Friday, January 27, 2012

Nice Little Surprise In the Mail...

So I got the mail yesterday, and received the nicest surprise from our friends at Pottery Barn...and I have no idea why:

Um, that's a gift card.  It's not a merchandise credit, or a "buy this and get a gift card" deal, it just...arrived.
And I am NOT complaining! ;)
More than anything, I'd like to know how I qualified for this promotion because I'd like to make sure to participate in the future, haha.
The card it arrived on just says that it can be used online, in stores or for catalog orders, but doesn't say why.
Anyone else get one too?  What will you be buying with yours?
And how do I get another? :)

At any rate, the timing is superb as it arrived before a planned shopping trip in a neighboring state.  Wonder if I'll find any bargains?
In the meantime, tomorrow I'll be camped out here:

with a shopping list, Cool Sister and the 'Rents, and sans Redhead.  If that's not a blissful weekend for me these days, I'm not sure what is :)

If you have any insight into the Great Gift Card Mystery, let me know in the comments below.
And Pottery Barn, if you're reading, let's talk blog sponsorship, shall we? :)

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Saving $ When You're Sick

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens. All opinions are 100% mine.
So it's that time of year...  and even though here in Iowa we haven't had much snow, winter has totally Arrived. 
How do I know?
Just by looking at our Dr. bills.  Between sinus infections, ear infections, bouts with the flu and some unknown garbage that's been floating around Casa V, we've made more trips to the pharmacy than I care to admit. 
And those trips and meds all add up, am I right?
We typically head to Walgreens because the location is convenient, and they're available 24/7.  That helps when you run out of ear drops at 10:00 at night and your kid is howling with a raging ear infection.  Now, Walgreens is offering customers a way to save on some of the multiple meds we'll need to make it through the "season of sickness": a special discount on annual membership for the Walgreens Prescription Savings Club
For $10 a year, a family membership covers everyone in your immediate family, including a spouse, dependents 22 and younger and pets. Yes, Pets.  So if this guy needs a little somethin' somethin'... well, he's covered, too.
Individuals may join for $5. Once you're in, you'll receive discount prices on your prescriptions. 
Other benefits include:
-Savings on more than 8,000 brand-name and all generic medications
-Discounts on flu shots, pet prescriptions, nebulizers and diabetic supplies
-Bonuses when you purchase Walgreens brand products and photofinishing services

It's easy to stay up-to-date on what Walgreens is offering..
You can "like" them on Facebook, or give 'em a follow on Twitter, if you're so inclined:

Visit Sponsor's Site

Monday, January 23, 2012

Easy Valentines

Valentine's Day is just a couple short weeks away, and as I've seen the boxes of valentines and candy hearts popping up everywhere, I figured I had better get off the old duff and get the old brain working for what The Redhead will be sharing with her friends at daycare.  
I wasn't super excited about making cookies or including candy, because gosh, kids have *just* started to come down off of the sugar/candy free-for-all that starts at Halloween and lasts through the holidays.  

I don't know about your kids, but The Redhead is a brutus when it comes to crayons.  She loves to color and draw, but we seem to have a surplus of broken crayons laying around.  She also is a bit of a princess and doesn't care to use the crayons once they're broken.  That's my girl.

So, here's a way to upcycle broken stuff, and turn it into something usable, pretty and fun that you can give to your kiddo's pals.

Take these:

(silicone baking tray from Target, $2.50 at the Dollar Spot.  Yeah, I don't get that either.  But whatev.)

Chop up your broken guys.  I used a kitchen knife and it cut 'em up like buttah.

Put the tray in the oven at 250 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.  When they've completely cooled, just pop them out (this is when using the silicone tray becomes the greatest thing ever) and prepare for your pals! :)


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Coastal Charm, A2Z

Monday, January 16, 2012

Nailhead Trim Corkboard [Ballard-Inspired]

I have a wall in my office that, along with the rest of this side of the room, needs a little pick-me-up.

Um, yeah.
See what I mean?
When we first moved in, it looked like this:

Huuuuge change, right?  (yeah, that's sarcasm).  These days, there's a different chair at the desk, I took those frames off the wall... and there's more mess.  That about sums it up.

The rest of the room is looking great, with our updated storage and gallery wall.  Now this wall needs some H-E-L-P.
In addition to taking out the desktop computer we no longer use and making some sense of all the clutter, I'm going to turn this bit of office into more usable craft space.  After all, I'm the only one who uses the room so Mr. V. doesn't mind me taking it over. 
Today I'm starting with one of the simplest of organizational tools - Adding a [cute] corkboard to the wall.
You know my obsession lately with nailhead trim, so of course this guy from Ballard caught my eye months and months ago.  He's been waiting patiently for me to copy him, I KNOW IT. :)
source: Ballard Designs

I love the look, and for fun, I knew I could create my own version for $0, using things I already had on hand.  Bonus!

I started with this open backed frame that was one of two I picked up at a flea market for a buck.  They've been sitting around, calling out for the right project.  Well nearly a year later, I found one. :)

They're both imperfect, with some chipped paint and some battle scars, but nothing I couldn't fix.
In fact, I found the imperfections downright charming... until I added a coat of primer and paint.

I chose my favorite creamy custom blend ivory from SW (the same paint I have been using for my trim - I've got loads of it lying around and I love it, so that's how I came to my color decision.  Scientific, huh? :) ).
But despite a good sanding, the "imperfections" in the frame were highlighted with the lighter paint.
Knots in the wood...

Joints that weren't flush...

Luckily the fix was pretty easy - I simply filled the joints and scraped over the knots with my favorite wood filler, let it dry, then sanded them smooth.  Another coat of paint and they were invisible.

For the board itself, I used a leftover piece of foam board for the backing.  I didn't have any scrap wood to fit into the back of the frame, and let's face it... I was trying to knock this out in an evening - The Redhead was asleep and even if I did have wood on hand, I didn't want to fire up the saw and risk waking her up.  So, foam board it was.  And it worked great.
I had a roll of leftover cork hiding out in the basement, so I cut it to size, then just used spray adhesive to stick it to the board. 

From there, you can pretty much see what I did next -
I used leftover linen from my IKEA Storage Box Makeover to cover the cork, then I fit the whole thing into the frame and secured the backing.  I glued the piece in for some extra "oompf".  Once it was dry, I took some inspiration once again from Ballard and used some leftover upholstery tacks from that same project for trim to add some antiqued brassy bling and voila!

This guy will be going up on my office wall, but I still have to work out a few details of what will be joining him up there before I hang it up.

Until then...


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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Home Goals for 2012

It's the time of year we all get the "Itch".
You know what I'm talking about - that "January Itch" - after the abundance of the holidays is packed away, we are craving simplicity, organization, cleanliness.  Fresh starts.  Do-Overs. We are ready to attack projects that have sat, stalled or not even started, for far too long.
Well, I've got that itch.

I don't really "do" resolutions for the New Year, but if you know me in real life you know I am a list.making.machine.
And I like to have goals.  
So now's as good a time as any.
This year I broke down my 2012 goals for our home into "The Realistic" list and the "In-Your-Dreams-You'll-Accomplish-That-With-A-Newborn" list.
Because let's just say, people, that I know how I function on little sleep.  And it's not great. :)

So, here we go:


Our Downstairs Bathroom
Without going into a giant rant about our builder, let's just say this little half-bath off our kitchen is a
And of course, because I hate it, it's naturally the most-used bathroom in the house. 
Here's what I want to do:
- Replace vanity top and faucet (both are builder-standards we planned on replacing since we built the house, but couldn't decide what we wanted.  Now, the builder's corner-cutting is more than I can take, so that's outta here)
- Restain vanity base - it's sturdy, quality oak and the storage space really can't be beat.
-Add Hardware
- Replace fixtures (towel ring, bar on back wall that you can't see, TP holder)
- Paint trim

(oh, is that all? ;) )


-Add hardware to kitchen cabinets
- Daydream about refacing cabinetry.

Laundry Room

This poor room just needs a little bit of everything.  I wish I had about 20 more square feet to turn this into an actual mudroom, but you work with what you've got, right?

Sigh.  Wouldn't this be nice?
- Maintainable Storage/Organization for the parade of shoes and flip flops that come in from the garage and get dumped in the middle of the entry to the bathroom.  [Mr. V., I'm looking in your general direction here...]
- Move/better organize dog food storage
- Likely move dog bowls elsewhere
-Paint Trim
-Improve organization on wire shelving above washer/dryer

The Redhead's Bathroom

(This is a super old pic, but sadly, things haven't changed all that much since it was taken, just different accessories...Boo.)
- Paint walls
- Paint vanity
-Add hardware
-Frame mirror
- Paint Trim
-Update Faucet

Master Closet
I'm not going to show you a picture of this today because it's THAT embarrassing.  Let's just say we're grateful that it has a door.  That we can shut.  So we can avoid looking at it.

- For the love of God just clean an organize it.  And keep it that way.  Right now we just refer to it as "The S&^%box"  Nice, huh? 

This would work for me...


  • Make over Master Bath
  • Update Master Bedroom
  • New Flooring in The Redhead's Bathroom
  • Patio off the deck + additional backyard landscaping
  • The Redhead's Playroom
  • Guest Room Updates

Yeah.... just a simple little list, right?  HA HA.
Come see me in December... we'll talk about progress.  OY :)


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

DIY Pennant Bunting Tutorial

Hey there!  
I'm back after a couple days off the grid, doing my civic duty (::cue Law & Order sound effect::).  All is well once again with the world. :)

Today's project is one I completed a few months ago, but just never got around to posting.
A co-worker had a sweet baby girl back in August, and we had planned a baby shower. 
Well the little cutie made an early debut, so we changed up the plans to accommodate the new Momma.
I don't have pictures of the shower because we ended up having it at work, but here's a look at the finished product:

It's far more simple than it looks - here's how to make your own:

Simply cut out same-sized triangles of the fabric you want to use.
Match them up with the "good" side facing inward.
Once they're lined up, go ahead and sew 2 of the 3 sides shut.

Take the open side, and flip your triangles inside-out, so the good side is now facing outward.
It helps at this point to run an iron over them so your seams are nice and flat.

You can use whatever you'd like for the "ribbon" part of the bunting - actual ribbon, fabric, etc.
I used bias tape, because it eliminates a couple steps for you.
Double-fold bias tape is cheap, comes in a wide variety of colors, and is already folded and flattened when you buy it.  If you'd like to use ribbon or fabric, you'll need to fold the ribbon over and iron in a crease along the fold.  For fabric with an unfinished edge, fold over twice (like the bias tape below).
From there, simply pin the open end of your triangles into the fold of the bias tape, and then sew them in.
Pinning really helps in this step, so you can adjust the spacing of the triangles however you'd like.

And that's, um, IT.
See?  I told you it was simple! :)


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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Upcycled Necklace: More Inspiration from Anthropologie

For quite a while now, Anthropologie has had the market cornered (for me, anyway) on taking a fresh new look on the classic pearl necklace.

I love the addition of the ribbon..

...and you can never go wrong with grosgrain.
 Not really pearls, but it still makes a statement.  So there.

One of my favorites from seasons past was the Bonheur Necklace:
I think the flowers are cute and help add a little bit of 'flair' - this necklace can go casual with a fitted blazer, tank and jeans, or could add a touch of whimsy to a cute party dress. 

Now I love pearls (and they're my birthstone, so yay), and think you can never go wrong with a single, classic strand.
But sometimes, you just gotta kick it up a notch.

So when I was doing some closet cleaning for our annual Goodwill donation,  found this sad, oversized strand of faux pearls that hadn't been slung around a neck in many moons.

The necklace was dated, too long, and just a bit blah.  But, taking some inspiration once again from Anthropologie, I made quick work of it and now have a fun Anthro-inspired piece of my own.

It took [literally] under 10 minutes - maybe 5 - to complete.

I took the pearls, this flower clip that I had tucked away for months and months, and some black grosgrain ribbon I had stashed in my ribbon scraps.

I took the pearls and folded the strand in half, twice, then simply tied the ribbon to each end to hold it together.

I made a nice, simple knot on one end, then used the flower to hide my handiwork on the other side.

Easy peasy - upcycled cuteness in under 10 minutes.  And for FREE!

You can find cute faux pearls anywhere for cheap - and who wouldn't want something cute like this in their stocking this year?  This could be a fun way to infuse some Handmade into your holiday this year.
Totally beats paying $100 for an Anthro. necklace, anyway. :)

Wonder what else I can find in my jewelry stash?


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Monday, January 2, 2012

$0 Budget Ideas

Happy New Year!

I've got a sick kid today so I'm just popping in to say hello!

Today I'm Guest Blogging over at
Full of Great Ideas!

Stephanie is taking the ENTIRE month of January and filling it chock-full of creative, crafty ideas that cost NOTHING - just using things you [likely] already have in your house!
Stop over and check it out - I'm today's poster, and she'll have ideas for you all month long!
Seriously, who can't swing a $0 budget? ;)