good and thrify

Sometimes I’m in a get fancy, spend an hour getting puuurdy kind of mood.

But, today I’ve got the pajama, no make up, just talking about what’s on my mind vibe going on.  Wrapped up in a blanket, this is me right now:

feeling lazy

And in my pajama state of mind, I kind of want to talk about good deals as we get ready for Good Friday.  Welcome to my ramble session about some of my favorite places for free and discounted stuff!

 

With my heart gearing up for Easter, I simply must direct you crafty, artsy folk to this lovely free Easter printable from Jones Design Company.

Each year I struggle with the way Easter seems under-celebrated compared to all the hoorahs we give to Christmas.  These fun printables just might be a step in the right direction for remembering Jesus’ resurrection with beauty and excitement.

 

 Alright, have you heard of Noisetrade?  

If you enjoy music and have a special place in your heart for new, not-mainstream musicians, you really have to check out this site.  You can download an amazing amount of free tunes, and tip the artists based on your budget and enjoyment factor.  You’ll find lesser-known tracks from bands you may already know, too, like fun and NeedToBreathe.  Full-length demos of each track?  Yes, please.

 

Are you following me on Pinterest?

 { follow Stacy; click here! }

If so, you may have already seen my recent pin:  this amazing compilation of businesses that will give you free or seriously discounted goodies near your birthday.  Signing up for birthday deals is my new favorite rainy day activity.  (This deal comes from The Frugal Girls.  Thanks, girls!)

 

If you’re not already checking RetailMeNot or dealcatcher.com before you head out shopping or do some online ordering, you’re probably missing deals.

RetailMeNot  can also send you emails when deals are posted for specific stores if you specify which stores are of interest to you.  Thanks to my thrifty friend Carol for giving me the low down on Deal Catcher!

I’m also pretty fascinated with Gift Card Granny.

This is a website where you can buy other people’s unwanted gift cards for less than the gift card is worth.  For example:  today I spotted an iTunes giftcard worth $15 on sale for $13.  You can really save cash when you know you’re going to make a big purchase:  for example, today you can snag a gift card worth $300 for only $285 to be used at Best Buy.

 

I recently won two small giveaways from blogs I follow.  Crazy, right?  Winning kind of made me step back and go, “Oh, that’s why I like to  give things away on my blog.  Free is really rather fun.”  Congrats again to Kadee who recently won the Foolish for Light book giveaway and stay tuned around these parts for another exciting giveaway I have in the works.  :)

Happy Easter!

Love,

Stacy

P.S.  What’s your favorite place or way to find deals?

It has been quite some time since I featured a

{1) Minute Snippet

and I’m excited to bring it back!

Caution:  you might judge me for this post.

You’ll either think me terribly savvy or terribly lacking in hygiene.  I’ll leave that judgement call up to you–

What is it?

all I’m going to say is I have the thrifty cure for slightly greasy hair that needs a little love when time or circumstances don’t allow for a wash.

Isn’t the suspense killer?

It's baby powder
It’s baby powder!

How to de-grease yo-self

Pat a little baby powder into your hands and remove any excess if you poured too much.  You want to start with just  a little bit until you begin to get the feel for how much is needed.

Pat your hand on your head near your hair’s roots.  On dark hair, you will see the powder at first, but don’t worry.  As long as you didn’t go hog wild, it’ll be invisible in no time as you continue to work it in with your fingers.

Add as much as you need wherever greasy hair is visible.  You can’t go wrong as long as you don’t use too much powder.

Say goodbye

I promise, I really do take showers!  

Just think:  baby powder will last longer and cost less than dry shampoo while achieving the same affect in the same way.  Both utilize a starch to soak up or dry moisture and grease.

Ideas to try:

-  I most often use this trick before I go to the gym.  I’m a little bit vein and don’t like to look like I had a sweaty work-out before I even had a sweaty work out.  {But let’s be honest….it’s been awhile since my workouts have been all that sweaty}
-  Yes, your head will smell a little like baby powder.  If this bothers you, try Johnson’s Lavender and Chamomile for an alternative {and lovely} scent.
-  Throw a travel size bottle in your car or cosmetic bag.
-  You can find baby powder, especially off-brand varieties, at almost any dollar store.
-  Never buy dry shampoo again!

Have you done it?  Would you be willing to try it?


mittens from sweater

It’s a good thing I don’t have a say in nominating Nobel prize winners because I would make sure whoever thought of making cute mittens from an old sweater was in the running.

I saw this craft several different places on Pinterest and couldn’t help but think, “Can someone who isn’t really that good at sewing make these or will I cut up a completely donate-able sweater just to find out this craft requires skill?”

I am happy to report, these really don’t require much skill!

AND they turn out really cute!  Not perfect mind you, but rather charming and dare I say, they even seem quite durable.  Keep in mind the mittens will only be as thick as the sweater is thick; after making these from a J.Crew sweater, my husband and I agreed they are a better Midwest fall mitten than a winter one.

1.

The trickiest part:  getting a good mitten pattern.  Martha Stewart says to hold your thumb at a 30 degree angle and trace your hand on a piece of paper, adding a half inch.  I was nervous about how that pattern looked, so since I was making these for my husband, I grabbed a pair of mittens he owns and pinned them to the old sweater.  Then I cut around the mittens leaving a little less than a half inch border.

2.pin mitten

Once you’ve cut your mitten shape, line up each side of the mitten so the “right sides” or the nice sides are facing inward and touching each other.  Pin as shown.

Note:  I wanted to make the wrist part of my glove kind of long so it could be folded to display the cute ribbing of the sweater(seen in the final picture in this post.)  You can play around with and decide how high up your arm you want your mitten to go.

3.

Sew around the perimeter of your mitten using a sewing machine or by hand if neccessary.  I chose a stitch that seemed like it would be more durable than just your standard stitch.  Lift up the presser foot (with your needle in the fabric) and pivot your fabric to help with turns.

sew mitten

If you’re worried about the gloves coming apart, you can sew around the perimeter a second time.

4.

Flip your mitten inside out.  Now the nice sides are facing out and you have made yourself an adorable mitten in about 30 minutes!  Repeat for hand number 2 and enjoy.  :)

mitten thumbs up

 

It is undeniable–we were made by someone creative who allows us, even encourages us, to create.

I want to share with you a simple, lovely gift idea I came up with awhile back.  It allows you, the gift-maker, to create, and the young lass you gift it to will surely enjoy hours of creating, too.

how to make pencil bouquetsWhat young artist wouldn’t love colored pencils with coordinating paper flowers?

{Supply List}

1 box colored pencils (I got mine from the dollar store)

3-5 inch scraps of paper that coordinate with the colored pencils

a pencil cup (again, I got mine from the dollar store)

hot glue and hot glue gun

scissors

about 5 inches of twine or ribbon for each colored pencil

First you want to choose paper for each of your flowers.  Blue pencil needs blue paper, yellow needs yellow, ect.  The paper only needs to be a few inches inches wide, so this is a nice project for using scraps.

Let Emily teach you how to make the super easy paper flowers.  You can do this!

SONY DSC

Cut pieces of twine to be about five inches long and grab your first pencil.

SONY DSC

Add a dab of hot glue and stick one end of twine in it.

SONY DSC

Wrap the twine around and round, then secure the other end down with another dab of glue.  You may need to use the end of a pencil to smoosh the end into the glue.  It is, after all, hot glue.

SONY DSC

Dab a good amount of hot glue on the very end of the pencil and secure your paper flower.

pencil craft add flower

Toss each pencil in a pencil cup to make a bouquet.SONY DSC

Gift to someone who loves to draw or color–I would recommend age 4 and older since the pencil flowers are not super-duper durable.

SONY DSC

Start working on Christmas gifts for next year??

SONY DSC

Perhaps pin it for that time you need a simple, thoughtful gift. :)

{enjoy!}

 

Thanks for checking in for a little more home tour goodness.

Today we’re looking at the kitchen and dining room.

Yummy.

 

I have a dream to buy a home with terribly outdated cupboards so I can paint them in chalkboard paint and write the cupboards contents on the doors.  When I look at homes for sale that have nice kitchens, I don’t like them.  I want a bad kitchen so I can paint it.  Anyways…. :)

In a rented apartment like we’re in now, I’m not about to paint cupboards because there would be no easy way to get them back to normal.  It’s hard to work with a plain ol’ kitchen knowing you can’t do many alterations.

This is the area above the stove.  Look how plain and sad.

Looking around, I realized one problem with our kitchen is the lost, dead, white space above the cupboards throughout the room.

So I decided to acknowledge this awkward extra space with a little pop of fun.

More painted wall stripes?

No.

This time I cheated.  :)

This project took a total of 20 minutes.  How so?

I used something called artist tape.  I selected this tape because it came in red and didn’t seem too heavy duty.  I want to be able to pull it off the wall hassle-free when we move out.

 

 Not bad!  I really don’t think you’d guess it was tape.  I probably wouldn’t make this choice in a house, but it’s the perfect non-commitment decorating move for us apartment dwellers.  It gives height to the room and adds a little interest.  I did double lines along the entire perimeter of the kitchen.

The picture below shows the main entrance into the kitchen.  I spray painted an old bathroom shower curtain red and loosely tied on some fabric remnants from a yard sale.  The twine ball is from where else?  Hobby Lobby.

I used a tag from a new pair of Ben’s pants for one of my favorite little details…

I painted the canvas below after finding it at Goodwill for $2.99.  The awesome sunflowers were from my Daddy after he saw me in Wind in the Willows.

In the microwave station picture above, you might recognize the tower of plates and glasses from my post about keeping crafts organized.  It’s a versatile little thing!  Right now I’m loving it in the kitchen as a catch-all.

The soup bowls above were something I always admired at my Grandma and Grandpa’s home.  And now I admire them at mine by keeping them out on the counter.  :)

The utensil holder below used to be brown and look a little outdated.  Hello, gray spray paint!

And are we ready for the dining room?

Gotta love the ugly fan.  :)

The display along the gray wall is a work in progress and something I randomly dreamed up.  It’s a cork board with a piece of material {$1 at a yard sale} stretched over the front and stapled to the back.  (Thank you, Jess M, for the assistance of your staple gun).

Black hooks:  Hobby Lobby

White birds:  from my wedding decor, ordered from Etsy

Orange striped material:  garage sale find

Green moss cabin:  Anthropology catalog

Other additions:  twine, scraps of lace, random flowers made of felt and paper

Since it’s a cork board, Jess-with-the-staple-gun suggested displaying holiday cards on it when that time rolls around.  For someone like me who is constantly moving things around and changing things up, cork is a dream come true–yet, it doesn’t look like a cork board.

I have to admit, I don’t feel quite like the dining room is “done” yet, but the process of taking pictures of my home to share is teaching me that it’s not about perfect, it’s about progress.  Most importantly, I keep finding myself reminded that it’s really about people.  (Whatever “it” is).  I’m so grateful for the man I get to share this place with and the friends and family I get to welcome into it.

I heard somewhere that if your blog is perfect when you finally share it with people, you waited too long to start sharing it.  Our homes are similar, right?  That’s why I’m hoping you’ll join the sharing boat and open up a little bit of your world to us too! 

{click below to learn more}

Thanks for hanging out with me and my imperfect blog and imperfect home tour.  I hope you find yourself lifted up in some way each time you visit.  Look how happy your being here makes me:

There are so many words out there on websites, blogs, magazines, books….my dream is that {Foolish for Light} is like a most desirable little check-in point where you step in for good words–true words–silly words–life giving words–that help inform and shape the rest of the things you participate in for the day.

I hope getting foolish fuels you to feel lighter.
A little freer.
A little more in tune with the Light of the world.
A little more aware that you house the Light in you.
May that awareness make you a little happier.
May your joy ignite something a little brighter.
I think your radiance is going to make people see the world a little differently.
And I think different can be very good.

.:. .:. .:.

I do pray for you, my reader friend, and I thank God for the ability to create and share with you.  Really.

Do what you love today and do it well!  Do it with the confidence we can have from knowing how Jesus Christ feels when we looks upon us.  He sees you with the utmost loving gaze of grace. Really.

Until next time,

♥  stacy

what next?

 

 

Welcome to part 2 of the {Foolish for Light} Home Tour.  I feel like I’m kind of really hosting you….. and I kind of really love that.

Follow Me on Pinterest

If you missed last week’s installment of the bedroom tour, you better get caught up and readthe bedroom tour post or watch the virtual tour.

Imagine:  it’s a cool fall day and I’ve invited you over for coffee.  Your favorite scarf wrapped loosely at your neck, you knock and hear me say “Come on in!”

First, a charming little addition to a not-so-charming door.

Is your door >>naked?<<

Go here:  (DIY wreath alternative how-to)

Swing that door open and….

The yellow “hello” canvas (which you can actually read in real life) started as a blank artist canvas from Goodwill for $2.99.  Originally $25.

You never ever know what you’ll find at a thrift store!  A coat of yellow paint and some inexpensive stencils from Ace Hardware of all places and I’m in love.

You can even grab it off the wall and pose with it if you’re cool like my sister.

Alright, so entering the apartment and turning left, you see yourself in these big fun mirrors.

I’m not even going to comment on what I might be doing in the picture above.

Those mirrored doors open up to a nice big closet with shelves!  Hallelujah for closets and shelves.

Did you catch the perfectly painted wall stripes tutorial?

I swear they’re not hard to do and they add such a fun (but not too crazy) modern flare.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about our shoes being on display so publicly, but it frees closet space, makes it easier to get out the door, and reminds me I own killer rain boots (thanks, Mom!):

Now you could go into the bedroom, towards the left, but you’ve already seen that, so you turn right.

Pause.

This light switch protector is NOT the original one that came in this bland, off-white, life-sucking apartment.  ;)  The original cover was that creme manilla color you see every switch cover in every apartment everywhere.

I found several switch covers for 99 cents at Goodwill and a coat of gray spray paint was a super easy fix for them.  Goodwill didn’t have enough of the right sizes to cover all the switches, so this particular silver one was purchased at Home Depot for 3.99.  To me the price was right considering this switch is in such a visible location.  True, this is just a rented apartment, but when we move out, the nice switch covers are coming with!

A trend I see in my decorating?  Start with a thrift store find and then finish the project with retail store purchases if necessary.

Come on in to the living room, friend.

Guess what?  I made those curtains and did not sew a single stitch!  I owe it all to Stitch Witchery and I promise to share a tutorial soon.

If you enter the living room and turn left…..

you’ll see our wall art above the couch.

 

A natural sprig of something from outdoors adds an unexpected organic touch.  My berry twig is displayed in a small yellow vase I picked up from a dollar store years ago.

And did you notice those snails on the shelf?

I am a huge fan of the juxtaposition of pairing something classic with something silly.  I think it makes for such surprise and visual interest.

Does your classic look need to remember that play is ok?  Get a little silly.  You might like it.

The framed piece by the snails was a wedding gift from my husband’s cousin.  (She actually pounded the metal to make the frame!)  Inside is a drawing of my husband’s grandparents’ ranch home which is full of history and legacy.  The snails are a fun punch of color but also remind me of playing “Snail Race” with my sister as a child.

So let me ask:  What do you already own that inspires you?  Is there anything you just haven’t been able to make yourself throw away?

The picture below shows a framed piece of scrapbook paper that was used to make leaves for my wedding invitation embellishments.  It was supposed to be trash, but I just couldn’t throw it away two years ago and I’m glad I didn’t.  I love it on the wall!

This Decemberists poster is something my husband has hung onto for several years–he went to the concert in college and we both think the poster art is way too fun.

 

Want custom framing on a budget?  Here’s what I found:

  • When I looked into custom framing for this poster at Michael’s, the estimate was close to $200 ON SALE for what I considered to be a pretty basic frame and matte!  Budget friendly alternative?  Find a frame in the frame aisle of the store that’s slightly larger than your image and ask the custom framing department for assistance picking out and cutting a matte.  Labor plus the frame and matte came to $30 this route.  Now that I can swallow.
  • Don’t forget most craft stores consistently have pretty decent coupons on their websites.  40% off a large picture frame can make for a lot of savings.
  • Also–keep a list of the frame sizes you need on a slip of paper in your purse or wallet and keep an eye out at Goodwill for cheap frames of the correct size.  Thrift stores will typically have a tape measure you can borrow–just ask!

Below you’ll see a shadow box I’ve hung on the wall.  I love this medal my husband won at a “5k Spring Gallup” last year.  The medal was hand-made at the pottery barn on the farm where the race was held–how neat is that?  The cherry image is simply clipped from a catalog and pinned into the box.

Care to step outside for a moment?

We have a humble little patio that I’ve tried to make the most of.  Here, let me refill your coffee.

I’ve found that September is a great month to snag clearance garden pots and supplies.

The tree art is from the dollar store in Clare, Michigan :) and is tied with rope to the porch rail.  The watering can is a Goodwill find.  The sweet little wicker chair that holds our basil plant was a gift.

And thank you husband for having a bike luggage rack.

Let’s head back in, shall we?  I want to show you a few other highlights.

The sweet bamboo mirror below is a Goodwill find.  It weighs about 60 lbs so I’m going to wait to hang it in our future house instead of messing with hanging it now.  The wreath moonlights as Jesus’ crown of thorns during vacation Bible school.  haha.

I adore our bookshelf, which came from Hobby Lobby and was around $75 on sale.  Not bad, right?

My sister has inspired me to stack and organize our bookshelf in non-traditional, non-boring ways.  I personally love the inclusion of glassware that we already owned.  Feels grown up and fancy.

Ben’s parents gifted me Ben’s childhood copy of Wind in the Willows–one of the most thoughtful gifts imaginable considering I was in the play this summer.  Love.

And, on top of our bookshelf I display our small but growing vintage board game collection from Target.

Are you thoroughly turned around now?  Here’s a look back at where we came from.

Enjoy a strong cup of something warm for real now, come visit me for real whenever you want, and I’ll see you next time, either online or for real!

Sometimes I worry my Facebook followers will miss a post if Facebook decides not to show my post in your feed.  I’d truly be honored to have you as an email subscriber.  Then I won’t have to worry about you.  :)

Love!

♥  stacy

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Who doesn’t like to peek in other people’s houses?

Before I swing this bedroom door open, let me just say….

starting the bedroom tour

I have often wished away my creativity.  I’m not proud of it, but there are times I’ve genuinely thought, “Why can’t I just want to be a doctor?  The future would be so planned out for me!  Instead, I have too many ideas to write down and want to work in one of the hardest industries to break into… that doesn’t pay enough to live off of.  Awesome.

It’s easy to look at other people’s gifts, talent, and stuff, and then idolize it.

Many years ago I learned a nugget of truth that’ll be with me forever.  Comparison is the thief of joy.  Man is that true.

Every moment we spend wishing for things to be different is a moment we could be rejoicing over what God has done for us or is doing in us.  Every moment we spend cutting down our strengths and wishing for someone elses’ is a happy-dance moment for Satan who has succeeded in distracting us from the truth:

You were made as God intended you to be.  Yes, you are sinful, but there is grace to sufficiently cover every sin.  You were created in the image of God, to be alive right now, to do good works like only you–with your spirit, personality, and gifts–can do them.

When I realize God loves me as I am–like really, passionately cares for the things I care for–I realize I can live free if I choose to.  Christ died for freedom!  I am loved by the omnipotent God who knows my needs before I ask; do I really have much to worry about?

You can be free from the chains of comparing your home decor to others’.  Your children’s maturity to others’.  Your financial picture to others’.  Your marital relationship to others’.

If you use the internet, Facebook, Pinterest, ect. to look at glimpses into other people’s lives and destructively compare yourself to what they have, then this is me calling you out on it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done it too.  That’s why I know it’s a problem.  :)

Part of me doesn’t want to show you my home because I look at other people’s amazing design skills online and think “I’ve got NOTHING on them.”  But there I go comparing myself to “them”…which is really lame and unhelpful.

So here I am showing you my humble apartment even though some of the pictures make me cringe because there are little things I want to add and change.  But you know what?  I’m choosing to rejoice in the great apartment we have and my God-given ability to create!  I’m rejoicing that with a little creativity, we can follow God’s example of redemption and make old things look like new things! I come to you as the real me with our real home, hoping you’ll ditch the alluring voice of comparison and maybe pick up a few ideas on the way.

Home Tour: week 1:  the bedroom

I’m not sure why, but we’re starting the tour with our bedroom.  Here she is, ladies and gents, as you enter from the hallway.

Curtains can make or break a room.  Check out the detailing on the top of ours:

Our beddy-bye.  I just don’t think I’ll ever get tired of this quilted blanket.

When you enter the room and turn right, this is what you see along the right wall:  an inviting place to make stationary and do taxes!

There are three appropriate, non-cluttering places to toss paper.  My husband has an “inbox” on top of the printer (pictured under the cork board), we have labeled folders in a file holder on the desk……

….and my scrapbook/stationary paper finds a happy home hanging in this gray file holder which came with holes in the back for mounting on the wall.  I heart paper, but if I don’t keep it organized, it gives me a headache to the point of not wanting to make stuff.  And then I cry.

So, here is the wall opposite the bed in the area above and to the right of the desk:

If you were to walk into the room and head left, you’d see the craft shelf along the left wall.  Well, it mostly holds crafts.  At the bottom are old video game guides that Ben never uses….BUT….he lets me have a whole craft shelf in our bedroom so I smile and don’t ask why we need those.  :)

To the right and left of the craft zone are the his and her closets.  They’re big and we love them!  What I don’t love are these thumbs down super-cheap brass knobs.

Thank you, Lord, for Hobby Lobby!  Hobby Lobby is owned and managed by a Christian family, and I love to support them when I can.  Originally $3.99 each and on sale for $1.99, I picked up four of these yellow cuties for about $8 total…..

Knobs are VERY easy to install.  It’s an inexpensive upgrade, yet makes a big difference to the overall feel of the space.

Feel like you couldn’t visualize how the room fits together?  {Watch the virtual tour!}  That’s right, I put a video on YouTube for ya.

Speaking of simple upgrades to spruce up a place, consider experimenting with how you make your bed.  Or if you’re a beginner, just start making the bed.  :)  Anything is better than nothing!

Have you ever wondered how hotels and hospitals get those crisp looking corners?  Watch and be amazed….

How to make “Hospital Corners”

1.  Put on the fitted sheet and drape the non-fitted evenly on the bed.

2.  Tuck the bottom end of the sheets under the bed.  It’s so much easier with the help of another person.  One lifts the mattress, the other tucks the bed sheet.

3.  Pull the corner fabric towards the head of the bed and downwards, like pictured below.  Tuck fabric (where my hand is) an inch or two under the mattress.
4.  You’ll be left with a little flap of fabric up top.  Lift it up like so:
5.  And drape it down, like so:

You don’t have to limit yourself to sheets, either.  You can use hospital corners to give a nice polished look to comforters and blankets.

As I was preparing for this tour, I realized my sheets were extremely wrinkled and not exactly photo-worthy.

Here’s a little trick:  Downy Wrinkle Release works VERY well on cotton, and quite well on other materials, too.  In the picture below, the section of sheets behind the bottle were treated with the spray.  You can see quite the difference from the non-treated area on the left.

Just as the bottle indicates, spray your material and then smooth the fabric with your hands.  I suggest giving deep creases an extra squirt or two.

After Downy-ing-up the visible sheets….I’ve gotta admit….they look pretty good.  I wouldn’t want to make this a normal routine, that would be silly, but if you’re having company over, why not pretty things up?

Remember before?

Relish in the after!

And while you’re at it, if you see loose threads, give them a trim.  You’d hate to put in all this work and then have someone get distracted by a darn loose string.  Towel strings need trimming when you notice them, too.

 

Thank you for swinging by our pad! 

Psssst….did you catch the video? of the bedroom tour?

{the living room tour is here.  the kitchen tour is here.}

♥  stacy

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I am a dangerous person to take garage saleing because I find inspiration in so many things.  Too many things.  Way too many things.
I am a dangerous person to take to Hobby Lobby for the same reason.
Heck—Jewel-Osco.  For the same reason.

I live in a perpetual state of seeing things I want to use to make others things.

For example:  I have not been able to throw away the paint stirrers I used to mix the paint cans we used to paint our apartment.  They inspire me and have been hanging out on my craft shelf for a good year and a half.

So guess what, ya’ll?  I made something with ‘em.

And I really love it.  And I’d really love to share it with you.  Don’t scroll down to the pictures yet–you’ve gotta wait for the big reveal.

I love this creation because my apartment door was white and boring and just like everyone else’s until I whipped up this beauty.  I love it because I wanted something like a wreath, but it’s summer, so I didn’t really want a wreath.

I wanted something artsy.

But not freaky.

Cool.

Not too weird.

Happy.  Playful.  In colors I love.

 

{ta-dah}

Maybe you will want to make one, too.

Or maybe you will want to stalk me because now you know I live in Apt #403 in some building somewhere near Chicago.

****

How to Make a Letter Hanger Wreath Bojangle (plus little tricks to make it super easy)

{Start with a 3D letter from Hobby Lobby or your local crafty store.  I believe I bought my “A” for $2.99.  Dip your letter in an old paint can.  It will need to drip for awhile as a LOT of paint will want to stick to the letter….but the effect is awesome.  It looks dipped, not just painted.  I rested a hammer on the bugger so the letter wouldn’t blow away in the Chicago wind.}

{Blow drying the paint helps the whole process go faster.  I found I needed to blow dry the letter so I could set it down to let it dry the rest of the way.  Can I just say…gray and yellow–YUM–you can’t go wrong.  Unless you don’t shake your paint cans.  Then you’re going to get gray and yellow globs.  Shake your paint cans!}

{I already had these painty paint stirrers, but of course it’d be easy to make your own if you’ve tossed the ones you actually used for a project.  I love that mine aren’t perfect.  Take a moment to gaze upon whatever inspires you and dream up how you want them to fit together.  I’m happy to say my legs are more tan now than when I took this picture.  FYI}

{Hot glue and twine makes for a nice little hook to hang your creation from.  Obviously, your less-pretty side is going to be the back.}

{Lay out the paint stirrers at the heights you want them to hang.  You’re going to use fishing line to secure them in a mobile kind of way, but first you’ve got to get a vision.}

{Cut your fishing line to the length you want and use a squirt of hot glue on the back of your letter to secure them in place.}

{A bit of felt can cover up the glue job if you like}

{Of course you need to tie the fishing line to the paint stirrers–right in that little groove}

{Perfect.}

Like a wreath.  But maybe better.

For a few bucks and maybe an hour of work….you’ve got yourself a pretty neat little bojangle.

I have no idea what bojangle actually means–please leave a comment if you can use it correctly in a sentence.

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One of the best parts of summer is getting to attend a handful of weddings, wouldn’t you agree?

This past Saturday my husband and I pulled off making it to two wedding celebrations–my cousin’s wedding ceremony and then my childhood friends’ reception.  It was sad to have to divide our time, but thankfully the two events were only 30 minutes from each other so we made it work the best we could.  We had a LOT of fun in our whirlwind weekend to Western Michigan.

Happy marriages Jodi & Zack and Brianna & Kyle!

{marriage = really fun}

Today I wanted to share with you a little card-making inspiration to perhaps kick-start some stationary making of your own.  And if you’re not into making stuff, it’s always fun to see what other people are up to, so please enjoy my lovingly captured photographs.

Weddings are such a personal and special event–the perfect excuse to get out some lovely paper and crafty wonderfulness to create a meaningful card!

Here are the main supplies I used for the two cards I made last week:

Glue stick, heart-shaped paper punch, twine, an owl stamp, gift tag from a local craft store, and an old Anthropologie catalog in which I want to order one of everything but cannot afford even one thing.

Jodi and Zack are the deer-huntin’ type, so I wanted to add a little outdoor flare.  The green paper all came from the catalog.  The pink and white is scrapbook paper.

Everything was secured with an Elmer’s glue stick except for the bow which was hot glued to the line of twine.

I like the personalized date and names on one heart.

The inside looked like this:

The silver pen leaves a nice light-reflecting embellishment.  I used a Pilot brand extra fine point silver marker which I’ve been very happy with.  It came from Hobby Lobby.  (Or Hobby Lobster if you’re in the mood for seafood.  That’s what my sister calls it.)

I think of Brianna and Kyle as being more modern-vintage people, so this is what I crafted for them:

These brown stationary cards are also from Hobby Lobster.  You can buy them in a variety of colors with coordinating envelopes.  The cutie pie bride and groom were done with a garage sale find stencil.

I embellished them with a little silver, too.

And the inside, keepin’ it simple:

I couldn’t stop with just the stationary.  I had to have some fun with the wrapping paper too.  I recently discovered some nice earthy brown wrapping paper at Dollar General for $1.  Yay if you’re into earthy brown.

I just love it when things look good together as the card and wrapping paper do.  It makes my heart sing.

Bed Bath and Beyond has free gift boxes, tissue paper, and wrapping paper (even tape!) you can use after you make your purchase.  And did you know they accept expired coupons?  They do!

I love that it was free, but just a white box is not good enough–even on a cute chair:

So we’ll just add a little pazazz:

The gift was actually from my mom, too, so don’t worry Mumsie….I actually replaced this tag after I took the picture.  In my crafting bliss I forgot what I was doing.  :)

No bother that in the reception bliss I also forgot to put the card in the box.  I guess Brianna and Kyle may find this blog post before their card makes it to them in the mail.  Oops.  Such is my life.  I’ve learned to live with myself but ya’ll can pray for my husband who is still learning how scattered a girl can really be.  Love you, Ben!

Speaking of getting married….trivia question of the day:

Who, exactly two years ago from the date this is being posted, sealed their Christian marriage with a holy kiss before God and a crowd of fine witnesses?

My sister Ashley, and her husband…the other Ben.

(That’s right, my only sibling and I married men with the same name.)

Br0-in-law, you’ve made my best friend one happy girl.

Happy two year anniversary!

Here’s to two more!

:)

{And MANY, many more after that!}

♥  stacy

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Wedding day photo credit Dan Stewart Photography.

A lovely stationary set, some Dunkin coffee, and an amazing beverage frother are on their way to

{our next giveaway winner!}

>>>>>

wait for it…..

<<<<<

wait for it…..

>>>>>

Below, Kayla {on the left) and I pose with a fire hydrant in downtown Holland, Michigan.  Why?  It’s labeled #4….and we apparently found that to be cool 4 years ago.

Kayla commented that her beverage of choice, if she could only drink one liquid in addition to water for the rest of her life, would be Cherry Coke.

All Kayla did to enter this charming contest was leave a comment.

Your comments after posts = love.

I am always excited to hear what you have to say and I encourage you to befriend that comment button that lurks in the murky waters of the bottom of the post.  Who knows where your relationship with it will lead!

In a few days the next giveaway will be unveiled, and let me tell you, it’s pretty exciting.  Think sparkley, custom-designed, thoughtful, artful, jewelry.  :)  And you could be the next winner!

Now, segway with me to a different kind of winner.

I love to hear people talk honestly about the kind of meals that end up on their kitchen tables.  Eating–something so vital!  Life-giving!  Important!….can also be so…..routine.  Planning three meals a day–are you kidding me?  That could be a full time job, am I right??!!  (Invitation to skip to the bottom of this post and comment “YES!  I agree!”)

I also love to hear people talk honestly about their own perceived weaknesses that God somehow  makes beautiful and maybe not-so-weak, proving that after all, He is really the strong one.   Remember how He is able to do more than we can even imagine or ask?  {Give us faith to believe You can, Lord!}

I help lead a monthly outreach event at my church where we serve a hopefully fantastic three course meal to anyone in our community who could use a free dinner.

Now–the man who envisioned and began this ministry grew up in a foodie family.

He owns a pasta maker.  Enough said.

While it’s not a glaring weakness, I do not consider cooking or baking a strength of mine.  In fact, I could not manage to figure out the pepper grinder on the day this ministry was courageously passed on to me.  {I’m glad this made you laugh and not cry, Phillip.}  ;)

A funny thing happened at our most recent dinner.  While the volunteers and guests seemed to thoroughly enjoy the crab-stuffed chicken breasts I had planned, {thank you Grandma, for your advice on the baking time for a quadrupled recipe} the volunteers were just short of giddy over the food we made for the children in attendance:  chicken nuggets.  Chicken nuggets!

Nuggets are terrifically easy to make from scratch, and I felt strangely encouraged and inspired that the volunteers loved them so much–what a shout out to childhood simpleness.  If it tastes good, it tastes good, right?  {And if it’s fried, you know it’s going to taste even better!}

Allow me the pleasure of sharing this almost embarrassingly simple recipe.

Recipe for perfect, inexpensive chicken nuggets:  a winner for dinner

Cut chicken into desired bite-sized pieces.  Aldi carries wonderful chicken tenderloins on the cheap.  They’re fresh and perfectly sized.

Warm some oil, just enough to cover your pan, on medium heat.

As your oil heats, grab two small mixing bowls.  Even cereal bowls will work.

Bowl one:

Corn flake crumbs {which you can buy as crumbs for $3 or $4 a box, and the box will last a long time} plus five or six dashes of salt and a little pepper.  {Try garlic salt or seasoned salt if you want to get fancy}  Mix salt and peppa’ into flakes.

Bowl two:

Beat an egg or two, add a splash of cider vinegar and/or milk if you have them.  {Vinegar and milk aren’t necessary, just add a fancy kick of flavor}

Toss a few nuggets into the egg mixture, then press each one individually into the corn flakes.

Add nuggets to pan, rotating a few times during cooking.  The nuggets should brown nicely as they cook.  If you’re worried about doneness, cut into your largest nugget to ensure there’s no pink before serving.

Variations
  • Serve plain with ketchup, or with rice and sweet and sour sauce!
  • For a more adult-feeling dinner, try keeping your chicken tenderloins whole.  Yummy fried chicken tenders!  Completely bread-free!
  • Following this same recipe, nuggets can also be cooked in a deep fryer if you have one.  Be aware they’ll cook fast this way.

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Some of us love Valentine’s Day, some of us hate it, and some of us are rather neutral.  Despite the fact that I absolutely refuse to watch The Notebook because it costs me nearly $10 in tissues, I’ve always felt a little neutral about Cupid’s big day.

Yes, it’s wonderful to celebrate romantic feelings and all the fun that being in love brings {I am in love and honestly find it extremely wonderful}, but choosing to love someone after realizing this person is not exactly what you thought he/she would be, and loving someone despite holding some very different opinions, and loving someone after sinning against each other, and learning not to pull away emotionally when what is needed is to come together, and finding beauty hand-in-hand throughout the lovely process of aging….to me that kind of love is so grounded and not fluffy that I have trouble getting too fluffy about it.

 

Who decided love was best encapsulated by a teddy bear?

(Having a heart-to-heart with my camera.  “Teddy bears, Mr. Sony:  yay or nay?”)

 

I digress.  :)

The lyrics to the Sara Groves song “Loving a Person” come to mind:

Love and pride can’t occupy the same spaces, baby
Only one makes you free
Hold on to me
I’ll hold on to you
Let’s find out the beauty of seeing things through
If we go looking for offense
We’re going to find it
If we go looking for real love
We’re going to find it
Loving a person just the way they are, it’s no small thing
It’s the whole thing

I think Valentine’s Day presents a neat opportunity to take a secular holiday and join the world in celebrating it, but then sort of turbo-boosting the thing by adding to the celebration the love we see in Jesus.  After all, through his life of sacrifice, we get the most accurate demonstration of pure love we’re ever going to find.

No matter where you stand on Valentine’s Day, there’s no denying the value in remembering to tell the most important people in our lives how valuable they are. And don’t you think it’s funny how nice and respectful and sweet we can be to people we hardly know, and how unloving and rude and ungrateful we can sometimes be towards our own family?  It’s certainly something to think about.

I’m all about a day to try to redeem that strange phenomenon and tell the people closest to me, “gosh, I really love you!”

So….

I hereby present….

3 loving, not-at-all rude, gratitude-filled ideas

for a very merry and thrifty Valentine’s Day

>>>>>>>>

1.  Save big by being late.

Decide with your significant other, friend, or complete stranger :) to hold off on buying a Valentine’s day gift until two or three days after the day of love.  The price of the holiday goodies will have significantly dropped if you wait to shop, so decide a value you each want to spend {perhaps $7}, and see who can get the most outrageous stuff, the best chocolate, or just the most goods while keeping within your set budget.

One year I bought Ben one of those HUGE 4 foot cards a few days after Valentine’s Day.  It was the most gooey, sappy card imaginable–one of those things where you hate it so much you have to buy it–and if I recall correctly, I wrote inside the card  “I really hate this card!”  We still laugh about this $2 memory.

 

2.  Send a personalized paper card from American Greetings for about a dollar (including postage!)

By using the coupon code AGVAL99 upon checkout at American Greetings, you can send a truly adorable, custom-made Valentine right to your recipient’s house.

While designing a Valentine recently, I was surprised by an array of templates and other options to customize these clever and sweet cards.  American Greetings gives you control over font (and there are some neat ones) and font color, plus the number of your personal photos you wish to have appear in the card.  I had a lot of fun tinkering around and ended up using some photos I took at Christmas to send my in-laws a card that features pictures of their beloved grandchildren.

Recap:  personalized valentine, they print it, they put postage on it, your total goes from about $3 to exactly $1.07 (which includes tax and postage) when using coupon code AGVAL99 at checkout.   {Shop here}

 

3.  Create a lasting, whimsical bouquet.

 

I honestly believe one of the best ways to save money is to make gifts by hand.  I recently saw this same sentiment printed in Parenting magazine and was excited that someone  who publishes things agrees with me.  :)

I designed this for a dear friend’s birthday and was extremely pleased with how it turned out.

{Go right ahead and notice how that candle burning in the background clearly makes this gift appropriate for V-Day}

 For the whimsical bouquet tutorial, please Continue reading

My issue is not that I am an extravagant spender.

My issue is this:  it’s only been recently I’ve learned the value of setting a very specific financial goal and purposefully living in a way where the goal can be reached.

I’ve spent my adult years satisfied with a sketchy, undefined notion of being thrifty without any financial accountability or goal, and frankly, I’ve loved it!  By occasionally saying no to Starbucks or putting just one of the two shirts I like in the shopping cart, I have successfully maintained a sense of saving money….even though I’ve never had a clue what I was saving for.

I have an amazing free download for you today, but quickly I want to share with you why I’m so excited about passing along free offers and great deals with you and why I think thoughts on thrifty living belong on a site where we’re challenging the way things have to be done.

I know, I know, everybody loves a great deal….but have you ever really thought about why?  Yes, we all like to save money, but why?  What are we saving for?  And are we actually, intentionally plugging away at saving for that specific thing or is it just a vague idea we’re entertaining on our best days?

I pray you have a clear, obtainable dream–a real thing you are purposefully saving for–because I have missed the boat on this for quite some time!  I have always loved the feeling of being thrifty and wise with my resources, but when my husband and I started making clear financial goals {like paying off a certain debt, putting a certain amount down on a house…} I started to see tangible, exciting results which put my lonely good intentions to shame.

  • We are less excited to buy things we don’t actually need.  {Instead of a vague notion of being thrifty people, we see the direct correlation:  if I don’t buy this latte, we are $5 closer to making a down payment on a house.}
  • We are even more excited than we used to be when we find simple, fun, free or almost free things to do, give, and buy.  {Because we’re not buying the latte, we better appreciate the good things and good times that don’t have to cost a lot of money.  And there are plenty.}

Thriftiness can be friends with abundant life.

Thanks for letting me share my perspective!  On with the freeness!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

What it is:

A free album download that blew my socks off.

Who’s the artist?

Jenny and Tyler, a married couple whose voices were clearly meant to sing together.

I think of them as Jack Johnson/Mat Kearney meets Norah Jones/Sara Groves plus two big handfuls of passion and spectacular harmonies.  Their music manages to be downright powerful in the most humble and earnest way possible.

How do I get it?

When you check out the group’s website by clicking here, you’ll immediately enjoy their music playing as you browse around.  By signing up for their email list, you’ll receive access to the free download.  I can testify they will not sabotage your inbox with things you don’t really want.

Need more convincing?

The fact that my husband really likes them says a lot as he is much more picky in his musical tastes. :)

I will admit–there is a lot of so-so Christian music out there.  I try to steer away from bands that produce songs that sound like attempts at pop radio hits and stay in the arena of honest, often times acoustic, music with realness and authenticity you can almost taste.  Jenny and Tyler deliver!

Be sure to check out One-Eyed Cat, a hilarious relationship song about all the little things we sacrifice in marriage.  My personal favorite is Song for You, a powerful one that reminds me God has already done for us everything we needed on the cross and He is passionately calling people to claim what he has offered there.  Throughout the album and especially seen in the song Faint Not, I appreciate the absence of cliches on issues that can be so easy to cliche over.

Jenny and Tyler, if you’re reading this, I love you.  And blog readers, if you’re reading this, I think you’re going to love them, too!  

{Visit their website to snag the download}

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{hello}

It doesn't always make sense-the way we live. We decide that's ok. People don't have to get it.

Welcome to Foolish for Light, a place for exploring the counter-intuitive life of a light-chaser.

{foolish?}

Foolish for Light is a place for anyone willing to challenge the way things have to be done. I'm kind of perfectly fine being called foolish as I chase the Light of the world. You?