Monday, September 30, 2013

31 Days Series Launch

Okay, so here we go.  I have decided to take The Nester's challenge and choose one topic to blog about for 31 days.  There were a lot of topics that I bounced around in my head and in my heart.  But, there was one thing that stuck out, something that has been on my brain for a while now.  I know there are many other people that are thinking on this topic too.  I will tell you many times this month I'm sure that I am FAR from an expert on this subject.  But I have gleaned some knowledge over the past several years, that I wish someone would have told me in the beginning, so I am going to share with you what I know.  I will also be passing on information from people whom I respect, that know more than I do, and together we will learn more.  

My topic for the month:



If you miss a day or two you can always come back here.  I will keep an updated index on this page of all the posts in the series.

Day 1: Why WE Chose to Budget
Day 2:  Why Budget?
Day 3:  Where Does The Money Go?
Day 4: The Budget Meeting
Day 5:  Keys to Making it Work
Day 6:  God Provides
Day 7:  Emergency Spending
Day 8:  Cash, Cash, Cash
Day 9:  Record Keeping {Budget Binder}
Day 10:  The Envelope System {for the cash}
Day 11:  Bargain Hunting
Day 12:  My Experience With Coupons
Day 13:  God Is In Charge
Day 14:  Top 5 Budget Busters
Day 15:  Meal Planning Basics
Day 16:  Destroying Your Debt
Day 17:  Blow Money
Day 18:  The Benefit of Organization
Day 19:  Keeping Up With Who?
Day 20:  Giving Back to God
Day 21:  Kids and Money
Day 22:  Get The Kids On Board
Day 23:  How Do Kids Get Their Own Money {Commission vs. Allowance}
Day 24:  Teaching Kids About Budgeting and Saving
Day 25:  What Do Kids Need to Understand About Debt
Day 26:  What Kids Need to Know About Money Before College
Day 27:  I Hope To Be A Good Steward
Day 28:  Saving And Investing
Day 29:  Saving For a Rainy Day
Day 30:  Investing In Your Future
Day 31:  31 Days Recap

Thanks for joining me!!  Come back everyday for a new tidbit of something budget/money related.  Fun times ahead!!  


Just a bye-the-bye - I am kicking off this series on my 100th post :)

Friday, September 27, 2013

How'd We Do? {No Spend September in Review}

No Spend September -how'd we do??  Well, I was feeling a little down about the whole thing, and I didn't really want to write this post, cuz the truth is we did spend.  I felt like we had failed, but the balance in the bank was showing a pretty good front.  So, I thought - how can I determine how we really did??  I decided to look back through our bank statement, (and a couple of credit card statements) from August, and tally up what I would consider to be "extra" spending, and then do the same for September.  And here was the shocking, albeit, good news!!



I'm amazed at how we can so easily squander money out the window.  So much so that I don't even notice. {I honestly cannot believe I'm sharing these numbers with you, but I know that you guys will not judge me in my excess.  :)}    
We had spent a little over $900 less in "extras" for September!! Wow.

I did hold to my "no-spend month" in my home projects this month.  I kinda shared my list of freebie projects to get done with you in my first post, and here it was it looks like now.  I didn't get it all done, and a couple of things managed to get added to the bottom, but I feel really good about what I got done!!  



Aren't lists great that way?  I know I am not the only one that puts things on the list just so you can cross them off.  You know those things that weren't originally on the list, but you did them anyway.  Ya, I see your hands ;).

So, I would say that No-Spend September was overall a success in that it helped me to alter my mindset about spending and shopping in a way.  It caused me to think a little outside the box, to check my resources before running to the store, to stay away from the temptation of the store :), and mostly to evaluate purchases more by need than want.  Peeps, I love buying new things just as you do.  I love being able to text my hubby and say "I'm too tired to make dinner", and him sweetly saying "I'm on it" without hesitation.  But, I also understand that there are times in all our lives when we must curb our habits and keep our money in our pockets.  

I'm thankful for the experience, and may very well try it again and see if I can do even better!! And, I have to admit I am super excited that the pressure to not spend is off!!  HA!!  {someone please keep me away from the stores!!}

As I said yesterday I have decided to participate in The Nester's 31day blogging challenge.  In a nut shell, you choose one topic to blog about for an entire month - ultimately every day during that month - hence the 31 days.  This is definitely quite a challenge for me, but I am excited to take it on.  I'm not sure there is anything out there that I know enough about to write about it for 31 days, but I am going to go with it and hopefully I can provide some good information, great inspiration, and if nothing else a little bit of fun and grace in the process. Monday evening is the big reveal of the topic.  Check out The Nesting Place then for MANY other bloggers that will be linking up!!  


My hand is cramping, just thinking of all that typing!!  :)


Blessings to you and thanks for reading along!!

Linking up with Wendy at The Shabby Nest / Jen at Tatertots & Jello / Aimee at It's Overflowing

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Little Sewing

I gave you a little teaser weeks ago that I was working on a sewing project or two, and I have to say that today I finally finished the second one.  I have been sewing since I was 9 years old.  I don't do it as often as I would like, but I love the fact that I can pull out my sewing machine and whip up just about anything that I might want.  Fabric isn't as cheap as it used to be, so I don't sew clothes that often anymore, but it still can be done.  I find this is my best option when I want something that fits perfectly.  

Anywho....as I made my list of projects to fill my time during my no-spend month, I listed a couple of items in my home that needed a little face-lift.  Things I had purchased which I love the look of, just missing a couple of points when it came to function.  

One being the curtains in my daughters bedroom.  We purchased them at Hobby Lobby when they were half off, and they were the perfect look for her room.  The problem is, her window is east facing, and the curtains are not lined at all.  This usually doesn't bother me, but the morning light was bothering her.  



Solution - several years back my mom gifted me with a large roll of drapery lining - great gift huh?  I pulled it out and got to work.



I didn't really want to take the curtains apart, I just wanted to attach the lining.  

Let me just stop here for a moment and ask you to join me in my creative process.  Most of the time when I start a project, I have NO idea what the process is going to be, only what I want the end product to look like.  Okay, now that you understand how I work we can move forward.



I laid the curtain panel out on the floor and laid the lining fabric on top - perfect fit - no room for trimming or hemming - hmmm.  No worries, the edges were finished.  I pressed down the fabric on both ends - about half an inch, started by pinning it to the top and sewing the two pieces together.  



When I finished that I realized that the sides didn't match up exactly, so I decided not to attach the sides, and then I decided not to attach the bottom...ya I know. But, I figured that the window faces our back yard and when I hung them, no one would ever know.  (well, now all of you know - but you won't tell right?).

Here is the before and after.  



I think my daughter would have preferred that I use a black-out lining, but hey, she does need to get up in the morning eventually - she can't just sleep her life away. 

Now, on to project two.  This was my other pet peeve. I bought this shower curtain on clearance at Target, and I love it, but for where I like to hang my shower curtain, it was too short - I don't know, it's just me I'm sure.


I love ruffles, and I thought that would be a great addition.  Again, not wanting to take anything apart, I decided to add a ruffle to the bottom, but attaching it on top of the curtain instead of underneath.  

I was going to attempt to do a tutorial on how to ruffle fabric and attach it, but between you and me - good grief - it's not easy, so if you're not an experienced sewer you probably shouldn't be trying to do this :).  And...I'm sure there is a great you-tube video out there somewhere showing you how.  But here are a few pictures of the process.




After I added the ruffle I was left with stitching showing, so I went to my ribbon stash and found just enough white rick-rack (I love rick-rack), and attached it on top covering the previous stitching.

Here is the before and after.  Not only does it add the length I needed, it also adds a little personality.  I'm in love!!  :)



This is the last of the projects for my no-spend September, I'll be back Friday with my thoughts on the challenge, and how we did.  I'm wrapping things up a little early because I have decided to join the Nester in her 31days series on her blog.  More info on that coming soon.

Blessings and thanks for stopping by!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fall Has Finally Fallen Here {Fall Mantel 2013}

This weekend the weather finally felt like fall, and I enjoyed the cool temps so much!!  It also, finally put me in the mood to pull out a few fall decorations. Combining a few things from last year with a few other finds from around the house, and of course my newly painted gold pine cones...here is my mantel for the fall.  :)


I took the feather out of my burlap wreath and added some fall foliage and flowers (still really loving my chevron backdrop).


The other fall foliage and flower arrangement is something I did last year for somewhere else, but I decided to plop that on the mantel this year.  The platter and Faith are things from other parts of the house that I pulled in.  I wanted to break up the orange, yellow, white, cream, and brown colors, so I decided to use my turquoise bowl I bought when I was thrifting last month.


I think it is the perfect place for my giant gold pine cone don't you?



The candles sticks I've had for years, they were the right color and height, so they got to join the party too. Those cute burlap pumpkins I made last year, and the books - a bible and some small hymn books - belonged to Van's grandma.  I love the boost it brings to my pumpkin, but I also love the history they add.  

So, there it is friends, the only fall decorating I have done so far.  



How are you doing on your fall decorating - not started, done, not going to do it???

I love fall.  What's your favorite season?

Blessings to you and yours!! 

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Liebster Award

A happy surprise came to me last week via Sarah at Church Street Designs.  The Liebster Award!! 



I was instantly excited because seriously, who doesn't like awards?!?  I have seen this floating around the blog world just a little, but didn't know much about it. Through doing a little searching I discovered that it is an award given by bloggers to bloggers to encourage one another, and to help us all get to know new people. Usually shared among new bloggers.  This made me even more excited, because who doesn't like to give and receive encouragement, and who doesn't like to get to know new people - one of my favorite things about blogging!!  

So, thank you Sarah!!  Part of the fun of accepting the award and passing it on are these questions.  The person nominating you creates 11 questions, and you do the same for those that you nominate.  Just another fun way to get to know one another.  


1. What is your favorite thing to blog about?
Whatever the Lord might bring to my heart to share :) – everyday is different!
2. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
Spain with my hubby
3. What is your favorite season, why?
I really like fall and spring, mostly because I don't like it to be really hot and I don't like it to be really cold
4. What blog inspired you to blog, or inspires you now as a blogger?
Thrifty Decor Chick was one of the first blogs I ever followed, and my real life friend Dimples and Tangles inspired me as well
5. The Beach or the Mountains?
Beach!!  No question :)
6. If all jobs paid the same, which job would you choose to do?
Being a mom is the best job there is!!
7. What is your favorite type of food?
Any kind that I don't have to cook
8. What is one of your pet peeves?
People who don't follow rules
9. Are you more of an early bird or night owl?
night owl - but I get cranky if I don't get enough sleep
10. What are the two most important things to you?
My Lord Jesus and my family
11.  What is something you have never done, but would like to try?
Fly a plane.

I am now happy to pass on this award by nominating these five fun blogs.

A couple of these are real life friends, a couple I have been following for a short time, and one is a brand new find!  Please stop on over and check them out, and please feel free to follow along if you like what you see!!

And here are the rules for accepting the Liebster Award, for all the fabulous blogs I've chosen...
1} Write a blog post like this sharing the good news with everyone and link back to the person who nominated you.
2} In that post answer the questions given to you by your nominator.
3} Pick at least 5 bloggers, each with under 200 subscribers, to be nominated for the award.
4} Come up with at least 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
5} Go their blogs and notify them of their nomination.


Here are my questions for my nominees:

1.  Why did you start blogging?
2.  What blogger inspires you most?
3.  What would you consider your biggest life achievement to date?
4.  What's your favorite color?
5.  Fall or Spring?
6.  Beach or mountains?
7.  If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
8.  Introvert or Extrovert?
9.  What is your favorite memory?
10.  What is your biggest pet peeve?

Blessings to you all and thanks again for the encouragement from Sarah!!  Please pass on the love by checking out some of these blogs, and maybe even follow along ;).  


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Going Gold

I have been a silver lovin' girl for as long as I can remember.  But, I have been seeing all these gold accents floating around the blog world and I decided to give it a go on something small.  Since we are still mucking through our no spend September, I went to the garage to see what I could find.  I didn't think I had any gold spray paint (plenty of silver), and I didn't.  But I did find this.  


Leftover from a project my hubby did.  I found a couple of victims for my paint.



A set of pine cones, and a couple of dollar tree pumpkin/gourds that were a painting fail from last year.  

I used a brush to paint the pumpkin and gourd.


*side tip* If you want to keep a paintbrush fresh during a project - put it in a plastic bag between coats.  It will stay wet and not get sticky or goopy. *



And then I sat looking at the pine cones - trying to cover the pine cone completely in and out of all those little pokey things with a brush.  Hmmm.  I fished out a clothespin and attached it the top of the pine cones and preceded to DIP the pine cone in the can of paint. Brilliant!!  


(I used a piece of waxed paper for a drying surface.)  I was able to do that with both of the smaller ones, but unfortunately the bigger one didn't fit in the can, so I had to paint that one.  Isn't that big one a giant?!?  I'm not even sure where I found that but I love it!!

When I first painted them they had a brownish, tarnished look to them, but as they began to dry they took on a shinier look, and then they toned back down a bit when they were completely dry. 


Here they are finished!!



Here are the pine cones in their position for the fall (and a sneak peek of my mantel).  


So, I didn't dive head first into the gold wave, I just put my toe in.  But I really like the richness it adds, so who knows what will be my next victim!!

Blessings to you!!




*I have to say I don't have a super duper fancy camera and I am trying hard to learn how to make what I see come across on the screen, but sometimes when I look at the screen, it's not quite right. #stillnotaphotopro I hope you are able to get the idea and are inspired still by what you see.*

Monday, September 16, 2013

White Washed Brick {and a battle}

Something about me saying I was going to try to not spend extra money in the month of September must have made the devil mad, cuz he has been throwing all kinds of stuff my way. Ha!  My friend shared this scripture on instagram this morning and yes, this and so many other truths are what I have been leaning on through this mess.  


My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.  Psalm 62:1-2

You may have seen this picture from last week.


When my washer drain backed up all over the floor, and in the kitchen sink.  Well...


The very. next. day. my dryer stopped heating...

At this point I was over it.  Not panicked in the least - me and my Lord don't crumble that easily, but I needed something to distract my attention from the piles of laundry.  So, I dove into a project that has been swimming around in my head for a while.

I have never been a fan of painted brick.  I don't know why, it's just not my thing. With that said, I do not like the color of the brick on our house.  It has that same orange glow that everything in the house has.  It's fine outside - I mean I can live with it, we painted the trim in such a way that it seems to tone it down.  But, inside - ick.  I knew I would never paint it, but then over the past year I have seen several white-washed looks floating around.  I was intrigued.  I liked that, depending on how much paint you used, you could still see the brick look.  So, in light of my current circumstances, I decided why not - what else could go wrong- right (never say that by the way ;)).  

I went to the garage and found some leftover white paint I had (the same paint I used in my laundry room), a container, a brush, and a rag.  I decided to try a really small amount of paint at first, knowing I could always make it darker, but never lighter.  So I used a ratio of 1 part paint to 3 parts water.  Not enough paint. So I ended up with a 50/50 ratio, and that got me the look that I was after.  I have seen white washes that are really close to just painting, but I really just wanted a cloudy top coat to tone down the color of the brick.  Here are some pictures to see how it went.  


Here's a before just so you know what we were starting with - orange brick.


Nope that's not milk ;)


The tools - a cheap brush, and an old clean rag.  I did dust off the brick before I started, and brushed out the corners, but nothing else needed to prepare the surface.


Just brush the watered down paint on, let it soak in for a little bit (maybe a minute or two), and then wipe it down removing the excess paint.  The longer you let it sit, the more will soak in and the harder you wipe, the more paint you will remove.




Just know - it's a messy project!!


Here's a side-by-side before and after.  Just a subtle change, but really exactly what I wanted.  No more orange glow and it seems to make the corner feel a little big bigger.  


I'm really happy with the end product.  The hardest thing about this process was not letting my perfectionist self try to over work it.  Reminding myself frequently that the beauty of it lies in the imperfections.  :)

Good news!!  As I was writing this post, my handy hubby finished fixing my dryer!!  Now, I have to face the mountain of laundry awaiting me - can't hide my head in the sand forever...or can I?  :)

Blessings to you and yours!!


Friday, September 13, 2013

Insta-Friday {Sept 13th}

This week has seemed long and wearing to me.  Maybe it's because last week was short.  I don't know.  Anywho, sharing me week in my insta-pics


My girlie was invited to be a part of her friends quinceanera celebration.  Isn't she pretty :)?


My big boy attended a baseball showcase camp at my Alma-Mater OSU.  Stillwater is such a lovely place.


We have been draining the pool all week, and today we started taking it down.  It is quite a process, but I am happy to take it down and have the yard for the kids to use the other 9 months out of the year.


I pulled my sewing machine out of my closet to work on a couple of spruces around the house.


When I was pulling fabric from my stash for a project I discovered this.  I am a starter of projects, not always a finisher.  The bloggy world inspires me and motivates me to finish things, and it is a GOOD thing!


This happened.  Water backing up everywhere.  Which meant I couldn't do laundry, or run the dishwasher.  UGH!!  After about 3 hours of plunging, snaking, and liquid plumbering, the clog was gone and no more back-ups.  Thankful for a hubby who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty - saves us a lot of money.


This kid made us immensely proud this week.  He is a National Merit Semi-Finalist!!  He has been blessed by God with incredible smarts, a thirst for knowledge, and an amazing ability to return said knowledge.  God has big plans for him and we are enjoying watching them unfold.

I have to say I'm kinda glad it's Friday.  :)
Follow along on instagram @denisegwood

Hope your week was blessed!!  Thanks for stopping by friends :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Corner Cubby {more organization}

As I was waiting for the paint to dry on my back door yesterday, I happened to catch a glimpse of my little shelf in the corner.



This shelf is wonderful.  It fits perfectly in the space without being in the way, and it holds lots of things that we might need in the back yard that I don't want to store outside (since we have no roof or cover over our patio). It gets much more use over the summer as it holds a lot of pool stuff and some outdoor play items. When tidied up it looks like this.



The bottom bucket holds various back yard sports items.  We have a lot more, but these are the basics they use a lot.  The second bucket holds doggie things.  Pool towels on the shelf, and the basket above holds smaller pool equipment, my garden gloves, a pair of my sunglasses (I got tired of using my regular pair for outside, because I would always forget to put them back in my purse), and of course sunscreen and bug spray. You can see the dog food canister next to it and the smaller paw print item above - more on that in a sec.

But, since the pool is coming down as we speak (kind of - a slow process), I decided to go ahead and rearrange the items until next summer when the pool goes back up.  *A side note on the pool.  We have one of those blue metal frame pools.  It might look very redneck in our backyard, but it provides wonderful entertainment on those unbearably hot Oklahoma days, and when the summer is over, I love that I can take it down and use the whole yard for the other 9 months of the year. *

So, now the shelf looks like this.



All contents are the same (aside from the pool equipment in the small basket which will be stored away), just rearranged.  

As I was sorting through the things in the buckets, I decided on a different solution for the doggie treats - instead of in the box, buried in the dog stuff bucket.  I had some of my trusty plastic containers from walmart left over from the garage organization project, so I grabbed one.



I printed out a paw print from my computer just like I did for the food canister only smaller.  (pardon the pink look of the printout, I need printer ink)  



Traced it on the back of a piece of my chalkboard vinyl. (no I don't plan on writing on it with chalk, but it was the color I wanted and it was in my closet - free {no spend month :)})  



Then, I cut it out and stuck in on.  



Easy peasy and oh so cute!!  Happy organizing and crafting!!

Pulled this out of the closet today to add some personal touches to some store bought items - with fabric I found in my stash of course ;).



Will be sharing the finished products with you soon!!


Blessings to you friends and thanks for stopping by!!