Free and Easy Valentine Banner

Valentine’s day… such a quick little holiday. To decorate or not? To be honest in the past I have put out a little candy dish and that’s about all. Now that I have a kid in the house, I want to be more festive, but I don’t really want to spend a lot of money. Ok, I never want to spend a lot of money.

So as I was Pinteresting the other day… (I can use that as a verb right? Even though only my two fingers are moving as I scroll down through the pins?) Anyway, here are the pins that were inspiring me. (Click here for the links: 1, 2, 3, 4)banner CollageI loved the natural colors and deep red. Also oved the burlap and especially the sewn hearts! But, let’s be honest, I don’t have a sewing machine and I was trying NOT to buy supplies. The book pages were so clever, and they had me wishing I had picked up some old books while at St. Vincent DePaul for the Young House Love Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge. I was not about to rip up my books for Valentine’s Day. We heart books here at Schraeradise (#seewhatididthere). So, to stay on my budget of $0, I thought I might try to fashion something similar.

I started with newspaper. photoI cut out a shape that I thought would work for the banner.  I really just eye-balled it, figuring that I had a whole paper to work with if I messed it up. 
photoI did check the size with my mantle, tried to picture what it would look like… It had to hang high enough – higher than toddler hands could reach. The banner would stand no chnace against my Isaac George.

photoLooked good for me, so I cut out about 10 of these pennants and punched holes in them.

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Now, I just needed to figure out how to hang them. I had 2 options: A white ribbed ribbon leftover from gift wrap and a plastic pearly-ball chain like thing. I have no idea where I got the pearly chain, I have had it for years. After trying them both through the holes, I went for the pearls. It is like they found their Valentine Destiny (#friendsreference). I thought they added a little bling to the newspaper and some texture against our painted wood mantel.

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I strung up 8 of the pennants and this is how it looked!

photoNot bad at all. So this is where real life happens and  the baby wakes up; I have to pause. It did give me a little time to contemplate what I would put on the banner. My first thought was X’s and O’s maybe mixed in with hearts. Then I thought of Isaac… at 17 months I thought hearts would be best. So later that night, after he was tucked in and hubby was asleep in the Lazyboy at 8:30 on a Friday night, I finished her up. I did have plans with my galfriend, but we decided to cancel, and I was challenged to do some things for myself. (Read about that here). So, I enjoyed a decaf and biscotti, then back to the banner!

I originally was going to paint my hearts the newspaper, but because the paper was super thin, I thought it might make the paper buckle when it dried. So, I opted for the super easy answer!

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I had a few colors to chose from and ended up choosing the red crayon and magenta marker for the colors of the hearts. I layed the banner on the floor and used a cookie cutter to make some perfect hearts. I thought the exact same heart might make the banner a little nicer.

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Have I mentioned how easy this was? Time to hang it up.

photoCute right? I was please with how this little thing turned out. I thought the pearls were a great compliment to the paper. The colors on the hearts blended well with the other decor in the living room. I placed a few colorful books on the mantel to help the colors stand out.
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I liked it and thought I would use the newspaper in a couple other frames that were empty. Why not? This large frame is in our living room and needs our latest family pics. I added a simple love quote. True.

photoAnd, in our kitchen I used my crayon and marker again to draw an XO on newspaper in put in this frame. There sits my pineapple and hiding in the back is my next DIY adventure #photobomb. So excited about that one. photoAnd since we are talking decor, here is some decor that I already had, so that was free to. This “love” sign I found at TJMaxx a few years back for $.70! That has to be the cheapest item I have ever bought there. 
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In the dining room, some fabric from Isaac’s weekly pictures sits under a glass heart-shaped bowl. I’ve had the bowl for years; it was also a TJMaxx find. 

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On the bookshelf in this room are some items that I let Isaac get his hands on. He likes to carry the pig around and hug him saying “Awww”. I guess I say that when he hugs me. The “A You’re Adorable” book was a gift from his Philly friends. He LOVES this book, I actually can quote it form memory and I recite it to him in tune.

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We are more festive this Valentine week than we ever have been before. Lots of love to celebrate I guess. And, I have to admit I LOVE my banner. It is cute and it was free! Double win for sure. What are you DIYing for Valentine’s Day?

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YHL’s Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge

I enjoy a good stroll through the thrift shop every now in then. And, by now and then, I mean more “then”. Since the little man came along I’ve cut back on real shopping. Shopping with a toddler consists of snack, songs, pointing, talking to strangers. I though I actually really enjoy being out with the baby… it’s harder with a kid. So when Young House Love encouraged me to get back out there, I took the challengeMy blogging bff HildaGotRocks was taking the challenge too.

So, there is this Thrift Shop song. Have you heard it? It’s silly. But, it is rather catchy. Consider yourself warned.

Oh and as you can see below, something about the challenge has me making weird-mouth-high-schooler-selfie pictures and throwing peace signs. I think that Sherdog’s RAP-piness is spreading like a virus. Got my dough, baby in tow, and ready to go.

thrift shop challengeStep #1. Go to a thrift shop with – just as the chorus of the song says – “$20 in your pocket”and take a picture. 

Step #2. Spend that $20 any way you’d like and photograph your spoils

Step #3. Find one item (or more) referenced in the song and snap a pic.

I went to Mt. Washington St. Vincent DePaul and here are some of the things that got my attention…

A pokey little pineapple. Something about this reminded me of Sherry. It opens too.
photoLotso lamps just dying for makeovers. I felt bad for them all wanting a home.
photoThere had to be 5987 baskets which had me thinking about Easter. My boy will need a proper Easter Basket and I would like to fashion one up for less than the Pottery Barn cost. photophotoThis dollhouse has so much potential, but needed some deep DIY love.photoThese clean white trays were so pretty, I wanted to take home all 6.photoThese duck bookends would look great in a kids room painted a bright color! photoThough Isaac enjoyed the stroll down toy lane, most of the items were too dirty to stop the cart. The only possibility was this bead maze in great condition.photoSo, I piled all my maybes into the cart then took a minute to contemplate my purchase.photoBefore I tell you what I took home and if I succeeded in my first YHL challenge, we have a little unfinished business of Step #3. Oh Step number 3, you have me taking more selfies! And…here comes another peace sign peeps, right next to a CASIO keyboard. Oh yeah points scored for a picture with a broken keyboard. (Lyrics: “They had a broken keyboard, I bought a broken keyboard”) 

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More points for… stealing your grandpa’s style…the velcros!  (Lyrics: I’ma take your grandpa’s style, I’ma take your grandpa’s styleNo for real, ask your grandpa, can I have his hand-me-downs?…The sneaker heads would be like “Ah, he got the Velcros”)
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And Isaac wanted to get in on the fun but I wouldn’t let him listen to the song. He thought the glasses were cool. Even tried on 3 different pairs.
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OK, so let’s get down to business. Here are my spoils…

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1. Bead Maze Toy – $1 (half off from $2)
2. Large ‘Easter’ Basket – $4
3. Silver Pineapple – $4.50
4. Mini Purse – $2.50 (half off from $4.99)
5. White Dish – $1
6. Mini Orange Skillet – $2
Grand Total: $15 + tax

So I didn’t spend exactly $20 bucks, but that wasn’t really the point. Here is how I plan to use the items.

The little orange skillet (that is half tacky half adorable) is living on my kitchen window sill. When I saw it I knew it would match my kitchen accents and be the perfect drop spot for jewelry while I cook or do dishes.
photo See? Perf. photo  After a thorough Clorox wipe down, the bead maze made it to the dining room shelf. Isaac  likes to sit and play in this corner while Doug and I talk after dinner. I am sure, though, that it will make it’s way around to every room in the house. photo The mini purse was too cute. It was like a canvas on the outside and bright pink lining – very clean! Once I saw it I knew that it would make the perfect gift bag for a little girl gift I already had to give. It is for a 2 year old, so I knew that she would love her own little thing to carry around. Isaac does this all the time my his lunch bag.

photo Just had to fancy it up a little bit. The strawberry footie PJs rolled up perfectly inside. photoThe white dish is currently on my night stand as another jewelry holder. Can you tell I am worried about losing my wedding ring? photoI think the basket will be a perfect Easter Basket. I love how high the handle is. It is clean, sturdy, and still soft to the touch. I’d like to fashion some kind of removable lining for the inside. Here I show a folded yard of fabric on the inside. I see Pinterest research and a project on the horizon. I will make sure to tell you how it turns out. photo Last but not least is the pokey little pineapple. It is sitting in the kitchen right now so I can see it often. I am sure that it will bop around the house until I find a good home for it. Doug hates it by the way. I think his reaction was “WHAT is THAT?!” And later in the evening he said, “How many treasures do you have hiding around the house?” to which I responded, “just a couple more.” photo

So, there you go. Done. Accomplished. Winning!

The challenge made me realize how much I miss shopping alone, including thrifting. I love getting a lot for a little. I think I will be going back out really soon….without baby. And, without silly rap songs in my head.

Bag It Like I Stole It!

I adore Buy Buy Baby. The store came to Cincinnati the year before Isaac was born and I am SO GLAD! I registered there and had a great experience with them. They received returns off my register easily before Isaac was born and the whole year after (completely opposite of the other place I registered). Last week I returned a few gifted toys that I am not even sure were purchased there. They rock. The people are nice and helpful. Our store has a nursing room too, so it made it easy for me to make a trip when Isaac was itty bitty. They also sell great products. The carry some higher end brands that you cannot find at other baby stores, some that the quality is worth the investment. Stroller section alone is bigger than my house (at least it feels that way). To wrap it all up their coupons are incredible. They frequently mail $5 of a $15 purchase and 20% off an item and you can use as many as you want. They will also take coupons from competitors. Since the location is about 35 minutes from our house, I will usually save my coupons and make a list then optimize them before they expire. I wish I had kept track of all my savings because friends it is a lot.  I leave with a smile on my face feeling like beat the system somehow.

So last week I had a few returns and a pile of coupons that were set to expire. I decided it was time for a trip but only had a few items that I was looking for: a few self-feeding spoons, straw sippies, maybe some plates, possibly a birthday gift for Isaac’s girlfriend. They received all 3 toys and I had a gift receipt of $53 to spend. I loaded up on the items I new that I needed. I also was thinking about a new Skip Hop bottle/lunch bag. I was happy with the quality but mine was kinda stinky, so I picked up on of these too. It matches my beloved diaper bag which was in great shape, so I figured with $5 off coupon it was worth it.

Here is my diaper bag: The Skip Hop Duo

7342914923993PHere is the matching bottle/lunch bag: The Skip Hop 3 Bottle Thinsulate Bag7348614924370PLike I said, I have been super happy with these products. Durable, easy to clean, and simple. They don’t scream “I am for a baby” so I know that I can use them for a long time. I have thought about getting the the larger bag, the Duo Double, but at $79.99, I couldn’t justify another bag that I would only use rarely.  That was until I saw one with this little tag…

photo It is hard to read, but says the date of return was 9-17-2012 for a broken zipper. Original price $79.99 and Reduced Retail $30.98. I looked at the bag and saw no other defects, the middle zipper was open so I figured it was the reason for the return. I wasn’t sure I wanted to pay $30.98 even after coupon, so I carried it to the register with me to see what I could get. I figure my seamstress could fix the zipper for $10 or so, so if I could get them down to $20 (then another $5 off) it would be worth it. I asked the sales clerk if she would take $20 for it and she said she would have to call the manager. When the manager came I thought twice and asked her if she would reduce the price. She asked me the date, and since it had been over 3 months she cut the price in half!!! YES!!!  $14.50, people! After $5 coupon it was down to $9.50. Oh Em Gee!

So here is my new bag… photo photoOnce I got home, I tried out the middle zipper that I thought was broken and it worked! Turned out the broken zipper was on the side where there was a double zipper option, meaning only one of those zippers does not work! What? I don’t even have to get this baby fixed. Happy Momma, right here.

photoAnd, the baby was happy too 🙂
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Thanks Buy Buy Baby for treating me so good, you have a customer for life!