Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Got Blood? An Afternoon Craft

In my closet has been a T Shirt that my dad gave to me, oh let us say 2 years ago. Sure. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to make a pillow out of it. So there it sat. Until today. If you find yourself with some free time (about 30min) and the following items laying around your house, I challenge you to make one!

What you need:
-A pillow
-A T Shirt (that you WANT to cut up)
-Aileen's Tacky Glue OR Needle/Thread
-Some creativity

First off I needed a pillow- so I picked one up at Ikea (*swoon*) the other weekend for $5. The TShirt I had in mind was black with a Red/White design. I opted for the red pillow as the background (although there were also black, navy, green, and off white).
Don't mind my arm there. 

Anywho, next I needed to work out the details of cutting up the shirt.
I cut the small blood drop out of the back of the shirt. Then cut the front of the shirt off so it was easier to work with. After I got that off, I went in closer around the design, but not so close as to risk cutting into it. 
T Shirt material is a slippery/stretchy foe.
My mangled shirt.

What I learned from cutting this out was my mom's new scissors were no match for my safety scissors from elementary school. The large ones worked well enough for cutting the front of the T Shirt off but were terrible for cutting closer to the design.
See my sticker label on the green ones had my name on them!

Now that everything is cut out how I like it, it was time for some fun with tacky glue! TACKY is an understatement. Maybe its the fact that my mom has had this glue sitting in the cabinet for an eternity, or the name of it is spot on. Either way, it beat the alternative to trying to sew both pieces on by hand.

Could I do it you ask? Yes. Did I want to? No, not really.

For about 20-30min worth of work, I know own the coolest Halloween pillow ever! So thanks Dad for the shirt. :)

 This is actually my second attempt at turning an old shirt into a new pillow. I can't find pictures of the first right now. Sadface. It was much more labor intensive, as I simply cut the front and back of the t-shirt off and hand stitched them back together to form a square pillow cover for a pillow I again bought at Ikea. (It is possible I need to get a sewing machine.) Surprisingly it turned out quite nice, but alas you won't get to see it here. I, for one, am feeling accomplished for the day.

Tell me, what items have you picked up from around the house and made into something new? Or share your T-Shirt-to-pillow success stories here!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Coupon Maniac

Folks- its time we talk about something real for a minute. We have an epidemic sweeping the nation and taking control of lives- leaving us wanting more, drowning us in obsession. I'm talking about coupon-ing people!

Just last night my coworker was telling me she had to do some shopping today because her other half left her an itemized shopping list including where to go, what to get and how to get it [for free]. Then she was to come home and take a picture of all the free stuff. I can only assume the picture will surface later today on The Krazy Coupon Lady's blog. If you don't know its a blog to show you how to score some really great deals; there is also a place to brag about your sweet deals... its called the Brag Lounge. Personally, one of my biggest wins was a loaf of bread for $0.30. That's some old school prices right there. Last week I spent less than $5 at Target and got Glade, Halls, 20 photo prints and something else. That was pretty awesome as well.

Now, I know I don't have the time to plan an entire weeks worth of shopping to save 80% off my final bill, but I do what I can when I can. I clip coupons out of the paper and in the mail. I check ads for deals, I check online websites (Target, Publix...) for their coupons and ads. Plus, I'm pretty convinced that unless you are stockpiling for the end of the world or have kids, couponing may only be saying you 10-30%. Savings are savings though, especially when the gas station is the most depressing place to be right now.

Can anyone tell me how to get cheap gas?!?!?

For newbie couponers, the biggest pitfall can be printing out coupons just because. If it's not something you need, do not bother with it. Unless its a really great deal, then by all means go for it and try something new! 

And be careful or you might end up with a binder like this:


Who knows, maybe you too can save 50-80% off your shopping. Otherwise, keep an eye on the KCL blog to at least save a couple dollars for the gas station.

Excuse me, I'm going to go have a good cry now... *sobbing softly*

What have your biggest savings looked like?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Soap Making 101

As of 4pm today I have a new respect for those that make soap for a living. For Christmas my brother gave me a soap making kit. It has taken me til now to attempt it. I have more than a creative bone in my body so I thought it might be 'easy.'


As it turns out, its a long process. It took me over an hour to make four soaps and wreck the kitchen. Which now smells like fragrant oils since it spilled all over the counter and the instruction sheet. Here is the result of a ruined manicure:

Pretty colors sure...

Not very pretty details...

I'm sure with a little practice I could get better results. But the next time I try this, it will be under the care and supervision of a professional. In the meantime I will go back to purchasing from some of my favorite stores like Sunbasil Garden. Clearly she has a talent for it.

Have you ever attempted something new only to learn its not as easy as you'd think?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Going Going Green! Part 2

In this episode of going green we're going to re-think our daily routine! No really, think about the things you do every day and what you use to do them. One of the most harmful albeit necessary things we do regularly is clean! All those chemicals!!! Not only are we harming ourselves but the environment as well. There are better ways to clean!

One of the biggest things I do now is clean with vinegar. This is particularly helpful with the bunnies litter box. Sanitize and deodorize! I use a 1 part white distilled vinegar, 1 part water and a splash of lemon juice mix. Always have a gallon of this handy. There are 1001 uses for white distilled vinegar, literally- check out www.vinegartips.com Although I must admit I am not racing to the pantry to test out all the health suggestions.

Something I've never been able to figure out is why people want to use bleach for everything. I mean have you smelled this stuff? YUCK! One of my new favorite brands to clean with is Seventh Generation. It actually works! I tried a bottle of Greenworks (I had a coupon) and it just isn't the same. Given these economic times I would normally say save your money, but Seventh Generation smells good and its much healthier all around.

When I was a college student I began an obsession with my Swiffer. A combination of lazy roommates and an easy way to clean the floor- I was hooked. Then one day it dawned on me that the Swiffer has one flaw- its wasteful! I mean how many Swiffer pads end up in the trash every year? Then I came across these beautiful handcrafted covers. You can buy them from Ollie's Boutique on Etsy. (Thus began my obsession with Etsy which is a whole other story....) Anyway- this product happens to be one of my favorite finds. It works a thousand times better than the dry disposable Swiffer pads or a broom for that matter. I still haven't quite solved the wet Swiffer pad dilemma, but maybe someone else has some ideas for that...

What kinds of green products are you finding to help you find your shade of green?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Certain Shade of Green- Going Green

A few years ago I decided to "Go Green." Not in all aspects of life because, lets be honest, we've all got some creature comforts we don't want to live without. So I think at this point in life I've found the "perfect shade of green." Going Green to me means adapting our every day lives to help ease years of damage we have done to ourselves and this massive hunk of rock we live on.

My first step was grocery shopping. Every Sunday, or just about, we go grocery shopping with an armload of reusable bags. I slowly started with just two and now we probably have more than 10 in the house. The best part is, reusable bags are everywhere and a majority of mine I didn't pay for! Oftentimes you can find someone giving these away for free. I hope that more places start offering incentive to use green bags, like Ikea where you have to bring your own or buy and Target where you get 5 cents off per bag you use.

During the week if I have to run to the store for something I opt for a plastic bag at the store. BUT I do this because I reuse those too! Plastic bags make great trash bags for bathroom/office cans. We also use them for pet waste. Every couple of days our rabbit's litter pan needs changing... plastic bags are the perfect size!

My next step was investing in Lunapads! That monthly visit from Aunt Flow is uncomfortable enough without having to deal with itchy, yeast-infection-causing store bought pads! I only wish I had found these sooner, I would have been saved years of discomfort. The health benefits are enough to make me switch, the green benefits are an added bonus. Lunapads estimates "that a single Lunapad replaces approximately 120 disposable pads or tampons." Considering the waste our cycles cause annually is in the double digit billions, you should be buying some right now! You'll save money too, as a set of these should last up to 5 years.

 (Lunapads starter kit example)

I've also invested in the Diva Cup (which I have yet to master) as well as a cloth handkerchiefs- all from Lunapads. I love my cloth tissue, but I suffer from allergies and would need too many of these to ditch the Kleenex box all together. So pretty and soft blue breeze pattern>>

I have lots more Going Green/Natural tips. But for now- whats are you doing to find your Shade of Green?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sally Hansen Nail Effects

I don't know where it started or why, but I've always loved having something on my nails. Like many other girls, I want them to look flawless. Like many others in this economy, this means doing them myself at home. No problem, I say! I certainly don't mind taking the time to pamper myself and I do a mean french manicure on my own! On the other hand I use my hands a lot. I do the majority of the housework/cleaning and my job sometimes requires serving/preparing food. So traditional nail polish tends to not last long with me- food safety reasons aside. Even with the latest and greatest technology, nail polish simply does not last! Except on toes... until now...  
Real Day 2 Picture

 I hate paying full price for things I have never tried before, so I had a manufacturer coupon and an Ulta coupon- done deal I had to try these! The package says they are easy to apply and last up to 10 days! Well let me tell you- ITS ALL TRUE! I was skeptical at first, but if it hadn't been for the fact that my nails grew out too much, I could have exceeded 2 weeks! As it were, I landed 2 days shy of 2 weeks. And I've bought a second pack. Without a coupon, they run about $10. I figure a new at home manicure every 2 weeks = only $20 a month! Vs your traditional salon manicures.

 Tips and pics-

TIPS: Make sure you follow the directions (esp cleaning your nails and pushing back cuticles). If you keep your nails short, only open up one of the packages of 6, cut the strips in half if it looks like they will cover 2 nail lengths and your $10 will go twice as far! After 2 days I added a clear coat on top to protect them and added a little more to the tips of my nails every couple of days just to be sure.

 So far the only con I can see comes at removal. They do remove easily enough with nail polish remover, but they have a weird slimy residue. It'll end up all over your fingers, so be careful and wash your hands!

<Day 12 you can see how my nails were growing out. Although you can't see the small chips/cracks here.
 That being said, My nails feel 10x stronger and look 10x better naturally after I took them off, not sure why but I may wait a couple of days before I put on the next pack. Next color Blue Sparkle. I can't wait to try all the fun colors and patterns!

In the end:
Easy to apply! Easy to maintain! Easy to love!

Have any 'can't believe this works' products you'd like to share??

Friday, March 4, 2011

Stop this Burning Now.

This is my first blog post.

There, I did it.

I have been considering a blog for some time now, don't ask why 8 o'clock on a Friday night seemed like a good time to start. It just did.

If there is anything you'd like to see me yammer on about, do tell- otherwise you are stuck with what I decide on. Or I suppose you aren't stuck at all, you can easily navigate away to something much cooler... like CakeWrecks or Epbot.

Now that we've got that out of the way, let me go work on something real.