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Pottery Barn Knock Off Budget DIY

I adore winter! It’s one of my four favorite seasons!

I am however, ready to think ahead to spring. Looking for some table decor which would make the transition from winter to spring, I came across this delightful hydrangea arrangement.

$49.50!?! Yes. You read that right. Immediately my evil little mind went to work, trying to think how I could steal this idea from Pottery Barn for much less.

Turning to the Dollar Tree, I bought a small glass jar and several hydrangea sprigs.

Total: $7

Supplies needed:

Hydrangea branches

Little sticks

Small round short vase

Scissors

Wire cutters

Cardboard

Hot glue

Pottery barn dollar tree DIY craft table scape centerpiece table decor spring to winter centerpiece

I traced the top of my vase on this applesauce box, and then cut it a little smaller than that diameter so it would fit tightly a few centimeters inside the glass container.

Pottery barn dollar tree DIY craft table scape centerpiece table decor spring to winter centerpiece

I sent the kids out to get a branch from the yard and broke off tiny sticks from it.

Pottery barn dollar tree DIY craft table scape centerpiece table decor spring to winter centerpiece

Then I cut them all to the same lengths and glued them together once I made a roundish bundle.

I cut off most of the stems of the hydrangeas and bent what was left at almost 90° angles. I glued these to the cardboard, bending them as needed until they looked good enough.

Pottery barn dollar tree DIY craft table scape centerpiece table decor spring to winter centerpiece

Making sure the stick bundle would fit, I glued it to the opposite side of the cardboard circle as the hydrangeas.

Pottery barn dollar tree DIY craft table scape centerpiece table decor spring to winter floral centerpiece

There you have it! A Pottery Barn DIY at 1/7th of the price!

Where would you put a cute flower arrangement in your house?

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Simple Pillow Cover: A Tutorial

Do you want some beautiful holiday pillows but you don’t want to spend the cash? Do you have old pillows that need some new life? If you can sew a straight stitch or work a glue gun, you can make this.

Pillowcase tutorial couch pillow throw pillow cover DIY simple easy
A lumpy old pillow in need of rejuvenating

Materials needed:

Old pillows

Fabric-I got two kinds of cozy plaid flannel 50% off. I bought 1 1/4 yards just to make sure I would have enough.

Sewing machine or glue gun

Pillowcase tutorial couch pillow throw pillow cover DIY simple easy

Measure your pillows. Leave a small seam allowance across. Because my old pillows were rather bumpy, I made mine a little smaller than the actual pillow size because I wanted the new case to fluff it up.

Another tactic if you have flat pillows is to make the width a few inches wider than your old pillows and insert two of them into one case.

For the vertical edge you want it to be several inches longer than your pillow. My pillow is as big as the inside out part of the fabric you see here. The top extra fabric will be a flap you will tuck in.

Try to cut your fabric so the selvage edges will be the place you insert your pillow. This way you don’t have to hem anything.

Right sides together, sew or glue the seams.

Pillowcase tutorial couch pillow throw pillow cover DIY simple easy

Turn your “envelope” or case right side out and insert your pillow. tuck the flap down I side as far as you can.

Pillowcase tutorial couch pillow throw pillow cover DIY simple easy

Voila! You did it!

Now reward yourself with a nice warm drink and an intriguing book!

Easy to make pillow tutorial Easy to make pillow tutorial

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Ridiculously Easy Christmas Decor DIY

Get a jar or a vase.

Take some twinkle lights. I bought a bulk pack of warm white from Amazon for about $2/string.

Wind the lights loosely inside.

Put Christmas balls in amongst the lights. I found a pack with gold and white ornaments for $1 at the Dollar Tree.

Voila! You’re done.

Easy cheap Christmas craft DIY holiday dollar tree

Since this jar had a lid, I taped the switch inside the lid. If you use a vase, just tuck it under a Christmas ball at the top.

Easy cheap Christmas craft DIY holiday dollar tree

This works with anything-colored balls, pine cones, garland, peppermints, cookie cutters. Tall vases in your center piece, Mason jars in kitchen, a fish bowl in the bathroom. Don’t limit yourself!

In other seasons you can fill the jar with other kinds of decor, corn in the fall, flowers in the spring, tiny drink umbrellas in the summer.

Easy cheap Christmas craft DIY holiday dollar tree

Go forth and be creative! I’d love to see that yours look like.

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Christmas Home Tour-Frugal Edition-Living Room

Christmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbon

We got our 9 1/2 foot Christmas tree from a moving sale. It’s prelit, and may work just fine, but I can’t figure out how to connect them, so this year I used the Tree Dazzler. The children all “help” with the decorating, and then alter I go in and space out the ornaments and add the ribbons.

Our star is from Dollar General, as is the burlap and glitter wired ribbon. The red ribbon is from the Dollar Tree.

Under the tree you can see our fantastic collection of Christmas books.

Christmas home tour Christmas tree living room decor

Our mantel isn’t everything I want it to be this year. I’d like to make all matching Christmas stocking hooks, or have some that don’t show at all. These are all from Goodwill and they do for now.

My amaryllis is sadly just the one leaf, because someone broke off the bloom stem just as it was emerging from the bulb this year.

My dad brought the giant pine cones back front the redwood forest for me. The garland is a hand me down from my sister-in-law.

I’d like the candles tucked in among the garland so you can’t see them, but alas, kids. If you zoom in you can probably also see my half broken speaker and ziplock baggie with ornament hooks in it because I never got around to getting it back upstairs to the holiday closet.

I made the stockings without using a pattern and so I didn’t line them. That wasn’t the greatest of ideas. They all have pieces of cardboard inside them to make them hang straight-ish.

Christmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbon ceramic vintage tree

The large ceramic Christmas tree I bought at an antique shop before they were popular, and therefore it was a steal. The smaller one was given to us by The Farmer’s mom, and was from her younger days.

Christmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbon

I found a plain inexpensive garland at Hobby lobby and hot glued the same non breakable many years old ornaments we have on the tree and berries to it. I can’t believe they can charge so much for fancy garland!

Twelve year old wrapped the banister with colored lights. I did have garland over the lights on the newel post, but I also have a three year old.

Christmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbonChristmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbon

Holiday pillows I have collected, which never stay on the couch, and a snoozing schnauzer

Christmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbonChristmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbon

This is an inexpensive and easy DIY.

I keep my decorating to a manageable amount. Since this is the most decorations for Christmas I’ve put up in years, I felt compelled to record it!

What is your favorite decoration in your living room? Do you love pre-made or DIYs? How do you keep decorating fun and frugal? I’d love to hear in the comments.

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Farmhouse Decor: Cheap and Easy

I live in a 170 year old farmhouse on a working farm.  A genuine farmhouse kitchen in real life is slightly different from the farmhouse decor on Pinterest. One of my promises on my blog is to always be real-to show you how it really is single momming during spring planting, with six kids and a puppy, and  not having a lot of money to buy the perfect farmhouse decor.

cheap and easy farmhouse decor farmhouse kitchen real life farmhouse old house
The wall behind my breakfast nook

I’ve been working on updating my kitchen. I have carpet in my eating area from 1987 y’all. We have had a lot of changes in here in the 15 years we’ve been married and I’m finally in a place to learn how to DIY on my own to make even more!

This post contains affiliate links, which help me keep my kids stocked with books and food, all at no cost to you!

This wall has been blank since Christmas when we hang our advent calendars there, until Brielle, my 11 year old took two signs off the porch and threw them up on the nails. I started kind of thinking about what I wanted and decided I love the current trend of a collage. I don’t think I’m done yet, but here’s what we’ve got so far.

Here’s what my kitchen looked like in 2008! I have changed it so much over the past 10 years, even I can’t believe it!

cheap and easy farmhouse decor farmhouse kitchen real life farmhouse old house
Abide in my love John 15:7

One of my besties gave me this sign and it’s just perfect.

cheap and easy farmhouse decor farmhouse kitchen real life farmhouse old house hobbit subway sign lord of the rings decor
My children are homeschooled hobbits, for real.

I made this sign because homeschooled hobbits live around here. I’ve been thinking of inexpensively selling some of the prints I make. Let me know how that interests you!

The frame is from Goodwill. I took the cardboard off the back and wrapped it in regular 11×17 typing paper and taped the print on there.

cheap and easy farmhouse decor farmhouse kitchen real life farmhouse old house art for kids
My son drew this when he was 8 1/2

My 9 year old drew and colored this for me last year. He followed a tutorial from Art for Kids Hub, which we adore!

The white frame is from Goodwill. I spray painted it white, and my impatience and mistakes made for some perfect distressing and crackling. Here at Yellow Barn Farms,  I don’t even have to try to achieve the cheap chic look-that is just how I roll 🙂 I get that worn, farmhouse look accidentally.

cheap and easy farmhouse decor farmhouse kitchen real life farmhouse old house
A real life farm house kitchen

The Farm Fresh sign is from Target’s Dollar Spot. I got the bird sign at Michaels on clearance with a couple of smaller matching ones. I didn’t even plan for it to be in the kitchen, so it’s especially crazy how it matches so well. The phone on the wall belonged to The Handsome Husband’s grandma. She was a rural telephone operator in the 40s and 50s. My diva dog dish is actually an old fashioned hors d’oeuvres server from Goodwill. The color is Tropical Heat by Behr.  All the paint in my house is Behr.  It’s my absolute favorite.

We bought the nook benches at Oak Express and long ago outgrew the table. This one was a Craigslist find on which The Handsome Husband put high gloss bar epoxy resin so it would hold up better to the constant beating our furniture takes. I love it. It looks like glass and the children have to try really hard to scratch it.

It doesn’t take a lot more time to thrift some of your ornamentation or furnishing and update your decor with inexpensive and quick little changes. I’d love to hear how you save money when you decorate!

 

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Clothespin Pocket Apron Tutorial

Or more realistically, A What Not To Do Tutorial, otherwise known as a Comedy of Errors.

I use tutorials quite a bit in my career and am immensely grateful for them. I decided, since I have been planning to make this apron anyway, why not make a tutorial at the same time? Sure! Great idea!

First, have your husband take a couple of the kids to the vet and to buy a two row sweet corn planter. Then get the baby down for her nap. Have the biggest sister read to the little brother.

Gather your materials. You’ll need

An iced coffee.

Depending on if you contrast fabrics or make it out of the same one, you’ll need about a 1/2 of a yard of fabric. I used leftovers from other projects. A couple of fat quarters would be perfect for the apron, but you’ll need a standard 45″ width for the apron ties.
You’ll also need several inches of double fold bias tape. I happened to have some that came in my sewing machine table drawer from when I bought it at an auction several years ago, so that was handy. I have never used store bought bias tape before this project. This should be fun! 
So 

what you really want is your fabric to be about 12 inches long in the end. You need a few inches for seam allowance and sticking the apron up into the waistband. I did 17 because I wasn’t sure how much room I’d need for the clothespins. (mistake #1).

I ended up folding up a few inches because after I used it the first time, it was too long for my hands to easily reach the clothespins. I made it 16 inches wide, because that was all I had left of the bird fabric and I really wanted to use it. (mistake #2) And of course, I didn’t want sideways birds while I’m here hanging up clothes, on the farm, with no one to look at me but the cats and kiddles, because that would just have driven me nuts every single time I used it. But if I were you I’d make it at least 20 inches wide. Fat quarters are 22″ and that would be just perfect!

To reiterate, ideal cutting measurements are 22″ wide by 14″ long. To make the pockets, nip off a corner of the top fabric while it’s folded. I went down about seven inches and curved in almost a right angle. This plan worked out!

Pin your bias tape to the top fabric pockets. Sew.

If you miss some of your bias tape (mistake #3), make sure you go back over it. This is easier to do before your apron’s all assembled (mistake #4).

Now you’re going to sew your apron pieces together and flip it right side out.

Normally, when you do this procedure you put right sides together. Thusly. 
DO NOT DO THIS! (mistake #5)
You want the right side of the  bottom piece to be facing the inside of the top piece when you flip them right side out. You should layer them with the right side of your top piece facing the wrong side of your bottom piece.
If you don’t listen to my advice, you’re going to have to sew another panel onto your bottom piece, like so. 
Sew the wrong sides together, flip that right side out and carry on as if nothing happened.
Also, double check you didn’t miss any edges and have a hole in your new apron already. (mistake #6). If you do, sew it up!
photo by three year old assistant
Now you’re (finally) ready for your waistband. What you really should do is measure across your middle and that is how wide you should make your waistband. Or, you could just really want to use this fabric in your apron, because it’s all you have left from when you made a dear friend her apron for her birthday, so you make it as wide as you can with the fabric you have. In my case that was 14 inches. I made the little bump just to be fancy. 
You know aprons are fancy.
Then you’ll sew wrong sides together (mistake #7) along the top only. 
Know what’s a good idea? Making sure you flip BOTH pieces to wrong sides, not just the one you see. I could blame a husband or miscellaneous children, because I know I started to get interrupted about now, but as this was not my first error…probably I won’t.
Know what else is a good idea? Not using a really tiny stitch when you sew them wrong. (mistake #8) I decided to just leave it. Even though it will annoy me, I just zigzagged the raw edges. I couldn’t flip them so I didn’t have raw edges, you see, because I had frugally used the selvage edge of my fabric, planning for it to be on the back of the band where no one would see it.(mistake #9) I decided the raw edge was the lesser of the two annoyances. 

When you’re done with correcting all your mistakes—no scratch that, YOU won’t make any mistakes, because I’ve already done them for you—, you’ll insert your apron into the waistband. You’ll need to turn up the edges of your fabric so you don’t have any raw edges showing. I usually fold down about a 1/2 “, iron, fold my raw edge into that crease, and iron again. If you know of a faster way, please tell me.

Insert your apron into the bottom of your waistband, taking care to not catch and cut your thumb on the needle for the first time ever (mistake #10).
If you misplace (somehow) both of your pairs of sewing scissors, even though you just had them, do not think that your son’s school scissors will actually cut thread, even though they will cut into the upholstery of the dining room chairs given enough tenaciousness. 

Moving on to the apron ties. I like wide ties. So I cut two 45″ lengths of six inch wide fabric. The only one I had enough of was the blue. So I picked that. 
Fold it in half and sew along the long end. If you want to get fancy (again) cut a 45 degree triangle off the end of it. Turn it right side out. It doesn’t take long if you like wide ties like me.
If you need to turn narrower strips, I highly recommend a tube turner. (Those are the ones I have, but I didn’t get them there; I don’t usually shop at Walmart). Once you figure out the directions, you will thank me. (There are also youtube videos, if the directions still don’t make sense.)

Gather the end of your apron tie a bit, fold your raw edges in on the sides of your waistband and insert. I made sure I inserted it at least 3/4″, because I have been known to be a bit skosh (pronounced with a long O) and had to re-do the entire thing. (I’m sure this comes as a big surprise to you.)



 Sew it well.

Voilà! You’re done! And all before the baby woke up from her nap, despite all the mistakes, which proves if you do it right the first time, this is a very quick project.

Now go hang some clothes!

My photographer is short, and was trying very hard to
get the apron in the photos. I promise, I really do have a head.
The first time my bum was ever on my blog.
(at least to my knowledge)

as it looks hanging in the laundry room

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Alphabet Baby Book

A long long time ago, when I only had three kids, I made an alphabet book using family pictures. It turned out to be pretty cool, but it wasn’t very sturdy. It’s not very nice to make a book “for the kids” that you won’t let them play with for fear they’ll wreck it. And believe me, they’ll wreck it.

Then in the blogworld, or on Pinterest, I can’t be sure, I got the idea to just edit the pictures, and put them in a cheap photo album, that just holds one 4×6 on each page. Here are some examples:

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Becoming Minimalist: Easy Pantry DIY

I’ve been purging a lot lately.

Getting rid of the past feels good! Getting rid of the junk feels good! Getting rid of all those maternity clothes feels amazing!

I saw a post on organizing your pantry a while ago, and I finally got kind of started on that project. I don’t like investing a lot into my organization though. Spending tons of money on baskets and glass jars for my pantry just doesn’t ring true to my miser’s heart. I’ve been putting a lot of it in Mason jars, but often those aren’t big enough so it’s still not really helping.

Then I saw a Pinterest post (probably) on making your own “baskets” out of cardboard boxes and rope. Brilliant.

So for the price of several glue sticks and a couple pounds of jute twine, I was able to go from this:

to this:
I just used construction paper with white colored pencil as labels. These are up high in the pantry so all you can see are the “baskets”. It really helped a lot, but I’ve got a ways to go 🙂
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Farm Fresh Finances

 I am weird about money.  I’ll use the white out correction tape that is broken and all pulled out of the dispenser and rub it on with my fingernail instead of throwing it out. I’ll save the 1/2 c of hamburger meat that didn’t fit on the pizza even though my husband is exasperated and doesn’t think that little dab is worth saving. I re use plastic bags. I teach my children to sparingly use toilet paper and to use family cloth if it’s only wee. I won’t buy a book unless it’s not available at the library, or I know (because I already checked it out at the library) that I’ll come back to it, time and time again. I’ll talk myself out of an adorable $3 sweater at Goodwill to make into wool longies because I already have several unfinished or worse, unstarted projects languishing in my studio.

But then I will spend money rather freely on what some people would consider serious splurges. I guess I feel like I can because I am so frugal in other ways.

One of the frugal projects: Dying Playsilks.

A word about play silks: Ah-mazing. Check into them. Seriously. My children of all ages, play with them every day. Every. Day.

They are kind of pricey though. I love supporting Etsy stores, WAHMs, and that is where I got our first set. But they were a serious splurge. I wondered if I would be able to make them myself. And guess what? I could!

Directions are all over the ‘net. I got the 35″ x 35″ hemmed silk scarves from Dharma Trading for about $5 each–much less than silk at the fabric stores. Then I dyed it with food coloring. I thought this would be a fun project to do with the girls, but really, it’s kind of boring.

Ok, really boring.

First you have to boil the silks in water and vinegar. For a long time.
Then you mix your colors with a little bit of water, and let the silks sit in them. For a long time.

Then you have rinse them, one by one. For a really long time.
I got them fairly well rinsed and then just got tired of it, so ran them on the rinse and spin cycle in my washer. I got a little pink on the yellow one because of that, but Aviana told me she wishes I had gotten more on it. 

 Then I dried them in the dryer. And they turned out like this.

 Then the chiddlers will play with them. For a long time 🙂

Another frugal project. 2013 calendar.

We use our calendar on the wall to write down all our appointments and dates and events. Archaic, I know. It works for us though because Handsome Husband is very good about checking it before making plans and good about writing down what he has going on. As this is a habit that has been several years in the making, I am not planning on switching it up on him any time soon.

We got a very nice calendar as a Christmas gift from one of my author friends. Because the side bar was advertising books coming out from her publisher though, the date boxes were fairly teeny. As much as I love books and supporting her in her endeavors, I love big date boxes more.

We also got a free calendar from the bank–which had one picture. Of their logo. But it had nice big date boxes.

So yes. I did. I sat down with my scissors and my glue and reinvented our calendar.

 And saved myself about $20.

Which I then turned around and spent purchasing Season 4 of Sister Wives.

(I told you some people might consider them splurges ;-))

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Fudge Pops and Ice Boats

 I bought the Taste of Home Smoothie and Blender Drinks Recipe Cards cook booklet the other day. I am so glad I did. We have already made several recipes from it and they have all been terrific. This recipe for Homemade Fudge Pops is also on the Taste of Home website.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1-1/3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 20 Popsicle molds or disposable plastic cups (3 ounces each) and Popsicle sticks

Directions

  • In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add milk. Stir in the brown sugar, cocoa and salt. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  • Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Cool for 20 minutes, stirring several times.
  • Pour 1/4 cupfuls into Popsicle molds or plastic cups; top molds with holders or insert Popsicle sticks into cups. Freeze until firm. Yield: 20 servings.
.

                                      
The recipe was simple enough for Brielle, 5, to help extensively with it. We made a few alterations as usual (I can’t seem to follow directions whether it’s intentional like with my recipes or unintentional like with my knitting). I used about 1/3 less sugar, half unsweetened almond milk, and almond extract instead of vanilla. I also used shaped ice cube trays instead of popsicle molds for smaller servings and much less meltage.

 Although, they still manage to get the chocolately deliciousness everywhere.
Aviana made Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothies the other day which we can heartily recommend. I also think everyone should keep some Iced Coffee Latte in their refrigerator to pour over ice for when I visit   those midafternoon lulls. (I actually used Sanka for no caffeine, and it was wonderful)
In other news, I saw Ice Cube Boats on Pinterest and figured, hey, it’s hotter than a volcano-(-Cadrian is going through a compare-everything- to-avolcano phase) we could fry eggs on the driveway or play with ice…We opted for the ice. We used empty yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese and whatever else we found in the recycle containers to freeze the water. We taped a bendy straw bendy side down to the bottom first. (Much better directions and pictures are at the link above)
 They were cute but didn’t float evenly at all and the sails made better crowns than sails as it turned out.
 And they only lasted for about a minute. Seriously.
It’s hotter than a volcano.

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