Are you making money for shopping online?

Let me preface this post by saying that this company has absolutely no clue who I am, and has no influence over this post whatsoever.   However…if you click the links I’ve provided AND sign up, I get a referral bonus.  Please do not feel obligated to click the links I’ve provided

With that being said…

Have you heard of Ebates?  If you haven’t checked them out yet, you should!  Go ahead…you know you want to!

Source

If you’re like me,  you probably do a good bit of shopping online.  Having a little one, I find shopping is a little more…challenging.  So if I can, I do my shopping (especially for gifts) online.  That’s where Ebates comes in.  They give their members money for shopping online (in the form of cash back) as well as provide them with coupon codes for certain online companies.

When I first heard about Ebates, I thought “cool! what’s the catch??”

There isn’t one…unless you consider logging into their site and clicking the “shop now” button prior to making a purchase online a catch.  If you do, then they’ve gone ahead and made it a step easier by providing you with the ability to add a button to your web browser which automatically activates cash back for you when you are shopping (I’m loving this feature, by the way.  I don’t have to remember to go to Ebates first- one less step!)  They also just came out with an iphone/ipad app- I haven’t checked this out yet but I am planning on doing so soon!!

The nicest part about Ebates is that you do not store your credit card information with them (or shop with a particular card).  Their customer service is awesome too- they usually credit my account with cash back within a few days.  If they haven’t though, all I have to do is send them my original order information and cash back is credited to my account the same day- sometimes within the same hour of my inquiry.

I have been using Ebates since 2011- and I’m not a HUGE spender online, but they’ve already paid me almost $200 cash back.  Pretty awesome!

So, what are you waiting for?  Go check them out and get yourself some cash back!!  And have a wonderful weekend friends!

Advertisements

How to frugally prepare for a baby

Hi everyone!  I’m guest posting today over at Frugal Portland– sharing some tips on how to frugally prepare for a baby (not that I’m claiming to be an expert in this subject yet, but I thought I’d share what I’ve learned along the way so far).  Come on over and say hello!!

https://i2.wp.com/frugalportland.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/copy-header5.png

DIY art

Ok, I’m finally going to write a DIY post- I know, it’s been a little while.

So has anyone seen the crayon art kicking around Pinterest lately?  When I first saw that I was like “I can do that!!  It’d be so fun in a kid’s room!!  Oh wait, we don’t have kids.  Hmmm.”  Then I saw this one, and thought it’d be a different twist, plus something I could hang in a guest room.

This turned out to be a pretty cheap project.  I got two 2-packs of 11×14 canvases from Hobby Lobby**- they were $5.99 per pack and 30% off on top of that.  I also picked up some silk flowers- two single stemmed gerbera daisies and a bouquet of orange/yellow/pink/purple daisies- these were all 50% off, so my total at Hobby Lobby was just under $16.  Then I went to Office Max** and picked up some crayons.  I did this project right around the time school was starting again, and I got a super great deal on crayons.  I knew I’d need a lot, especially because I was only planning on using the greens/yellows/oranges.  Crayolas are expensive- and Office Max’s biggest box was 64, for around $5 a box.  Eek.  I happened to walk by a display that had generic brand crayons (eh- a crayon is a crayon right?  especially when using it for melting, not coloring) that were 2 boxes for $3 (!!!!).  I snatched up 8 boxes for just over $12 and ran out of the store (well, I paid for them first of course…)

I then spent the next 4 years hours peeling the labels off my crayons.  I really didn’t care for the labels being on the crayons, and since it’s a guest room, I didn’t want it to look too childish.  This was quite a bit of work, but worth it in the end, I think.

After I finished peeling, I lined up my crayons along the bottom of my canvases, in a random assortment of colors, and hot glued them all down. (Leave it to me to once again not take “during” photos…sigh). Then I took them outside and used my blow dryer to make them melt!  I found out that the higher the speed, the more the wax spatters on your canvas, so go slow when applying heat to your crayons.  And you have to hold your hair dryer pretty close to the crayons to get them to melt.  After I was done melting, I just popped the flowers off the stems and glued them onto the canvases.

Want to see the finished product?

Tada!  Excuse the unmade bed- our kitties have been sleeping up here lately and they get fur everywhere

I also made one using just blue/grey/silver crayons- I thought it turned out pretty neat as well:

I love the way the silver looks melted

And an up-close:

Here you can see some crayon spatters, but I was able to cover a lot of them up with the flowers

  What do you think?  I thought it was a fun, easy, relatively cheap project- under $30 for 4 pieces of art for that room.  Plus hours of endless entertainment peeling crayons right?  Haha.

Has anyone else out there attempted their version?

**Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated in any way by this company for this post.

Mirror makeover

Happy Monday!  I hope your weekend was great!

Today I’m going to tell you how we framed our bathroom mirrors- because I must have done 5 million (no exaggeration here folks) Google searches in order to figure out how to do our mirrors.  There are SO many different ways to frame mirrors out there, including kits that you can buy.  I’m going to add my tutorial to the list- I’m not saying it’s the best, but it was simple and involves very few tools.

Here are the supplies you’ll need:

1.  Square or rectangular mirror
2.  Low profile mirror clips
3.  Pine base molding (we got ours at Home Depot- Home Depot** will cut it for you, or they usually have a hand saw in the lumber area where you can make your own cuts)
4.  Miter box saw
5.  Mirror adhesive
6.  Pre-stain wood conditioner (recommended for soft woods such as pine)
7.  Sandpaper (150/220 grit, just to smooth down the edges where you make your cuts)
8.  Stain color of your choice
9.  Polyurethane of your choice

First, you’ll want to remove your mirror from the wall.  Then, measure the dimensions of your mirror and figure out how much of your mirror you want to frame.  We did ours a little “wonky” because of the location of the holes for the original mirror clips.  Basically we had a GIANT mirror hung on the bathroom wall with 4 plastic flowers that had screws running through them, inset ~4″ from the edge of the mirror.  I wish I had a picture.  I don’t.  It was hideous, trust me.  I guess lucky us that the mirror wasn’t also glued to the wall.  Anyway- so we had the holes cut off the mirror- again, lucky us that the mirror was giant because we did have to cut off quite a lot.  Here’s a terrible drawing from mspaint to illustrate:

The dots are where the flower clips were and the lines show where we had the mirror cut down

 

Because we’d made the mirror narrower when we had it cut, we didn’t want to cover up a bunch of it with frame- we wanted to keep it’s original rectangle shape.  So we decided to go with this plan for framing (again, excuse the terrible mspaint drawing):
The red is the edges of the mirror and the brown is the wooden frame we made

This way, the frame would conceal the new clips, but not cover up a ton of the mirror’s surface.  After settling on this method, we then placed our molding pieces on the mirror and measured the length that each board needed to be on its outside edge (the longest edge).  Then we went out and cut each board at a 45 degree angle with the miter box saw.  Pine is soft enough to be able to make the cuts with the miter box saw- which is good because we don’t own a miter saw!
After making the cuts, we sanded down the edges and the faces of the boards to make them nice and smooth, and then prepped the wood with a wood conditioner.  This allows the soft pine wood to better accept the stain.  
We stained the pieces according to the directions on the stain can (we used a tiny can of Minwax English Chestnut and had enough to do both mirrors, plus some extra).  Make sure you stain the back of the wood as well, because you will see a little bit of it in the mirror.  After the stain was dry, we applied several thin coats of polyurethane (Minwax fast drying poly in satin).  Alternatively, you can get a stain with a poly built in- I used this on our coffee table and it worked great.  Or, if you don’t like stain, you can paint the frame.  Your choice!  
Once the frame pieces are dry, you’ll want to glue them to your mirror (*NOTE* This is why we used the pine molding, because it was very lightweight and could be glued easily, without fear of it falling off.  Also, you need to make sure you use glue rated for mirrors).  We glued the edges first, because they were going to be fully glued to the mirror and we could easily line them up with the sides.  Plus we needed to hang the mirror back on the wall with the clips before attaching the top and bottom pieces.  Once the sides were fully attached (about a day of drying), we took the mirror back inside and hung it on the wall with our low profile mirror clips.  Then, we glued the top and bottom on to the mirror.  We were able to use the side pieces and a little bit of painter’s tape to keep them in place.  You’ll want to make sure you keep the door closed and turn on the bathroom fan during this process, because the mirror glue is very smelly.  Here’s the finished product:

Loving that stained glass in there…

And a couple close ups:

The stain really brought out the pretty wood grain of the molding

Mitered corners- if you don’t get your miter cuts just right, you can fill in the gap with some wood putty that accepts stain.  If you decide to paint your frame, fill in the gap with some paintable caulk or spackle. 

Ta-da!  Not too difficult and it dresses up a mirror nicely.  Plus, it’s affordable.  All in all, we spent around $55 per mirror to get this project done- $20 to have the mirror cut down, about $15 for the molding (our mirrors are about 4ft long x 3ft wide), $20 for the stain and poly and wood conditioner (which we used on both mirrors and still have some leftover), $8 for 2 packs of mirror clips, $5 for mirror adhesive and $8 for the saw kit.  If you don’t have to cut your mirror down, you could easily do a large mirror for $35- WAY cheaper than those mirror kits!!

Framing the bathroom mirrors has to be one of my favorite projects that we’ve done in the house- a lot of impact for very little effort.

What do you think?

**Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated by this company in any way for this post.

Changin’ it up

I am the WORST blogger ever- almost 1 year (!!) between posts.  I don’t know if I’m cut out for this blogging thing or not, but I’m going to give it a try…again.  Got a little push this morning from Kim at NewlyWoodwards who linked my blog on her post this morning (eek)

So we’ve changed a few things since the last time I blogged…here’s the latest.  First- the coffee table that was my 2nd blog post EVER…had to go.  Insert giant sad face here.  It just wasn’t working for the space- it was GIANT.  And blocked the view of the fireplace.  And threatened to give me a hernia every time I needed to move it to vacuum.  It did serve as a good hider of dog toys and blankets, but after living with it for over a year, in various arrangements, I’d had enough.  See these pictures as evidence of the monstrous beast:

The coffee table shortly after we moved in and set up the living room

The most current state of the coffee table

 So I was on the hunt for a new coffee table.  Enter Craigslist.  I was hoping for something round, with glass.  Something not so giant and heavy and fireplace-blocking.  After a few days of browsing, I found one I liked! It was being sold by a college student for $20.  My husband and I went to pick it up- and it was rough.  The good: round-ish shape. solid wood. glass top.  The bad: wood was scratched.  finish wasn’t great.  The ugly: the glass was scratched.  the bottom was wicker and coming off.  there may have been dog fur involved.  My husband was NOT thrilled, to say the least (I *might* have made him go get it after work.  With my bike in the back of the truck.  And I *might* have neglected to tell him there was a glass top involved.  Whoopsies.)  Now, here’s where the bad blogger comes in to play- I have NO before/during pics.  None.  Zip, zero, nada.  Shame on me.  But here’s what I did, since obvs this little table couldn’t live in our living room in its current condition:

1. Clean off dust and hair, remove wicker bottom
2. Clean glass top and frost- I had to cover up the scratches somehow, so frosting came to mind.  I frosted both sides with a spray can of window frosting, then spray poly’d the side that would be facing up. 
3. Sand, sand, sand and sand the wood (I highly recommend an electric sander for this part.  I used a Black n’ Decker mouse with 80 grit sandpaper, then 200 grit for the final sanding).  Sanding revealed some beautiful wood grain- yay!!
4. Stain.  I used a stain with polyurethane built in- Minwax Polyshades.  This is pretty simple to use- wipe on, allow to dry (I did this in 90+ degree temps with 90+% humidity- so I gave it 24 hours or more between coats).  Sand in between coats with 000 steel wool (found in the sandpaper aisle at the hardware store).  When I say sand I mean lightly rub- just enough to scuff up the finish.  Then rinse and repeat steps- I did this 3 times. 

Want to see the final product?  Excuse the terrible cell phone pics (bad blogger, bad!).  My husband’s opinion (who was a skeptic the ENTIRE process, but really, who can blame him?):  He loves it!  Yay!!

Ta-da!  I love it- it makes the living room feel SO much more open. 

And a close up to see the frosted top and newly stained wood.  *Note: After using the top for a few weeks, the frosting has stayed put.  However, I’ve touched the underside a couple of times and that has not held up as well.  My plan is to remove the glass, touch up the frosted underside and poly that side as well*

 Does this coffee table look familiar to anyone?  Yep, Katie Bower at BowerPower has a very similar one– in fact, when I saw ours on Craigslist I knew I had to have it, I’d loved the look of hers!  I didn’t get quite the deal that she did, but I still think I got a good deal.  Total spent: $34.  $20 for the table.  $10 for the sand paper.  $4 for the frosting spray.  We already had the stain (which was one of those teeny tester cans- these last forever. I swear I have enough for another table) and the poly.  Plus I was able to re-sell the monstrous coffee table for what we paid for it ($150).  All in all, not too shabby.

Fingers crossed I can stick with this blogging thing- I have a lot more things to share!!

Happy holidays…

Watch out- two posts in one day, I’m on a roll!

So the holidays are coming up…in fact we’ve actually celebrated one Thanksgiving and one Christmas already!  We live WAY far away from any family (my husband and I are both from Washington State, currently residing in Georgia) so we’ve had to get a little creative about the holidays the past two years we’ve been here.  And we don’t even have kids…imagine how that will complicate things…OK let’s not talk about that yet.  So anyway- my parents came out to visit this past week and so we decided to have an early Thanksgiving and Christmas with them.  There was even a turkey and a mini Christmas tree!

Anyway- the point of this post was to talk about one of my favorite ways of staying in touch with people during the holiday season, especially those that live far away from you…holiday cards!  I started sending holiday cards after my husband and I got married- since we’d formed our own little family, holiday cards seemed to be the perfect way to update people on our lives.  Each year I do something a little different.  I used to make them- hand stamping/embossing every one, but I’ve gotten a little lazy the past few years and found that photo cards are a great way to update people- especially the grandparents.  So I was getting ready to browse the photo card selection when I stumbled upon this great offer by Shutterfly.  Awesome!!!  I love Shutterfly- I’ve used them in the past for Christmas cards and other projects with excellent results.

When my parents were visiting I had my mom take a photo of us in our backyard with her fancy pants new camera:

I’m thinking it will look pretty nice on one of these cards:

1. Birdie branch
2. Starry snowflakes
3. Holiday berries

Hopefully the husband will agree!!

Thanks so much Shutterfly!

Bargain hunting…

While we don’t technically own the house yet (*stamps feet impatiently* 2 more weeks!) I have still been doing some bargain hunting for things to furnish/decorate the new digs.  
Enter Bargain #1- Coffee table from Craigslist (I heart Craigslist). 
(Please ignore dog toys and the fact that it appears to take up our entire living room, because our current living room is the size of a clown car).
This solid wood (no veneer people!) beauty was $150- a steal considering it’s in terrific shape and purchased new would have set us back almost $500.  It’s got some neat craftsman like details, and seems to suit our design aesthetic (which I’m calling a blend between traditional and contemporary- I think some call in transitional?)   The wicker baskets run the entire width of the table and have already become home to blankets and pillows that would otherwise clutter the couch.  Plus I can remove these entirely for a completely different look, and use them elsewhere in the house. 
Because I can’t leave well enough alone, I immediately went in search of new hardware for the “drawer” pulls (actually doors- would have preferred them to be drawers as this would be useful for remotes, coasters, etc- but beggars can’t be choosers).  Of course these “drawer” pulls are an odd size- 4.5″ to be exact.  Everything I liked at Home Depot was either 4″ or 5″.  Sigh.  So, plan B.  Spray paint.  (I have a feeling spray paint and I are going to become BFF’s this year).  I found some “brushed nickel” spray paint ($7 for a can, which saves me almost $10 in the end considering there are 4 drawer pulls and replacing all 4 would have cost a little over $16) and went to town.  The result?  Satisfactory- I give it a B+.  I wouldn’t use this paint to change everything from _______ to brushed nickel (insert your metal of choice), but it does the job for this table.  I’ll post some more pics of the table once I finish with its makeover- since it’s so much larger than our old coffee table, it needs some substantial decor, don’t you think?
Bargain #2- Mirror from Target** (or as we like to call it…Tar-jay…ooooh la la!  I also heart Tar-jay, almost as much as Craigslist**…)
It’s 2 ft high by 3 feet wide, and I think it will make a great statement over our fireplace-
(Current owner’s furnishings, but you get the idea…)
I’ve wanted to hang a mirror over a fireplace for a long time, and I think this one fits the bill.  I’m hoping it will reflect some extra light in the room and make the room (which is long but not overly wide) seem larger than it already is.   I really like the clean, but substantial, lines of the frame and the dark color will fit in well with the framed photos we already have (or I can paint it later on to lighten things up if it becomes too heavy looking in the room).  This mirror was listed for $59.99, which is actually a pretty good deal considering its size and the fact that the frame is wood- but I got it for $45 as Target is currently running a sale.  With tax and shipping it came in right around $60.  Unfortunately this mirror isn’t available in stores, so running to my local store wasn’t an option.  But I still think it was a pretty good deal overall…
Stay tuned for more bargains…and a coffee table update at some point


**Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated in any way by these companies for this post