Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Today is Wednesday!

So check out JCPenney's Wednesday Deals. I really love the metal bath furniture cabinet. But alas, I cannot get it. Sigh!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cheap Books: Sort Floor Books

My bestest friend Kristy just linked me to this site. They have some really great prices. They didn't have any of the books I searched for, but I plan to bookmark it and check back often. Also, you get free shipping when you order $10 or more. With Christmas coming up, I'm sure you could find some good books to give as gifts! Let's all thank Kristy. :D

Monday, November 12, 2007

Heads Up: Goodwill Outlet Stores

I've just heard about these today. The Goodwill Outlet is much cheaper than the regular Goodwill stores. Items like clothes are sold by the pound.

The following is from the Indiana Goodwill site:

Clothing, accessories, housewares and toys:
$1.39 per pound for 0-19 pounds
99 cents per pound for 20-49 pounds
59 cents per pound for 50 pounds or more

Glassware and dishware:
59 cents per pound

Books and media:
Hardback Books – 50 cents each
Paperback Books – 25 cents each
Coloring Books, Magazines, Comics, Wall Calendars – 25 cents each
Records – 50 cents each
8-Tracks, Videotapes, CDs – $1 each
DVDs – $2 each

All other outlet store merchandise is priced as marked.
All Goodwill Outlet Store merchandise is sold as-is. No refunds or exchanges.

Bestill my beating heart! The only drawback is that there aren't many of these outlet stores yet. When I googled Goodwill Outlet Store, it came up with results in big cities like Nashville, Seattle, Indianapolis, etc. But hopefully the number will increase and those of us who don't live near major metropolitan areas, will have a chance to experience a Goodwill Outlet shopping trip!

New Posts at Giving Without Spending!

Donate Your Breast Milk

A Hairy Proposition!

Calling all Labor Doulas!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Please check out my new blog!

I've taken two sections of this blog and turned them into a blog all their own. My new blog is properly named Giving Without Spending and is dedicated to showing people with big hearts(but not big wallets)how they can creatively help others. Please stop by and subscribe!

One of my favorite garage sale finds!

Last weekend, I stopped in at a garage sale that turned out to be the home of a couple I knew from church. They had an entertainment center they were trying to get rid of for $60. Now this was an awesome price, but since it was so close to Christmas and the hubby and Grace's birthdays were right around the corner, I was on the fence. So I asked my friend what was the lowest she would take for it. I was thinking she'd say $50 and I would still have to think on it, but the price would be better. She comes back with $35 saying she just wanted to get rid of it. No thinking there! I said, "I'LL TAKE IT!". So here is my "new" entertainment center that the hubby says I stole. LOL

Friday, November 9, 2007

Giving Without Spending...Much: Toys for Tots

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It's that time of year again. I've been seeing the Toys for Tots boxes at my local wally world for a few weeks now. As I was perusing the toy section, I saw some really cute ones for $5. The hubby and I wound up getting one that was $10 to donate. It's up to you what you get but you don't have to spend a lot to give a needy child a great Christmas. Next time you're in a store that has a Toys for Tots box, give up something and use that $5 and purchase a toy to donate.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Returning the Favor and Saying Thanks!

I just wanted to take the time to recognize and thank a few blog owners that have linked to me from their site in some fashion. Give them a visit! (This is my super cool hairdresser's blog)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Revelation About Early Birds - Not all of them are after the worm!

I have learned something about yard sale early birds that I thought I would share. Like many of you, I once thought the reason early birds got to a yard sale early was because they were greedy and wanted to get the best stuff first. I now know this is not true for all early birds. For some, but not all.

Let me explain. Generally, the most common yard sale starting times (at least here in my town) are 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. Let's say Garage Sale A starts at 7 and Garage Sale B starts at 8 but they are both in the same neighborhood or same vicinity. If I finish at Garage Sale A at 7:15, naturally the next stop on my list is Garage Sale B. Especially now with gas prices being so high, I don't want to have to drive all the way back across town to go to the same area I was at an hour before. This wastes time and money.

This is how I handle being an early bird. If I get to a garage sale early and there are already lots of people there, I say nothing except maybe "good morning" to the person/persons having the sale. However, if I get to one early and I am the only one there, I will ask them if it is ok for me to go ahead and look even though it is before the starting time. It is just something courteous I like to do. It is a rare occasion that I am the first early bird though!

Isn't it funny how we sometimes become what we once loathed?

Halloween Treat Bags

I made these treat bags for Grace and Nathan's classmates. Instead of going out and buying halloween bags, I decided to use some white lunch bags that I have had for a while now. I never used them for the original purpose I had bought them for.

I just thought this was a good example of using what you already have on hand. I thought about buying some cute treat bags and I'm sure they would have looked much better. However, why spend money on bags when I already had some? Even if the amount I would have spent was just a few dollars, spending $0 amount of money sounds better to me.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Freebie Friday!

Man, I can't believe it's already November! Thanksgiving and Christmas are my two favorite holidays and they are right around the corner. Yippee!

Check out Walmart's Free Samples.

Free subscription to Grand Magazine (for grandparents). Christmas gift?

Free sample of Kotex.

Free sample of Fizzy Wizzies.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wednesday Deals at JcPenney

Just a reminder to check JcPenney's Wednesday Deals. They have 3 pages of stuff this week although I didn't see anything for me.

Also, don't forget the visit The Bible Site and The Hunger Site and click daily. It's fast, free, and you are helping others. :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Our $3 Tinkerbell Shoes

My little gal, Grace, needed some shoes for her Tinkerbell costume this year. Since we were saving money by letting them wear their same costumes 2 years in a row, I naturally didn't want to spend a lot of $$$ on a pair of shoes she would wear no more than two times.

I came across some cute bedroom shoes at the Dollar Tree a couple of weeks ago. They had a pair that was the perfect shade of green for her costume. They had little faces on them which I knew I could do something about.

This is what I started out with:

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As you can see, I cut off the hair. I then painted the faces yellow with some paint I had on hand. I did 2 coats.

I also found these rings at the Dollar Tree in which I removed the jeweled hearts and DH superglued them on the shoes.

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The end result? Cute little Tinkerbell shoes!

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Yard Sale Results!

Well the yard sale went great! I got rid of a bunch of stuff. It feels good to purge sometimes you know? I made about $130. One thing I did different this time was not list it in the paper. I wouldn't have had time to do it anyway since it was a spur of the moment deal. However, I don't think I'll be listing in the paper again. It saved me at least $15 and I had just as good of a turnout using signs which only cost $5. I did get a picture of the end result but of course I was too busy to even think about getting one at the beginning. I really wish I had a before and after shot but oh well! Near the end, I did fill a bag for $1 so that helped to get rid of more stuff.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Giving Without Spending...Much: Pajama Drive

A mama posted this on a board I am a member of. This pajama drive is to help families who have lost everything to the wildfires. They ask that all pajamas be mailed by November 2nd so if you'd like to help, make sure you don't put it off. Read all the info and directions here.

I'm Nuts!

I decided today to have a garage sale tomorrow (Saturday)...well technically it's already tomorrow since it's past midnight. I just felt the need to downsize and cleanse the house of unused items. I've made a mess trying to get ready but hopefully I'll have a good turnout. I'll post about how it went sometime later on this weekend. I am going to try and get pictures but I don't know how crazy I'll be running around. Therefore, pics may not be possible. I better head to bed since I'm planning on getting up at 6:00 a.m.! Stay tuned!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Freebie Friday! Better late than never right?

Sorry I'm just now getting to this. I decided on the spur of the moment to have a garage sale tomorrow, and I've been trying to get together all that can. I'm ready to make some room. We have Grace's birthday in December along with Christmas so we'll definitely need space for the new things! Wish me luck.

Check out Walmart's free samples.

Free Sample of Oxyfresh Toothpase.

Free subscription to Elle Decor Magazine. (I get this mag and I got my subscription free also)

Free Fisher Price "Ace in Space" DVD. (This does come)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It's Wednesday!

So check out JcPenney'sWednesday Deals in their outlet section. They used to have 3 pages and now it's down to 2. Don't know what's up with that. Anywho, they have a pair of bootcut maternity jeans for $9.99. Not too bad.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Giving Without Spending:

I love this! You will not only help donate rice to the hungry, but learn vocabulary as well! For each word you get right, they will donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. Click here to get smarter and help others.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Our Cheap Date Night

A few weeks ago, the kids went to my mom's house on a Friday afternoon. I decided that the mister and me would have dinner and a movie frugal style.

First, I had to take care of dinner. At the grocery store, I came across a rack of bread and pastries on clearance. They had hoagie sammich loafs for $.80. Therefore, I decided we would have subs and chips for dinner. The pack of lunch meat was $2.13 I believe and the chips were $3.00. Now, I know I could have gotten chips a lot cheaper but since it was a date night, I splurged on some Sun Chips. Yummy! The movie rental was about $3.00.

I'd say the total tally for our date night was around $15. This includes our movies, chips, and all the sandwich fixings (some of which I already had on hand). And the best part? I didn't have to wear my bra! I even went all out on the presentation just to make it a little more special as you can see below.

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Garage Sale Pricing

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I usually go garage sale-ing every weekend and it never fails to attend at least one that is overpriced. You can tell these folks aren't very familiar with yard sales. And that's ok by the way, I'm just sayin'!

Therefore, that brings me to my post today. I thought I would offer a general guideline for pricing your garage sale items. Try to price them 75-90% off the original price paid. Where you want to fall on that range depends how desperate you are to get rid of your stuff.

So, let's say I have a bangin' picture frame I paid $5.00 for. As years have past, it doesn't bang for me like it used to and I'm ready to get rid of it. 75% of 5 bucks is $1.25. Take the quarter off and price it for $1. If you're really desperate to get rid of it, price it for $.50 which is 90% of $5. I'm not going any further. You get the picture (no pun intended) and that's the extent of my math skills.

Another thing you must note is CUSTOMERS DO NOT CARE WHAT YOU ORIGINALLY PAID FOR THAT ITEM. They only care about what they have to pay for it. People don't shop at garage sales so they can brag to their friends about purchasing something 25% off it's original price. Hell, they wouldn't even brag at 50%! If they want those kinds of deals, they'll go to Walmart, Target, etc. and BUY IT NEW. I promise I'm not being snarky when I say that. I'm just being honest.

Some common things I see overpriced are books, vhs tapes, and childrens clothes to name a few. I hope this helps you in pricing your items at your next garage sale.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Freebie Friday!

It's a rainy day here. Hope you have sunshine!

Check out what Walmart has this week here.

Free sample of Feline Greenies.

Free storybook from Claritin.

Giving Without Spending: The Bible Site

This site is similar to the Hunger Site in that all you have to do is make a click to make a difference. The Bible Site donates Bibles and books of the Bible to persecuted Christians in other countries. Click here to visit the site and click now. Make sure to bookmark the page and click daily!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Like Telling People How To Do Things?

Now you can get paid for it. I randomly came across This site is full of "how to" articles written by members. Here are some examples of articles that were listed on their main page:

-How to Inspect a Bathroom Before Buying a Home
-How to Give Verbal Instructions

-How to Apply Press-on Nails

Your are compensated by how many times your article is read. They pay directly to your paypal account. For more information go here.

Blast from the Past: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

I've been in a rut this week and therefore have not posted much. My apologies. I decided to do a Blast from the Past and repost one of my old posts for a memory refresher or for someone who has not ventured far into my blog.

In the original post, I stated that I had hung the mirror in our computer area. It is now hanging in the living room above our couch. People are always amazed to find out it was a chevel mirror and comment that they thought we had purchased it from a store.

This is my first project to share with you all. As I said in my "Coming Soon" section, I had one of those cheval mirrors like the one pictured on the left, that I was going to put in our yard sale. It hadn't been doing good for a while now. It wanted to stay permanantly tilted upwards so if I wanted to use it, I would have to push it down straight, quickly take a few steps back, and try to admire my outfit in a span of 2 seconds. Not very easy for someone who is detail oriented!

Our dining room is where we have had the computer since we moved into this house. I had planned for it to be the computer slash playroom. However, it seemed the kids' toys never stayed in this area so I said "Forget it!". I made the decision to make it my computer and sitting room for reading and such. At my direction, my loving and patient husband moved a small couch in there that we had stored in our bedroom. I liked the way it fit and looked, but I wanted something nice to hang above it.

The "dining room" is small and they say that mirrors can give the illusion of more space. Instead of placing this aggravating cheval mirror in our upcoming garage sale, I decided to see how it would work as a wall mirror. If I did pull it off, I would save at least $30 going out and buying one from the store. Jon, my patient love, removed it from it's hinged prison, and he was also nice enough to paint it for me. I was going to paint it myself, but he does renovations and remodeling for a living, so he's better at it and more importantly, FASTER!

Here are the results:



Friday, October 12, 2007

Freebie Friday!

Free Old El Paso Taco Seasoning

Free Sample of Purex

Get 2 Free Disney Games

Use UPC Codes:

And don't forget to check out Walmart's Free Samples. They have a few new ones this week.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Shameless Plug Day: Messages in the Sand

I thought since I'm about to leave for the beach in an hour and since this is my blog (*giggle), I would post about my business real quick before I eat lunch and head out. My business is called Messages in the Sand. I do just that...make messages in the sand! People tell me what they want to say, I write it in the sand, and take pictures of it. Sometimes I can get seagulls to pose in the pics as well!

I've done them for wedding, anniversary, father's day and birthday gifts. You can announce you're pregnant or propose. As I say on my site: the possibilites are endless. It makes a great unique gift. I just started offering my service at the end of May of this year. Today, I'm doing a birthday, Christmas, and anniversary message. I hope you'll check out my website: I've included one of my favorite pictures in this post. Thanks and feel free to contact me if you have any questions or are interested in getting a message of your own. :o)

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(Click picture for larger view)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Creative Recycling: Medicine Cups

You know those little cups that come with your bottle of Nyquil or cough syrup? I found a good use for them.

If you have small kids the like to paint, these little cups make great paint holders. Just pour a little bit of color in each cup. Then, you don't have to worry about the whole bottle of paint being mixed with another color because lil Susie (or in our case lil Grace) didn't wash her brush first.

Here are a couple of action shots:

Have fun!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Giving Without Spending...Much: Make a Child Smile

Make a Child Smile is such a sweet, wonderful program. Each month, 3 children who are suffering from chronic or life-threatening diseases, are featured on the site. A mailing address and biography is provided so that you may send these children a card and/or a small gift to brighten their day. What a blessing for these kids who should not have to be going through what they are. With stores like the Dollar Tree, you can send a card to all 3 children for less than $5. Or if you have the time, you can handmake your own cards. I'm sure no matter what, anything would be very much appreciated.

Make a child smile now!

The Complete Tightwad Gazette

If you are trying to live the frugal life and do not already have this book, please go get it. I'm not even a quarter of the way through yet and I have learned so much already. Yes, I'm a slow reader!

The author, Amy Dacyczyn, is my hero. She is the frugal queen of all queens if you ask me. The Complete Tightwad Gazette is filled with her best tips and ideas, along with submitted reader tips from her newsletter which was published from 1990 to 1996. If frugal living had it's own bible, I would daresay this book would be it.

Try checking it out at your local library if it's available. If not, you can purchase a used copy at If you decide to do this, please go through my referral link by clicking on the picture below. It would be very much appreciated!

Get your copy of the The Complete Tightwad Gazette today!

Halloween Costumes: A different idea

As Halloween approaches, you see the typical save money ideas for costumes and such. I wanted to throw one more suggestion in the pot.

How about wearing the same costume from the previous year? We'll actually be doing just that for this Halloween. Luckily, the kids are still able to fit into their costumes from last year which was Peter Pan and Tinkerbell. (We vacationed in Neverland just so the kids wouldn't grow much and we could save money by not having to buy costumes this year *hehe)

Now, I know this is not always an option that will work. Kids do grow and so do their mouths in which they will argue that they are no longer into the Power Ranger thing and Transformers is the happening costume this year. Then I say is the time to get crafty and peruse the spare materials you have lying around and see what cool costume you can come up with. Until then, just let them wear the same costume from the year before if they can. Look at it as a 2-for-1 deal.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Heads Up: Scheduling Your Garage Sale

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Just a little tidbit I thought I would put out there if anyone is planning to have a yard sale this time of year (Fall/Winter). Schedule your time to start no earlier than 8 a.m. The mornings are getting longer so it's still dark at 7. Right now, you could get away with 7:30 but as we get more into the winter months, 8 a.m. will be your best option.

I remember going to one last year when it was still dark and the lady had her car running with the headlights shining on the merchandise. LOL

Freebie Friday!

Check out Walmart's Free Sample section here. This week they have Dunkin Donuts coffee and Nivea hand cream to name a few. Their samples always come.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Program Review:

GiftMonkey is one of those websites that offers free laptops, desktops, plasma tv's, etc. Your chosen prize is assigned a certain amount of points that you must earn through completing offers and having your friends complete offers.

I thought, ok, I'm going to experiment with this and see how successful I am. First, you the member, must sign up and complete an offer yourself. I decided to sign up with which is a game site. I clicked on the banner from and it brought me to WorldWinner where I signed up and paid $10 to get started. Please note: The only reason I signed up at this site was get my points from GiftMonkey. These types of game websites don't really interest me normally.

I know getting credit for offers can take some time so I was patient. I would check my account every couple of weeks. After two months of checking and the points still not credited to my account, I contacted GiftMonkey.

Here is the communication that took place between myself and GiftMonkey:

-----Original Message-----
From: (email addy removed)
Sent: Tue, September 11, 2007 10:58 pm
Subject: - Have never received my point(s)

I signed up with through your site at least a couple of months ago and I still have not received my point(s). I can't even remember if it was for 1 point or 2 and I don't see the offer listed anymore. Thanks!


RE: Have never received my point(s)‏
Sent: Wed 9/12/07 4:10 PM
To: (email addy removed)

Hello, Unfortunately we have not received any indication of this. We receive a list of offer completions once a day from our network which deals with this advertiser. If you did not receive credit, this is an indication the offer was not completed correctly, completed previously, or completed using fraudulent or invalid information. At this point we can only recommend you try a different offer.


RE: Have never received my point(s)‏
Melanie C. (email addy removed)
Sent: Wed 9/12/07 5:32 PM
Cc: (email addy removed)

Unfortunately, I won't be trying another offer. I was actually doing this as an experiment to see if these things really work and post about my experience on my blog...which I will do. I don't have money to throw away and if your only form of customer service is just checking a list that you receive, well, I don't think that is good customer service. What I was hoping to hear is that you would check with WorldWinner to confirm me signing up...I could provide paypal information. So $10 down the drain...literally...and nothing to show for it. My tone of this email is one of disappointment, not anger so I'm not trying to be mean here. I just don't feel like I'm valuable as a member with this response. I can't see how you would expect me to lose money and points only then the solution is to chance the same thing happening again? But thanks for getting back with me in any event. I do appreciate that. Melanie


RE: Have never received my point(s)‏
Sent: Thu 9/13/07 11:54 AM
To: Melanie C. (email addy removed)

Hello, We are very sorry that you have had a bad experience with using an OfferCentric site. If you did not receive credit for an offer, this is usually an indication the offer was not completed correctly, completed previously, or completed using fraudulent payment methods.


So as you can see by this last response, I'm the one to blame. I'm sure countless people have had great success with the program, but I'm not one of them unfortunately. I feel like I wasted $10 and was blown off about it. My only option was to just try another offer...yeah right. Do they think I'm a glutton for punishment? And in the end, it came down to:

- I didn't complete the offer correctly: Doesn't take a rocket scientist to follow the basic directions of clicking on a banner and signing up.

- I had already completed the offer: Nope I had not. I was not only a GiftMonkey virgin, but a WorldWinner virgin as well.

- I used a fraudulent payment method: Well obviously I didn't becuase WorldWinner got my damn money and I have the Paypal transaction info to prove it.

This program receives double thumbs down

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Giving Without Spending: Send a postcard to a soldier for free

This cool program called "Lets say thanks" is sponsored by Xerox. Simply pick out which postcard design you want. Then choose a message from a list of pre-written notes or write your own. Click submit and you're done. It's really that simple and easy and it will be very much appreciated by the soldier that receives it.

Click here to send a card.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Freecycle Score: Fabric

I received a big pile of scrap fabric from Freecycle that will be used to make my cloth napkins. The lady offering these scraps owns a custom drapery and window treatments business so this is some really nice, quality fabric! Thanks Rhonda!

My Garage Sale Finds (9-29)

Pair of prescription glasses I found rummaging through a box: Free
*I'm going to donate them to the Lions Club. See my previous post about their program here.

Toy Wagon: $.50
Mary Kay Mini Satin Hands: $1.00
Mary Kay Mini Timewise Set: $2.00
Large Piece of Fabric: Free
*The Mary Kay mini sets will make great little gifts.
*The fabric will be used to make my cloth napkins.

New Wedding Frame with Engravable Area: $1.00

New Small Crystal Bowls: $5.00
*I'm going to put these in my bathroom to hold my cotton balls and q-tips.

It's Wednesday...

Just a reminder to check out JcPenney's Wednesday deals in their outlet! Click here for Wednesday Deals.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Free Phone Number and Voicemail

Netzero offers a service that will give you a free phone number and voicemail. It's pretty cool. I've had mine for over a year and trust me, it has really come in handy. I've used it for online forms and also in real life. Boy howdy, I won't get into details, but suffice it to say when a certain person wanted my phone number one time, I was really glad I decided to give her that one and not my cell phone.

The number you receive is local to your area so it won't be long distance for those that live in your town. You can call and check your messages or just check your email. Everytime someone leaves a message, a notification is emailed right away. You can also listen to the voice message online by logging into your account. It's really fricken neat!

Click here to sign up. A Great Website for Frugal Shoppers

If you don't yet have this site bookmarked, do so now. As frugal shoppers, we're always trying to find the best deal to get more bang for our bucks. Using is like having someone do the dirty work for you. The owner of the site, Karen, posts new deals daily on the main page. She makes it very easy by including the product link and any coupon codes that you can use to make your total even cheaper.

It doesn't stop at the main page however. Go into the forums section of the site and check out the online bargains section and you'll find even more deals posted by members. Or check out the offline deals for bangin' savings in the real non-virtual store world.

One other aspect I love about this site is the Hot Deal Alerts. These are email notifications sent out whenever a "too good too be true" deal has popped up. You must be subscribed to the newletter to receive them.

I check out the website daily because it truly is my bargain buddy.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Freebie Friday!

Free Cookbook from Omaha Steaks

Free Dove deoderant sample

Free sample of GoodNites sleep boxers or sleep shorts

Free sample of Folgers® Gourmet Selections™

Creative Recycling: Crystal Light Containers

Over the years, it's become harder and harder for me to drink plain water. Therefore, to increase my water intake, I drink generic Crystal Light. I hated throwing them away because they were pretty sturdy little containers. Yes, you can use one for a pen and pencil holder but I didn't need one of those.

There are times I will think on something for weeks and finally, a rush of creative inspiration hits me and I wonder why so many brain cells had to die for this simple idea to be born. The idea that I came up with for my generic crystal light container, was to use it as a party favor holder instead of the traditional bags. You can decorate it to match the party's theme. You are limited to what favors you can put in it since the container is narrow. Just make sure to keep that in mind to avoid buying favors you won't be able to use.

I did one for an example and used some favors I had on hand. I went with a sports theme. I made a label for it and didn't decorate it further for sake of time. But you can paint it, decorate it with stickers, etc. It says, "Thanks for being a sport at Nathan's birthday party!". I made a slideshow with mine below.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Heads Up: Dollar General 90% off Summer Items

According to Haylie from Arkansas, the Dollar General has marked their summer items down to 90% off original prices. I went and checked my local one yesterday and items were still 50% and 75% so I'm biding my time and am going to check back in a few days. I know summer is almost over (and it's already over for some of you), but think stocking stuffers, party favors, or birthday gifts for next year.

Reader Tip: Chicken Broth

This tip was submitted by Jill from Georgia:

When I boil chicken breasts, I reserve the chicken broth in sandwich baggies, put the date on the bags, and freeze them. I think each bag equals 1 or 2 cups (I can't remember). I don't have to ever buy chicken broth for other recipes and it's no sodium (unless Idecide to add a little salt to boost the flavor). Not much of a money saver, but every penny counts! :)

Too right Jill! Every penny does indeed count and being frugal just isn't about saving money, it's about using what you already have. So why go buy chicken broth if you already have it on hand? I'm sure the homemade broth is a lot more bangin than the store bought anyway. Thanks for the yummy tip!

If you have any frugal tips or suggestions you'd like to share with us, click on the send me a message icon in the first column.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Giving Without Spending: Ronald McDonald Pop Tab Collection Program

The Ronald McDonald House is a "home away from home" for many sick children and their families each year. They are asked to make a $5-20 donation each day of their stay, but if they can't, their stay is free. What an awesome program!

You can help these families continue to have free or majorly discounted stays by saving the tabs on your soda cans, vegetable and soup cans, and pet food cans. Drop-off sites for pop tabs range in location, from the House to McDonald's restaurants, local banks and grocery stores.

Here's a picture of our collection so far. It's amazing how many aluminum cans have went into this small pile! We started doing this at the beginning of August when I was told about it from a friend.

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(I think it's true what they say about film and camera. My hand does look 10 pounds heavier!)

National Free Museum Day this Saturday!

From the site:

Museum Day is a nationwide event taking place on Saturday, September 29, 2007, where participating museums and cultural institutions across the country offer free admission to Smithsonian readers and visitors. Museum Day celebrates the country’s cultural offerings, allows the dissemination of knowledge and brings Americans together.

Museum Day is open to all Smithsonian readers and friends. Participants must present the Museum Day Admission Card available in the September 2007 issue of Smithsonian Magazine or downloadable via this site to receive FREE GENERAL ADMISSION. The Museum Day Admission Card is valid for you plus one guest and is limited to one per household.

More information and restrictions here.

Search for participating museums here.

Thanks to Wendy from CT for this tip!

The Gift Bag Revamped!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Last school year, I saw these bags in a dollar store in our local mall. I never pay more than $1 for a gift bag. When I saw these, the idea popped into my head that it would be really neat to use them as gift bags for two reasons:

1. It cost the same as a gift bag and looks better than alot of them
2. It can be part of the gift itself

My need for gift bags at that time was for my son's teacher and para pro's. I had already gotten a smokin' hot deal on the candles at Goody's. They were on clearance for 75% off. They were very nice candles. I think I paid $5 for package. I decided to throw in a scented sachet so when his teachers unzipped the bag, they would be greeted with a nice fragrance. I believe I paid .50 each for them. So I got some tissue paper and packaged it up nicely and arranged everything inside, zipped it up and voila! I paid $20 for 3 really nice gifts. It really spruces up the presentation and makes it a little more special.

Don't Forget Wednesday Deals at JCPenney!

Looks like they have some good deals today. Click here for Wednesday Deals.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Heads Up: Soy Milk Drinkers

Thanks to Kelly from Delaware for this info!

I was at the Dollar Tree yesterday and they had West Soy soy milk made with organic beans for $1 for a quart. Great deal, even cheaper than regular milk at the grocery store! I don't know if they always have it but I think I'm gonna go back and stock up. It's the shelf-stable kind... you may want to check your local dollar tree. I never would have thought they'd have soy milk!

You and me both but the Dollar Tree has surprised me before. I'm still dreaming of the day someone tells me to run up there because they've just gotten in a batch of Ipods. Hey, a girl can dream right? LOL

$1 Pregnancy Tests

I know some of you know about these. However, I found out last week that some don't. As Frugal Girl, it is my duty to make sure all are informed of such inexpensive products that can save much moolah!

Ok, on a serious note...The Dollar Tree has pregnancy tests. I'll give you 3 guesses on how much they cost. You guessed it! One dollah! And yes they are accurate. These $1 preggo tests really come in handy if you're anxiously trying to conceive and having to buy enough to test every minute of every hour. The only thing is you'll have to pee in a container and then use the little dropper to drop some of that liquid gold onto your test. No big whoop about that especially if it's saving you at least $5 a pop (no pun intended).

Monday, September 24, 2007

James Jones: Children's Letter of the Month Club

I have posted about this guy before. I get his newsletter that sends out a business idea every week. A majority of these ideas aren't what I would call mainstream, but they are interesting. Here is the one I just received for this week:

Here is a really simple business anyone with a flair for communicating with children can turn into a great income.

What you do is create a subscription "letter of the month" club for children. Every month you write a personalized letter on a specific theme and mail it to the child.

For example, if your theme is exotic places, you could call yourself Traveling Tina and write a letter that both entertains and teaches about a different local each week.

You do not have to write a personal letter to each child. Simply create a "boiler plate" document and use your computer to insert the child's name in relevent places. You can also have the parent fill out a form that further personalizes the letter with the names of pets, playmates, food likes and dislikes, etc.

To make your service really unique, include a low cost gift with each letter, like a bookmark or picture.

Market your club in national parents magazines and sell one year subscriptions for $20-$30.

To subscribe to his newsletter, click here.

Phrugalosophy: Don't Go It Alone

Trying to live a more frugal lifestyle is best done with others who share your same goals. Trying to do it by yourself is like deciding you're going to jump in your car and take a trip to I've Never Been There, Idaho and not taking a map to help. It just wouldn't work well would it?

No matter how awesome you are at living the frugal life, you will never know everything there is to know on your own. Yes, I've come up with alot of my own great ideas, but I've also learned so much through friends and online resources. I have come across ideas that I would have never thought of myself. For example, using cloth napkins instead of paper towels. This idea never occured to me until I was eating over at a good friend's place (Hi Erin!). She asked if I wanted a napkin and being the napkin whore that I am, of course I said yes. She then proceeds to bring me a cloth napkin and a very pretty one I might add. I thought she was out of paper towels at first. She then explained she was too cheap to buy paper towels.

I got to thinking about it. Cheap? I don't think so. How about wise. I did a quick calculation on how much I spend on paper towels. I usually get one 3-pack of the wally world paper towels each week. With tax that would be about $1.75 per week. Multiply that by 52 and I'm spending at least $91 a year on something that's going to go in the trash. So why not spend half that amount stocking up on cloth napkins and then you can cut that expense out completely. You're also helping the environment. Can't beat killing 2 birds with one stone right?

Another example...a couple of weeks ago, my friend Stacy informed me that a local furniture store makes donations to our Habitat for Humanity thrift shop the first week of October. Therefore, I'll be checking it out this weekend and the next to see if I can find a nice piece of furniture for an insanely inexpensive price.

Those are just a few examples, but I think they illustrate my phrugalosophy well. I would have never known or thought about these things had I not surrounded myself with a frugal possee.

P.S. A napkin whore is someone that has to use multiple napkins per meal. I'm sorry, but I can't eat KFC and use just one dang paper towel!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Giving Without Spending: Make a Wish Foundation

I received this information in an email:

Enter code 2840005523 in the first box on the left and click on the submit button below. When you do this, Lay's will donate 25-cents to the Make-A-Wish Foundation (minimum donation $300,000, maximum donation $345,000) for each entry in their Destination Joy promotion.

It was very simple to do so pop on over there and let's help some dreams come true!

Credit: This information was sent to me by Jo Dee of Savannah, GA who said "As some of you know I had cancer at a young age.. and Make A Wish is very dear to my heart. .. so please take a moment to do this.. and hopefully we all can help Make A Wish come true."

New Name, New Look...Same Principles!

Hello everybody! Well, I told you it was coming and now it's here. Presenting The Adventures of Frugal Girl! I love my phrase and mantra "work around your wallet", but I decided that I wanted a blog name and look that reflected my personality more effectively.

For me, being frugal is indeed an everyday adventure. I am constantly learning new things and coming up with new ideas on saving money and stretching the almighty dollar just about as far as it will go. I want to continue to share those ideas with you so I'll hope you'll join me in my adventures as Frugal Girl!

(Subscribe to my blog and everytime I make a new post, it will be emailed to you.)

Jones...James Jones

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 2/4/07)

This guy sends out a weekly newsletter with creative, sometimes unusual, money making techniques. Here are two examples:

Souvenir Soil
James J Jones -- Publisher

You've probably heard about the men who bought land that once belonged to Elvis Presley and sold "deeds" to the one square inch plots. Another guy did the same thing with a farm that Abraham Lincoln once owned.

Below are some other companies that are making money with dirt. Maybe you can come up with a way to do something similar to these ventures:

The Dirt Mall sells One half-ounce vials of soil from Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon.)
The genuine soil from Saigon is marketed to vietnam vets and is packaged in a clear corked glass vial and labeled for display. A vial sells for $20.00 plus S & H.
Another company, Footwhere, markets "Genuine Soil Specimens encased inside a foot cavity." "FOOTWHERE™" is a product line of authentic location souvenirs that acknowledges where you've actually set foot. Encased inside of a foot cavity within each embodiment, (e.g. key chain, magnet, etc.) is a specimen of genuine soil from a specific location adorned with colorful graphics that reflects a place's popularity, recognition and landmarks. You can visit the Footwhere website at:

The Museum of Dirt has on display dirt from famous or newsworthy locations. Although they are not selling their dirt specimens yet, I think they have a really great idea. Here are some examples of the dirt they have on display:

Dirt from The Ponderosa Ranch -- the location used to film the TV show Bananza.
Dirt from the parking lot outside the Betty Ford Clinic.
Dirt from the yard of Harry S Truman.
Dirt from Graceland.
Dirt from Sonny Bono's Front Yard.


Specialized Dating Parties and Services
James J Jones -- Publisher

Ever noticed the singles ads in newspapers, news weeklies, and on the internet? Maybe you've even placed or answered a singles ad yourself. The problem with these types of ads are they are anonymous and desperate sounding. SWPM ISO SF reply to voicemail box xxx.

Honestly, I don't think I would want to go out with someone who would answer an ad like this. I think it was W.C Fields who said, "I would not want to belong to any club that would have me as a member." And today's busy lifestyle makes it increasingly harder for singles to meet.
In my research I have found a few people who are turning this problem into a lucrative businesses. What they are doing is targeting like minded singles and putting them together in a relaxing environment for a fee.

For example, one woman holds dinner parties for singles in her house. She advertises in the personals section of her local newspaper with an ad that reads...
Meet Single Professionals at Invitation Only Dinner Party. Call 555-5555 to request invitation.
When an interested prospect calls she interviews them to make sure they are sincere and have conversational skills. If they meet her criteria she tells them to send her a check for $75.00 which covers the dinner and cocktails. The fee also serves to eliminate the curiosity seekers.
Her once a week parties usually draw 20 - 24 people from which she nets $1000 - $1200 after expenses. And, of course she keep a record of their names and address for future dinners.

Another person advertises a singles game night called "Thursday Night Out." He rents a small convention room and once a week organizes a gathering of singles who like to play board games. For a $5 admission Thursday Night Out supplies the board games and also makes money selling pizza and soft drinks. No alcoholic beverages are allowed. He advertises with an ad in the Movie Section of the local newspaper and flyers on bulletin boards.

I have been subscribed to this newsletter for a few months and I must say Mr. Jones has some interesting ideas. Go here to subscribe:

Blogging for Bucks

(Orginally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 2/4/07)

I was looking through the other night and found that they will pay you to blog for them. Here is what the site says (copied and pasted directly from

Become a Blogger

A Blogger is someone who writes in a "Blog". A Blog is like a journal on a specific topic. This is sometimes personal and sometimes topical, but always informative.

A Blogger writes daily articles with a minimum of 300 words. Bloggers work one, two and sometimes three to a topic. A Blogger must be versatile, creative, experienced and well informed on their chosen topic. They must have a solid grasp of the English language and be able to edit their own work. is growing every day and that will be reflected in the number of bloggers we employ. We will continue to take blogger applications on an ongoing basis. If you are interested in a topic already being covered by a blogger, we may just need an additional blogger on that topic or will keep your application on file in the event that blogger should resign their position or need additional assistance covering that topic. If there is a topic that you are qualified to write about, but feel isn't being covered and would add value to, then we welcome you to suggest that topic and provide us with your application to be the blogger for that topic. is the blog network for family topics. We currently have more than 40 blogs on topics such as parenting, marriage, family fun, fugal living, and home & garden. For a full list of topics, visit Incomplete applications will not be considered, so please see below for exactly what should be included in your application package.

What Do You Get by Writing for

The opportunity to share your passion, to be published and to have your voice heard by large numbers of readers.

We take care of the technology, hosting, graphic design and marketing. There are no fees to you.
We will cross-promote your blog on

We pay you $4 per blog entry ($3 during 90 day training period). 2-3 posts per day would be about 75 posts and $300 per month.

We will also pay our bloggers approximately 5% of profits from the blogs so that the revenue of our bloggers can grow with the site. This revenue will be divided up between the bloggers based on a formula that includes factors such as the number of page views your articles/entries receive.

What is Required of Bloggers?

The blogs will only be as good as our bloggers. We're looking for amazing bloggers who can write passionate, high-quality, interesting, thought-provoking articles.

A minimum of five blog posts per week and a maximum of three blog posts per day. Blog entries don't have to be full articles. Entries should be at least 300 words, but will often be much longer. A blog can be as simple as a website link with your comments or a photo with a description. The entries could also be full articles. They could include a tip or idea, a top 10 list, a story or quote, "how-to's", demos, photo, essays, or a product or entertainment review. The important thing is that whatever material you write is informative and/or entertaining for our readers.

Review comments to your blog entries, delete inappropriate comments and respond to comments where appropriate.

Avoid topics that are not appropriate for the family-values centric audience, such as drug and alcohol abuse, profanity, gambling, pornography, extramarital sex, and nudity, except in the context of helping families to overcome these issues. There is definitely a place in the blogs for PG-rated discussions of intimacy and sexuality in marriage, however, these blogs are not the appropriate place for sensualized sexuality. Do not use the blog to advocate for a specific political party, religion, alternative lifestyle, abortion, etc. Please see us if you feel an exception needs to be made to this rule. It is appropriate to talk about faith and spirituality without advocating for a specific religion, or to talk about advocating for families without endorsing specific political candidates and parties.

Successfully complete Blogger Training and a 90 day probationary period. Then, continue to maintain a high quality of blog posts and work well with the team.

Post regularly on the forum that corresponds to your topic to build a connection between the online community and your blog. Post links in your blog to other blogs and content sections.

We're looking for bloggers who are self-motivated, who can keep a good balance between hard work and lots of fun, who have expertise in their topic, and who can add personality to their blog.

How Do I Apply to Be a Blogger?

Select a Topic - Select 1-3 topics either from our list of current topics or topics you feel would add value to our community for which you would like to write.

Outline - Please provide an outline of the sub-topics that you would like to cover in your blog. (i.e. Food would include subtopics such as Menus, Recipes, Restaurants, Preparation Tips, etc.)
Samples - Please send three sample blog entries or articles with varying styles related to each of the proposed topics you are applying for.

About You - Please provide us with a short bio about you and your family, including your name and city or location. Please also send your resume, your qualifications and your experience in the topic area(s) you are applying for.

Email Us - To apply, send your completed application with all of the information described above to with the topic(s) you intend to apply for as the subject line.

Other Issues

Because of the cultural writing issues surrounding our target audience, the writer must have been raised and educated in the US (including military bases abroad), Canada, Australia or UK.

Once you are accepted, our lawyer will provide you with the full legal agreement with all of the terms and conditions.

We reserve the right to have more than one blogger on a topic, to sub-divide topics into more than one blog, or to change the terms of the agreement.

All content is owned by

We will receive many more applications than we could possibly accept. If you are not accepted immediately, we will keep your information for consideration at a later date.For additional comments and questions, please email We look forward to having the opportunity to work with you.

To view the list of topics, go to and look on the top right. This is a great way to earn extra money! Let me know if you apply and get accepted so I, and other's that read this, can check out your work.

Giving Without Spending: Hungersite

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 2/17/07)

Frugal folks are some of the most generous people around. They may not have a lot, but they're willing to give what little they do have to help someone in need.

When most people think about donating to charities, they think the only way is by donating money. And since they don't have much money to spare, they feel like they are unable to help. This is far from the truth. You can donate things like your time, special services (computer, landscaping), and stuff you have stored up or laying around your house that isn't being used.

Each week I'm going to post a way to give to charity or your fellow man, without spending a dime in the process. The rewards in giving are priceless!

The first charity I'm covering this week is a website that contains several sites that you can visit and click daily to help feed a starving child, feed a starving animal, fund a mammogram, fund healthcare for a child, save the rainforest, and provide books for needy kids. Just go to daily and click the "Help Feed the Hungry" button pictured below. After you have done that, visit each of the other sites by clicking on their tab at the top of the page which can also be seen in the picture.

One way to remember to visit everyday is to set it as your homepage. Remember, one click doesn't provide a free mammogram, a cup of food, etc. It takes many clicks to reach just one goal of each site so visit daily and click away. It's easy and free!

Giving Without Spending: Old Glasses for New Owners

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" 3/8/07)

As I said a couple of weeks ago, you can donate to charity without spending a dime. So many people miss out on oppotunities to help because they don't realize this.

This week's featured opportunity is the Lions Club. They collect used eyeglasses which are cleaned then sorted by prescription. The glasses are then distributed to those in need in developing countries.

So do you have an old pair lying around or know someone who does? Instead of letting them collect dust, let the Lions Club put them to good use. You will greatly improve the quality of someone's life. To find out where to donate in your area, go the Lions Club website at and click on "Club Locator" located on the left portion of the page. You will be given contact information for your local chapter.

Giving Without Spending: Movies for the disabled

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 3/25/07) ( is a program that sends out movies to people that are disabled and on a limited income. They accept donations of gently used VHS and DVDs to distribute to those eligible for the program. If you have a few movies you've only watched once or twice and have no plans to watch again, think about sending them to Ok, you will have to pay for shipping but the cost shouldn't be much using media mail. Just make sure you tell the post office clerk that you want to use media mail.

Giving Without Spending: IM'ing for a cause

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 6/19/07)

This has got to be the coolest thing I've seen in a while. Yes, I live a sheltered life! I received an email from MSN Messenger stating you can now IM for a cause. From the site:

i’m is a new initiative from Windows Live Messenger™. Every time you start a conversation using i’m, Microsoft shares a portion of the program's advertising revenue with some of the world's most effective organizations dedicated to social causes. We've set no cap on the amount we'll donate to each organization.
The sky's the limit. So any time you have an i’m™ conversation using Windows Live Messenger, you help address the issues you feel most passionate about, including poverty, child protection, disease, environmental degradation and animal protection. It's simple. All you have to do is join and start an instant messaging conversation. We'll handle the donation.

Go here to get started: http://http//

I am IM'ing for the Red Cross.


(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 1/26/07)

Freecycle is the brainchild of Deron Beal in Tuscon, Arizona. He launched the group in May of 2003 with a group of 30-40 people. Today, freecycle has over 2,000,000 members! Now that's success! And what a great idea too. Instead of throwing away perfectly usable items, give these things to someone who could use them and keep them out of the landfills at the same time. It also helps reducing clutter in your home or garage and saves money if you receive something you needed.

The rules are simple: The item must be free, legal and appropriate for all ages. This means you can't offer up your old porn collection or that half full bottle of Jack Daniels. Life stinks sometimes doesn't it? ;0) Spamming is prohibited too...that's a given.

I'm a member of course. It has been a blessing to me and also given me a chance to bless others in need. There are so many generous members of freecycle. If you are a person that likes to help those in need, this is a great group to be a part of. Some may be weary of joining freecycle because they think if it's free, then it must be junk. Not so! There are such a wide variety of items posted and most are in good condition. I've seen baby furniture, clothes for all, pianos, coupons, and toys to name a few. Give it a chance!

If you join, and I hope you do, make sure to read the rules and instructions on how to post. It's very simple to follow and I can't help but be irritated when people don't follow the posting instructions. Lastly, if you want to get free items, then this is one way to do it. However, don't let that be the only reason to sign-up for the program. Look at it as a way for a community to come together and help one another.

Never pay to call information again!

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 2/1/07)

Thanks to 1-800-FREE-411, you don't have to shell out $.50 or $.75 each time you call info. The service is absolutley free. All you have to endure is a very short ad. If you don't want to make a call, you can go to their website and search for a phone number. I've used both methods and I give FREE 411 two thumbs up!

Go Melanie! Go Melanie! It's Your Birthday! It's Your Birthday!

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet" on 2/13/07)

And it really is! I was born on Friday the 13th in was a lucky day. I'll just go ahead and tell you I'm 31 so you don't kill any brain cells trying to do mental math. :oP

Many places offer birthday freebies or specials. I received an email this week from Sonic with a printable coupon for a free dessert treat. I also received an email from Red Lobster with a printable coupon for $5 off two adult entrees.

I did a search for "birthday freebies" in Google and here are the results:
Birthday Freebies

Check it out and start getting freebies and deals on your special day. Have fun!

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet")

This is my first project to share with you all. As I said in my "Coming Soon" section, I had one of those cheval mirrors like the one pictured on the left, that I was going to put in our yard sale. It hadn't been doing good for a while now. It wanted to stay permanantly tilted upwards so if I wanted to use it, I would have to push it down straight, quickly take a few steps back, and try to admire my outfit in a span of 2 seconds. Not very easy for someone who is detail oriented!

Our dining room is where we have had the computer since we moved into this house. I had planned for it to be the computer slash playroom. However, it seemed the kids' toys never stayed in this area so I said "Forget it!". I made the decision to make it my computer and sitting room for reading and such. At my direction, my loving and patient husband moved a small couch in there that we had stored in our bedroom. I liked the way it fit and looked, but I wanted something nice to hang above it.

The "dining room" is small and they say that mirrors can give the illusion of more space. Instead of placing this aggravating cheval mirror in our upcoming garage sale, I decided to see how it would work as a wall mirror. If I did pull it off, I would save at least $30 going out and buying one from the store. Jon, my patient love, removed it from it's hinged prison, and he was also nice enough to paint it for me. I was going to paint it myself, but he does renovations and remodeling for a living, so he's better and more importantly, FASTER!

Here are the results:



The Sporty Project

(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet")

We decided to change my son's bedroom decor from Noah's Ark to a sports theme a couple of years ago. It's a theme that you can do inexpensively if you want to. Over the past 2 years I have slowly added to the decor here and there with little things I've found at auctions, Goodwill or yard sales. However, the walls were still bare.

On one of my yardsaling Saturdays, I found 3 frames for a dime each. Two were blue and the other was brownish orange. The light bulb went on and I purchased them. I was going to print a picture of a sports ball for each frame and hang them in my son's room. Well, I was at the good ole Dollar Tree one day and they had a huge pile of these cute decor wall stickers in all kinds of themes. I sat there squatted on the floor and dug for about 10 minutes (praying I didn't have plumbers crack in the process) and finally found a sheet of sports balls that were the perfect size for the frames.

I stuck the glass from the frames in the dishwasher to get them extra squeaky clean. I then took some cardstock and cut it to the correct size. After double checking my scissor work, I choose three balls to use, stuck them on each piece of cardstock, and framed them. It was my husband's turn after that. I make him hang most everything because he does it so much in his work that he has a great eye. If I tried to hang something side by side, it would be very lopsided! LOL And I speak from past experience. I really like the way it turned out and it only cost me about $1.50.

Here are the before and after pictures: