Category Archives: Diy

Mess Free Painting For Your Baby

mess free painting, activities to do with baby, 9 month baby activities

When our little man was sick not too long ago we spent a lot of quality time together. By the second day we were both going crazy from boredom. He was so use to be at his sitter’s house with other little kids and I was use to not being with him 24 hours a day. So we needed a plan. A distraction. I saw on Pinterest an image… and that’s all I needed. It’s title had me from the first glance “Mess Free Painting”  I was like the heavens opened up.  We had a painting party right in the middle of the kitchen floor.

It only lasted about 20 minutes, but it was enough distraction I needed to have my lunch finish cooking and him to pass enough time to eat again.

I found some construction paper in a closet, who knows how old it is, but it was there. I cut it into smaller pieces and put some old craft paint on it. Now here’s how you tell how old your craft paints are. When you open them and nothing but a clear liquid comes out then it may be time to toss them. Or when you shake them and only hear chunks moving around then it’s time to give in the towel and move on. So after a few tries we finally found three colors that were still good. White, yellow and teal. Not the best choices, but he’s 9 months old so it’s not like really cares. Then the construction paper choices weren’t any better either, red and blue. Oh well! We’re not going to be winning any awards today.

mess free painting, activities to do with baby, 9 month baby activities

mess free painting, activities to do with baby, 9 month baby activities

mess free painting, activities to do with baby, 9 month baby activities

So I put dots of paint on the paper and slid them into a gallon-size baggie. Sealed it up and laid them in front of our little man. He went to town. Smashing them, picking them up, throwing them and then trying to eat them. At that point I knew it was over.  Here’s a great tip though, that I almost found the hard way.  It’s called mess free painting because it’s all contained in the baggie.  So make sure your baggie is sealed all the way.  Also make sure your paper fits fully inside the baggie.  Mess free painting is all about being smart.  You may have to trim some paper off to fit inside your bag.  I used gallon sized bag and didn’t have to cut much off.

I took them out of the baggies and set on top of foil on our washing machine to dry. I chose foil because that’s all I had on hand. I chose the washing machine because I gave up the illusion of getting caught up on laundry earlier that day.

I had the pictures of him making his masterpieces printed. Then I sent one picture to my Mom, J’s Mom, my sister and J’s sister. I of course kept the best for myself and framed it for our wall.

This kid has skills!

mess free painting, activities to do with baby, 9 month baby activities

Then when the painting was finished, he discovered the bottom drawer which houses the plastic baggies.  And did he go to town!

DIY Valentine’s Day Printables

diy valentine's day printable, valentine's day freebie, valentine's day card, diy valentine's day card

J and I’s first Valentine’s Day was so special. We had already been dating close to a year at that point and had just gotten engaged a few weeks before. So we wanted to do something that would mean a lot, but also something that was very much ‘us.’

J knows my love of sushi and took me to one of my all-time favorite restaurants. Of course it was packed full of these lovey-dovey couples. We ordered too much food, had a few drinks and we talked for hours. It was amazing. We talked about our future and the dreams we had.

Now fast forward to our 5th Valentine’s Day together. Things have changed. No more expensive sushi dinners. It’s a night for dinner in, a sweet card, and spending time together.  It’s crazy to think about what we talked about that first Valentine’s Day.  We had no idea what our future would hold, and now here we are celebrating our little guy’s first Valentine’s Day. I know he won’t remember this holiday, but I will and that means something.

While growing up my Dad always sent my sister and I our own Valentine. When we were younger he would have our gift sent to ours school for a special delivery. It was amazing having big balloons delivered where everyone saw. I felt so much pride carrying that balloon home on the bus and walking down our street with it. I know I had a huge smile on my face.  I felt so special!

Then as my sister and I got older our Dad would have packages delivered at our sorority house, our apartments and our work. It was nice knowing that my first Valentine was my Dad. He never forgot.

Now that I have a little boy I want to do the same for him. I want to teach him what it means to love someone. That it’s important to remember those that you care about.

Being his first Valentine’s Day means I have to start off a new tradition. I don’t have to go overboard and blow my budget, but I have to take time to do something that’s just for us.

This year, I’m making a sweet picture of him on his first Valentine’s Day.  I plan on hanging it up in my office as a sweet reminder.  

Okay, Okay, I know this isn’t really a gift for him….. but it’s a memory I can give to him when he’s older.

However, I wanted him to have something to give out so I created two DIY Valentine’s Day printables.  

diy valentine's day printable, valentine's day freebie, valentine's day card, diy valentine's day card

If you’re little one is older or goes to daycare then this little gift will be great!  Our little guy goes to a sitter during the day.  He has made fast friends with the other kids she watches, so we wanted to do something nice for them.  I’m having a little card printed and will pair it with some candy.  It doesn’t have to be much, but it’s the thought that counts.  I got a little card-making-frenzy and made a second card to hand out to friends and family.  I’m telling you these DIY Valentine’s Day printables took me less than 10 minutes to make then I emailed them to my local print shop.  I didn’t need a lot and since they are not very big they were able to print more than one on a page.  You can have the print shop cut them or if you want to save a little bit of money, you can cut them yourselves.  I think cutting is around $1 for this few pieces.

diy valentine's day printable, valentine's day freebie, valentine's day card, diy valentine's day card

You can download the bee printable here.

I also created a second card to pass out to family.  I used canva to create both cards and it took no time at all.  I wanted to keep some space at the bottom to tape a little baggie of candy to.

diy valentine's day printable, valentine's day freebie, valentine's day card, diy valentine's day card

Download the puppy printable here.

DIY Wreath {The Perfect Christmas Present}

DIY Wreath, DIY Christmas present, how to make a wreath

Last year I DIY’d this cute wreath for my sister.  I wanted to share about how I made it and was able to stay within our Christmas budget, but I didn’t want to spoil the surprise.  So I tucked this away to share this Christmas.  This gift is seriously the cutest and easiest to put together.  You can really customize it to fit the personality of who is receiving it.  My sister lives in this cute house in this sweet neighborhood.  You know the type of neighborhood where everyone waves to each other, you can easily borrow your neighbors leaf blower and you attend each others’ birthday parties.  I wanted to make her the perfect wreath that would fit her and her house.  

I headed to my local Hobby Lobby to pick everything up.  I started with just a basic wreath, it was brown and pretty boring.  Then I picked up the greenery to add some color.   

Here’s what you need for the easiest DIY wreath:

wreath base
greenery
floral wire
hot glue gun
wooden letter
spray paint
ribbon (optional)
flowers (optional)

Pretty much every piece of this wreath is optional.  You can really mix it up.  

DIY wreath

The first thing you want to do is lay the greenery over the wreath.  Then once it’s in the perfect position you can grab your wire to attach it to the wreath.  Just wrap it through the brown pieces to secure it.  I also used my hot glue gun to fill any missing spaces and to ensure the greenery would cover what I wanted to cover.  

DIY green wreath  

I wasn’t the best at taking pictures last year since I was trying to get like 5 other DIY projects done that day.  But I had a wooden B for her last name.  I took it outside and spray painted it with a color I had on hand.  It was a glossy maroon color.  Super pretty.  It took about 3 coats to get it to my liking.  Then after it was dried I glued it to the wreath.  At this point you can add more colors with any flowers or a nice big ribbon.  I used the ribbon to make it easier to hang on the door.  

DIY twig and greenery wreath

I was able to use a 40% off one item coupon so it made the whole project very affordable.  The wreath was on sale for 50% off and so was the wooden letter. The only item that was full price was the greenery.  So I purchased one using a 40% off coupon then returned later in the week to get the second piece of greenery using another 40% off coupon.  I already had the ribbon, spray paint and hot glue so that was pretty handy.  I really think this wreath made a statement and it was great to give something handcrafted to my sister.  

A DIY wreath doesn’t have to be that difficult! 

 

My Favorite Carpet Refresher for Cheap

Note: Some links in this post contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for supporting my blog!

My Favorite Carpet Refresher for Cheap

I shared a post way, way back when about a great DIY carpet cleaner. Well I’m still using it and have even developed new ways to use it to really get some fresh smelling, clean carpets at our house.

It’s no lie – three dogs do not mean you’ll have spotless carpets all the time. Especially when one of those dogs scares easily whenever a friend comes over, a car drives by or a leaf floats by the window.

I’ve developed tricks to score clean carpets.  Now with a little one here, we want to make sure our carpets are clean.  He’s months away from crawling, but we do need to do tummy time with him.  I don’t want to put him on any dirty carpets, actually I don’t even want to be walking around barefoot with dirty carpets – gross!

DIY carpet refresher

I’ve added a new carpet refresher to my DIY carpet cleaner and I just HAD to share it with you.

Before I vacuum I sprinkle my magic ingredient on the floor, well actually I go over the floor once just to get the bulk of the dog hair up. Then I add my magic ingredient…

Want to know what my favorite carpet refresher for cheap is?  It’s…

My Favorite Carpet Refresher for Cheap

Baking Soda

Yep! I sprinkle baking soda over my carpets, let it sit for about 10-15 minutes then vacuum it right up. Once that’s done I go over it with my DIY carpet cleaner in our steam cleaner.  Our carpets will be sparkling clean and smell so good by the end of it.

I’ve found that baking soda is a better carpet refresher than the store-bought brands. Plus, my fearful dog was actually allergic to the last few store brands I purchased. Poor pup would sneeze and her eyes would get all gunky for weeks afterwards. When I started using baking soda, her allergies went away.  That was a huge plus for me.  I couldn’t keep using products that were causing her problems…. that’s not a good dog mom.

I also know that with three dogs any vacuum cleaner just won’t do.  We have invested in a good pet vacuum for all of that dog hair.  I love the Hoover WindTunnel Pet Rewind Vacuum.  It works great for all of those hair nightmares.

My Favorite Carpet Refresher for Cheap

Here’s what I do, step-by-step for my DIY carpet refresher to really work:

Lightly vacuum my house to get most of the dog hair up
Sprinkle about 1 cup of baking soda on my carpets, depending on the size of your space you may need more or less
Wait 10-15 minutes, then vacuum the baking soda up
Fill my steam cleaner with my DIY carpet cleaner
Steam clean the carpets

I will say our house smells great and the carpets look wonderful.

Stain Tip:

If you have a stubborn stain then I recommend sprinkling a heavier amount of baking soda on the spot, then directly spraying white vinegar on top.

You might have done a science experiment using banking soda and vinegar in elementary school. The two ingredients will have a reaction when combined and they will bubble up. The bubbling is what you need to get the stain lifted.

Once you spray the vinegar on the baking soda, take a small brush and start scrubbing. Once you’ve scrubbed it out, simply vacuum up the remainder baking soda after it dries. Voila!  Stain is usually gone or a lot less visible.  I’ve had a few spots where I had to do this more than once to get completely gone.  But it was worth it because even the store-bought stain removers weren’t budging it.

How to Score Cheap Party Decorations

How to Score Cheap Party Decorations

Not too long ago I threw a nice little gathering at my work. You see, at the end of every tax season we like to celebrate with our clients and friends. Thanking them for another successful year.  I also throw an open house during Christmas time to wrap up the year. This past year, I switched out the Christmas theme for a surprise birthday party for my Dad (who happens to own the firm).

Outside of work, I just love throwing parties for friends.  Right now it seems like all of my close friends are having babies so I’ve been the queen of baby showers recently.  Not too mention, with me being pregnant – babies are on my mind!  A few years back I was really good at throwing wedding showers since my now pregnant or new-mom friends were getting married.  It seems like life goes in a cycle, doesn’t it?

Anyway, any excuse to throw a fun party is always welcomed around me.  I love a good theme, yummy food and a place to gather with friends and family.

Since I like to be pretty crafty, I have a tendency to make my own signs or invitations then have printed at a local print shop.  But for decorations, I like to make a splash.  Now, I try not to go overboard and I really don’t like spending a ton of money.  So I’ve found a good way to get a great impact on the cheap!

cheap party decorations

Here’s how I score cheap party decorations…

Dollar Tree.

Yep, that’s right. I shop at the local Dollar Tree for all my party supplies – for any event.  Birthday parties, anniversary parties, new year’s parties, open houses, baby showers, wedding showers, and so much more.  If you can think of a party to throw, then you can probably get your decorations at Dollar Tree.

Balloons aren’t very expensive ($1), plus they are one of the only places in town that will do same-day balloons for me. I could call a local florists, but their prices are so much higher and typically, I need to have an order placed a few days in advance.  We only need balloons for a day, so as long as the last 24 hours, I’m good!  But these balloons always ended up lasting a few days or even close to a week before they start deflating.

I also like their streamers, which they have a bunch of different colors that come in 2 rolls per pack for only $1.  I bought several different colors when we were hosting my Dad’s birthday party.

They also have table centerpieces, confetti,and wall hangings. You guessed it… everything is only $1 each.

cheap party decorations, dollar tree cheap party decorations, dollar tree

cheap party decorations, dollar tree

I also am a huge fan of their plastic plates and silverware. You can buy colored plates, glasses, napkins, silverware and guess what? Each pack is only $1.

I typically by the plastic silverware from Wal-Mart because I can get a larger count for less money, but the plates and napkins are hard to beat.

Plus Dollar Tree has serving utensils and platters on the cheap, too! We’ve actually put ours in the dishwasher a few times and they are still holding up. But for only $1 it’s not a bad deal in case they get tossed after the party.

I’ve even used their gift bags as part of our favors.  I couldn’t find enough gift bags and the right sized bags anywhere in town for our last open house.  I was browsing Dollar Tree and there they were.  The perfect bags, the perfect amount and at the perfect price.  $1 for 12 bags was perfect.  I ended up grabbing a few packages to make all of the favors and ended up with some leftover.

I never break my party budget at the office or our personal budget when I’m hosting a party.

I am not being compensated from Dollar Tree for my opinions on their awesome party decorations.  I am just a huge fan of cheap party decorations that are easy for me to get.

DIY Dryer Balls – How to Save Money on Laundry

DIY Dryer Foil Balls, diy dryer balls

To go along with our Focus on Finances this month, I’m sharing a tip on saving money with your laundry.  This one little tip can really add up the savings!  These are the easiest DIY dryer balls you will ever see! Hands down!

This past weekend I decided to really catch up on all of our laundry.  When I say really catch-up that means run close to 6 loads in one day.  For two people that’s a lot.  Now if you have several children and they all play sports or are just kids then you may feel 6 loads is an average.  But around our house, 6 is a lot.  

DIY Foil dryer balls, save money on laundry, diy laundry balls

What can 2 people dirty up in one week that requires 6 loads of laundry?  Well… let me tell you…

I did our clothes, J’s work uniforms, sheets and towels, blankets from our bed, blankets from the couch, and rugs.  I probably could have broken up our clothes into at least 2 loads, but our new washer is the best.  We just purchased a brand new washer from Sears.  It is the first new washer I’ve ever owned.  I’ve always had hand me downs, which was great!  They were free and did the job just fine.  But now that I’ve had the taste of what a new washer is like… boy! I can’t wait to get a new dryer to match!  This new washer really holds a lot, especially compared to the little guy I had beforehand that got me all the way through college.

By the end of the day, our clothes were full of static.  It didn’t help that I had been going non-stop and the fact it was barely 30 degrees outside all day.  Whenever the temperatures drop, the static goes up in our house.  I have been researching like crazy on a way to handle all of our static electricity without adding too much to our laundry costs each month…

how to save money on laundry

Let’s be honest, when it’s 30 degrees or even when it’s 90 degrees, I am not going to hang our clothes on a line to draw.  During the summer months, we have too many mosquitoes and the last thing I want is to give them a landing ground that will end up inside.  Plus, I’ve never hung clothes on a line.  Sure, we hang our nice clothes up to dry, but not t-shirts and towels.

I think I found it… I found the solution…

Foil dryer balls.

DIY Dryer Foil Balls

I’ve seen the wool, felt balls all over Pinterest and they look great.  But let’s be honest for a minute, I am not going to take the time to make them.  It’s just going to happen.  I need a quick-fix.  Plus, I don’t have the yarn I would need to make these amazing dryer balls and I’m frugal… so I like using what I have on hand.

Enter in…

Foil dryer balls.

What?!!?

You read that right!  I am now using foil dryer balls in my dryer.  They work great!  I did some research to make sure I wouldn’t be starting a fire by putting foil in my dryer.  After reading about it, I realized that it would be safe.*  The dryer hose is foil, right?  I gave it a try and I’m in love.  

Here’s what you need for foil dryer balls:

a few sheets of foil

tennis ball (optional – see below why you may want one)

make your own dryer foil balls

If you want to just use foil, then wad one piece of foil into a ball and then wrap the other sheets over it to make it a bit bigger.  The foil dryer ball will last quite awhile so there isn’t a need to replace after every cycle.  These will really, really help with static cling.  Especially right now with the weather getting colder and the air getting dryer, I’ve noticed most of our loads of laundry are full of static electricity.  

dryer balls

Ever since I started using the foil dryer balls, our static issues have vanished.  

Why is a tennis ball optional?  Well let me tell you…

A benefit of the felt dryer balls is the weight.  The weight of the balls causes them to bounce around while the dryer is going, which helps make your clothes softer and fluffier.  So, that’s where the tennis ball comes into play.  

You can wrap a tennis boil with the foil.  Do several layers of foil.  They will hold up in the dryer and provide the weight you need to get your clothes and towels extra fluffy.

Soft and fluffy cloths aren’t really a necessity in our house.  I hang-dry most of our nice clothes and I don’t really care if our bath towels are extra fluffy or not.  But it is a great option that’s still inexpensive.

I bet you will notice a difference when you start using foil dryer balls in your dryer.  I did!
*please do your own research to make sure.  Just because it worked for me, I don’t want anyone blaming me for any mistakes.

Extra Income Journal

extra income journal, income tracker
I have a thing for budgets and paying down debt.  So it should come as no surprise that I want to keep track of any ‘extra’ income that we come across.  When I say extra I’m talking about birthday money, work bonuses, second jobs (if we get them), etc.  I’d like to know how much more money J and I can earn if we bust our butts a little.

I carry a journal with me at all times.  You never know when an idea will strike or a grocery list needs to be written down or when you’re going to need a piece of paper.  So I carry one that I got as a gift years ago.  I always have about 5 journals laying around not being used.  So I just use one until I break it or run out of paper then I swap it out for a new one.

The extra income journal is not hard to create.  Simply make a page for each month then make a column for a description of what the income is for and a second column for the net amount.  I try to be detailed in the description section.  That way I know who earned the money and where it’s coming from.  That way I know if it was a gift (we had a few Christmas gifts that we didn’t get until after the new year), bonus from work or a side job income.  Sometimes J helps around the office and the office manager pays him for his time.

extra income journal, income tracker

At the bottom I created a row for the total amount for that month.  I figured if there’s a month that I run out of room then I can just flip that page over and keep counting.  It’s going to be really nice at the end of the year to see how much extra money we actually made and how we made it.

You could probably write create a page in Excel or Word, but I like the act of writing out the amount.  It makes it more valid for me.  It’s the same idea of crossing items off the to-do list.  It’s done, it’s mine and there’s no taking it back.

extra income journal, income tracker

Do you keep track of your extra income each month?  How do you track it?

 

I’m linking up this week:

Grace and Good Eats

DIY Christmas Photo Ornament

DIY Christmas photo ornament how to

Every year the cousins exchange an inexpensive gift between each other.  This year is only our 2nd year for doing it, but it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite traditions.  The first year my gifts were okay, but not stellar.  I vowed to work hard this year and come up with a better stocking stuffer.  I came across a few ideas for a Christmas photo ornament on Pinterest and thought to myself that it was perfect.  I schemed with my mom to find a picture of my grandparents and then I scoured everyone’s facebook pages to find pictures.

I decided to do the picture of our grandparents for all the cousins and then personal pictures for their families.  As we all get older, get married and are starting to have families of our own the cousin gift exchange is getting bigger and bigger.  I have 5 cousins, 3 spouses and 2 kids to think about.  I wanted each one to mean something and be personal.  The ornaments were super easy to make once I had the perfect pictures.

Here’s what you need for the perfect DIY Christmas photo ornament:
clay or wooden ornaments (I found clay ones at Hobby Lobby for $1.47 and they were 50% off that week so they were only .73 cents each!)
mod podge
paint brush
scissors
pen
pictures

DIY Christmas photo ornament how to

First you want to trace the ornament on top of the picture to get the right size.  I would recommend tracing on the back side of the picture so you don’t accidentally get any pen marks on the image.  Then cut out the picture.

Second, dip your paint brush in the mod podge and paint over the ornament.  Make sure you pay attention to the edges.  Then place the picture on top.

DIY Christmas photo ornament how to

Finally, paint a second coat of mod podge on top of the picture to seal it.  Let it dry overnight.

DIY Christmas photo ornament how to

That’s it.  Simple, isn’t it?  I love the idea of giving something meaningful.  I even made one of J and I’s recent family picture to each grandma and my parents, too.

DIY Christmas photo ornament how to

 

Our 2014 Christmas Card

I took a different approach this year on our Christmas card.

I went a bit more personal.  Some years I send just a card with our signatures, others a letter about what we’ve been up to that year, and some years it’s just a picture of the dogs.  But this year I went a different route.  I combined everything I wanted in a card and created a masterpiece.  It’s simple, it has color, it has details, and it even has a family picture.  I mean what else could you want from a holiday card?!?  Seriously!
2014 christmas card

I designed them in Canva and then put 4 per page in Word.  Sent them to my local printer and had them printed on cardstock.  Easy-peasy!

They were the size of postcards when done and so pretty.  Now grandparents can get an updated family pictures, cousins and friends know what we’ve been up and it shows a little of our personality.

Here is the final image.


Family Christmas Cardcard

DIY Photo Table Runner / Day 3 of Feel Good Blogging Challenge

Sharing a tutorial that adds value to my readers kind of freaks me out a little.  I’m not going to lie.  I have written tutorials in the past and I love each one I’ve done.  But being asked to write one today, without warning is a little scary.

DIY PHOTO TABLE RUNNER
I’m going to share how to create a fabulous photo table runner using muslin, pictures, sheet music and paper doilies.  You see, I hosted my sister’s bridal shower in my backyard a few weeks ago.  I went all Pinterest crazy on it and create a lot of neat, personal touches for her.  She is the only sister I have and her wedding is a pretty big deal.

I found a few different versions of a personalized photo banner and decided to combine them for this event.  My sister’s favorite song is Somewhere Over the Rainbow.  Our Mom used to sing it to her before bed when she was a little girl.  I had several copies of it printed, pictures printed and purchased some paper doilies on sale at Hobby Lobby.

I asked my Mom to come over the night before so we could get it started.  I had purchased some muslin from Hobby Lobby (with a coupon – my sister would be proud!).  I had an 8 foot table and the table was 30” high.  I wanted it to hang pretty far off the table to where it was actually draping the ground.

bridal shower decor
What you need for this DIY photo table runner
:

4 ½ yards of fabric in about a 5” wide strip (if you don’t want yours to be as long as mine then you can take off some length).
50-70 pictures, all different sizes
15 pages of sheet music
15-20 paper doilies, all different sizes
hot glue gun\

Here’s how you do it:

Lay out your fabric on a table.  Start gluing your pictures, sheet music and doilies randomly.  Keep in mind the direction of the pictures.  More than likely the runner will be in the middle of the table with people sitting on both sides.  You want to try to get the pictures to be facing the correct direction so someone or words aren’t upside down.  Keep gluing until you have all of the muslin covered.  I went over the runner one more time gluing smaller pictures and doilies to add more of an interest.

DIY table runner
It’s a pretty simple DIY project that really adds some personal touches to the table.  I think overall I spent about $35 on the entire project.  I ordered the prints from Walmart.com with a coupon and had them shipped to my home for an even cheaper cost.  I would recommend doing that if you have several weeks before the party.