Saturday, February 27, 2010

Glassware for Easter

Earlier this week, I made a new glass pedestal vase to mimic a Pottery Barn look. After I was done, I took some time to decorate the other pedestal vases I had for Easter as well. All of these vases were made using items picked up at either Goodwill or Dollar Tree. I always look at Goodwill first, because the glassware is cheaper. But, if I can't find what I need, I go to Dollar Tree.

To make one like this, find a candle stick of some sort, and a vase or candle holder you like. I use E6000 to glue the stick to the bottom of the vase or candle holder, then let it sit over night to dry. It's nice and sturdy!

For the tallest one, I picked up a prayer candle at Dollar Tree (which are hard to find- DT doesn't get them in often, and when they do, they go quick!), and glued it into the vase. This leaves space between the candle and the vase to add decorative touches for each season or holiday.
I added moss to all of them, and added more to my Pottery Barn knock off to fill it up higher. I then took a branch of narcissus flowers I had gotten at Dollar Tree, and plucked some flowers off, to put into the vases. 

For the Pottery Barn look alike, I kept two of my speckled eggs in there, and added a narcissus and a flower bud. I put the third egg in the smaller one, again with a narcissus and a  bud.





For my 4th jar, I went more traditional with bright spring colors. This jar is likely an old filled candle, with a lid, though it was empty when I found it at Goodwill. 

I re-used the same fluff I used for a Valentine's Day candle, added 3 unpainted plastic eggs, then used some cloth ribbon I found at Goodwill to tie a bow around it. It didn't quite look finished, so I glued a button to the middle.
All of these vases and the jar are able to be redecorated for any holiday with ease, and were quite cheap to put together. On the basic glassware itself, I haven't spent more than $6 on all the parts and pieces.

Never forget- while the Dollar Tree is cheap, you might find exactly what you need (or exactly what you never knew you wanted!) at thrift stores even cheaper! Decorating for the holiday does not have to cost money, and you don't need the same knick knack, plastic, light up stuff that everyone has.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Blog Swap Friday! Meet Kaysi from Keeping it Simple

 Today, I am going to be posting over at Keeping it Simple! I'm really excited to be doing a blog swap with Kaysi. And with out further "ado", here's Kaysi!

Hello everyone! I am super excited to be here with you today!! I love going through Heather's blog and seeing all of her great ideas! She is so very talented!

Let me introduce myself, I'm Kaysi

Here are a few things about me:
I am the mother of three boys, ages 4, 3 and 1
I have been married to this hottie and amazing man for 6 years

I love chocolate!!
I love color, green is my favorite but brown and blue are up there
I am a very simple person, I don't like to overdo
When I get a spare moment, I love to craft or look at crafts
I enjoy singing and dancing
I enjoy running but rarely am motivated enough to do it
Each day of the week, I have something different.
Motivate me Monday, that's where I have link party and you get to show me all the cute things that you have done.
Tutorial Tuesday, I give a tutorial of a craft that I have done
Whatever Wednesday, this is my day that I put anything up.
Scrapbook Thursday, this is the day that I post a scrapbook idea or give a scrapbook tip
Fridays are the days that I do Blog swaps with other bloggers.
Here are a few things that you can see at my blog:

You should stop on by and see what else I have!!
Thanks so much Heather for doing this blog swap with me, it was so much fun and it has been great getting to see your wonderful talent!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pottery Barn Easter For Less

Jess over at Mad in Crafts is a Pottery Barn for Pennies guro. Seriously, she should be hired by PB. Anyway, I saw some of her stuff, and started to peruse the catalog a bit more. Now, I'm not really a PB kind of girl, for the most part. It's just not my overall style. However, every now and then, something cute sticks out.

One of the projects Jess made for her "Dollar Barn Easter" collection was the splattered eggs, similar to the ones shown below (which sell 12 for $14, AND are not shipping until the end of April- you know, AFTER Easter).

I found the perfect vase at my Goodwill AS-IS center, which clearances out items that don't sell in the regular Goodwill's.  Here's my end version:

So, how much did I spend?

3 Eggs: $.09 total ($.67 for 2 dozen at Hobby Lobby, regular price)
Vase: $.29 (Originally $2.17 at Wal-Mart, priced $.99 at Goodwill, marked down to $.29 on "clearance")
Candle Stick: $.29 (Heavy, wrought iron- marked $.99 at Goodwill, marked down to $.29 on "clearance")
Moss: $.10 (A bag from Dollar Tree, but I used barely any- the bag still looks full)

So, for $0.77, I was able to recreate the full Pottery Barn look, and I love it! The Hurricane vase shown on the PB website runs $29-$59, depending on size. The filler is another $14. I'll count myself lucky to have escaped with a very similar look for under $1!

Here is the before of the candle stick. It was spotted with rust, and had a tacky gold paint job. I didn't achieve exactly what I was hoping for, but I prefer my own paint job to the one it came with.


For the eggs, I sponge painted them cream first, letting the colors show through in some spots. I then splatter painted them with a mix using burgundy, golden yellow, and a touch of black to get a brownish shade. 

This post is linked up at the link parties listed here.

Cricut Create...?

I am going to order my Cricut Create from Amazon this weekend. They have it for $149, which is about $80 cheaper than retail. Gotta love that, right?

My questions-

Do I need to order anything else to go with it, like cutting mats, or will it be fully operational as is?

With the SCAL (??) software, will I need to have it hooked up to the computer when I want to design from the computer, or is there a way to transfer images/words/etc to the machine in my craft room?

What are your favorite resources for vinyl?

Educate me, before I order!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Talented Tuesday & A Twilight Craft Box

Happy Tuesday everyone! Hope everyone's week has been going great so far!

Welcome back to Talented Tuesday, where you, my awesome readers, strut your stuff, and show us all the cool stuff you've made recently. From food, to furniture, to clothing, and so much more, you guys continue to amaze me with your fun projects.

Below is one of my weekend crafts- a wooden box made over in black, white, and red (with pink, since I had a very hard time finding just dark red printed scrapbook paper, after stopping at 3 stores). My oldest daughter is going to be 14 soon, which is enough of a shock to my system. Right now, she's very into Twilight, so I've been making Twilight inspired crafts.

I found a cubed wooden box at the local grocery store, of all places, on clearance for $2-something. Perfect! I snagged it without an immediate project in mind, but it only took a few days to come up with an idea. When I had my Girls Day Out with one of my good friends last Friday, I picked up some fun supplies- scrapbook paper (like, a ton!), Glitter mod podge (ooOOOOoOOoo...), ribbon, wooden 'knobs' (a 3 pack), lots of felt, 2 Distress Ink ink pads (black soot, which I am NOT in love with, and Fired Brick, which I do love), and much more.

Below is the project. I was overly zealous, and did not stop to take any before or during photos (that's becoming a bad habit...), so all you have is the finished project. I also didn't stop to paint the box first, but... that's not really something it -needed-, just thought it would be a nice touch.

What I Used:
5 Sheets of Scrapbook Paper (not a whole sheet needed of each, but I wanted a different pattern on each side)
1 Wooden Knob
Mod Podge
Distress Ink

  1. Measure and cut your paper. I used 5 different patterns. Because the lid has edges, I tore the paper in half for a more distressed look. In some instances, I had to tear more off to allow for where the wood meets.
  2. I used Black Soot Distress Ink on the red paper. I don't feel the black soot was up to the same quality as the Red Brick I also bought, or the Vintage Photo I have had for a few weeks. It got ALL OVER my hands, and it did not dry anywhere near as quickly- when I mod podged it to the wood, it smeared on the first one. You can kind of see it in the photo above, on the red swirly side of the box.
  3. I used Red Brick Distress Ink on the black & white sides, and it worked wonderfully. For the most part, I distressed all the sides of the paper (all paper used, actually), and a few smudges here and there in the middle of the papers.
  4. For the top section, I tore each of the four edges. 
  5. I used Matte Mod Podge to attach the paper to the box. Once it was dry, some of the paper had an over hang on the corners, so I sanded down each corner and edge on the box, and some of the sections where the lid meets the box, so the paper wouldn't get in the way. 
  6. For the top coat, I went with Glitter Mod Podge, so it sparkles, like the Vampire Wannabe's in Twilight. (can you tell, it's not my favorite book ever?) Glitter Mod Podge sparkles nicely, and I can't wait to use it in some Easter crafts.
  7. While this dried, I painted one of the wooden knobs. I first thought the red I had on hand would be too bright, so I added a few drops of black, but the color came out all together too rustic and brownish, so I wiped as much of it off as I could, then repainted it red. The dark color showed through in some spots, for a distressed look, so my mistake? Totally on purpose to distress it. Or so I'll tell anyone who asks. I also added some spots of black ink around it with a foam brush, for added depth to the color.
  8. When the knob dried, I used E6000 to glue it to the center of the lid, then I mod podged over it with Glitter Mod Podge. 
And, really, that's all she wrote. It was an easy craft. Unfortunately, when I went back for more boxes, they were sold out. But, I did score a really cool, unfinished wooden jewelry box. Can't wait to try that one out!

I wish I had the Glitter Mod Podge on hand last week, when I made a springy heart in twilight colors. They match, but not totally, since I used Gold Shimmer, and used the Vintage Photo Distress Ink, which is brown. But, there you have it. I now have 2 Twilight inspired crafts for Raegan's birthday in April.

Hopefully, I'll come up with more before then!




This post is linked up at the link parties listed here.

The Rules

1) Post a blog about something you've made- a refurnish, recipes, a craft project, a sewing project, room decoration, anything you've done!

2) Add a link to your blog post- not to the blog itself, but to the individual posts! You can post more than one project, just add more links! The links should look something like:

and NOT like this:

3) Add the code below to each post you link to the MckLinky, so that others can post their projects here as well! The list will accept new links through Saturday, so if you make something new, come back and post it! Don't forget to look at the links on the list, and let people know where you found their post at!

This MckLinky will remain open and accepting links through Wed night, so feel free to come back and add more links if you post new things!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Top O' The Morning

Good Morning (again)!

This morning, I worked on a wreath for St. Patrick's Day. I love how it turned out, but I'm kind of sad I can't hang it outside to show off. It's too cute to keep hidden! Maybe I'll hang it outside on the 17th, if it's not too wet out.

St. Patrick's Day Wreath for $3.75

You'll Need:
8 sheets of felt- I used 2 sheets each of white, lime green, kelly green, and forest green. $2 @ 4/$1 not on sale
Green Marabou trim- Clearance at 75% off- $.75
Foam Wreath Form- Dollar Tree- $1
Ball Point Pins- On hand (I've heard that the flat end pins hurt your thumb after a while of pushing them in!)

  1. Find something circular to use, and draw as many circles as you can on your sheets of felt. I used a smaller than average size spool of ribbon, and was able to get 12 circles. Anything larger will likely yield less. Smaller, and I could have easily gotten 16, but I don't know how smaller circles would have looked. Cut the circles out.
  2. Fold a circle in half. Fold that half into thirds. Pinch it together, and use a pin through the bottom to attach it to the wreath. You could also use hot glue and a pen or pencil to glue the circles straight to the wreath if you are so inclined, but I imagine it would take more work.
  3. Fill out the wreath. I added a line around the edge to hide the green florist foam I used for the wreath. If you use a wreath form that's rounded, and not flat like mine, you could wrap the form in ribbon first, and you wouldn't have to add extra circles.
  4. Once that was done, and all my circles were gone, I dug out a spool of marabou "ribbon" trim I got on clearance after Christmas for 75% off. I ran it around the edge of the the wreath twice, pinning the rope to the form. I repeated this on the inside. The fur doesn't show up real great from the front, but it completely covered the edges of foam that were visible. 
I was going to add a bow, but I didn't have anything on hand that really matched, and was wide enough ribbon to show up good. I like how it looks without a bow, though. I had also picked up little plastic green "coins" at Big Lots to use, but decided not to.

This style of wreath has been all over the blog world over the past month, so it's hardly original. In fact, Heidi at Craft Monkey did one very similar to mine back before Valentine's Day, instead of doing a red, white, and pink one.


This post is linked up at the link parties listed here.

Happiness is Monday?

It's been a long few days. Friday, I spent the day in Grand Rapids with a good friend. I got to do some craft shopping (2 different Hobby Lobby's, 1 Big Lots, 1 Dollar Tree, and 1 Michael's stop), we ate lunch, we talked, we witnessed an accident by a dumb driver. It was a good day!

Saturday, Nick and I treated the kids to a day out. They all got some money from us, and they all had Christmas (and in Chris & Gilly's case, birthday) money left to spend. We ate out at Fire Mountain, normally a family favorite.

Sunday, Nick and I did grocery shopping. Big time stocking up groceries. We went out and piled it all in the car. Then, the car would not start. I'm no mechanic, but I'm almost certain the starter went on it. We have electrical, but there isn't a sound when we try to turn the engine over. -sigh- Thankfully, we have an excellent, dependable, affordable mechanic who lives across the street from us. Lucky for us, he always cuts us a break. I reward him with baked goods anytime we make something, and every time we have car problems. This morning, I delivered half a dozen fresh baked Raspberry Vanilla cupcakes. He thanked me, then had them for breakfast, and told me they were excellent. ;)

I also cost us some money, though, because I am horrible at remembering to pay insurance on time. Every single time. I'm rotten at it. I don't know why. I wish I were better at it. Insurance is the one bill I can't pay online. I have to pay it in person. It gets brushed off, and it wound up accidentally getting canceled. -sigh- Not proud of it. I called for roadside assistance, and found we did not have any due to the cancellation. So, that cost us $50 in a tow truck. Then, it cost us more this morning when I reinstated it, due to fees. I cost myself the Cricut, cause I don't feel right spending the money on a "toy", when it was my fault that insurance lapsed.


We got hit with a massive storm last night. We were supposed to get 3-5" over night, and another 3-4" today during the day. We wound up with closer to 9" over night, and it's still coming down heavy. School was canceled today, and I'm kind of glad, since my car is in the neighbor's garage right now. I've been driving Gilly to school the past two weeks because.. well, I hate, hate, hate standing outside in the snow cold. Cold wind at 8 am sucks.

Last year, the kids walked to school, because there is an elementary school 2 blocks down the road. They closed that building at the end of last school year, so now, Gilly goes to school in a building 2 miles away. I never minded walking, because I was constantly moving. Standing still in the wind, snow, and cold really sucks. Anyway, I was not looking forward to waiting outside today. The stop is almost 2 blocks away, so no way to wait inside and watch for the bus. I would never see it in time. And, since it tends to run late in the winter when the roads are bad, the worst days for waiting are the ones we wait the longest.

Plus, Gilly's the only girl, and then there are 2 boys who are there every day except sick days. Aside from that, there are 3 other boys who vary what days they are there, because the mom of one of the boys baby sits them some days. 1 of the "regular" boys, and 2 of the baby sitting boys are... rough. And they tease, and mock, and generally drive me and Gilly both nuts.

What else...

So I did a craft this morning, in bed with my heated blanket, after shoveling the sidewalk and steps. I left the driveway for now, even though it'll only get worse. It's too hard to shovel, and the neighbor told me that if he can find one of his friends who can plow him out today, he'll have them do our driveway as well, so I'm hoping that'll happen.

Otherwise, I will have to do it before Nick gets home. There is no way he'll be able to get into the driveway otherwise. The city plows covered the entrance with thick, heavy, deep snow from the street. His tiny car won't make it over that hump.

It took Nick over an hour to get to work. He tried seeing if he could work from home, but his boss is being stubborn. A lot of people in his department have been getting breaks on PTO, not having to report PTO used, leaving early, etc. Nick, however, gets zapped for even a half an hour if he's late to work. Even worse, he's never late. He is seriously the only person there most days at 8, and more often than not, he is there 15 minutes before work starts. So, he got nailed today for the time he was late. Figures.


I did a craft from bed today, as I started to say up above, 3 paragraphs above. Then got sidetracked. I do that a lot. I think, rather than posting the craft in this already way-to-long post, I'll do a new post for that. It's a cute wreath, though, for St. Patty's day. Unfortunatly, it's an indoor wreath. It'd be so stinking cute on my front door, but it's too wet outside for it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lane Bryant- Making women FEEL fat

Today, Nick and I treated the kids to a day out. Chris  & Gilly both had left over Christmas & Birthday money burning holes in their pockets, and we had given the kids each $20 to spend on anything, and $10 to spend on books at Barnes & Noble.

While we were at the mall, I stopped in to Lane Bryant. A few years ago, I struggled with finding jeans that fit me just right. They never fit right, they always made me feel uncomfortable. I stopped in to Lane Bryant just to see. Shirts at Lane Bryant don't fit me- I'm not as broad in the shoulder area, as I am in the hip area, so the wider shirts fall off my shoulders.

I am digressing, right? I had never tried pants on, so I went in a few years ago, and tried. I found jeans that fit perfectly. Oh, how comfortable they were! Two years later, my jeans are getting a bit raggedy. I decided that since we were there, and I had some extra money, I might as well stop in.

I don't know HOW I could have forgotten the dressing room of HORRORS that Lane Bryant has, but I did. Never been in one? Let me regal you with the dressing rooms. Mostly, it's the lighting. Horrific, horrifying, horrible lighting.

It's recessed, spot light lighting. It creates shadows. LOTS of shadows. Know what stands out in shadowed lighting, when you are spot light from above? Every dimple, crease, and pocket of fat. In glorious up close vision, because you're standing right there looking in a mirror.

Clothing that looks perfectly acceptable on while outside of the dressing room, looks horrific, horrifying, and horrible in the dressing room lighting.

I walked out of that store today beating myself up because of the 5 pounds I've gained since breaking my tailbone. I'm seriously crushed over weight I've gained, and the weight I've carried around since becoming a mom. Yes, the weight is my own fault. I could (and should) watch what I eat more. And I could (and should) work out more.

What I do not understand, however, is how a store that caters to larger women, can get away with lighting like that. Have they never heard complaints? If I hadn't walked out and looked at myself in the more normal lighting, there is no way I would have bought the two pairs of pants that I bought. The lighting had another effect on me. It made me look shorter, and made my legs look stumpy and wide.

I felt not like a beautiful, slightly larger than average woman. I felt like a circus freak waddling around. I felt like I'd shrunk 5 inches, and widened 10 inches. I felt horrible. I felt like saying something to the women working, who all were my size or larger. I felt like crying.

Is this really the message that shopping at a store should send us women? It wasn't a store for twigs. I expect to feel fat if I'm in a store surrounded by size 0 stick figures, where an XL is really a M, and isn't going to fit. When I walk into a store built for woman of a larger size, I expect to feel comforted. I expect to walk out not feeling like every eye was on me, wondering just who I was shopping for.

And I didn't. I walked out thinking every eye WAS on me, wondering why I only bought a size 14, when clearly, I should have bought a size 18 or 20. I felt like they wondered who I was kidding. I felt fat. Maybe it was the kick in the pants I needed,  but I certainly didn't need it today.

On the plus size side, they had a clearance event. I skipped the $50-60 jeans, and bought a pair of courd's, and a pair of dressy pants. Not dressy, dressy. They aren't denim, kind of like khaki's but not. The kind of pants I can dress up, or down, I suppose. Anyway, They were each only $12.99 on clearance. I spent less on two pairs of pants, than I normally would on one.

Another blight on the day? Getting harassed about signing up for a Lane Bryant credit card. I get it every time I go.  It's one thing to ask, and stop when I've declined. It's a whole different matter to ask repeatedly after I declined, and mention "how much you'd save!" by getting it. Of course, they don't mention how much you pay in interest. I firmly declined again.

-sigh- I'm fat. Fantastic.

I should clarify. I don't think there isn't anything wrong with whatever size a woman is. This isn't about size itself. It's about self image, and being comfortable with who I am as a person. No woman should be made to feel even worse, or even larger than they are at a store there to cater to them.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Girls Day

Well, our federal taxes have hit the bank. Su-weeet! I paid up bills online this morning. I filed our state taxes last night. My FIL got a similar number to TaxACT, so we filed with TaxACT with his blessing.

Today, I'm driving over to Grand Rapids for a girls day out with one of my friends. We're not sure yet what we're going to do, but I told her a movie was out. Nick and I went to see The Book of Eli on Sunday, and my tailbone is not up for it. The chairs recline to much, which puts a ton of pressure on the tailbone. While my tailbone doesn't hurt constantly, it's still very tender, and by the end of the movie, I was in agony.

We'll probably do some shopping. There is an awesome outlet store in Grand Rapids. It's from the local super center store, Meijers, and I find great deals there just about every time I go. One time, I got a bunch of My First Leap Pad books for under $.25 each! Brand new!

Nick got one of the Guitar Hero games there once, which was a new one on the shelves, and still selling for $59 everywhere else. We got it for $25. I regularly find health & beauty products for under $1 each- full size Calgon lotions, hair dyes, deodorant, and more. I love sifting through there, even more so when I don't have the kids with me.

I also want to check out the craft stores, even though they're the same ones we have nearby. Aside from that, we'll likely get some lunch, and just enjoy a kid free day.

See you guys when I get back!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Contest Goodies!

Over the past two weeks, I was lucky enough to win not 1, but 2 blog contests! My prizes have arrived, and I had fun with a little photo shoot today.

The first prize I won is a set of Valentine Beads from Jou Beee. They are primarily word beads, with a few round red or pink beads. I love them! I was busy rearranging the beads today to make words. ;)




How fun are these?!? Now... while I have a ton of ideas for them, it'll take me a while to actually use them, because I want to get the most use out of them as I can, so lots of word and phrase rearrangements to come.

The next prize I won is a cool, handmade headband with a flower on it. And, the flower is on a clip, and totally removable! It came from Forgotten Freckles, but I think I won the contest on a different blog- I just don't know where! It's so cute! I had asked my almost-14-year-old to pick the colors, because I thought she'd get more use out of. 

Only, now, I kinda want one of my own. I'm going to have to pick some colors and order one soon!


Kirese the kitty was very curious as to what Mommy was doing, so she got to take a picture, too.

Thank you Jou Beee & Forgotten Freckles!! I love my prizes!

Disney & Kraft's Single Best Town Contest

Disney & Kraft are sponsoring a contest to find the Single Best Town, and my sister-in-law's town is in the running. They are currently in 4th place for Frankenmuth, Michigan. For those who have never been (or heard of it), it's a fantastic little village, set with a Bavarian theme. The town is also home to the worlds largest Christmas store, Bronners.

The grand prize winning town will receive a prize pack including a block party with games, giveaways, a concert from Love and Theft (A country band), and guests from various ABC Soap Operas, and more.

Disney & Kraft's Single Best Town Contest

Please take a moment to look at the entries, and vote!!


Did the title of the post give you an idea of the frustration I am feeling? I hate doing our taxes. I hate, hate, hate it.

For a few years, we bounced back and forth between my mom doing them, and my FIL, who is an accountant. He lives far away, though, so it always took longer, because we'd have to send it to him, and he'd have to mail it back, etc, etc.

Then, one year we needed the money fast, so we fell into the H & R Block trap. You know the one- do your taxes now, get your money by the weekend trap. Only, the trap part? Yeah, it costs you a LOT of extra money to do that.

Over the years, we've used H&R Block 4 times. The first was the time mentioned above. The next was when a friend started working there, and she was able to do the taxes for free (yay! My favorite number!). Then the other two times were frustrating years.

In 2007, Nick and I relocated for a job. Because of the job change, Nick was forced to cash out an educators only pension he had. He worked for a college before going to his new job. Not as an actual educator, but the school enrolled him in that pension. When tax time came, we found that the tax programs just could not handle the info. We got hugely varied results. I mean, one program told us we would get $1500 from state, and another would say we were only getting $50 from state. Just insanely, uncomfortably, hugely different numbers.

Had it been a matter of $5-10 here or there in discrepancy, we would have forged on, feeling the numbers were right. Instead, after several days, and trying out almost 10 different tax programs, we gave in, and paid H & R Block the big bucks.

Then, last year for the 2008 returns, we had similar issues, because we had just bought our first home, and there was that whole new home tax credit thing.

This year, I was confident- no oddities, no weird things to tack on to our returns. I went through with the free H&R Block return. Federal went fine. State... not so much.

It was suddenly telling us that for the first time ever, we owed money. Now, to give you some back story on why we felt that JUST COULD NOT BE... Nick puts down 0 for dependents, so he gets a lot taken out in taxes (yes, we do it on purpose for a big return, no, no amount of telling us how we're giving the government a free loan will change how we do it, as we'd rather err on the side of caution, than get a surprise bill). In 2008, he made... ok, I won't share that. I will say this- in 2008, Nick still got 4 quarterly bonus checks, and 1 yearly bonus. Those 5 bonus checks always upped the income by 2-3K overall.

They were taxed at a rate of 40%, so a lot was taken in taxes on them. In 2009, the PTB decided to STOP allowing for the quarterly bonuses all together. In addition, no pay raises were given. So, while he earned the same amount, because there were no quarterly bonuses, Nick earned less in 2009 than 2008. We still had a good chunk of money with held, though.

So in the end- income lower, taxes lower, but still right for the salary. Yet, we owe?

H&R Block said yes, we owe- almost $200. Not much, sure, but still, a shock. Nick's dad is running the numbers, as I refuse to file a "we pay you" tax return without getting the numbers checked. I did try another program last week when I ran the numbers, but that program was just frustrating me to no end, after I was already frustrated. Kids were running around, Nick was being loud playing with them... not conducive to my mind tackling tax issues.

Anyway. Today, I decided to try one last time to run the numbers with

Remember how that one year, we got wildly different numbers? Well, I am NOT comforted by what I got today. TaxAct made me run Federal to get to State, because it imports the Federal numbers to get the State numbers.

Federal came out almost dead even ($7 ahead, but I won't whine yet). State? Oh... state. According to H & R Block, we owe $182 to state. According to TaxAct, state owes US $1459. HUGELY, WILDLY, INSANELY different numbers.

I'm waiting to see what Nick's dad comes back with. He's a real, live person, and a real, live accountant. His numbers are what will matter to me. I would be nice, though, if his numbers matched TaxAct. ;)

Talented Tuesday Features

I slacked off yesterday. Big time. I slept a LOT during the day. Got several calls from the school about Middle Child, those are always fun. He has a fairly extreme case of ADHD, and yesterday? Well, yesterday was one of those bad, very bad, horrible, rotten days.

I wound up sleeping a lot, as I said. I digress.

I meant to feature some crafts from last week's Talented Tuesday, and never got around to doing it. Hence, the slacker part. So, here you are!

These are crafts from last week, NOT from yesterday's Talented Tuesday. Those will be featured next week. You know, if I'm not a slacker, that is.

If you've been featured here, grab the button, and BRAG!!

First up! A Wreath made from BATH POOFS! Yes, Bath Poofs! I totally love this idea, and want to try it myself for a Spring wreath (which my door needs, now that the Candy Cane heart is down).

Veronica over at A Very Country Christmas made this awesome Dollar Tree wreath for just $4 using a couple of bath poofs, some ribbon, roses, and a Dollar Tree wreath form! Isn't it just adorable?

Jess at Mad In Crafts made this fun Chinese Ribbon Stick for her son, also from Dollar Tree items. This is a fun toy, especially with the Olympics!

One Cheap B*tch over at... well, One Cheap B*itch made this totally great Chalk Board Table for her kids to play with. She found the table at a thrift store, painted the top, and Viola! A fun, and functional piece of play furniture!

Stephanie at Made By Stephanie made this fun Monogram Wall Hanging, along with another one as part of a housewarming gift. They are for the kids- isn't it fun?

Check out this fantastic room re-do by Missy over at The Little Green Bean. See that wall, that brick one? Yeah, totally hand painted. She used painters tape to tape of a grid, then went to town! The chair has been Mod Podged with maps. The whole room is just great!

Thank you for joining us with Talented Tuesday. I started Talented Tuesday just a month ago, and it's been a huge success. I really love seeing all the new projects you talented ladies (and gents!) have created each week!

Check back next Tuesday for new features. In the mean time, this week's Talented Tuesday post is open until 11pm, EST, on Wednesday. Feel free to keep adding in links!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Don't Forget: Talented Tuesday Link Party!

I am once again on that schedule where I don't sleep at night. It's not fun. More to the point, I'm exhausted, the kids are at school, and the bed is calling to me. I would be nuts not to answer the call.

Today is Talented Tuesday here at My Frugal Family, so don't forget to link up your crafty, talented posts to the party!

And also?

Talented Tuesday

Welcome to another week, another Tuesday, and another round of fantastically talented crafters!

I am working from my  ancient laptop right now, and have almost no browsing capability. The post, at the moment, will be devoid of features from last week's post. I will, however, at some point during Tuesday, hop on my own cpu and add some features.

I look forward to seeing what all you talented ladies (and gents, if there are any!) have in store for us this week! Don't forget to link back, so others can find the links, and share their own!

The Rules

1) Post a blog about something you've made- a refurnish, recipes, a craft project, a sewing project, room decoration, anything you've done!

2) Add a link to your blog post- not to the blog itself, but to the individual posts! You can post more than one project, just add more links! The links should look something like:

and NOT like this:

3) Add the code below to each post you link to the MckLinky, so that others can post their projects here as well! The list will accept new links through Saturday, so if you make something new, come back and post it! Don't forget to look at the links on the list, and let people know where you found their post at!

This MckLinky will remain open and accepting links through Wed night, so feel free to come back and add more links if you post new things!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mod Podge Madness!

Over the weekend, I picked up a new bottle of Matte finished Mod Podge, and a bottle of Glossy finish, both on clearance at a local store for just $3 a bottle. Oh, the Mod Podge joy to be had!

I've been Mod Podging all weekend. All right, all right, not ALL weekend, but I have done quite a bit of Mod Podging.

First up- A Heart Shaped Springy Clip Thingy. Yes, I'm sure that was the technical name for it. Back before Christmas, I found a large basket packed full of craft supplies for just $2.99 at Goodwill, and it came with all these shaped clips on springy stands.

I was looking to make a last minute Valentine's Day decoration. I chose to paint the base and edges red. It was a Crimson color, which was supposed to be a bit more burgundy than red, but it was bright red when it came out. Ah well, red is red, right? I'm glad now that I know, before using it for something and messing it up because of the color.

I used 2 different black and white scrapbook papers to cut into hearts for the wooden clip, and distressed them with brown ink. I know, it would have looked better with black, but I wound up loving how the brown looked with it.

To mod podge them on, I used my gold Shimmer mod podge, and it turned out great. They reminded me of the Twilight book covers- all black, white, and red. Raegan thought they kind of reminded her of it, but not much. Either way, the girls had a birthday party on Saturday, so that was one of the items they included. The girl is also a Twilight nut like Raegan.

I wound up loving it so much, though, that I made a second one for myself last night.


Next, I did another springy thingy, this time a flower. I made it to match the sign I made for my niece Alex for her upcoming 3rd birthday. 

 After "finishing" this, I went back last night, and added a coat of silver glitter paint to the base.

Ignore the wand for now.
For my next project, I tackled my 1963 wooden Cigar box. My aunt yelled at me for Mod Podging an antique, but honestly, it's much nicer now, while still keeping the appearance it had, for the most part. Here's a before shot of the box, which I found for $.99 at Goodwill last month.

For this project, I bought some scrapbook paper that felt old- it's the backs of old post cards all written on. I cut it to fit the lid, then used brown distressing ink on it to age it more. I choose to use my Gold Shimmer Mod Podge on this, to help aid in the antiquing feel.

 When I was doing this, I got some mod podge on the unfinished wood, and loved the way it made it look. So, instead of mod podging the entire box with scrapbook paper, as I had planned, I stopped with just the front panel, and lid done. The Gold Shimmer Mod Podge gave the wood a nice, rich finish, which turning it gold. It looks great. 

In the photo below, you can see the difference in the finished and unfinished wood. The box itself never had a finish- it was just flat, dry wood. I left the bottom un-Podged, where as the visible sides are podged. It's a drastic difference! I also Mod Podged the entire inside of the box.

I want to find a small glass knob to attach to the lid of the box, to make it easier to open, but as it is, I love how my box turned out.

Last night, Nick and I went to the movies (Book of Eli- which I loved!), and to kill time, we stopped at Target, where I found the dollar spot ribbon spools. There are 6 spools of ribbon, 18 inches of ribbon on each spool, for $1. I love them, and used a lot of them at Christmas, so it was nice finding new ribbons. I picked 3 different ones.

Anyway, despite the late hour when we returned home, I got in the mood to craft. I didn't use any of that ribbon, but did use more Mod Podge!

Last week, I found a package of 16 wooden dowels on clearance for $.68, so I picked it up without a use in mind. Last night, as I was sorting out my wooden shapes, I saw the package of 10 Butterflies and 10 Flowers I got at Dollar Tree. An idea was born- Paint, then Mod Podge the shapes, and paint the dowel, then glue, and Viola! Magic wands for kids!

I started off with a heart shape I had, and made one for my Niece Alex to match the other items I've made so far.

I painted the heart green, then added flower paper to the front side of the heart. I distressed it with red ink, then added a layer of silver glitter paint, before using my Glossy Mod Podge to podge it. 

For the dowel, I painted it bright blue, then used the round head of a pin to polka dot it with the green paint. I added a layer of silver glitter paint, then used the glossy Mod Podge again.

I glued the heart onto the dowel with E6000, and let it sit over night, then took silver, green, blue, and pink ribbon, made a bow, and left long ribbon trails on it. It totally matches the sign and spring clip I've made for her, as well!

Speaking of the sign... When I made it, I didn't have paint to match the paper, so I stained the letter A with lavender ink, and used markers to color the sides. I did not love it. I went ahead this weekend, and painted the A blue.



I do believe that is all my weekend crafts. Plenty of Mod Podge Goodness to be had! 
I did:
1 wand
3 Spring Clips
1 Cigar Box
1 Repainting on a Sign
I only have 1 more thing to do for Alex's birthday- her ALEX banner, similar to my LOVE banner I made for Valentine's Day. I have to get some colorful felt yet, but I have a lot of brightly colored ribbon for it. I may also make a crown she can wear from felt to match.

This post is linked up at the link parties listed here.