Decorating on the Cheap – Frugal Novice
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Decorating on the Cheap

Swap Out Your Home Decor With Swapdom!

This post is sponsored by Swapdom. All opinions are honest and are entirely my own. This site is really cool and I’m excited to share it with you! 



If you’re like me, you’ve probably gotten stuck in a bit of a decorating rut. I really love to decorate our house – we have a modern aesthetic with a few vintage & quirky pieces here and there, but it’s been a long time since I’ve actually gone out and purchased a home decor item. Partially because I don’t really have the time to get out and do that, and partially because if I’m spending money, it’s typically on something else.

Now there’s a new, online, easy solution: Swapdom.  Swapdom first began with fashion items, then baby and kids’ gear – and now, starting today, they’ve opened their marketplace to allow swapping of home good items too. If you’re new to Swapdom, it’s a pretty simple – and genius – concept.

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First, you upload photos of items you’re willing to trade. I uploaded a ceramic vase, a pair of lamps, and a set of 6 colorful glass vases. These are all things I loved at one point but now they’ve just been sitting on a shelf in the master closet waiting for a home.

Next, you browse other items uploaded to Swapdom and see something you’d like to request. You submit what you want, and what you’re willing to offer in exchange. Then all you have to do is sit back while they do all the work of finding multi-party swaps. Let’s say I want a J Crew necklace and am willing to offer my ceramic vase. Sally wants my vase and has a clock she is willing to offer. Jennifer wants that clock and has a frame to offer. And Amanda has a J Crew necklace to offer, and wants a frame. Voila! Swapdom lines it all up so we each get what we want. Here’s what my current swap overview looks like:

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By the way, be sure and check out my profile. Who knows, you might even want to request one of my amazing items for yourself!

Swapdom also launched a fun campaign today:

The Swapdom Team Tidy Challenge is a 4-week event to introduce Swapdom’s Home swapping category and encourage swappers to get excited about spring cleaning. Each week’s Team Tidy Challenge will focus on a part of the house to tackle, and of course, upload that stuff to Swapdom. One random person who uploads an item to each week’s featured category will win free shipping on their next swap. It’s a chance to organize your space, clear out the clutter, and reward yourself for work by swapping for great stuff you’ll actually use!
Week 1
Crush Living Room Clutter
Week 2
Curate Your Kitchen
Week 3
Say Bye to Bed & Bath Clutter
Week 4
Consolidate Craft Goods & Games

Swapdom will soon be launching an iOS app, which will make it even easier to browse & request swappable items on the go, but for now go sign up at their site (it’s free) so you can get started swapping!

May the {Holiday} Force be With You

When you’ve got a husband that’s a huge Star Wars fan, it’s not surprising to end up with {awesome} holiday decor like this:

“Holiday cheer to your home, these snowflakes will bring.”  – Santa Yoda

If you want to make your own Star Wars snowflakes, go here for printable templates. You’ll want to have a sharp X-Acto blade on hand for some of the more intricate parts!

Note: Thanks to Brian for inspiring today’s post!

Photo & Prompt Challenge: Day 25

Today’s Challenge: Something you are looking forward to

This one’s easy – finishing our master bath renovation!

The room is about thisbig. When we moved in, it had a small vanity, a toilet, and the shower stall.

Oh, and carpet.

And plastic, dusty rose-colored accessories.

And floral wallpaper.

Brian tore everything but the shower out (I provided great moral support, I’m sure) and now we’re left with an empty shell. I’m in the middle of priming and painting the walls and ceiling – we’re painting the top portion of the walls a light blue, then adding white wainscoting to about 4 feet high.

Since it’s such a small space, we could afford travertine for the floors.

We found an inexpensive vanity at Lowe’s that has a granite counter and undermount sink:

And we got new lighting (confession – I’m not near the box right now so I just found one that is somewhat similar):

We also bought a new toilet, but I don’t think that’s exciting enough to share a photo of, and a new mirror. I think it’s going to look great when it’s all said and done! It’s a little less modern than our specific taste, but we want it to appeal to buyers whenever we do put the house on the market. I can’t wait until it’s done, and I’ll definitely post before & after pics.

Have you done any home remodeling projects on your own?


Birthday Party Recap

Now that we’ve (almost) fully recovered from the birthday weekend I thought I might share a few photos! The party went really well, and although C can’t talk, I feel certain if he could he’d say he had fun. ;)

We scattered some helium-filled balloons around the house, but for the most part we kept the decorating confined to the dining table. I have a feeling when the boys get older I’ll want to do more, but for now this works really well (and is SO easy to clean up – a huge perk for me).

I designed and printed letters to tie in to the birthday invitations, and strung them up with some brown grosgrain ribbon along the window beside the dining table:

Continue Reading…

Candy-Themed Party

I thought today I’d share two photos from C’s baby shower that Brian’s work threw us last year (see how well I’m doing with keeping the party theme going?). Brian eats a ridiculous amount of candy (and is SKINNY, too – so unfair!) and it’s a well-known fact up at his work. Knowing this, his coworkers had the theme of our shower be candy. The invitations were made to look like giant candy bars – the invitation was the label wrapped around the bar (foam core). SO cute! They mailed just fine, too. This is an idea I want to incorporate for one of the boys’ birthdays in the future.

Instead of having a large cake, they did cupcakes on a tiered pedestal – each one looks like it has a giant M&M on top of it, only they put “C”, and then used a bowl of gumballs as a topper. So colorful and cheery!

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Word World Birthday

I figured I might as well keep the birthday theme going all week long – it ties in to my mindset right now in preparing for C’s party on Saturday, and it fits perfectly with all the blog partying going on with the Ultimate Blog Party!

Last year we chose to do a Word World theme for J’s 2nd birthday. If you have small children and have never seen this show, you really ought to check your listings and find out when the next episode is so you can catch one. Brian and I tried to really limit how much TV J watched (we’re not doing so well the second time around!) but Word World was a show we felt really good about. It’s comprised of animal characters that are made out of the letters that spell their name, like this:

J has loved letters for a long time (along with songs like Twinkle Twinkle and Jesus Loves Me, we sing the ABC’s each night before he goes to bed, at his request) and we really think part of it is due to him watching Word World.

As I was saying before I got distracted, we decided to do a Word World party. I got online to see what plates and napkins were available, and found something pretty amazing: FREE Word World birthday party resources. Continue Reading…

Tuesday Tip

I don’t know that I’ll do this every week, but I figured today I’d share a tip that I’ve figured out for decorating our home – and saving money, of course!

A while back I bought some gorgeous candles on clearance at a local shop. They’re square, which I love, and they have a warm honey color to them that looks even better once they’re lit and the glow from the flame reflects off of them. I set out on the hunt for something to set them on, and quickly found that most of the candle plates I liked were anywhere from $8-$15. I’m not talking about anything ornate, either! I tend to like things with clean, simple lines.

Inspiration struck. We were at Target (surprised?) and I decided to head over to take a look in the kitchen department. I immediately saw square, white, ceramic plates that were perfect for what I wanted. There were different sizes available, and I could buy just one. The best part? I got a 9″ plate for just $2.99. I love how it looks paired with the candles – the square shapes work together really well. If I wanted to, I could add some small smooth stones around the candles, but we liked the simplicity of just the three candles on the plate.

Do you have any tips to share? I’d love to hear them!

Decorating on the Cheap: Chalkboard Border

Our house was built in 1972, and although the previous owners had done a few updates, much of that was left to us. They were also big fans of country decor, which we are decidedly not. Examples include a Texas-themed bathroom, complete with navy and white walls; pattern-bedecked wallpaper in the entry, and Americana border in the kitchen.

When we finally got around to updating the kitchen, we started trying to remove the border and learned pretty quickly what a difficult job it was going to be. We’d removed the wallpaper from the entry pretty easily, so we were armed with false hope that this would be an easy job too.

We chipped away at the first layer of border, only to find another floral border underneath. This second layer of border had been primed over, making it harder for the stripping chemical to soak through, but we finally got that layer off… only to find yet ANOTHER layer of border, adhered directly to the drywall. Check it out – definitely original to the house, don’t you think? Who wouldn’t want lime green and burnt sienna apples adorning their kitchen?

Um… us. Continue Reading…

Brian’s Bargain

Brian, my husband, often teases me when I get excited about a sale or a bargain. As we’re walking out of the store where the bargain was found, he’ll say, “I bet you can’t wait to look at the receipt and figure out exactly how much you saved, right?” or, “I bet you can’t wait to email your mom about this deal, huh?” He knows me too well.

I’ve started to rub off on him a little, though. A while back we were at Target when we saw a large clock. Clean, simple, with a nice silver frame, it would be perfect for our living room. The only problem? It was $50 – and there was no way we could justify spending that much on a clock, no matter how large or beautiful it was.

We went back a couple of weeks later, and the clock was marked down to $35. We seriously contemplated buying it then, because we really liked it… and like I said – big, beautiful, perfect for our living room. You get it. Well, we talked ourselves out of it because we really wanted to start making wiser choices about purchases.

Fast forward two more weeks. We were out running errands on a Friday night and Brian needed to run in Target to get diapers. The boys and I waited in the car, and it wasn’t long until Brian came out, diapers in tow – along with the clock! He had found it marked down to $12.48 – 75% off. He didn’t say it, but I know he was proud of his find, and I love having it hang in our living room. We always get compliments on it, and no one can ever believe that it cost so little.

Here’s a photo of the clock in our living room. See how large it is? It really fits with the rest of our decor – and we never wonder what time it is.

Birthday on the Cheap

Brian’s birthday was yesterday, and we had a little party with some friends. Brian’s a pretty shy guy and doesn’t like much of a fuss made over his birthday, but one thing we always do (party or not) is make and decorate a cake. Last year we did a cake modeled after the second Apple logo, introduced in 1976 (my husband is just a little bit of a Mac geek…. if a little bit of = complete):

This year Brian asked me to make a cake that looks like the Mac OS cursor:

Of course, if you are a designer you’re probably aware that if you zoom in on an image like the cursor above, it’d look something like this:

Only not made out of cake. But wouldn’t that be nice?

Anyway, there’s Brian’s cake for this year. I made it more difficult on myself than it needed to be, because I felt like I needed to carve out all of the notches, not thinking about the fact that the white icing would mask all of that detail. Here’s the cake uniced:

I decided that I can say I was just trying to keep the integrity of the piece intact. Sound convincing? Didn’t think so. :) Oh well! We were happy with how the cake turned out, and it probably cost about $10 for all of the supplies I needed for both the cake and icing (I had some things already on hand). I’m sure we would have spent at least twice that to get a cake at the bakery, and I don’t know that we’d have been able to get the design we wanted. Plus, it’s fun doing it ourselves!

We didn’t do much in the way of decor for the party, but I did want to have something indicating this was a celebration. I thought about buying a banner to put up, but then thought of a more unique & creative option. J, like I mentioned in a previous post, is really loving his watercolors right now. I had him do some paintings, and then I cut letters out of them to spell out Happy Birthday. I pinned up some ribbon I already had, and taped the letters to it. I think it turned out pretty great – and it didn’t cost us a cent, since we just used things we already had around the house.