Thrifty Thursdays: A thrifty project

When we moved into our house, we upgraded Cecilia’s toy chest from a cardboard diaper box to a plastic tub. Since then, I have been pining for a wood toy chest for her, but felt defeated when every chest I liked was over $100. I didn’t want one that had a theme or was gender-specific, so that it could be used for many years and could be shared by our children.

The older toy chests were more expensive (obviously) and didn’t have the safety features they do now. Apparently that was the era of trial-and-error. So you can imagine my excitement when I found a toy chest for $22 at R 2nd Chance, a local thrift store, a few weeks ago. Since I donated a box of items, I got it for 30% off so I ended up getting it for only $16. Booyah! It has a soft close, and space so it won’t smash little baby fingers.

chestI took that bad boy home, cleaned it, sanded it and painted it. And then painted it again. And again. The best part is that the top is flat, so I decided to make that into a chalk board that she could create on. However, the chalk paint seeped through the painters tape a few times. Since I used spray paint on the rest of the toy chest, I would have to spray paint the parts that got the chalk paint on it and then that would get on the chalkboard, so I would have to repaint with chalk paint.

IMG_2753 photo 2 copyIt was a vicious cycle that I went through a few times until I came to terms that there would be little spills of chalk paint, and I’m hoping I can get that same color of spray paint in a little container of paint to touch up those spots. In the end, it will be in a toddler’s room and will probably get ruined after a couple days of use, anyway.

After everything, the toy chest cost was $16 plus about $10 in materials and about 6-8 hrs in labor. Next time, I would maybe use a different brush and less chalk paint on the edges so it won’t seep. Well worth the time in order to save $80-100. Plus, it’s way more special. I hope.

photo 3Have a fun thrifty project to share? Did you do this project and want to share photos? Post in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, InstagramGoogle + and Pinterest!

Stay thrifty, my friends.

Yo Momma Monday: Stefanie Schiada

yo momma monday

Stefanie Schiada, 36, is a home design blogger who started the very popular Brooklyn Limestone in the midst of her recent home renovation. She is a world traveler who calls Brooklyn, NY her home and she is mama to a beautiful one-year-old named Agatha Grace.

Stefanie started Brooklyn Limestone to document the renovation of her 100-year-old limestone in – you guessed it – Brooklyn. Now, her blog includes entertaining, design, travel and decor. Since Stefanie does not receive her primary income from her blog or graphic design site (she works in finance), she keeps the blogging to the weekends.

Stefanie admits that she never wanted to add a personal side to her blog. She was simply going to document her renovation, post some photos and hopefully make a photo book out of it when she was done. Two years later, she finally showed her “mug” and more personal details about her and her family.

Stefanie and Agatha at Agatha's first birthday! Photo taken by Stefanie's brother.

Stefanie and Agatha at Agatha’s first birthday! Photo by Stefanie’s brother.

Before she moved into this house, she and her husband lived in a much smaller house and did room-by-room renovations. Now, she “just takes a lot more photos.” Stefanie says she has been interested in the DIY process for as long as she can remember.

“I think I’ve always been a little on the cheap side which definitely makes me ask the question “can I do this myself?” and “can I do it better?”.”

Stefanie says she gets her inspiration from all the places she visits, and trips to the home improvement store can also get her creative juices flowing. “Sometimes a pile of wood can really spark the imagination.” She also searches for items that she knows she won’t tire of quickly.

Just a little snippet of the renovation that was done. Clearly, she doesn't mess around! Photo taken by Stefanie Schiada

Just a little snippet of the renovation that was done. Clearly, she doesn’t mess around! Photo by Stefanie Schiada

“While I always seem to have one project or another going, I don’t really want to have to change things out unless I’m in the mood.”

The experience Stefanie has with being a tourist – mixed with her knowledge and love of her city – has led her to create a downloadable one-day tourist guide for people who are visiting Brooklyn. Now, this was back in 2009 so I’m sure some stuff has changed, but it’s definitely worth checking out if you are going to be visiting.

In fact, she loves her city so much that she had a hard time picking just one thing that she loves the most about it.

The beautiful house when the decorated it for the holidays. So magical!

The beautiful house when the decorated it for the holidays. So magical! Photo by Stefanie Schiada

“If I had to pick a favorite its having the variety of choice here in eating and shopping.”

And in all of her travels, Stefanie says that her safari in Africa stands out from the rest, and says it’s hard to compare it to any other destination. Stefanie has even taken on the daunting task of traveling with her daughter – something I have yet to do.

“I’m a pessimist so the reality is much easier than I imagined.  Obviously so much depends on the temperament of the baby and the parents but we have found that its not that different than spending time with her in a restaurant or any other public place.  The key is just to GO!”

Asam Church in Munich, Germany

Asam Church in Munich, Germany. Photo by Stefanie Schiada

As a new mom, Stefanie wrote a post titled “Things I Wish I Knew Before Bringing Home Baby,” and man, could I relate. That post hit so close to home that I felt like I wrote it, and it is actually what pushed me to contact Stefanie about the interview. If you are a new mom, or you have been one before, you should read this. Trust me, you will have yourself a good laugh.

“My advice would be to not be so hard on yourself.  I think our generation of parents put this incredible burden on ourselves about creating the absolute perfect environment for our children (breastfeeding exclusively, organic only diet, educational toys, etc.) that cutting yourself any slack at all (no matter how much you are trying!) feels like a big failure.  

I know I cried many tears on countless subjects (especially about nursing!) that seemed absolutely crucial at the time but even  with just the little time I’ve had to think about it, its just not that important in the scheme of thing.  Its hard to remind yourself you are doing your absolute best and you are allowed to enjoy it too.”

Photo from Agatha's Christening Party, which Stefanie styled. Photo by Stefanie Schiada

Photo from Agatha’s Christening Party, which Stefanie styled. Photo by Stefanie Schiada

Stefanie recently planned her daughter’s first birthday and shared her experience and photos from the party on her blog. Since it was smack-dab in the middle of winter, and they live in New York, Stefanie came up with the “Baby It’s Cold Outside” theme, and beautiful decorations that fit perfectly with the theme.

“Don’t be ashamed to go over the top!  I love parties where you can see the host put a lot of time and effort into all of the elements and didn’t take the easy way out.  As a guest, it feels like you are part of something special.”

Thank you so much Stefanie for participating in this series! You can find photos from her travels and get tips here, and you can find party ideas here.  If you are looking for home renovation and design tips, just peruse all over her blog! And don’t skip this About page – it’s where she shares a lot of her tips and answers FAQs. Want an overload of inspiration – and adorableness? Check out her Flickr!

If you enjoy this series and would like to be a part of it, or know someone who should, please leave a note in the comments or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest and Instagram. Next month, I will be talking with Karen LePage of One Girl Circus!

Thrifty Thursdays: Holiday Edition!

thrifty thursdays

There is one thing that is certain when you have a little one: you will never struggle with a gift idea for your parents again. Grandparents LOVE photos of their grandbabies just as much as they love photos of you – if not more. The good thing is that you don’t need to go to a photo studio to get expensive photos of your babes, all you need is a camera and little creativity.

Photo from love grows wild

Photo from love grows wild

These DIY Photo Clipboards from love grows wild are perfect for grandparents because they can change them as the children get older. All you need is some wood, these cute little clips and a photo, of course! You can paint the wood any color you like, or any color you think you parents will like.

Photo from This Heart of Mine

Photo from This Heart of Mine

These Transfer Image Canvases from This Heart of Mine are perfect if you have a photo of your little one with their grandparent (or whoever you are creating this gift for – even yourself!) or if there is a special moment you wanted to share. You just need a gel medium, a canvas, a large high-resolution photo that will cover the canvas, a foam brush, spray bottle and a cloth! Another awesome tutorial from one of my favorite ladies, Amy.

Photo from See Kate Sew

Photo from See Kate Sew

I love these DIY Instagram Magnets from See Kate Sew! Not only are they super cute, they are also super affordable! Use them as stocking stuffers or attach to your gifts as cute photo tags. You just need some adorable photos, adhesive magnetic paper, an x-acto knife for super precise cutting and an acrylic ruler.

Photo from The Gold Jellybean

Photo from The Gold Jellybean

These Waterless Snow Globes with Photos from The Gold Jellybean are perfect for the Holiday season! Since the season is pretty much over after Christmas, I would give it to them for Thanksgiving (obviously this would have to wait for next year) so they can have it up! Or simply turn them into photo frames and decorate them however, and gift them at Christmas! This would also be something cute to decorate your house with for the Holidays.

And what about those Christmas cards that you have been putting off?

Photo from The Paper Mama

Photo from The Paper Mama

This Christmas Card Tutorial from Flavor Pink was featured on The Paper Mama’s 50 DIY Days of Christmas. As a Photoshop newbie myself, I am always excited to see new tutorials – especially when they are for something fun and creative like this! This tutorial centers around Photoshop but I imagine you can get the same effect with most photo editing programs.

Do you have a fun DIY photo Christmas gift tutorial, or did you use one of these tutorials? Share your link in the comments and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ with the hashtags #thriftythurdays and #whatimgifting. You can find more DIY Holiday ideas on my Pinterest!

Weekly Wishes #6

Image belongs to the Nectar Collective

Image belongs to the Nectar Collective

Last week, I decided to skip the Weekly Wishes post because it felt too rushed and I was out running errands with my friend to prepare for Thanksgiving and get some Christmas shopping done. I’ve decided to make most of the presents that I can, and to shop early for what I need to get from the store. That way, I can spend time personalizing the wrapping if I wasn’t able to make the gifts by hand.

I’ve returned to Weekly Wishes this week as it really helps me organize my thoughts before I start the week, and it motivates me to get started on what I want done. It’s also a really amazing feeling to look back at the past week(s) and see what I got accomplished…or what I really need to focus on this week. I actually changed the way I was working on my business idea, taking them week by week and day by day, focusing on the tasks and giving them more attention. In turn, I am a lot more satisfied with the result.

Here’s what I wanted to accomplish two weeks ago: Work on flyer for Baby Burrito website, start chalk/cork board, get yoga routine down, work on my garden, organize craft closet and designate a workspace.

How I did: I finished the flyer for the website and it’s posted! I also updated the membership and services pages and added a testimonials page. I am so happy with the way my website works, that now I will only need to do a few tweaks here and there. I did start on the chalk/cork board and I am hoping to finish it this week. I didn’t get a yoga routine down and I sort of abandoned my garden this week, but I did get to the craft closet and workspace!

This Week’s Wishes:

Business: Baby Burrito Collective – Create a space for graphic designers and other business services to advertise their services and work. We will do a button on the sidebar but I need another space with more of their information. I’m going to look at the theme to see what I can do. Sweet Mariposa – List Kandyce’s paintings and mason jar candle holders

baby burrito flyer

Creative: Finish my cork/chalkboard. I painted the chalkboard side and cut out the corkboard and foam board to go behind it. Now, I need to attach that to the wood and then staple some fabric over the cork. After that, I’ll attach the wood to the barn window (which will act as my frame) and put the backing on it. I’m going to keep that right now to put in my workspace, but if it looks good, I might think of making more to sell!

unnamed

Fitness: Get my yoga routine down, focus on clean/healthy eating. I know the holidays will be tough to stay on track, but I need to focus on eating right and working out when I can. I just need to keep reminding myself how important this is, and force myself to do it if I have to.

Home: Turn my newly designated workspace into a Christmas wrapping station. I want to wrap one gift at a time and really focus on designing the packaging, so I need to start now so I won’t feel so rushed. I have really focused on slowing down and doing everything one step at a time, and it has been the best thing for me.

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!

Thrifty Thursdays

thrifty thursdaysFrom now until Christmas, I will be sharing some thrifty ways to make your own Christmas gifts for your family and friends. If you aren’t feeling very crafty right now, you can also find handmade shops that sell these cute little handmade gifts. You will be supporting small, handmade businesses and you won’t have to dig up all your crafting supplies that have been in your closet since you tried to make all your Christmas gifts last year! I will be making or purchasing each of these gifts for my peeps (depending on time and willingness to craft)…so I fully support all of them!

Photo from Scarves Dot Net

Photo from Scarves Dot Net

How to Make a Camera Strap from a Scarf from Scarves Dot Net – Remember when I wrote about the most awesome and amazing Stacie Grissom for my Meet the Maker series? Well, she shared this awesome tutorial on Scarves Dot Net. All you need is a silk scarf  (you can find one at a secondhand store for cheap), some leather ( or pleather, whatever you want for the accent), key rings and some basic sewing skills. Don’t have the time and/or patience to make one? Check out the cute scarf camera straps at Paisley Maze for under $20!

Photo from Mary Highstreet

Photo from Mary Highstreet

Breyer Horse Bookend from Mary Highstreet – There is not a full tutorial listed on this site, but from the looks of it, she got some reclaimed wood bookends and cut the breyer horse in half to attach to the wood. You can find bookends at any thrift store, or you can find some scrap wood and connect them to make your bookends. Breyer horse toys can also be found at thrift stores, or for cheap at a craft store. If you don’t like the color of the horse (or wood, for that matter)…get creative and paint them! You can also find a whole mess of bookends (and not just horse ones) for $20 at Parchment and Pallet on Etsy.

Photo from belle appetit

Photo from belle appetit

DIY coffee mugs from belle appetit – This is an easy craft that can be done a million ways, for a million different people. You just need a mug (preferably a solid color one…you can find these at a thrift store, too), a sharpie and an oven. You can also get personalized coffee mugs for $8 each at Monroe Mom of 2 on Etsy…which would make it less than $20 for two!

And here is the perfect match for your handmade mugs!

Photo from A Beautiful Mess

Photo from A Beautiful Mess

Win a Numi Tea Blending Kit from A Beautiful Mess – Emma and Elsie, the lovely ladies from A Beautiful Mess, teamed up with Numi, an organic tea company, to offer a free Numi Tea Blending Kit to 10 lucky winners! The Giveaway is open until Nov 29 and you just need to click on the above photo or the A Beautiful Mess link to enter!

If you have any awesome DIY Christmas gifts, or if you happen to sell any of the above-mentioned gifts…please let me know. I would be happy to share! You can either post in the comments or find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. I am also looking for small/handmade businesses that are offering a sale on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday or all of the above! If you are having one, or if you know of a shop that is, let me know so I can feature you or your favorite shop!

Stay thrifty, my friends.

Thrifty Thursdays

thrifty thursdays

I have always had an affinity for old, beat-up mens belts. Back before Ed Hardy was let loose into the world of belt design. Before “No Fear,” before flames showed up on everything, and even though I love a good frothy beverage, before belts could open beer bottles. There is just something about that simple and clean design that sticks out in my head. The more beat up, the better.

But like everything in life, you eventually outgrow your belts. You start having babies, and the men start gaining “sympathy weight.” You start poking new holes that go further and further out and and before you know it, your favorite belt ends up in a pile you never thought it would see – the donate pile.

Before you go tossing that belt all willy nilly, here are a couple projects that could bring new life to your old belt. If you happen to have (or find) a belt with a rockin’ imprinted design, or an old school big belt buckle – even better.

Image belongs to Design*Sponge

Image belongs to Design*Sponge

Recycled Leather and Wood Shelf from Design*Sponge – Kate Pruitt is the Senior Editor at Design*Sponge and has completed over 100 projects for that site. Damn, girl. She used two different belts for this project, both of which she got at a thrift store. Kate brought up a valid point – belts can be rather overpriced, so keep looking if you can’t find one for a good price. Also check out swap meets and yard sales – they may be a little cheaper, and if not, you can talk them down. She ended up finding both belts for under $10, which means that she spent less than $15 on the whole project. You can find out more by clicking on the photo or Design*Sponge link above. You can also find more of Kate Pruitt’s projects here.

Image  belongs to Poppytalk

Image belongs to Poppytalk

Hanging belt vessel from Poppytalk – If you have ever tried reusing glass bottles and it has taken you beyond forever to get that label off, and you start thinking that maybe it would look fine if the label just stayed on. People would get the concept of a flower vase that is completely covered by an olive oil label, right? Well, Jan shared an alternative – peanut butter! It’s delicious and serves multiple purposes! You can get the entire tutorial, along with beautiful photos, and a whole lot more by clicking on the photo or the Poppytalk link above.

Image belongs to House of Earnest

Image belongs to House of Earnest

Leather Belt Curtain Ties from House of Earnest – Along with the Poppytalk tutorial, I got this tutorial from a roundup at BrightNest. Erin’s blog is full of crafty yet classy projects like this, and her photos are both beautiful and informative. She also has a Home Decor section – where she shares home tours, sweet products and interior design ideas and inspiration. If you are looking to beautify your house without a spending a whole lot of money, you should go check her out.

And for an added thrifty bonus: APPLE BUTTER! I am lucky enough to live relatively close to Apple Hill – an amazing place in Placerville, CA that holds a craft fair, a pumpkin patch, and you guessed it – all things apple. While I was there, I sipped on apple wine while eating an apple doughnut. It was amazing. I came really close to purchasing apple butter – until I saw that it was almost $10 for a little jar. DAMN. Now, I’m all about supporting homemade, handmade and small businesses, but sometimes a girl just can’t do it. So I decided I would make my own. Here’s an awesome recipe I found:

Image belongs to My Baking Addiction

Image belongs to My Baking Addiction

Homemade Apple Butter from My Baking Addiction – Jamie made this recipe in her crock pot, and I just saw another apple recipe she slow cooked – applesauce! I would have to say that I’m not a huge fan about eating apples a la mode. Not sure why, but I usually always have to pair them with peanut butter. We just got some apples fresh from Washington so I would really like to use them up! I think these recipes are both in order.  She also shares baking fundamentals and tips on her blog, so I see her site becoming a good resource for me.

If you have any belt projects you would like to share, or you completed one of these projects, post in the comments and share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest with the hashtag #thriftythursdays. If there is a project you would like to see in the future, please let me know. I hope that this series shows you that there are many things you can do with discarded items that don’t take a whole lot of money. Stay thrifty, my friends.