  Ugh.  What a pain this one is.  It’s a vine that resembles a morning glory, has a super long root that never comes up with pulling, and it twines itself (with an iron grip) around everything.

Some poor neighbor down the street doesn’t know I was taking photos of the weeds in his front yard.  That could’ve been interesting.  “Oh, uh, HI.  I was just taking a picture of this weed because it’s so spectacularly out of control!”  Mmmm.  Awkward.

Or it could’ve given me an opportunity to share my “tip” with him on how to get rid of it. 

Still awkward?  I probably wouldn’t have made any friends with that one.

Ok so here’s what you do.  Grab a plastic sack (I use the produce bags from the store) and poke a hole in the bottom.  Pull the bindweed vines up through the hole and into the plastic sack. 

Get rid of bindweed with a plastic sack and weed killer

Spray the Round Up directly into the sack (which protects nearby plants – and did I mention to DOUSE those suckers?  Bindweed is tough!), then tie the sack closed and let ‘er bake!

Getting rid of bindweed

It looks a little junky, but a few days or a week later, the roots of the bindweed should be dead and you can retrieve the sack from your yard and throw it in the trash.

Protect plants when spraying tough weeds

Happy weeding!

ASig

July 23, 2012

Some Days You Feel Like a Drip

Howdy!  Happy Monday, everyone.

Have I told you the news yet??  This is officially my last week of working full-time.  I am SO.EXCITED!  Avery and I are going to have the best time once I’m not chained to my desk 8-5!

So

Excited!

A while back I mentioned we finally installed a drip system in our back garden.  It didn’t get any water at all from the sprinklers, and rainfall around here is pretty much nil, so that meant it just didn’t get watered.

Oh – except the raised bed, which is on the sprinkler system.  Minor detail Smile

The REST of the back bed, though, is a desert.  I’ve tried to plant low-water-need plants back there, and some are doing ok, but many of them are struggling anyway.  It’s just so hot and dry.

So a drip system has been on my mind for a while. 

We never got around to putting it in, though, because we knew we’d have to buy a huge length of main line (and not use a huge length) and all the connectors etc.  This isn’t exactly an expensive project, (all the parts are like $1 a bag), but it’s a little daunting thinking about exactly where to put a dripper, a sprayer, whathaveyou.  Well, my mom to the rescue!

Drip irrigation system

She has a drip system in her yard, and she happened to have a bunch of old parts she’s kept around for spares.  We took three lengths of the 1/2” hose (which already had a bunch of sprayers, drippers, etc on them), and a bunch of other spare parts.  The treasures hidden in some people’s garages – I tell ya.

We started by connecting the three hoses with a “T” connection and a valve on two sides.  This allows the water to be shut off to the section running behind the raised bed, the section running along the front edge, or both.

Valves on the drip system

Valves and a sprayer

Then we turned on the water to see which existing drippers worked and where there were holes to plug.  We replaced some broken drippers or sprayers, switched a few around, and added some 1/4” poly tubing to extend some out from the main line here and there, as you can see above.  We used “goof plugs” to fill unwanted holes.  We also put an inexpensive pressure regulator on the front end of the system so we can turn the faucet on without worrying about blowing dripper parts out of the hose.

So it turns out we didn’t need to be so calculated at all!  We just needed to get something going, and then it’s easy to switch it out if it isn’t the most effective option.

Sprayer on a riser

I even copied my mom’s idea and rigged up a sprayer to fill the bird bath.

Drip system fills the bird bath for me!

Finally, we used a “quick connect” on the end for fast, easy connections to the garden hose.  We need to get a few more of these, because they are so handy.  No screwing required. 

Quick connect - so nice

Just pull the collar back, slide the pieces together, release the collar, and you’ve got a nice, tight connection.

Quick connect - did I mention how nice it is for lazy folk like me?

You can see how parched the plants are in the shots above.  The lilies’ leaves are withered and brown on the ends, the “purple emperor” sedum was splaying out to the sides, the bamboo was straw colored, and the lambs’ ears is flattened.  Not exactly the picture of health.

But hopefully everything will start to perk up. 

Meanwhile, here’s a mid-summer tour of the backyard:

A little tour

The deck plantings are looking much nicer next to a non-rotten deck, don’t you think?

Unfortunately, our yard isn't perfect.  YET.

The one major trouble spot: the far right corner of grass which gets absolutely *zero* moisture from the sprinklers.  Thus, it’s not really grass.  It’s more like cracked, dusty, cement. 

View from the back bed

Looking toward the house is a little nicer view…

The garden phlox never disappoints

Avery’s inflatable swimming pool is a colorful addition to our deck.  Just a little “pop of color”.  Of the inflatable, plastic variety.

Nick sealed the pergola a few days ago.  Lookin’ good, eh?

Pergola has been sealed!

The pergola.  Again.

Can't beat shasta daisies.

 

The pergola from the gateCare to join us for a BBQ?

I’m actually looking forward to trimming all this stuff back this fall.  There’s something cathartic and cozy about trimming all the summer plants in late fall and cleaning up the yard for winter.  I also plan to divide several plants.  (Now that I’ll be staying home full time, finding ways to save money in our budget will be my #2 job, and dividing plants is a great, cheap way to garden.)

In the meantime, it’ll be fun watching the back garden get punch drunk on a little irrigation! 

ASig

July 22, 2012

What an AstroBright Idea!

This post brought to you by Astrobrights Papers by Neenah Paper. All opinions are 100% mine.

Yo.  I was thinking the other day that I should keep an eye out for paper sales at HobLob so I can stock up my stash.  Ever since my babysitting days, I've had a supply of paper on standby.  It's one of my basic starting points for many of my little crafts and projects.  Colored printer paper (with as many colors as possible!), construction paper, and scrapbook paper are my staples.

So when AstroBrights was looking for a blogger to do a sponsored post, I was up in front waving both hands and one foot to get picked. 

It worked, apparently!

AstroBrights papers come in 23 bold, vivid colors.  It's great for printing (nice and smooth - ahhh), and of course for cutting, gluing, Mod Podging, scrapping, framing behind glass (for a custom colored dry erase surface of course!), and anything else you can come up with.  It's a fabulous all-purpose paper, which makes it indispensable for those who use colorful paper for any purpose.

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Right now, AstroBrights is running the "Give a Brighter Year" sweepstakes.  This sweepstakes is a way to win a $500 gift card PLUS $30,000 in school supplies for the school of your choice.  "Classroom Mom of the Year" would be IN.THE.BAG!  To enter, go online to the Astrobrights® page on Facebook.com (www.facebook.com/astrobrights) and "Like" Astrobrights.  Then click on the link to the "Give a Brighter Year! Sweepstakes" page to access the Sweepstakes application.  That simple.  5 minutes could make you a hero with your child's school.

For all you creative types out there, the "Make Something AstroBright" contest may be right down your alley.  Get creative with AstroBright paper = win a $100 - $400 VISA gift card!  Take a picture of your creation, submit it at AstroBrights' Facebook page, and you're officially in the running.  Scrapbooking, flyers, banners or pennants, and of course all the crafty uses for paper would be great places to start.

Right off the top of my head, I'm imagining a fall wreath made out of two or three colors of layered "fan folded" AstroBright paper.  Then maybe wet another sheet, crinkle it up, flatten it out, cut out some "dried leaf" shapes and spritz with spray starch (potentially with some glitter as well???)  to add some embellishment to the wreath.  Or pick up one of those great $1 paperboard letters from HobLob and cover it with a contrasting AstroBright paper to suspend in the middle of your wreath. 

Lately I've been having fun wrapping strips of colorful paper around pillar candles and then embellishing with a smaller ribbon or strip of fabric.  Decoupaging our living room lamps with paper has also crossed my mind.  AstroBrights would make for a great pop of color.

Hmmmmmm.....perhaps I should wrap up this post so I can go play with paper?

This post is a little short on photos, (Sorry, but my Type A personality just can't show my paper stash until it's somewhat organized and right now....it's NOT.)  I think I'd better get crackin' on that wreath now that the idea is in my head, so hopefully I'll have a picture to show you a little later.

For more ideas, the AstroBrights communities on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are linked with the hashtag #goastrobrights. 

What can you come up with? 

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July 20, 2012

Easier Dulce de Leche Banana Cream Pie

I found a yummy recipe for a “Dulce de Leche Banana Cream Pie” in Taste of Home magazine and it was so good, I’m going to share it with you all – with some modifications.

Dulce de leche banana cream pie - the easier way

See… once I made it, I realized it could be simpler than the recipe stated.  Semi-homemade, if you will.  (I hope Sandra Lee doesn’t have a copyright on that phrase…does she?)

First of all, I don’t make my own pie crust.  Never have, probably never will.  That was easy change #1.  I bought a frozen crust and baked it.

Secondly, the method of making the caramel wasn’t hard, but it could be easier and involve fewer dishes, too, using a crock pot.  Easy change #2.  Put a can of unopened sweetened condensed milk in your crock pot, cover it with water, cook on low 8 hours.  Cool, open it up and find caramel.  (Nifty little trick I learned from Pinterest – and yes it definitely works.)

The other option with the caramel is to do it as the recipe originally suggests (see recipe below), but I don’t recommend letting it cool very much.  If it’s too cool, it’s hard and difficult to spread on the pie, as I learned the sticky way.

Finally, homemade whipped cream is a little much for this pie.  It’s already super rich and very sweet, so I think Cool Whip is a better option.  Plus, it’s cheaper than a carton of whipping cream (for my budget-conscious pals out there) and – no whipping involved. 

Ready for the recipe (already)?  I omitted the directions for pie crust.  If you make your own crust, I bet you have your own recipe anyway Smile

Dulce de Leche Banana Cream Pie

Ingredients:

Pie crust, prebaked (regular worked fine, deep dish would also work)

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

1/2 C sugar

1/3 C flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/3 C half and half (whole milk would work too)

3 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla

2 bananas, sliced

Whipped topping (homemade or otherwise)

1.  Make the caramel.  Place unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a crock pot, fully submerged in water.  Cook 8 hours on low.  Cool for handling. 

OR

Pour condensed milk into a pie plate or shallow baking dish.  Place in a larger pan and surround with 1 inch of water.  Bake 1 hour at 325.  Cool for handling, but not too much, as you want it relatively easy to pour or spoon on top the pie.

2. Make the filling.  In a saucepan, combine flour, sugar, and salt.  Whisk in half-and-half.  Cook, stirring constantly, at medium heat until thick and bubbly.  Remove from heat.  Whisk a small amount of filling mixture into the egg yolks to temper, then return all to pan, stirring constantly.  Bring to a boil and cook 2 additional minutes.  Remove from heat, add vanilla.  Cool. 

(The original recipe then adds to “cover surface with waxed paper and chill completely.”  I couldn’t figure out what this accomplished other than getting a bunch of the filling stuck to the waxed paper and then thrown out, so I’m omitting this step.)

3.  Assemble.  Pour filling into a prebaked pie crust.  Top with slices of banana and the caramel.  Chill completely.  Top with Cool Whip before serving.

4.  Plop down on the couch and enjoy, like I did!

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Hubby said last night, “The only thing wrong with this pie is I eat it in 2 bites.”

Home run! Smile

Thanks for stopping by!

ASig2

July 11, 2012

It’s Wednesday already?

My gosh it’s been a busy couple of weeks.  Ready for the lowdown? 

A week or so ago, Nick’s company went out of business, and everyone lost their jobs.  Luckily, he found a new job very quickly, though he hasn’t started yet.

We refinanced our mortgage. 

Avery turned 8 months old.

We had two out-of-town weekends in a row.

And as usual, I’m busy busy trying to keep up with work and baby at the same time.

Fortunately, it’s worked out well that Nick is home this week and he’s been a huge help in taking Avery so I can get some things done.  Plus, he’s making his way down a little honey-do list I made for him.  He’s the best!!

He….swept/sprayed out our dirty garage and took junk to the recycling center. 

He set up a drip system (hallelujah!) in the back garden – just you wait.  It’s stinkin’ awesome.  He has ran errands, made me lunch, sprayed some weeds in the lawn, and he’s going to seal the new pergola tomorrow.  And no, he’s not available for borrowing Smile 

Also in the last few days, Avery’s had a lot of “firsts”!

- First tooth on the 4th of July

-Second tooth this morning

-She’s crawling on one knee and one foot.  She hasn’t quite figured out how to use both knees, but she’s making forward progress, so she’s happy.

-She waved for the first time yesterday, but we weren’t sure if it was a fluke or not.  As of this morning, she’s definitely waving (or flapping?) with her entire adorable, chubby arm.

-She’s getting to be a sneaky little expert in pulling herself up.  She tries and tries and fails and gets so frustrated, and then I turn away and next thing I know she’s standing up and pulling something off the ottoman, the couch or out of the dirty clothes hamper!

Crazy times!  Sometime tonight maybe I’ll get out and take some pictures of the drip system….maybe Smile

ASig

July 5, 2012

Baby Hair Flowers: DIY

DIY Baby Hair Flowers

Is it just me, or does the BIG thing now seem to be BIG bows and BIG flowers on little babies?  Now that I think about it, it might actually be “just me”…  maybe mommies have been cutifying their kiddos for ages with big ‘ol bows and fabric flower headbands and I’ve just never noticed.  Sometimes I’m shockingly oblivious.  

Anyway, I think it’s totally stinkin’ cute.  What’s not to love about an adorable baby with some adorable baby-bling on her head to draw your eye to her adorable-ness?

So I’ve looked around to add some baby cuteness to Avery’s stash of hair accessories …but I’ve gotten hung up on a couple things.

First, the price.  I’m stingy when it comes to things that won’t get much use.  And trendy cuteness definitely comes at a price.

Second, the size.  Although I totally dig big bows on other babies, some are just a little *too* big for my baby.  I have a feeling they’d be the next thing to end up in her mouth.  BUT…something a little smaller would be perfect.

Finally, a lot of the cute store-bought bows/flowers are on clips that don’t stay in Avery’s hair.  She needs the tiny little barrettes that pop open and closed. (And I still have to redo them several times a day.)

What’s a mommy to do except make her own?

DIY Baby Hair Accessories Supplies

DANG.  An excuse to wander around JoAnn and HobLob with my cutie baby girl Smile

Baby Hair Accessories Supplies

The best thing about making your own hair accessories?  There’s so much to choose from!  And I found a lot of it on sale too.  I ended up spending about $12 on all my supplies, and I have enough for 25 barrettes.  I can always clip a barrette onto one of her existing headbands, so I just stuck with the tiny barrette clips for now.  I plan to keep some for Avery and use the rest as gifts.  We only know of one other baby girl among our circle of friends – everyone has boys!  But that means it won’t be long…

Wandering around the stores, I found some great stuff in the scrapbooking section, a few things in the actual hair accessories aisle at HobLob, and even more fun items in the clearance aisles at both stores.  I also checked the little fabric appliques (the cute embroidered flowers or bugs or whatever), but none of those were on sale.  I think my mom has a stash of them in her sewing supplies though…so we may be going on a scavenger hunt next time we’re at her house Open-mouthed smile

One fail was picking up a “Spare Parts” kit of 6 flowers that turned out to have only 1 fabric flower in the package – the rest were paper.  Paper flowers probably won’t hold up that well on a baby barrette, so I’ll have to use those for something else. 

Fabric flowers for baby's hair

I also found a neato package of “silk” flower petals that get stacked and layered and then held together with brads.  You all probably know exactly what I’m talking about, and there’s probably even a name for it.  I’m new to the concept, so I’ll stick with “neato stacking flower petals”.

I made up a ton of flowers from that package of petals first.  Then I dove right in with those, some ribbon, and the other little “embellishments” I’d found.

DIY Baby Hair Flower

It was so easy it’s almost not even worth mentioning how I did it.  I hot glued a strip of ribbon to each clip, then hot glued one of the decorations on that. 

Baby Hair Flower Barrette

Easy, cheap, and quick.  Can’t beat that!

DIY Baby Hair Accessories

Thanks for stopping by! Smile

ASig

 

Linked up to: The Shabby Creek CottageFireflies & Jellybeans

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