Repurposing : The #1 Budget Friendly Decorating Hack

I often get asked about decorating in general, and the cost associated with it. It’s no secret I am an epic bargain hunter, and I think that’s why repurposing old items is my favorite budget friendly decorating hack. The possibilities are only limited by your search terms on Pinterest!

Don’t like an old cabinet or buffet taking up space in your garage? Add some new paint and hardware and turn it into a decor display cabinet or changing table in a nursery. Looking for inexpensive ‘new to you’ furniture? Check out your local thrift store or salvage yard, and then spruce it up a bit.

Today I have a few examples of repurposed items currently on display in my home, and I will share the cost of the items and the updates that I did to them. Feel free to pin any images for later reference!

First up, my medicine cabinet turned decor cabinet! I found this beauty at a local thrift store, and I believe the price was only $10 (it was even on sale!). I completely updated it for only $5, and it now sits as a permanent fixture on my entryway wall, and I simply change out the decor for different seasons. For details on how I updated the cabinet, click here.

Total cost: $15

Medicine Cabinet, original condition

Medicine Cabinet, original condition

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Next, I have an old shutter style hinge door on my front porch that I simply use hooks to hang different decor on depending on the season. This item was FREE, on a local facebook marketplace group. All I did was clean it up and bit and do a small amount of sanding. Here are a couple examples of how I have used it so far, and the photo on the left is how it looks currently.

Total cost: $0

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I’m not afraid to get a little dirty and bust out the chalk paint when necessary, and this comes in handy when an item needs a fresh look. A perfect example is a set of 3 spindles I picked up at a salvage store, and I was determined to make them look like candlesticks. I had Adam cut them at different heights, for a total of 5 candlesticks made from the 3 spindles. At $2 a piece, my cost was $6 total. A little chalk paint and sanding later, I have 5 pretty versatile pieces of decor and you will see them in my home during every season. For the full tutorial, click here.

Total cost: $6

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Lastly, I have a deep love for decorating with old farm items. These might look like junk to the untrained eye, but the history in each piece is what calls my heart to them. For example, this chicken feeder from a local flea market sits on my dining room table almost year round, filled with various seasonal decor. I sometimes find myself wondering how many chickens ate from this trough over the years and what other stories this item holds, not to mention it makes a great centerpiece because it doesn’t obstruct views of people sitting at the table!

Total Cost $10

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I hope today I could show you that having a vast assortment of decor and/or decorating your home for each season doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, I get such enjoyment searching for that bargain and then bringing new life to old items. How do you decorate with repurposed items in your home? I would love to hear all about it!

I hope October is treating you well, wherever you are!

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Fall Front Porch Decor Guide

Ok, we made it to September, which means Fall decor is in full swing!

I have the pumpkin bread in the oven, harvest candles burning, and a huge bale of straw on the front porch. It’s just not officially Fall until a bale of straw is on the front porch!

Our porch is west-facing, and has quite a bit of afternoon sun & heat throughout September. For this reason, I have initially decorated with only faux items as any live flowers or pumpkins would be scorched by the elements. I imagine around the beginning of October I will be able to add some Fall mums and pumpkins to the mix. For now, I will share what I have done so far so you can hopefully find some inspiration for your own porch!

As I mentioned above, a bale of straw is a must! I picked up one at a local farm and fleet store for $5. If you wanted a super simple front porch setup, and didn’t have time to round up other decor, a simple stack of three bales of straw would work perfectly!

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Here I have my bale of straw sitting on end, matched up with some other items I shopped from my garage!

Next up, I grabbed some trimmed dead grasses and stuck them in a rusted metal milk jug that usually resides on my porch year round. I also had a few faux pumpkins and put them in a crock along with a fold out sign. The vertical barn beam is the front pillar to our house (neat, right?!).

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If you have been following along for a bit, you might remember the thrift-ed set of white shutter-style closet doors that I picked up this spring, and how I used them on the porch to hang buckets of succulents. Well, that set of closet doors remains in place, only this time with a few Fall items….as pictured below!

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We are still in the process of getting a black door, but for now I have to work with what I have! I found the door hanger in the holiday section of a local craft store, and I am extra excited about the fact that it doesn’t make any noise when it blows in the wind!

My last important piece of porch decor is this metal sunflower, which is one of my all time favorite outdoor items. Around November I will have to retire this guy until next Summer, but for now he stay’s put!

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Well friends, that’s all I have going on for the front porch this time around! As I mentioned above, I will be adding some live flowers and pumpkins as the days get cooler, and I will be sure to post an update. Until then, happy decorating for Fall and thank you for stopping by the blog today!

-Rachael

Fall Decor Preview

I love Summer, and believe me I am not rushing it along, but September is by far my favorite month of the year and we are just days away from being there. Often as hot as August, the weather in September is much more manageable with cooler nights and less humidity. It’s the best of both Summer and Fall, all wrapped into one!

My home always shows my excitement for Fall decor, and this year will be no different! I definitely have more Fall/Autumn items than any other season, which requires some creative storage but also quite a bit of time for setup. Each year I do everything differently, and that’s all part of the fun! We have an event here the first weekend in September, so my goal is to have everything decorated by then. Fall decor takes a bit of work, but is so versatile and lasts all the way through Thanksgiving. I will just add a few pumpkins/gourds in October and boom! Done!

I have a few areas of my home already set up for Fall, and today I am sharing them to hopefully bring you some inspiration when it’s time to decorate your own home. I will note that I don’t change anything out for Halloween, but that is just my own preference. This year I am really feeling inspired by the neutral tones and I tried to incorporate them as much as possible on my front entryway table. Here are a few photos.

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I tried to keep this area fairly simple, as it is highly trafficked by the 1 year old and items are pulled down constantly to be played with. I haven’t really embraced neutral white or brown decor for Fall in the past, but I am experimenting and incorporating it this year. Decorating is an ever evolving hobby!

Next up is my dining room buffet!

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I brought in a bit more color to this nook of the home, as this buffet sits right next to the dining room table and that will undoubtedly have some bright displays when I am done with it.

I have recently discovered a company that takes antique pieces and re-purposes them into candles, and I had to have one. This bucket candle is filled with ‘Fall Harvest’ and it’s fitting in just perfectly with my Fall decor!

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That’s all the Fall decor I have ready to go as of today! I hope some of this can inspire you for your own decorating this season, and as always feel free to share your photos with us either here or on Instagram.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today! We really appreciate it!

Happy Decorating!

-Rachael

The Final Summer Porch Refresh!

If you have been following along you might be aware that sweet corn season officially started this week here in Iowa, and I might be just a teeny bit excited about that! In fact, I had to incorporate the first delivery of corn into my final Summer porch refresh of the year. That’s correct, the next time I redo this space it will be with pumpkins!

But for now, I had to take down the 4th of July decor and I wanted to incorporate a few farming pieces to set up for the future harvest season. As a collector of all things random and old, I happened to have everything I needed stored in the garage (which has kind of unintentionally become my decor locker, just don’t tell Adam). This John Deere seed planter from an old tractor is a great example…

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The fresh ears of corn in this photo are from our local CSA/farm share program that is delivered weekly throughout the spring and summer. For more information about farm shares, you can see my full post here.

Here are a couple more photos of this newly refreshed space!

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For the other side of the door I snagged some of the decorative grass from my front landscaping that is currently out of control, and stuffed it into an old rusty milk can that i picked up at a garage sale a couple years back. The black metal ‘hello’ sign will stay for now, but I might take it down for the winter months, as it gets pretty cold here and I don’t want it damaged or warped in any way.

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Here’s a front shot of the whole front porch, which is one of my more favorite area’s to decorate at my home. Now, if only I can light a fire under Adam and have him replace the construction door that’s been there for 4 years next month! It’s the little things….

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That’s all I have for you today, thank you for stopping by the blog and I hope I have been able to inspire you on your own decorating adventure! As always, feel free to share your projects and questions either here or over on Instagram.

Happy Summer!

Rachael

DIY - Bug Repellent Mason Jar Lanterns

Hi friends! Today I have a really easy DIY for the outdoors! Gnats and mosquitoes can really put a damper on outside activities, and bug spray works great for an individual person but I wanted to find a solution for a larger area such as driveway/garage.

I did a bit of research and trial and error, and the results are these cute little mason jar lanterns. They are super easy to make, and extremely budget friendly. I have tested them out myself and can personally say they do actually work, and last quite a long time.

Step by step instructions are below, or feel free to click on any picture to pin this post for later!

First, gather your materials!

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You will need:

-A mason jar of any size, complete with lid

-Rope wick

-Liquid bug repellent

I grabbed a few different jars that I had laying around, and then went to Target for the rest of the materials. They are currently having a decent sale on their patio/outdoor items so I was able to pick up the rope wick (came in a package of two) and the liquid bug repellent for under $10 total. I chose the ‘clean burn’ version of the liquid repellent, which has less smoke/flame but maintains the same effectiveness of the standard version. You could use any bug repellent/torch fuel that is designed to be burned in this manner.

Next, its time for assembly!

I had Adam use a drill bit to puncture a hole in the mason jar lid, and fed the rope wick through the opening. You could probably use a hole punch too, but I just didn’t have one on hand. Then I filled the jar about 1/4 of the way and trimmed the wick so it was just a couple inches tall. It took a few minutes for the wick to soak up enough of the liquid to ignite, but once it did I snapped this picture…

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I really like that there is no smoke/soot coming from this ‘clean burning’ torch fuel, as that was one of my biggest hesitations to ever investing in the traditional ‘tiki torches’.

Last step…Enjoy!

I made a few different lanterns with a few different sizes and colors of mason jars, and set them out on the front porch when we were out there the other night. Not only did they look cute, but they served a great purpose too!

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Quick safety note, these jars do get warm after being lit for a long period of time, so be sure to let them cool before handling them. Also, I like to put them in a metal tray or on concrete (or anything non-flammable) just in case they were to be tipped over.

That’s all I have for you today! I hope you are enjoying those long summer evenings and if you are having a biting insect problem like we were, you might give these lanterns a whirl! As always, thanks for stopping by the blog today!

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Summer Front Porch Decor

Hello from Iowa, America’s heartland!

As we get ready to celebrate our country’s birthday in just a few short weeks, I thought I should dig out some patriotic decor and spruce up the front porch. Luckily, Target has metal stars in red, white, and blue in their dollar section currently and since I am there several days a week I was lucky enough to have an early pick and I was able to snag all three colors. These stars were the initial inspiration for my summer porch refresh, and the rest of it came together pretty quickly. I have a few photos pictured below that will hopefully bring you inspiration for your own outdoor decor.

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This little lemonade setup was the first part of the porch that I decorated, and I mostly just grabbed things from my house that I thought could withstand the Iowa weather. The lemonade sign is recently from Hobby Lobby, which is having their final closeout prices on their spring items (there are some good deals!!).

Next, it was time to add the pop of patriotic colors…

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If you remember from my spring porch setup, this old bi-fold door was used to hang pots of succulents and I kept it in place for the metal stars I found at the Target dollar section.

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I kept the ‘hello’ sign, the black star, and the welcome mat from my Spring decor, and moved the water pump and wash tub to the right side of the door and added a few plants. Adam keeps saying that this is the year we will get a ‘real’ front door, and I’m holding him to it, so stay tuned for that!

Here are a few pictures of it all together!

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I may add a few plants to the steps/walkway to the door, however I don’t want to make it too narrow either, so it will just depend on what I am able to find. Personally, I feel as though outdoor spaces can get a cluttered feeling rather easily, so I try to keep it as simple as possible for that reason.

Well I better get back at it, as always thank you for stopping by the blog today, it really means a lot to us! I hope you were able to find some inspiration for your own home, and feel free to share your own photos and connect with us either here or on Instagram. See you soon!

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Entryway Table Refresh

Hi there! I’m writing to you from a cold and rainy day here in Iowa, but it’s just for one day so I can handle it. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I have been stalking my plants to see when they will come out of the ground and they have made some progress the last couple of days! There is finally hard evidence we are at the end of this epic long winter, and all this anticipation just makes it that much more enjoyable. It’s seriously like Christmas for me, I cannot wait until the weather permits me to be outside full time.

In celebration of all things spring, its time to refresh the entryway saw horse table. I’m not sure why I dread styling this table, maybe because it is such a focal point to the interior of my home and I always want it to be perfect. Or it could be that I just need more things in the epic huge entryway so it doesn’t seem like it’s the only thing to look at. EITHER WAY, I tackled it yesterday and wanted to share it with you all.

As you know, I usually divide this long table into sections, which I highly recommend if you are trying to style a large piece. My husband Adam always pokes fun at me moving things around 100x until I get them right, but if I start small and build on it then this usually eliminates at least 50% of the rearranging. Anyway, here’s the first section I completed, which is the left side of the table.

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I went back and forth on using books in front of the large spool, a lot, but here’s the version without them. These are all things I gathered up around my house and took out of my decor stash. I am a firm believer that you don’t need to buy new things and spend a ton of money to decorate your home, just collect over time and reuse the same items.

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Here we have the right side of the table. I am a huge fan of this vintage birdcage and try to incorporate it into every season’s decor. Check out my post on the DIY clothespins here, if you want to make some of your own.

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And here is a photo of the entire table! I moved the copper lanterns down below for this photo, but they are glass and not conducive to being played with by a 1 year old, so they had to be moved out of reach. I am happy with how this table turned out and now I need the weather to cooperate so I can give some spring vibes to the front porch.

Soon. Very soon.

Until then, I want to thank you for stopping by the blog today and I hope you were able to gleam some inspiration for your own homes. I’m off to finish my list before nap time is over!

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Homemade Dog Food

Disclaimer: I suggest you consult your pet’s veterinarian (as I am not one) to determine the best food for your dog’s breed, activity, etc.


I’m changing it up a bit for today’s post….let’s talk food. Dog food to be specific!

Recently, I have been paying close attention to the chemicals and preservatives found in food and how they can have adverse health affects. While reflecting on my family’s grocery list and meal habits, I couldn’t help but notice that we feed our dogs dry processed kibble, which seemed to represent everything I was trying to avoid consuming myself. Why couldn’t I extend these healthy eating habits to the canine members of our family as well? How would I go about doing that?

There seem’s to be a meal delivery plan for every lifestyle and diet these days, and dog food is no exception. While having fresh dog food delivered each week in perfectly portioned bags would be nice, I found out it comes along with a significant cost, and a bit more inconvenience on my end. With extreme heat and cold here in the Midwest, I would need to make sure someone would be home to receive the shipments each week and that would be nearly impossible.

Boat ride!

Boat ride!

Sometimes you just need carried around!

Sometimes you just need carried around!

Also, our dogs are used to eating ‘free choice’ (they have a bowl filled each night and choose when they want to eat during the day), which would have to change to them being fed twice a day, and while doable it would be an added task. We already fed them a very high quality dry food, they appear to have no allergies and also no issues with digestion. I knew there had to be a budget friendly way to incorporate fresh food into their diet, and that idea started a path down a Pinterest rabbit hole.

After reading several articles, recipes, and suggestions, I came up with my own dog food recipe and I have used it for the past three weeks. I didn’t want to cut out their dry food completely, as I am sure there are some added vitamins/minerals/proteins that they need from it. Instead, I simply give them one bag of homemade food once per day, on top of their free choice dog food (each bag is about 1.5ish cups). Here is what I have found so far:

1) Our dogs love the taste, and it fills them up! They are eating significantly less dry food, which means less cost!

2) They drink less water, which is normal, since they are eating less dry food.

3) They remain VERY active, and continue to have no issues with allergies or digestion.

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The Recipe!

This is a very easy recipe, substitute with whatever you have on hand, just google to see if it is healthy for your pet first (again, I am not a pet health expert).

You will need:

  • 1 pound ground beef (I sometimes substitute a beef/deer mix)

  • 1 can kidney beans

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas

  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice

  • 4 large carrots, sliced

  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1in chunks

  • 4.5 cups water

Add everything to a crock pot and mix well. Cook on high for 5 to 6 hours, stirring occasionally. Let cool completely and portion into baggies, I use one heaping cup per bag which is probably closer to 1.5 cups. Toss in the fridge until you are ready to serve, or make a large batch and store in the freezer. This recipe makes around 12 servings, which lasts just under a week between my two dogs.

Start

Start

Finish

Finish

Bagged up!

Bagged up!

And there you have it, my simple and budget friendly homemade dog food recipe! Feel free to pin this post for later use, and as always, thanks for stopping by the blog today!

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How To Clean Up Your Vintage Glass Bottles

Today I am writing from SUNNY and WARM (ish) Iowa! I can’t tell you how excited I am to not have to brace my face for the cold every time I open a door. Today’s post goes along with all things ‘spring cleaning’ which is the theme at my house these days! We have been doing all those yearly tasks, cleaning out dryer vents and bathroom fan motors…safety first!

If you have been following along you know I love everything budget friendly, and therefore I find a lot of my decor pieces at thrift shops. I love the hunt for a good deal, and I recently came across a collection of medicine bottles and many were marked $1 . I have a plan to display them in my bathroom (after I re-paint it) and while I love the look of vintage bottles, I noticed some of these had a residue or film on the inside that was taking away from the look.

After a little research, and some trial and error, I came up with a fairly simple method to cleaning some of the residue out of the bottles that didn’t use any harsh chemicals and also didn’t damage them. The end result was not a sparkling clean look, but it’s better than where we started!

Here are a couple before photos to show you what I was working with…

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As you can see there was quite a bit of buildup on the inside of these bottles, and it was taking away from their appearance. Here is how I cleaned them up:

  1. Fill them half way with warm water and other half white vinegar

  2. Let them sit on the counter for 24 hours

  3. Rinse well

  4. Fill them completely with white vinegar

  5. Let them sit for another 24 hours

  6. Rinse well and dry

You could repeat this process as many times as you wish to achieve your desired result.

Here are the after photos…again they are not perfect but definitely an improvement!

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These bottles are now ready to be added to my collection that I’m working on for the spare bathroom, and of course I will share that cabinet and collection when I get it completed. Now that the weather is nicer, we have been working outside most days but I will find time for the indoor projects again soon!

As always, thanks for stopping by the blog today, and feel free to pin this post for later use!

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The Easiest Decor DIY Ever!

Hi there! I’m writing to you from sunny Iowa, and while 40 degrees might not be warm where you are from, it’s certainly a welcomed sight in this region! Today I have a super easy and quick DIY ready for you, perfect for filling in those small spaces in your home.

You will need:

  1. Twine

  2. Clothespins

  3. Scissors

That’s it!

Let’s get to it!

I picked up these clothespins and twine from Lowes

I picked up these clothespins and twine from Lowes

Now that you have everything gathered up, take the scissors and cut a 2 to 3 foot section of twine and begin to wrap it around a clothespin, with no particular pattern. I like to choose varying lengths of twine and make some clothespins ‘fatter’ than others, so they all appear different when piled up together. Repeat this process as many times as you desire, and you can either hot glue the ends or simply tuck them in.

These little twine clothespins are great fillers for any decor, since they are neutral and not specific to a season. Here are a couple photos of how I used them just today.

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This project was also very budget friendly, I think the grand total was around $7. For those looking for clothespins, I found them in the cabinet organization section at Lowes (don’t ask me why they keep them there, I never understand how that place is organized).

Well, I am headed back outside now that all of my winter decorations are officially unfrozen from the front porch….it’s time to clean that area up!

As always, thanks for stopping by the blog today!

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