Friday, August 28, 2009

New Coupons!

I am happy to report I found some new coupons for grocery shopping!

Bills Bookstore has coupon books that have the following coupons (among others) in them:

NewLeaf $5 off of $25 printable
The Health Food Store $5 off $25 OR $10 off $40 printable

Pick up the coupon book at your nearest Bills OR use the link to print at home.

These are good coupons to use at these stores, however, I prefer to use them at Publix as a competitor's coupon. It makes for a pretty sweet deal with all the BOGOs and manufacturers coupons!

Happy Couponing!


Wall Decor - Part 4: Your Own Photography

This picture hangs in my bathroom and I love to look at it. I took it a number of years ago on my birthday, when I was up in North Carolina and my parents came to visit me and we ate my Birthday Dinner at a place called the Esmerelda Inn. How fun to remember all that just by looking at this picture!

I am by no means an expert photographer. This picture was taken with a Nikon camera on regular film - nothing fancy. Later I took the picture and blew it up at one of those Kodak kiosks in a drug store and converted it to black and white. I discovered by blowing it up and changing the color, it really brought out the rain drops on the hydrangea petals. Add a black frame and this looks like real artwork!

There are so many computer programs out there that let you manipulate pictures that YOU took to make them into your own artwork. Try it out - it's much cheaper than buying something professional and you can say when people compliment it, "Oh that...I took that a few years ago on my birthday..."

Wall Decor - Part 3: Family History

This picture shows a framed newspaper headline hanging in my hallway. The article from the New York Times is about when my husband's grandfather was promoted as deputy director of the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover.

Stuff like this is great - it's a part of his (our) family history AND an excellent conversation piece. We received this already framed and matted, but it wouldn't be hard to do. Newspaper or magazine articles of significance to you and your family could easily be put into a frame and hung somewhere in your home where you can enjoy it. My parents kept their city's newspaper for the day I was born and I am planning to frame it sometime soon.

And how great for kids growing up to see these important pieces of family history displayed with such pride? So great!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thank you Wal-Mart knock off!

I have been eyeing the Mercer Train Rack from Pottery Barn (price tag: $169) for years now. I am usually a bigger fan of hooks in the bathroom instead of towel bars, just because I think things dry better and hooks can accomdate more than a rack (depending on the number of hooks, obviously). But I liked how this train rack had some storage in the form of a shelf on top. I thought this particular piece would be really good in my guest bathroom, where there isn't a ton of storage, plus it would be nice to have a place to hang a hand towel and a spot where I could put towels for guests that wasn't on the sink counter or toilet. But who pays that much for a place to hang towels?! Exactly.

Anyway, I found this beauty on Wal-Mart's site. Total cost: $14, plus you can do in-store pick up so you don't have to pay for shipping! Okay so they're not identical, but pretty close and the function is the same. I love how places like Target and Wal-Mart knock off stuff from shoes to clothes to home accessories. Besides, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wall Decor - Part 2: Plates

I love to decorate with plates. They are easy to find and cheap (think TJ Maxx, Marshalls, etc.), plus they come in a ton of sizes and colors. I think they give some texture to a wall because they stick out a little bit. As you can see from my pictures, I'm a big fan of plates and have used them multiple times in my kitchen.

To accessorize with plates, you have several options. You can see in my first picture that I have a plate holder that holds multiple plates. I have had this for awhile - my parents gave it to me as a gift and my dad painted it white (it was originally black). I have also seen these same kinds of holders that hang vertically as well, holding any number of plates. You could find something like this online for sure - I think this particular one came from a store in my parents' hometown. If you're not looking for it, you're sure to stumble upon one!

Another option is to get a plate hanger from a home improvement store - in fact, I have also gotten them from Target in the hooks/light switch covers section. These hangers come in different sizes and all you have to do is measure your plate and find a size that will fit. The hangers usually fit a range (like it will say 4"-7") and there are springs on the back that keep the hanger snug on your plate so it won't fall out of the brackets. The package also contains the hook and nail you will need, so it's super-easy. This plate is hanging between my countertop and cabinets - I think it's an unexpected and often forgotten place to display something if you don't have a backsplash.

I also have a plate displayed in one corner of my kitchen on a plate stand. It's a great way to show off a plate that is odd in shape or has a large rim that wouldn't fit into the aforementioned plate hanger. Plate stands like these can be found at discount stores like TJ Maxx or Marshalls, in the home section of Target or Wal Mart and I've even seen some plain ones in craft stores. They usually come in different colors/finishes and have a ton of embellishment or none at all.
My last suggestion (no picture) is just to have a lovely plate on display on a table somewhere. Maybe it's a place to drop your keys or mail, but it gives a pretty backdrop and gives the illusion that you are containing your clutter :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Adventures in Cloth Diapering Part III

Prefolds, pins and rubber pants – A thing of the past?

Google the words cloth diaper and you will see results like “one-size diaper”, “all-in-one diaper”, and “pocket diaper”. In can be quite overwhelming to try to navigate the booming world of cloth diapers – at least it was for me. Now that I have given birth and used a cloth diaper or two, I feel like I know the ropes enough to share with you what I have learned about cloth diapering in the twenty first century. The following is a short tutorial on the different types of cloth diapers and their pros and cons.

Prefolds, Snappis and Covers

The most traditional method of diapering uses a prefold diaper, which is a rectangular absorbent cloth, pins (or a Snappi) and a cover to prevent leaking. Prefolds usually come in three sizes; preemie, infant, and premium. Not only is this the most traditional method, but it is also the least expensive. One prefold diaper can cost around $1 - $1.50 (and are very handy for activities other than diapering) so you can see why many parents choose this method. When using a prefold, you will need to fasten it with pins or a fun invention called a Snappi. A Snappi fastens the prefold in place just as pins would have done, but instead uses the same kind of technology you would find on an Ace Bandage fastener. A Snappi will cost around $2-3. Now you’re not done yet, because the prefold itself is not waterproof so you need a cover. Covers come in all sorts of colors and varieties but you can pick one up for around $7-10. Put the prefold, Snappi, and cover together and you have a diapered baby!

Fitted Diapers and Covers

Does using a prefold make you wary? You’re not alone. Very similar to the prefolds but easier to use are what we call a fitted diaper. These may or may not need a pin/Snappi in order to fasten to baby. The advantage of this kind of diaper is that they will give a more contoured fit and they tend to be a whole lot cuter than prefolds (but just like prefolds, they make a big bulky baby butt!). These diapers cost around $10 - $17 a piece depending on the brand. Just as the prefold isn’t waterproof, neither are fitted diapers. You will need a cover for these diapers as well.

All – In – One Diapers

Just as the name suggests, all-in-one diapers have all the parts to a cloth diaper (absorbent material and fasteners, surrounded by waterproof material) all in one piece. These diapers are very easy to use as they are no different than using a disposable diaper (other than the fact that you wash and dry them!) it’s no wonder parents reach to these diapers first. Popular brands of all-in-one diapers include BumGenius and Thirsties. Since these diapers are in once piece and don’t come apart for washing, these diapers will take the longest to dry. You could dry them thoroughly on two dryer cycles or you could use the free sunshine and hang them outdoors. All-in-one diapers can cost anywhere from $15-30.

Pocket Diapers

Pocket diapers are not that different than all-in-one diapers. The big difference between the two is that the absorbent insert is removable through a pocket located in the back of the diaper by the baby’s butt. These diapers have a tiny bit more work involved, but the removable insert solves the drying dilemma. These diapers dry just as fast as a prefold or a fitted diaper! Another benefit of pocket diapers is that you can increase the absorbency of the diaper to fit your needs. It is very easy to add an additional insert, or soaker, for heavy wetters or overnights. Popular brands of Pocket Diapers are PocketChange, FuzziBunz or Happy Heiny’s and can cost anywhere from $15-30.

One-Size Diapers

The diapers we have discussed so far have one thing in common – they are sized. A one-size diaper is just what you think – a diaper that grows with your child. Instead of having to buy diapers in every size from infancy to toddlerhood, these diapers are extremely economical because you only need one set. Also, these diapers are pocket style so you can increase and decrease the absorbency. Popular brands of one-size diapers are BumGenius, Whamies, FuzziBunz, and Happy Heinys and can cost anywhere from $15-30.

As you can see, choosing to cloth diaper will give you more options than ever. It can be economical, earth friendly and easy! I hope this tutorial has been informative for you. Next time I’ll discuss cloth wipes!

Wall Decor - Part 1: Fabric

I know I mentioned in a previous post how I am always looking for pieces to hang on my walls, especially if they are cheap or it's something I can make myself. I am starting a series of wall covering posts to get the creative juices flowing for you. Please share your suggestions with me!

This first post is about using fabric as a wall covering. This picture is from my house and shows two framed pieces of fabric. The coral is embroidered on the muslin-looking fabric - it has really great texture and you don't realize it's fabric until you get up close to it, which is a fun surprise. These were super-easy to make and pretty cheap, since I didn't have to buy that much of the fabric to get these two scenes. In framing fabric, you can do like I did and frame two separate pieces, or frame one big piece if the colors are really gorgeous. Or frame a series of fabrics that are either all the same or are different and compliment your room. The possibilities are endless!