Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fun July 4th Treats

Independence day is only a few days away! Get ready to celebrate with these quick and easy treats. This sampling is of my favorite ideas from the web. These are perfect for both kids and adults.
So simple! Dip strawberries into melted white chocolate. Quickly dip tips into blue sugar.
Skewer mini-marshmallows, blueberries, and strawberries together for a quick treat.
This guy is made from fudge covered Oreos, a large marshmallow, melted white chocolate, coconut, cashews, and a dab of black gel frosting.
How to make:
Melt white chocolate and coat marshmallow. Roll in coconut, leave one end "naked". Poke a small hole into the marshmallow and insert cashew for the beak. Anchor onto Oreo with white chocolate. Place a dab of black gel onto head for the eye.
Cut watermelon slices with a star-shaped cookie cutter. Push a popsicle stick into the bottom and you're done!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Yard Sale Results

The yard sale is over and I'm pleased with the results! Though having a yard sale is often more work than you anticipate, it is almost always worth it. Here are some tips if you're thinking of having one yourself:
  • Place signs with bold, large print out near main roads
  • Have a cooler full or drinks (juice boxes, bottled water, etc.) If it's hot out, people may stay longer if they can have a cold drink.
  • Attach balloons to your mailbox so that your sale can be spotted easily.
  • Have an extension cord ready so buyers can test electronics.
  • Use free methods of advertising such as, or facebook.
  • If you're having a fund-raising yard sale, email friends and ask for donations. Most people would love to be able to get rid of "junk".
  • Set up a cd player and have music or radio playing. It can be a little awkward when there's only one person shopping- music helps make the atmosphere more comfortable.
  • Be willing to negotiate on price. Many yard-salers will offer less and usually, the offer is reasonable. Remember the goal is to get rid of your stuff!
  • Have plenty of plastic grocery bags handy for shoppers.
  • Have something you don't think would ever sell? Put it out there anyway! For example, put a $5 price tag on a broken grill (be sure to make it clear that the grill is broken) and stand back. You will be surprised at how often you will not only get rid of an item this way, but actually make a few dollars. That sure beats paying to take it to the dump!
  • Price everything. Don't have time for individual price stickers? Have tables on which everything on each table is one price. (ie. the $0.25 table, the $1 table, etc.)
  • Place a box of freebies at kid-level. Parents will usually allow kids to have a toy, which allows the parents to shop longer!
  • Offer a "special" at the end of your sale. You can say everything is 1/2 off, or fill a bag for $2. This is usually very effective for clearing out the last of your things.
Have fun with your yard sale! It can be a great way to meet neighbors and other folks in your community too.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Yard Sale Madness

Hi everyone! I'm having a yard sale today and tomorrow, so hopefully on Monday I'll have some tips on how to have a successful yard sale. Either way, I should be able to give tips on what to do or what not to do. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Homemade Jewelry Cleaner

vintage diamond engagement ring, vintage engagement ring, vintage diamond ring, vintage diamond engagement ring, diamond ring custom quote, engagement ring custom quote, diamond engagement ring custom quoteI confess. My once-sparkly diamond wedding ring is ringed with dirt. Hours of pulling weeds, washing dishes, and endless food preparation have taken their toll. Having formerly worked in the jewelry industry, I have to say I know better. So, my rings will enjoy a trip to the spa today. Check out yours too, and if it's looking like a lesser version of itself, give it a good cleaning. Here is my favorite homemade jewelry cleaner recipe that I procured during my jewelry store days. It works beautifully!
  • 1 cup ammonia (household cleaner like Mr. Clean will do)
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 squirt of liquid dish detergent
Soak jewelry in this solution for 5 minutes. Scrub with an old toothbrush, rinse and dry.

*Do not use this solution on pearls or opals!*

Monday, June 20, 2011

Office Organizers

In my quest for an organized working space, I found these ordinary (and free) containers for storage. In case you were wondering, the spice container now has paper clips in it. This one is pretty self-explanatory: cover empty cans and spice containers with scrapbook paper and secure the seams with glue. You can also use kraft paper, maps, wrapping paper, or fabric for a similar effect.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Father's Day

Don't forget that Father's Day is on Sunday! Here are a few ideas for inexpensive, yet thoughtful gifts:
  • Superman T-shirt
  • 6 pack of assorted beer along with his favorite homemade treat
  • An event such as a day spent fishing or video game marathon (whatever he is interested in)
  • A dvd that you've converted from vhs from his old football glory days
  • Coupons for lawn moving, car washing, taking out the trash, etc..
  • A car wash kit, complete with tire shine, soap, sponges, and a bucket.
  • A magazine subscription (Family Handyman is a favorite around here.)
  • Record an "interview" with your pre-schooler about what he/she loves about Dad.

Happy Father's Day to all of the Dads out there- we love you!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Baby showers

Baby showers. I think I attend at least 4 a year. Whatever your age or station in life, you will probably attend many baby showers over the course of your existence. Here are a few gift ideas that are actually useful,tasteful and affordable!
  • Swaddling blankets. These are hard to find and the best kind is just an over sized blanket. You can make them easily from a yard of fabric. Just hem all the way around and you're done!
  • Lap pads for the changing table
  • A clothes hamper
  • Diapers- buy them on sale with coupons and pair with diaper cream, wipes, baby medicines, soaps, sunscreens, and/or shampoo.
  • A gift certificate for a pedicure or spa day for mom!
  • If you are gifted enough, personalize an item with a monogram or name.
*Do not give size 0-6 month clothing items! I know, the clothes are so cute. Resist! Many babies are too big from the start to ever wear them and honestly, how many clothes does a 3 month old really need?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Rust be gone!

I can't sing enough praises about Mr. Clean's magic eraser! I've even started throwing them in with baby gifts at showers! Not only do they remove black Sharpie from light carpet (This is my own experience!) and remove scuffs from shoes, I have recently discovered that they take rust spots off of knives! Just wet the eraser and rub it over the rust spots and they disappear! The eraser also removes spots from stainless steel cookware.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bike Basket

Give a little more function to your bike by adding a basket. Find a basket with no handles and a somewhat flat back. Attach to the handlebars with plastic zip ties and you're ready to go!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Spring Flowers

I found several sets of beautiful enamel coated vintage earrings at a yard sale for $0.25 a pair. By prying off the backs with pliers (this took about 20 seconds) and applying super glue to the backs of the flowers, I was able to make some really cute hair clips and magnets. I love, love, love these fun flowers so you may be hearing about more uses for them in the future!

Friday, June 3, 2011


Have you checked out your local library lately? You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find! Save yourself some dough by looking at your library's selection before you order that book. I live in a small town, but I use my small-town library all of the time. (So much so, that they know my name and make book recommendations for me!) These are some of my favorite features of the tiny library in my neighborhood and all of them are free:
  • There's always a box of great magazines for $.10 each
  • Story hour once a week for a nice diversion for the little one
  • Summer reading programs to earn free meals, among other prizes
  • A fairly extensive dvd collection which often is quicker than Netflix for new releases
  • A box of coupons from previous Sunday's paper sits out for the taking
  • The geneology room is loaded with resources if you're into tracing your roots
  • Library book sales are perfect for bargain hunters
  • The books on cd are perfect for road trips
  • Cookbooks abound for getting out of recipe ruts
  • Free conference rooms for meetings
  • Bulletin boards for advertising
  • Quieter (and cheaper) than a coffee shop for getting computer work done

*These are features of my small-town library. Imagine the possibilities if you live in a large city!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Progress Report

My dear sis is today's blog contributor- thanks for the day off!

"This blog has been an inspiration to me on many levels! I wanted to share with your readers my latest success. After reading your entry on planting potatoes, I planted about 4 potatoes found sprouting in my cabinet. This weekend we dug them up and have been feasting on SEVEN pounds of beautiful red spuds! How exciting to have taken a few shriveled potatoes that I normally would have thrown away and watched it multiply into this!
Thank you Emily!"