Thursday, December 20, 2012

Touches of Christmas Spirit

A few Christmas decorations around the house...

I love this iron hook rack which my father made for me in his blacksmithing class.  I've added a few of my recycled winecork ornaments, a cookie press, and a cute santa pot holder for Christmas.

Buffet top all set up for Christmas.  I just need to select a candle to set in front of the red snowflake plate.

The dry sink has become home to my "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" snowmen and the Nativity set.
(note: knobs are missing from drawers because this piece is going to be a DIY project right after the holidays - stay tuned for details on that!)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Porch Decor: Complete

The Christmas porch decorations are complete! 

Note the DIY Topiary Tree and the Hanging Basket

The wreath I created a few years ago.

(please excuse the fact that the porch needs swept!)

Christmas Porch Decor: Simple DIY Topiary Tree

I love the look of a topiary tree or two on the porch for the holidays.  But the ones I've seen in the store ain't cheap!  And if it's one thing you're learning about me by reading my blog - I like a bargain! 

So, you can probably imagine that when I saw reference to topiary trees created with garland and tomato cages, my imagination was sparked.  Especially  when I realized - Hey!  I already have a cone shaped wire frame which used to have a viney houseplant thing growing on it (until I killed the plant last summer, but that's an entirely different post)!  And a  planter sitting on the porch just begging for some seasonal cuteness!

When I also opened up my email one day and saw that Michael's had their 9 foot garland as the Deal of the day for $1.99 - it was ON!

1 9 foot garland
1 wire frame (cone shaped)
1 package inexpensive Christmas ornaments
twist ties
1 flower pot

First, I wrapped the garland around the wire frame, twisting sprigs around the frame to secure the garland.

Next, I used twist ties to secure the ornaments to the garland - decorating the "tree"

The final step was to set the little tree onto the planter and use floral wire to secure it into place.

Ta Da!!  Little topiary tree.  All for a cost of less than $5!
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Porch Decor - Hanging basket.

It's been a tiny bit frustrating for me not to be able to get the house decorated for Christmas yet.  We have to finish the floors before we can go dragging a Christmas tree in the house!  Just makes good sense.  Then, it occurred to me - sure, I can't decorate the living room yet.  But there's nothing stopping me from spreading a little Christmas cheer onto the front porch! 

On one of our many, many (many, many, many) trips to Lowe's I spotted some cute hanging baskets holding greenery and decorations such as pine cones and holly berries.  For about $25 each.  Ouch!  Once again the Scrooge inside me reared  up and gasped "$25?  No way!" 

But I kept thinking about them.  And how cute one would look where I already have a hanging basket on the porch.

Wait a sec... I already have a hanging basket on the porch!  A basket looking a little sad because the cute little purslane plants I had in it over the summer are now wilted and whithered in the December weather.  An idea was forming.

I picked up a wreath at Michael's when they were the Deal of the Day - for only $1.99.  And a lovely holiday floral sprig - originally $2.99, but on sale for 50% off. 

Taking the basket off the porch, I trimmed back the brown, sad purslane remains, laid the wreath on top of the basket - greenery side up.  And trimmed off the individual sections of the floral sprig, poking them into the wreath.   Once the greenery of the wreath was fluffed and the picks secured, it was time for hanging.

Voila!  Don't ya just love it?  I do!! 

Christmas hanging basket complete!  And for only about $3.50 instead of $25!! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Living Room: NEW Floors!!

The new floors are finally going in!  Yippee!!  The end is actually in sight! 

FYI - when you see all these DIY shows and they tell you how very simple it is to put in laminate flooring - don't believe it!  

OK, that might be a little strong.  You can believe them.  Maybe it is simple if the floor you are installing over is pretty much pristine.  Ours was not.  We were pulling up 30-something year old carpet.  Which meant 30-something year old padding.  Padding which had been walked on, spilt on, walked on some more, cleaned numerous times, and who knows what else.   In other words, it was a little compressed... matted down... compacted.  As a matter of fact- in some spots in no longer resembled padding at all.  But more of a hard rubber which was now part of the particle board underneath. 

Thank heavens for all the hard work by The Man of the House and the female offspring who spent hours (and hours and hours) scraping that mess up and replacing areas of particle board which were not salvageable!

Finally, the floors were prepped.  The new flooring was purchased.  Installation is ready to begin!

Look at all those boxes of new flooring! 

The first row is in! 

Moving right along!  This is dusty work!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's Curtains For Me!

A few weeks ago I saw these curtains at Cost Plus World Market and fell in love with them. 

They would look amazing in my about to be newly renovated living room!  However, as much as I liked them - when I saw the $34.99 per panel price tag, the cheapskate in me whispered "I can do better!"

And I was RIGHT!  Simply by waiting a couple of weeks, I did a lot better!!

This weekend World Market was running a 40% Off sale on curtains.  Making each panel $20.99.

PLUS - being a World Market Explorer member, I had received an additional 25% off coupon.

Original price for 4 panels: $134.96 + tax

My price for 4 panels: $64.75 + tax!

Living Room: Painting

Whew... finally, the painting is done! 

Pale gray walls with a darker gray accent on the wall with the fireplace.

Even the dog got painted!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Simple Beaded Bracelets

I saw some cute bracelets while on mini-vacation in Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge with the man of the house.  They were simple strips of fabric with a few beads loosely strung onto them and a button and loop closure.  Adorable, but far too expensive for my taste.  Especially since my brain was already churning on how I could recreate my own version for far less!

Here it is... using ribbon and glass beads: 

 Super Simple Beaded Bracelets!

1) Measure out a length of ribbon long enough to go loosely around the wrist two or three times.  Double that length.  Cut and fold in half.

2) Tie a knot in folded end of ribbon to create a small loop

3) Thread beads onto ribbon.  (I tied a knot in ribbon between every one or two beads to keep them from sliding around too much)

3) Thread ribbon onto large eyed needle and feed through button back.  Be sure you get buttons with openings large enough for ribbon to fit easily through.  (trust me, made that mistake! scrambled for other button to use!)

4) Wrap around wrist.  Use loop created in step one and button to close bracelet. 

5) Admire your cute new creation! 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

To Bake or Not To Bake - That Is A Question

The Christmas season is heading into full speed.  Which means one thing  (well, ok - several things - but we're going to focus on one here): holiday baking time!

The thing is...  I'm just not feeling it.

What am I feeling then?  Well...  When I consider the things I usually make, I just feel bored. When I consider having to look up new recipes - I feel exhausted.  Honestly, when I think of hours in the kitchen baking all those cookies - I feel even more exhausted.

So, what's an Oma to do?

  • I could do nothing.  But I have a feeling that when Christmas eve rolls around with no peanut butter kisses or frosted sugar cookies there might be a full blown rebellion from the other family members

  • I could befriend some super-mom type who probably already has her baking all planned out and gives tins full of home baked goodies as gifts and mooch off her.  But I probably should have put that plan into motion a few months in advance.

  • I could buy baked goodies.  But let's just be real here - I'm never going to be able to fool anyone into thinking I actually baked any of it.

  • I could cheat.  There is a wide variety of premade cookie doughs and mixes out there.  And at the moment I'm feeling this might be the most viable option. 

  • I could just suck it up, put on a big ol' Paula Dean smile and bake the darn cookies.  Accepting the love and admiration of my family, and packing on a few pounds in the process.
What is your approach to holiday baking?  Please share your favorite Christmas goodie recipe in the comments!  You know... in case I decide to go with that last option.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pssstt... It's a Secret Sale!

Here's the scoop...  there are three easy steps to extra savings:

1)  Follow Queen B's Busy Work on Twitter. @QueenBsBusyWork

2)  Tweet about the 10% off CYBERMONDAY coupon code using hash tag #QueenBsBusyWork

3)  I'll send you a coupon code for 20% off your order at Queen B's!

It's as simple as that!  Get buzzing! Offer ends November 30, 2012.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

New Etsy Items! (plus a sale)

New items are being listed at Queen B's Busy Work
Use coupon code CYBERMONDAY to receive 10% off on your order!

Hand Crocheted Dishcloths (set of 2) - your choice of color $10.95

Green & Purple Crocheted Mug Cozy (mug included) $11.95

Blue Mug Cozy (mug included) $9.9

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bad Turkey

This year will probably be one that goes down in family history.  Years and years from now my great grandchildren will talk about it. 

"Did you ever hear about the year Oma ruined the turkey before it was even cooked?"

Yes, you read that correctly.  The thanksgiving turkey was ruined... before I cooked it. 

It happened like this:  last night I started thinking... "hmm.. better move the turkey to the fridge for thawing"  And asked the male offspring to take care of that task.  He comes back and says "What turkey?"  What does he mean what turkey?  I know good and well I bought a turkey.  A big turkey.  What in the world?  Oh no.  Oh noooooo... 

Flashback:  I was finished up the thanksgiving grocery shopping, trying to get it out of the way before going out of town for the weekend, and not wanting to battle the crowds in the few days before thanksgiving Thursday.  I was also baby sitting the grand baby that afternoon.  When I arrived home I got the grand baby and the bags out of the car.  Not wanting to carry a 23 pound wiggling baby AND a 22 pound frozen turkey, I left the bird in the trunk with every intention of coming back out to get it. 

You know what they say about good intentions right?  Yeh... right. 

I got distracted and completely forgot about that bird sitting in the trunk of the car.  Until four days later!!! 

After a brief freak out, several minutes of not being sure whether I should laugh or cry, and quite a bit of kicking myself - I realized there was only one option.  I was going to have to buy another turkey.  Either that or give my entire family food poisoning - which just doesn't seem like a good way to kick off the holiday season.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Oh, My Aching Fingers!

I love couponing.  Love it.  I feel such a sense of accomplishment when I see that total go down as the coupons get scanned!  And when I get a really great deal on something with coupons - Whew!  It's like I won the coupon olympics or something!  (And I'm not even one of those extreme couponers who manage to buy $500 worth of groceries and walk out of the store with a $2 credit in her pocket.) 

There's only one thing I don't like about couponing - the cutting.

Ugh... all the tedious trimming away of excess paper.  My fingers start getting tired and sore after a while.  I do not like it one tiny bit.  (I could break out into a a whole Green Eggs and Ham parody here, but I'll resist.  You're welcome.)

I know there are actually places you can purchase coupons, pre-trimmed and store ready.  But the entire concept of buying coupons makes no sense to me.  It just seems to defeat the entire purpose of saving money if I am paying for them. 

Any other couponistas out there have brilliant ideas for making the task of cutting the coupons any easier?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Living Room: Another Weekend of Work

The past weekend was dedicated to more priming and the first stage of painting in the living room.

Hall - pre priming

And post primer

ewww... now that the ceiling is painted and trim is primed the walls look so dingy and yellow!!

Priming the entry way was a lot of work! 

Painting the ceiling

First coat of pale grey goes onto living room wall

You can see the new color a little better in this picture

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