Archives for category: girl on a budget

August’s preschool celebrated Valentine’s Day last week with a party and valentine exchange.  He made a valentine tote out of a cereal box at school (adorable).  Being the cheap/project-inclined mama that I am, I decided to have August make crayons for his class instead of buying candy that no 3 year old really needs.  So a trip to Dollar Tree yielded a 48 crayon box for $1 and Target had a heart shape ice/muffin tray in its dollar bins.  Total cost=$2 for 30 valentines.  I did the first step: cutting up crayons.

But August then loaded up the hearts with the crayon bits.  I tried having a discussion about color theory beforehand….I don’t know how much he absorbed.

We put them in the oven for about fifteen minutes at 275 degrees (I think), and they came out looking a little strange.  I was worried at this point.

But after letting them cool and harden, we popped them out of the tray, and saw how pretty they were in all their marbelized glory.  So cute, and so fun!

I forgot (AGAIN) to take pictures of the final product, but basically, I had August sign his name once (C-U-T-E) and photocopied it at school, then attached the crayons to paper, put them in little bags that I already had and tied them with heart ribbon that I’d gotten at Tiger in Copenhagen, a Dollar Tree equivalent, a couple years ago.  Another successful Valentine’s Day!


Last week, my dear and crafty friend, Alanna, came over for what she thought was an evening of vino and girl talk.  I put her to work instead.  I knew I wanted to do an Advent Calendar like I did two years ago in Cambridge, but wanted a different format.  I found these small envelopes (2″x3″) in my basement from my-gasp-high school graduation announcements.  So I wrote my holiday activities on paper, stuffed them in the envelope, had Alanna tape on the numbers, found blue velvet ribbon in my treasure trove basement and attached the activity-stuffed envelopes to the ribbon with these heart shape paperclips I made following these simple instructions.  Total cost: $0.

…from Charlie Brown and Snoopy from the Peanuts!

I made his top from a $1 shirt from Savers (aka Value Village on the West Coast), a freezer paper stencil and black fabric paint.   August was NOT in a good mood the evening of Halloween.  And my camera was super wonky, so the photo above is pretty much the only photo I got.  Sigh.  But I did get some classic videos!

‘Til next Halloween!

When we moved back into our house 4 weekends ago, I decided to make our old guest room August’s room.  I chose this room for him mostly because the OTHER downstairs bedroom has a closet.  And we all know who needs the closet the most: MOI!

I was lucky enough to borrow a twin size bed from the ever-generous Schwartz family (I know, they hook me up with Obama AND beds?  I’m a lucky girl!).  I threw an enormous bookcase that I salvaged the day I moved out of my NYC apartment (someone was throwing it away!) in his room knowing that it was way too big and that I’d be moving it somewhere once I settled in more.  The walls were “Clam Chowder” from Behr, which I think is one of the most unfortunate paint names ever.  I liked the color, but since I’m trying to make a fresh start here in Providence, I knew I’d be painting.

I decided on two colors: cream and dark, dark grey.  But not just dark, dark grey–it’d actually be…chalkboard paint!!  I was inspired by this nursery image that I saved long ago:

So on my first weekend sans August, I got busy painting:

After a long weekend of taping and rolling (I also painted my new bedroom and a small hallway), it was done and just about the raddest room August will ever have!  I put up a little gallery wall with photos and mementos (my old Muppet Show record album and a vintage postcard of Jesus College where August spent the first year and a half of his life.).  He already loves the chalkboard paint.  I hear him in his room drawing on the walls after I’ve put him to bed.  He’s a night owl–like mother, like son.  And no, Dad, he hasn’t drawn on any other walls in my house…yet.

All I had to buy was a gallon of cream colored paint, a little thing of chalkboard paint and a few frames from Dollar Tree.  Maybe $40?  Everything else was borrowed, salvaged or gift card purchases.

I’m SO glad August has his own room again!  And I think he’s going to LOVE it!

20×200 is pretty rad.  It’s a web site that has real art at affordable prices.  Like $20.  Look at all the rad prints you can get for just 20 smackeroos.  These are my picks:

Kite Hill

Corner Cafe

offSET #29, New York

Gosling Lake

And my absolute favorite (not just for sentimental reasons) is Praia Piquinia 27/08/09 15h17

$20 each!!!  Except for the last one, which is $50.  But I’d pay $50 for a little piece of beautiful Brazil on my wall.

Sorry for being MIA.  Trying to get settled.  Take a look at my living room so far.

I think I’ve decided NOT to paint.  The ceilings are wicked high, and I think the white opens it up.  Of course, there needs to be loads of pictures on the walls.  It’s a-comin’…don’t worry.

But there’s lots of other stuff to figure out.  For instance, I’m thinking of getting rid of (storing or selling?) the large square bookcase. I don’t really need the storage, it’s taking up valuable living room space and August thinks it’s his personal jungle gym.

My favorite thing by far is the vintage credenza on which my TV is perched.  I knew that I wanted a long, low dresser as my TV headquarters.  After missing the perfect one for FREE on Craigslist, I thought I’d have to fork over $400, which seemed to be the going rate on Craigslist.  But since my budget for furnishing this new place is about $400 TOTAL, I knew I’d have to stalk Craigslist or look beyond NYC.  So when we went up to Providence to retrieve our essentials, I stopped by my fav thrift shops.  And that’s where I found it.  For $50.  Sold.  It was a beast to lift, even with all the drawers removed.  Solid piece–guess they just don’t make ’em like they used to.  I LOVE it.  I just need to replace the handles.

Otherwise, all I need is a rug, coffee table and some pillows.  These are my thoughts in those departments:


I’m either going with a bold, ethnic rug like these kilims:

Each rug is $95 from Rugland

Or something more neutral:

$80 from Overstock

$67 from Overstock


$40 from Target.  Two of ’em.  Storage and extra seating.

On sale from Target for $112.  I don’t think it’s quite right for my place, so maybe one of you should go for it.  Because it’s really pretty (I’ve tried to convince Liz to splurge on the matching nightstands for her bedroom new-do…I’ll do another round of badgering this weekend!)

The spendiest option is $250 from CB2, which means it’s impossible.  But I like that it’s clear and rounded–practically invisible and toddler friendly!


I’m thinking orangey-coral and teal.  SO not my usz.  But I kinda love it.  The idea of it at least.  All of these options are from Crate and Barrel, CB2 or Target, and they are all less than $40.  But I’m thinking I can score some cheaper versions at Homegoods or just find some fabric and make ’em myself!

Plus this one from eBay and this one from Urban Outfitters and this floor cushion (two of ’em)–I couldn’t figure out how to save the pictures off eBay and UO websites.

So.  Once I make some decisions, I’ll be sure to show the results.  Until then, more settling…

I’m rather obsessed with this sophisticated duvet set from DwellStudio:

However, I’d rather keep $280 in my bank account, thank you very much.

But I could possibly part with 27 bones for this similar bedding from, gulp, Walmart:

How hard could it be to add a solid border?  Not THAT hard methinks.

These are my favorite heels.  I make sure I wear them at least a couple times a month (I should’ve added that to my list!).

Inspired by this image from an Etsy seller (Do you know Etsy?  If you don’t, you are soon to be addicted!):

I bought some flower hair clips at H&M for $4 (similar to these at Forever 21):

And now my fav heels are even more perfect:

Since I’m a girl on a budget, I’ve found some FREE magazines to peruse.  The only hitch is that they are only available online so you don’t get that tactile experience of flipping through glossy pages and dogearring fav pages.  I can deal.  I highly recommend you “subscribe” (remember: they’re FREE) to these mags ASAP:

Small – Kid/family magazine.

LMNOP – Kid/family magazine.

Lonny – Home magazine.  From some folks that used to work for now-out-of-print Domino.

Nonpareils – Wedding mag.  I find that wedding mags have the best ideas for parties.