Favorite Things - February 2013 Edition

I haven't done a favorite things roundup in about a million years, but I have started several and I'm determined to finish this one because I've been obsessed with some pretty cool stuff lately and I just have to share it with you guys...


(1) Danskin Sweatpants from Walmart - much cheaper than the ones you'd buy directly from Danskin and I pretty much live in them at home. I like every version I've tried and you can click the link to see the version pictured above.

(2) Jenna Sue font - so cute and readable and FREE! You can download it for free by clicking here (or the font name).

(3) Nina Ricci's Premier Jour perfume - I know next to nothing about the scents in different perfumes, but I love this one. It's not really new... I think I got my first bottle as a gift when I graduated from high school many years ago, but I've continued to buy it and use it most days because it's that awesome.

(4) Belkin Mini Surge Protector - not too glamorous, but so useful! Especially when you travel a lot... you can plug it in and suddenly you can plug in your computer, phone, etc. through regular plugs or directly in the USB ports. Magic and it fits in a carry on!

(5) All*You Magazine - I thought it was just for coupons and I finally got a subscription recently and while I might be a little younger than the target demographic, I love it. Coupons, Sudoku, fashion that I can find at real stores AND afford... a lot of stuff in there is a lot more applicable to my life than the more "fantasy-oriented" women's magazines you see at the grocery store checkout.

(6) e.l.f. Super Glossy Lip Shine - I got a bunch of these for less than a buck each at Target's after Christmas sales (I think they were originally stocking stuffers) and I love them. They smell good, aren't too thick and gooey, and even when not on sale, pretty darn affordable. You can buy them on Amazon here or from Target's site here (3 for $3 here... currently a better deal than Amazon).

(7) Paper Mate Flair Pens - I have a pack at home and one at work because I LOVE them so much. They're great for doodling, list making, note taking, etc. Lots of colors and they don't bleed through most papers. I'm kind of obsessed with office supplies, including pens, and these are the top of my life these days.

(8) Archipelago Pomegranate Body Butter - another blogger told me about this and I got a jar for my birthday a year or so ago and I love it. It's great for my hands and feet, in particular. It's more expensive than I'd spend on most things, but I love pomegranate and wanted to try it... it's lasted so long and I've loved it so much, that I continue to buy it. It's also taught me what "body butter" should look at act like - almost like butter that actually melts into a lotion when you touch it and your body heat warms it. This continues to amaze me...

Any favorite things you've discovered recently? Or think I should know about?


(Note that no one is paying me - I did link to my Amazon Associates account for some of these and you can see all of my favorite things in my Amazon Associates storefront here... anyways, I posted about them all here because I just genuinely love these products!)

Bars of Beads Necklaces

I realized I've been LOVING bars of rondelles or little beads on necklaces on Etsy (check out my Etsy treasury here for some I lusted over...) and I wanted to see if I could figure out how to make some on my own... unfortunately, I really don't know how to do pictures of jewelry tutorials (I barely have enough hands to make anything myself, let alone push a button or position a camera). But I still wanted to share this and hopefully you can see enough to recreate it if you want to!


Supplies

  • Chain
  • Clasp
  • Colored beads (I got all of these on the one string from Michael's)
  • Small jewelry pliers & trimmers/clippers (like those I used and took pictures of for this necklace tutorial - for clipping and loop making)
  • Jewelry pins (with the curled end)
  • Jump rings

Instructions


Gather up your supplies. I separated the beads by color because I wanted to layer the necklaces, but all of these little ones came on one string together...

Then measure your chain to the length you want it, remembering that your clasp and the bar of beads will add length to that. I did this part first, but it might be easier to wait until the end...

Add the clasp to two ends using the jump rings and jewelry pliers. Then, grab the curled straight pin-like thing and use your jewelry pliers to curl the ring on the pin around one of the links in the chain. Then string your beads onto the pin, leaving some room at the end of it....


Then, use your pliers to curl the straight end of the pin around the end link on the other side of the chain. Pinch the loop closed with the pliers and trim off any extra wire. Luckily, you get a few pins in the package so you can make a mistake or two and it's not a big deal...

And ta da! Necklaces perfect for layering and tank top weather (whenever it arrives) and seriously cheap... (I think the beads were around $2 and I still have many, many leftover; the chain was around the same price and I made two necklaces and still have more left and then I owned everything else already).


I'll be linking up to some of my favorite parties...
Mondays: C.R.A.F.T., The DIY ShowOff, Craft-O-Maniac, Making the World Cuter, Skip to My Lou, Mad in Crafts, Sew Can Do, Boogieboard Cottage, Keeping It Simple, Polish the Stars, Pinkapotamus, Singing Three Little Birds, Colours Dekor, DIY Home Sweet Home, Be Colorful, The Gunny Sack, Lines Across, The Southern Institute, Get Outta My Head, 3 Mango Seeds, You're Talking Too Much, I Should Be Mopping the Floor, Destination: Craft, Cherished Bliss, 11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven, Sarahndipities, Sumo's Sweet Stuff, Project Inspire{d}Between Naps on the Porch, Ninth Street Notions, Southern Hospitality, Sew Chatty, Thrifty Decor Chick, Reinventing the Ordinary (Pet Party) 

Tuesdays: New Nostalgia, Hope Studios, Vintage Wanna Bee, Tip Junkie, Ladybug Blessings, Topsy Turvy, Funky Polkadot Giraffe, Giggles Glitz & Glam, Reasons to Skip the Housework, Coastal Charm, A Bowl Full of Lemons, Not Just a Housewife, A Diamond in the Stuff, The Ivy Cottage, homework, Crayon Freckles, Crafty Confessions, Me and My Boys, The Kurtz Corner, Sugar Bee, Sweet Little Gals, Chef in Training, Today's Creative Blog, Home Stories A to Z, DIY by Design, Tales of a Trophy WifeOur Delightful Home, homemade ginger

Wednesdays: Creations By Kara, Seven Thirty Three, Sugar and Dots, Someday Crafts, Night Owl Crafting, Lil Luna, Sew Much Ado, We Are That FamilyA Little Tipsy, My Girlish WhimsPolka Dots on Parade, Ginger Snap CraftsFrugally Sustainable, Handy Man Crafty WomanClean & Scentsible, Pincushion CreationsPrimp JunktionOrganize and Decorate EverythingSavvy Southern Style, JAQS Studio, The DIY Dreamer


Thursdays: Somewhat Simple, House of Hepworths, The Shabby Creek Cottage, A Glimpse Inside, Fireflies and JellybeansMomnivore's Dilemma, Yesterday on Thursday & Katie's Nesting Spot, Beyond the Picket Fence, Rhinestone Beagle, Suzy's Artsy-Craftsy Sitcom, Christina's AdventuresSeven AliveThe 36th Avenue, Southern Lovely, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Bear Rabbit Bear, Crafty Scrappy Happy, 52 Mantels, live. laugh. rowe.Artsy CornerDelightful Order, The Train to Crazy, Mine for the Making, The Taylor HouseThe Frugal Girls, No Minimalist Here

Fridays: Fingerprints on the Fridge, The Shabby Nest, Tatertots & Jello, Simply Sweet Home, 30 Handmade Days, WhipperBerryLovely Crafty Home, Catch As Catch Can, Nap Time Crafters, 504 Main, My Simple Home Life, Simply Designing, The Picket Fence, Chic on a Shoestring, The Hungry Hypo, French Country Cottage, Ladybird Lane, The Answer is Chocolate, Truly Lovely, Bubbly Nature Creations, Little Becky Homecky, Delicate Construction, Serenity Now, See Vanessa Craft, Happy Hour Projects, Making Lemonade, One Artsy Mama,  Mom 4 Real, So You Think You're Crafty, Finding Fabulous For Less, It's a Hodgepodge Life, Tidy Mom, Scissors & Spatulas, While He Was NappingRelease Me Creations, Craftionary, Five Days... Five WaysThe Creative Paige, Blissful Bucketlist

Saturdays: Tutus & Tea Parties, Here's to Handy AndyFunky Junk Interiors, Young & Crafty, Be Different Act Normal, To Sew With Love, Six Sisters' Stuff, Gingerbread, Homemaker in Heels, A Vision to Remember, Positively Splendid, Too Much Time, Crafty Moms Share, Polkadot Pretties, Candace Creations, Serenity You, Shaken Together, Classy Clutter

Sundays: I Heart Nap Time, Under the Table and Dreaming, LambAround, Flamingo Toes, Petite Hermine, Homemaker on a Dime, The Foley Fam, The SweetTalk Shop, Nifty Thrifty ThingsThe Tablescaper, My 1929 Charmer, It's Overflowing

Miscellaneous: The Girl Creative, Every Crafty Endeavor, My House of Giggles, My Lil Pumpkin PatchVintage Gwen

Bills & Other Fun: A Free Printable Tracker

EDITED: If you'd like the updated version for 2014, click here

At the end of 2012, as I started thinking about tax season and getting that stuff together, I started to get the regular "new year, new start" excitement AND the overwhelming desire to get some things in order so that I feel more prepared next year. I also had a few minutes off of work and a long road trip to plan some things out in my head and so I designed two notebooks for the boy and me to use. One is a financial binder and the other is cleaning, organizing, and miscellaneous household stuff. I made a lot of printables and we've been using the binders for little while now and the boy even likes them now (at first he thought they'd just be more work for us) and so I figured it was time to tweak them and start sharing. 

This is the first of the printables for the financial binder. It's the big, main tracker that the boy and I use for keeping up with all of our bills and monthly obligations (including prescription refills, giving the puppies their heartworm medication, etc.). You only need one for the whole year because it is that awesome... but before I show you how I use that, here's an overview of the financial binder I made.


The Legal Stuff

Like all the printables I'll be sharing, when you click on the link or images at the bottom of the post, you'll be taken over to Box to download them for free. They are free for personal use and you should use them and enjoy them and hopefully they will make your life easier. Please don't sell them or claim them as your own and please don't have people download them from your site - you can direct them here all you want (and that would be wonderful). 


The Financial Binder

With all that un-fun stuff out of the way, it's time to move on to the binder process. I purchased two pretty 3-ring binders from Target and some dividers, broke out my new Chrismukkah label maker (best present EVER!) and put this together... 


I'll give you a quick tour of the binder itself and then show you how I use the tracker printable....

I used the Silhouette to label the side of the binder and it says "Financial Information" in light blue vinyl letters.


When you open the binder, there is a plastic divider that says "General" and this is the big section that starts off with the tracker and also has some general financial information, including the most recent credit report information I have and the information we got from the home owner when we moved to Maryland about utilities... just little stuff I wanted to keep.


Then there are lots of more dividers. The colored dividers are the big sections, the white dividers are the sort of sub-sections (because I have a little OCD). The first colored divider is for "General" stuff, then we have "Utilities" and then "Credit Cards" and "(Bank) Accounts" and "Donations." After the big Utilities divider, there are white divider tabs for each of our major utility accounts - the electricity, gas, cable/internet/phone, and water/sewer. The Credit Card section has tabs/dividers for each credit card the boy and I have and the same is true for the Accounts section. Donations is just by itself at the end!

So it looks like this:

  • General
  • Utilities
    • Electricity
    • Gas
    • Water/Sewer
    • Internet/Cable/Phone
  • Credit Cards
    • Card #1
    • Card #2
    • Card #3
  • (Bank) Accounts
    • Account #1
    • Account #2
    • Account #3
  • Donations


The Tracker Printable

That's the overview and now here's an example of how you might use the tracker. I've blocked out the personal information from casa de Crafty Scientist and written in some examples. On the first line, you have rent.  In the second column on that row, you see "24" which indicates that rent is due on the 24th of each month (unlikely, but you get the point) and then you see an "X" in that third column indicating that rent was paid for January. On the next line, you see electricity, which is due on the 4th and you see "1/4" written in the third column. You could do that to indicate you paid the bill on January 4th. You can go with the "X" or the date paid - it's up to you!


It's a little easier to see the example and what I was talking about in this picture... 


Downloads

And now, for the real excitement... (drumroll)... the trackers! I've made everything in two versions. The first is Citrus & Magenta (pink and yellow/orange)....

Click here to download.

And the second is in Teal and Lime (two of my very favorite colors). You can choose one or both - it's up to you. But all of the printables will be offered in both colors. 

Click here to download.

Feel free to download and use and hopefully they will make your life easier and help get your finances in order. The boy and I actually use one tracker in our notebook and have one up on a bulletin board so that we can be sure we've gotten everything done on time at a glance. I'd love to hear what you think and I'll be sharing more printables from the financial binder soon and then the general/organizing one...

Seriously, I am LOVING this organizing thing. It just feels like all is right in the world when this stuff is in order, you know? So if you have any great organizing tips or ideas, I would LOVE to hear them.

I'll be sharing this post at some of my favorite parties!

Mondays: C.R.A.F.T., The DIY ShowOff, Craft-O-Maniac, Making the World Cuter, Skip to My Lou, Mad in Crafts, Sew Can Do, Boogieboard Cottage, Keeping It Simple, Polish the Stars, Pinkapotamus, Singing Three Little Birds, Colours Dekor, DIY Home Sweet Home, Be Colorful, The Gunny Sack, Lines Across, The Southern Institute, Get Outta My Head, 3 Mango Seeds, You're Talking Too Much, I Should Be Mopping the Floor, Destination: Craft, Cherished Bliss, 11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven, Sarahndipities, Sumo's Sweet Stuff, Between Naps on the Porch, Ninth Street Notions, Southern Hospitality, Sew Chatty, Thrifty Decor Chick, Reinventing the Ordinary (Pet Party) 

Tuesdays: New Nostalgia, Hope Studios, Vintage Wanna Bee, Tip Junkie, Ladybug Blessings, Topsy Turvy, Funky Polkadot Giraffe, Giggles Glitz & Glam, Reasons to Skip the Housework, Coastal Charm, A Bowl Full of Lemons, Not Just a Housewife, A Diamond in the Stuff, The Ivy Cottage, homework, Crayon Freckles, Crafty Confessions, Me and My Boys, The Kurtz Corner, Sugar Bee, Sweet Little Gals, Chef in Training, Today's Creative Blog, Home Stories A to Z, DIY by Design, Tales of a Trophy WifeOur Delightful Home

Wednesdays: Creations By Kara, Seven Thirty Three, Sugar and Dots, Someday Crafts, Night Owl Crafting, Lil Luna, Sew Much Ado, We Are That FamilyA Little Tipsy, My Girlish WhimsPolka Dots on Parade, Ginger Snap CraftsFrugally Sustainable, Handy Man Crafty WomanClean & Scentsible, Pincushion CreationsPrimp JunktionOrganize and Decorate EverythingSavvy Southern Style, JAQS Studio, The DIY Dreamer


Thursdays: Somewhat Simple, House of Hepworths, The Shabby Creek Cottage, A Glimpse Inside, Fireflies and JellybeansMomnivore's Dilemma, Yesterday on Thursday & Katie's Nesting Spot, Beyond the Picket Fence, Rhinestone Beagle, Suzy's Artsy-Craftsy Sitcom, Christina's AdventuresSeven AliveThe 36th Avenue, Southern Lovely, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Bear Rabbit Bear, Crafty Scrappy Happy, 52 Mantels, live. laugh. rowe.Artsy CornerDelightful Order, The Train to Crazy, Mine for the Making, The Taylor HouseThe Frugal Girls, No Minimalist Here

Fridays: Fingerprints on the Fridge, The Shabby Nest, Tatertots & Jello, Simply Sweet Home, 30 Handmade Days, WhipperBerryLovely Crafty Home, Catch As Catch Can, Nap Time Crafters, 504 Main, My Simple Home Life, Simply Designing, The Picket Fence, Chic on a Shoestring, The Hungry Hypo, French Country Cottage, Ladybird Lane, The Answer is Chocolate, Truly Lovely, Bubbly Nature Creations, Little Becky Homecky, Delicate Construction, Serenity Now, See Vanessa Craft, Happy Hour Projects, Making Lemonade, One Artsy Mama,  Mom 4 Real, So You Think You're Crafty, Finding Fabulous For Less, It's a Hodgepodge Life, Tidy Mom, Scissors & Spatulas, While He Was NappingRelease Me Creations, Craftionary, Five Days... Five WaysThe Creative Paige, Blissful Bucketlist

Saturdays: Tutus & Tea Parties, Here's to Handy AndyFunky Junk Interiors, Young & Crafty, Be Different Act Normal, To Sew With Love, Six Sisters' Stuff, Gingerbread, Homemaker in Heels, A Vision to Remember, Positively Splendid, Too Much Time, Crafty Moms Share, Polkadot Pretties, Candace Creations, Serenity You, Shaken Together, Classy Clutter

Sundays: I Heart Nap Time, Under the Table and Dreaming, LambAround, Flamingo Toes, Petite Hermine, Homemaker on a Dime, The Foley Fam, The SweetTalk Shop, Nifty Thrifty ThingsThe Tablescaper, My 1929 Charmer, It's Overflowing

Miscellaneous: The Girl Creative, Every Crafty Endeavor, My House of Giggles, My Lil Pumpkin PatchVintage Gwen

We're Engaged!

Just after midnight, on January 1, 2013, the boyfriend proposed and I accepted, so...


Since then, it's been crazy and I somehow forgot to announce it here... oops! But it's official - we're engaged and the boyfriend is now the fiance!


No real details to share yet. He used an old family ring he got from my dad after asking my dad's permission and we're having it re-done a bit so I took some pictures (for the jewelers actually, haha), but I've got that bit to share with you...  (well, mostly me playing with photo editing, but you get the point)!


Other than that, I'm just enjoying this stage in our lives and I just wanted to tell you guys the great news!
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