Sunday, May 10, 2015

Kaley's Bow-tique

Happy belated Mothers day to all the mother figures out there. I hope everyone got to celebrate with their loved ones.

Today I wanted to share some images from Kaley's birthday party. We had some last minute changes with Kaley's party due to a date switch and then some cold gloomy weather. In addition it was also mother's day weekend so we knew our guest list wouldn't be as big as our previous parties. However, our wonderful photographer was able to capture some precious moments for us. For Emily's previous parties, we have always snapped some simple family pictures but this time our photographer took them instead. When he posted some same day edits I was blown away by how organized and nice everything looked. Pictures do lie. LOL

Here are some same day edits compliments of our photographer LeVie photography. Enjoy.

These utensil holders were so cute to me I had to snap a picture to share. They were last minute finds at the 99c store on Central. I added a polka dot paper bow and glam them up for the party. 

Matching spoon and fork holders. 

Simple polka dot water bottles because I was running out of pink ink. LOL  

I wanted to mention about this Minnie bar. I've had quite a few people compliment on it so I have to give proper credit to the creator of this adorable piece. My sister designed and decorated the bar herself. I gave her a budget of $100 and the rest was history. She did an amazing job creating a fun, cute, and girly Minnie bar for the kids to enjoy. 

Glass dispenser (brand: Godinger) purchased a long time ago at Macy's 
middle shelf: DIY tray I made for my sister a long time ago. 
Last shelf: plastic bin $3 at Target with paper Minnie and lemonade in jars. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Extreme couponing

I'm back today with more ways to save money around the home. I initially started this blog to chronicle my adventures turning our house into a home and I feel part of that process includes saving money. Today I would like my readers to step back and try to coupon. I've tried to coupon before but quit half way due to my frustration and feeling like it was a total waste of my time. However, after reading so many brags blogs about couponing I was inspired to give it another try.

Today I'm happy to announce that I'm the new extreme couponer. I also want to stress that I do not clip any paper coupons, shop at only one store which is target, and strictly buy ONLY what I really use. The last step is very important in preventing hoarding problems.

I bought $105 worth of stuff for under $35 AFTER all the taxes.

Here's the breakdown

Q= coupon printed from You need to install the program to print free coupons from home. You can print a max of two identical coupons from each computer.
GC=gift card from Target 

Here I present to you my shopping trip for personal items and baby supplies.

*speed stick $3.50x2=$7
     -$4.00 (2Q)
*olay body wash $4.99
     -$1.25 Q
*Glide floss double pack $5.79
     -$0.50c Q
*Colgate mouthwash $4.99x2=$10.00
     -$4.00 2Q (old Q, no longer available for print, but you can sub this item with Listerine. Q value is only $2 for two plus cartwheel discount)
*Listerine mouthwash $5.79x2=$12.00
     -$2  2Q
     -$1.20 from 10% off cartwheel
*Irish spring body wash for men $3.99x2=$8.00
     -$3.00 2Q
*Pantene pro-v shampoo $3.49
     -$1.00 Q

Target special: receive $10 GC when you buy $40 worth of personal items. Above items meets the minimum of $40.00 before any coupons applied. Plus buy four oral care items (listerine and collgate) get $5 GC. Total savings from coupons is about $15 give or take.  Total out of pocket after deducting $15 ($10+$5) GC will be $11.00. Its not the greatest in savings but these are the items my family uses.

But thats not the only thing on my shopping list. Up next .. break down of our baby items. This was also in one shopping trip. I just split up the list to break down the coupon deals.

Huggies diapers super pack $24.99x2=$50
     -$9.00 Q (coupons print from here) You have to print two $4.50 coupons.
     -$2.37- target cartwheel 5% off huggies diapers
     -$10 GC when you buy two boxes of diapers
Huggies wipes small pack $3.50
     -$2.00 Q (coupon will print from link above, not through
     -$0.08c-5% cartwheel

Get $10 GC for making baby registry and printing it out. Coupon for $10 GC at the end of registry.

Text baby4 to 827438 to get another $3.50 coupon on your phone for huggies diapers and wipes

I also use an app called Ibotta to get rebates and they have a rebate running for another $3 off wipes/baby items. Here's my Ibotta team. Join my team to earn more rebates together. LINK

I received a Q from a previous purchase for $7 off huggies at target. No limit that can be combined with everything.

To sum things up, total cost before Qs and GC about $55.00 but after $22 in Qs and $20 back in GC plus $3 ibotta rebate, my total out of pocket $10.00

Grand total for whole shopping trip for personal and baby items before discounts was about $105.00 but I paid $35.xx after taxes. Unfortunately I have to pay tax for the before discount price of $105.00 instead of $25 but hey…. its ok.. I feel like I'm getting a great deal.

Lastly, when i bought all this I got another Huggies coupon for $5 off, so I plan to make another trip back to Target for more baby deals. 

I wanted to stress that yes.. getting started with coupons is a hassle and seems like a total waste of time but once all your apps/websites and cards are all set up everything will be less frustrating and much more rewarding. I do not clip any real paper coupons unless its sent to me in the mail for free. All my coupons are strictly online or else through rebates. 

Honestly, I can now say that costco is a waste of money. We don't like shopping at costco because although bulk prices are good, its just not cheap enough for us. LOL I'll try my best to blog about good deals on coupons when I come across them. Ever since I've started couponing, I think I've saved a ball park of 30-40% overall in my grocery bill. Its not a lot but it adds up fast. I try to stock up on items that do go on sale but even at deep discounts taxes add up fast. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A little about Kaley's Bow-tique

Where has the time gone? Our youngest daughter is almost one. :( I've been sad thinking about my last child turning into a toddler. I don't plan to have any more children so I know I need to cherish Kaley's baby stages even more. She's almost one and I can't do anything about turning back the hands of time.  I've been trying to focus on her birthday as a celebration instead of mommy being super hormonal since my baby is turning one. Kaley is officially walking now, super active, and loves playing with her sister Emily.

For Kaley's party, I knew I wanted a Minnie mouse theme. It will be about pretty bows and all things girly. I started off with her simple DIY invitation. I usually don't do invitations because I'm actually very lazy but its Kaley's first birthday so I wanted to be extra special. Plus it helped that Joanns was having a super sale on their craft paper (50%) and I was able to score another 20% total purchase a few weeks ago. I think my total for 25 invitations was under $3 for paper. I had some envelopes from Emily's party last year. I've only made about 10 invitations because my kids won't leave me alone. Everything is all chopped up and ready to be glued. 

I think the bow adds the extra touch to these invitations. Bow was hand made from dollar tree ribbon. I really only had to buy the polka dot paper and black cardstock paper. I scored a great deal on the card stock, only $1.30 for a package of 50 pages. Of course I picked up white and black for the party. I followed these instructions for her invitation.

I'm actually running out of colored ink (specifically pink) from overprinting so many of Emily's party decor so Kaley's was printed in all black. I've been lazy to order new ink. I think it looks good in black and easy to read.

Next on my to do list is the giant mantel. I never know what to do with that huge space. Fortunately for me, our cousin just got married recently and was willing to lend me her decor. 

At first, I thought this project was going to be easy but boy was I wrong. I think I was on that mantel for at least 1.5 hours if not 2. Thank goodness I didn't have to cut and fold them. But once the mantel was done, it looked amazing. 

I started piecing them on the floor first. 

And here she is… 

I thought it was cute to change Minnie's bow-tique to Kaley's Bowtique. For those who haven't seen Minnie mouse cartoons, her story revolves around her shop called Minnie's Bow-tique. 

Lastly, I've ordered some ears for all the kids to wear and take home. 

I initially had great plans to make a custom box to display the ears but my kids got in the way so I just threw them on my spare tray and printed out a simple sign and called it a day. 

I'm planning to work on the banner, water bottles, and maybe cake stand this weekend. Once those are done, I think I'm almost ready for the party. 

Have a good weekend. I'll be back soon with more party planning updates and backyard progress. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Additions to our backyard

Lately I've been busy updating our backyard for our upcoming Minnie mouse party. The last few years, I've always set up tables for guests to sit outside but it seems like no one ever sits outside except for the men who drink. This year, I've decided to completely forgo extra tables and seating and let the guests sit wherever they feel comfortable. However, that means I have to find extra seating for the backyard. So far, I've added a patio sofa and some dining chairs.

Today I'm back to report that I've added a few more pieces I found on CL. I've added a long bench, chair, and table. The chair and bench were bought on CL for only $20 ($10 each from the same person). I really loved the chair because it matches my sofa.

Here's their transformation after a little bit of black outdoor paint and a cushion makeover with the same fabric from my sofa makeover. 

Here's my sofa to refresh your memory. 

I bought the Angso table from Ikea for $200. I usually don't buy new furniture anymore but I felt that it was a sturdy table that would last a long time. It was also a good size and could comfortably seat eight people. I initially was going to get the Applaro for $100 during their sale but was disappointed in the size and quality of that table. 

I have a few small upcoming projects for the backyard that include a $15 6x9 rug makeover and $10
solar DIY chandelier. Lastly, I have yet to blog about Kaley's party projects because they are mostly incomplete. I've gathered supplies and have started on some but none are complete yet. Hopefully I can have a blog post about her invitations by tomorrow. As for now, Happy Friday!! Enjoy your weekend. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Simple removable cushion covers

On Monday I posted about how exciting it was to finally get real patio furniture. Aside from being extremely happy with the style of the sofa, I was extra excited to try to tackle a new and semi- big project that I'm unfamiliar with. I am by far not a seamstress by trade or anything. The thought of making cushions were pretty scary for me. I've tackled DIY cushion covers for our formal living room sofa before so I was confident I can tackle this project with ease. I promise if you can sew a pillow cover, you can make removable cushion covers. 

For my patio sofa, I estimated I needed about four yards of fabric. I also bought extra fabric to make new cushions and pillow covers for our dining chairs that I bought a while ago. I was able to score a deal on my fabric because I used Hancocks 50% off fabric coupon at Joanns. I ended up spending under $40 for 6.5 yards of thick duck outdoor canvas fabric. So I will be making new cushions for six chairs and the sofa for under $40. Not bad in my opinion. 

Steps to make the top cushions of the sofa

1.  Measure how much fabric you should cut by wrapping your fabric around your cushion. Sew one end shut first and then stuff your cushion inside and measure/mark where you should sew next.  I left the opening in the middle because I wanted to save fabric and make removable cushion covers. 

After sewing the ends together, the cushion cover should look like a open back regular rectangle pillow cover. So far so good right? Nothing hard and impossible to do yet right? I promise its very doable!!!

2. Keep the cushion inside the cover for now. Make an angled fold at the corners and sew it shut. Mark both sides of the fold so when you take the cushion out you still remember where to sew. Do the same fold and mark for all four corners. (I pinned it down just so I can take pictures. No pinning is required). 

3. After marking all four corners, take out the cushion. Sew the marks shut.

Cut off the excess fabric after you've sewed the corner shut.

4. Flip your cover over and you should have four clean corners. Stuff your cushion back inside and jump up and down because you are almost done. At this point, you should have a fitted cushion cover with four corners that look like this:

5. To complete the unfinished missing pieces, I sewed two smaller fabric pieces onto them and made a tie to keep the cushion closed. 

I decided to make the two top cushions this way because its super easy and the cushions didn't really have good shape. I was able to make both cushions in under 20 minutes while my kids were eating their breakfast. 

To make the bottom cushions, it was a little trickier. 

First I doubled my fabric and laid it flat on the floor. Then I put the cushion on top of it and used a regular pen to trace the cushion. My cushion had a little indentation on the corner so I followed that shape also. Cut both pieces of fabric out and put to the side. 

Then for the sides, I measured how thick the cushion was and cut stripes of fabric with a 1.5 inch cushion. So for example, my cushion was 6 inches thick so I cut a 7.5 inch strip of fabric. I sewed the ends of the strips together to get one long continuous strip of fabric.

Finally, I just sewed the pieces together. For the corners it got a little tricky so I just pinned the fabric onto the cushion, marked it and took it off and sewed it. 

For the back layer, I ended up cutting a big square in the back so I can removed the cushion and made a tie just like the top cushions. 

I initially wanted to make my top and bottom cushions using the same technique but the bottom cushions had an indentation that I wanted to keep so doing it this way was better. I highly recommend using the first technique for beginners because its super easy. I copied that technique from here

Our patio sofa sat like this for a whole day until I was able to repaint the wood frame. 

I didn't sand anything. I seriously used the paint brush and dusted off the dirt. LOL 

The back of the sofa had some of the original fabric so I did the biggest no-no in DIY history.. yep… I painted over fabric  :)  I am all about quick and easy DIY so I wasn't planning on removing the original fabric and upholstering so paint will do for now. Plus you can barely see it and when we sit on the sofa, you don't even touch it at all. I used some left over darker gray paint I had and mixed it with white paint to get to my desired color. Its not an exact match but it will work for now. 

I can't wait to find more accessories for our patio. I'm on the lookout for side tables, maybe an outdoor rug, and updating the dining area. 

Project review:  I thought this project was quite easy. I was fortunate to have some left over black and gray paint from previous projects so I only had to spend $30 for the sofa itself and $40 for new fabric. I have been able to use just one quart of black paint for sooo many projects. I have been able to paint Binh's black office desk, DIY office clock, DIY pendant, $5 chair, and now patio sofa. I'm sure I've used it for so many other projects but I can only think of those on the top of my head. I still have just a small amount left so it might be enough for one more little project. Not bad for a $15 quart of Behr paint. 

Heres the before and after:

Total cost was $70 ($30 for the sofa itself and $40 for fabric). I'm one happy girl for a quick and easy makeover. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Next space makeover: backyard

I've been missing lately because I've been cooking up ideas to decorate our backyard on the cheap. The last few weeks we've been busy building a gate for our dogs. My last attempt at decorating our backyard failed miserably because our dogs are just so messy and dirty. Now that we've created a real contained space for them, hopefully I can really start cleaning up our backyard. It works out perfect in time for spring cleaning. The goal for our backyard is to create a simple dining space and outdoor lounge  area with room for the kids to put a small playhouse and ride their scooter/car around.

As I was looking for lounge area inspiration I came across Frontgate's gorgeous outdoor sofa options. I love Frontgate but hate their prices. I stumbled upon the Cassara sofa and fell in love. The Cassara sofa starts at $1400 which was not close to my budget at all even taking away one of the zeros. lol

So fast forward a few weeks as I put the lounge seating ideas on hold, I stumbled upon another great craigslist find for an outdoor sofa with cushions for only $30 in Rancho Cucamonga. The next day that baby was safe in my garage and ready for me to refinish. Construction was still very solid and the cushions were in good shape and just needed to reupholster it. I just LOVE the curves of the arms and the price too but the style was spot on for me. I seriously can't wait to repaint the whole thing and reupholster the cushions.

I estimate four yards of outdoor duck canvas fabric and some left over black paint should give this sofa a great makeover.

Tip: when I shop at Michaels or Joanns I always make sure to wait until the item goes on sale. Fabric at Joanns usually rotate in their sales. For example, thick outdoor duck canvas fabric regular price is $9.99 so using a 40% off coupon sounds reasonable BUT…if you wait until the fabric goes on sale, you can use a 20-25% stackable coupon to get it for cheaper. Last week the canvas fabric was regular price at $9.99 but this week its on sale for $6.99 and I plan to use my 20% coupon to lower the price to $5.60 a yard. Savings of $1.40 doesn't seem much but since I'm planning on buying 6.5 yards I will be saving almost $10. Four yards will be used for the sofa and another 2.5 for the dining chairs I purchased a long time ago.

Another tip: ACE has sample paints for $1 each. Sample paints are perfect for a small chair, simple chandelier, serving tray, or decorative box makeover. A lot of times people think spray paint is the only way to go but paint with a simple brush will work well too. Spray paint is very wasteful so sample paints are a good alternative.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

$5 Chair

A while ago as I was shopping at the local Restore in Pomona, I stumbled across some very sturdy $5 chairs. I texted everyone who I thought might be remotely interested in the chair but not a kind soul wanted to buy it. I on the other hand saw the potential of the sad $5 chair. Fast forward a couple of weeks while it was hidden in my mom's garage I finally had the time to refinish it. Actually, credit goes to my handy Dad. He reupholstered it for me and even brought it back to my house. I left it at my dad's house because he had the air compressor and staple gun there. I did have to buy some outdoor canvas fabric at Mylee (a local fabric store). Long story short, I got the fabric from the budget bins for $1 many moons ago.

First thing that drew me to the chair was the green leather upholstery. I'm quite picky when it comes to my makeovers. I avoid fabric reupholstery at all costs because I feel that its not clean. I can deal with wood furniture and leather stuff because I know I can just wipe it down with sani wipes and repaint/reupholster. My dad actually did the toughest part of the chair makeover which was reupholstering the chair. 

Then once the chair was at my house, I wiped it down with saniwipes, filled the imprinted flower motif with some caulk and painted it over with some left over paint. I felt the flower motif made it look outdated. 

I spent a total of maybe 15 minutes to repaint the whole chair. I was actually on a time crunch because we had to go to my mother in laws house to eat dinner. 

Once we came back from dinner, I reattached the seat to the chair and called it a day. I sanded and repainted the flower motif because you can still see it. It doesn't bother me that much anymore now since the chair feels more updated but it was an easy fix. 

This was our previous set up for Kaley's temporary bed and feeding chair. She's no longer breastfed and doesn't sleep in the playpen so that area got cleared away this weekend. 

Here's the after with our ikea curtains we recently hung up. Note my bedroom is still incomplete. I'm still missing some sort of small table or basket to go with the chair. 

tips on budget makeovers

Paint doesn't have to always cost a lot of money. I used left over paint from my previous project but for this simple chair makeover, a sample size of paint sold for $2-4 would do the trick. What I always do is get the home magazine subscriptions and inside they always have free coupons for a sample size paint. Home magazine subscriptions such as HGTV, martha stewart, etc always have them. I also only get the subscriptions if they are free. I usually score free magazine subscriptions from  or other random places such as deal news. 

Fabric deals are everywhere if you don't need a lot of fabric. Some local places such as Mylee or yardage in Montclair always have great deals on fabric for $1-2 a yard. They always have remnant pieces left from their roll and try to get rid of for cheap. 

Cost breakdown

Chair from Restore $5
black paint- free left over from previous project 
light gray outdoor fabric- $1 

Total $6


Not bad for a quick and easy makeover don't you think?