February 29, 2012

Lamp update

When we got married and moved into our apartment, we only bought two lamps, which are placed in our bedroom. The rest of the apartment is filled with hand-me-down lamps from our parents, for which we are so grateful. Lamps can be so expensive!

However, pretty much all of them are very dated. The large table lamp in our living room needed a new look.

You can see up close that the lampshade is pretty beat up.

It's one of those things that we set up when we moved in and I haven't thought much about it since, because something was there and it wasn't necessarily a problem or not functioning properly. Lately I started to notice it though and realized it was time I invested a little into it. I mean it was free, right? The least I could do is buy it a new shade.

I stumbled across this beauty at Target the other day and loved the modern box look. And I was okay with the $18 price tag, too.

Here it is on the lamp!

All lit up...

 I love the texture!

While I really love the lampshade, I am not totally sure it is the right lamp shade for this lamp base. So my question for y'all is, what do you think?

Do you like the modern shade with the dated lamp style?
Would you rather the base be spray-painted a fun color?
Or should I just buy an entirely new lamp base?

Please help me out! I would love to get feedback on this!

February 27, 2012

DIY Laundry Detergent

This weekend I decided to do something a little crazy... I made my own laundry detergent!

Now before you freak out and think I've gone all granola on you, I didn't do it because I think the chemicals in laundry detergent are harmful to the environment. I just simply hate spending $8-$10 on laundry detergent every few months (I quit buying the cheap stuff because they make the colors fade). So when I saw this tutorial for making your own laundry detergent that works better than normal detergent, and how easy Jen made it look, I decided to try it! Jen says that this laundry detergent should cost $28 a year if you're doing 6 loads a week.... I don't know about you but between the two of us we probably only do 2-3 loads every 2 weeks. So based on her math that works out to less than $6 a year for our laundry!! Plus the fact that it has fabric softener in it, so I'm thinking I won't have to buy any more dryer sheets either.

To make your own laundry detergent you will need:

1 (4 lb. 12 oz.) box of 20 Mule Team Borax
1 (3 lb.) container of OxyClean (optional, but definitely will make it more effective)
2 (2 lb.) boxes of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
1-2 (55 oz.) bottles of Purex Crystals fabric softener
1 (3 lb. 7 oz.) box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
2 (14.1 oz.) bars of Zote soap (or Fels Naptha)

Everything should be found in the detergent aisle, except for the baking soda which is in the cooking aisle.

I spent $23 on all the products I could find at Target. Two of the products - Zote soap and Super Washing Soda - I couldn't find at Target. I found them on Amazon for a total of $18.23 and with my prime membership they shipped in 2 days for free. (I considered buying all the ingredients at Amazon in the future, but I discovered that most of them cost more on Amazon than at Target.) The total I spent is about $42, plus $4.50 for a large plastic bin to store it.

It sounds like I spent more than Jen, since she claimed to spend $27 for everything. I'm not really sure how she did that?? The Zote soap and Super Washing Soda must be a lot cheaper to buy in-store. However, I am still confident that the $42 I spent will go a long way, and in the end be much cheaper than buying detergent by the bottle!

Before I mixed everything together, I put everything in the bin just to make sure it would fit!

With all the gaps in between the boxes I figured I had enough room to add in the Purex Crystals, too.

It's a no-brainer to figure out how to mix all the dry ingredients together. However, the Zote soap bars had to be grated. Yes, I said grated. Like with a cheese grater. This part got a little weird. Let me reveal to you the pink cheese.

It looked really cool when I put it all together in the bin! I only put in half of each ingredient first just to make it easier to mix.

I used a slotted spoon for mixing. I think that helped.

Jen said she used the Purex bottles to store a smaller amount for everyday use. I quickly discovered that the hole to pour out of it was too small and the shredded Zote soap was getting stuck in it. So I brainstormed. I considered buying another smaller plastic bin, but decided on just using the OxyClean container, since it would be easy to scoop out of and it was FREE! I also held onto the scoop that came with it.

Since I didn't want it to have the OxyClean label, I painted over it in a color I love! I homemade the detergent, so why not have a homemade container for it??

One other awesome thing about this detergent is that you only need to use 1-2 tablespoons per load! Seriously, this stuff will last me forever. Line 1 in the OxyClean scoop is conveniently about 2 tablespoons.

Here it is on top of my dryer for easy access.

I keep the larger bin up on the shelf, and when I  run out of detergent in my pink bin I'll just pull it down for a refill. The bin ended up being the perfect size!

So far I have done 3 loads and I love the way my clothes smell when they come out of the dryer! I am excited that my Target shopping list will not have laundry detergent on it for a long time.

Have you done anything lately that's a little bit "granola?" Do you make your own household products? Have you made your own laundry detergent before?

Linking up to:
Meet Me Monday
So Creative Party Time
What's in the Gunny Sack?

February 24, 2012

High Five for Friday

It's Friday, y'all! So happy it's here. Let's hear it for this week's High 5!

1. My overall birthday week has been amazing! Going to the beach and having a day off work were just what I needed.

2. And the birthday celebration continues with some amazeballs cupcakes at work... yeah, that one in the corner has bacon on it. Check it out. This place means business.

3. These hilarious... hmm what do I call them, comics? cartoons? Whatever they are, they had me laughing out loud!!

via From My Grey Desk Blog

via The Urban Slant
 For those of you who don't know what Downton Abbey is, you better get on that!

4. Beautiful weather on Thursday = lunch outside! A Thai chicken salad from Panera and a place to soak in some rays really brightened up my day.

5. Pinners Gone Wild. Let's be honest, we all love ourselves some Pinterest. But there are some pins we see on there that make us go, "really??" This site captures them all. Here are a few of my faves:




And last but not least...


Join in on the High 5 For Friday fun with Lauren over at From My Grey Desk Blog!


February 23, 2012

My birthday

Well I never shared with you what happened over my birthday weekend. To sum up, it was a blast! 23 was a great one, but I think 24 is a strong contestant for #1 birthday. Here are some photos from the weekend that involved:

road trip to the beach with friends
sunny skies and high 60s
funfetti cake and margaritas
guys and girls cars (you know, for the good talk)
the first and probably only snowfall of the season
waking up on my day off to breakfast in bed
a birthday shopping spree, complete with a pedicure
gifted tickets to see Wicked in May!

(No that is not a HotPocket, for all of you who thought it was! It was a homemade omelette :)

February 17, 2012

High Five for Friday!

I'm really liking this High Five for Friday thing, so I'm going to join up with Lauren again! What a fun way to put a positive spin on the week and focus on the GOOD things that are happening. Here is this week's top 5:

1. Last weekend I visited my family at home and it was so nice. I spent time with my parents and got to catch up with a good friend over coffee - a great weekend!

2. While at home, I saw The Vow with my mom and sisters. It was so sad and I literally came out of the theater sobbing, but it was such a good movie! I really liked the way it ended, and what girl doesn't need a good cry every once in a while?

3. We had a wonderful Valentine's Day! I came home from work to pink roses and wine from my husband, we had dinner out at Firebirds, and then came back home and watched "The New Girl" on Hulu. Doesn't take much to please us!

isn't that wine bottle neat?

4. It's my birthday this Sunday! I'm taking a little trip to the beach to celebrate. It's forecast to be cold and rainy, but I don't care, I'm still so excited for a weekend of relaxation!

5. I also have the day off on Monday just to enjoy some free time at home :) Taking a little time off work is one of my birthday traditions that I don't think I'll ever decide to give up!

Have a great weekend! :)

February 16, 2012

13 Ounces or Less

Have you ever heard of mailing something unwrapped? I certainly haven't. Until the other day. I stumbled across a blog called GiversLog, and AmberLee loves to send unusually shaped mail to her family and friends. And it works! As long as it weighs 13 ounces or less and has enough stamps, the Post Office will gladly mail a package that is not really packaged. I was seriously blown away when I saw all the things she's mailed!

Let's take a look at what I'm talking about.

A bottle of art supplies.

A hilarious clown costume in a clear box

A giant bouncy ball!

A sand bucket and shovel.

Easter eggs.

A ribbon stick. Doesn't every little girl want one of these?

The possibilities are endless! She is so creative - I can't believe all the things that weigh less than 13 ounces. How fun would it be to get a package like this in the mail? I think I'm going to have to try this soon on the kiddies in my family! What would you mail?

February 13, 2012

Handmade Valentines

I don't normally make Valentines, but this year I just had the urge to craft some up! I made some simple notecards out of white cardstock and scrapbook paper. I was so happy with the way they turned out!

 What you need to make your own Valentines:
8.5x11" sheets of cardstock paper
scrapbook paper, different patterns of pinks and reds
paper cutter
double-sided adhesive stickers

Cut cardstock paper in half using paper cutter. Fold each half in half to make two cards. Cut a square of scrapbook paper slightly smaller than the card to be the background. Stick on the card with the adhesive stickers. Cut out hearts in different sizes and then stick on background in a random pattern. Repeat for as many cards as you need.

I just played around with the scrapbook paper until I found matches that I liked. As you can tell, I liked the big heart and little heart design the best! You could fold the paper in half to cut out perfect hearts, but I liked how mine turned out asymmetrical. It had a more whimsical feel that matched the scrapbook paper!

These things make sticking paper together so easy!

I really could not live without my paper cutter. I am the worst at cutting straight lines! 

And the finished result...

Did you handmake anything for Valentine's Day this year? Do you hand out Valentines to friends, family, or coworkers?