Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Feeling Crafty: Bookmarks

Ok, I've been stuck waiting for my next book to arrive. I won't lie- it's killing me. I've decided that perhaps I should not have gone the cheap route by ordering them online. I just don't have the patience to wait. Fortunately, this weekend I was fairly busy with my family. Yesterday I was busy doing other things as well. So the absence of my book from my mail box hasn't been TOO terrible... Until today. Are there things I could be doing? I have two very small children- there are MANY things I could be doing. But what I really want is my book in my hand, in case I get two seconds of quiet time. So to assuage my impatience, I decided to try out a Pinterest craft I've been meaning to do for ages.

This is the original picture from Pinterest. When I saw this, I thought, "I could make that." And today, I decided not only to make this, but to make it better! Since this was just a photo with no tutorial or anything else, I had to make it up as I went. I assume that this particular book-page flower is attached to something like a bobby pin or paper clip. I'll be honest- those two items terrify me thinking of them on my book pages. Books are sacred at my house. No one touches them, lest they wish to suffer Mommy's wrath. So something as harsh as a bobby pin or paper clip is almost certain to do damage to the pages over time. I had to ponder what I was going to do about this problem, so I started by gathering up some supplies. I wasn't certain what I'd end up needing so I just grabbed up a bunch of things, but I did end up using velvet ribbon for my bookmarks.

As I said earlier, books are sacred objects in my home. This presents a bit of a problem, since the flowers are made of book pages... Fortunately, I still have an old textbook from college hanging around. And not one I ever found important. In fact, this course was the bane of my existence in those days, but I digress...

The items I ended up using are as follows:
     - Water
     - 2 Teabags
     - 1 Fairly Large Book Page
     - 1 Object for Larger Circle (I used a baby bottle lid)
     - 1 Object for Smaller Circle (I used a spool of thread)
     - Scissors
     - Hot Glue Gun
     - Hot Glue Sticks
     - Lighter
     - Ribbon (I used velvet ribbon)
     - Beads (I used a pearl and a round burgundy bead)
     - Other Decorative Notions (I used more ribbon and beads)
     - Needle and Thread, as Needed

Since this textbook has very white, crisp pages, I needed to age them. So I began by putting a few inches of hot water into the sink, and adding the teabags which I allowed to steep for about fifteen minutes.

After allowing the tea to seep into the water, I gently placed my book pages into the water (I only used one sheet for the entire project). I allowed the paper to soak for about 30 minutes, then laid them out on paper towels to dry. If you want a deeper aged effect, I would recommend soaking longer. My pages barely changed color in those 30 minutes. 

After my pages were completely dry, I began to trace out some circles. I used one larger circle (lid of a baby's bottle) and one proportionately smaller circle (a spool of thread). 

After tracing out enough circles (I ended up using 3 large circles, and 4 smaller circles per flower), I cut them out and used the remainder of the page to cut into strips.

Large Circles

Small Circles


I eventually ended up cutting the strips above in half to make them narrower. Begin by taking the strips and curling them into a roll, adding strips as you go. You do not need any glue yet- if you hold tightly enough, the strips will not separate from each other.

After your roll is as wide as you'd like (mine was about the size of a nickel), use a tiny drop of hot glue to glue down the fly-away end. 

This was what my roll looked like on top of the smaller circles:

Next, I cut slits into both the larger and smaller circles, leaving the center intact.

This step was made easier by stacking all of the circles I planned to use together according to type, large or small. This way, I only had to cut slits one time for each size circle. These slits go all the way around each circle.

Now, the easy part: Assembly! In essence, all you need to do is hot glue each circle to another. Begin by gluing the roll to a small circle, then glue on another three small circles. As you glue each one, make sure enough glue flows up around the previous circle so that you can bend the slits up a bit and have them stay put.

I used four small circles for each flower.

Next, do the same thing with the large circles. Glue what you've created so far to one large circle, and continue in the same manner as before.

Voila! You have a paper flower! 

Now that this is done, you need to prepare the ribbon you've chosen for your bookmark. Cut your ribbon to the length you want and heat seal the ends with a lighter. Next, attach the flower to the ribbon for your bookmark with hot glue. 

After this is done, use a drop of glue to attach the center bead.

Now, feel free to embellish as you please! I used beads and a bow to put stoppers on the opposite end of the bookmark to keep the bookmark from sliding out of the pages.

And now your bookmarks are done!!! Here are my finished products:

Now to eagerly await my new books!!!

Til later!
       ----- D

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Challenge- Accepted: Cheapskate Polyvore Outfit #3

Well, I know it's been a few days. I'd say I was doing something really profound and life changing. But I wasn't. I was reading a new book- City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare. At any rate, I know no one cares what I was doing, so I'll just get on with it.

I got this outfit from my dear friend Lindsay again. I gotta say- she is the queen of finding me challenges! You'll definitely see that my version is quite a bit different than the original this time. I tried keeping the basic concepts of each piece though, and the color of the dress of course.

Original version:

You can view this outfit on Polyvore here.

Total cost of this version: $1219!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, the cost of this outfit reflects everything except the ring. The ring was no longer available for purchase, so the end cost of the full thing should actually be a bit higher.

So, my version:

You can view this outfit on Polyvore here.

Total cost of this outfit: $348!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now I know that this is really quite a bit different. The dress has a high-low hem and no tie waist, among other variants. The shoes are suede instead of patent, and instead of a creamy banana color are a softer taupe color, which I think coordinates better with the jacket and bag. The watch is almost solid blue, instead of just having a blue dial. And the jewelry pieces are missing the citrine accents of the above version. But essentially, the lines and cuts are similar, the jewelry style is similar. And at a quarter of the cost of the original version, it's pretty tough to beat! The most expensive element of this outfit is the watch, at $155 from Fossil.

Ok people, I need new suggestions for outfits! 

Til Later!
        ----- D

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dear The North: Your Water Sucks.

I've always lived in the South. Texas, Florida, North Carolina... Always South. And I've only very rarely visited anywhere in the North. So I was a little bit shocked when my family moved to Idaho, and lo and behold- our water is terrible! I've decided that hard water is the worst water on the planet. I might even take disease-infested water over this. It's really that bad.

You name the problems, we've got them: icky residue on our dishes, water stains in the toilets that won't scrub away, milky-white residue all over our shower (it's especially noticeable on the door, of course), hair that I can't brush through... In all honesty, I can deal with a lot of it.

Residue on the dishes? I wipe them really well with a soft towel if I'm able to notice it. Stains in the toilets? Well, they're toilets... Everything about them is icky anyways, but I've been told Bar Keeper's Friend should fix the problem- I've yet to try it though. Residue in the shower? Again, I think the Bar Keeper's Friend will fix it when I finally am able to hunt some down.

The biggest problem is what the water does to our skin and hair- particularly my hair, since it's so long. It's really sort of disgusting. My hair feels dirtier after washing it in the shower than it does before I get in! Talk about frustrating! So what solution was there? Some people say a water softener should help. Personally, I didn't want to spend that kind of money. Plus, they look a little complicated, and I'm sure I would have messed something up. So then I read that a clarifying shampoo would give me good results. Wanting to test this out immediately, I went to Sephora and picked up Carol's Daughter clarifying shampoo and conditioner.

The results were amazing!- at first... The first time I used them, I shampooed and conditioned twice because of the build-up. I got out of the shower and rejoiced when I was able to run a comb through my hair! The next shower, I did only one application. When my hair was dry, I reveled in the fact I could easily run my fingers from root to tip without my fingers feeling coated with gunk afterwards. And so I was happy... for about two weeks or so...

After that point, I started noticing that the underneath side of my hair began to feel ropy. Never fully clean, and looked terrible if I tried doing anything nicer than a messy bun on top of my head. I just couldn't figure out why my miracle hair care regimen had begun to fail me. So, I began to look for more permanent solutions that still did not include a water softener.

I knew that a lot of hardware stores carried water purifiers you could supposedly hook up to a shower head. While looking for one with good reviews, I came across one on Sephora (notice a trend here?).

Couture Colour Resc-Hue Water Purifier:

Now, when I saw this, I was immediately turned off by the price. The unit is $120, and every 6 months the filter part must be replaced. The filters are $55 each, and are also available from Sephora. To me, that's awfully pricey. But then I started reading the reviews. Every symptom I had I could find in the fairly large amount of reviews on the product. And it seemed this water purifier had solved each one of those problems for someone else. Since the item had such rave reviews and identified every issue I was struggling with, I asked the hubby's opinion. Come to find out, even with his military-short haircut, he was experiencing the same gross ickiness with his hair that I was. He agreed to give the product a try. So, I ordered the item online, and anxiously waited to find it at my front door. Unlike some people who had purchased this item, I was prepared. I picked up two really good tips from reading through all of the reviews. And these two tips would have solved most of the problems for people who rated the item down:

1.) Connect the filter to the water pipe with Teflon plumber's tape.

2.) Expect that your water will run black for a few moments right after installation. This residue CAN stain your shower or bath tub, so you can either catch the water in a bucket, or make sure to rinse it all out with the hand-held wand.

Simple enough. We attached the unit, rinsed out the black water, and everything seemed peachy.

We've had the unit for about a week and a half now. At first, the only difference I noticed after the first wash was the difference in my skin. For once, it didn't feel like I was covered in scales. I took this as a good sign. But the under side of my hair was still really gross feeling. The hubby claimed he didn't notice a difference after his first shower. On my second use, I shampooed my hair twice, once flipping my hair completely over and ONLY shampooing the under side specifically. Since then, my hair has not felt weirdly ropy, goopy, or in any other way nasty. It finally feels like hair again!!! Let the celebration begin!!!

There are a couple of downsides I've noticed so far though.

1.) It is rather spendy. $120 for the unit, then $55 every six months? All I have to say to this is that it better continue working amazingly.

2.) It's ugly. Plain and simple, I hate how it looks. I know that's just my personal preference (my husband couldn't care less about what the shower head looks like as long as it gets him clean), but it really is an eye-sore to me.

So, in conclusion, I think I would recommend this to someone with mineral problems in their water. It seems to have solved a very big problem for my family. At least, for now. I will keep posting updates on this product as time wears on though, and we'll see how well it holds up!

Til later!!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Challenge- Accepted: Cheapskate Polyvore Outfit #2

Well, I haven't received any suggestions on outfits to turn into cheapskate versions, so I've decided to make one from one I personally like. It's a super cute outfit, very trendy: colored skinny jeans, bold statement jewelry, loose swing tank. 

Here is the original Polyvore version:

You can view this outfit on Polyvore here.
Total cost of this outfit: $1081!!!!!!!

Here is my cheapened version:

You can view this outfit on Polyvore here.

Total cost of this outfit: $173!!!!!!!!!!

This is less than one-fifth of the price of the original! Still cute? Yes! Very similar? Yes! The most expensive element of this version is the jeggings from Hollister at $50!

Now, to be honest, if I were creating an outfit containing some of these elements from scratch, I would swap out a few things for an additional pop of color. Mostly accessories.

I'd likely use this bag. Don't ask me why, but I couldn't seem to get a pic to upload for it.


Even with these five substitutions, the total cost of my version of the outfit would be: $230!!!

So, that concludes another round of Cheapskate Challenge! I need suggestions for new outfits to re-create, so please leave links in the comments! 

Til Later!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Challenge- Accepted: Cheapskate Versions of Polyvore Outfits

So, a few days ago my friend Lindsay and I were texting back and forth about Pinterest and other things. She commented about loving some of the outfits that get pinned there, and how she wished she could afford the things in her "Pinterest closet". Don't we all? I then replied back that I liked finding outfits I would love to own, and then trying to make super cheap versions of them. Versions normal people could actually afford. Versions that do not include thousand dollar purses, beautiful as they are. This conversation made me think- wouldn't other people like to do that same thing? Maybe they need inspiration, or ideas of where to look. So, I've decided I'd like to do posts about this. Cheap-O versions of some of our adored Polyvore looks. Last night, Lindsay graciously agreed to help get this type of post started by sending me links to two of her favorite outfits. Today I have my own (much cheaper) versions to add! I will certainly admit though, these two outfits were much more challenging than I was anticipating. The reason why: Some elements of both outfits were already so inexpensive that it made it difficult to find cheaper versions. But I persevered!
You can view this outfit on Polyvore here.

Super cute, right? Total cost of this outfit? $794!!!!!!

You can view this outfit on Polyvore here.

Here is my cheaper version. Yes, I realize I used 4 pairs of earrings. The reason is that I felt all four were reasonable replacements for the $25 version of the previous outfit. And they only cost $3.80 per pair from Forever21! So pick your poison (or pick them all, for that matter!). Also, I recommend using two sets of bracelets for the larger quantity of the original. Each set costs $3.90, so again, not really an expensive problem! The most expensive part of this outfit is the leather jacket, at $84 from Wilson's Leather.

Total cost of this outfit? $215.60!!!!!
Yep, total win. We cut the price down almost by 3/4!!!

You can view this outfit on Polyvore here.

I love the trendy cobalt color! Total cost of this outfit? $1403!!!!!!!

Now, I'll have to say- the price may be a poor reflection here. After all, the bag alone was over a thousand dollars! But even so, that puts the rest at around $400 for everything!

You can view this outfit on Polyvore here.

And my version! Yes, I know what you'll say first thing: "You're missing the belt!". Well, that got complicated. The version Lindsay sent me included a pair of belted shorts (shorts that came with the belt pictured) for $15! I'm sad to say, I could not beat that. I didn't find anywhere that had belted shorts cheaper than $15. In my own defense though, that price may have reflected some long-past sale that was taking place as those shorts are no longer available. But I decided that most people have a standard brown belt, so I hunted down some plain white shorts that were cheaper than $15. $11, to be exact. If you do not have a brown belt, and were really wanting belted shorts, I did find a pair for $17 here. On this outfit I will admit, I used jewelry that was more expensive than I'd like on a cheapskate version of anything. But they were the most similar I could find, they were pretty, and they were still way cheaper than the ones used in the original outfit. The same goes for the nail polish. If you compare the prices on the two bottles, you'll see there's only about $2 difference. Yes, there would have been MUCH cheaper nail polishes than Essie. But I ADORE Essie nail polish. I swear by it, I really do. And so, I traded a little bit of quality for price. But again, it is still cheaper than the original. The most expensive article in this outfit is the BCBG purse for $50 from DSW.

Total cost of this outfit? $136!!!!!!!

So, this concludes this cheap fashion challenge. For anyone who reads this, I invite you to leave a comment linking a Polyvore outfit you'd like to see converted to a cheap look-alike! I'd like to make this kind of post somewhat regular, so if I don't start receiving suggestions from other people, you'll just be seeing my own favorites! ;) I also welcome questions about anything I do/am doing!

Til later, stay trendy my friends!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Project of the Day: Rearranging My Shoes

Well, I finally did it. Jumped on the blog band-wagon. Yay, right? For everyone who does not know me in real life, it might help to know that my family moved from North Carolina to Idaho a few months ago while I was a walking whale (pregnant with our newest addition). We bought our first home here, which was super exciting except for the prospect of actually doing the "moving-in" while so huge. My poor husband- what a trooper! He painted our entire house all by himself just because I disliked the color it was! What a rock star, right? Actually he did most of the move-in by himself, poor guy.

While waiting for my little monkey to make his debut, about all I was able to do was some light organizing of our stuff. "Putting away" might be a better way to phrase it. Yes, I know all of this is boring, but I promise I have a point. I arranged our closet, which is a FABULOUS room-sized space. It is seriously fantastic.

Just inside the doorway is a handy set of shelves set into a small recessed area. My first thought: Perfect for my SHOES!!! Now, one thing everyone needs to know- I love shoes. Like, to an unhealthy level. So having my own personal shoe shelves makes me a very happy girl! :) For the time being, I simply shoved all of my shoe boxes onto these shelves (yes, I keep all of my shoes in their original boxes as much as I am able). They were up and out of the way, but not very pretty to look at. 

So today I decided I would end the shoe box mayhem and even enlisted the slave labor of my daughter! And now I have shelves that are much more attractive!

Sorry about the photo quality- although the closet is fantastic, the lighting in it is not. If you can see, most of the shelves are two layers deep with shoes. In order to elevate the second row to be seen, I just used my smallest shoe boxes turned sideways. About two pairs could fit on each shoe box. Hooray shoes! :)

Soon to post:
Testing out a water filter from Sephora: Click me to see!

Cheapskate Polyvore outfit, chosen by my dear friend Lindsay since she was the inspiration for doing this kind of post!

Til Later!