Frugal Friday – Supermarket Edition

Frugal Friday

Happy Day-After-Independence Day everyone! If you are anything like me, you need a holiday after your holiday to recuperate! Hubby grilled hot dogs and hamburgers on our mini-$5-grill from HEB and we had friends over to watch operas on DVD. We even avoided a $2000 ticket for having a grill on the premises by giving the cop a cheeseburger! I’m not sure how frugal that technically is but I’m always happy to feed the local police officers who keep us safe! Poor guy had to work on Independence Day too! He deserved a burger.

I’m sort of a hoarder of good deals and frugal tips and tricks. I have books about money management and being frugal and I guarantee you I didn’t pay full price for any of them! In fact, I picked up a few more on Wednesday at my local used bookstore, Golden’s Book Exchange, for 5¢ a piece! Of course, Hubby found the first four books of the “Game of Thrones” series and just had to have them, so my original basket of 15¢ jumped up to $18.15 But to be fair, this was the cheapest he’d seen these books for by about 70% and he has been looking for about a month. It makes me so proud when my Hubby shows progress in becoming a savvy shopper like me! But on to the frugal tips of the day!

Frugal Friday – Supermarket Edition

1. Shop with cash only

When you shop with credit or debit card close by you will be tempted to spend more than you have budgeted. You may even start justifying unnecessary purchases. But if you are held accountable by the limited cash on-hand, and you don’t want to have to return things when you’re in the check-out line, you can avoid at least one budget error!

2. Pay attention to “price per count”

You’ve of course seen the price sticker underneath the items you buy. Have you noticed the smaller number under that? It tells you how the item costs per ounce, pound, count, box, ply, sheet, etc. As you buy larger packages of an item {2 count vs 8 count vs 24 count} this number should decrease because buying in bulk should save the consumer money. Sometimes this is not the case! Sometimes it is genuinely more financially prudent to buy the medium sized package than the large sized package. But you won’t know unless you check the “price per count!”

3. Add a pinch of salt to milk

Adding a pinch of salt to a gallon of milk makes it last longer. Why? I don’t know. It just does. And if your supermarket lowers the price of milk with a closer expiration date this little trick could save you up to 50 ¢ per gallon!

4. Avoid leftovers

You think you’ll take it to work with you tomorrow, but you’ll forget. And there’s not enough to server tomorrow night for the whole family. Before you know it, it’s a science experiment-gone-wrong in the back of the fridge and you’ll toss it anyway. Make only what you know you’ll eat in one sitting and stick to it! And if you avoid going back for unnecessary seconds, you are already on the road to a healthier lifestyle!

5. Make your own flavor packs

I love Mrs. Dash and Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning as much as anyone else. But let’s face it: They are more expensive per ounce than the individual ingredients themselves and loaded with preservatives! Buy individual jars of spices that you like and make your own spice mix or meat rub. Customize it to your tastes. Not only will you become better acquainted with the flavors you really love, you can brag to all your friends about your extraordinary culinary prowess. And who knows? Maybe you’ll one day be marketing your own spice blend!

6. Eliminate choices at meals

Stick to the meal plan you’ve carefully budgeted. When you start offering two different proteins, two different vegetables, three different starches, before you know it your fridge is piled high with tupperware full of food that is more than likely going to go to waste. Remember #4?

7. Select aisles carefully

The perimeter of the store is reserved for fresh produce, meat, dairy, and otherwise healthy and perishable items. The inside aisles are where all the preserved and manufactured foods in plastic bags, metal cans, and glass jars and kept. When you’ve made your list and are familiar with the store, go only to the aisles you know you need to visit. Straying from that can lead to impulse purchases that will blow your budget.

8. Learn to s-t-r-e-t-c-h

Breadcrumbs or oatmeal can stretch a pound of ground beef into a 1 ½ pounds or more! And let’s face it, meat is getting expensive these days. Nonfat dry milk stretches a gallon of milk into two. Borax and baking soda stretch dishwashing detergent too.

9. Cheap gourmet coffee

Store-brand coffee beans {ground or whole} can taste like your local coffee house’s special brew if you add a cinnamon stick into dry coffee grounds. Or Add a few drops of vanilla or hazelnut extract to brewed coffee. Pour any left over coffee into an ice-cube tray and freeze it. If you’d ever like iced coffee but don’t want it to get watered down then this is the perfect solution!

Personal note: I have coffee ice cubes in my freezer and a gallon of brewed coffee in my fridge. For a better-tasting Frapp knock-off, throw it all in the blender with some creamer and cocoa powder {and protein powder if this is your breakfast} for a drink for which you will happily turn your back to Starbucks!

10. Shop late in the day

Ask the butcher or produce person if they have anything they plan to mark down today and when. They may mark it down early for you {since you asked so sweetly} and that $8 t-bone steak only costs you $5. They may even give you a heads-up on what will be marked down tomorrow!

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Armstrong-Browning Library & Museum – Ceilings

My camera just died.

About two minutes ago. The part that holds the batteries and SD card in broke in half. I don’t like this camera anyway. It takes poor quality pictures, it’s focus isn’t very good, and Kodak is apparently getting out of the camera business, so maybe it’s time to find a better quality one. Maybe used? Maybe refurbished? The hunt begins!

CameraBitTheDust

One of the ideas I had for this blog back when it was just a twinkle in my eye was that I’d post pictures from around the museum in which I work! I am employed at Armstrong-Browning Library and it is by far the best job I’ve ever had! I adore my fellow employees {Mary, Pat, Richard, and Justin}, my boss Jessica, and all the higher-ups! Aside from answering phones, answering questions, directing patrons, counting visitors, and giving tours, I also have time during my day here to work on my blog, work on my music, and do my homework. This is the best job ever! Since many of you might not ever get down to the Armstrong-Browning Library, I’d like to bring a few of its treasures to you!

The Armstrong-Browning Library celebrates the poetry and prose of Robert Browning {Pippa Passes} and Elizabeth Barrett Browning {“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” Sonnet 43 from Sonnets of the Portuguese} and houses the world’s largest collection of their Browning material. Dr. Armstrong, an English professor, devoted his life to the Browning’s and the building of the library which opened in 1951 on Baylor University’s campus. But more on that story later.

One of my favorite features of the building is the ceilings! Dr. Armstrong traveled the world and picked up inspiration from all over and brought it into the design of this building.

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This is the ceiling in the Martin Entrance Foyer. So many people who come in through the front doors are so mesmerized by the beauty of the paintings, busts, exhibits, and stained glass windows in this room that they forget to look UP! This is the ceiling I sit under every day!

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This is the ceiling in the Hankamer Treasure room. The plaster-and-wood ceiling is hand-paintd in the style of the Italian Renaissance. This is different from many other room in which the ceilings better reflect the French style.

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My now-dead camera did not take the most clear of pictures, but I think you can start to get an idea of the beauty and grandeur of ceiling here.

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The exquisitely beautiful McLean Foyer of Meditation is a forty-foot cube with a dome that is recessed an additional five feet. The room was conceived and designed as a place for quiet peach and reflection. It was inspired by a room called the Arab Hall in the London home of Frederic, Lord Leighton, a famous Victorian artist who designed the tomb of Elizabeth Barrett Browning in Florence. – The Self-Guided Tour for Armstrong-Browning Library

I couldn’t have described it better myself… so I didn’t. Special features you can see in the photo:

  • The two-ton bronze chandelier decorated with bells and pomegranates
  • The dome, whose wide inner circle is covered with 23-carat gold leaf hand-pressed into wet plaster to create the velvet-like texture.
  • The barnyard animals encircling the inner circle to tie in with the upper portion of the walls hand-painted in the style of the Italian countryside.

There will be much more to come from the Armstrong-Browning Library and Museum in the upcoming weeks and months. I hope you’ve enjoyed a first look at the beauty of this museum.

Aw crap!

Before I get into the meat of this post, I’d like to give a quick shout-out to all the lovely folks at Blogelina.com for hooking me up with an awesome blogging buddy group! They’ve been awesome and supportive for the whole 24 or so hours I’ve been part of it! You may notice some changes in the upcoming days and weeks as per their great suggestions {Do you see the buttons on the right? Recommended by my group and graciously created by Craftiments} and I expect this will eventually start looking beautiful and professional in no time! Anyway, onto the crap… literally. :-/

I’ve been absent from the blog for the last two weeks as I was preparing for “The Wedding Reunion: First Anniversary.” Apparently my family and friends liked each other so much and enjoyed hanging out with each other both in pre-wedding preparations and the reception that they couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing each other again! So sweet! But that left hubby and me to clean for the whole week up to the weekend of the 22nd, prepare, cook, bake, etc for the whole weekend while entertaining a huge number of people, and then clean up the aftermath!

But it was SOOOOO worth it! El Señor {my dad} paid for the food, my brother and his girlfriend bought the booze, hubby prepared everything {with a little help from the little wifey}, Melissa brought delicious homemade peach cobbler, Blake and Natalie brought margarita mix and cutlery, and El Señor made his FAMOUS Apple Krinkle! Only family can have this recipe, except he gave it to an extended-family member once and has been in the doghouse ever since. At our most occupied, our apartment living room had 15 people crammed into it, plus two dogs, and everyone was teasing each other and loving on each other and it was great!

reunion

But you better believe that there was some serious cleaning up to do afterward! Having that many people in our home may have made Erda nervous, maybe someone gave her something she shouldn’t have eaten, maybe she wanted to cover the smell of strangers with her own smell. I don’t know. All I know is that little miss Erda crapped all over the living room rug! UGH!

01 Carpet

You know I’m all about frugal, being one half of a poor-college-student-newlywedded couple, but I do have two tools that I felt were worth it to buy. We got a Bissell Carpet Shampooer a while back to help with Charlie’s messes, and we recently purchased a Bissell Vacuum Cleaner to help mitigate Erda’s destruction. We didn’t necessarily mean to purchase two Bissell products, they were just both available around 11 pm at our local Walmart for a reasonable price.

02 Tools

Let’s talk about what to put in the carpet shampooer. The manual says to never put any liquid other than Bissell approved shampoos in it. POPPYCOCK! While you probably shouldn’t load it up with straight bleach or anything like that, you absolutely can put other cleaning fluids into the water chamber that work better than their expensive carpet shampoo formulas.

My main concoction is 1/2 cup white vinegar and fill the rest of the tank with HOT water from the tap. BOOM! You will be amazed! My carpet has never been cleaner! And it will save you so much money! A gallon of vinegar is $2.88, while a quart of cleaning fluid is anywhere from $8-20. I’ll just let that sink in…

04 vacuumed

I began by vacuuming up all the bigger bits. This included dog hair, craps of paper, and any chunks of crap {gag} that the vacuum could pull up. A little better, right?

05 gross

Gross. Just so very gross. I swear we don’t live like this.

06 Cleaner

I went a little bit further with my cleaning supplies this time, since I was so grossed out. I combined in a plastic tub {A plastic drawer! Ha! Told you I’m cheap!} a quarter cup of Gain {almost any laundry detergent should be fine}, a whole cup of Extra Strength White Vinegar, and hot water. Mix that up and you are ready to go!

The Diet Coke was just for me. Don’t put in on your carpet.

Onto the first spot…

07 spot  08 cleaning

Dip your scrub brush in the water, place it over the offending spot, and scrub!

10 clean!

CLEAN! Well… cleaner.

11 further in

And one you are done with one spot, look up in despair at how much is left! JUST KIDDING! It went a lot quicker than I anticipated. This concoction took the stains and crusties {gag} right out of the carpet with almost no effort! There will be the occasional bigger chunks {so much GAG!} where you may have to pull it up with your fingers so as to not risk grinding it into the carpet. But the hot water mix helps it release its hold on the carpet.

14 picking

Are we having fun yet? Nope? Didn’t think so.

Once I got a goodly amount of area wet, I used my carpet shampooer filled with the mixture I mentioned above {1/2 cup white vinegar and fill the rest of the tank with HOT water} and sucked that soapy mess right out of the carpet! See?

15b divide

I failed to get a good picture of the carpet post-trouble spots or a picture of the dirty shampooer water {gag}, but I did get a bad shot of the pile of crap that I pulled out of the carpet. NICE!

16 crap

Because I know you wanted to see it. There are also a couple strands of carpet yarn segments that I pulled out on accident. But all of it is safely in the dumpster.

Total price: $0.40

1/4 c. of Gain – $0.221 c. of Vinegar – $0.18
Hot water – Free (sorta)

Final product: CLEAN, CRAP-FREE CARPET

I swear I haven’t forgotten you!

I’m sure this happens to you. You’re going along in life and all of a sudden BAM! And then you’re running like a scalded dog for 17 hours out of the day.

I haven’t updated this blog in about a week but I swear I will soon! In the meantime:

Hubby got a job! He finished training and started this week.

My family and friends are in town for a reunion party. They had so much fun at our wedding a year ago that they wanted to do it again. Since I refused to throw another wedding, they’re just here for the drink and the people.

I’ve finished cleaning the office AND the living room! Next I’ll be working on decorating in the office, living room, and kitchen in as CHEAP and male/female-friendly as possible!

Stay tuned!

Thrifty First Year Anniversary Gift Guide – Paper

I am so excited to tell you all that this Sunday, June 16th, is the Hubby’s and my first year anniversary! I can’t even tell you how excited I am! We have made it one year without killing each other and thankfully it wasn’t that hard.

But of course with each milestone, gifts must be given, especially with a milestone as important and this one. So I take to the internet-machine to figure out what I am supposed to be getting for him. According to Wikipedia.org, the first anniversary is traditionally paper.

Paper?

Yes. Paper. What am I supposed do with paper? How am I supposed to give paper? When in doubt, ask Pinterest!

Paperbadideas

Um… Uh. Okay, so these ideas are fine and dandy if that is what you’re into. This, however, is NOT what hubby is into. These ideas are really cool for the giver, not necessarily the receiver, especially if the receiver is a guy. So what’s a girl to do?

After some thought, I’ve come up with a few hopefully unique and useful ideas for… paper.

money

Money!

I am not even close to kidding. I think that “paper” was designated to anniversary number one because newlyweds are BROKE and money would be the most helpful thing for them. Right? Especially if they are newly wed college students.

But this is a practical gift to give even between certain spouses if given in the right spirit. If the Keeper of the Finances sets aside even just $20 for the spouse to spend on whatever he or she wants, no questions asked, no stipulations, no saving any part of it to put toward bills, especially if the couple hasn’t allowed themselves many {or any} extras in quite a while, then this is a pretty sweet gift! We have a gift card left over from Christmas for $10 at Barnes & Noble and we are so excited to spend it between the two off us. I think if Hubby had $20 all to himself, he’d be so excited!

wine

Wine

Who doesn’t love a good wine? Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Moscato, Sauvignon blanc, Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot noir, Zinfandel, oh my goodness when is Sunday going to get here?! And there are plenty, PLENTY of cheap and tasty wines at your local grocery store, unless you’re in a dry county, in which case I am sorry for your loss. I can pick up my favorite cheap bottle of wine at the HEB grocery just up the street for under $5. At 4 pours to the bottle, that comes to $1.25 per glass! That same glass of wine can go for $4 to $7.50 at many local restaurants, so you can already see how much you’ve saved!

What does wine have to do with paper? The label on the bottle is paper, obviously!

Mens-Health-March-cover

Magazine Subscription

I love gifts that keep on giving! Potted plants. Jewelry. Puppies. Any gift that doesn’t get “used up” is excellent. But in my humble opinion, gifts that continually surprise are the best! Of-the-Month Clubs are great! But if you can’t quite afford one of those, magazine subscriptions are a great option for those who want the joy to last through the entire year.

Hubby loves Men’s Health, and at Amazon.com you can get the Print & Kindle combination subscription for $19.95 ($2/issue). What a steal!

If Hubby {or one of our friends} is reading this, he and I would both enjoy a subscription to Opera News, available at Amazon.com for $22.95 ($1.91/issue).

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Gift Certificate

If you are poor but like eating out, then this is the website for you! Just type in your ZIP code, hit ‘enter’ and BAM! Food for cheap! Buy your sweetheart a gift certificate at 60% off at Restaurant.com, print the certificate, and no body has to cook or do the dishes for a night! And you won’t be put in the poor house over it either! I’m not saying that all the restaurants they will be listing 5-Star dining experiences in your area, but to be fair some of the most romantic and meaningful times I’ve had with my hubby have been at one of the local hole-in-the-wall Mexican food joints around town. Nothing says romance like ordering a Piña Colada for your hubby so he won’t look like a sissy ordering it for himself. For the record though, he orders his own Piña Coladas now. So proud!

brown butcher paper

Ham

Or beef and cheese slices. Pick up some spicy mustard and some marbled rye break. Grab a couple of drinks while you’re at the deli too. Because what could be better than a picnic in a local park! And since it’s wrapped in Butcher PAPER, it’s will totally fit this anniversary’s theme! If you’d rather head home for an indoor meal, grab some steaks {in butcher paper} and let the Hubby do the cooking! Men like to grill. It’s fun for them. And I know I want my Hubby to be in a genuinely good mood instead of just putting up with the romantic pomp and circumstance.

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Lottery Tickets

This one is really more for entertainment value than anything else. Be sure to get the one where you pick your own numbers and wait for the announcement, NOT the scratch-offs! And of course the numbers you pick MUST be your anniversary date! It’s surprisingly fun to daydream about what the two of you would buy with all that money if, I mean when, you win!

For the record, when Hubby and I win {we’ve played the lottery exactly once during our entire relationship}, we are going to pay for the renovation of our church’s 60-year-old organ. And probably get the church a new AC unit for the hall.

Refashion Plus – Maxi dress with cardigan and belt

What’s so wrong with being “Plus Sized”? Someone tell me, because I genuinely want to know. And don’t tell me that plus sized women are lazy and out of shape and it’s dangerous for our health, because any amount of research will tell you that what’s dangerous for our health is mostly our genetically modified, nutritionally voided food. Also I can bench 100 lbs. and will probably throw you over a wall just to prove how “Lazy and out of shape” I am not. Seriously, I have guns and curves. I can flex my pecs and shimmy with the best of them. I’m maxed out about 1/4 of the leg machines at my gym but still have “thunder thighs.” And I like the way I look. So why doesn’t the fashion industry like me? I would buy their clothes if they fit me!

To be fair, 90% of the battle is that at 6-feet tall, I’m too tall. And when you combine tall and curvy, the fashion industry thinks that equals frumpy. Just so we all know, I AM NOT a frumpy person. I’m not even thirty! I am such a long way from “Frump” that to be presented with neutral colored high-water peasant skirts is insulting. So sayonara fashion industry. Arrivederci ugly, ill-fitting clothing! I will see you on the other side of my sewing machine!

While I’m still getting my office set up (Creation within a newlywed’s apartment: Step 1) I will be sharing with you some of my previous creations. Today I have for you what I’m wearing to work. I’m warning you now, I am NOT photogenic and my hubby is still getting used to working with my junky camera.

A while back I was shopping at Joann’s, my town’s ONLY fabric store, and I came across some fabric on their sale table that caught my eye. It was $2/yd so I bought 2 yards for $4 (yay math!) and took my new lovely fabric home.

Fabric1

Sorry for the awkward folding but isn’t that gorgeous!!! I love the way the browns and black work together next to the blue. So what did I do with this fabric to fit a tall and curvy frame? {For all my future work I promise I’ll have step-by-step pictures like everyone else. I made this dress a while ago and it was my first adventure in sewing clothes since about 2007.}

First, I folded it, front-sides facing each other, with the cut edges together. I sewed that side shut with a straight stitch and then secured it with a zig-zag stitch. I threw it over my body really quick to see what it was going to look like.  I looked like I was in a giant, colorful potato sack with the bottom cut off.

I then folded over the top, leaving enough room to thread the elastic through later, and sewed it almost all the way around. I left about 2 inches open by which to feed the elastic through. The elastic came from a set of wicker baskets we got from the wedding. There were two long pieces of elastic holding the biggest wicker hamper shut and there were 4 smaller wicker baskets inside of it. When I got this amazing gift (Yay Bed Bath and Beyond Wedding registry!) I just saved the elastic that came with the packaging. Hooray for free elastic!

I threaded the elastic through using the old Two-Safety Pin method: Pin one end of the elastic to the opening of the whole. Use the second safety pin to fold over the other end of the elastic. This makes it bulky enough to shove through the fabric tunnel. When the elastic came out the other side, I sewed the two ends together and called it DONE!

When I wear this I always pair it with a cardigan and a belt. It’s my firm belief that ladies with curves should wear belts around the smallest parts of their waist to emphasize their shape. And this is how it wore it today!

Tube Dress 1

This is really a terrible picture because it makes me look short and jawline-less. But really I get a ton of compliments on this dress. And notice how it goes down to the floor instead of being awkward high-water ankle length. This picture also doesn’t do it justice because the fabric is billowy and not tight in the awkward areas lots of maxi dresses are. AKA no panty lines or butt clinging!

Outfit total:Dress: $4 total – DIY
Cardigan – Lane Bryant $30
Gladiator Sandals – Torrid from forever ago
Belt – Lane Bryant – $15 on sale.

Creation within a newlywed’s apartment: Step 1

If you’ve planned your own wedding within the last decade, you’ve probably used TheKnot.com. What a helpful and pushy website that is! If I’d sat down and thought about it, I would have seen that 90% of what they said I had to do was completely bull and was a direct cause of me spending way more than was really necessary. Don’t get me wrong! We had a FUN day! But it was expensive.

The next extension of TheKnot.com is TheNest.com, a website built to “help” newlyweds navigate the perils of newlywedhood in categories such as Home Buying, Money Matters, Home Decor, Food/Recipes, Holidays, Tools, and Quizzes. Take a stroll through their website and you’ll see some pretty unrealistic pictures of how most people spend their first few years of marriage.

In our first year of marriage, we did NOT buy a home because we may only be in this town for another year or two. We have not decorated it to the 9’s because it’s a rental apartment. We are still working on paying off all our pre-marriage debt, including student loans to which I, as a graduate student, am still adding!

The newlyweds featured on TheNest.com, however, have beautiful {and I mean BEAUTIFUL} houses, and if not houses then spacious apartments with wood flooring or pristine white carpeting, huge windows and exquisite window coverings. Their storage space makes me green with envy and their leather couches and stylishly upholstered loveseats make me wonder if I forgot to pick up my Wedding Money-Pot after the honeymoon. I understand that these newlywed featured are supposed to serve as inspiration for how to decorate and live stylishly, but all I’m inspired to do is rob a bank.

And the decor itself is right out of a magazine! These photos come from either the homes of actual newlyweds or from the minds of the editors and contributors of TheNest.com. Let’s just examine the Southampton Living Room: The cheapest thing in there is probably the throw pillow on the couch which I have to guess the going price to be between $25-$40. Tack on the rest of the furniture from the Libby Langdon collection and you’re looking at more than I make 4 months. Not to mention that potted tree which, real or fake, is not going to come cheaply. I could show you more examples of “Nestie’s” homes but why bother when I think you’d get such a kick from visiting TheNest.com for yourselves.

Now on to my home…

What you are about to see is my starting place.
◊ Have we decorated? Barely, with what we already had or have found for free.
◊ Do we have expensive furniture? Nope, what we do have was given to us, purchased at 50% off as a floor model, or is simply the illusion of furniture. {The illusion of furniture is definitely a real thing. Get excited for that.}
◊Am I intimidated to show you my messy apartment, home to one dog, one puppy, one husband, and me? YOU BETCHA!

Today I am starting with the second bedroom, AKA Our Office! I teach voice lessons from here, I keep our books and scores in here, our desktop is in here, and the worst: The Storage Closet!

Before Far wall

What we can see here is a room in desperate need of some TLC. In the bottom left corner is the desk {covered in stuff} and behind it are two bookcases packed with books, a record player, some records, and my hymnal collection. On the right is my treasured collection of sheet music, opera scores, oratorio scores, choral scores, opera magazines and calendars {exciting plans for those later!}, Met Librettos, a bugle, a picnic basket, and a box of winter clothes covered by a decorative sarong.

Before Piano wall

Moving around the room, you see my keyboard; it is actually a lot better than it looks. There are also two mirrors that I use for teaching and practice. Singers are so vain!

Before Closet wall Before Closet

Here is the Closet of Doom! So much storage space being wasted! Boxes packed hurriedly, without care! Shoved on top of or underneath the Smoker {Yes, we’ve shoved our Smoker into the closet! We didn’t have another place for it and Hubby was NOT getting rid of it!} Maybe this needs to be one of the areas I clean first?

Before Computer wall

And back around to the computer desk and Erda’s derriere. Hideous room, isn’t it? Not much in the way to inspire creativity at all! If this is going to be my Command Central for all family and home planning, Refashion Plus inspiration, and Tall and Strong Bloggery, then we need to get this room looking better!

Before Before Floor

I show you this “Floor – Before” picture to show you the “Floor – In progress” picture:

In Progress - Floor

What I’ve found so far:

◊ All my yarn! Plus a few unfinished projects. Oops.
◊ My wall sconces! I love these things! Hubby likes them less.
◊ Paint from over a year ago plus fabric paint that Hubby used to decorate a shirt. He’s thrifty too.
◊ Thread, needles {safely packaged}, and fabric! So excited!
◊ A whole bag of Hubby’s old clothes that he says I can Refashion Plus! Expect something later this week, y’all!
◊ Painters tape and scissors!
◊ A bunch of pictures from the wedding as well as the Engagement shoot! I feel a project coming on!

My first priority is to clear the back wall to make room for a small desk upon which to place my sewing machine which as been living in Hubby’s bathroom. Why Hubby’s bathroom? Because when I asked him to move it when we had guests coming over, that is where he chose to put it. I can’t be mad, he did move it.

After Bookshelf

Isn’t that much better? Okay, not “much” but it is better! And I swear it doesn’t lean like that in real life. It’s just the angle of the picture. Now I just need to find a desk.

What I did was take the top layer of books from the shelf to make it easier to move. I then dragged it over by pulling from the bottom of the bookshelf so as to avoid tipping the center of gravity or upsetting the books. Working slowly, I moved it toward the wall on the right, then again pressing from the bottom, I pushed it into place. Easy peasy! I replaced the books on the top shelf then began to sort through the remaining folders, calendars, sheet music, books, etc. and decided on the best way to store them until I get more shelves.

I’m planning to cover the ugly folders very soon in a creative and CHEAP way. Look for that soon.

And voilà! My new music area! The picnic basket and the box of clothes went into the closet. And now, the cleaned out Closet of Doom!

After Closet

The cost of this renovation: $0

Since cheap is good, I will be attempting to spend much less than TheNest.com all while showing you how to live beautifully in an ugly rented apartment. I hope you will enjoy my room-by-room renovation!