Friday, July 31, 2015

Frugal Friday: Making your makeup last a little longer...

I don't know about you, but I hate to throw away a container when I know it's not empty even though the contents will no longer squeeze out. Perfect example: my Clinique foundation.

To extend its life for a few days, even a few weeks - depending on how much you use - all you need is a zip lock bag and a pair of scissors.

When the makeup will no longer squeeze out, snip off the end of the tube, saving the part you cut away. Store it in the zip lock bag.

The next time you put your "face" on, use a Q-tip or your finger to get out what you need from the inside of the tube. Then zip it back up until the next application. This usually gives me 2-3 more weeks before I have to replace the tube! And with two kids in college, every little bit of savings helps...


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Two Tips for Tuesday...

Tip #1 - If you have trouble growing your nails, be on the look out for this Sally Hansen nail product the next time you are in your local drug store. Look for the one that has Retinol and Nylon in it. I think the nylon is the miracle worker. After you paint your nails, look closely. The tiny protective fibers are visible. I put it on clean nails and in three or four days put on another coat, making sure to get the edges of the nail. Then start over in about ten days or when you notice the polish wearing off. Read a little more from Sally Hansen. It really does work (Too bad they're not paying me to say that!). I usually buy mine from Walgreens.

Tip #2 - Do you have a pretty soap dish? Wash off all that gooey soap and re-purpose it.

Old soap dish = new jewelry holder.

I hope today is good for you. This is my last week at home before the 2015-16 school year kicks off. I'll be heading back to the classroom pretty soon for my 19th year of teaching.  :-)


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Gallery walls...

One of my favorite things to see put together by the bloggers I follow is a gallery wall. The possibilities for displaying your favorite things on a gallery wall are endless - pictures of children, their artwork, family mementos, symbolic objects, a framed piece of nature. It all looks good in a creative grouping. I decided to give it a try myself on one of our snow days back in March.

I was using these two pictures in my half bath - the art work of my two older children. My mom originally had these framed and she was using them in her house. She gave them to me a while back when she changed up some of her space.

I had several white, inexpensive frames that I wasn't using stuck in a box in my hall closet. They came with mats to match the frames. I also had left over black spray paint from some other project. The only thing missing was the pictures. So, to create my gallery wall, I did what I had been putting off for years - I went through ALL of my kids' artwork that I was keeping on a shelf in my laundry room. It had been piling up for, oh, about twenty years. I only cried a little (OK, a lot) as I searched for the perfect pieces to create my first gallery wall.

Here are two gallery walls I love. The first one is from Emily A Clark. The gold and black frames with the black and white prints mix perfectly - sweet simplicity.

The next one I really like turns the corner...literally. This one is from the Little Black Door blog.

little black door
Using their examples, I decided on an animal/nature theme for my wall. So, as I was digging through the years of preschool, kindergarten, primary, and elementary school memories, I pulled out all of the pictures that fit the theme.

The giraffe from above and the frog here are by my oldest son. He's twenty-one and a senior in college. (Um, did I just say senior in college?)

The flower picture from above and this flower are by my daughter. She's nineteen, and this fall she will be a sophomore in college.

And the tree and the small flowers are by my youngest son. He's fourteen and starts high school in the fall.

I found the "Live Thankfully" sign at Hobby Lobby ($9.99) - not really sure what I planned to do with it months ago when I bought it. I just really liked it.

The blog at the time of this project was just an idea, so I don't have step-by-step directions photographed. But there really wasn't much to it. I spray painted the white frames with the left over black paint. I used the mats as my guide and simply cut the pictures to fit, taped them to the mat, and put them all back together. I arranged the pictures multiple ways on the floor until I liked what I saw. Then hammered them up.

Here's how it turned out...

Definitely a productive snow day. And I didn't spend a dime. Hard to imagine a day cold enough for snow in this July heat!


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My summer reading list...

It's sometimes hard for me to squeeze a book into my schedule during the school year, and now, after adding "finish a blog post" to my to-do list, it may be even harder. But during June and July, when I'm recharging my teacher batteries, I manage to find a little leisure time to read while enjoying the sun.

I've read two so far, and I'm working on a third:

And I'm working on ...

I really wasn't knocked out by The Husband's Secret. The story line kept my attention and the characters were believable, but it wasn't one of those books that made me sad when it ended. Three story lines eventually cross into one, and the husband's secret is predictable. 

However, The Girl on the Train I did enjoy. It was a page turner and less predictable - a quick, easy summer read. The book is filled with discontented characters in London going about their daily lives. The main character, the girl, is an alcoholic who ventures out each day by train, keenly observing the lives of others taking place outside of the train windows. She manages to insert herself where she doesn't belong to disclose her observations. This puts her in harms' way. Although I wasn't crazy about the ending, I did like it.

I've just starting What Alice Forgot, so I'll comment on that later. I'm on Chapter 5, and so far I'm entertained and looking forward to picking it back up. 

Have you all read any of these? If so, comment below and share your thoughts. I'd love to hear from you!


Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Sunday thought... Becoming Real

This excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit showed up more than once in my Instagram feed this week. And the more I read it, the more I love it.

He said, 

"You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly except to people who don't understand."

There are many takeaways here, but I think the big one for me is that unconditional love is a special and wonderful thing...


Friday, July 17, 2015

Inspiration House #6

Summer is in full swing in sweet home Alabama! The beaming sun in the daytime and the Katydids at bedtime solidify the season of humidity is here. Time to be outside on a patio or on a front porch or enjoying a good book in a sun room. And, do I have a cute sun room to show you. My friend Anita and I were colleagues for seventeen years. She's now retired after twenty-seven years in the classroom. She's a Master Gardener with the greenest of thumbs. Today I'm going to show you her trendy and comfy sun room and in a later post, I'm going to give you a tour of her gorgeous yard and her cool "she-shed." Enjoy the summer inspiration!

One of three cute, unique corners. This one serves as a dining area. Morning coffee probably tastes better in this spot than any other spot in the house.

One of her eight cats getting in on the action.

Cute corner number two. A perfect reading nook that would probably turn into the perfect nap spot for me after a couple of chapters. Notice the turtle. It's fitting that Anita would have a turtle pillow. She has made several trips to Costa Rica over the past few years and has helped rescue endangered leather back sea turtles at Estacion las Tortugas. When she was teaching, she took groups of students to help in the rescue efforts as well. A field trip to Costa Rica - doesn't sound too bad, does it?

And corner number three, perfect for just sitting and enjoying the sun, is my favorite - I like the happy colors. Do you see what I see?

The wooden, hand-carved cat observing from the window is from Costa Rica.

The mask below, also a souvenir from Costa Rica, is from the indigenous tribe of Bri Bris near Cauita on the Carribean coast in the mountains between Panama and Costa Rica. During her visit, she rode horses for part of the way and hiked to the steepest part. The Bri Bri live isolated from the world and have their own culture and language. The mask embodies the spirits of many animals.  These colorful, eye-catching masks are made of balsa wood. 

Bri Bri Mask
This is a picture of an artisan at the oxcart factory in Sarchi, Costa Rica. The tray on Anita's wicker table is an original, hand-painted work of art from the factory.

Anita's tray.

A few last shots...

A big thank you to my friend Anita for showing us where she enjoys the sun. See the white building through the wall of windows? That's her she-shed. I'll show it to you soon!

I hope you have a great weekend...


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

(Nothing to It) Chicken Pot Pie

The first time I ate this pot pie recipe, I had just welcomed my third child, my second boy. A friend from my Sunday school class brought it to us. That sweet, chunky baby boy is now fourteen and will start high school this year - that seems impossible. Better move on; I'll be needing a tissue. Back to the recipe...


2 large chicken breast, boiled and chopped
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 can of Veg-all, drained
1/4 cup of mild shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
1 box (2 crust) ready to bake rolled pie crust for 9" pie

Take the pie crust from the freezer and let it thaw for about an hour. Microwaving to help out the thawing process is a no-no (don't ask me how I know this). While the crust is thawing, boil and chop the chicken into bite size pieces. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. After about an hour, roll out the bottom of the crust and place it in a pie plate. Fill it with the chopped chicken.

Mix the soup and Veg-all next. 

Pour over the chicken and salt/pepper to taste. Sprinkle on the cheese. 

Put the top on the pie and pinch up the over-hanging crust.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until the crust browns. 

Slice and serve! This is a great week night recipe and serves 6-8. It's one of my kids' favorites.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Thrift store mirror before and after...

I saw this mirror in my favorite consignment shop as I was reconciling my account and on my way out the door several weeks ago.

I really liked the shape of it and the detailing in the edges, but I ended up leaving without it.

Mistake... When I got home, I had all kinds of ideas for it and knew all it needed was a can of spray paint to revive it. So, a couple of days later, I headed back to Twice as Nice and brought it home.

I wasn't sure what the best spray paint would be for the job - I did know I wanted it gold. Dimples and Tangles is one of the blogs I like to keep up with, and Jennifer is the queen of redoing things she finds on Craig's List and even, literally, the side of the road. I emailed her and she suggested using Rustoleum Metallic Gold. There was just enough room between the mirror and the frame to tuck some paper under the edges, so I didn't have to tape it off.

This is the paint I tried first, but this was more of a matte finish.

I wanted it to have a shiny, brassy look, so I ended up using Valspar's Metallic Gold. It gave the mirror the look I was going for.

And here is the after...

Spray paint is your friend and usually around $5-$7 a can. Not sure how the mantel will end up being styled, but blue and white will be up there somewhere.

I hope you are having a good week. The summer is ticking away...