Some people may look at this and wonder why in the world I overlapped the name over top of the animals. Well, it looked right at the time. The more I look at it, though, the more I think I should have made the letters go over their heads completely. That would have required a slightly larger frame, but I probably would have liked it quite a bit.
Oh well! Lesson learned. :) Other than that minor little detail, I liked this very much. It's in a frame from the $1 store, so I can't complain about the price!
Now don't laugh, but my gift budget for each niece and nephew is around $3 each. Considering the fact that we buy gifts for 16 of them, we dare not spend too much. I allotted $5 each last year, and usually gave it as cash. But this year we needed to trim a few categories, and this happened to be one of them. I really, really didn't want to have to give them $3 cash because that really doesn't look like much. But get a steal of a deal, and it looks like a whole lot more. They don't have to know how little we spent. :)
Before I tell you the price points, let me tell you that I have wonderful nieces and nephews. They don't care a bit where their toy came from or how much it cost, so long as it works and it's something they're interested in. I do my best to find toys that will thrill them, and I think my husband found a few "wowers" here. :)
- First Act Discovery guitar - $7.49 (reg. $29.96)
- another acoustic guitar (can't remember the brand) - $7.49 (reg. $29.96)
- 5 X Games Pro Scooters - $4.99 each (reg. $19.96 each)
- 3 off-brand "My Little Pony" sets - $1.74 each (reg. $6.99 each)
- Disney Princess castle bank - $2.49 (reg. $9.99 each)
- a mini-foosball table game - $1.74 (reg. $6.99)
A lot of these are over the $3 allotment, but I've gotten some other fabulous deals that make up for the extra. Not only that, but two of those scooters are being set aside for my kids as well as one of the guitars. We're thinking about offering the other guitar to another family member whose children are interested in learning guitar, too. So after figuring all of that in, I'm only $0.05 over on the gift items (a total of 8 gifts - 3 scooters, 3 My Little Pony sets, the castle bank and the mini-foosball game).
We had purchased a child-sized guitar for my son two years ago when he began to be fascinated with them, but it won't keep a tune even long enough to tune all the strings. So when he told me he wanted me to teach him how to play the guitar, I knew we'd need something different. This was perfect timing. It's not the highest quality guitar you'll ever buy, but it will be just fine for a beginning 5-year-old. If he decides to keep at it, we can always buy him a good-quality name brand when he gets to a full-size guitar.
We had a little girl over to play with my kids last night, and she brought a toy horse along. My son was fascinated with it and wanted to go right out to Wal-Mart and buy it last night at 10:30. No way!! I told him we'd price them the next time we go to Wal-Mart (he even asked her what aisle to find it in), but I wasn't promising we'd buy it. So we were thrilled to find these two huge horses on clearance at Walgreens for $4.99 each (reg. $9.99 each):
Now both of my kids have horses that match the teepees I made them for Christmas. My son was thrilled (and so was my daughter), even though they paid for them with their own money.
Isn't it amazing how God can stretch what little we have to work with?
I wanted to share those monogram notecards I made for my Heart Sister (the ones I hinted at yesterday):
I was pretty pleased with that, considering I'm well-stocked on meat for the month and will only need to buy a few perishables (and really great sale items) as needed.
The really good deal here was the hair dryer (Remington Shine Therapy) in the back. While I was at Rite Aid, I noticed tons of clearance stickers. It seemed they were clearancing half the store! Anyway, this hair dryer was originally $40 but on clearance for $20. Fortunately I had just gone through my stack of coupons that morning and remembered that I have a $10 rebate form for this hair dryer. Since my husband uses a hair dryer daily (and I use it weekly), ours gets a lot of use. And if it quit on us unexpectedly, we'd have to pay full price that very day for another one. So, while it's not free, $10 for a good hair dryer is better than what we'd have to pay at Wal-Mart, so I got it to have on hand.
I also stopped in at Goodwill, since I was by myself and in that section of town anyway. I suspected Target might have donated the rest of the $1 Spot clearance that they hadn't sold the other day, and I was right. The $1 items were only $0.25 each, and I got a bunch of things:
- a baby clear stamp set
- a green stamp pad
- a set of Hello Kitty gel pens (for my little girl's Easter basket - she loves Hello Kitty for some strange reason)
- a set of mini glitter glue pens
- 4 (total) packs of gel pens in 2 different colors (to go with the $0.50 Christmas albums I picked up at Target last week - these will go to my Sunday school girls next Christmas)
- a wagon for my son's tractors
- 4 Hello Kitty albums (for the girls at Cousin Camp, to hold their pictures of the week)
- 2 pens with a Curious George stuffed animal attached (my kids both LOVE Curious George)
I also picked up their Dove chocolate roses. They were marked at $1 each, but all Target candy was BOGO yesterday, so it came out to $0.50 each. I had been wanting to get one for each of the ladies at our ladies' meeting tonight, but I didn't want to spend $6. I could handle $3, though, so I picked them up.
At the back, you can see a stepping stone kit. It has four mixes, some "embellishments" and a mold for $3. I've tried using regular cement for stepping stones, but it's not as eye-pleasing because it's pretty stony. I was thrilled to get four mixes for this price! We did these the first year we did Cousin Camp, and we may end up doing them again sometime.
Then I stopped in at Dollar Tree for the heart sandwich cutter, since I needed it for tonight's ladies' meeting (Valentine's Day theme). I noticed they put their Valentine's Day candy on clearance for $0.25/bag. That averages out to $0.75/lb, and I get a craving for cheap chocolate now and then. Not only that, but they make wonderful chocolate pretzel candies. :) I went ahead and got $2 worth.
So there you have it - this week's shopping trip. I was pretty pleased!
This punch is a bit different than the one I borrowed from my friend. I could only get it to go so far "into" the circle. As a result, I found I had to adapt the number of times I punched around the circle. I punched a sample first, punching eight times like Becca recommends. It looked like this:
That's fine, if it's the look you're going for. But I wanted mine to be closer together and more lacy. So here's the tip: I did another sample, punching as many times around as I could. It didn't come out exact and I certainly wouldn't use it on a card, but it served its purpose. I counted the number of times I needed to punch (not including the last partial cut), and it happened to be twelve.
So then I knew to divide my circle into twelve "pieces of pie," instead of just eight. And since twelve is a little interesting to get divided just right, once I got it, I made a template so I can easily mark it on future circles. (The template is in the first picture, in the middle. I cut out the center so I could easily mark dots and then connect them with my ruler.)
Here is a card I made with one of these medallions:
I really, really like how the watch face (by Inkadinkadoo) fits perfectly inside the medallion! And I really like the effect of framing patterned paper with the medallion and tucking it into matching punches. This is such a simple, easy card, but it's also one of my favorites.
The first picture has a different medallion. I made a set of monogram notecards for my Secret Sister with those. I'll post them soon!
First of all, I knew my Sizzlet alphabets (this one is Nouveau) would cut through cereal box cardboard since I had previously tried it. But I was really curious if they would cut through felt, since that would be a big help with homeschool supplies (think flannelgraph!). So I got out my felt scraps and tried it.
I had to put a piece of cereal box cardboard behind the die as a shim, but my alphabet cut out of my white felt just fine. That's what you see in the picture. Then I tried it on a dark brown felt I had, but it wouldn't work. I'm assuming that the white felt is just slightly thinner than the dark brown.
I tried another Sizzlet die (the stuffed animals bear), but it wouldn't cut through the white felt even with a shim. So I guess what I'm telling you is to experiment - you never know until you try! :) Now I need to try cutting felt with my Cuttlebug dies. [As always, never force anything through your machine or you may end up breaking the die, the plates - or the machine!]
Secondly, I really, really wanted to make some metal sliders for my cards. That's the main reason I bought the small slider dies. So I grabbed a soda can and tried them out. As you can see, it works just fine with the Cuttlebug dies, which are about the same thickness as the Sizzlets. (I'm still not sure if CB dies are supposed to cut through all these things, but I'm trying them at any rate.)
Then I used my Tiny Tags Sizzlets to cut some metal tags. Again, it worked beautifully.
I'm not sure if it matters or not, but I ran my plates through the machine twice just to be sure I got a clean cut.
I can't wait to use my new embellishments! :)
This idea is not original with me. Becca is the mastermind behind this one. Check out the link to her blog (and the tutorial) - she has the most gorgeous, innovative ideas!
I thought I'd show you the results of each of the 4 embossing folders I used, since she highlights just one on her tutorial. I haven't colored them yet because I haven't decided what kind of card I'm going to make - or what the colors will be. But you can see the embossed image just fine, since I set them in front of my window.
This first one is the one she used on her tutorial.
- Walgreens contact lens solution - FREE after rebate
- Garnier Fructis Wonder Waves shampoo - $1.00 profit after coupon and rebate
- Thermacare heat wrap - FREE after rebate
- Zucol cold care lozenges - FREE after rebate
- 2 Theraflu warming liquids - FREE after rebate and coupons
- 2 packs Stayfree pads - $1.00 each after sale and coupons
After figuring in my profit on the Garnier and the extra 10% I get back for putting my rebates on a gift card, I actually made a little over a dollar on all of this (meaning the pads were covered by the overage). That's the way I like to shop! :)
- 2 Valentine Fun Dip packs (24/pack) - $0.99 each on clearance
Rite Aid has some good deals this week, but I couldn't find any of them at my closest store. If I get to the other end of town later this week, I'll check there. Otherwise, I was pleased to get 48 candy snacks for my kids with built-in portion control for $0.04 each.
This is another of the complete sets - uppercase, lowercase, numbers and punctuation that retails for $150. A few online stores have it on sale for $90, but it's still a huge savings at $15.
So this is a new week and you might have bought a few Cuttlebug items with the Michaels sale last week. Did you happen to pick up this die?
It's the Floral Borders die set. I thought it was pretty just the way it was, but another blogger opened my eyes to even more possibilities.
I love flourishes, but I don’t have any flourish dies. (And I’m certainly not going to hand-cut something that intricate!) So I was delighted to find this idea for making flourishes, using a die that I already have! Isn't she a genius?
Last week I picked up a new corner punch, so I'll try to remember to share photos of those neat medallions done with a different punch. As far as Cuttlebug, I didn't need much. I bought the small Fancy Corners embossing folders as well as the Sliders (small set of 4) ... And it's probably best that I "didn't need much" because I found another (!) Sizzix alphabet set (Classic) that I like on my local Craigslist for $15! I'm going to pick it up today, so maybe I'll remember to post a picture.
Now it's "reporting" time - tell me what Cuttlebug items you got last week. I know my friend got her machine!! :)
- Serenity/Tena underwear (16 ct) - FREE after sale and coupons*
- Windex wipes - FREE after mail-in rebate
- 4 Lady Speed Stick deodorants - FREE after sale and coupons*
- Extra gum - $1.32 (It was on my list, so I threw it in to get to the right dollar amount.)
*I know I said I had no coupons, but this was the $10/$30 store coupon they put out for Friday and Saturday only. After figuring in the coupon and the mail-in rebate, all I paid for was the gum.
- bread - $0.97
- bagels - $1.20
- 2 boxes teabags - $1.00 each
- ground turkey - $1.98
- kids' vitamins - $5.32
TOTAL: $11.47, but $5.32 came out of our vitamin fund (so $6.15 for the groceries)
Target put their $1 spot items at 50% off, so I got a few small gift items. Here's all the non-food stuff I got:
- 3 design-your-own frame kits - $0.50 each
- 2 Christmas scrapbooks - $0.50 each
- 2 (8-packs) mini gel pens - $0.50 each
- 4 (3-packs) glitter glue - $0.50 each
TOTAL: $5.50, but I used a free gift card for some of it and ended up paying $3.50 out of pocket
- gold doilies - $1.24
- 2 $1-bin rubber stamps - $1.00 each
- 2-pack color ink for our printer - $36.99, but I used $17 in previous Rewards from ink recycling and such
It was a good trip!
I got a migraine on the (5+ hours) ride back home, so after "sleeping it off" for three hours, I'm wide awake in the middle of the night, thanks in part to the caffeine in the migraine medication.
Things will be crazy around here for the next few days, so I'm not sure how often I'll be able to post. I have an entire house to get back in order, as well as Sunday to prepare for. Hopefully it won't be as hectic as I'm envisioning ...
I used my friend's corner punch since I don't have any, but I like it so well I'm going to invest in at least one corner punch! You can find tutorials for these here, here, and here. Yes, there are three different tutorials. Once you've done one, the rest will make a lot more sense. They are beautiful and take almost no time to make. Later in the week, I'll try to show you some cards I've made with them!
I just got my kids a Sizzix Sidekick on clearance for $7.99 each, so I'm debating if I should buy them a few Cuttlekid dies or the smaller embossing folders (2x2") to go with them.
I think I'm going to save the machines for a gift, but I'm not sure. Maybe I should let them buy them with their allowance money. I'm sure they'd still be delighted, and they could have them a lot sooner. Decisions, decisions ... :)
This first card is actually a set of 8 that I made for my Secret Sister. I have been struggling to find just the right way to highlight the decorative circle stamp (inside the doily) since I bought them. I wanted to use them for monograms. Well, they perfectly fit inside this small doily, which I was able to pick up at Dollar Tree (90 in a pack). It sure beats Wal-Mart's price of $2.96 for 24 doilies! I used chalk to highlight the roses in the doily.
You probably can't see it very well, but I finally found a good use for a background stamp I got on clearance at Michaels. It was a beautiful floral background stamp, but it was so busy I just never knew what to do with it. Well, I pulled it out a few days ago and tried Versamark ink with clear embossing powder, and I love the result! It's like a fancy patterned paper. See my new Swiss Dots embossing folder? I'm loving it, too!
This was one of my "brainstorms" after I bought the small doilies. I cut one into fourths and started rearranging them. That's when I got the idea to use them like curtains. For the window, I used a small calendar image I had picked up on clearance last year. I wasn't sure how successful I was at making it look like a window until my 5-year-old son walked by the room and said, "Wow, Mommy! I really like that window card!" :) I didn't even have to prompt him!
Here is one of those clip art images I colored with my BIC Mark-Its. I love blue and yellow together, so I really like this card. The white piece was just trimmed with my Martha Stewart lace border punch. It started out as an experiment with a shaped notecard, but that didn't work out right, so I ended up with two lacy card embellishments. I really like them!
The lady I bought them from said she was going to ship them Priority, but Parcel Post was a lot cheaper. She figured (correctly) that I'd rather pay less and wait a few more days. Guess what? I didn't have to wait at all! They came in two days, just like Priority Mail would have. :) Now I can take them along to Ministerial and play with them!
Here's a closeup of the "Aa" die from the Nouveau alphabet set:
And here are the "stuffed animal" dies:
And the tag dies:
I can't wait to use them!
This started as a coloring experiment with my BIC Mark-It markers. It was shortly after I learned that they are alcohol-based like Copics, and able to be blended. The flowers are just a cheap Dollar Tree stamp, but I really like them! The butterfly is from a clear Inkadinkadoo set and the sentiment is from a $1 Studio G clear set. I used my faux nestabilities for the background, as well as a few adhesive "rhinestones" from Dollar Tree.
This second card was totally inspired by this card on Splitcoaststampers. My ribbon didn't show up as well as hers, but I'm still quite pleased with the card. This is also a cheap Dollar Tree stamp, but I come back to it again and again. The paper is from a stack I got at Big Lots for $7 or so.
On a side note, I got a Sizzlet alphabet to use in my Cuttlebug! A lady was wanting to get rid of her "old" Sizzix dies, and I happened to be the first one to reply with a request. I got Nouveau for $20! I'm especially pleased because it has all the letters in uppercase and lowercase, all the numbers, as well as punctuation. And it's one of my favorite die cut alphabets!
I also got a tag die I've had my eye on, and some stuffed animal dies ($5 for each). I can't wait for my package to arrive in the mail!! I'm sure you'll notice when it comes, since I'm sure I'll be cutting away for a few days. :)
This is for her older son. Isn't it cute?? He's getting a hunting-themed gift for his birthday this Saturday, and this will be perfect.
This is for her younger son who is just a little younger than mine.
And this last one is for her husband. It's so perfect for him! :)
They were only $3 each, so I was thrilled to pieces!
Check out what else I got today:
Lou's Discount Grocery
- 6 half gallons Archer Farms Organic skim milk - $0.50 each
- 6 half gallons Lactaid whole milk - $0.50 each
- 7 Malt O Meal maple and brown sugar hot cereal - $1.00 each
- 3 CoCo Wheats hot cereals - $1.25 each
- 2 Little Debbie brownie packs - $0.60 each
- 6 Lunchables pizza packs - $0.50 each (for quick lunches!)
- 30 Oscar Meyer premium beef hot dogs - $4.50
- Ro-Tel nacho cheese dip - $1.25
- 4 Scrubbing Bubbles flushable bathroom wipes - FREE after coupons and rebate
- 2 Glade Sense and Sprays - $1.01 profit after coupons and rebate
TOTAL: $1.01 profit
- 3 Bayer low-dose aspirin - $4.03 profit after rebate
- Garnier Fructis hairspray - $1.00 profit after rebate
I also had a $5 gift certificate from Rite Aid's December Gift of Savings promotion, so that took an additional $5 off my total.
TOTAL: $10.03 profit
I was so thrilled with the finds at Lou's (the "bent and dent" store) since milk is never that cheap around here - let alone the Lactaid milk that I can drink! (I'm going to freeze them and thaw them as needed. It has worked great for us in the past.) The hot cereals are our families' favorites and an absolute steal compared to the $3-4 a box the regular store charges, if you can even find them there. That's close to a year's supply of hot cereal, which we eat every morning!
I was thrilled with the drug store items because I always enjoy making money from them. ;) But I was especially thrilled because my dad uses the low-dose aspirin and I just ran out of my last bottle of Garnier Fructis hairspray - that lasted me about 6 months! (I think it's my favorite to date, but I'm still not going to pay full price for it.)
I hope you were able to find some bargains this week, too!
Supplies: The Paper Company, unknown (paper); Creative Memories (stickers); Inkadinkadoo (clear letter stamps).
That got me to wondering ... Just what is available for free over at the Microsoft clip art gallery? Here are a few of the images I found and then colored:
I'll post the cards as I make them. So far, these are just colored and waiting for the "perfect" card idea. And in case you're wondering, I printed them onto 3" squares. That seems to be a good size for my cards.
By the way, I am loving my BIC Mark-It markers. I didn't realize until a week or so ago that they are alcohol-based markers and thus similar to the mega-expensive Copic markers. Not exactly the same, but for the price difference, I'll take my Mark-Its and be deliriously happy! I'm learning the whole shading and blending thing, and I really like the results!
Anyway, let me show you a few cards I made with more of the free clip art images I downloaded.