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DIY Camera Lens Buddy

October 11, 2012

Happy Thursday!

Today I wanted to share with you a super quick and easy project I completed in less than a half hour.

Since the birth of little A, I have become a complete Momarazzi. I bring my camera everywhere we go and take pictures of A on an almost-daily basis. Getting him to look at the camera can sometimes be a challenge. I am sure many moms (and dads) can relate. So to help increase my chances of A looking at the camera, I decided to use some supplies I had around the house to whip up a little DIY Camera Lens Buddy to throw into my camera bag.

I’m sure you have seen these on pinterest but here is my inspiration “buddy”:

Source

Here is what you will need to make your own DIY Camera Lens Buddy.

Supplies Needed:

An old sock

Various colors of felt ( I used cream, black, green, orange and yellow)

Hot glue gun

Tooth picks

Start by stealing finding a sock from your “lost and found” laundry sock pile. I found that my husbands socks worked great for this project (shh, don’t tell him).

Cut off the toes from one of your socks.

Next, roll the sock down until it forms a scrunchie.  The sock is the part that will actually go around your camera lens.  It is nice and flexible so it works great.  Next, trace your sock onto your main piece of felt and cut it out. I used a nice bright piece of yellow felt as my “body”.  There are no hard and fast rules here. Make it as big or small as you want to. Then hot glue your sock directly to the large piece of felt you just cut.  You want to make sure you are leaving an opening for the lens.

After this step, simply go crazy with making your lens buddy.  I used cream and black felt to make eyes, orange felt to make a nose, yellow to make some hair, and green for arms. I used toothpicks as the “arms” so they would stick out a bit. I just cut out various shapes and hot glued them on to the body.

How’s that for simple? I have tried out my camera lens buddy on Little A as well as my good friends son and it works like a charm! The bright colors really get the kids attention.  Not bad for a half hour of work! And given that I had all of the supplies lying around the house, this little project cost me nothing (my favorite kind)! But even if you had to splurge for some felt, you should still be able to keep the cost around $1.50 or $2.00 (felt is $.29 a piece at Michaels).

~Kara

Linking to:

The 36th Avenue, Fireflies and Jellybeans, Design, Dining and Diapers

Travel Theme: Foliage

October 4, 2012

Happy Thursday everyone. I hope you are having a great week.

This week I am excited to participate in this weekly travel theme post as well.  Here is my picture for this weeks topic, foliage.

As I have said before, fall is my absolute favorite time of year. The colors are just breathtaking. Last weekend the hubby and I piled in the car and took a drive to check out the foliage. The weather was rather dreary and overcast so we almost canceled our trip but I am so glad we didn’t. I know photographers love overcast days and I can absolutely see why. This is my favorite picture from our outing. Hope you enjoy.

~Kara

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

September 24, 2012

Happy Monday. This week’s photo challenge topic is solitary. Here is my interpretation of the topic, taken on our vacation last month:

 

Hope you have a great day.

~Kara

Frugal Fridays – Finding Coupons

September 21, 2012

Welcome to Frugal Fridays, a series dedicated to ways I save money. If you have missed any part of the series, here are the links to the previous posts:

Saving Money with Coupons Part 1

Saving Money with Coupons Part 2

Taking Advantage of Free Picture Deals

Price Tracking and Stockpiling

In part 1 of my Saving Money with Coupons series, I described how I get the majority of my coupons from the Red Plum, Smart Source, P&G, and General Mills inserts in the newspaper each Sunday. However, there are a few other coupon sources you should be aware of if you are truly interested in saving real money using coupons.

1) On Products:

Make sure you check your product carefully because sometimes there are coupons right on the side of the box or inside.  For example, this box of Cheerios has an awesome Pampers coupons right on the back of the box. Score!

My family also loves Emerald Breakfast pouches and these boxes always have a great high value coupon on the box that I use to keep our stock filled.

2) In Magazines:

I will admit that I am a complete magazine junkie. I love them. I have a few subscriptions (that I get for dirt cheap) including Better Homes and Garden and the Rachael Ray Magazine.  These magazines, like many others, almost always have great coupons inside. So if you are a magazine reader like myself be sure to check through your magazines before you recycle them to snag your coupons. You also may be able to ask friends and family members to have their magazines before they discard them.  Once you rip out the coupon, make sure you file it away immediately in whatever organizational system you use to track your coupons. For me, the coupons go immediately into my coupon organizer or binder so I will not lose them!

3) At the Doctors Office:

This week I had A’s 9 week checkup with the doctor. As we were sitting in the waiting room, I spotted a pile of these brochures:

Sure enough there were several awesome coupons inside so I helped myself.

4) On the Internet:

I could write a very long post on the subject of whether to print or not to print your coupons online.  For now, I will just say this. I do print some coupons online – but only a few.  I have decided it is not worth the cost of ink and paper for me to print too many. However, there are certain items that I simply cannot find coupons for in the newspaper that we buy very regularly (such as Chobani greek yogurt and Gerber baby food).  However, these products do have electronic coupons so I will print them. So my advice is this – if you have a few products that you regularly buy and printing a few coupons would help you save money, go for it.

I have tried printing coupons at the library to save our ink but most coupon printing websites require that you install special software on to your computer before you print. The library computers will not allow this so this is not a super helpful process.

5) From the Manufacturer of the Product: 

Along the same lines as #4, if you really like to buy certain products, contact the manufacture and ask for coupons. Check their websites as there may be an easy form you can fill out to get on their mailing list.  Most companies are happy to send you coupons.  For example, I maintain a gluten-free lifestyle but sometimes eating gluten-free food can be very expensive. I have contacted a few gluten-free companies (such as Amys Kitchen) and asked for coupons. They have sent me some great coupons over the years.

6) From the Store:

Similar to tip #5, make sure you get yourself on store mailing lists as well. For example, Target sends out very high value store coupons that you can use.  I get them every few months in the mail.

This week I received the following packet of coupons from CVS for various baby-brands.

Both the Target coupons and CVS coupons are “store” coupons so they can be combined with manufacturer coupons. So, for example, if you have a $1.50 off Pampers coupons (from your Cheerios box above) and a $2.00 off Pampers CVS coupon, that is $3.50 off a pack of diapers. If you wait for diapers to go on sale at CVS, that can make for a very good deal on diapers!

Most websites make it pretty easy to sign up for their mailing lists.  Just check their websites for instructions.

When I receive store-only special coupons such as the Target ones or CVS coupons, I immediately file them in my coupon binder under their individual store tab so I do not lose them! As I have said before, organization is key otherwise it is easy to lose valuable coupons.

So there you have it – a few tips for finding coupons outside the Sunday newspaper.  Does anyone have any other ideas or suggestions on finding coupons?

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

~Kara

Fall-Inspired Ombre Art

September 20, 2012

Happy Thursday everyone. I hope you are having a great week.  Little A is in the process of getting his first tooth so it has been a little exhausting around here. I just wish he would wake up one morning with a mouthful of teeth but I’m pretty sure this is not going to happen!

This week I decided to tackle a little art project to add something fall-esque above our fireplace mantel. There were a few things I was hoping to accomplish in this art piece: 1) it would be fall-related (duh); 2) it would have warm orange or red tones; and 3) it would somehow bring in the Ombre effect as I am currently in love with that.

Source

Source

Source

So here is what I came up with:

Here is what you will need for this project:

1) A canvas

2) Paint colors of choice (I opted to use  Martha Stewart’s adobo and acorn acrylic paints). I also used some white acrylic paint.

3) Paint brushes

4) Any fall-related shape

5) Painters tape

6) A ruler or measuring stick

7) A few cups or plates to mix paint

8) Paint sealer

So here are the steps I used. I had a 16 x 20 canvas around the house so I began by painting it white. I next found a leaf stencil I liked online and printed it as big as I could make it.

I cut it out and traced two leafs on to my canvas.  Next I measured out four-inch wide stripes using a measuring stick (sorry I forgot to take a picture of this step).

Starting at the top of the canvas, I applied painters tape to the bottom of the first stripe and applied the paint.  I just used a small paint brush around the leaf part.  Once that paint dried, I moved on to the next stripe down. I added a few drops of my acorn color to the adobo color and mixed it until I was happy with the color. My goal was to get lighter as I moved down each stripe to accomplish the Ombre effect I was going for. I then added more painters tape and painted the second stripe.

I continued with this process all the way down the canvas, each time adding a little more acorn color to the adobo color.  I didn’t get over board with the amount of acorn I added because I wanted the Ombre effect to be subtle yet noticeable.  I took my a total of 3 hours to do because I waited for each stripe to dry before moving on. Waiting also helped me see how the paint color was drying so I would know how much acorn color to add.

The last step was to apply a sealer over the whole canvas.

I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I may try to add another canvas with a gold Ombre effect and a different leaf pattern to fill out the mantel a bit more.

Hope you have a great day and thanks for reading.

~Kara

Linking to:

Happy Hour

DIY Showoff

The day I’ve dreaded

September 14, 2012

The day has finally come – I’m introducing little A to the sippy cup. Well actually let me clarify. He already takes a sippy cut of water with all his meals. He has been doing so since we introduced solids when he was about 6 months old.

No – I’m not talking about water. I’m talking about giving A milk/formula from a sippy cup. So what is my big issue with this? It means that my nursing days are numbered. This change is totally necessary. I have known this for a while but have been in complete denial. Why is this such a hard thing for me?

Let me explain. Like many mothers-to-be, I planned to nurse my baby – with my goal being about a year. My type A, control-freak personality thought I was in complete control of these types of decisions. Boy was I wrong. Little A was born 5 full weeks premature. Not only would he not nurse, he would barely eat. Getting him to take a bottle was a huge struggle for about the first month. I remember reading various books and magazines while I was pregnant that encouraged nursing mothers to refuse to let the hospital introduce a bottle because of the fear of “nipple confusion.” Well that all went out the window when my tiny little guy needed food. I didn’t care how he ate as long as he was getting what he needed.

So for the first few weeks, we did all we could do to get him to eat from the bottle. I would occasionally try to nurse him but it just wasn’t happening. But I really wanted him to have breast milk so at EVERY feeding (8 times a day or so) I would pump and then give him breast milk from a bottle. This was a ton of work! Each feeding session would take at least an hour (and when you are feeding so frequently anyways there isn’t much time for anything else!)

After about a month or so when he finally got the hang of the bottle, I started trying to nurse again more consistently. Still wasn’t happening. I then decided to get some help from a lactation consultant thinking I was doing something wrong. We met with her three times when she finally concluded he would probably never nurse.  Deflated, hormonal, sleep deprived, mentally exhausted, irrational (the list goes on), I was a complete wreck. I just didn’t want to give up on my plan to nurse my first-born. But after one last session crying in frustration, I stopped trying to nurse him for about 4 weeks. I just couldn’t take the frustration every time I would try. I was very used to putting my mind to something and succeeding. For the first time in my life I wasn’t in control and it was killing me.  I now look back and know that God was using this experience to work on me but at the time it was very tough.

So I continued pumping and feeding A bottles until he was 10 weeks old. One day I decided to try nursing him again. It just happened. And guess what? He latched perfectly! I never looked back. We have been nursing exclusively since that day (January 26 to be exact). I stopped pumping (I hope to never see a breast pump again) and have only missed 1 feeding since that day. You read that right – I have done each and every feeding since January 26 except 1 (July 2). That special time I had longed for was finally here. And I loved every single second of it (even at 4 am). It has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.

But for the past 2 months or so, little A has lost interest in nursing. Especially during the day. He still likes to nurse at night and in the morning but the afternoon feedings are a bit of a struggle. There is just too much going on in the world around him for him to focus. I don’t blame him. But I have known for a while my days nursing were limited.

So today for the first time I am giving A a sippy cup with breast milk. I don’t plan to wean him entirely but I know this is the first step in that process. I have almost made my goal of nursing for a year so I can’t be too disappointed, especially given our rough beginning.

Wish me luck.

~Kara

Frugal Fridays – Price Tracking and Stockpiling

September 14, 2012

Welcome to Frugal Fridays, a series dedicated to ways I save money. If you have missed any part of the series, here are the links to the previous posts:

Saving Money with Coupons Part 1

Saving Money with Coupons Part 2

Taking Advantage of Free Picture Deals

Price Tracking:

When I started couponing and watching my spending habits more closely, one thing became very apparent – I had absolutely NO idea how much things were supposed to cost. Anyone with me on this? Just because there is a “sale” on an item doesn’t necessarily make it a good price. But I had no clue what things were supposed to cost so I was a total sucker for the word “sale” – if it said an item was on sale, I bought it!

So this leads to my next tip for saving money with coupons – price-track the main items you purchase for a few months, or even a few weeks. This process really helped me get a sense of what things cost on a regular basis so I would know when to stockpile (the next point below). Basically, keep a little journal or log of the items that you regularly buy (cereal, granola bars, rice, fruit, meat, toilet paper, yogurt, etc.) noting the date and the price of the item. Do this for a few stores in your area you can compare prices. I used the front of my coupon binder to jot down my prices but you could use anything that works for you.

Stockpiling:

After price-tracking for a little while, I now have a much better sense of when items were truly a good price and worthy of being purchased. Now when I find a good deal I buy as many items as I can.  This is why I always collect multiple inserts and try to gather as many coupons as possible. This way, if there is a great sale on an item, instead of buying just one of an item I can buy 5 instead (or more if I have the coupons). Of course you want to be combining a great sale with a coupon for your best savings, as I discussed in Part 2 of my Saving Money with Coupons series.

There are several advantages of stockpiling when items there is a good price – the first of which it is awesome to have a supply of items on hand when you need them. How many times have you over paid for an item because you ran out and bought it out of necessity? I was so guilty of this. I would always buy just what we needed for the week and not anything more. It is so fun to look at my stockpiles of items and know that I have a good supply in case we need them. Take a look at some of the items I have accumulated over the past two years of couponing (obviously this does not include items we have used throughout the two years or items I have donated):

Baby Items:

I think we will have enough baby wipes for while, don’t you think?

Shampoo and Conditioner:

Shaving Supplies:

Makeup:

Cleaning Supplies

Condiments and Other Pantry Items:

All of the items were purchased at rock bottom prices. I should preface this with the fact that our house has plenty of space so storage is no problem for us. If you live in a 400 square foot NYC apartment this may not be practical but for us it works just fine. Also, I am not really a brand snob. I pretty much buy what is on sale that I can use a coupon with. If you are preferential to certain types of pasta or shampoo, for example, you may only coupon for those items.

The other benefit to stockpiling is that the item might not go back on sale for a little while again. Sales go in cycles and you may need to wait awhile before the item hits a rock bottom price again. This is where price tracking for awhile also comes in handy. For example, I stock up on granola and protein bars every three months or so because that is about how often the sales come about. This way I don’t find us without granola bars before the next sale hits.

In addition to price tracking, the website Krazy Coupon Lady helps you identify good stockpile-worthy prices by denoting them with a yellow triangle next to the item. This helps me determine whether something is truly a rock bottom price.

Anyone else have a good method for tracking prices? Do you stockpile items when there is a good price?

Hope you have a great weekend.

~Kara

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Bliss at Home || Daring but lovely design & DIY

Momtog Blog

A new mom blogging about all things that inspire, encourage and otherwise make me happy

A new mom blogging about all things that inspire, encourage and otherwise make me happy

Design, Dining and Diapers

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