Saturday, April 23, 2011

More bride freebies

Hooray! More bridal spoils have arrived since I last posted!

Thank you Circulon and KitchenAid! :)

I hope you all have a lovely Easter! I have a nice ham dinner planned. Nom nom nom nom nom...

That is all.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vinyl d'art

Tom and I moved into a new townhouse a few months ago, giving me a lot more wall space than I'd had in my one bedroom apartment. I've been trying to find cheap ways to decorate, and was inspired by this post over at TulipSociety and a related Instructable. As much as I love trees and flowers, I decided I wanted something a little... edgier... that would represent both Tom and myself. I liked the ease of cutting out the circle shapes, and my mind immediately went to gears. Tom and I both appreciate Steampunk, so I thought this was perfect.

How badass am I? With my steampunk gears! And... pastel... flowers... yeah. Oh well. That's me for ya. The hardest part of this was trying to make each gear unique in some way.

I put this in the living/dining area, which already has plenty of stuff in it, so the purpose of hanging something wasn't to muffle sound - I needed something purely decorative. This fit the bill perfectly. Once I cut them out, I just peeled, stuck, and VIOLA! Vinyl d'art! I've had no problems with them sticking, but they seem as though they will come off easily when required to.

The next project will be the bedroom... it DOES need some sound absorbing action, so we'll see what I can come up with. I'm thinking some simple canvases, once I get the right color paint color.

Ja ne!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rockin' robin...

He is on a high branch, in a bare tree, that is swaying in the wind. The wind keeps blowing, the tree keeps swaying, but he keeps holding on. The wind's gotten to be a little too much for him now, so he threw caution (and himself) to the wind, and flew off to find a new spot to sit and watch the world. Ahhhhhhhh, there is enough metaphor there to... make something... overly metaphory. Seriously, though, I could learn a lot from that bird.

Tom is outside pumping up the tires on our bikes. He wants to go for a ride. We'll see how that goes. I prefer to bike on trails, where I don't have to worry about about the motorists in Colorado Springs, an alarmingly large percentage of whom must be stupid, judging by their driving.

I picked up a Sunday paper this week and have been clipping coupons. I started couponing recently, but only with printable coupons I found online. This week, I heard there were going to be a whopping FOUR coupon inserts in the paper, so I decided to pick one up today. I thought I would share how I plan to coupon. Maybe some of this can be classified as "tip-worthy", but I make no promises. Anyhow, here is what I have done/am doing..

  • Find a blog that covers local sales/coupons/etc. I was lucky enough to run across, which is absolutely amazing. It lists the currents ads for all the local grocery stores, and matches them up with many existing coupons deals. They even rate the deals on a scale of 1-5, based on how great they think it is. It allowed me to really maximize my savings this week, and I plan to check back each week to see the best deals.
  • Check the on-line coupon sites to see what they're offering. Unlike your Sunday paper, checking on-line coupons is absolutely free (assuming you're on a computer anyway), and you only have to print the ones you really want. Here are the ones I like to check. If you know of more, please let me know!
    •  Printables
    • Red Plum  Printables
    • Smart Source  Printables
    • Upromise   Ecoupons you can load onto your grocery or drug store cards, and savings at restaurants and online retailers. The Savings go into your upromise account, instead of being given at the store. You can then use the money in your account to help pay for college, invest in a savings account, or even request a check. Every little bit helps!
    • Cellfire  More coupons to load directly onto your grocery card! Here King Soopers (Krogers chain) participates.
    • Just 4 U  Safeway's own eCoupon program.
    • Target  Target has their own coupon site. Just go to, and scroll down tot he bottom. There is a Coupons link under the heading "Target Stores" at the bottom. SOme of these are exclusive to Target, and some are manufacturers.
  • Know that, at most stores, you can use one manufacturer and one store coupon on a product. So if you have a Target coupon for $1 off, and a manufacturer coupon for $1 off, you can get $2 off one item.
  • Know who doubles coupons in your area. Where I am, Safeway and King Soopers always double, and Albertsons only doubles occasionally. A $.50 coupon may not look like much, but $1.00 does!
  • Only use coupons for things you usually buy or know you will use, and only use it when it makes something truly cheaper. For instance, saving $.50 on a box $1.50 Kraft macaroni is not that big a deal if I can get the store brand for $.89 without any coupon.
  • That being said, I clip ALL the coupons from the paper. At least right now. Why? Two reasons:
    • A lot of times, I see deals where things are free or ridiculously cheap weeks after the coupons have been in the paper. Even if it's not something I use, if it's free, I'll take it. Case in point, I just clipped a bunch of things for dog food and treats. I have no dog. If I find some deal where I can get the treats or food for free, though, I'll buy them. I have plenty of friends with dogs, and if nothing else, I can give them to the local humane society.
    • I know there have to be sites online where you can swap coupons with people. The dog coupons and baby coupons do nothing for me, but may be awesome to someone else. Maybe they could send me some food or cat coupons in trade! :)
  • Become a fan of some of your favorite brands and stores on Facebook. A lot of places are starting to offer their fans coupons. You can also go directly to company websites and sign up for free coupons. I've created an entire e-mail address just for couponing so I don't get spammed to death at my regular e-mail.
  • Create some sort of organization system. I'm using clear page protectors in a binder, and dividing things up by categories which make sense for me.
  • Understand that every little bit helps. This is a hard one for me. Too often I need to do everything whole hog, and can't deal with mediocrity. I'm trying to remember that ANY savings is a savings. I don't have to be like the crazy people on Extreme Couponing.
Happy shopping!

Friday, April 15, 2011

It ain't easy bein' green... or frugal... frugal too.

Ok, I have to confess, I know nothing of the trials and tribulations involved in being green... but I find Kermit to be a reputable source of information, so I will take his word for it.

I am, however, finding it extremely hard to be frugal. We've been dealing with a job loss recently, are waiting for unemployment to kick in, etc. Lets just say I'm very thankful for a great fiance, a few supportive family members, and community outreach programs. If anyone would like to send good thoughts/prayers/energy my way, feel free... Trying to find a decent job for myself is proving to be difficult. A psych B.A. does not seem to qualify you for anything that makes a living wage! Oh hindsight, you so silly!

I was about to say that I digress, but I realize most of this post is just going to be venting... so I guess that isn't entirely accurate! However, my main problem is just how difficult a time I'm having with being frugal... more specifically, frugal with food. Keep the lights off and furnace off, check, cutting back on driving, sure, not buying extras for myself, (painful but) ok. ;P

Food, though, is killing me. It always does... and I'm not sure why. I am, I think, a good cook. Certainly a good baker. Somehow, the organizational processes involved in cooking throws me for a loop. I never know what to make with the things I have on hand... and then I never have a lot of basic things on hand, it seems. I think the latter may be my downfall.

Lately, I've been trying to shop very carefully for deals on food... coupons, hitting all the different sales, etc. That seems exhausting enough. Then I have to figure out what to do with the food I just bought. I want so badly to make these nice, healthy, cheap meals I see people making on the blogs I read... but can never figure out how they are easy (yeast bread, cooking something all day) or cheap (since I'd have to go out and buy three different types of cheese and a bunch of fresh herbs and produce). I'm not sure how these people do these things inexpensively! Do they have their own creamery in their back yard? I know a lot of people have gardens, but I have no yard space, and I think a Topsy Turvy Tomato planter would end up about 3 blocks away with the first good Colorado Springs "breeze."

This just seems to happen to me all the time. I get an idea and I read up on it... and then I get overwhelmed with information... and then I have a melt down. Why oh why must I be this way!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Give me free stuff, give me free stuff, mister...

I am finding out that this bride-to-be stuff can be cool. Stores and companies like you. They give you free things! I never knew this, until I registered at Target, and received this nifty bag... thingy.

It's nothing elaborate, but I thought it was a nice gesture. I was tickled pink that it was white and blue, AND had birds on it. It will work perfectly for what I've been planning for the wedding. I'm planning to set it up as a card "box".

Anyhoo, as I finished shooting random Target items with my nifty scanner gun, I left the store with my freebie in tow, wondering aloud to Tom what other free things brides might be able to get. I decided to do some research. TO THE BAT CAVE, ROBIN! *Ahem* or Google. Google works too.

So I googled, and HOLY FANCY FREE CRAP, BATMAN! I found out that brides can gets LOTS of free stuff from companies whose items they are registered for, and more if people actually buy you the things off your registry. So I registered away, and sent in my forms for my nifty items.

Several days ago, the first fruit of my labor showed up at the door. A great little cheese cutting board/utensil set from De'Longhi.

It is quite nice and I'm very impressed with it!

If you're a bride-to-be, I'd recommend doing a little research to see what is available out there. I'll probably be posting with more freebies as they show up at my door. I'm always thrilled to get a good deal! :)