Friday, May 31, 2013

Just a Little Update

This past weekend we stained the lounge chair that my husband made me for Mother's Day. I also found a really cute GREEN (my favorite color) cushion. It is reversible, so I can just flip it over whenever I want. It doesn't fit quite right, but it is wearing in nicely.

I wanted a darker stain, and my husband tried to talk me out of it. ha ha I convinced him to get the Dark Walnut. What do you know! He liked it. Then again, he also didn't like the patio idea until we were done with it. We could have kept layering it on to make it even darker, but it turned this nice cherry color. I really like it.

Can you tell that the grass is starting to grow in on the patio? There is actually a good bit. I guess it's just not very photogenic. lol

I love the whole thing! It's comfortable and looks really, really expensive. We were looking at the hardware store, and they had some lounge chairs for $100. The chairs were just metal pipe with some pvc straps...the kind at a hotel pool. They weren't nearly as nice as our chair that cost 1/3 of the price. The stain and the cushion cost more than the chair itself.

I spent a lot of time in this chair over the weekend. I read some of the copy of Atlas Shrugged I got from Alibris (I only paid shipping). It was just so danged hot here that I ended up moving to the shade. I got a little red, but, luckily, it had turned tan by Sunday morning.

I'm hoping we hit the lake a lot over the summer. The only problem is I think my chair is too bulky to take with us. :o(

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I know I had promised this post last week, but I've finally gotten around to it. Better late than never I suppose. In a recent post, I had said that my next project was the Love Story Map. I got the pictures printed off and here is the finished result:
I think it looks great. The total cost of the whole project was less than $5. You can't really beat that for something so personalized.

Our laundry is in our kitchen. We had an icky looking hamper sitting in the kitchen floor. When we got a dishwasher, my husband had to take out a couple of cabinets to fit it in. There was part of a cabinet left, but we didn't know what to do with the empty space. We had tried to cut down the original door, but, with the way it was made, that was an impossibility. I decided that I would get a hamper the size of the opening and get rid of the tall black hamper we had. 

I had been looking everywhere for a basket with the dimensions that I needed for the cabinet space. The leftover space is just way too narrow for anything a store would carry. Then I saw these custom boxes. I knew that was the way to go.
I didn't have a cardboard box that was the right size. I had to take a larger box and cut it to size. I used a ton of packing tape to hold it all together. The twine and the laundry bag came from Dollar General. The twine was $1 for 200 feet. This box took 3 rolls of twine. The laundry bag was $3. 

To get the twine to stick to the box, I used regular 'ol Elmers glue in the squeeze bottle. This took a lot longer than I had anticipated, and my arm got really tired. Ha ha. All of the other boxes I have seen wrapped in twine were nowhere near this large. The finished product in its new home:
 Now for the pièce de résistance. Since we built the new patio, I had been dying to get a deck chair to lounge around on. I was soooo looking forward to spending summer days relaxing in the lounge chair reading a book and working on my tan. I did the thing I'm becoming so good at...I went to Pinterest. lol There I found this DIY. I knew my husband could make it for me, so I asked him if he would make it for my Mother's Day present. Luckily for me, he obliged.

We deviated from the DIY a bit. The legs that they used looked completely unstable to us. When we went to Lowe's they didn't have 1x4s so we had to get 1x3s. I'll try to give a complete "parts" list:

12 - 1x4s 8'
1 - 1x2 8'
2 - 2x2 8'
1 - 2x4 12'
2 - 2.5" hinges
2 - 1.5" hinges
framing nails
drywall screws

We did use a decking board for the legs that was a leftover from another project . You can use pieces of 2x4 if you want or whatever you have handy. He made the frame 6' by 2.5'.

He cut the pieces of deck board with a slant on one side then screwed them to the inside of the frame.

 Next he screwed the 1x3s to the frame. There was a little bit of space between each board. You can decide how much space you would like. Next he got started on the back. Use the 2x2s to make a frame for the back. Then use the 1x2 to make the brace for the back. The smaller hinges hold the brace to the back of the chair, and the larger hinges hold the back to the frame.

Instead of using little blocks to keep the back at the different height settings, my husband took a chisel and made notches in the frame. It is a lot more sturdy than small blocks screwed to the frame, and it looks great.

The finished product is wonderful! I love it. My husband did such an awesome job. We still have to stain it and buy a cushion. The total for all of the supplies was about $30. The ones in stores sell for hundreds and don't look as well made as this. He had this finished in an afternoon. I was enjoying my lounge chair before sundown. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

May Cara Box Exchange!

Cara Box

I had read about the Cara Box Exchange that Kaitlyn from Wifessionals started. It sounded like such an awesome concept: You are matched with 2 different people from around the country. You get to know them through their blog and email. You send 1 a box of goodies, and the other send a box to you. Everyone loves getting surprise packages in the mail. I had to try it.

The Cara Box Exchange takes place once a month. Every month there is a different theme. This month's theme was our home region. I had to think about what is quintessentially Alabama and how that might tie into what my match is fond of. The match that I sent to was Allison. She has a lovely blog at Nestful of Love.

The match that sent to me was Katherine. Her blog is The Newsom's Nest. She's a Texas girl currently living in California with her husband. The items she sent me were based out of California.
The tracking number that Katherine sent had the expected delivery date as today. My husband and I had to go out of town Saturday morning, and we didn't get in until Sunday afternoon. Imagine my surprise when the Cara Box was waiting in our mailbox! I couldn't wait and tore it open as soon as I got inside.

The first items were a couple of packs of California poppies in different colors. Katherine also sent some seed starter pots to help the seeds sprout. I forgot to take a picture before using the starter pots, so the packaging will have to do. lol They are currently out on our patio filled with dirt. I can't wait for the poppies to start growing. I love flowers!

 The next goodie was a big pack of soothing cucumber facial towelettes. These are made locally to Katherine. The towelettes smell AWESOME! The scent is like the sweetest cucumber you can imagine. These are going to be so handy this summer to cool off and catch a break from the Southern humidity. Since the towelettes are made with aloe, I can take these to the lake with us to soothe sunburns. They can also be used to remove makeup or dirt and oil. There are so many wonderful uses, and they won an Allure magazine 'Best of Beauty' award. And, the packaging is GREEN! Ha ha :D

I had mentioned that I love decorative crosses. For example, here is just a handful of the ones I have in our living room:
Katherine sent me these cute little crosses with some round and sparkly, star sequins to decorate however I want. I have tons of ideas. I'm thinking that I could use the crosses as a gift card or as present decorations. I could also use them to decorate the outside of some baskets I have.

The crosses are all different colors and there are 12. That means I could use them for all of the things I can think of.

I've never used sequins before. I'm excited for all of the possibilities. They are very, very sparkly, and I do love me some bling. lol The little star sequins are so cute. I've never seen any like that.

I would have to say that my first experience with the Cara Box Exchange has been an excellent one. I got to meet 2 amazing women. I got to read 2 great blogs. I got to send and receive a gift box, and I got to talk about my home state. I can't wait for next months. I know there will be a great theme!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Just a Teaser...

I have a couple of exciting things to report, but I've just been so busy this week that I haven't had time to post them.

I'm going to try my best to get it written up tomorrow. I can't make any promises though. :o(

I sent out 7 orders today, and I already have 3 more for tomorrow. I'm so glad that things that picked up, but I hate that I end up neglecting everything else.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

What BB Creams Have You Tried?

As a BzzAgent, I sometimes get to try goodies, for free or at a discount, from different companies. I share my thoughts with friends and family about the products I receive. Recently I received a BzzCampaign for Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector Oil-Free B.B. Cream.

I was very excited, because, months ago, I had gotten the BzzCampaign for the original Garnier B.B.Cream. It was not oil-free. It made my face very oily, and looked baaaaad. I really wanted to try the new oil-free B.B. cream. I knew it had to be better than the one I had tried before.
Here is a before picture of me with my handsome husband. I have on no makeup, and you can see that there is some unevenness under my eyes and on my forehead. My cheeks tend to have a little redness to them.
 In the after photo, you can tell that my skin had become completely even. There is absolutely no darkness or redness under my eyes, on my cheeks, or on my forehead. The best part is that my skin doesn't look greasy or oily. I love it. Perfect skin without 10 different types of foundation, concealer, and powders!
I must say that I am very pleased with the new Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector Oil-Free B.B. Cream. I have only tried the Garnier B.B. creams, but, so far, I'm in love. It really is an all-in-one product. You can basically toss all of your other facial products. Have you tried a different B.B. cream?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Home Improvements

Since my husband moved in, a couple of weeks before we got married, we have had a constant stream of home improvement projects. We have done so much, and I am so thankful to have such an awesome handy man/landscaper/painter/construction worker/plumber/electrician (I'm sure there are some job descriptions I've forgotten. lol). He literally does all of those things and more. I  thought I would share some of our projects.
 It started with the front yard. The sidewalk was there originally, but the space between the sidewalk and house was nothing but grass. We started by cutting out all of the grass. Then we laid the landscape fabric down. We sat the retaining wall blocks on top of the fabric in the pattern that we wanted. Next we put the plants in.
Finally we covered it all with cedar mulch. Our house has cedar siding, so we thought that would be best. I really love the way it all turned out. It is actually very little maintenance...mostly weeding.
finished view from the porch
flowerbed to side porch

It has been a few years since this was done. Some of the plants have been changed or moved around, but it still makes me happy to see everyday.

We decided to create another retaining wall flower bed in the back yard. We did everything exactly the same as the front yard. I don't have a finished picture handy, but it turns into a half circle around the side of the house.
 I've been finding huge pieces of shale around the house. There were some around a tree like an old flower bed (the tree had grown up and knocked all of the rocks over). I had to dig them up. I decided to make a walking path. My husband says it's a path to nowhere, but now that we've built the patio it kind of leads somewhere.
 We also refurbished an old picnic table. We spray painted the frame black. Then we put new boards on the table top and seats. Lastly, we stained it with a really deep gray. I love it, and it is super handy!
 Next on the list was the downstairs bathroom. We painted the walls Aztec gold and painted the trim black. My wonderful husband put down the wood laminate for the floor. I found a chest at Kirkland's that we turned into a custom vanity. In the 3rd picture there is another cabinet, but it has since been replaced with one exactly like the vanity. We added a new medicine cabinet, a towel rack, and the hand towel ring. We also changed the overhead light fixture, and my husband added a light over the vanity.

 Upstairs we completely gutted the bathroom. There was a closet that backed up to the shower in the bathroom, so we tore it out too. Our plan is to make a huge walk in shower with a bench from the old closet and the space where the tub was. After we tore the closet out, we had to add another. There are still a few little things left to do: put up the trim and hang the last door. The double doors are for our clothes, and the smaller little closet is for linens and cleaning supplies. I am so happy with the way the closet turned out.
 Lastly, is the patio. We actually just finished this. We took a few railroad ties and framed it out. The yard slopes downhill here, so we had to add a ton of sand to level it out. The step is there because it is lower than it looks.We bought a paver maker, and set to work. When all of the pavers were finished we filled in between with some dirt and grass seeds. Now we are seriously watching the grass grow. lol We plan on putting up fencing along the front and side. I want to put some tall shrubs along the back. The way we'll always have the breeze blowing through.
I know there are other little things that we've done, but putting in a dishwasher isn't really picture worthy. haha I can't wait until it is summer. We will be spending so much time out on our new patio. I already have a DIY lounge chair picked out for my husband to build. :D

Friday, May 3, 2013


I know I'm not the only one that is addicted to Pinterest. The tons of memes I've seen didn't come about by accident. I can totally relate to getting sucked in to the pages and pages of thumbnail awesomeness, or constantly hitting refresh because you know you'll see something new. I thought it would be nice to share some of the pins that I've actually made.

Most of the materials for the things I've made have come straight from the Dollar Tree. I LOVE that place. I always find something I can use, and everything is $1!

The first project I took on was a fall wreath.You can find the DIY here.  Everything is from the Dollar Tree. I got 3 bundles of silk flowers (orange, gold, and ivory), a small pack of styrofoam squashes, and the vine wreath. I hot-glued the flowers and squash where I wanted them, and that was that. Super simple, easy, and CHEAP! The whole thing was $5.

Next, I tried the custom plate DIY. The plate was $1 at Dollar Tree, and the stand was a couple of bucks at Family Dollar. This is very personal to me. The day my husband and I got married, we went and got this very same 'H' tattooed on our ring fingers. I found the font online, made a template, and taped it to the plate. Color in the template, bake for a few minutes, and you're done.

Then I got into the Christmas spirit. I made these snow globes and this cinnamon jar. The snow globes are really simple. I found a pack of small Christmas trees at Dollar Tree (OF COURSE! lol) along with 2 small mason jars. I got a carton of epsom salt from Walmart. I also got a larger mason jar and a larger Christmas tree from Hobby Lobby. Total, it probably cost $10 to make 3 of the snow globes.

The cinnamon jar was a snap. I took an old glass candle sleeve that I had previously cleaned out, a couple packs of cinnamon sticks, and the epsom salt from the snow globe project. I obviously didn't follow the DIY instructions very closely. I poured a little of the epsom salt in the bottom of the glass. Then I broke the cinnamon sticks in half and stuck them down in the salt. That is absolutely it and for only $2. It is still sitting out in my living room, because it smells so good.

I already have another project lined up. I want to make the Love Story Map. I have the pictures ready to go, they just need to be printed. I found a 3-hole picture frame at Family Dollar for $4. I added the pictures to my photo account at Walmart, and it said it would cost 27 cents. $4.27 for an wonderful piece of artwork for the wall.

What have you been inspired to create by Pinterest? Do you have any gorgeous DIY craftiness to share?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Homemade Cleaning Products?

I think I've finally decided to jump on the homemade cleaning products bandwagon. This afternoon has been spent scouring Pinterest and various blogs to try to find what people have had the most success with. I came across a few that I found informative.

One Good Thing by Jillee had the most information in terms of trial and error. She even posted
different variations of the "recipes" that she had used. There was also a ton of comments on her posts with what has worked for her readers. Overall, this was my favorite homemade cleaning product find.

Babble's "20 Cleaning Products Worth Trying" had the most homemade cleaning products in one place. It really wasn't the how-to itself though, just links to other sites with the info. However, I did find it helpful to not have to type 20 different searches into Google, Pinterest, and the like.

I don't personally use green products or read chemical labels like I probably should, but, for those that do, Eco Living Experts has this great article: "Green Homemade Cleaning Products: Best Eco-friendly Recipe." They have a recipe for everything from toilet bowl cleaner to black mold remover.

The main interest in trying these homemade products for me is saving money. I know that some people have issues with skin sensitivities or chemical allergies. Thankfully, we are allergy free (except for this nasty pollen that is constantly falling now). Cutting costs without worrying about coupons or in-store specials sounds like a godsend.

I really need to make a list of what products I intend to make and just what I need to do so. I know I definitely want to try the homemade laundry detergent and fabric softener. It seems like almost all of the recipes I found use vinegar of some sort. Vinegar must be a miracle liquid, and, as luck would have it, we have none whatsoever. HAHA!

Once I've gotten into the homemade cleaning product swing, I'll post back here with my results. I would love to know what your experiences have been. What worked the best for you? Did you find you needed to change any of the recipes?