Our Homeschool Room Makeover

This post is so long overdue, that I hesitated even posting it today, but I decided that in order to show you any future improvements to this room, I needed to catch you up to where it is now.

Our dining room is where we have our homeschool most days, unless the sun is calling us out to the deck.  We only use the table for the kids to eat on holidays, so using the table in the dining room doesn’t conflict with meal times.  We use our big bar that is between the kitchen and dining room for all other meals.

My future house (we are hoping for a big move in next year or two) will have an area for a big table, not a formal dining area since we are just not that formal, but a place to fit a table like this.  I already have hubby looking for just the right wood!  I just love that table!

Back to the makeover now.  It’s time for the before pictures.

wall 1 before

The dining room is situated where it is the main traffic area through the house, making it a poor choice for a dining area, but a great area for a school room.  This opening leads to two bedrooms and a bathroom.

wall 1 corner before

This is the corner of the first wall and the second wall.  The one section of wall has the return air vent and the thermostat, making it harder to hang big items on the wall.  To the left is the opening into the living room.  The opening is large, which gives this house a nice open feeling to it.  It originally had french doors on it that swung into the living room, but they just didn’t have a purpose and they covered valuable wall space.

wall 2 & 3 before

A view of the other corner, our table and our big window.  I considered recovering the fabric on the chairs, but it is in great condition and it kind of gives the school room a retro funky happy feel.

chair 2

The rug, it definetly needs to go, but rugs are a tad bit expensive, so maybe I will find a nice one on sale or at a yard sale.  We will see.

wall 3 & 4 before

This photo is a tab bit blurry, but I wanted you to see this last section of the room.  This is the view looking into the kitchen.  I bet you get that point.

We need some color.

ceiling before

My ceiling.  No light.  A few years ago I was dusting the ceiling fan and it fell off the ceiling. Fortunately nobody got hurt, but I decided to take the fan to another room that needed its broken fan replaced.  We didn’t use this ceiling fan in here, but we did need a light.

Fast forward a few years, we still needed a light.  I hate picking these things out and they are so darn expensive.

THE MAKEOVER 

school room paint

I started this makeover by researching ideas for the color of walls for north facing rooms.  I decided that I needed to get something with blue tones in it.

I found this paint at Walmart that I liked called Wishful Thinking (shade of gray) by ColorPlace.  It was only around $18 a gallon compared to the excessive prices elsewhere, and I am all about saving money, or spending less of my hard earned money.  You know what?  I can’t tell that it is any different than many other paints.  I even have enough left over to paint that hallway that comes into the side of the room.  Just gotta get on that one.

Next it was time to find a light that I liked.  I am really a fan of school house lights, but I didn’t really want to pay the price of some of these lights, so I went to looking online at Lowes.  I ended up finding this one and figured I could paint it to look like one of those high dollar school house lights.

I haven’t painted it yet, but will probably do it after we get some more color in the room.  I’m thinking about what exactly I want to do with it.

Don’t worry, I will try to be more prompt with my room updates from now on.

lightIt’s not huge, it’s not as pretty as those others, but its functional and only cost me $44.97. Since we aren’t planning on being in this house for too much longer, that is all I really wanted to spend, otherwise I would have to tell potential buyers “you get the house, but not the light”!

So now I have a bunch of pictures of the after.  Keep in mind, it’s still in progress.  We have a few more things we want to do.

wall 1

I switched out my cabinets.  This black one was in the living room, so I just moved the brown one into the living room and brought this one in for school supplies.

school cabinet

It was nice to get things organized and give them a place.

spice cabinet

I love using things that I already have, which makes for a frugal project.  Using this old spice cabinet that used to belong to my grandparents fit in perfectly.  It also holds many small things that would normally be in a desk drawer.

brown cabinet

This vintage child sized wardrobe remained where it was in the room, but it got a good cleaning and organization.

brown cabinet inside

I love being able to store my printer inside.  It works great for printing and I don’t have to look at it when it’s not in use.

small cabinet

This small cabinet was in my attic for a future building project, but I decided that the theme didn’t really work for me anymore, so I was gonna sell it at our yard sale.  Well I had it out, but luckily nobody wanted it for $10.  So I had a light bulb moment (I don’t know what took me so long) and decided that I would keep it and paint it.

little cabinet after

I just took the door off, took it outside, taped it off and sprayed it with a few coats of chalkboard paint.  The paint cost me $4.97, but will be able to be used on a few projects.

I may eventually paint the sides a different color, but for now it’s really cute.  It stores more books too!  Every school room needs more book space.

wall 2 & 3 after

This is the corner next to the window.  It’s the 3rd before picture above.

I found this great little dresser at Goodwill for $20 and thought it would be a great addition to our room for daily supplies.  The girls have the top drawer for pencils, rulers, notepads, markers and more.

The second and third drawers hold each of their books, notebooks and binders they use each day.  They love having their own drawer.

The bottom drawer is for the teachers books.

I couldn’t find a before picture of this dresser.  It was brown, scratched and ugly, but it had great potential.  It’s is solid wood though, and who doesn’t love solid wood?

The two black picture frames above the dresser came from Hobby Lobby and hold art made by my girls.  They cost $5 each during a 50% off sale.  I need another one now.  I have a picture made by each girl, but only have 2 of them hung.  I cannot be a bad momma!

If you’ve been around these parts you might remember that plant sand/stool, but if not you can see how and where I got it and it’s friend.

dresser top

I spent $2.99 on the little basket I found at Savers.  It holds the crayons we need each day and looks so cute atop this little dresser.

The lettered basket on the left holds many of the phonics helps that we are needing right now.  I used a coupon at Hobby Lobby and scored it for only $5.99.  I just love how the letters on it add to the theme of this room being a school room.

The other items you see in the rooom are things we already had.  So I included only the items we bought for the total cost of this project.

I realized after writing this post that I don’t have pictures of some areas of the room, so next week I will take pictures of where we are at right now.  So you can see the big picture.

I will have a new camera, so the pictures will be much better quality!  I’m so excited.

Right now the total spent in this room is at $124.92.  Pretty darn good to me.  Now I could have done without a few things and it would be a lot cheaper, but I had certain things I wanted to achieve.  I still don’t think that is a bad amount at all.

I hope you enjoyed the tour.

Do you have any suggestions for our room?  What do you think about our updated room?

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5 Frugal Ideas For Bag Clips

If you are like my family, you are always searching for a bag clip to close something up, but it seems you can never find one.  I’m not really sure what “eats” those bag clips, but they seem to disappear for a while only to reappear later.

Instead of buying bag clips at the store, that most of the time end up breaking because they are made of cheap plastic, why not use some items you already have around your home?

bag clips

5 Frugal Bag Clips that may be hanging around your home.

Rubber bands

Don’t go running out to buy rubber bands for this reason, but instead look around your home.  Many people get rubber bands on their newspapers, bulk green onions, broccoli bunches and many other things that come into your home.  Start collecting them in a place you will remember in your kitchen, like that ever so popular junk drawer.

Clothes Pins

Use those clothes pins you thought you would use for hanging out laundry for something else like keeping bags closed.  At least they will be serving a purpose or two (if you sometimes do manage to hang out clothes).

Paper Clips

We all have paper clips hanging around the house in the office, desk or even that popular junk drawer.  Paperclips work well to hold many bags closed.  If you can’t find any, just wait a little while and you will notice some start coming into your home on important papers and such.  Keep them in that junk drawer and you will have them to help keep your bags closed.

Tape

You can also use a small piece of tape to hold down many bags when rolled or folded. The great thing is that if you use them on coated bags and boxes, it becomes just like peal and stick, allowing you to use it over and over a few times.

Hangers  

I figured this out by accident a few years ago.  I was hanging up clothes and one of those pant hangers I got from the store broke of right next to the clip.  As I was looking at it I realized that I could keep it to use for bag clips.  I then went to cutting on the other end to use it as well.  Since I have quite a few extra pant hangers around the house, I decided to make several more.

To do this you will need a knife or box cutter and a cutting board.  I just carefully scored a line across the hanger right next to the clip.  Do this on front and back.  After doing this you should be able to easily bend and break it at that spot.  Be careful because if the plastic gets a jagged edge (you didn’t score deep enough) it can cut you.  You can also cut all the way through if your box cutter or knife will do it.  Remember to be safe at all times.  

pant hanger clipsNow you have two more bag clips in your home.  Time to run and find more hangers!

Be proud for you have not only repurposed something, but you saved money by not buying something.  You made do.

What do you like to use for bag clips?  Have anything to add?  

making a habit out of living frugal…..

Warm weather, Goodwill Finds and Lambs

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you all had a great weekend.

The weather here today in our part of Arkansas is supposed to be a wonderful sunny 69°, and tomorrow a not so wonderful 38°.  Welcome to Arkansas weather.

So what are we doing today?  We are taking the day off from school to enjoy this warm day.  We are going to play outside until the dark and cold, or for me ….. a night at work, forces us inside again.  Today I will forget about the laundry, and anything else that needs to be done to enjoy this beautiful day we have been given.

Yesterday we were close to a Goodwill (k had practice), so I popped in to see what I could find.  I managed to spend $7.50 on some pretty cool finds.

This great metal file bin was just the thing I needed for our completed school papers.  It will look great in the school/dining room after hubby paints it for me, because you know he begged me to let him paint it after I showed it to him.  I think he lacks confidence in my patience for spray painting, or something like that :-) .

I love how the edges are at an angle giving the bin a cool unusual shape!  I’m thinking some of that turquise paint I have from K’s Christmas gift project will look great, but you never know.

file binI also picked up these adorable picture frames.  They are shadow box (3D) frames with these cute little pictures in them, but the pictures are in sad shape.  I am not sure where I will be using them yet, or what I will be putting in them, but they were too cute to leave at the store.

I love not only the deep frames on these but the cute little metal tab at the top.  They too will get a coat of paint after I decide what I will be using them for.

yellow frames

The girls have been taking care of some baby lambs that belong to a neighbor a few miles down the road.  There are three to bottle feed as of last night!

They are not only having a blast, but are learning about these animals.  We are hoping to have some of our own in the next few years, so it’s been a great experience for them and they are earning a bit of money for their “metal detector fund”.

lambs

Aren’t they the most adorable little things you have ever seen?

Anyone that has chickens will know what I am talking about, but these little guys are so much fun to watch, much like chickens are.

What are you up to lately?  Do you have a bit of cabin fever?  

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Rich. One word interpreted so many ways.

I’m out running errands with my two younger girls when the oldest suddenly announces that the owners of the house we just drove by “must be rich”.  I ask her why she thought that and she states “well they have all these nice things in their yard, a pool, a big house, and all those new cars”.

Oh my!  It’s time for us to have a little talk about what rich really means, and of course about debt.  You see I want my kids to grow up knowing that we are rich, their friends are rich.  That they are surrounded by some of the richest people I know.  No, they are not all rich in terms of wealth, but their life is rich.  It’s full of contentedness, spirituality, happiness, fun, memories and so much more.

feeling richphoto credit (adapted by practicing frugal)

Merriam-Webster defines rich as:

1. Having abundant possesssions especially material wealth 2. having high value or quality 3.magnificently impressive  4.  vivid and deep in color 5.  highly productive or remunerative

Why is it that most kids start out with the generalized thought that wealth makes a person rich?  or that having a lot of possessions makes a person rich?

I can remember growing up thinking this very same thing.  Thinking that most of the kids I went to school with were so rich.  They acted that way, they had really nice things, they had big houses, but did they really own it all? Were they really happy?

Until I became an adult, I thought those were the things that defined wealth.  Until I learned about credit and debt, I thought just having something meant you were rich.  Having many something’s meant you were really, really rich.  It wasn’t until I became an adult that I learned about things like quality, colorful, and most of all contentedness, I thought wealth was the only path to being rich.

So what exactly did I tell my 10 year old that day?

After thinking a few minutes about what I wanted to say, I decided to take it to the dictionary.  I felt it would be best to explain what rich means with the definition.  Besides, that’s what we do at home if we don’t know what a word means, we look it up.  So she pulled it up on my phone and read the many possible meanings of such word.

First, I explained to her that most people associate wealth with being rich, but there are so many more ways to define rich.  Just like the dictionary said, there is having quality. Living a quality life doesn’t necessarily mean you have a bunch of money.  You are trying to carve out the best life you can for your family.  Spending quality time with family and friends. Making quality memories that will last a lifetime.

Quality can be achieved most when a person is content.  It doesn’t mean you may settle being in a bad situation, it’s a place, it’s a feeling, and it’s being okay with where you are now.  It’s knowing things will get better, but not dwelling in misery about the things you don’t have.

We also talked about having color in our lives and how it can add richness to your life. Just like people say colorful things make them feel good, having color in your life, variety, fun, love, and spirituality will make you feel good.  It will make you feel like the richest person in the world.

The last thing I told her came from the practical financial side of me.  The side of me that want’s my kids to know that possessions don’t define wealth.  I told her that you may very well hear it defined that way, but having possessions does not mean a person owns them. I explained to her about debt and that some people have an appearance of owning many things, but they are still paying for them, and that you really don’t own something until it is paid for.  We talked about how many times these seemingly rich people never pay for all those things, and it can all be taken away, further reinforcing the reality of ….. you don’t own it till it’s paid for.

I’m so glad we got to talk about this subject.  I want my kids to have the contentedness that I did not have growing up.  I want them to enjoy the here and now in their lives and not live life wishing they had more or could be like someone else.  I want them to know that it doesn’t mean settling somewhere that is not their goal, but to be content in the path it will take to get there.  To be content in doing what needs to be done to get where you want to be.  To enjoy life along the way.  To savor relationships, make memories and most of all laugh a lot.

These things make me rich.

What’s your meaning of rich?  

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Flowered Headband Tutorial

I made these cute earm warming headbands for the girls after seeing some I liked on Etsy for a grand price of $16 plus shipping.

I was able to make 3 of these headbands for a grand total of $3.50 plus tax.  ($1 each for headbands and 25¢ for each piece of felt.  I already had the embroidery thread and needle, but these can be purchased at a fairly inexpensive price as well.

headband

MAKE YOUR OWN FLOWERED HEADBAND TUTORIAL

Items You Will Need:  

  • Headband – I purchased the stretchy headbands at JoAnns for $1 each.  They were located in the $1 bins at the front of my store and came in a few different colors.
  • Felt – 1 sheet each of 2 different colors.  I was able to make 3 headbands out of these 2 sheets.  Prefer one sheet same as headband color.
  • Embroidery Thread – in a complimentary color.
  • Needle
  • Flower Templates – I used the 3 smallest ones from this PDF pattern for Felt Flowers.  I printed and cut them out on cardstock so they would withstand being traced around many times.
  • Scissors
  • Marker – I used a sharpie and cut right on the line and put marker side down on headband.  If using a really light color you should use something not so dark.

I cut 2 – large flowers (one in each color), 5 – medium flowers (2 in color same as headband – grey for me and 3 in the other color-purple for me) and 4 – small flowers (3 in color same as headband and 1 in other color).  Obviously you can do this any way you want, but I just wanted to give you a pattern in case you wanted to copy what I did.

On the headband I layered the flowers as follows from the bottom up:

 The left side is medium purple, medium grey, small purple, small grey.

The right side is medium grey, medium purple, small grey.

The middle is large purple, large grey, medium purple, small grey.

Be sure to alternate where the flower petals go by not overlapping or stacking them in the same direction. I alternated by putting every other one over where the space between the petals are on the flower under it.

Clear as chocolate milk?  I find this a bit hard to explain so make sure you take a look at the picture.

You will want to place the left side and right side down first so you can get an idea of where they need to go.  I put them close enough so that when I put the large flowers i the middle the flowers on the left and right were covered 1/3 to 1/2 by the larger flowers.  This is so that when the headband is stretched out (put on a head) the flowers will be real close together.

headband 2

I also placed my left side flowers just above halfway up my headband and the right side flowers just below halfway for a not so mass produced look.  They are sitting on the headband at a slight angle.

Now that you know where you want to put your flowers, it’s time to attach them with some french knots.  Now don’t get all nervous, they are pretty easy to do.  Just watch the video below and practice a few times on some scraps and you will have it down.

Place about 4 french knots (1 in center and 3 arround) in each set of flowers going through all flowers in a stack at a time.

Now enjoy that finished product.  Aren’t they the cutest things?  Perfect for gift giving or just giving to those who need to keep their ears warm in style.

If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments or send me an email.  

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Handmade and Homemade Gifts

I hope each and every one of you enjoyed your Christmas holiday immensely by eating too much and making some great memories all the while remembering the reason for the season!  I know we did just that ourselves, and had a great time doing it.

Now it’s time to clean up things a bit and think about the New Year to come!  Wow, I really can’t believe it’s already almost 2014!  This year went fast, but it was a great year filled with many memories.

This year for Christmas there were many handmade/homemade gifts given that I wanted to share with you.  Not only are they sometimes a more frugal option to store bought gifts, but they can also be personalized for the receiver for a very special memory.

Next year I plan on getting started earlier so that I can include more handmade/homemade gifts and the girls can too!

present snowmen

My sister put together these adorable snowmen from the presents she got for the girls. They were so cute and loved by all.

I made each of my girls one of these flowered headbands after seeing these in an Etsy store for $16 each.  I knew by looking at them that I could make the same thing (pretty much) for much less.

I also have the materials to make them each one more in a different color combination.  I just didn’t get them all done in time.

headband 2

They turned out so very pretty.

Tomorrow I will be posting the directions to make your very own!  It’s not only easy to make, but very frugal.  I bought the headbands at JoAnns for $1.00 each, paid $.25 for each sheet of felt (need at least 2 different colors) and used embroidery thred I already had.  That’s a total of $3.50 for 3 headbands!

My oldest (Big Girl) painted a canvas for each of her sisters’ rooms.  They are so pretty and will definetly add color to their rooms!  The best part of the pictures is the personalization of each and how they really represent who each girl is!

canvas art

canvas art 2

Big Girl also made some really pretty scarves for her aunt and sisters.  They are so cute and soft!  You can learn how to make them by watching the video here.  They literally only take a few minutes to make and the only thing you need is the yarn (Red Heart Swerve) that she purchased at Walmart and your hands.

hand chain scarf

Grandma made each of the little girls a backpack for carrying things on their trips.  The neat thing about these is that she made them to match purses (that fit their Kindles) she had made them for their birthdays.  The bonus was that they also got a doll outfit for their American Girl dolls made from the same matching fabric.

backpacks and doll clothes

K also made her sisters gifts this year.  She purchased these plain wooden frames from Hobby Lobby (using coupon of course) for about $5.39 each.

unfinished frame

I helped her paint them with spray paint we had on hand (the yellow is what I used on my door and rocking chair).

We then went through pictures so that she could pick out pictures of her with each sister to make collages.  We made these online (Walgreens) for less than $4 total (yep, had a coupon code) and picked them up when we were out.

She then added the writing with a paint pen she also purchased at Hobby Lobby with a coupon.

painted framesThey turned out so pretty and even made some people cry!  Not naming any names or anything.

The best thing is that she thought up the idea all by herself as well as bought it all with her own money.

The Last Princess chose to purchase gifts for her sisters with her allowance money.  She did a great job on picking out the best small gifts!  She bought earrings for Big Girl from Target because she loves earrings and a “water” Barbie for K because she says she always plays with hers when they take a bath!

The girls and I made cinnamon rolls and cookies for some friends.  We also included jars of blueberry jam that we made this past summer.

cinnamon rolls

I froze some of the cinnamon rolls (before rising and baking) to cook Christmas morning for a delicous sweet treat.

They were awesomely delicious and I cannot wait to share the recipe.

sugar cookies

italian sprinkle cookies

We had a great time planning, making and receiving these handmade and homemade gifts as well as the other great gifts we received.

It was a great time to be with and share with family and friends.

Hope you had a great holiday as well.

What did you make for others this year?  Have a favorite gift you gave or received?

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{this moment}

I’m joining SouleMama for {this moment}.

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

sister sleepover

brownies

homemade brownies

…..and just in case these absolutely wonderful homemade brownies make you wish you had the recipe, here’s the link to my favorite bownie resource 50 Brownies (I use # 11 most).

making a habit out of living frugal…..

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