Thursday, March 31, 2011

Feed Me (An Update on the Budget)

It's been 3 months since I quit my day-job to work part time and start utilizing my passion for music, and about 3.5 months since Josh and I committed ourselves to a monthly budget. So, I though it was high time to check in and let you know the status of our venture so far!

There are some things I really love about budgeting. It forces you to really keep a record of the money you spend, so the feeling of "gosh where did all our moolah go?" really starts to dissipate.

I think that's the only thing I love about budgeting. Truth be told, we stuck to the budget for the 1st month and then things kinda went haywire. Have you ever tried "budgeting" a home-improvement project? If I had a quarter for every time we ran to Wal-Mart or the Home Depot for supplies, I would be an extremely wealthy woman. Or, at least I would have enough for a latte.

Also, I way underestimated the amount of money we would spend on groceries. We budgeted $160 (I know, it's ridiculous, but I used to survive on $10 a week in college so I know it's possible!). I'm rather ashamed to admit this, but in February we spent $214, and so far for March we've spent $250. Oops, there goes the budget.

Before I quit my job, I had huge aspirations of becoming a Coupon Queen and saving obscene amounts of money on groceries. I do shop with coupons, and it has definitely saved us money, but I've learned that it takes a lot of time and patience and isn't nearly as easy as I thought it would be.

So there's the "State of the Budget" address. I'm determined to cut our grocery costs back down again, so this month we will be shopping almost exclusively at Aldi's! Also, I'll be referring to often to help me plan out where to shop and what to buy! It's a GREAT resource, and run by a lady who lives right here in the Twin Cities!

So, have you ever felt yourself being beaten down by a Budget? Any encouraging thoughts or words of advice? I would LOVE to hear them!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Proof that my husband reads my blog...

Well, at least he read this post.

Just kidding, I know he reads them all. After all, he has to make sure I don't share embarrassing stories about him too often. Thanks Hubs! You are the best. =)

Dress Refashion

Remember this old thang? This dress that I purchased from a thrift store had some potential to it, but some of my readers were a little skeptical. Well, I have to admit, so was I.

Thankfully, after a little bit of reworking I'm happy to say that it DID have potential, and it totally lived up to it!

So how did I hack this dress? Well, let me show you:

First off, the puffy-shouldered 80's sleeves had to go. They were just wrong.

Then, I had to take in the dress a tiny bit, so I pulled apart the seams in the lining and took it in about 1/2 in on both sides. It really helps it to fit a lot better! Couldn't reach some of the buttons in the back, but here's a pic of it for you:

I also added a small sash with some fabric I had in my scrap box. It helps break up the white and makes it look a little less wedding-ish. (Yup, I'm totally smelling my armpit in this next one. Feel free to make fun of me in the comments).

So, what do you think? I was planning on wearing this to a ball that I'm attending soon, but I do feel like it's too informal. I found another dress that I'll be wearing for that, and I think this will be my new Easter dress!

Monday, March 28, 2011

A bit of color? Yes please!

Remember our dreary, grayish bedroom? It was really starting to feel like a downer, so I decided to perk it up a bit just in time for Spring.

So I came up with a plan featuring a new color scheme, found some inspiration online, and purchased a new bedspread and fabric.

It's starting to come together a little more, as evidenced below.

I finished 2 throw pillows for the bed and got my crafty hat on and made some colorful touches for our room as well. There's still SO much to do, but for now this feels better. It's just enough color to make the room inviting instead of depressing!

The fabric and letters are from JoAnne craft stores, and I painted the letters with yellow craft paint and used some pearly paint to bring out some stripes. It was a super fun, easy project!

Ok, here's a view of the whole thing together, but seriously, the lighting in this room is atrocious! So please pretend that this picture was NOT taken with the flash and looks incredible. Thanks a bunch. =)

Ahh. So much better. Now I just need a bouquet of fresh flowers to put on the nightstand... hubs? Are you reading this? =)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Countertops = Finito

Remember these old white countertops? Well, thanks to some new laminate and a super handy hubby, they are Loooooong Gone.

I really can't brag enough about the work my husband did on this! He did all the research, planning every step of the process, but he let me pick the color. What a man! =)

And yes, to clear up any confusion, this is not a whole new countertop, it's just new laminate glued onto the existing countertop. After researching all our options, we decided to go this route for several reasons:

1. It's very inexpensive (around $200 instead of upwards of $500)
2. It would "reuse" our old countertops. I just felt weird about ditching a perfectly good base and paying huge amounts of money to rebuild it.
3. We just love to tear apart our house and fill it with sawdust!

Here's a close-up of what the edges look like, Josh got really good with the tool that he had to use to finish all these edges! He's a pro now I think.

Ah. Doesn't that look amazing? As you can see, we removed the old backsplash and are going to be replacing it with some chic white subway tile. I can't wait!

Happy Friday, all!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Just Checking In

It's been a busy weekend, folks.

I know it's Wednesday, but the weekend was so crazy that literally it's still catching up to me!

So, I wanted to check in and let you know I'm still alive, but just reeling from the craziness. We replaced (or, rather, refaced) our countertops this weekend (mostly Josh's doing!), among other things. I am SOOOO sick and tired of tearing apart our kitchen and putting it together again. We have done it twice in the past month and a half, and it's really getting old!

But, every time I'm tempted to complain I remember these dear friends of ours who are in the midst of a huge renovation right now and haven't had a "normal" kitchen in ages. Definitely puts things in perspective!

So, the cabinets + countertops are done (pictures coming soon, I promise!), and now all that is left is the tile work, floors and backsplash. Sigh.

I love DIY-ing, I really do. But I think it's mostly the feeling you get when you are DONE with it, knowing that you saved yourself hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars. It's the whole "my stove is in the living room, my cat is angry that we've torn her house apart, my husband is swearing at the kitchen sink, and I have sawdust in my coffee" thing that's a little hard to handle sometimes.

So that's just where we're at these days. Oh, and it snowed today. Argh! Minnesota!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011


Remember the ugly brass fixture above our sink? Probably not. It was rather small and insignificant, yet oddly annoying at the same time. It annoyed me because it was such a garish polished brass, but it also got on my nerves because it always seemed like someone had installed it upside down. Is it just me, or is it strange to have a wall sconce that is facing upwards over a sink?

Well, thankfully the situation has been remedied at last. With a little bit of spray paint and a cute, handy husband the fixture is no longer brass nor upside down.

It adds so much more light to the space now that the bulb isn't facing the ceiling!

Also, don't worry too much about that mirror there. It's just hanging there to take up space while we figure out what else to put there!

One more ugly light fixture down. Only about 10 left to go.

Hope you all have a wonderful weeked! Enjoy the weather!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thrifty Finds

So sometimes, I just get so excited about thrifting that I have to share! I love finding good deals and keeping my home stylish at the same time! So here's a few items that I've purchased recently:

Cute orange vase from JoAnnes (not really a thrift store, I know, but it was 70% off!).

A velvety pillow for the love seat, GW, $4.99.

2 Paper star garlands for all those parties we will be throwing in the near future! The package said they were made in Bangladesh too! GW $1.00 each.

And finally, the piece de resistance, this lovely frock! Savers, $9.99.

Don't worry too much, I plan to work some sewing magic on it and transform it into something fun and flirty for a ball that we are attending soon. A ball! Eeeee!

So there you have it. A few of the latest thrifty finds around the Marx household. Have you found anything awesome lately? I'd love to hear all about it!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Simply Spring

I know everyone is going a little Spring crazy right now! It's 50 degrees here in MN, and it feels like a heatwave! Everywhere I look, I'm seeing Spring decorations and colors. It's hard to resist the urge to buy stuff to bring some Spring into our home, but instead I am opting for some easy, quick crafts that are just as welcoming.

So here's a super-quick, easy way to turn coffee filters into some pretty flowers!

I used the smaller-sized filters, but you could definitely use larger ones for fuller flowers.

Fold it in half twice like so:

Then, twist the bottom and fluff the flower until it looks visually appealing. =)

Secure with floral wire:

Then, wrap some floral tape around the whole stem.

Just for funsies, I also grabbed my makeup kit and dusted some blush on the flowers for a little more color. You could also use tea to dye them darker, or spray on food coloring diluted in water to add a dose of color!

See how easy that was? And I didn't even spend a single cent. How are you welcoming Spring into your home this year?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Tile

I bet some of you thought we were done with the kitchen remodel.... *insert conniving laugh here.* But we aren't.

In fact, painting the cabinets was only the first phase of our diabolical plan!

Next, we've set our sights on this linoleum flooring. It has paint splotches, yellowed areas, makes a crackly noise when you walk on it, and is just plain Oooog-lay.

Here's the tile we've chosen, being carefully inspected by a professional.

And here's a little view of how it will look when matched up with our new cupboards:

Ah. We may all breathe a collective sigh of relief at this blessed sight.

So there's one linoleum floor (almost) out of the way! We'll probably get started on this within the next 2 weeks, we are also waiting for the laminate for our countertops. Because, drumroll please, we are re-laminating our countertops ourselves! Yes yes! Instead of buying an entire new countertop (pricey, and rather wasteful in our situation), we decided to go the DIY route and just buy new laminate sheeting and place it over our existing countertops.

Let's just say, it will be quite an adventure!

Friday, March 11, 2011


Just thought I would share some behind-the-scenes images of what happens when the "crafting-virus" takes control.

In the space of one afternoon, suddenly our whole kitchen/dining room area is just out.of.control.

But, I kind of like it that way. There's no use trying to be "neat" with creativity. You just have to let it take over for a little while!

Hope you guys have a fabulous weekend, I'm off to do some cleaning. =)

Thursday, March 10, 2011


When I was thrifting up in Brainerd MN during a recent trip to the cabin, I found these beautiful little Butterflies for only 29 cents! Since then, I've been brainstorming a cute way to show them off.

I found this oval plaque from JoAnne fabrics, and after using my 50% off coupon it was only $1. What a deal!

So I pulled out my assortment of acrylic paints, and decided on a nice, almost metallic brown color. I think it was called "Cappuccino." Yum! =) After 2 coats of paint and a little craft glue, I had the perfect "Butterfly Specimen" art.

Now it's a lovely addition to the "picture gallery" in our living room.

I love how easy it is to add to this grouping, I started out with just the picture of the birds and have been slowly building it up.

So that's my latest project. How about you? What have you been making lately?

I'm linking up this project here:


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