From Trunk to Table!

I mentioned in passing in this post that we are in the process of redoing our master closet. (Yikes, that was a month ago and we haven’t made any progress since!) But we do have the carpet out of there!

Master Closet Makeover

But one positive thing in starting the closet makeover is I had to totally clean it out! And if you remember the pictures from the Under the Staircase Closet , then you know just how much stuff might have been in the master closet!

Back in one corner, under a couple of pillows, bags, and purses, was this trunk that I bought at a garage sale several years ago. Not much to look at, but still in decent condition. (even after two moves) I was using it and another oversize tub to store pictures and scrapbooks. I was able to sort through the pictures (discarding duplicates), throw out old photo albums from the ’70’s, and just get rid of some stuff! What was left fit into a small storage box that now sits on a shelf in the closet!

Coffee Table

So that left me with an empty trunk once again. And this is what I did with it.

Coffee Table

I turned it into a super cute table with storage!

Coffee Table     Coffee Table

It was a pretty simple project. I did the usual primer and paint steps. After it was completely dry, Mr. drilled holes in the bottom and hammered threaded inserts in the inside of the trunk for the legs .

Coffee Table     Coffee Table

To keep paint from getting all over my hands while painting the legs, I poked holes into the bottom of some cheap plastic cups. I was then able to screw the legs into the holes and viola…instant “keep paint off my hands leg holder thingy”!

Coffee Table     Coffee Table

I cut off the old handle, wrapped jute around a piece of cord, and hot glued it in place. I thought this gave it more of a coastal look.

Coffee Table

I plan on using it as a coffee table and storing a couple of light throws and maybe the various remotes we have in it.

Coffee Table before     Coffee Table after

Y’all have a great day!

~

Entryway Makeover: Keeping Memories Alive

WARNING! …if you don’t like painted wood, don’t read any further! There, I warned you.

This piece started out as a 1935 era Singer sewing machine, which belonged to my paternal great-grandma. I remember making Christmas stockings on it when I was in grade school, in the early 1970’s.

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When my great-grandma passed away, my Mamaw inherited it, and around 20 years ago…I inherited it!

My great-grandma and Mamaw. circa 1941

family picture

The cabinet looks in good shape and all in the above picture, but let’s take a closer look…

At some point, the flip lid had been wet and the wood warped and mildewed. Mamaw had covered it with contact paper and this is what it looked like when I took the paper off. Yuck!

Sewing machine cabinet

I’m not sure what this was, (and I don’t think I want to know) but it was not having any part of coming off!

Sewing machine cabinet

And this was just years of wear & tear, dirt, and who knows what all!

Sewing machine cabinet

After three hours of removing screws and hardware, I ended up with this.

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Since the top was pretty much a goner, Mr. cut a new top, I sanded it, and put a dark stain on it. (pretend you don’t see a baggie on my hand! We ran out of gloves!)

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We set up a painting area in the garage for me to spray paint the metal frame. I’m not sure how well everyone else can spray paint, but it’s like a fog storm when I spray paint!! I then put a coat of primer and two coats of Behr Youthful Coral on the drawer boxes and drawers. You might remember that we used this same color in “The Closet Under the Staircase”. You can read about that makeover here, here, and here.

Sewing machine cabinet     Sewing machine cabinet

I painted the side of the drawers white so they would look pretty when pulled out. And the ornate work on the sides of the frame really popped once we painted them white!

desk after     Sewing machine cabinet

My entryway has been bare and boring since we moved in 2 1/2 years ago. But no more!

desk after

beach decor

And of course, we always have to have that before and after shot!

desk before     desk after

I’m super thrilled with the finished product and with my entryway all together! Instead of just being pushed into a corner and gathering dust, I’m able to use my desk everyday and enjoy the memories of where it came from!

Y’all have a great day!

~

“Be~You~tiful” Jewelry Vanity

My daughter was given this secretary desk a few years ago but has never had the room for it in her apartment; therefore, it has been stored in our garage this whole time. And since I have been looking at several different ways to store my jewelry, I thought this little desk would fit the job!

Jewelry Vanity

But it wasn’t in the best of shape. In fact, it was in pretty bad shape! I removed the drop down piece entirely, as the wood veneer on the front of it was peeling off and it would have caused more damage if we had tried to remove it completely. (we tried…no success) And due to the fact that it is so extremely humid here, one of the drawer shelves had completely fallen off. So after quite a bit of wood glue and wood filler, Mr. used clamps to hold everything in place and we left it to dry overnight.

Jewelry Vanity.9

Once it was primed and painted, I made a pattern on the computer and printed out what I wanted to paint on the desk part of my vanity. Talk about nerve-wracking!! I’m not a fan of painting words, but I’m pleased with how it turned out.

Jewelry Vanity.7

I changed the original wooden knobs to a simple, brushed nickel for the top drawers and glass knobs for the lower drawer. I then had to decide what to do with the drawers. I used cord piping and velveteen fabric and made a ring holder out of one of the top drawers. I cut individual pieces of the cord to fit into the drawer, then wrapped and glued each piece with fabric. Then I glued each one in place in the drawer.

Jewelry Vanity.4

Jewelry Vanity.5

Jewelry Vanity.6

And viola…ring holder!

Jewelry Vanity.8

I then made a template for the large lower drawer and cut velveteen to fit into it to hold my bracelets.

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Jewelry Vanity.10

We’re in the process of doing a master closet makeover and I’m hoping to make room in our closet for this. How awesome will it be to have my jewelry right there while picking out my clothes for the day!

Of course, we have to have a before and after shot!

before       after

Y’all have a great day! And remember to always “Be You”!

Be-You-tiful 2

 ~

Upcycled Kitchen Island

Hey everyone! Hope everyone is having a great Tuesday!

I’m back after a three month absence and have lots to share with you, and am so excited about the first project I have to show you!

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If you read this post, you’ll remember this initially started out as a four drawer chest of drawers that somehow ended up looking like this after our move from Oklahoma to Houston!

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Not wanting to give up on using this piece somewhere in our house, I moved it into the kitchen and laid the leftover piece of quartz from our countertops on top of it. I wanted to make sure there was enough room in the kitchen and to see if we would really use it enough to justify a kitchen island. There was and we did!

So I got to work! I removed the front piece between where the top and second drawer should be and the bottom trim piece. They didn’t fit the look I was going for.

DSCN3356     DSCN3502

I then had to fill in LOTS of scratches, dings, and holes with wood filler; even rebuilding a corner that had been knocked off on one of the drawers. Mr. added beadboard to the sides and back that was leftover from our backsplash we installed back in February. He also cut out a shelf to go above the top drawer.

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I primed and painted the chest and the drawers with a white enamel and added hardware that matched our kitchen cabinets. I painted the outer sides of the drawers a fun color (same as the kitchen desk) and lined them and the shelf with the cute paper that I’m lining the bottom kitchen cabinets with. We had the edges of the quartz top smoothed & polished and glued it on using Liquid Nails.

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But who knew that the little towel rods on the sides would be the hardest items to find! I wanted something that wasn’t big or that would stick out. We went to several stores with no luck! I searched online with no success! The closest I had found was a special order drawer pull at Home Depot for $20! That was what I had paid for the entire chest at the auction!! We finally found what I was looking for at Ikea. Two for $7.99! Score! They were perfect to hang my towels Mr. bought me in Galveston!

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This gives me a place to store my plastic containers and lids, my crock with my cake decorating spatulas, a few of my cookbooks, and those cute whale measuring cups that my daughter gave to me at Christmas!

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And one more look at the before and after.

DSCN3356     DSCN3551

Y’all have a great day!

~

And More Coupons, Groupons, and Savings

Hey everyone! The daughter is back with tips on how to save money when eating out. Be sure and read her other savings tips HERE and HERE.

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Advertisements & Restaurant Offers

While we don’t pay attention to very many advertisements or sales in the weekly that comes in the mail, I do flip through to watch for coupons to restaurants that we frequent. I love Genghis Grill and eat there at least once a month if possible. Luckily, they occasionally include mail-outs in the weekly that include the same three coupons every time, two of which fit our eating habits and save us a few bucks every time we go in. We rarely eat there without a coupon now and let the expiration dates of the coupons determine when we do and don’t eat there. Subway and McDonalds also have coupons in our weekly that add up to huge savings: McDonalds will have a free drink with the order of a quarter-pounder and Subway—I love this—sends out a page of six coupons, all of which are buy one 6-inch and get one 6-inch for free. How amazing is that?! That means that, if we drink pop from our fridge and eat chips in our pantry instead of buying them with the meals, my roommate and I can get two 6-inch subs for around $4-5 for our entire meal. While we have to be careful and only use them occasionally, like once a week, so that we don’t end up spending more money than we would have without the coupons, we have adjusted our fast food habits to follow coupons.

While we’re on the topic of eating out, watch your receipts for opportunities to complete an online survey of your experience to receive a discount on your next purchase. McDonalds often offers these at the bottom of their receipts where you fill in a code given to you at the end of the survey. Take the receipt and code with you on your next visit and you can get a free breakfast sandwich or even a free quarter-pounder. Fancier restaurants, such as Olive Garden, offer you a chance to win $1000 instead, which isn’t quite as instantaneously gratifying; however, we found that, after completing a survey due to a very isolated bad experience at their restaurant, we had been enrolled in their email system. A week later we received a coupon for 15% off a to-go order. Discounted Olive Garden at home while surfing Netflix? Yes, please.

If you are on social media, like the pages for your favorite restaurants. Recently my roommate was excited to see that it was Australia Day (celebrating her favorite continent), and, when she got on Facebook, she saw where Outback had posted a Facebook-only, one-day coupon celebrating the holiday. We took it in and got our choice of a free appetizer or dessert. After eating our free appetizer, we ordered smaller steaks because we had already eaten so much along with their free bread and left the restaurant with leftovers and a great meal that had totaled around $25. Don’t forget to ask for a little extra of the freebies at restaurants when you take home your leftovers. Outback occasionally will give you bread to take home, and Olive Garden has always let us take extra breadsticks and salad home with our doggie bags.

If you get desperate to really save, feel free to steal our eating motto: Leftovers, leftovers, leftovers! You should wave your fork in the air while shouting it to get the full effect.

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My favorite restaurant coupon is Chick-fil-a. On several occasions, I have received a receipt that asks the customer to take a quick online survey. In return, you can get a free Chick-fil-a sandwich! Yum!

Y’all have a great day! Later gators!

More Coupons, Groupons, and Savings

Last time my daughter was here, she shared when and how she decided to take control of her money. (you can read her first post of this series HERE) Today she is giving her tips on using coupons.

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Coupons

I used to hate using coupons because it felt like a long process of finding the ones I needed, calculating the best buy, and waiting through the dreaded issue of a cashier having issues scanning them. However, I decided to give them a go again last month, and we will have saved almost $50 by the end of this month with coupons alone. The easiest way to find relevant coupons is through the mail. Some larger companies will send coupons directly to you, not as part of a newspaper advertisement. Our local Ford dealership, for example, sends me a coupon every few months for a discounted oil change that is the same price as most other places nearby, but their offer includes a multi-point inspection for my car and a few other services that I would otherwise need to pay for. I might pay the same price for the oil change, but I am saving on car maintenance.

My main destination for coupons is www.coupons.com. They have a random assortment of coupons ranging on topics from food to beauty products to household items. I can usually find at least 10-15 when I look at the website every week or two, and the coupons are set to have an expiration date of one month after you print them. So you have a while to use them. They also bring over coupons from other sites, such as P&G coupons, which cover brands such as Bounty and Charmin. The savings is not always massive. Sometimes it’s only $0.25 off of a pack of Bounty napkins or $1.00 off a 12-count of toilet paper, but it adds up if you do it regularly. One major downside is that the program it uses to print the coupons requires you to install the Coupon Printer program on your computer, and—this is just awful—it only seems to work on Internet Explorer. The time spent waiting on IE to load is worth the savings to me, though. P&G has their own coupon website as well for major brands of household items that we use, but, as I said, they are often imported to coupons.com. I usually double-check it anyway just to be certain that I haven’t missed anything.

Don’t forget to check your actual products for coupons as well. Chili’s restaurant came out with frozen meals a while back (yes, they are delicious), and, to encourage people to continue to buy their products, they printed inside the meals’ boxes a coupon for $1.00 off the purchase of two of their frozen meals. Again, it’s not a large savings, but I liked the meals and was going to buy them anyway. That’s the important thing to keep in mind—if you are going to buy the products anyway, especially if you can save by buying items like household goods in bulk, you might as well take the time to save some money in the process. I have found coupons for products in frozen meal boxes, dry goods boxes, cat litter tubs, cat food sacks, and tons of other places. Companies realize that you have choices, and they want to give you another reason to use their brands. I don’t know about you, but letting me save a few bucks on something I already buy makes me like a company all the more.

If you are lucky enough to live in an area with stores that offer discounts, rewards, or specific coupons, by all means use them for all they are worth! We frequent two stores when it comes to groceries and household goods: Target and HEB. Target is nation-wide, and we use them primarily for their pharmacy. We have always had luck with friendly and knowledgeable pharmacists at Target, to the point that they know us by name when we walk up and we know more about our their personal lives than we probably should. So we do our prescriptions exclusively at Target, which comes with a great rewards program. After filling so many prescriptions, we receive a 5% off coupon for an entire purchase. As far as I know, there are no restrictions on what the coupon can be used for. So we occasionally use those for larger purchases if it will save us money in the long run, or we use it for a few small items, like vitamin waters that are practically the same price there as anywhere else, and save that extra 5%. For everything else, we shop at HEB, which has a fantastic coupon program. I’m sure they have a system to it, but it looks random—there are yellow coupons for savings or deals, i.e. buy a pack of hotdogs and get a pack of buns for free, hanging all over the store for particular products. Sometimes you can save several dollars just with the in-store offers. However, if you are using conflicting coupons that you have printed from a website or manufacturer, do the math and see which coupon actually saves you more money. Watch the fine print as well. I’m not sure where the people on those coupon-crazed shows shop, but all of my coupons have small print that say they cannot be combined with other offers and the total savings cannot exceed the value of the product. In other words, don’t plan on being one of those people who use multiple coupons and end up having the store pay them at the end of the transaction.

You might be like I was a few years ago and wonder if all of this coupon…let’s call it hoarding because I feel like that’s how I am right now…if all of this coupon hoarding really saves that much in the end. Take our last shopping trip as an example. We were sick last weekend and so missed our regular two-week shopping trip as well as ran out of nearly everything before we made it to the store this week. By everything I mean we had a box of tissues, a twelve-pack of toilet paper, and half a twelve-pack of Dr. Pepper left. That was it. We walked into the store with 18 coupons, 15 of which we used, and we added three coupons along the way thanks to in-store coupon savings. We stocked up on enough meats, meals, dry goods, lunch items, and snacks to last us at least two more weeks, maybe three if we are thrifty. We bought more household goods than normal, but I had several big savings coupons, and household items won’t go bad. As long as you have the storage and available funds, buying them in bulk and saving is a good scheme—and I don’t mean buying them in bulk at Sam’s where you pay a membership fee, which can sometimes be more expensive than it’s worth. When we checked out, I looked at the receipt to see that we had saved a penny on brand savings (a penny here, a penny there), $1.55 on in-store savings, and $23 on manufacturer coupons. In total we saved $24.50, which was more than 10% of our total bill, and we walked out with a free comb—I needed one for my cat, but the in-store coupon saved more than the value of the comb; so I bought a two pack for $1 more that included a new one for me, which I actually needed, and with the coupon came out at the cost of a single comb so it was like getting the second for free—and a free air freshner plug-in. That coupon clearly stated that buying a refill pack came with a free Glade air freshner plug-in. We already use them in the apartment around the cats’ litter boxes and needed refills, so why not use a coupon and get a free plug-in to keep another room smelling fresh? With the $11 we saved on our last visit, that took us to $35 in total savings on groceries and household items. After taking my car to the Ford dealership next week and receiving a little free maintenance, we will be at about $50 a month in savings or free services. Add that up over a year, and we’re looking at almost $600 in savings in 2015!

And just in case you need one more incentive to start couponing: I haven’t stepped foot in a Wal-Mart in almost a year. I am spending the same amount or less than when I shopped there, and the food quality is also better. I don’t know about you, but that is a lifelong dream come true for me.

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Kudos to my daughter for saving when and where she can! She’ll be back next week talking about advertisement & restaurant offers.

Y’all have a great day! Later gators!

Beach Picture Collage

On Valentine’s Day, Mr. and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary! Yes, I made it easy for him to NEVER forget our anniversary! :-)

For his present this year, I had come up with the idea of putting together a collage of beach pictures, since we love the beach, water, and everything ocean! So off to the beach I went to take pictures. Funny how that sounds like it was more of a present to me!! An afternoon at the beach…one of my favorite things to do! So I told him I had errands to do, swung by and picked up my daughter and her roommate, and off to Galveston we went.

And four hours later of “running errands”, this is what we ended up with.

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Anniversary 5

Anniversary 4

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And no trip is complete without pictures of the ocean…

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Anniversary 1

 

And this is the collage that I had made for him. He loved it!

beach collage

Special thanks to my daughter who did the writing in the sand for me! I had a really fun time doing this with the girls.

Happy Anniversary, Mister! I Love You!

Y’all have a great day! Later gators!