Archive for February, 2011
… and I painted something behind his back. Haha. Let me explain. We usually have a “full agreement” agreement when it comes to decor (which means we can’t buy or change a thing unless we’re both totally on board, which keeps us from holding something against another person for years like a recliner that you hate but the hubs just had to have, etc). But I tend to bend the rules when it comes to things that can be undone if John doesn’t like them. I figure in that case, since it’s 100% reversible, and I’d be the one spending the time reversing it if John didn’t agree with my choice, that I don’t have much to lose except for the time it takes to do and undo something. Which is nothing compared to the high I get from doing it while he’s gone. Haha. And the last time I did something without asking first (which admittedly wouldn’t have been the easiest thing to undo, but since our other two bathrooms were backsplashless I was confident he’d be on board) it worked out swimmingly as Mr Petersik kissed my cheek and told me I was a home improvement goddess. Ok so I made up that last part. He probably smirked and agreed that what I did “wasn’t bad” and only admitted he loved it hours later after getting used to the idea that I took a crowbar to the walls again. But anyway, back to what I painted.
I had grabbed a little jar of Liquitex Soft Body Acrylic paint in Cobalt Turquoise at Michael’s after mumbling something about wanting to get back to painting (I had a 50% coupon so it came to $7 and some change).
Didn’t seem to catch John’s interest at the time. But then again, he didn’t know that I had plans to paint a light fixture of ours. Yes, while sitting on The American Dream (aka: Karl, our new much-loved sectional) the other night, my eyes kept wandering away from the “Real” Housewives of Beverly Hills and over to the brass and glass pendant light over the table in the corner of the room.
Granted, the lighting situation in the living room is extremely awkward (that’s the only light fixture in the entire room and it’s essentially in the corner). So we’ll definitely be bringing in some additional light sources as the space evolves, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to “tweak” the pendant we already have. Just for fun. Especially for cheap. So when John ducked out for a run while Clara was down for her morning nap, I slinked off to get my little jar of Cobalt Turquoise acrylic paint. And I squirted a little dab of it onto a plate and watered it down a bit thanks to a nearby cup of water.
Then I just turned off the light switch, removed the big round light bulb (so I could get to the entire inside of the glass shade with my sponge brush) and brushed on some of the watered down turquoise acrylic paint all over the inside of the shade. I used vertical stripes of slightly watered down paint, going with the vertical veins in the light, which left me with a nice even application.
Surprisingly, it began to look like a turquoise glass shade with a nice soft effect – since I painted the inside of the shade instead of the outside, which would probably have looked a lot harsher and less convincing. See how diffused and subtle it started to look from the outside of the shade?
And once it was all painted (before John stumbled in all sweaty and surprised) I was left with this:
It’s not perfect, but I think that’s part of the charm. And it’s 100% removable, which is nice too (scrubbing it down with a sponge is all it would take to undo it if the mood strikes). So it’s renter friendly.
Admittedly this could have been a disaster. Well, not a permanent one since I knew it was easy enough to undo, but going into it I didn’t really know if the paint would bead up and drip down the glass shade (it probably would have if I watered it down too much) or if it would look streaky, heavy, and completely unconvincing (it probably would have if I hadn’t watered it down at all). Happily, it stayed right in place and dried nice and evenly, for a surprisingly believable colored glass effect. It’s a little varied looking, but it’s kind of a soft vintage effect. Honestly, when the light’s on even an Expert Light Studier (that’s a job right?) would have a hard time knowing that the color was painted on. It looks just like an old turquoise glass shade.
Oh and I gave it a few hours of drying time before putting the bulb back in and turning it on, just so the thin layer of slightly watered down paint had time to “cure.” I had vague worries of the paint somehow heating up and melting/dripping all over the place when the light was on, but it was on for about ten hours straight yesterday (I decided to “test it” before I blogged about it for obvious reasons) and no dripping or streaking has occurred at all.
Looks like it’s there for the long haul. And by long haul I mean until we replace that fixture and rectify the lighting scenario in that room as a whole. And guess what? Hubs likes it! Especially when the light’s on and it’s all soft and sweet, like a glowing turquoise beacon of love. Ok, that’s going too far, but he really does like it.
I did briefly wonder if it posed any kind of heat hazard, but I figure since paper lampshades are a common item, and they don’t actually catch fire, dried paint on a pendant that doesn’t actually touch the bulb shouldn’t be an issue. Oh and one tip to anyone crazy enough to follow suit would be to move any furniture that’s under your pendant (or toss down a drop cloth or painting sheet) because I did notice tiny turquoise splatters all over the table (which thankfully was painted and poly’d, so they wiped right off).
Now all I have to do is tackle that dated brass chain for a full light makeover (some oil-rubbed bronze spray paint might look nice once we add some oil-rubbed brozne curtain rods above the window and the sliders with some bright punchy curtains). Sure we might swap it out later, but I’m already enjoying the view a lot more in the meantime. Plus I just get a rise out of keeping John on his toes. Next time he goes for a run who knows what I’ll do. Haha. Anyone else have any while-the-hubs-was-out adventures to share? Come on, I can’t be the only one.
In the midst of hanging our bedroom curtains last week, I snapped some pics of a little trick I use to control the mess of drilling holes into our walls (in this case to make room for curtain rod anchors). Some of you probably already do this, but I figured I’d pass it along to those who might not be in the know since we only joined the tape trick club about a year ago. And not many people think cleaning up drywall or plaster dust scattered below their work area is a fun way to pass the time. Including me. Anyway, the trick is crazy simple and looks a little something like this:
It’s just a piece of painter’s tape folded in half and stuck like a tiny temporary shelf below my “drill here” marks on the wall (I recently heard someone recommend doing the same thing with a post-it note, in case those are handier in your house). Either way, when your drill spits out a pile of dust, it gets caught neatly on the little tape “shelf” below. Which is better than landing all over the floor and whatever objects you didn’t bother to move below. See?
I debated switching to the post-it technique for a larger “shelf” surface, but decided to stick with tape (pun intended) because its sticky-all-around surface holds onto the dust more tightly (I’m klutzy enough that I’d probably dump all of the dust sitting on the non-sticky part of a post-it right onto the floor while removing it- but tape holds onto that stuff pretty well).
Plus I’m not gonna lie. My favorite part is wrapping up all the tape-trapped dust into a little burrito so I’m confident that the mess is permanently contained until I toss the little packet o’ dust in the trash.
There ya have it. Easy, right? I’m sure I’m not the only one to use some deviation of this method when it comes to avoiding clean-up, so feel free to share any alternate techniques for dealing with drill dust. Or any other quick tricks that you’ve used to make your projects easier, faster, or less messy. Speaking of messy- Sherry took on quite an unusual project today. Details soon.
Pssst- Best spam comment to date (well, maybe besides this one) left by some jumbled url under the name BuyLinks: “Man if I ever saw two raccoons fighting over a blog it’d be this one. Nicely done my friend.” Awesome.
And now for a post about saving money. Because the loot we save on food = more money to spend on paint & projects. I figured since I recently divulged my 2011 goal to figure out coupons and save more money this year, I should share a little coupon-related update for anyone else who’s as desperate to turn paper clippings into dolla dolla bills as I am. So here it is:
I saved $53 at the grocery store!!! Coupons really do work!!!!
Pardon all the shouting. I’m just really excited. I am definitely far from an “expert” on the subject (I just started trying to navigate the crazy coupon world a few weeks back) but here’s what I learned in the simplest of terms. Because I was a coupon dummy. Still kind of am. So I need things to be explained to me slowly. Preferably with lots of pictures and in a soothing and nurturing tone. Yup, I’m high maintenance like that.
Tip Numero Uno: You save the most money when your store (we shop at Kroger) matches coupons (ours does up to 50 cents) and when you can use a manufacturer’s coupon (like the ones you find in the paper or online) combined with store coupons or sales. For example, if Kroger has organic milk marked down by $1 and I have a manufacturers coupon for 50 cents off and Kroger matches that, a gallon of organic milk that’s normally $3 will only be $1 (because I’d score $2.00 off thanks to the store’s $1 off sale and the matched fifty cent coupon).
Not bad right? That stuff really adds up when you’re shopping for a fair amount of things (which has always been the way John & I do it, we usually do one major shopping trip every 2-3 weeks). It keeps us from spending a lot of money on impulse buys (which would occur more frequently and cost us more money if we hit the store more often for smaller trips). But I’m rambling. Back to more of my novice coupon tips.
Tip Numero Dos: If you use coupons for things you don’t eat (or just get stuff because it’s on sale) you’re still losing money, wasting time, and giving up valuable space in your house that could better be used to store other things. So even if that bag of chips is 40 cents, if you don’t normally buy chips but get all crazy at the idea of big savings you’re on a slippery coupon slope. My big rule is that I only clip (or print) coupons for things that our family already eats or would like to try. We prefer organic produce and organic dairy along with basics like pasta, bread, cereal, granola, etc. It’s not always as easy to find coupons for those things, but they do exist! And thanks to Kroger (where we have a Kroger savings card, which also offers occasional discounts on those items when you scan the card at the register) we’ve been able to save a substantial amount of money. Our last trip was our best savings ever (did I mentioned we saved $53?!!!!! oh I did. sorry, I’m just excited).
Along with picking up the Sunday paper for the bevy of coupons hiding inside (along with a Kroger weekly sale flier), here are some of the online stops that I make to find coupons that I can print or even load directly onto my Kroger card (how Minority Report is that?!).
- This is my favorite coupon site. I click the Kroger tab and the Target tab to see what’s going on (they have other stores in case you’re not a Kroger person)
- This is where I go within that site to load things onto my Kroger card
- I also check out this site for printable coupons
- And this one
- And this one
- This site is nice because it has links to a few of my favorites (some of them already listed above) in one spot
- I also drop by this site just to see what’s going on there
- And this one
- And this one
- And this one
Resist the urge to get overwhelmed though! I probably get 90% of my coupons from the top four bullets above, so there’s no need to go crazy and bookmark a million sites like I did. I just had to experiment with a bunch of them to find my favorites (aka: those top four).
Other than those two tips above, there really isn’t one big trick that helped me save tons of money. I just clipped coupons on and off for two weeks (just for things we actually need/use/eat), wrote our shopping list carefully (being sure to note how many of each item we needed for the maximum savings) and even loaded some coupons onto my Kroger card online before going into the store (thanks to this site). We spent around $160 for 2-3 weeks worth of groceries for John, Clara, and I (we walked out with over nine giant reusable bags full of stuff, and according to the receipt we purchased 77 items). And we saved $53! And that was on things like two four-packs of organic baby yogurt for Clara, two half-gallons of organic milk, organic eggs, organic produce like bananas & avocados & and peppers, and basics like whole wheat bread, wheat pasta, granola bars, cereal (and goodies like dark chocolate and ice cream). It felt so good! Here are a few more specific examples of exactly how our coupons combined with an in-store sale to save us the most money:
- We got two YoBaby Organic Yogurt 4-Packs, which were originally selling for $2.69 (which calculates to a total of $5.38). But Kroger had them marked down for 60 cents off each one (bringing each one down to $2.09) and then we had a “buy one 4-pack, get the second one free” coupon from the manufacturer, which made our total for both 4-packs just $2.09 (for a savings of $3.29).
- We got an 8 oz bag of Gorton’s grilled shrimp that was originally $5.99. But Kroger was having a special $3 off promotion so it was only $2.99. And we had a manufacturers coupon for $1 off which means that our bag of shrimp cost just $1.99 (for a savings of $4).
- We got a box of FiberOne Granola Bars that were originally $2.49. But Kroger had them on sale for $1.50 off (which made the box just 99 cents) and we had loaded a FiberOne e-coupon onto our Kroger card (thanks to this site) for 50 cents off, so we paid just 49 cents for the box of FiberOne granola bars.
Of course these are our best buys that we’re highlighting, so not everything that we purchased was that discounted. Not even close. So don’t get down on yourself if you save 20 cents here and 50 cents there. It all adds up! Just be sure you’re buying things that you actually like and eat, not just things that are on sale.
Oh and a few more couponing 101 tips that I picked up are:
- Just because something is 10/$10 doesn’t mean you have to buy ten items (it’s usually just labeled that way to get you to buy more).
- Resist the urge to buy the largest size of things that are on sale- often you save the highest percentage when you use a $1.00 off coupon on the $2.00 cereal box, not the supersized $4 one (this was the hardest principle for me to grasp at first since my instinct was that buying something huge saved me more money). Of course if the larger one is substantially less money per ounce and you have a use for a large amount of something, it could be worth the upgrade- but I was surprised how often I noticed them listed as the same price per ounce.
- Coupons are allegedly cyclical, meaning that most coupon pros claim that every six weeks the same items go on sale again. This theoretically means that if you have space to stock up on your favorite cereal when it’s on sale, you only have to buy enough to last you six weeks, and then the sale should pop up again (of course this isn’t to suggest that you should have a six week stockpile of every item, but it does reinforce the idea that you never have to buy 100 of something that’s “an amazing deal” because it’ll most likely be a great deal again in a little over a month).
Oh and here’s how I keep things organized. I have a clear plastic sleeve where I toss all of my coupons as I clip them throughout the 2-3 week span between major shopping trips, then before we go to Kroger I take out all the ones I won’t be using so it’s only full of coupons I’ll be “spending” and I slip my detailed shopping list in there with them (that way I know how many of something or what sized box I need to get to use my coupon without thumbing through all of them). When I get to the register I hand over my Kroger card for them to scan (for all uploaded discounts) and then I hand over my paper coupons as well. So far it seems to work.
So that’s my coupon update for ya. Happy snipping to one and all. And all you varsity coupon peeps better share your tips! I know I still have lots to learn!
Psst- All kids toys are not created equal. Check out what Clara got that looks so good we never want to tuck it out of sight (unlike 99% of her other toys).