8 Ways to Make Your Home Energy Efficient

I’m excited to share with you this great post from a fabulous guest blogger, Ivy Delfin!  Read on to get some great tips on saving $$$.

There’s no denying it, the cost of electricity is going up every year. We’re also spending more time indoors and using more electrical devices than ever before. So why don’t we make more of an effort to curb our energy use? It’s really not that hard. Here are a few simple steps you can take that will significantly reduce your family’s energy consumption. You could save hundreds on your annual energy bills without having to drastically change your lifestyle.

1. Turn appliances off at the wall
Many electrical devices, such as TVs and gaming systems, still consume power when they’re turned off. To stop your devices wasting energy in this red light stand-by mode, be sure to turn them off at the wall after you’re done using them.

2. Change energy providers
Electricity providers aren’t all the same. They can charge in very different ways, so it pays to ensure that the plan you’re on is most suited to your energy use. Online comparison services like Save Central are available to help you find the right energy provider for you.

3. Switch to energy saving globes (lightbulbs)
Incandescent or tungsten light globes consume four times as much energy as modern compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). They also last 1/10th the amount of time! Given that fluorescent bulbs are now available in warmer tones, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t throw out the old incandescents.

4. Wait for a full load before running the dishwasher
The dishwasher is one of the most energy hungry appliances in the modern home. Yet many of us run them when they’re only half full, effectively using them twice as often as we need to. Unless your kitchen is only equipped with one item of everything, wait until you can fill a full load. This goes for your washing machine and dryer too.

5. Avoid using the dryer
Dryers are also energy guzzling beasts, so only use yours if you absolutely have to. If it’s cloudy or raining outside, you can always hang clothes on the back of chairs or your couch. Alternatively, purchase a fold up clothes line for indoors.

6. Take shorter showers
You’re probably thinking more about your water use than electricity with you’re in the shower. But remember a lot of hot water systems are electrical these days. Limit your shower to less than five minutes and the system will consume significantly less energy heating up the water. If you’re the sort of person who listens to the radio in the shower, you could time yourself by allowing one complete song to play.

7. Install solar power
Rebates are available in many states for installing solar panels on your home. As a bonus for generating your own electricity, if you have a surplus, you can sell it back to the grid and even make a profit! There are plenty of smaller solar powered items you can place around the house too, such as garden lamps.

8. Use sensors and timers
If you’re using a relatively new washing machine or air conditioning unit, chances are it probably has a timer. Program your air conditioner to switch on half an hour before you get home and it’ll be just the temperature you want as soon as you walk in the door. This will save you from having to switch it onto high in order to bring it to a comfortable temperature quickly. Additionally, make sure that the lights on your porch are sensor activated. There’s no point lighting it up when there’s nobody out front.

Ivy Delfin is a mom and frugal energy user. She writes for an energy website, Save Central.

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How to Chalkboard Monogram

I will freely admit I am obsessed with chalkboard paint and with monograms and personalized items!  I would not consider myself crafty, but I was inspired by these ideas on Pinterest, and a glass or two of wine and decided to give chalkboard monograming a try.  If I can do this, anyone can.

Step 1 – Find a framed picture, it can be anything.  I would look for frames with cool details or an interesting design.  Check yard sales, thrift stores, and flea markets for frames.  I had a large 3.5ft x 5ft painting that didn’t fit my decor that I decided to use.

Step 2 - Spray paint the frame only, try to avoid getting paint on the glass, but don’t stress out if you do.  I used a Valspar spray paint in copper.  I would recommend spray painting in a garage with the door open or semi-enclosed area where debris won’t get on your paint, yet you still get ventilation, also lay down a tarp/drop cloth and place a brick or phonebook under each end of the frame so you can fully paint the frame.  I didn’t do this and now have some awesome spray paint on my garage floor!

spray paint the frame

Step 3 – When the spray paint on the frame has dried, mine was dry in about 20 minutes, begin painting the glass with chalk board paint.  I would recommend using an angled brush that is 2-3 inches and paint using up and down brush strokes, always going back and forth in the same direction.  I didn’t tape the frame, if you aren’t sure about your brush strokes, you may want to tape your frame.  I used the same can of chalkboard paint I used on my pantry door project, a little goes a long way!  Let the first coat completely dry.  Chalkboard paint goes on looking slightly blue-gray, you will know it is dry when it is completely black.  Then paint a second coat and let dry overnight.

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paint the glass with chalkboard paint

Step 4 - Select your fonts.  I went into Microsoft word and played around with the different fonts, I had no idea there were so many!  I ended up going with Lucinda Handwriting for my last name and established portion and I found a block letter M using google image search.  I stayed after school one day and used my projector to trace the letter and writing on a large sheet of butcher paper.  If you don’t have access to a projector, I would take what you want to a copy store and get it enlarged for a few dollars.  Cut out your “stencils” and decide where you want them on your chalkboard.  Placement is important, you don’t want too much space or too little space between the monogram, last name, and established date.  When you have decided on your placement, trace your stencils with a pencil.

layout your lettering for placement

Step 5 - Paint your monogram.  I tried the chalk approach, I had read on Pinterest that if you dip chalk in water it will write nicely and last.  This did not work for me, but I could have easily been doing this wrong!  I ended up using a paintbrush and plain white paint leftover from painting our baseboards.  I was so excited when I finished, that I had my husband hang my artwork up, and the paint dripped, I fixed it!  Be patient and let your paint dry!

I think this was a successful and relatively easy chalkboard monogram project.  Give yourself two days for this project, especially if you are painting a large frame, like I did.  Materials you will need – paint for frame, chalkboard paint, paint brushes, chalk or white paint.

Word Art: Master Bed & Bath

When I was attempting to clean up after my son yesterday, I noticed that every room in my home has some form of word or graphic art.  I am not sure how this came to be, I didn’t have any intention of showcasing words in my home, but I have.  I like word art, it personalizes your home decor and you can showcase words and phrases that are special to you and your family. Word art has been a trend for several years.  I am thinking it is one of those things that will continue to be popular, I am crossing my fingers, because I can’t afford to redecorate my entire home!

I love this print that spells out our last name in different photos of letters.  I have seen Pinterest projects that claim you can do this for dollars, click here. I am not much of a crafter, so I bought this from Frame the Alphabet through a Groupon deal for $49.  If you were to buy a frame that was 39.5 x 15.5, print the photos, and get a custom mat the price would be about the same and you wouldn’t have to do any work!

Right now, if you like Frame the Alphabet’s facebook page you can get $75 off an order like my framed name with the promo code FBMOTHER.  These make great gifts, I gave one to my BFF and her now husband for an engagement gift.  I am thinking of getting one for my son’s room.

I gave this to my husband on our first wedding anniversary, we had no money for extravagant trips or gifts.  I typed up our wedding vows, found one of the graphics used in our wedding program used it as a watermark, printed it on “fancy” paper, and put it in a Target frame for $15.  He absolutely loved this gift!  I love that our vows are in our room and we walk past them every time we enter and leave our bedroom.

bath hook

I have this cute bath hook, well obviously in my bathroom.  I like that it is metal and has a copper-wrought iron look.  I bought it a few months ago at Ross, the details of that shopping trip are here.

Another, obvious sign “la toilette” above the commode.  I honestly don’t know where I got this, I would guess the usual suspects – Ross, Target, Homegoods, or TJ Maxx.  My master bathroom has a tiny toilet closet and I have struggled with how to decorate the space.  For now this will have to do.

In the next week I will post word art from other parts of my home.  Hope this gave you some decorating ideas.  What do you think of word art?  Let me know.

xoxo Kari

Three Options for Scarf Organization

My scarf collection continues to grow and finding a place to keep all of my scarves has become a challenge.  Here are three options for organizing your scarf collection.

hanger with dollar store shower rings

 You have probably seen a version of this type of scarf organizer on Pinterest.  I made this scarf organizer a couple of years ago and I don’t really like it.  Heavier, winter scarves weigh the hanger down too much and they take up too much precious closet space.

dollar store hanging closet organizer

When the DIY hanger and shower ring organizer wasn’t cutting it for me, I went to one of my favorite places to spend 100 pennies – the dollar store!  The hanging closet organizer works pretty well for scarves.  The only problem with this option is you need a wall or door to hang it from and you end up stuffing your scarves into the small pouches. Extra long and thick scarves don’t fit well in the pouches.  If you have delicate scarves I would not stuff them into one of these organizers.  If this organizer looks familiar, that’s because I used the same organizer for my No More Junk Drawer post.

I had an epiphany shopping at Marshall’s last month!  Why couldn’t I hang my scarves like a store display!  I started thinking of what I could use to hang the scarves on and found the solution to my problem at Ross – bathroom towel bars!

bathroom towel bars

For this third option for organizing my scarves, I was a big spender – buying two towel bars for $4.99 each!  They work perfectly in my closet!  I love that I can see the scarves hanging on the bars, they are not taking up any hanger space, and I haven’t smashed any of my scarves into tiny pouches!  Since my scarf collection is so large, I have organized my scarves by material and carefully folded my “winter” scarves and put them in a storage tub in my attic.  This will have to do until I get my dream home with a gigantic closet the size of a bedroom!

Hope this helps with your scarf organization!

How and where do you store your scarves? 

Kari

Organize and Decorate with Repurposed Household Items

Most people think they need to buy new items to decorate and organize their homes, that is not always the case. I was cleaning my bathroom yesterday, (with my new adorable cleaning gloves from Homegoods) and realized I have many repurposed items in both of my bathrooms used to organize and decorate.

In my spare bathroom, I use a fruit stand to declutter the bathroom counter and hold soap, towels, and other toiletries.

In the same bathroom, I use an old CD basket to store extra rolls of toilet paper.

In my bathroom, I use apothecary jars and a tray to organize our very small bathroom counter.

Before you buy new home items, think outside the box and see what you can repurpose.  Have a fabulous and frugal day!

No More Junk Drawer

After years of searching through my junk drawer for pens, paper clips, nails, batteries, take out menus, and all types of miscellaneous items – I finally found a better solution and now have a spare drawer in my kitchen!

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I call this my junk door.
I bought a shoe organizer from the $1 Store and nailed it to the inside of my pantry door, the same door I chalkboard painted a few weeks ago. It is so nice to have everything visible, instead of having to dig through a drawer. Now I don’t know what to do with the empty drawer, which is a nice problem to have!
❤ Kari

College Theme Gallery Wall

A gallery wall is a wonderful way to showcase a collection of framed artwork, photographs, and collections.

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Chico Where Our Story Begins

I recently created this gallery wall in my hallway. The unifying theme of this gallery wall is Chico. My husband and I met at Chico State and even got married in Chico. We will always have a special connection to Chico and this college themed gallery wall is the perfect way to feature our love story. I try to personalize my home as much as possible, I think it adds much more character to your home when you have sentimental artwork, photos, and collections. I have other gallery walls in my home and often need a little help figuring out the layout for my gallery walls. The best resource I have found is from SAS Interiors, click here to view their amazing gallery ideas and layouts and to subscribe to their blog.

How to Create a College Themed Gallery Wall

  • Frame your diplomas
  • Find pieces of artwork, photographs or prints that are meaningful to you and your spouse and is from your alma mater or where you met. My husband and I had our first date at “The Bear” Madison Bear Garden in Chico, CA and my mother-in-law found this great lithograph print and gave it to us as a housewarming gift.
  • Incorporate photographs of the two of you from college.
  • Graphic art or word art is a great way to express your personality or the theme of your gallery wall. I absolutely love this “Chico Where Our Story Begins” sign. One of my wonderful friends gave it to me for a birthday present last year. If you and your love met in Chico, you can purchase one of these made-to-order signs here from Made in Chico.
  • When I had all of the pieces I wanted to use, I laid them out on the floor and figured out the best arrangement. I am very visual and need to see things! This also eliminates unnecessary nail holes in your walls.
  • I used a trick I saw on Pinterest from Somewhat Simple to easily hang all of the pictures. Put toothpaste where you will want the nail to go. Then, press the picture to the wall where you want to hang it so that the toothpaste from the back of your frame sticks to the wall.

 

A home should be unique and showcase the people living there. A college themed gallery wall is a great way to display your college diploma. If your diploma is sitting in a drawer, frame it and showcase the most expensive piece of paper you own!