being cheap

october damage

last month’s spending confession was pretty therapeutic for me. i intended to spend the next couple of months paying off my credit card, but alas,.. pillows. this month i spent about $300 on somewhat unnecessary things for the house. well that includes a cheese grater and a dirt devil dust buster thing from amazon (that came damaged and we have to send back. grrrr).

but here are the more fun, most unnecessary things:

1. libby langdon syldan hand crafted scalloped cotton decorative pillows (x3) $44.98 each
(22×22 emerald, blue & poppy)
i decided i needed these for the banquet dining bench in brewster. i will slowly but surely make this into a cozy, awesome looking bench with cushions and lots of pillows and all of that…

which leads me to a ridiculously amazing banquet dining set-up i came across just this morning.. off track, but i can’t help but share:


i sent this link to mike & he said, “why doesn’t ours look like that”? thousands of dollars worth of expensive pillows and custom cushions, that’s why! follow the link tho, this house makes me drool.

but back to the expensive-to-me pillows…
the scallops, colors and sturdy linen material (that looks fairly stain resistant and renter tolerant) all sold me. so $150 for three pillows. not good, but like i said, i needed them.

2. mainstays watercolor botanical decorative pillow $9.97
more like what i should be paying for a pillow. this will also live on the banquet bench.

3. mainstays rolling garment rack $9.97
i already had one of these and decided, for $10, i needed another for the clothes swap party i hosted earlier in the month. its currently serving as a little closet stand-in for the extra bedroom in the basement.

4. metal sunburst mirror $34.99 (i got on sale for $24.99) love. you should stalk this until its on sale and buy it (target stuff is always on and off sale). its on my rug wall.
5. pumpkins. yes pumpkins. $65                                                                                                               i went shopping with dane for a few pumpkins and somehow spent $65. dane requested a giant pumpkin, a few smaller ones, a haystack, a cheap little stuffed pumpkin (that shakey destroyed in 30 seconds) and some other random food items at our local garden shop. he was being so cute that i just went with it and let him load up the cart. 
a couple moments of weakness in october, clearly, but it could have been worse. i don’t plan on a november or december update because i don’t intend to do any frivolous spending. time for holiday shopping and saving up for our winter vacation!

financial over-share and the goods

i keep track of just about every dollar i spend. mike and i split most of our monthly fixed expenses evenly and keep pretty independent finances otherwise. it works well for us. things like food and gas are somewhat variable and split randomly from month to month (generally he buys most of the gas and i pay for most groceries). anyway, what you see here is a very VERY bad month for stephanie and i will suffer the consequences for probably the next 2.5 months. these are my spending categories outside of the mortgage, childcare, utilities etc.
we probably buy far fewer groceries than the typical household. dane’s daycare feeds him bfast, snack and lunch, as does “nonnie care” and my office has a fully stocked kitchen that feeds me each day (i know, so lucky). mike usually buys coffee and lunch out each day (this makes me cringe!). i overpay for diapers and wipes bc i like to use the honest company, but those day should be numbered since potty training is in fully swing! 
the clothes. i swear to you, i don’t spend money on clothes.. i don’t know what happened! was it the back-to-school mentality? labor day sales? summer-is-over depression? i don’t know, but i’m really not a clothes person and this is a serious anomaly. in my defense, this includes both dane & i as well as a hefty dry-cleaning haul that included a ton of mike’s stuff. 
moving on.. ahh the “home goods” category. my arch nemesis. this is where i get myself in trouble most often. 
since its such a big number this month, i thought it would be fun to see exactly how i got there. its nothing too frivolous and i don’t regret a single purchase. so that’s good. some of these items were major steals. oh and NO affiliate links here…

1. “baxton studio” chairs (x2) :: amazon :: $179.99 for set of 2  <i paid $143.50>
these are for brewster. we had those horrible, cheap as can be ikea chairs around the table and they had to be replaced. two sets of these ran me $269 – the bulk of my spendings – and really not bad at all for 4 chairs that i love.

2. black palm pillow :: h&m :: $10
a great sale price. i actually already have one of these and love it, so decided i needed another.

3. bully pillow :: h&m :: $9.95

4. duvet cover :: h&m :: $15
on sale.. what a steal! i already have this in a queen size for the basement bedroom. we are putting the finishing touches on an add’l (twin) bed (for riley’s visits!) from craigslist that we refurbished & will go down there as well. 

5. ginham sheet set :: target :: $17.99
for the new twin bed as well.

6. down alternative comforter (x2) :: target:: $19.99 ea.
one for the basement twin and one for dane’s future big-boy bed (i’m a bit skeptical about how low this price is…. i haven’t received them yet, but expect they are pretty thin & i’m ok with that).

7. heart hooks :: h&m :: $5.95
these will go in the new basement bedroom as well. (i’m really trying to finally pull it all together!).

8. space heater (x2) :: amazon :: $19.99 ea.
fall is in the air but i want to wait as long as possible to fire up the gas heat. we have one of these in our bathroom & one in dane’s room, just for the chilly mornings.

9. oval jute rug :: rugs usa :: $174 <i paid $57.30>
yes, this was about 350% off. i got it during a crazy labor-day sale, but they are always running crazy sales and promotions, so i bet you’d have a pretty good chance of getting it 50-80% off as well. we are re-doing the sunroom floor in brewster (ripping up stained carpet). still weighing flooring options, but this rug will go on top.

10. toddler t :: mamacase prints :: $23
i snuck this one in for fun. its actually in my “gifts” expense category bc it’s for (liz: spoiler alert) riley’s 3rd birthday in november (look who’s planning ahead!). i pride myself on finding fun, unique, hipster clothes for dane via little mom & pop shops like this. they are usually printed on american apparel t’s which are so so soft!

mike – don’t kill me. and yes, i realize its only the 18th!!

i’ve been painting stuff

when our basement is really finished, we will have a beautifully finished, *empty basement. i mean all the money we have invested in the walls, ceiling, carpet… i don’t know how we’ll afford to furnish it. so i’m trying to be creative and thrifty. we picked up a craigslist couch over the weekend and i’ve started to diy some art and accent furniture… like the k-mart stool below.  i thought with a little paint and prayer, it could make a cool little side table.
*aside from toys
i needed sponges one day last weekend and i left k-mart with sponges and this stool. i think i got it on sale for 14.99. i just remember it being so cheap, i didn’t think i could go wrong. (last i checked online it was on sale for 17.99…. just sort by price low-to-high and once you get past the stool softener, you’ll see it..) either way.. here’s how it went…

i’m totally hung up on the paint-dipped trend. i want to one-third paint everything.

first, i quickly sanded down the legs and slapped on a coat of “antiquing glaze” that i already had mixed up from other stuff we have going on down in the basement (more on that later. much more.)

i just wanted to get rid of the shiny-kmart-oak finish. this roughed it up and made it look a smidge more rustic.

next, i taped up the middle of the legs which will remain otherwise unpainted.

..broke out the kilz primer and primed the bottom and top.

i sprayed the bottom of the legs gold which made me want to spray everything else in my house gold. lucky for shakespeare, i refrained.

then i gave the top a quick spray.

i know arrows are trendy but i’m totally unoriginal so i’m into them. and they are somewhat easy to conjure using quarter-inch painters tape.

on deck was a sample of valspar paint. i’m going to have to get back to you with the name of this color. #bloggerfail

as for the result….. first lets focus on the positives.
the gold “feet” came out awesome.

i love the colors and general look of the 3-toned (stool) table.

but my arrows were a bit of a bust. i had such high hopes, but the green peeled as i was removing the tape and they just look like complete crap. the green wouldn’t stick to the slick gold spray paint.. i’m not sure how to avoid this next time. if you have any thoughts, please share.

but all’s not lost. its still a pretty fun little $20 table and it really didn’t take much time or effort to create.

the doors

we spent the weekend in the cape again. a very snowy weekend.
(not the beach house view that i prefer:)

so we picked up where we left off with the doors. the project was simple. 5 ugly doors (2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and the door to the lower level) to brighten up.


it would have been nice to replace them with pretty new ones with nice molded panels, but that would have been at least a $250 – $300 dent that we didn’t feel like allocating to replace perfectly functional doors. so instead we got after it with a can of paint and a dream.

mike thoroughly sanded both sides of each door with and electric sander in the garage. next, we brought them into the kitchen, propped them up (one at a time) on two chairs and wiped them down real good to remove any residual debris from the sand job before painting (swiffer dry sweeping cloths were really helpful for this step).
for the “faux molding” i just traced the two rectangles with a yard stick and pencil, then taped over my lines before painting (we used a white semi-glass, no voc paint and 2″ thick painters tape).

i measured 6″ from the top and bottom and 4″ from the sides for the outer perimeter – then 27″ from the bottom of the door for the top of the lower rectangle, and 34″ from the bottom of the door for the bottom of the upper rectangle. i tried to line the center of the tape strips up with lines i drew. for clean corners, i had to make careful cuts where the tape met.

if i had to do this over, i would have measured 5 or 6″ in from the sides (instead of 4) to leave more room for the door knob – you will see that the knob hardware overlaps the line a bit.
i was the taper, so this synchronized nap was crucial for me to finish up!
once my job was done, i snuggled dane while mike rolled on the paint.

for clean lines, we peeled the tape off before the paint was completely dry to avoid chipping…
we also bought some new, middle-of-the-line door knobs in brushed nickel. these suckers are tricky to install (assessment based solely on the number of expletives overheard from mike).
it was so rewarding putting these puppies back on the hinges (which we did not replace and perhaps should have since they no longer match the knobs).
now settle in for a whole bunch of shots of the finished product:

we added the faux molding to 3 of the 5 doors… the two bathroom doors we just painted white (didn’t want to over do it). very happy with the result. sigh.
so much more going on in brewster this offseason. will have more updates later in the week!


go to kohls

i’m not much of a department store person, but i think i might become a regular at my local kohls! its in the same shopping plaza as whole paycheck (aka whole foods) where i have been food shopping now that i’m trying to stick to organic for dane – i know, so high maintenance!

so i went to kohls and it was awesome. they have a huge, clean and organized ‘home’ section in the back with lots of nice brands and most importantly grrreat sales!
check out this beauty. 5 bucks. i got three (we know how i’m lovin those quatrefoils!).
you can find these here.
this ampersand cork thing was not on sale, but i got it anyway. another weird fetish i guess…

the best bargain of all was this frame collage. Originally $39.99 marked down to $11.99 (so less than $2.50 for each piece).

i’m not going to use it as a collage… the weird little dog and truck images are not my taste, but i have a plan for them! i got started on it tonight – here is a sneak peak!

more on this tomorrow. i need to focus on taking pictures of ourselves in the mirror and flipping between the state of the union and the westminster dog show (its like the superbowl for shakespeare).

watching intently…
how does the english bulldog not win every year????

a vineyard thrift

there has been a lot of painting going on in the household… most of which is incomplete.

for now – this is the story of a little hook i bought in vineyard haven for $.50.. (fiddy cent):

and this is the story of 3 rainy days in the vineyard visiting my sisters (happiness overload):