Saturday, March 24, 2012


As I look at my tax documents, I see by the numbers that I made plenty of money last why does it feel like I run out of money each pay period? Now looking around my house, I see where all that money went. I've grown a bad habit of shopping when I'm bored. Sure, I shop at stores with great deals (ie. Ross!) but so often I buy items that I really don't need! Which is why I always have plenty of stuff to have a successful yard sale EVERY year!
Well, it's confession is how I've been budgeting my money for the past two years:
1. Get paid every other Friday
2. Pay bills due within 2 weeks on Saturday
3. Shop as long as there is money in the checking account
4. Stop shopping when the money is gone
5. On the Thursday before the next payday, deposit any leftover money into savings account

As you probably guessed...that didn't work! I never have any leftover money to save! I think, all that time, I thought what I was doing was OK, because I always made sure my bills were paid first. I can't blame my stupidness on dad helped me set up a budget when I first moved out on my just didn't stick...sorry dad!

It's not too late, I can do better! I have already cut out all unnecessary shopping (seriously, I didn't even go to Joann's even though snuggle flannel is 60% off right now!) and I am going on a strict budget starting April 1st.

I tried out a few of the sample budgets spreadsheets offered on Excel, but the issue with each one was that they are based for people who have a set paycheck, and/or are paid on the same date each month. I am paid hourly, never have the same amount of hours each week, and get my paycheck every other Friday, regardless of the date. The biggest issue I deal with is figuring out which bills to pay in a pay period, and which are not due until after the next payday. I finally found a sample budget called the "Bi-Weekly Budget Planner" and used it as a template to personalize it to my own needs. I moved alot of stuff around, took out some unnesessary stats, and most importantly, I added a list at the bottom for each of my bills and the usual due date to quickly determine which pay period to sort the bills into. At the end of April, I will evaluate how it is working and adjust it accordingly.

If you too are looking for a Bi-Weekly Budget Sample for a variable salary. Download mine here.

It is all ready set up to add, subtract, and transfer totals where needed. You just need to figure up your estimated bills and enter those in. One thing you may notice, mine is missing some usual bills. Jake and I have separate bank accounts and split our bills according to how much we make, so some bills (like mortgage and auto insurance) are not in my budget.

I'm starting my new budget on April 1st. I hope this helps someone out there! If you have any questions, let me know!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More Burlap Pillows

A few weeks ago, I posted about my burlap and sharpie pillow. I made 2 more burlap pillows to place behind the "welcome" pillow.
This one started out as solid tan with brown buttons, but the color blended too much with the "welcome" pillow, so I added this big bow out of dark brown burlap.

This one is now my favorite! Chevron is so trendy right now. Although my lines are far from straight and it proves I'm not a great seamstress, I like that it makes it obviously handmade.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Shabby Chic Photo Shoot Outfits

One of the girls from my group of friends is PSCing to England! Lucky girl! She was my very first friend in Montana and I'm really going to miss her, but we are military wives and leaving friends is an inevitable part of life.

Before she moves, we want to get professional photos taken together. We've decided on a Shabby Chic themed photo shoot, so I ransacked my closet and came up with a few outfits that might work.

Outfit #1: jean jacket, white dress, brown riding boots

Outfit #2: jean jacket, coral dress, brown riding boots

Outfit #3: white cardigan, gray floral dress, brown braided belt, brown riding boots

Outfit #4: white lace top, skinny jeans, brown riding boots

Outfit #5: white cardigan, blue floral top, brown braided belt, skinny jeans, brown riding boots

Which is your favorite? Feel free to do substitutions (like white cardigan instead of jean jacket, etc)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mod Podge Coasters

I've seen lots of DIY coaster photos on Pinterest lately, but I figured I could just wing it, and it turned out as easy as it seems. Here's how I did it:

You will need:
4x4 tiles ( the Habitat for Humanity Restore has TONS of tiles and the 4x4 size are 25 cents each)
scrapbook paper
mod-podge & a brush

I cut the scrapbook paper about 3 3/4 x 3 3/4, so there would be a very small border of tile left around the paper.

Then I applied a thin layer of mod-podge directly on the tile.

Then I put the paper in the center and applied a thin layer of mod-podge over the paper.

The mod-podge is white when it is wet, but it dries clear. When it was clear, I applied another thin coat.

See, the one on the right is starting to dry on the edges.

Not including the mod-podge, this project was less than $1

I'm thinking these might look nice in my parent's living room...what do you think mom?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Chicken Wire Window

I found this large screen window at the Habitat for Humanity Restore a few weeks ago. I was using it as an inspiration board in my craft room and held photos up with magnets.

I ripped off the screen and stapled chicken wire around the edges on the back and bought some mini clothespins to pin on my inspiration photos.

I think it looks more fresh with the chicken wire. Definitely more cute!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

30 B4 30

Last October, I turned 27. I know that those who are over 30 are probably thinking, that's still so young! Well, for those in the same boat as me...nearing doesn't feel so young. I look at other people my age, who have already done so much...and realize I'm falling behind! The biggest thing to me is that everyone that I know who is currently pregnant is younger than me...some younger by 5 years! But if you want to know my thoughts on when I want to start a family...that topic is for another post...a little too deep for this post!

So back to the point of this post...30 B4 30. When I turned 27, I realized I have 3 years until I'm 30. I decided to jump on the bandwagon and do the 30 B4 30 challenge. You take a look at your life and access where you are currently and where you want to be when you turn 30. Then you choose 30 things that you want to achieve before your 30th birthday. I kept my goals pretty realistic. There are really only a few that will be a big stretch to achieve. Most of them just require time, a few require money, and some just require mental motivation.

The week of my 27th birthday, I created this pinterest board to illustrate my goals, and then promptly forgot all about the 30 B4 30. Today I was organizing and cleaning out my pinterest boards (wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning!) and saw my 30 B4 30 board. I've lost 5 months already! I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that I actually have been working on some of those goals without even remembering that I set them! So without further are my goals and comments on the progress.

1. Make a travel map
2. Get lasik (obviously a dream goal...probably will be the hardest to achieve because of the money)
3. Have a yard sale at least once a year (I have already started organizing items for one this spring)
4. Read my fancy camera book (took it off the book shelf, now it's sitting on the kitchen table...still unread)
5. Try canning
6. Save $3600, that's $100 a month (Jake and I are both putting $100 a month in a joint savings)
7. Learn to do fancy makeup for events (I tried a youtube tutorial for the masquerade party and recieved lots of compliments!)
8. Run in a 5K
9. Perfect the meatball sandwich (I made them for Valentine's Day and Jake is already requesting them again!)
10. Visit the Pacific Northwest in fall.
11. Have professional photos taken with Jake
12. Donate blood (with my past experiences of donating blood, this might be hard to do)
13. Learn about the stars (I downloaded the google sky map app on my's basic, but it's a start!)
14. Prevent wrinkles (I bought a skin care system, I just need to work on doing it everyday)
15. Volunteer at least 4 times a year (once so far this year)
16. Do the 30 Day Shred for 30 full days
17. Start on a Master's Degree
18. Floss everyday
19. Design my own fabric
20. Become a sharp shooter (or at least comfortable with a gun in my hand)
21. Take a horseback ride
22. See the Cubs play at Wrigley Field with Jake
23. Learn the basics of football
24. Cut out soda (I can't remember the exact date, but over a month ago, I had it on my grocery list but just decided not to buy any, and haven't since!)
25. Get to my goal weight (only 10 lbs. less than my current weight)
26. Have a spa day
27. Send homemade birthday cards
28. Pay off my student loan (I'm still far from it, but I am paying well over the minimum due, so it's definite progress)
29. Piece a quilt
30. I'm leaving this one open to be filled when I think of an awesome one!

As you can see, most of the goals are pretty easy and not life altering. No pressure...I'm just doing this for fun anyway!

If you have a 30 B4 30 list, or 60 B4 60, or any similar list, please share it with me! I love to see other people's goals!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

First Kiss

I have an incredibly weak memory, and have forgotten almost everything from our "dating years" but a few years ago, I wrote down what I remembered of this moment, and I'm so glad I did! Now I will never forget this memory!

It was in the Fall of 2001, probably late October. It was the night of a home football game, one of those really cold, curl up under a blanket on the bleachers kind of nights. Jake and I had gone on a date the weekend before, and talked to each other on the phone every chance we got. He came up to me at the game and asked me if I wanted to come by his house after it was over so he "could beat me at a video game." I wasn't much of a gamer, but it gave me an excuse to hang out with him, and our little competition was the perfect way to flirt. We did hang out at his house (I don't remember, but I'm sure I lost the video game!) but I had to be home by midnight so he walked me out to my car at about 5 till 12. He was wearing Carhart overalls with a tee shirt, but he didn't put on a coat because he didn't think he would be out there for very long. Well, we ended up leaning on my car talking for AN HOUR! I had only moved to North County a few months before that so we talked about our families and friends and our childhoods! It kept getting later and later, and colder and colder. I made fun of him because his teeth were chattering! Finally once it was almost 1 in the morning (way past my curfew) he insisted I needed to go. So I smiled and said "Well, I'm not leaving until I get a kiss." You all know I'm shy so that was a pretty bold move for me! He leaned over and I got my kiss! I used to joke that he only kissed me to get rid of me! I drove home and hoped mom and dad were asleep. Well when I walked in mom was wide awake sitting on the couch talking on the phone. I thought I was dead meat! I was just sure she was going to be furious with me. Well, she wasn't, she was talking to one of her best friends, Liz, and I guess Liz put her in a really good mood because she just casually asked where I had been and asked some questions about Jake, but I didn't get in trouble! Good thing, because if I had gotten grounded I might not have gone on another date with Jake!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Greeting Cards

When I saw this stamp set in the Stampin' Up catalog, I was instantly in love! I've had it in my craft room closet for months and finally took it out today for a project.

I made a set of greeting cards to give as a gift...although I'm not sure who they are for yet.

I think they turned out pretty cute!