Pressed for Time?

time

Who wouldn’t love to add more hours to the day? Twenty-four hours is just not enough time to get everything done. Unfortunately, I don’t have a mathematical equation or a scientific formula to solve this age old problem. There are only 24 hours in a day and there is no way to change that. However, I do know a way to get the most benefit from the 24 hours we are given.

Click here to read more of my post over on Raising Homemakers.

Valentine’s Decorating on a Budget

valentineornament closeupAfter the expense of decorating for Christmas, your budget may be a little tight for Valentine’s Day. Today I thought I’d share some budget Valentine decorations with you.  My style is–how would I describe my style? It’s romantic, shabby chic, vintage, traditional-country…well you get the idea.

I made some precious rosebuds for just a couple of dollars. All you need is:

It doesn’t take much artistic ability to make these roses. All you really have to do is play with the crepe paper a little. Picture a rosebud in your mind, or search for a picture of a rosebud on the internet.

Start by folding the end of the crepe paper like this:

creperoses1

Then gently fold the triangle over to the inside:

crepe paper roses #valentine #crafts #decoratingonabudget www.ruckusandrubies.com

Now gently and without creasing, fold the top of the ribbon toward the back:

creperoses3

Begin rolling the crepe paper making the center of the bud.  As you roll the crepe paper toward you allowing the top of the ribbon to fall a little toward the back, it makes the beginning of a petal:

Next you twist the crepe paper and it creates the division between petals that you see:

crepe paper roses #valentine #crafts #decoratingonabudget www.ruckusandrubies.com

Continue this process loosely rolling and folding until you reach the desired size of your bud. Then you can simply glue the end around the bottom of the bud:

creperoses5

Decide what you’d like to do with the buds.

crepe paper roses #valentine #crafts #decoratingonabudget www.ruckusandrubies.com

I opted to make a flower ball ornament.

valentineornament closeup

Using hot glue, begin gluing each bud to the Styrofoam ball. Be sure to alternate the colors if you’d like a multi-colored ornament, or you can use just one single color:

Tie a knot in the center of a ribbon to give your glue more coverage and glue the knot to the ball. Once the glue has cooled and the ribbon is secure, tie the top of the ribbon into a bow so you can hang it anywhere:

valentine ornament

I made lots of extra buds and used them to scatter throughout my favorite hat box, along with some snowflake Christmas ornaments and silk rose petals leftover from another year. You and your children could make sweet paper snowflake ornaments:

valentine hat box

If you’d rather not make your ornaments, an inexpensive decoration is a lantern. You can use them as intended or fill them with all sorts of holiday trinkets. I use my lantern throughout my home as well as on my front porch. I just change the decorations on the inside and sometimes I put a bow on the top. Here’s one I used last year as my centerpiece:

valentine lantern

I just adore vintage Valentines. I found these online and printed them. I attached them to some burlap and used some brown twine to make a Valentine garland. I added a few red polka dot bows between the Valentines. Nothing fancy, but so precious:

valentine garland

If you have a Silhouette you use Silhouette graphics to make adorable Valentine plates. This graphic is really pretty:

Valentine Plate

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know birds are a passion of mine. This lovebird graphic goes well with the monogram of my husband and myself:

valentine plate 2

You could make a wooden or cardstock sign with a Silhouette, too!

valentine sign

Remember, you don’t have to have a big budget to fill your home with reminders of God’s love and your love for your family!  My favorite craft projects are those traditional, all time-favorites using everyday materials from my home, gathering around the table with my sweet family making memories!

One Essential Craft Tool – Endless Possibilities

 

Crafting reaps so very many benefits; it’s fun and therapeutic. The most important reason I craft is because I’m frugral (cheap!). You’d be surprised just how much money I can save by making things myself instead of purchasing them.

Even though God created all of us with imagination and abilities, I have to admit I’m no Martha Stewart. There is a limit to my creativity; sometimes I run out of ideas.  Pinterest is a wonderful resource for gaining inspiration. As of this moment, I have thousands and thousands of pins for craft ideas.

My abilities are also limited. No matter what I do, sometimes my craft projects are crooked, off center, and downright sloppy. I can’t cut straight. I have broken more than one sewing machine. I just don’t have an abundance of artistic ability.

My heart is in it–I ADORE making things. I just feel inadequate with limited ability, resources, storage space, money for supplies.

This Christmas, my precious son and my sweet husband surprised me with a Silhouette CAMEO. In my spare time, which is also limited, I’ve been learning how to use it. There are multitudes of tutorials online which has been very helpful. I’ve made some great projects so far; it’s been one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.

There are endless possibilities with the Silhouette Cameo:

  • Words mean so much to me; I cherish lyrics to songs, Bible verses, inspirational quotes. No longer do I have to try to paint or write words free-handed. The Silhouette takes care of all of that for me:

sign

  • Instead of going out and purchasing holiday decorations, you can always make your own with the Silhouette. It cuts vinyl as well as paper and fabric so you can make just about any decoration your heart desires. Silhouette America has tons of inexpensive graphics. When you purchase a Silhouette Cameo it comes with free downloads, and if you get a bundle you usually get downloads with multiple items in the bundle. The graphic used in the plate below is from the Silhouette Store:

Valentine Plate

  • Not only can you make vinyl letters to go on anything imaginable, you can also use your Silhouette to make diecut pieces for scrapbooking, greeting cards, tags, and more:

gift-tags-1049334_1920

  • You can also use your Silhouette to draw pictures simply by replacing the cutting blade in the machine with Silhouette Sketch Pen Starter Kit.
  • Monogramming is a Southern Belle thing, and something I have always loved. You can monogram walls, mailboxes, notebooks, stemware, mugs, anything your little heart desires:

monogram

pantry

  • My family loves graphic t-shirts. With Heat Transfer Vinyl you can design and make your own t-shirts like these:

tshirt

  • Since the Silhouette is multifunctional, I don’t have to have near the storage space for a ton of different craft tools. I am just getting started so I will need more vinyl storage eventually. For right now, this is my silhouette crafting space:

silhouette storage

I hate to point out my mistakes, but the inspiration box holding my vinyl was one of my first projects. The crooked lettering was completely my fault and part of my learning curve. I’ve gotten much better at it!

If you are thinking of purchasing a Silhouette Cameo, I would go with a bundle option. They are much more economical and you get all of the supplies you need to get started. This is one similar to the one I was gifted and I think my son and husband made an excellent choice, but this particular one comes with more than mine like glitter pens and two blades: Silhouette CAMEO Starter Bundle with Vinyl Kit.

I am enjoying the ability to personalize gifts for friends and family and decorating my home. It’s inspired me to pray about opening my own Etsy craft shop too! This is one amazing craft tool that delivers endless possibilities!

Home Is Where the Heart Is

heart homeYou’ve heard that old saying: “Home is where the heart is.”  It’s so true–your home is wherever you long to be.

For encouragement for your heart and home, visit today’s post over at Raising Homemakers!  Thanks for stopping by!

Meatballs and Gravy – Trim Healthy Mama Deep S Fuel Cycle

meatballs

This week I participated in another fuel cycle. For those of you new to Trim Healthy Mama, a fuel cycle is an occasional week or two within the plan with strict guidelines, that is used to boost your metabolism when you’ve hit a plateau.

One my last Deep S day of the fuel cycle, my family wanted meatballs for dinner, which they typically like with marinara sauce. I try my very hardest not to be a short order cook. I’d like most if not all of the meal I cook to be compliant with all of our food restrictions and allergies.

Since I was on a DS day, I couldn’t have tomatoes. I really wanted some Smarty Pants Stroganoff from the book, but the DS days of the fuel cycle also prohibits dairy so I couldn’t use sour cream. Sour cream is one of my very favorite foods. Unfortunately it is dairy and high in fat. That’s not to say that there isn’t a time and place for sour cream, but there are definitely times when I can’t use it. Now keep in mind that normal meals not on the special fuel cycle do not restrict your consumption of tomatoes or dairy.

I decided to do a little experimenting. I came up with these yummy meatballs that fit right into the THM fuel cycle restrictions. I am so excited to add another meal to my list for the next fuel cycle I do, but I’m hoping I won’t need another one any time soon.

Meatballs and Gravy – Trim Healthy Mama Deep S Fuel Cycle

2 lbs lean ground beef

2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1-2 cups chicken broth

1 tsp glucommanan

1 tbsp heavy cream

Mix beef with seasonings and then roll beef into meatballs. Line raw meatballs into crockpot, stacking gently if you run out of room. Carefully pour chicken broth over meatballs. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8 hours. Remove meatballs from broth and set aside. Whisk in glucomman. Then whisk in heavy cream. Add meatballs and stir to coat them.  Serve meatballs over Not-So-Naughty Konjac Noodles, zucchini noodles, or other non-starchy vegetables.

These meatballs were a huge hit with my family! I can’t wait to see how my metabolism has changed at the end of the week, and I’m so thankful to have discovered another meal I can eat during the fuel cycle.  Enjoy!!

Fall Decorating on a Budget

fall decorating on a budget

Vivid colors, the rich, spicy scents, and pumpkin flavored everything… Fall is my very favorite season.  Decorating is one of my treasured pastimes all year round.  Unfortunately, I am on an extremely tight budget this fall.  We’ve just had so many circumstances lately that are squeezing our budget dry.  I was a little bummed about it and really wasn’t even in the decorating mood.  I put it off and then reluctantly asked my sweet husband to get the decorations from the attic.  I started going through the boxes, seeing the lovely colors, and dreaming about the romantic and lovely aspects of fall.  I decided to make the best of it and see what I could do with what I have.

One of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to decorate on a budget is to use the foods of the season.  Most of us have glass bowls or dishes collecting dust in our cabinets. Displaying some shiny, red apples or other fall fruits on your counter is a beautiful way to decorate for fall.  The pops of color through the shiny glass add to the charm of your home, and I find it also reminds my kiddos to grab some fruit for snack time.

fall apples

It’s always a lovely idea to incorporate God’s creation by bringing the outdoord into your home.  I purchased a distressed wooden box from Hobby Lobby.  I painted some special and meaningful words on the outside.  It’s my go to decor for pretty much any season.  I just change the contents to items related to the season or holiday.  I had some old orange, yellow, and eggplant colored silk flowers, so I arranged them in the box with some burlap.  You could use real or silk flowers.  You could use real flowers from your yard, pinecones, etc.

fall box 2

Discount stores like Dollar Tree are great because they carry things like silk flowers and wired ribbon.  This fall printed wire ribbon adds a lovely touch to my dining room chairs.

fall bow

I couldn’t think of a tablescape for the dining room.  I usually struggle with the dining room trying to find a balance between casual and formal.  I like it to be big and bold, but sometimes less really is more and in this case that worked to my advantage.  I had a burlap runner and  silk fall garland, which I decided to use it to drape down the center of the table.  My sweet son and I searched the backyard for pinecones.  Magnolia leaves are beautiful all year long, so I gathered groups of leaves and filled in around the garland.   You could make your own all garland by stringing leaves and other natural items together.fall tablescape 2

fall tablescape

I already had some old rings of silk flowers most people use around hurricanes.  I decided to simply put them around my two wall candle sconces on either side of our window.

fall candle sconce

For decorating the outdoor of our home, I simply used the same fall garland I’ve had for years.  I also revamped an old grapevine wreath by adding silk flowers from the dollar store.

fall porch Fall Porch fall decorating on a budget www.ruckusandrubies.com

I have an old wooden crate that I use for all sorts of things.  I just turned it over and arranged some old artificial pumpkins.  You could use real pumpkins.  I’d prefer real, but I used artificial in keeping with our budget.

fall pumpkins 2

I kept my summer flowers on display as well.  I think they pair nicely with the fall colors. This also keeps my decorating costs low.

You don’t have to always use items for their intended purpose.  Get creative, be frugal, re-purpose, and decorate your lovely home for fall on a budget!