Best Present EVER for a Bookworm

photo courtesy janemount.com

I love books. Chances are you know someone who loves books, too. So when I stumbled across this fantastic idea, I had to share it. Artist Jane Mount can take a snapshot of your selection and paint a perfect replica of your passions of the page. It’s pricey ($150), but you can purchase a pre-made shelf for only $20. I found about 13 already that I would love to hang on my wall. Enjoy! -SMD

Little bits of luxury for less than $10 bucks!

1. Grind whole beans for your coffee

A bag of whole bean coffee actually costs less than a bag of pre-ground beans, and you don’t even have to splurge on gourmet. I spend less than five dollars per bag on my whole bean blends, and my electric grinder was worth the not-expensive investment. Freshly ground coffee feels succulent swishing in your mouth, and smells divine. My personal favorite on-the-cheap brew: Eight O’Clock Coffee’s Hazelnut blend.

2. Sip your morning bev in high fashion

Make every glass of juice on par with a beach-bound mimosa by buying a martini glass, filling it with your favorite fruit juice (mine is pomegranate), and topping it off with a brim of sugar. Now sit back, sigh, and picture yourself in a hammock. Sets of two martini glasses can be found at WalMart for $9.95.

To get the sugar rim without special tools: Simply take a coffee filter and sprinkle sugar around the base, then spin the upside-down glass against the filter. Reuse for a sweetened version of your morning brew!

3. Dress like a princess…on a dime

I am a jeans-and-T-shirt girl all the way. One sure-fire way to add a kick to my step is to slip on a sundress. With summer fast approaching, it’s the perfect time for those of us previously stuck in snow boots to don flip-flops and cotton threads. I found this beaut on the clearance rack at American Eagle (really?? a sundress on clearance in March??) for about $10.

4. Buy a water carafe. Worth it.

Pouring anything out of a frosted carafe (heck, just saying carafe) makes you feel like a million bucks. The end.

5. Display ordinary stuff in glass containers

Most craft stores (my favorite is Hobby Lobby) stock scads of glass jars in all shapes and sizes: lids, cylindrical, stout, skinny, and everything in-between. By stocking simple, everyday items in clean, fresh glass containers, you can add a speck of spice to the mundane.

Cheap Chic: Vases

photo courtesy twotwentyeight.org

Spring has sprung and that means flowers! And where there are flowers lurking, there is sure to be a vase that you yanked out from under the kitchen sink or off of a dusty shelf in the basement. Usually the flowers themselves are gorgeous enough to be the focal point, but what about after they’ve wilted and joined the leftover spaghetti and toast shards in the trash?

Clear vases are one of the cheapest, easiest, mosteye-popping solutions to a bland surface. And you don’t even need fresh-cut flowers to steal the show. Simply grab a vase (or seven) from a local craft store (Hobby Lobby has vases in all shapes and sizes starting at $1.99 each), fill with your favorite ingredient, and unleash the power of spring! Finish off your creation with a ribbon, and hey presto – beauty on the bathroom sink, kitchen island, or coffee table. Please share your ideas. Enjoy! -SMD

Great vase fillers:

1. Coffee beans (a perfect perk in the morning)
2. Sand
3. Candy (think vibrant – lollipops or gumdrops, etc.)
4. Shells
5. Pasta pieces (unbaked!)
6. Rice (mix-and-match colors)
7. Stones
8. Marbles
9. Tinted water (add a few drops of food coloring in any shade)
10. Ornaments (in springy colors, of course!)

More time-wasting treasures online!

image courtesy Bella Yarns

Because of my newfound love for all things yarn, I went out and scoured the masses for sites on stitches. Everything from how-to’s to where to buy online if you are unable or unwilling to suffer through learning. Which is the boat I am in right now. Enjoy! -SMD

For the Do-it-Herselfer:
~The Purl Bee (how to knit)
~Lion Brand Yarn (how to do all sorts of things with yarn)
~ Craftbits.com (a catch-all craft site)

For the “Where Do I Buy It” lady:
~BellaYarns
~pdxbeanies (gorgeous headwear for babies on up)
~Sunshine Grove Farms

Nesting. I don’t know why.

photo courtesy flickr

Don’t ask me why (seriously, it’s embarrassing), but I have lately taken to the idea of abandoning sun, surf, and sand dreams for hearth, home, and…chickens. I spent last weekend pouring over a book on starting a home in the country. It was 950 pages.

Bottom line: why should you care? Because of this recent fixation, I have also taken to hunting down blogs that are basically an ode to the homestead lifestyle. So for those of you who enjoy wasting time trying to find your new favorite place to waste time…you’re welcome. -SMD

Chickens in the Road

Farmgirl Fare (LOTS of adorable, fuzzy lamb shots)

Sarah’s Homestead Blog (not me)

Carpe Diem Acreage (bonus points for a bamf name)

Fast Grow the Weeds

Tiny Farm Blog

Throwback at Trapper Creek

Walden Effect

Cheap Chic with Buttons

image courtesy design*sponge

Now, I know that you have spare buttons laying around. Everything these days comes stocked with a spare envelope of buttons – from Forever 21 to D&G. So when I found this perfectly priced (free, I mean) way to furnish your home with buttons and other round-the-house notions, I jumped. Check out this super-cool DIY from design*sponge! Enjoy! -SMD