Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dalek Christmas Card- for the Whovian in Me

Holiday greetings for the Whovian in all of us

This one's for Billy.

While I was busy forgetting to buy Christmas cards and neglecting my friends, Billy was busy crafting and constructing these little dalek beauties for all of his close cohorts- one in every color of the rainbow, I believe.

He's a better friend than I am, apparently.

I just had to share.  This blog IS about crafting and thriftiness, after all.  And if using the leftover scraps of cardstock and the dots from the workroom hole-puncher isn't being clever and thrifty, I don't know what is.

Cheers!  And happy new year!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Gift: Learning to Knit

Just a quick post to show what my wonderful husband got for me this year for Christmas: supplies for learning to knit!

Christmas gift with yarn

I have never picked up a set of knitting needles in my life, and have no idea where to begin, but I'm excited.  (In fact, some of the tools in the kit look like medieval torture devices!)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tutorial: Felt Banana Ornaments

A-Peal-ing Ornaments
 Yes, those are banana ornaments.  Don't judge me.

Really, I have a good reason for spending this Wednesday evening making handmade felt fruit.  I also have a reasonably good idea that someone besides me will be happy to hang these little yellow beauties on his Christmas tree.

You gotta love workplace ornament exchanges and co-workers that eat half a dozen bananas a day.

If you'd like to make your own fruit-y ornaments, you'll find it's an inexpensive and easy project.  I used a combination of hand stitching and machine sewing to complete this project, but it could be done entirely by hand.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tutorial: Silver Platter Wall Decor

Inexpensive decor made with thrifted materials
I'm so excited about today's tutorial, as it's something that I've had in the back of my mind to do for 46 weeks now (thank you Pinterest timestamp).  This is such a nice and versatile idea.  You can modify the materials to fit any season or holiday.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Refashion: Baby Dress from Two Tops

I have a quick refashion that I wanted to share.  Earlier this summer a coworker of mine welcomed a daughter into the world.  I decided that I wanted to make her something nice to wear, while also staying away from the the pallet of pink that she was sure to receive.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Festive (Recycled) Christmas Wreath

Recycle an old wreath into a new winter wreath

So it was Thanksgiving before I realized that my Halloween wreath was still on the front door...


I DO have an excuse.  I have a rather nice evergreen wreath that I put on my front door, but last year it took quite a beating.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Professor Trelawney Costume on a Budget

full costume

And a happy, happy Halloween!

In my house, we LOVE Halloween.  Our big annual Halloween party isn't until this weekend, but with Halloween falling on a Thursday this year, we have to make do with having abbreviated fun on a weeknight so that we can wake up in the morning and go back to work an school.

Last week a co-worker suggested that a number of teachers dress up as Hogwarts professors and other Harry Potter characters.  After much thought and some discussion, I decided last minute to go as Professor Sybill Trelawney, the divination teacher at Hogwarts.  Of course, I didn't make this decision until 3 pm the night before, so I had to scramble to get my costume together in a short amount of time.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Four Essentials for my Fall Wardrobe

So I've been a long time gone...

I find myself one of those people whose craftiness follows a natural ebb and flow.  There are months when I can't seem to find the time to craft, shop, and blog fast enough.  And then there are times when the mood just doesn't strike me.  It's been like that for a while.  But I can feel that creative spark again, and I plan to blog more often as we move into the wonderful late part of the year.

But first, I have to share a few great finds I got at the CHKD Thrift Store that opened not too long ago. Please forgive the photo quality (and the poses)!  My son and I were in a goofy mood that day.
Tan fitted jacket

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Co-Hosting Meet & Greet #35

Meet & Greet Blog Hop #35

The Meet & Greet Blog Hop is having a Giveaway! Want to know how to win? Two lucky participants will be randomly selected, and win a month of advertising on the host’s blogs. (2justByou and Created By Laurie) All you have to do to enter is participate! Be sure to follow the first 5 links (Hosts, Co-Host’s, Featured Guest) and leave a comment on each! The lucky winners will be announced on July 30th. Good luck! Interested in being a Co-Host? Send an email to 2justByou(at)gmail(dot)com with "Co-Host" in the subject line for consideration and include your blog link!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

When a Cat Claims it...

I don't know how many of you out there have cats.  And among those that do, I'm not sure how many of you have this problem, but I'm going to share a cat issue today.

This is one of my beloved kitties, Azrael:
close up of Azrael
You may know him from this post about his blanket.  He's being nosey in a photo here.  He is also sometimes in my sewing photos, since he loves the crafting room.

If you refer to this post here, you'll see how proud I was with my first reupholstery project.  I took a $5 yard sale find and turned it into a great bench for my sunroom, perfect for humans to sit on...

...or so I thought.

This is Azrael again, on what he likes to consider his new bed.
Azrael the cat on the bench

Cat on the bench
 You can see that I must have disturbed his highness with the picture-taking.

The bench has become a private joke amongst family members.  It is the fuzz-covered cat perch, generally understood by all in the house to belong to the cat.  This is his "outside" bench.  His inside bench?  Oh, he also claimed the purple Queen Anne I found at the Spring yard sale.  Go figure.

Anyone else have issues like this with their kitties?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Co-Hosting the Meet and Greet #34

Meet & Greet Blog Hop #34

The Meet & Greet Blog Hop is having a Giveaway! Want to know how to win? Two lucky participants will be randomly selected, and win a month of advertising on the host’s blogs. (2justByou and Created By Laurie) All you have to do to enter is participate! Be sure to follow the first 5 links (Hosts, Co-Host’s, Featured Guest) and leave a comment on each this week and the next. The lucky winners will be announced on July 30th. Good luck! Interested in being a Co-Host? Send an email to 2justByou(at)gmail(dot)com with "Co-Host" in the subject line for consideration and include your blog link!
Meet Everyone! This week’s “Get to know you question”: What was your favorite subject in elementary school? 
Kim - from 2 just B you: I loved music class. We got to learn how to read music, play different instruments (xylophones and recorder were my faves), and it was always a fun class to look forward to. Sadly, nowadays most schools don't offer this. =(
Laurie - from Created By Laurie: I loved Math and English – sounds nerdy I know. :) I loved Math because I love figuring out puzzles, and I loved English because I love to write stories and poetry. 

 *Co Hosts*
Yuen– from The Craziest Paradigm: I don't really have a favorite subject since I either hate a subject or like bits of others... but I'll say Geography and PE (Physical Education)
Lisa – From One Red Shoe: I loved music class as a young child. In the beginning, it was just the teacher showing us how to use rhythm instruments- 25 children beating on cymbals or rubbing sticks together. Eventually, it led to learning to play the recorder and sing in tune. It laid the foundation for my love of music throughout my high school career. I played the clarinet, sang in the choir, and sang at graduation as well as before many sporting events. I had the same music teacher for eight years, and she is long since retired, but I will always think of her with the most sincere love for both her and the lessons she tried to impart to her students. 

 Now it’s YOUR turn! What was your favorite subject in elementary school? 

 *Our Featured Guest this Week*
Dani– from This Workman Life “Welcome to our little corner of the interwebs! This is a family and lifestyle blog about my little family and all of our adventures. I'm Dani, an Aries, a blogger, a craft addict, DIYer and momma. I'm married to Bubba, a certified LEO, RSL fan and video game enthusiast. We live in beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah” *Check out her ‘Food’ and ‘DIY’ tabs! Lots of recipes and crafts! 

 Spread the Word, Grab Our Button!

Now Link Up and Have Fun! * Please be sure to follow the Hosts, Co-Hosts, and the Featured Guest! The Co-Hosts and Featured Guest will change each hop! 
* NEW! – 2 linkys! Add your Blog to the first, and your Bloglovin profile link (If you have one) to the second! Blog Link Add your Bloglovin profile link here! 
If you would like to sign up for email reminders for the Meet & Greet Blog Hop, please sign up below. (Your email address and info will not be used for any other purpose.)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Thrifting in Brooklyn- Beacon's Closet

sign hanging outside the store

It has been a crazy month for me!  I'm sure many of you have noticed the posting drought, but I have been out of town more than I've been at home over the last few weeks.  Immediately after school got out for the year, I took the first of two teacher-development trips- first to Alabama.  I spent a number of days on the western side of Virginia the week after that.  This past week I've been on another teacher trip to New York City in an intense training on the New York Stock Exchange.  It's been nuts, and my ability to be crafty and to write for this blog has been small.  But never fear!  I have some things in my head ready to hit this blog over the next few weeks.  And my creative side is begging to find an outlet!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Growing a Pineapple from its Crown

using the crown of a pineapple to grow your own fruit

About a month ago I cut off the crowns of two pineapples and set them to root in a shallow bowl.  Today I potted them in hopes that they will grow, and I realized that some of you may like to try this out for yourselves.  Growing your own pineapple is a lesson in patience, but also a fun gardening experiment.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

School's Out Yard Sale Shopping

Today was my first official day of summer vacation.  And while I am still doing my happy-school-is-out dance, this summer is going to be filled with lots of professional development as well- nineteen days of it, in fact.  So I took to my weekend with the goal of doing something relaxing, and hitting up my local neighborhood yard sales sounded about right.  Take a look at my motley collection of goodies.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Cheap Date Idea: Historical Site

One way to get a lot of bang for your buck on a date or day trip is to visit a historical location.  Depending on where you live, your options could include things like the Hoover Dam in Nevada or Mackinac Island in Michigan.  For a fairly small fee, you can spend an entire day being led around on tours, investigating historical sites, and enjoying museums.  Many places are even completely free, just waiting for you to visit.

In Virginia, we're blessed with so many options that my family has crossed off only a small percentage of our "places-to-go" list. (There are at least 25 museums in Richmond alone!)  But, we persevere!

Yesterday's weather was so beautiful that my husband and I decided to take a little ride on the motorcycle out to Berkeley Plantation, a historic house and grounds just off of Route 5 and along the James River.  That particular highway is well-loved by bikers and cyclists alike because of its beauty and relative seclusion from major traffic.  It took us less than an hour to ride out there, and the tickets for a tour of the house and grounds were $10 apiece (coupon, yeah!).

Front of Berkeley
The front of Berkeley Plantation.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Antique Rooster Planter

Sometimes it's the little things that you find that make you smile.

I found this ceramic rooster planter at an antiques shop while traveling through Amelia County, Virginia.  My son groaned as I did a u-turn and headed back towards the shop, but he enjoyed poking through the store as much as I did.

I couldn't leave this cute planter behind.  I have no idea exactly who made it or how old it is, but I love it!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Recipe: Homemade Butter

Easy way to make homemade butter

So I've discovered a book that has made me more excited about the kitchen than I have been in a long time. If you have not found/bought/borrowed  Alana Chernila's book, The Homemade Pantry, then you need to go out and find this book and start reading!  If you're anything like me, you'll connect not just with the food, but with the little vignettes that proceed each recipe.  I see a lot of myself in Alana's stories, and love how she admits to still purchasing things off the shelf when she feels like it, as well as making things from scratch. You get inspiring recipes without the what-do-you-mean-you-don't-milk-your-own-cow guilt.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

West Side Story Birthday Date

Last weekend my wonderful husband took me out to see a production of West Side Story here in Richmond.  I love, love the theatre, so I was so excited to go to the matinee.  In fact, I believe I may have emitted a high-pitched squeal when he presented me with the tickets.

It was only as we were leaving that I realized that everything I was wearing besides my shoes and necklace were thrifted.  I had my son snap a quick photo before we got into the car- partially to share my thrifty outfit with you, partially as a way also to remember the day, bust mostly because I thought it amusing to be wearing a mostly-thrifted outfit to a musical.
Thrifted outfit for my date

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Gardening on the Cheap

We've been living in our current home for almost three years, and over that time I've tried to improve our many, many planting beds while on a budget.  It can be difficult to set aside money for plants and gardening tools when you have to worry about things like new water heaters and furniture.

So I've thrown it out to my neighbors that I'll take plants off their hands if they don't want them, and I've tried to come up with some inexpensive ways to beautify our yard without breaking the bank.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

DIY: Bench Reupholstery

Easy and cheap way to update an old bench

Some of you may remember this bench I snagged at my neighborhood yard sale last weekend.  I intended to get the seat recovered to put in my sun room.
The original bench from the yard sale

Well, I was determined to get the project done in a timely manner (rather than letting it sit around forever until it got forgotten, which crafty people sometimes find happen).  I hit up Hancock Fabrics and Lowe's and got some supplies.  Pretty proud of myself about the materials- they were much cheaper than I thought they would be (breakdown at the bottom of this post).  Follow these simple instructions and you can recover a bench or seat top with ease.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Co-Hosting Find + Follow Friday

I'm so excited to co-host this blog hop with Nicole this week!  A blog hop is such a great opportunity to find blogs we've never read, connect to people we've never met, and in general expand our horizons.  Hopefully we can all find some new and interesting blogs to follow and enjoy.  Thanks for joining us! So let's get to it; follow the steps and have fun!

1. Follow your hosts. 
They will be numbers 1 - 4 on the list. **I try to always follow back, so PLEASE leave a comment letting me know you're new here so I don't miss you! ** Sometimes it takes a little while, but I always get through every comment and follow back. :) My co-hosts this week are: Lisa over at One Red Shoe Jackie over at City Girl Finding Her Place in the World + Whitney over at Miss Mama Me

2. Link up your blog's main page. **No blog hops, please.**

3. Try to stop by at least 3 blogs and follow ones you love. 
I'm sure they'd love it if you left a comment, as well :)

4. Take a button! 
Sharing is caring :) The more awesome blogs = the more awesome bloggy friends you make.

5. Tweet this hop!
Spread the hop love. 
I've decided to make this hop every other Friday for the time being-- e-mail me at nmariephoto@gmail.com if you'd like to co-host! 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Neighborhood Yard Sale Heaven

Surreywood neighborhood yard sale
Today was my community's annual neighborhood yard sale.  More than thirty homes wake up bright and early to set up shop by 8 am.  It may go without saying that I look forward to this sale more than any other thrifting event in the Spring.  Despite my propensity for sleeping in on Saturday mornings, I was up and out of the house by 7:50.

Even though many of the houses are within walking distance of mine, I took the car so that I would have a place to store all my finds.  It's a good thing I did, since I had a full load by the time I returned home at 10:30.

Take a gander at my finds:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Successful Failure: Homemade Mayonnaise

One of my goals for my Pinterest Challenge was to try my hand at homemade mayonnaise.  This was my pin from Drizzle & Dip, and it looks amazing.
Drizzle and Dip blog's picture of mayo
I only wish I had such fanciness in my home.
My son was gracious enough to help me out with this project, as this project requires lots and lots of hand whisking.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

DIY: Faux Milk Glass Vases

Easy tutorial

As part of my Pinterest Challenge, I decided to create milk glass look-alikes from some clear glass vases that I didn't really like and rarely used.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Liebster Award #2!

I am pleased to say that I've been nominated for the Leibster Award again- how nice is that?  I have actually been nominated by two different ladies (by the same name even), and I'm going to put the two nominations into one post.  Please take some time to visit  Rachel at t-shirt & jeansss and Rachel at Always Sparkling if you have the chance- I'd love to give back to them, since they tossed a nomination my way.
Photobuckett-shirt & jeansss

If you've never heard of Liebster, read the rules.  And then enjoy the fun facts and please take a little visit to the great blogs I've nominated (and be sure to follow them if you like what you see).

Now on to the fun!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

DIY Summer Wreath

finished wreath
Since the success of my Halloween wreath creation last fall, I have decided that I will no longer pay ridiculous amounts for my door wreaths from now on.  Have you seen the prices they want to charge?

Enter last summer's wreath.  Take a look at this weather-beaten beauty here.
Old purple summer wreath

I paid $50 on SALE for this pretty wreath a couple of years ago, and after a few seasons on my front door it was in sorry shape.  The flowers were wilting and faded, and spiders had claimed the sun-bleached bow.  In fact, we kept finding purple flowers in our front planting beds last summer.  Thant's when I knew it was time to get rid of it.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tutorial: Bleached Image Shirt

Blink Weeping angel Doctor Who tee- tutorial

Yesterday I tackled the first project for my Pinterest Challenge: a simple refashion using Soft Scrub with Bleach and freezer paper to add an image to the front of one of my son's shirts.

So let me tell you what worked, what didn't work, and what I've learned so that you can copy my success (and avoid my failures) at home yourself.  This is actually a very easy refashion that can be done in a couple of hours.  So dig around in your kitchen until you find your supplies, read this tutorial, and prepare to create something really unique and fun!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pinterest Challenge ~ Accepted!

6 projects to tackle in 6 weeks

I'm excited to say that I've decided to take the Pinterest Challenge!  At current count, I have 995 pins on my Pinterest account, and there are so many that are DIY projects, recipes, and other crafty ideas that I've pinned and never acted on.  For the next 6 weeks, I'm making it my goal to tackle 6 of those pins, with (hopefully) fabulous results!

Here's what I'll be working on:

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Easy Shoe Makeover

Quick and easy shoe update

Today I'm going to share the fastest, easiest refashion I've ever done.  And when I say fast, I mean really, really fast.  As in less than ten minutes.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Recipe: Homemade Refrigerator Cookies

Everyone loves to have fresh-baked cookies in the house, but it's the mixing and preparation and baking that prevents most of us from becoming Betty Crocker on a daily basis.  This recipe for homemade refrigerator cookies is great for taking some of the fuss out of the process.  You can do the mixing once, and then have fresh buttery cookies four times without a lot of bother (even more if you want to double the recipe).

Monday, February 4, 2013

Guest Blogging at Blue Eyed Beauty Blog

Blue Eyed Beauty Blog

Today I'm guest blogging for a fellow blogger, Helen, at Blue Eyed Beauty Blog.  Helen is getting married this month and asked me to share some of my homemade baking and cooking mixes with her readers while she is busy counting down to her big day.

I'd love you to visit her and check out her blog and my post.  Let her know that you stopped by from my blog and enjoy reading some of what she has to offer on her site (which is quite a bit)!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Fashion finds- Greys and Blues

Today's post has an accidental theme.  I had no idea that these two outfits were following a color pattern until I started cropping the photos down.  I suppose I was just in a blue mood this week (perhaps it's the weird weather).

The first outfit features a top and skirt from Ann Taylor.  I love finding her clothes at thrift stores, since they tend to be fashionable but not trendy.  This means I can wear them for quite a while before they go out of style, which is so important when trying to make dollars stretch.
silk blue skirt and grey top from Ann Taylor
Ann Taylor cowl neck top = $4
Ann Taylor silk printed skirt = $4
White shell bangle (from this post) = $10

This next outfit's skirt is pure whimsy for me.  I love denim more than any other fabric, and tend to gravitate towards it at stores (example here).  I currently own four denim jackets, if that gives any indication of my obsession.  This skirt is so fun that I couldn't pass it up.  I can't wait until it's warmer out so that I can wear it regularly (the bottom is very light and not warm).

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How to Fix a Mirror

cover- tutorial for DIY to fix a mirror

So a couple days ago I tackled a project that has been on my to-do list since we moved into our home (and I'd really not like to mention how long that's been).  It was one of those things that got shoved aside and forgotten.  Oh, I'd occasionally think about it and say to myself, "I've got to fix that thing," but it took me quite a long time before it came to fruition.  Obviously it was not very high on my priority list.

In any case, the story goes that we had a mirror hanging in our old home that we brought to the new one, but when it was being moved, it must have gotten dropped somehow.  The glass pane came loose from the frame and popped out at the top and sides, making it unusable.

Monday, January 21, 2013

In which I find lots of goodies, including the gorgeous Vera Wang dress

Sometimes I go thrifting and don't find anything that strikes my fancy.  Other times I go and come home with a huge bagful of great things.

This past week I visited one of the local Goodwill stores and walked out with more items than I can comment on in one post.  Therefore, I'm going to mention a few items today and share the rest later.

The first things to share are an A-line H & M wool skirt and a pretty cardigan with some great lace detailing on the back.  I paired them with a lacy pink tank and a scarf that I thifted ages ago to get a romantically-inspired outfit.   It was perfect for school.  And why do I look so tired in these pics?  Yup, cause they were taken after a school day and I was exhausted.

H & M grey wool skirt with peach cardigan
This is the look one has after spending a day with dozens and dozens of teens. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Night at the Museum

Cheap Date night
One thing that I love about living near a big city is that there's always something going on.  Festivals, concerts, parades, eateries, cool shopping districts- there is no lack of things to do in the Richmond area.

Even for those that don't live by a major metro area, there are certainly exciting things on the community calendar (albeit perhaps less frequently than in a large city).  I encourage you to take a look and see what is available, because today's cheap date night idea is all about finding those local events that are not only fun, but also inexpensive or free.

Recently, my husband and I have been taking advantage of the art museum's free Friday night celebrations.  VMFA After Dark is a weekly event hosted by the Virginia Museum of Fine Art.  They offer free tours, wine tastings, tango dancing, and more.  Our group of friends has found that getting a little dressed up and heading to town for a little culture, wine, and good company is a great way to unwind after a week of work.

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