Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How Wreath It Is (Part 1)

Happy Halloween to all of you out there! Halloween kicks off not only the official week of autumn, but also whispers to your ear that the holidays are following right on its tail.

I started to think about how we all love to decorate for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. All three holidays are approximately 30 days apart! How can we possibly keep up with this? How do we find the space for it all? And, what about the expenses to decorate?

Well, my friends...this is another opportunity for another Cheapskate Tip: Part 1 of 3. Today, I will share with you a very scary wreath for the kiddos to fear when knocking on your door. This wreath came out to just under $5 since I used items I had around the house. The postmortem sock monkey was an impulse purchase I could not resist.


  1. Take any holiday wreath that you most likely own already. 
  2. Find some yarn that you have hiding away in your craft room that invokes the colors of Halloween: orange, black, silver, etc. 
  3. Wrap the yarn around the parameter of the wreath. This is completely up to you--wrap the entire wreath with yarn or make a small pinstripe effect. I decided on three large areas to wrap so that it looks reminiscent of a biohazard symbol.
  4. Attach your favorite spooky decoration or figurine any way you wish.
  5. Hang it up!
Spook it up! Until next time!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Little Things

Oftentimes, when I'm browsing around in my favorite (expensive) stores, I ache at all of the beautiful things that exist for the home. Then "I want this, I want that" sets in. That's when it's all over.

After careful study, I realize that what makes me pine over such things is because of the level of detail that went into the product. Or it's something unique. And the best part is...these are all characteristics that can be created with your own thriftiness!

That's right boys and girls. We've gone way too long without another Cheapskate Tip!

Handmade and decorative soap costs at least $5.00 and upward. As you see, I have a small collection of amazing decorative vintage-inspired soaps made by Nepenthe's Bathtime Soap. But there are other more inexpensive (read: $2.00), handmade soaps I can get my hands on that are not packaged and are quite plain. How does one dress up plain soap in a jiffy? Washi Tape! A quick tape around that bar can add pizazz! Now my cheap bar of soap is just cool enough to hang out with the others...

Now we've all seen plants potted in many re-usable containers left and right. No doubt this is an inexpensive alternative. After I potted this succulent in my old jar, it was not exciting me at all. I also know that this succulent tends to grow tall and will lose its uprightness. So I made this cool little plant "crutch" disguised as a flower--all made out of items I had laying around the house.

  1. Cut felt fabric in circular spiral. Hot glue spiral back together, overlapping all edges. This creates a domed petal effect.
  2. We save all of the bottle caps from our favorite local tea-maker, Sweet Leaf Tea, because they have witty little quotes on the underside. It's like a fortune-cookie drink. I used this bottle cap as the flower's center; attach with hot glue. This cap in particular was fitting, as it says, "Life is a Garden--Dig It."
  3. Hot glue flower head onto a disposable takeout chopstick.
  4. Shove into the dirt.
A decorating rule of thumb is (a) repetition; and (b) grouping like items. Create an autumn table display with some of your everyday decorative items along with seasonal items such as pumpkins. Add the edible arrangement: Grab a vintage vessel an throw in some nuts that are falling off of your pecan or walnut tree in the backyard. Drop in a nut cracker so your display beckons the guest to partake and feel at home.

(All photos via Art and Facts)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A-Plenty on A-Plate

Been a while since you've heard from me. Not that I don't have an explanation...

We have been working diligently on our house with the goal to finish this year. (I'm sure now that I've been verbalizing this timeline to everyone, something will come up to divert us!) I'm not a pessimist, just a realist based upon past occurrences. Let me remind you that we've been working on this house for four years in the making. And from what I've heard, it never really ends.

1) We have (finally) replaced our roof with the help of some mighty hard-working roofers. Squirreling away some cash for several months helped with that one too!
Look at that beautiful dark architectural composite roof!

2) We gave the rear addition of the house a complete (much-needed) makeover:
Before - Ugly out of scale window and rotten siding. Yuck!
After - Amazing view with a giant corner window and metal siding!

3) The house used to have walls between the rooms. The previous homeowners knocked them all out. Open concept is great, but not in an old house. You walk in through the front door and viola, there's the entire house! It just never looked pulled together. Plus, laying out furniture and effectively decorating was a beyotch. We have added more wall space to separate the living room from the entryway and dining area. When we added the walls back in, we made the door openings wider than they were originally and the longer wall between the living room and dining area has two openings. This is how we determined to have the best of both worlds--separation and openness. To boot, we installed recessed lighting in the living room and master bedroom so we can stop bumping into things in the dark.
View of living room to entryway
View of living room to dining area and kitchen

4) Serendipitously, we had a friend whose father's business location was going to be demolished. We salvaged these gorgeous doors from their fate as trash and framed them into a partial wall that separated the rear addition from the rest of the house. It somewhat has shifted our house from a 2-bedroom to a 3-bedroom. The wall was built structurally "uncouth" by the previous homeowners, as I'd like to put it. Hubby spent lots of time fixing the wall and ended up beadboarding the entire wall to correct the major mishaps. We will eventually add trim around the walls and doors, which will beautifully highlight this room.
I am in love with how this separation creates a very private girl cave!

5) And--not on our list--but the house seemed to demand this one by nearly catching on fire: the task of re-wiring the other half of our house with newer wiring and safer circuiting.
Look at that scary old wiring! Bye bye!

As you see, we have a full plate. Unfortunately, most of the projects--except item #1--are not fully completed. We still have yet to finish the details on the kitchen remodeling project that I've blogged about previously. But...I'm very happy to share our progress with you and it's been quite rewarding. I hope seeing these transformations inspire you to restore and appreciate old things. There is nothing quite like it.

(All photos via Art and Facts)