Happy 2012!

Welcome, won't you stay a while? There's so much to do, and we hope to share it all with you this year. Design, crafts, frugal living... You'll find this and more at Design-Aholic!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Taming the Ribbon-y Mess

A while ago, a remembered seeing someone organize their ribbon by wrapping it around cardboard sheets.  I needed to uh, tame the ribbons I had.  I love ribbon, but even though I don't have that much, it seems to take up way more room than it should!  And considering I just added 13 new styles that I nabbed at the dollar store (to make baby ribbon/tag blankets!) I definitely needed to contain it.

Isn't it pretty:

Since I was doing tons of ordering online of necessities while I was on maternity leave, we had a garage full of cardboard!  (By the way, if you're looking for awesome diaper deals, check out  Seriously, I'm getting super sweet prices with Subscribe & Save.  Ok, back to regularly scheduled programming)

I cut the squares so they would fit nicely in the basket(s) I already had.  Then, I started unwinding, and re-winding from the spools to the cardboard cards.

So, we went from this:

To this:

Yay for quick, and pretty organization.  Love it.  Oh, and I'll show you those ribbon/tag blankets soon!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Frugal Finds

There seems to be some that swear by couponing, and some that couldn't be bothered by it.  I have found lately, as I did when we first had to pay a mortgage, that using coupons and being smart about purchases can really save you a lot.

While on Maternity leave, I signed up to follow a few blogs related to living well, but frugally, and it really became a game for me.  I did things like signing up for the Target card, to automatically save 5%.  I bought things in bulk, directly from and got free shipping (like toilet paper, and diapers).  I even started searching for and using coupons.  It's really quite amazing how much you can save doing these things.

I wanted to share my finds from this week.  I was able to save myself more than I spent, and everything I purchased, I needed.  Yes, I had saved my coupons for a while, and yes, I had watched for sales on most of the items (a few I got lucky on) but when you start paying attention, it can become second nature.

Here's what I got, all for $44, Retail was around $100:

I went to three stores.  Target, BedBath&Beyond, and Kohls.

  • Olay Face Wash (2)                 $4.49 & $2.49        (Retail $4.99/ea)
    • (On sale for $4.49/ea plus a $2 off coupon for one)
  • Olay Body Wash (2)                FREE                     (Retail $5.84/ea)                        
    • (I had 2 buy 1 get 1 free coupons for Olay- I bought the face wash, and got two large body wash bottles FREE)
  • Tide HE Detergent                  $10                         (Retail $12.79)                            
    • (On sale for $11, had a $1 off coupon)
  • Tide Stain Release                   FREE                    (Retail 4.49)                        
    • (I had a buy 1 get 1 free coupon for this item, when you purchase detergent)
  • Dawn dish soap w/Olay           $3                          (Retail $4.79)    
    • (On sale for $4, had a $1 off coupon)
TOTAL @ TARGET: $19.95 ($21, less 5% discount was $19.95, Retail was $43.73, a 55% discount)

  • 3-pack Carters bibs (2)            $5                           (Retail $17/ea)
    • (I had a $10 off a $20 purchase coupon, plus the bibs were on sale for $9.99
  •  Christmas Snowglobe            $0.41                       (Retail $4.99)
    • Because my coupon was $10 off $20, and the two bib sets were $9.99/ea, they rang up slightly lower than $20 (by $0.02) so I found a Christmas ornament for $0.49, and they discounted that 15%, so it was $0.41.  Lucky me, it actually was personalized already with baby boy's name!)
TOTAL @ KOHLS: ~$10 (Retail was $38.99, a 75% discount)

  • Kitchen Dish brush set            $2.40                     (Retail $2.99)
  • Luna Bars (10)                        $7.90                     (Retail $0.99/ea or $9.99)
  • Johnson's baby wash               $4.39                     (Retail $5.49)
TOTAL @ BedBath&Beyond: $14.69 (Retail was $18.47, a 20% discount)

So, I saved $55, and spent just under $45.  The retail value of these items, even at discounted prices was $100.  
I bought a new shelf for our garage to organize my extras, and so that I can quickly see what we're out of.

What's your feeling on sales?  Do you stock up on items?  What's been your best bargain to date?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

With a forecast like that...

Can I briefly share AGAIN why we got hardwood floors and Stainmaster carpet?

Take a look at this:

 And these guys:

And this (nope still haven't redone the backyard)

All of that adds up to THIS, constantly: MUDDY PAW PRINTS.

The black dog comes barreling around corners, and gets her muddy feet up on the baseboards, and the walls!  How the hell?

...I'm constantly sweeping.  However, there's some satisfaction knowing that it's not going into carpet and hiding.  At least it's easy to clean off!

So, of course, I'm in love with my Shark Steam Mop (that I got on clearance at Target!  Woop!)

All of this, to make it a better place for him:

So yes, I love the Rain, and therefore I love my hardwood floors.  The end.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Update to the no cost makeover

Wow, nearly 2.5 months since my last post.  That's a record.  I miss you all!

I did end up doing my little "no cost" make-over, but it was slightly modified in terms of the "no cost" part.

In order to get the blue, tan, white & black color scheme I talked about in my post, I ended up buying some fabrics to make the toss pillows that pulled the design together.  So, I'll count that cost.  The rest, I just moved the furniture around like I figured I would, but still haven't bitten the bullet and painted that ladder shelf. (Going from white to black, to really pull the theme together.)

So, the fabrics I purchased were super inexpensive- one was $5.99/yd, the other two were 2.99/yd.  I purchased 1.5 yards of the black and white damask, and 1 yard each of the trellis and circle damask.  Also, I had found a white fabric shower curtain on clearance for $2.50 at Target, so I used that also to make two solid white pillows.  I still have enough of the trellis fabric to make another pillow, so even though the fabric total was around $16, I didn't use it all!

Also, the mirror above the fireplace was purchased in 2010 (Just before Christmas) so it doesn't count in my 2011 project cost tally (but for score keeping purposes, it's a huge round, chunky mirror, exactly like I wanted, and it was $45.)

So, I moved the couches, moved the ladder shelf, put in another table and my Louis XVI chair, moved the sofa table, and added in a small cabinet (yet to be painted) with a lamp.  We got a new TV stand (also in 2010), and have the glider from 2010.  (Love the glider, but it's hard to decorate around!)

Stay Tuned!  I've got a lot of posts coming up soon- even though I haven't been posting much, I've been taking photos of everything I'm doing.  It's been a busy place around here, and is just about to get busier!

PS: Baby C is growing like a weed!  Here's a sneak peak at his weekly pictures.  YES!  I'm still taking a new photo EACH week!

Week 1:

Week 10:

Week 20:

Friday, January 7, 2011

A little no-cost makeover

Anyone else out there relieved to pack away the holidays?  The house always looks so large once the tree is down, and the holiday decor is safely packed away and out of sight for another year.  However, the large space always leaves me feeling the urge for a change, and a fresh room.  It'd be easy, given all the money in the world, to plan out a fresh new space.  The trick though is to try a no cost makeover.

Our room has pretty good bones.  The couches are neutral, there's a brick fireplace, white slatted blinds, hardwood floors, etc.  I couldn't picture the room pulled together though (for our no-cost makeover) until the other day that I sat on the opposite couch in the room and it came to me.

Our makeover will be based on this color scheme:

So, the execution plan will consist of the following:

Paint ladder shelf black (I showed you this shelf before here)
Recover couch throw pillows in white fabric (I've done that once before, here)
Add series of four Black and White NY City prints to the room (from the office, that's not being used)
Reorganize picture frame ledges (see them before, here)
Add white cylinder lamp shade to current lamp, plus add another lamp (this room is dark at night!)
Re-arrange furniture

Here's the room now (right after Christmas decor was removed).  

NOTE: This is not for the faint of heart... I'm not proud, and I wouldn't consider this room pulled or put together in any way... ok, disclaimer over, now you can see the photos.  :)

How on earth do you decorate/stage a fireplace like this?!

The tree (9ft this year!) was in that back corner

Anywho, I hope to work on this room this weekend.  Our adorable baby boy though is so cute, that I just love hanging with him, so I'm not sure how much I'll get done!

Just thought I'd share.  Now, to get this done, and be excited over our room again!

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