March 13, 2013

Playroom Decoration

 Our house has a huge loft upstairs that we use as a playroom.  One of the walls is large and blank.  It probably seems bigger than it is because the toys are so short.  It leaves a lot of blank space above them.  I was trying to think of something fun, cheap, and easy to fill the space.  I also didn't want anything permanent, just in case I change my mind or need to rearrange the furniture someday.

I saw that Joann's had their embroidery hoops on sale for 40% off, so I loaded up all four kids and we picked out five different sizes.  I ended up getting 19 of them, but it's easy to customize it to fit any space.  Then we headed over to the fabric department.  I LOVE looking at fabric.  It always makes me want to redecorate everything in my house because there are so many cute patterns.  Unfortunately, like I said, I had all four kids with me, so I resorted to letting my girls pick out the pre-packaged fabric quarters.  The prints aren't as cute, but they had all the colors we needed to make our rainbow, and my girls had fun choosing their favorites.  We did three of each color, except purple and pink, we only did two.  I'm sure this would be an excellent way to use up a fabric stash as well.  My scraps were mostly black and white, so I just got all new ones.

I washed and ironed all of the fabric so that it was smooth.  I laid the embroidery hoops out on the floor in front of the wall so that I could get an idea of how I wanted the layout and to make sure it stretched all the way across the room.  Then I had my daughter Ruby help me lay the fabric over the inner hoop and tighten the outer hoop over it.  We just trimmed off the edges of the fabric and they were ready to hang!  I went super easy on the hanging and just used push pins instead of nails.  I get nervous putting holes in the walls!  But the hoops hung right on the pins and I made adjustments where I needed to.

I love how it turned out and so do my girls.  It makes the playroom look more put together and fun.

March 8, 2013

Entertainment Deals

 Once upon a time I was searching here:

 for a date/gift for the husband. Everyone knows about Groupon (on the small chance someone reading this doesn't, just follow the link and enjoy browsing, by location, deals on everything) but I found a Groupon for something not many have heard of. It was for this: Here is a brief explanation as well as a pro-con list (currently available in the above cities):
1. pay $80 for a year membership for 2 OR $150 for a year membership for 4 (groupon had the memberships for 50% off here in Dallas!!!)
2. claim free tickets on your city's fillaseat website
3. enjoy awesome entertainment whenever you choose for 365 days

- after the one-time membership fee, EVERY ticket is 100% free!!!
- you get to pick and choose what tickets you want (in Dallas over the last 2 months there have been comedy shows (tons!), bull fighting, a monster truck show, hockey games, the ballet, magic shows, plays, a Cuban symphony, some others)
- the primary account holder (or spouse) can take whomever they want to whichever shows they want
- it gets you out of the house and around the city (great for us since we are new to DFW)
- broadens your interests (wouldn't have guessed it, but I actually like hockey!)
- you can sign up at any time and get a year's worth of filling seats!
- combine with a groupon food deal for an excellent but budget-friendly date-night
- many shows/games are "b-list" (not popular/familiar) ...hence the company's name
- available shows/games are updated on the website randomly, and tickets can go very fast, so you have to check it often
- there have been a couple weeks where there were only 2 or 3 shows available that didn't interest us (so date-night isn't guaranteed)
- if you don't go to a show you claim tickets for, you may forfeit your entire membership
- you don't get to see what's available in your city (or what's been available in the past) until you buy a membership

**the websites have tons of info/rules; I highly recommend reading them to see if it's a good fit for you**

For us, our $80 has already been "reimbursed" from 1. the tickets we've claimed and 2. having a reason to explore the cool area we live in... and there are still 10 more months to go!

March 1, 2013

"Envelope System" Wallet

In order to stick to a budget, we started implementing Dave Ramsey's "Envelope System" into our daily spending.  Basically each month you take out allotted amounts of cash for Groceries, Clothes, Entertainment, etc. The system suggests keeping the cash in separate envelopes, this helps prevent over spending in any certain area. We have been doing it for a few months now and it works wonderfully for us! We have been able to stay on budget and SAVE every month.  However, after one month my envelopes looked like this... (ripped to shreds).
After a lot of searching I found these cute envelope wallets on Etsy for sale, BUT I just couldn't bring myself to spend the $60. Being the crafty (cheap...hence the tight budget) sister I am I decided to make my own. Hallelujah for the saint who posted her tutorial here!
Here's how mine turned out.
I only made three "envelopes" (tutorial here) since we only take out cash for Groceries, Entertainment, and Kids.
  I ripped the plastic change holder out of Ramsey's Envelope System and sewed it into my own.
This wallet was very simple to make and I love how it turned out!