Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dressing Up Spray Bottles

Well, hello there.  You look pretty today.  And have you lost weight? 'Cause you just look terrific.

I read an article about how you should compliment people.  So now I have. You're welcome.

Anyhoo, remember my cleaning caddies post from a couple of weeks ago?  Love them, they make keeping the cleaning supplies organized a total breeze... but I had one problem: Some of the bottles of cleaner were too fat for the caddy.  Windex, I'm looking at you.  So what's a girl to do when the bottles don't fit her super awesome caddy? She improvises, that's what.

I bought some spray bottles at the hardware store, only a dollar.

And then, I wrapped the label with white contact paper...

And then, I used the Silhouette to cut out a label.  Done and done.

And now, the glass cleaner is back with his friends and they're living happily together.

Thrifty Crafty Girl
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Monday, January 28, 2013

Letting Go of Dead Plants

Dead plants.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that all of you have dead plants you're holding on to.

My mother-in-law gave the hubs a Kindle Fire for Christmas... so he gave me his regular ol' Kindle... and since I'm a thrifty gal, I download about a million free Kindle books everyday.  You've gotta love free.  This month, there have been so many free books on decluttering, a topic about which I need to read.

My mother lives in clutter.  I mean, I don't think she's thrown anything away in years... she's not a hoarder mind you.  She keeps a tidy home but she doesn't get rid of much.  Growing up in a cluttered home has made me paranoid that I'm going to head down the same path.  These free books have been great to motivate me to declutter like a champ.

One of the free books talked about 'dead plants'.  Of course, there are literal dead plants: the small plant that you got and intended to water and care for but for some reason, the leaves turned brown and you killed it.  You just killed it.  But we hold on to those plants.  We believe that we can turn it around, if we only try hard enough.  So we hold on to those dead plants, firm in the belief that if we give up on it, we have failed.

It's time to let the dead plant go.

And if we think about that same concept, we can find dead plants all over the place.  My dead plants?  Craft projects that went wonky.  I know, you can hardly believe that I'm not totally perfect and that everything I do turns into sunshine and kittens.

You guys are so sweet.

I have trouble letting go of things.  If that craft project didn't turn out well, I hold on to it, knowing in my heart that I can make it better, I just need inspiration, time, paint, glue, more chocolate.  Can I just tell you that chocolate does not make everything better?  I mean, we should still eat it... lets just not expect miracles.

So here's what I want to hear about from you:  what are your 'dead plants'?  I've been slowly but surely identifying my dead plants and letting them go.  And it feels awesome.
Thrifty Crafty Girl
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Friday, January 25, 2013

Winter Wreath

It was like, four degrees when I got up this morning.  Sweet Moses, it's like another ice age... when that freezing wind hits you it's like a punch in the face with a block of ice.

Since spring is nowhere close to appearing, I needed a wreath for the front door that reflected the frozen tundra in which I live.

I grabbed some clearance winter stuff that I got in the after-Christmas sales: a wreath, some gold and silver pine cones and a can of spray snow.

When you throw those things together, here's what magically appears:

A pretty (and inexpensive) wreath for the front door.  When the ice age ends, I suppose I'll have to come up with something else.
Thrifty Crafty Girl
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Unforgivable Things My Husband Has Done

Today is my husband's 40th birthday.  He doesn't look a day over 39.  In honor of this momentous birthday, I'm going to share with you some of the unforgivable things my husband has done to me... this is how we celebrate in our house.

Handsomer even than Robert Redford.

1)  Last Thanksgiving, he wanted cooked cabbage.  Since it reeks to high heaven, he cooked it in a crockpot in the garage... while my car was also in the garage.  Would you believe that my car still smells like cabbage?  UNFORGIVABLE.

2) He recently taught our oldest son how to burp.  The cacophony of belching I hear on a daily basis is getting out of hand.  UNFORGIVABLE.

3) He never asks probing questions of people when something interesting happens.  Take the following exchange as an example:

Hubs: "Bill said his wife left him."
Me: "What? Oh my gracious, what happened?"
Hubs: "I don't know."
Me: "Well, is Bill OK?"
Hubs: "I don't know."
Me: "Well, are they getting a divorce?"
Hubs: "I don't know."
Me: "For crying out loud Dave, what else did he say?"
Hubs: "He was hoping the Packers would make it to the Superbowl."

Sweet. Gravy.  A woman would have asked the important questions.  UNFORGIVABLE.

4) He plays terrible pranks on me.  This one time, when he worked for the cable company, he called me on a job and asked me if the cable was working.  I told him it was just fine... then I heard a click.  HE TURNED OFF THE CABLE TO AN ENTIRE SUBDIVISION JUST TO TICK ME OFF.  What kind of person would turn off cable, in the middle of The Maury Povich show, no less, just to irritate his wife?  I never did find out if that guy was that baby's father.  UNFORGIVABLE.

5) He can eat whatever he wants and he never gains an ounce.  Seriously, it's like he gets thinner the more he eats.  Meanwhile, I'm contemplating getting my own zipcode, I'm getting so big.  UNFORGIVABLE.

Despite all these things, I love my hubby... and he's just as thin and handsome at 40 as he was at 20... except for the mullet.  He had a mullet at 20.  There... the secret is out.

Happy birthday, Dave!
Thrifty Crafty Girl
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Monday, January 21, 2013

My "Donate" Box

I love quotations.  I don't use air quotes as much as I should, that really should have been my resolution for this year.  Ah well, there's always "next year".  See?  I'm already starting. :)

I've been working on de-cluttering the ol' homestead here and I've found so many things to donate to Goodwill.  But even though I take a weekly trip to Goodwill to drop off stuff, I hate looking at that pile of old junk that needs to be donated.  So, I did what any sensible crafter would do:  I made a 'donate' box.

I bought some bankers boxes from Staples.

I used a scrap of wood and some casters and had the husband marry them together.

The box sits on top of the wood and the casters let it roll around.  The kids will use this as a scooter until cooler heads prevail.  Then I used my spray adhesive to attach some burlap to it...

And I had a box on wheels.  What joy.  But it needed something... so I bought some wooden letters and painted 'em:

And once they were dry, I hot glued them to the burlap box.  Easy-schmeasy and now, I have a designated spot for my weekly donations.

I love a box on wheels. :)
Thrifty Crafty Girl
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Friday, January 18, 2013

The Venti Project

'What is the Venti project?' I hear you asking yourself.  'It sounds totally made up.'

How judgmental of you.  Also, it is made up.

Venti is 20 in Italian.  It's also the size of the largest cup at Starbucks, the 20oz one.  I may or may not have ordered more than a few ventis in my life.  I definitely have.

I decided that I needed to stash some cash away for Christmas.  I always have intentions of doing this every year, but for some reason, the cash always gets used for something else which means I have to budget like a madwoman to find the extra money for Christmas.  "NO MORE!" I screamed out loud, frightening the nice lady next to me at Walmart.

I got a photo box for $1 at Michaels and brought it home.  I used my craft knife to cut a tiny slit above the label holder, big enough for dollars to slip through.


Then, I glued the top on.  That's right, I glued the sucker shut.

I used my Silhouette to pretty it up a bit...

So, here's my plan: Every payday, I'll take $20 out of the bank in cash and shove it in the box.  If I do it right away, I can budget like it doesn't even exist.  Hopefully, by Thanksgiving when I plan on cracking this sucker open, I'll have a few bucks to use for Christmas shopping.

Also, the family is excited about how we should bust it open.  They're a destructive lot, to be sure.

The Venti Project begins.

Thrifty Crafty Girl
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I Cleaned Up My Fridge Clutter

I don't have a before picture of the front of my refrigerator.  It was too horrifying to put online without some sort of FCC fine for indecency.  Picture a really cluttered fridge door and you're ready to move on with this post.

The new year always does something to me: as you've seen, I've been posting some organizational posts of late, evidence that January has once again put me in a 'MUST GET EVERYTHING CLEAN AND ORGANIZED' mood.  And while I was looking around at things I wanted to clean up or organize, the refrigerator kept jumping into my line of sight.

I found this at Michael's and used a coupon to get it for a steal:

See, I want to stop using the refrigerator door as a command center.  It's not set up for that and even if it was, the fridge is far too popular around here to use as an information station.  So, I want to pretty it up.  I bought the frames you see above and went to the dollar store to grab a few more, on the cheap.  Once I had a bunch of frames, I used craft paper and made a size template of the fridge door.  I laid out the frames on top to figure out what should go where.

Then, I used my Americana DecoArt paints to give them a little color, specifically blue.

After the frames dried, I glued magnets to the back.

All that was left to do was put a few pictures in... and I love it.

Even though there isn't a 'before' picture, doesn't this just make you happy?  Look at those faces... they happily greet me every time I go to the fridge.  Which, let's be honest here, is a lot. :)
Thrifty Crafty Girl
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Monday, January 14, 2013

Organizing DVDs

I'm a movie lover.  I try to watch one new movie a week and I always ask for a favorite movie for birthdays, Christamases, I-Survived-My-Children-Saturdays... you name it.

And then, the DVDs took over.  It got real up in here, people.

I bought a ginormous cabinet made for holding DVDs.  And filled it.  And DVDs spilled out into a bookcase.  And filled it.

I told you it got real.

I read on another blog, Simply Organized, that she used these little plastic sleeves to organize her DVDs.  I checked my local Target store and found some and then they stopped stocking them.  So I ran over to (so to speak) and bought some.  They have free shipping for orders of $25, so I would buy a couple of packages at a time to defray some of the initial investment.

So, here are three Dollar Tree bins filled with movies.  This isn't all of our movies, just what would fit in the bins.

Now, let's do a space comparison here.  This is all of those movies, taken out of their case and put into a sleeve.

Seventy-five movies, that barely fit into three of these bins, now fit easily (with room to spare) in one bin.  I was totally sold.  I bought enough sleeves for our movies and Wii/Xbox games as well.  Now, I have one shelf of movies:

I can't even tell you how much space this saves us.  The Wii games alone allowed me to empty out one drawer and use it for candleholders.  Because I have lots of those.  And as far as I know, no one has made a sleeve for those yet.

You've gotta love making room where you thought there was none.  Success.
Thrifty Crafty Girl
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Friday, January 11, 2013

Cleaning Caddies

I realized, just now, that two of my three posts this week were cleaning related.  This might make some of you say, 'wow, she's really got it together, I bet her house is spotless!'.

I'm going to pretend that it is, just so you don't look foolish.  I'm even going to pretend that there isn't a layer of dust on top of my shelf and the TV doesn't have those sticky fingerprints on it.  If we work together, you and I, we can imagine that my house is as clean as you picture it.

I found these little caddies at Walmart for $1.50 on clearance.  Oh brother, only $1.50.

I grabbed a ton of them.  I even went back again the next week and got more.  My house will be filled with these caddies and I will be in the middle of them, laughing maniacally.  But enough about my Tuesday afternoon.

I added some vinyl to them...

And just like that, I had caddies for my cleaning supplies.  Look how pretty...

Don't those look adorable?  And now, all the cleaning supplies are in their specified caddy, in whatever location their supposed to clean: One for the car, one for the bathroom and one for everyplace else.

Who knew that $1.50 of plastic could make a girl so giddy?
Thrifty Crafty Girl
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cleaning Schedule

I use a cleaning schedule.  Know why?  'Cause if I don't schedule it, it isn't happening.

There are people in this world who are 'cleaners'.  You know the type, where they always have a sponge in hand, ready to attack germs at a moments notice, and fending off dust with the greatest of ease.

I am not one of those people.  Dust bunnies are pets around here.

My husband is a cleaner, which should explain why our home is not yet a 'hovel', but I've been told by my mother that I need to 'do my part'.  Aren't mothers so bossy?  I mean really... but if I want to go to the prom, I'd better listen.

Here's my schedule... now, not all of it is cleaning-related.  For example, you can see that yesterday was supposed to be the day I filed our taxes.  We file as soon as possible every year to get it out of the way.  Due to a little thing that's been called a 'fiscal cliff', we can't file until the 30th.  Our politicians are really affecting my schedule, which is totes rude.  Anyhoo, here's what I've got planned for the month:

Martha Stewart makes a monthly calendar with all her chores on it.  So, I'm just like Martha.  Without, of course, the money and the criminal record.  I love Martha.

Do any of you operate better with a schedule?  I respond well to structure, I'm like a toddler that way.  I also have been known to eat paste, but that's for another post.
Thrifty Crafty Girl
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Monday, January 7, 2013

Budget Binder

I love binders.  I mean, I LOVE THEM.  I contemplated leaving my husband for the office supply section at Target but when the Target security team asked me to stop reciting poetry in the aisle, I knew it wouldn't work.  So I came home.  *sigh*

There's nothing like a new year to get you motivated about finances.  I run the whole budget show in this house, so I need to make sure it runs exactly like I need it to.  I've been using a binder for my budget for a billion years but it was this plain black one... I ran out to Target, dodged the security team, and bought a pretty one.

I may or may not have kissed it a few times.  But I definitely did.  Open it up and you'll see a pocket to hold scissors, ONE PEN (because I can fill up this pocket with a thousand pens that I don't need), and a flash drive that holds all the budget worksheets I use.  On the back of this pouch, there are pockets that I use to hold the bills that are ready to be mailed.

I made a simple little worksheet for me to lay out what needs to be paid on a weekly basis.  There's a place for the date, income, what should be paid and even a little checkbox when it's done.  This is so simple but works so well for me.

There are monthly tabs which include a 6"x9" envelope that I added pretty paper to and labeled to hold the monthly receipts.

And of course, I have a sheet for the monthly budget.  If you could see the inside of my heart, it would look like a spreadsheet.  For reals.

In that same pocket, when you turn the page, I keep all the bills that come in.  This way, they don't accumulate on the kitchen table.  Nothing is worse for digestion than looking at a stack of bills.

There's a tab for mailing supplies... I have a sheet protector that holds all the envelopes, stamps and labels...

And at the back, I have sheets of check registers as well as my checkbook clipped there.  I never use my checkbook out of the house... ever.  So it stays in my binder and it feels at home.  At least, it's never complained. **Here's the link to the check register pdf!

I would love to see any budget binders you guys have come up with!

Thrifty Crafty Girl
I link up at these great parties!
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