Thrifty Thursdays

thrifty thursdays

Sacramento residents breathed a little easier yesterday. After 52 days of dry weather, we finally got our first day of rain! And from what I hear, there are more rainy days on their way. So, what this means to my admittedly self-absorbed self is that I can finally put my garden in! I did finish a coffee can planter for my rosemary, and I will be sharing the tutorial soon. I’m hoping to expand my garden and while I will replant vegetables in the back, I want a few herb planters for the front yard that will be easily transportable when we move.

We have plenty of things to use as planters around here, but I’m not 100 percent sure I have permission to take them with us. So, I have gathered quite the collection of awesome DIY planter tutorials. Turns out, you can pretty much make a planter out of…anything.

Photo from Little House Blog

Photo from Little House Blog

I must admit – this will take some work. Lindsay from Little House Blog actually bought and mixed the concrete and made this by hand. That sounds pretty intense, so I would probably give in to my laziness and just find some concrete blocks lying around. But in the hopes that I am actually productive enough to actually make a concrete planter by hand, this is for sure on the list.

Photo from Heavens to Betsy

Photo from Heavens to Betsy

Before meeting Sam, I did not frequent the swap meets. Swap meets are more for car guys, but it turns out that they may or may not have a couple booths of collectibles, in case the car guy also happens to collect antiques, or they bring someone who does. It’s where that I discovered a love I have for old oil cans. My collection is small with only three, but I was thinking of turning them into planters and candle holders. This tutorial from Heavens to Betsy is the perfect inspiration!

Photo from The Paper Mama

Photo from The Paper Mama

I have an old three-tiered basket that is super rusty and the chain no longer works. In the event that I will not be able to restore it the way I want, this will be a great back-up plan. I would love to attach this to a fence, if we end up having one. You can read the full tutorial from Chelsey (The Paper Mama) on Better Homes and Garden’s blog.

And, of course. The windowsill planter.

Photo from Design*Sponge

Photo from Design*Sponge

One thing is for sure. You can find old wooden boxes anywhere. Thrift stores, flea markets, swap meets, your house. The issue I have is that I get old wooden boxes like this to hold all my pens. Then I decide I want my pens in a little pack I can bring everywhere with me. As a writer, I have to have my pens with me. Even in this digital age, I still get a kick from writing things down when I think of them. So, the boxes end up sitting in my closet until they have a purpose. And now, they have one! This would be good for your windowsill, and will actually be a cute gift for your favorite people, too. Check out the full tutorial on Design*Sponge.

Do you have any DIY planters to share? Did you complete one of these projects and want to share what you did? Then do it here! Just post the link in the comments and share on your social media so we can all check it out! Use the hashtags #staythrifty or #makestuff so I can easily look up your posts!

Weekly Wishes #3

Image belongs to the Nectar Collective

Image belongs to the Nectar Collective

This is the third week I have been blogging about my Weekly Wishes – an awesome link-up started by Melyssa of The Nectar Collective – and I have to say, it has been a huge motivator. I’m holding myself accountable for my goals and challenges, and I’m figuring out why I didn’t do what I had planned to do. And it always boils down to do this…life really does get in the way. It might seem like the biggest and most widely-used cop out in the world, but it is true! Sometimes, you really don’t have enough hours in the day, and that rang true last week.

Last week’s wishes:

Business: Get together with Heather to go over her Press Release (very exciting stuff!

Creative: Restore the three-tiered basket I recently purchased at the Lodi Street Faire and finish my chalkboard tray to use as a prop for my photos.

Fitness: 15 minute workout along with a 15 minute yoga session in every day

Home: Switch out the garden – work on moving all of the old stuff out, cleaning up the garden area, and starting planting new veggies

I did get my business wishes completed last week. I got the Press Release from Heather so I can start promoting her work more, and I found a bunch of new author communities for her to join. She’s going to look through all of them and pick one for now. She’s also looking at independent bookstores in San Diego where she can do a reading and sign some books – so I’m excited to see what happens there! We also have some Book Reviews I need to check on and share!

As for my creative wish – I got the tray done, finally! And as it turns out, it works perfect as a prop for my photos! I used to take a photo of a recipe I’m working on, and it added a really nice touch. I need to find a rust removal solution for my three-tiered basket, so if you know of any – please let me know!

DSC02617

I was not able to get much of an exercise routine in last week, so I’m going to try it again this week! My daughter is starting to get more of a sleeping schedule down, so I should be able to fit something in during her naps.

And, my garden. I’ve decided to hold off on working on it until I get some new plants in. Then I can take a day to just clean it out and put new stuff in. I need to look up what plants will do the best in this season and go from there. I’ve started making salsa and hot sauce with the peppers from my garden, and that is a big motivator to keep it going!

This week’s wishes:

Business: Start working on my logo and graphic design work for Baby Burrito Collective. I’m going to work on the website as well, but I at least want to get my branding done before I do more work on the site. My goal is to eventually learn web design and build my own website, but I’m taking it all step by step. I’ve learned what trouble I face if I try to do it all at once, so I’m trying more and more to take my time with everything. I’m going to keep a Pinterest board with all of the colors, fonts and designs I want for my site.

Creative: Start working on the three-tiered basket. I need to soak it in some rust removal solution and then I will paint it a lovely color and hang it in the pantry. I didn’t know how much I would love repurposing and upcycling old stuff to make it the way I love it, but it gives me such a rush! I also need to work on the chalk/cork board I have been wanting to fix. I have the frame, just need to make board now.

the baskets are holding the cheese grater

the baskets are holding the cheese grater

Fitness: Get a routine. I did so good for the last couple weeks, and now the weight is creepily finding it’s way back. I just need to get a routine that works for me instead of worrying about doing it for a certain amount of time, and just doing it every day. Even if it needs to be something quick, it’s better than nothing, right?

Home: Get all of my peppers and basil out of the garden before the frost hits and start canning like mad. I’m hoping to get a pressure canner, which will help a lot. I’m thinking of canning apple butter, hot sauce and pesto as part of my Christmas gifts I’m giving away. I always love getting that stuff, and I would love to do it for my family!

What are your weekly wishes? Write about them and link up to the Nectar Collective. You can also share them in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Here’s to having another lovely and productive week!

 

Yo Momma Monday: Gretchen Fleener

Image belongs to Gretchen Fleener

Image belongs to Gretchen Fleener

Meet Gretchen Fleener, 34, from Mound, Minnesota. She is an Industrial Designer, Web Designer and face painter. She runs her own business, Junk Mail Gems, where she sells fun items that she makes out of junk mail. She is also an awesome momma to her two sons, who are three and five. Gretchen took time out of her busy schedule to talk to me about how she manages everything, and what she wants her sons to learn from her business.

Gretchen got into junk mail art when she was making magnets from junk mail to preserve patterns that she liked in a functional way. She heard over and over again that she could sell her magnets, but it wasn’t until her sister urged her to start selling online. And that is where Junk Mail Gems was born, six years ago.

“She and I came up with the Junk Mail Gems name because the magnets looked like little gems.  I had a lot of fun designing the logo, then website, and coming up with more things to make out of junk mail to fill my store!”

Although  it may not be for everyone, Gretchen says that being the boss is the best part of running her own business. She loves that she can work when it fits in her life, rather than having to wait for work to be over to enjoy life. A life-long multitasker, she can be found packing items during a commercial break.

As for most small business owners, finances are a worry of hers. Fortunately, she has an incredibly supportive husband whose stable job covers the important bills, allowing her to work from home. He fits her business schedule into his and will come home early to watch the boys if she needs to go to a face painting job or a client meeting.

“He never talks down about my businesses or makes me feel less important because I don’t work 9-5 in an office anymore.”

Before she had her sons, doing anything creative or artistic gave her the most fulfillment. Now, she gets the most fulfillment from using her artistic skills (and revenue earned through them) on her boys.

Image belongs to Gretchen Fleener

Image belongs to Gretchen Fleener

“My kids blow my mind with the things they create already at age 3 and 5 and it’s so cool to see that part of me in them.”

As you might imagine, her boys love crafting with her, and her five-year-old has even caught the bug for turning junk into something he can use and play with! To help cultivate her boys’ creativity, Gretchen labeled a Rubbermaid bin “the project box” and throws odds and ends that the boys can use for their crafts. She also keeps all the kid-friendly crafting supplies at their level so they can create on their own.

“I love coming up with projects to do with them, but my favorite thing is to let them loose and see what they come up with on their own. One of my 5 year old’s most used Christmas gifts is his collection of brightly colored masking tape rolls that my sister gave him.  He is constantly rescuing things form our recycle bin and turning them into things…rocket ships, monster trucks, and houses for his stuffed dogs!”

Not only do her boys love crafting with her, they also love going to yard sales and thrift stores, too! Gretchen says that she talks to them about not wasting things or money, which has also taught them to be patient when they find brand new toys in a store, as they will probably end up at a yard sale or thrift store in a matter of time.

Much like her children, Gretchen loved going to yard sales as a kid and quickly became a big collector. Her collection is now limited to what she can use to decorate her house, and what her family can actually use. I feel your pain, girl. Her vintage finds came in handy last year when she redesigned her kitchen and decorated it with her scores from the 50’s. After facing the normal collector problem of acquiring more than she could use, she set up an Etsy shop.

“This gives me the thrill of the hunt, without the worry of collecting too much.  I love to imagine people looking through my site and getting as excited about finding the perfect thing for their kitchen as I do for mine!”

Gretchen says that she finds inspiration from everywhere – like an oil slick on the street or an old brick building. She also finds inspiration from surrounding herself by other creative people.

Image belongs to Gretchen Fleener

Image belongs to Gretchen Fleener

“I take TONS of photos and am always collecting inspiration for art, graphic, design or craft projects!”

As an Industrial Designer, Gretchen likes to stay current and is always looking into current and future trends. However, when it comes to her personal style, her love for the ’50s does not stop at kitchen utensils. She also leads a life that is deemed old-fashioned by many people today.

“..Staying home with my kids, canning stuff from my garden, baking cookies, making things by hand and cooking a family dinner each night!”

While Gretchen has always considered herself a motivated person, she says that she is now motivated by different things – like getting her work done early so she can spend more time with her family.

“I know that if I get overtired or overworked, I won’t be as good of a parent or spouse, and my family come first.  So in a way, getting in a little “me” time or letting the laundry sit there one more day  can be better for the family and everyone’s mood!  “

Gretchen credits her ability to get everything done to multitasking and creating lists, just like she used to make fun of her mom for doing years ago. Along with that, she stays super organized, and will rework how shes does something if she feels she’s not doing it efficiently enough – often finding a tool or an app that will help.

“But the one thing I don’t compromise on is sleep.  I just can’t function well on any less than 8 hours a night, and when I get enough sleep, being super productive comes much easier during the day!”

Image belongs to Gretchen Fleener

Image belongs to Gretchen Fleener

Although Gretchen says that she doesn’t really feel like her work is “work,” she does like to get outside and go fishing, biking and gardening. Living on a lake doesn’t hurt, either. She also likes to paint and work on something creative that is related to her businesses. One craft that she would like to practice more is knitting.

“I’ve done a little, but I love to crochet and really like how much faster it goes!  I’d love to learn how to make my own soaps or candles.  And I’d really love to learn Henna.  It seems right up my alley and would be a great addition to my face painting offerings!”

Gretchen also runs as a series of “Momtreprenuer” Interviews on her blog, as she says that she is always encouraged by hearing how other moms run their businesses and homes.

“So, I thought others might enjoy them too!  It’s also one small way that I can help support fellow moms by spreading the word about their businesses.”

She hopes that her Junk Mail Gems business gives people a new way to look at “junk.” She shares tutorials on her site for various recycling projects, so that people can get new ideas for their own projects.

“I hope to inspire them to find a way to do what they love and maybe even make a little money doing it!  I am always so happy to hear from people who were inspired to try a project I’ve shared too.”

Since Gretchen’s sons will be in school full-time pretty soon, she plans on adding more jobs to her line of work (as if she doesn’t have enough already) like freelance retail fixture design and body painting. She also wants to expand the merchandise section of her online face painting store and seek out more retailers for Junk Mail Gems.

“Right now I have no desire to go back to the corporate gig, but have a huge list of things I’d like to do to grow all of my businesses”

Image belongs to Gretchen Fleener

Image belongs to Gretchen Fleener

If you are feeling inspired by Gretchen like I am, you can connect with her through Junk Mail Gems and ID Mommy and can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest. If you know someone who would be a good fit for Yo Momma Monday (your beautiful self included), post in the comments and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Find more Yo Momma Monday inspiration on my Pinterest!

Thrifty Thursdays

thrifty thursdays

Since becoming a mom, I can definitely say that my idea of a good time has tremendously changed. While I still do like going out with my friends, it’s usually to thrift store or yard sale instead of the bar. The only shows I go to anymore have the word “antique” in front of them. Don’t get me wrong – if Atmosphere comes to town, I’ll be there in a jiff. But that’s very rare. I like craft fairs and street fairs over house parties, and I want to go to the Sacramento Antique Faire for my birthday rather than 2nd Saturday.

In the last few weeks, I have been lucky enough to go on many a thrifting adventure. It all started with the estate sale/yard sale/ antique store adventure on the “Mom Day Out” I had with my friend a few weeks ago. That’s right, we had a few hours all to us, and we spent them going thrifting. That’s how we roll. Then there was the Lodi Street Faire (aka…crack for crafters) and last weekend was the Stockton Swap Meet. This was all topped off by the Galt Flea Market just a couple days ago.

Side note – taking your baby for a stroll through anything like that is amazing. They love being strolled around outside while you get your thrift on! And, the undercarriage of most strollers can double as storage for your smaller items! Someone without a stroller can push around a cart for bigger items.

I also recommend taking out a specific amount of cash and leaving your cards at home or in the car. Somewhere that is not easily accessible – by you, or anyone else for that matter. You can usually talk the sellers down a little since they generally overprice for that reason. And if you can’t, maybe it just wasn’t meant for you that day.

Luckily for me, I can only afford $20 or less per adventure, so there is no way for me to overspend. I wanted to share with you some of what I got. Now, this isn’t everything. A lot of my stuff is being used for projects, but this will give you an idea.

thrifty finds

1. Cheese graters – I think my collection is up to ten right now. You can buy vintage cheese graters like these online for anywhere from $5-15 each. Or you can buy them at a swap meet/flea market/yard sale for $1-2 each. I have only found a couple at thrift stores, but when I do, they are pretty cheap. I’m going to share a tutorial for turning them into earring holders soon.

2. Suitcase – I got this vintage suitcase and another one at the estate sale for $5 each. You can find these suitcases pretty much anywhere – you just need to be cautious that some of them can be pricy. Bring your cell phone and research each suitcase if you can to find the worth.

3. Records – This pile is from my sweep. A few were gifted, but most of them were purchased at the swap meet and street faire. You can find records everywhere. Again, some will be more expensive and others will be cheap. It all depends on the artist and the condition. I will be sharing a tutorial on how to upcycle records into all kinds of things soon. Before you begin crafting with records, check the worth. I don’t craft with any records that could mean something to someone. Always check that first. I also play my records when I’m crafting, so I have a “keep” “sale” and “project” pile.

4. Apron – Got this for $1 at the flea market. Planning on tie-dying it but I’m not sure what I’m doing with it just yet. Whatever I plan to do, I will be sharing it with you for sure.

5. Oil cans – I got these as a package with 7 records, all for $8. I really want to learn how to make vegan candles (I’m not for messing with animal or human fat) and I thought these would be perfect inspiration/motivation for doing that. I want to use these as candle holders.

6. Loteria cards – I got these at the flea market for $3. I definitely could have bartered for them, but I have been wanting them for a while and haven’t been able to find a used set. The sets sell online for anywhere from $5-20, so I did get a deal. There are so many projects I can do with these, and I also want to teach my daughter how to play with these, along with other card games. I think it’s good for her to embrace all of her heritage (Mexican/Italian/Irish/etc.)

7. Three-tiered fruit baskets – I got this set for $10. Again, probably could have bartered a little. Apparently I’m not the best at that. I’m planning on cleaning them and restoring them a little. Then, I will use them as bread and snack baskets in the pantry. Our landlord (aka my boyfriend’s dad) isn’t so hot about me hanging anything from the ceiling in the kitchen so to the pantry they go! Still looking for a three-tiered fruit basket that stands on the kitchen table. If you know of any that are handmade or vintage/thrifted, let me know!

So, everything in this suitcase (suitcase included) cost me less than $40. And they are all things that I’m going to either use on the daily, restore or use for projects. What are some of your favorite thrifty finds? Share in the comments and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest with the hashtag #thriftyfinds. Who knows – your thrifty find could show up on my blog, with your permission of course. Stay thrifty, my friends!

Thrifty Thursdays

thrifty thursdays

I love books. Big, old books that have that  old book smell to them. Any time I’m at a flea market, swap meet, thrift store or yard sale, I always go for the books. Not just any ol paperback, but the old books, with the hard covers. I always image a million things I can do with them, but they usually end up on the bookshelf, rarely touched. In fact, the only hard cover books I read are generally cookbooks. I was cruising Pinterest the other day, and found some pretty neat crafts you can do to reuse books, and I thought I would share!

The first three I found through Saved by Love Creations. She shared over 50 different tutorials, and I picked a few of my favorite. Her site is also a really good resource if you want to find creative ways to reuse discarded items.

Photo belongs to The Gilded Bee

Photo belongs to The Gilded Bee

Vintage book cover postcards from The Gilded Bee – Sasha used old book covers to create postcards and shared her process on her blog. As a crafter and collector, she also has an Etsy shop where she sells floral arrangements made out of paper. How neat!

Image belongs to Hello, ReFabulous

Image belongs to Hello, ReFabulous

Make your own paperback wallet from Hello, ReFabulous – I got this tutorial from another awesome site, Craftster. Since Craftster is a wonderful crafting community, it’s always good to click on the contributor’s website link. More likely than not, that person will share other awesome tutorials, and it’s good to see the crafter behind the craft! Don’t you think? I digress. Connie shares a step-by-step tutorial on her blog, complete with photos of her process. As a mother of nine, I have no idea how she has time to craft since I can barely find time with one baby, but I’m grateful that she does!

Image belongs to Ruffles and Stuff

Image belongs to Ruffles and Stuff

Book Art from Ruffles and Stuff – Disney (the creator of the blog and tutorial, not the cartoon giant) got her inspiration for this project from an Etsy store, Collage-O-Rama, and decided to make her own book art. We all see items we love on Etsy, but when you are strapped for cash, sometimes you just need to make your own. Collage-O-Rama is definitely worth checking out. So much rad stuff on there! Ruffles and Stuff is also good to check out, even if you don’t want to make book art. She has so many tutorials, they have categories: Ladies, Kids and Home.

Image belongs to Design*Sponge

Image belongs to Design*Sponge

Book Page Fabric from Design*Sponge – Everyone knows how much I love this site. This happens to be just one of the very, very many tutorials that Contributor Brenna from paper & ink shares with us. You can visit her page for more awesome tutorials, and if you are into paper crafting, some very beautiful eye candy.

Image belongs to Rook No. 17

Image belongs to Rook No. 17

Upcycled Book Journal from Rook. No. 17 – Jenn not only shares a step-by-step tutorial, including the amount of time it will take (which is good when time is always of the essence), but also the specific names of all the tools she uses. She spent about $5.50 per journal, which is awesome. This would be the perfect way to jot down all of my creative/crafty ideas and document my creative business journey. Wonderful!

I hope this inspires you to either make something from your vintage hard-cover books, or to go out and get some books and get to work! If you happen to find first-edition books, always make sure to check online for the worth. A collector may love you forever if you post the book online for them to purchase. And if you do go for cookbooks, make sure you don’t want the recipes, or jot them down to save somewhere!

Have a fun book craft idea you want to share? Post in the comments and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #bookcrafts. You can always get more thrifty inspiration on my Pinterest! Stay thrifty, my friends.