Monday, September 14, 2015

Bedside table refinish

Long time no write.  But who cares...  on to the refinish.
I wanted a dresser to refinish to put in my entryway.  I was able to get this one from a local lady selling it on a Facebook yardsale site for just $40.  It is all wood, except the back is cardboard.

Before I had started in on this project, the lady who sold it to me offered to give me the matching nightstand for free!  She even delivered it to my door one afternoon.  I ended up putting the entry way on hold while I worked on transforming my daughters nursery to a big girl room and the Night Stand was a great addition. 

Right off, I didn't love the accent pieces on the face of the piece, so I took some of the wood pieces off the front.  I pried it off with a small crow bar like tool and added some trim with my nail gun. 

Time to strip.  I could have just sanded the heck out of it, but I like to strip off the old paint or stain.  I brushed on Citristrip and laid plastic film directly on the piece.  You can wait 30 minutes or up to 24 hours to penetrate.

Next, scrape the yuck off.  Stain strips off more like a gel where as paint tends to come of in sheets.  It was a gunky mess.  I would scrape off a section and wipe it on a paper towel.  I used a little mineral spirits to clean up my tools and wipe down the piece a little.

Then I took the piece outside to sand it with my sander.  This takes off a lot of the color and you can easily get carried away with the lower grit and take off details of the piece.  I used foam sanding blocks to get around the cracks.  Starting with 120 grit and working up to 320 for a super smooth finish.

I wiped it down with a damp rag to get off any dust and let is dry well.  
Then applied primer.  I prefer the oil based Zinnser 123 primer.  I hear the spray primer works well, too.  I just haven't tried it before.  I painted the main body of the piece a white color that was a color match to IKEA's Malm dresser.  That is what we have in her room.  I painted the drawer fronts a blue that matched her comforter.  I did this same color palette on her desk, so I made it coordinate.

I also ended up adding legs to the piece.  I think the look of the raised piece makes it more feminine and elegant.  You can see where I changed some of the trim pieces.  I finished the top with Polycrylic to protect it from wear and tear.  

Now on to the big dresser...

Friday, September 6, 2013

Back to school, CHEAP!

Most of our kids are back to school already.  This means you probably had a substantial list of supplies you needed to provide to the school for your child's education.  Now, these supply lists are a thorn in the sides of many parents.  After Christmas, back to school season is the biggest retail season of the year.  It is also the BEST time to score great deals on all those back to school supplies.  Seriously, some stores are literally GIVING away supplies.  Free paper, pens, highlighters, glue, scissors, etc.  Just take a look below.

All of this was FREE or a penny.  This picture does not even include the stuff I already sent to school with my 3 kids, these are the leftovers!  I bet you think I must have spent hours pouring over sale ads and coupons blogs to get the deals and then running all over town, wasting gas to save a few pennies on a notebook.  Nope, quite the opposite.  I would simply look at one ad match up site a week.  That takes maybe 10 minutes and if I was near the store on a regular errand run, I would stop in.  Staples is the store that is only a few miles away and had the best deals.  I think I went there 3 times total, I didn't even get all the deals.  They gave away 3-4 reams of paper every week for 6 weeks straight!  I also did some deals at Rite Aid, but only if I was shopping there anyway for the usual stuff like diapers and shampoo.

This makes back to school shopping almost fun for me because next year, I will start my back to school shopping in my basement.  That usually knocks off at least half my list.    Then I'll see what deals pop up and head to my local discount store for those last few items.  I probably spent $15 at most on all the supplies this year.  I am not just saving money, but saving myself the stress of finding all the correct specific supplies and possibly going all around town anyway to find a specific color folder that is on every supply list and gone from every local store.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Kale Chips... meh.

Not horrible, but not great.  I figured I would try to make some kale chips since it is all over pinterest and super healthy.  I did a basic recipe.  Pull the leaves off the spine and wash in a salad spinner.  Then toss with a little olive oil and salt.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Definitely easy peasey.  They looked like the other pictures.

I tried one, and at first it was yummy.  The ruffle edges made a very light and airy texture.  You immediately taste the salt and it is pretty good.  Then the kale flavor starts to come through as you chew...  not horrible but not what I would call good.  Kale is kinda bitter and you definitely get that with the chips.  After eating a few, I kinda had this weird aftertaste, too.  So, I'm not loving this one.  But I tried.  Alex is my kids who asks for salad with every meal and he didn't like it either.  Andrew's words were "that's disgusting."

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Printing Money.

Printing is the easiest way to get coupons.  You are basically printing money to buy groceries.  The best part is, you don't even have to look through all the hundreds of coupons on the printing sites because the bloggers have already matched the coupons to the sale ad with a link to the exact coupon.  Really, could it get any easier?  Coupons often expire at the end of the month and a new batch of printable coupons are available at the beginning of the month.

Worried about the cost of paper and ink?  I get paper free with coupons and rebates.  I get my ink refilled at Walgreens for less than $12, which is much cheaper than buying a new cartridge.  Plus, you only need to print coupons in black and white.  I use the economy/ink saver setting on my printer and the coupons scan just fine.  (I used everyday color printing on the above picture.)

Maybe you don't eat Chex Mix, Frozen pizza or canned veggies?  Well, there are tons of health and beauty coupons, too.  Everyone needs toothpaste, soap and razors.  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

$2.04 at Publix.

Had a good trip today with some rain checks.  I saved them for Thursday so I could get the penny item, too.  The freebies were the Bertolli pasta sauce, cat food and Paper towels (well, they were a penny!)

This is the breakdown:

Bertolli sauce Bogo for 1.39 each.  $1 off 2 Publix coupon stack with $1.50 off 2 manu coupon = Free

Gogurt Bogo for .98 each.  .50 manu coupon doubles to 1.00 off = Free

Sheba cat food sale .50 each.  B2G1 Free Publix coupon stack with Bogo manu coupon.  The manu doubled to $1 = Free

Bertolli pasta Bogo for 1.14.  $1 manu coupon = .14

Sargento cheese 2.50.  .50 manu coupon doubled to $1. = 1.50 (I needed this for dinner)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How I get free stuff

When people ask how I get such great deals on groceries and even free stuff, I am more than willing and even excited to share my technique.  I have realized that most people want me to say "Oh, they just hand out free stuff on Tuesday morning" because as soon as I even mention clipping a coupon I get a bunch of excuses.  "I don't have time" is the biggest load of BS I hear.  I know ladies with 5 kids and a job that find time to coupon.  If you have time to Facebook and Pinterest, you have time to coupon.  It is just a matter of if it is important to you to save money.  But seriously, I do not care if you coupon or not.  In fact, it is better for me if you don't coupon at my preferred stores.  As with anything, it takes time up front to learn and then it is just a lifestyle, like eating healthy and exercise.  You get out what you put in.  In the end, it saves me time because I usually plan my meals in advance and I have a stockpile from which to make a meal at the last minute.  In the past, I would have just had my husband get fast food on his way home from work.
So, just a quick freebie that is SO simple...  and you can get this deal right now!  FREE Pampers baby wipes.  Don't have a baby?  Well, take it from this mom of 3...  those things are great for wiping up anything...not just baby bottoms.  Plus, they also make a very appreciated baby shower gift that will not ever be returned.  How can you get this deal?  Well, at Kroger the coupon policy allows for double coupons that are .50 or less.  So a .50 coupon really takes 1.00 off your total.  Pampers baby wipes are part of a Kroger Mega sale when you buy 5 participating items, you get $5 off your total.  Baby wipes are 1.99 in the mega sale.  There are printable .50 coupons for the wipes.  Buy 5 wipes, get $5 off your total for the mega sale, use 5 coupons and get another $5 off your total.  That is free folks.
Where can you get 5 coupons?  You can print the coupon twice per computer.  I know a lot of people have more than one computer in their home.  Still can't scrounge up 5 coupons?  Ok, so get some of the other participating items.  Chances are you need some of the items, and they will have coupons, too!  If that seems like a lot of work, then couponing isn't for you.  It doesn't get much simpler than printing a little piece of paper and bringing it to a grocery store where you are probably going to stop by for food anyway.

This week I also loaded up on Sheba canned cat food, which Publix actually paid me .85 to take 6 cans out of the store.  Seriously, the cashier handed me the bag of cat food, the receipt and .85.  There is something free every week!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Max and Ruby..... duh, duh, duh, duh, da dud, da duh, Ruby and Max.

Happy Birthday to Baby Girl!  Well, Sassy is turning two but she is still the baby of the family.  She doesn't get too excited about TV, but she does love Max and Ruby.  When it comes on she points and yells "RUDYYYY," yes with a D.  At this stage the boys like Elmo so this is a new one for me.  For her birthday, what else could I do but a Max and Ruby theme?  Unfortunately, this is not as popular as some characters so I had to go online to order a few party supplies.  Since Ruby wears a yellow a-line dress with orange and green crosses on it, I thought maybe I'll make Sassy a matching dress.  I started with a McCalls pattern 6303 that I had picked up on sale for $1 one week at Hobby Lobby.  I bought the pattern with no exact intention but I was glad to have it for this.  It is easy to make a pattern for an a-line dress, but I just find a professional pattern makes it easier for me.
See...  a-line dress just two easy pieces.  I cut 2 of the pattern pieces and made the dress reversible.  I usually do this because I hate sewing small seams.  Plus the fabric I choose was light yellow and it needed a lining.
I added some ric rac detail to the "reverse" side or lining side.
Pin and sew the top and bottoms to their "mate," leaving the sides open.
Turn one right side out and put it inside the other piece.  Pin sides together, leaving a gap on one side to turn.
Sew it, turn it then find the gap you left and carefully stitch the hole.
You can barely see the stitch on the side seam.  This is not a detailed tutorial, but there are tons on pinterest and youtube.
Add buttons and button holes and voila!  I used fusible webbing to make the crosses and ironed them to the dress to look like Ruby.  I think it is a pretty good match to the character.
I bought a purple t-shirt for underneath.  My model doesn't cooperate with me when I want to take a picture.
I put on a headband with rabbit ears and she's the cutest bunny ever.
The dessert table featured a yellow cake with pink vanilla frosting and sprinkles, just like the one Ruby made for her party.  I made butter cream icing frozen transfers for the Max and Ruby characters on the cake.  For variety, I made chocolate cupcakes with fudge frosting and added "worms" and "dirt," just like Max's cake.  Not pictured is the "rabbit food" veggie tray and fruit plate.  Having this party near easter made it easy to find lot of rabbit themed stuff like carrot bubble necklaces for the goody bags.  It was a fantastic party!