Trash to Treasure: How to Make Decorative Farmhouse Bottles

The new year has been treating me well so far. New goals and ambitions aplenty. I’ve been trying to make my resolutions small but attainable goals. I’m planning on reevaluating my goals after a few months to see if I need to lower them, or if I’ve been doing them no problem and make them more challenging. One of my goals is doing one thing a week to beautify my house. Week one was redoing some caulking (which in and of itself I need to fix ’cause I did a pretty poor job, haha). This week my goal is a much smaller one, making some cute decorations to match my aesthetic. Now, any of you that follow me on Pinterest might notice I have a board called “Aesthetic”, it’s full of beautiful rustic/farmhouse rooms. One thing that many of those rooms have in common, is that they re-purpose old stuff to make it new. What a great way to reuse things! So this week I’m going to tell you about how I’ve been made decorative glass bottles.

how to decorate bottles, decorative bottles, stylish bottles, barnhouse decor, farmhouse decor, industrial decor

This project is great because it’s so simple. It doesn’t take much time at all! It’s tasteful, elegant and could be used in any room in your house. You could decorate a nursery with it, or even give it as a gift.

I am a big fan of white and gold. Those two colours seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. I am especially keen on matte/flat white. Something about the lack of sheen is just so appealing to me. Plus, pairing it with a metallic makes the metallic pop even more! In this project, I’m using spray paint, but you could just as easily use chalk paint or a different canned paint of your choice.

Supplies:

Your choice of paint
Empty glass bottle (Wine bottles are great for this)
(optional) Pencil
(optional) Paper
(optional) Scissors
(optional) Stencil
(optional) Metallic Pen
(optional) Small Paint Brush for designs

First things first, you need an area to paint in that won’t mess up your house or yard. If it’s a windy day and you’re using spray paint, you might be in for a bad time. You could paint your bottles inside of a large cardboard box, or over top of newspapers or a drop cloth, to keep things from getting too messy.

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If you have a dowel or something else you can have the bottle(s) upside down on, it makes it easier. If not, you’ll just have to take another pass once it’s dry and flip it over to cover the bottle completely. And honestly, once it’s dry you can call it a day. Or if you’re like me, you can do a little bit more to add more character.

Ways to Add Character:

– wrap rope around it
– wrap burlap around the centre
– write words on it
– draw images on it
– leave a portion transparent in a shape (could even put a photo or other image in the bottle that can be seen through the transparency)
– distress it

For mine, I added a white heart to the gold bottle and wrote ‘Love’ in gold on the white bottle. This way my bottles compliment each other. If you choose to go the same route as me, you should sketch out your lettering on paper before committing to it. After you’ve decided on lettering that you like, sketch it out on the bottle and trace over it with your marker or paintbrush. And just like that, the typographic decorative bottle is done.

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For the one with an image (in my case the heart), you could either freehand it or make a stencil (or use a stencil you’ve found, ain’t no shame in it!). I used paper for my stencil, but wax or parchment paper might be better. Once you’ve got the stencil in place, paint in the desired area and allow the paint to dry a bit but not all the way before removing the stencil.

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I could go into more detail for the other ways to do this, but hey, I think I might be able to make another few posts out of this one if I don’t. Hahaha!

Do you guys plan on making this or have you made something else similar? Do you have other ideas on ways to reuse glass bottles? Or if you have anything you’d like me to attempt a tutorial at, please let me know

How to Get Your Budget in Check ASAP

money management, investing, saving, budgeting,

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Lately I’ve been looking at my bank statements, and doing what TV Tropes refers to as ‘The Awkward Collar Tug’. I’ve always been pretty good at budgeting, but sometimes I let myself get too comfortable. I assume I’m spending the same amount as usual, allow the odd splurge here or there, and suddenly, things aren’t so great.

Having to be conscious of your money all the time sucks. It affects your health negatively, and there’s not really anything you can do about that. Because, really, what are you going to do? Stop worrying about money and then end up even worse off?

I’ve known many people who live paycheck to paycheck, but still splurge on things they really shouldn’t. Though of course y’all deserve to treat yo’selves, y’all should not screw yo’selves over. Gear and I do allowance for ourselves. We give ourselves $100 of guilt free money a month. We can use it on movie dates, outings with friends, eating out, buying stuff off Amazon, anything really. If we want something more expensive than what our allowance allows, we allow unspent money to carry over to the next month. So, save up buttercup.

My rule when money is tight: Don’t double up. If you want to go and do something that costs money because, hey, you gotta have a social life, right? By all means, go ahead and do it. But don’t do the thing, and then do another right after. For example, you want to go out and see a movie with your friends, go for it. Don’t go out to dinner after, though. Suggest hanging out at someone’s house and eating some frozen pizzas (Like, a frozen pizza is around four bucks, depending on where you live, way cheaper than going out for dinner, split the cost and it’s even better!) or you could make my go-to ‘I-have-no-money meal’, Tofu Wraps.

In this capitalist society that we live in, the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. Us little guys just can’t seem to cut a break! So, for all us out here, living in the outer rim, looking for ways to save and budget, here ya go:

The Old Fashioned Way

Spreadsheets

I have a love affair with spreadsheets. They are so useful for so many things. The easiest program is obviously Microsoft Excel, but if you don’t have it, there’s a watered-down web version that you can use for free if you have a Microsoft account. Alternatively, you could use Google Sheets which you can use if you have a Google account (Who doesn’t these days though, am I right?). The nice thing about spreadsheets is there are lots of clever people online who have made templates already, you just have to find one that works for you. Of course, you can still make your own custom one as well.

Keep Notes

Keeping notes is a fantastic way to keep track of what you are spending your money on. Usually, I have a note on my phone for my aforementioned allowance, just because I like to know where my money is going. I write how much money I spent, where I spent the money, and what I spent the money on. This can also help protect you against fraud if you keep vigilant. If you compare your notes with your bank statements and notice an unusual transaction, alert your bank. Most fraudsters will test out their swiped banking info with a small transaction before they do any major transactions.

Print Out Your Bank Statement

This method is perfect for when you think “Where the heck has all my money gone??”. I’ve done this with my BFF. We looked through all her banking info and noticed that all the microtransactions added up to a pretty hefty fraction of her paycheck. Pull out a few different coloured pens/highlighters/markers/whatever, designate one colour for bills, one for necessary* regular expenses (like gas and groceries), one for unexpected expenses, one for social, and black out anything that you think was unnecessary. You might surprise yourself!

*Your daily coffee doesn’t count. Buy a cheapo coffee maker, you can get ’em new for, like, 20 bucks.

Coupon!!

Websites

There are countless websites that offer or compile coupons for various retailers, items, or events. Or you can even go straight to the source and look for manufacturers coupons right on the websites of brands that you love.

Flyers

Anyone else have distinct memories of their mom pouring over flyers and making their shopping lists, potentially even hitting up multiple stores for the best deals? Going through flyers and comparing prices on things that you need absolutely saves you money. Not only that but many retailers offer price matching, so maybe you don’t actually have to hit up multiple stores! As far as grocery shopping goes, make a list every time. That way you only buy what you need.

Checkout 51

Checkout 51 is a couponing app. It lets you snap a pic of your grocery receipt and stores the value until you’ve earned at least $20. After you’ve earned $20 you can request to have a cheque sent to you. Every Thursday they update with new coupons.

Snap by Groupon

Snap actually started out a bit more like Checkout 51, but eventually shifted to be broader coupon-wise. Their shtick is that you can get coupons and discounts in-store and online at various retailers (Not just grocery anymore). The downside is now, any money you earn is Groupon Bucks. If you use Groupon a lot, it’s awesome, but if you are wanting money in the bank, maybe this one’s not for you.

Apps That Can Help

Mint

This free app can sync up to your banking app. You can set it to have budgets for specific things, say you want to spend X dollars on groceries, Mint will alert you when you’re getting close to your budget. You can plug in your bills as well so you can check out how much money you have, and your upcoming bills all on the same page. You can check your credit score and get tips on how to improve it. This app is just all around pretty awesome for people who want to get in control of their finances. They encrypt all the data, and it even alerts you of unusual purchases. However trusting any banking info to a 3rd party app can be a bit nerve-wracking, as this post on Young and Thrifty goes into (the comment section is definitely worth a read too).

Mylo

This Canadian app links up to your bank cards, rounds up your purchases and invests the spare change. So when you spend $23.16 on a cute graphic tee, $0.84 will be added to your Mylo account. They use the same security measures as all major Canadian banks. Not only does it help you save and invest, it has AI that gives you advice on saving! This app costs $1/Month (As of August 2017 it’s only available in the App Store, but is apparently coming soon for Google Play).

Acorns

Acorns is pretty much the same thing as Mylo, but for a bit more of a global market. This one also costs $1/month. Honestly, between these two, it’s just best to research them yourselves and see which one works best for you personally.

Check With Your Bank

I know, I know. This isn’t an app. But sometimes your banks offer the services that apps would, or maybe your banking app has hidden features that you didn’t know about. It’s always good to check in with a financial consultant at your bank, and discuss your savings goals and where you want things to be. It is literally their job to help you. It’s good too if you want a more hands-off approach to your banking. You shouldn’t avoid going for fear of not understanding what they are talking about, you can ask them to repeat things, or explain them more simply. If you are ever feeling unsure about something you don’t have to commit, but it’s always good to have all the information.

If you have any saving or budgeting tips, or if you’ve tried out any of these apps and want to share your experience feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

Tasty Vegan Tofu Wrap Recipe

tofu, vegan, vegetarian

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Back in 2012 when I was saving for my wedding, I was a money saving MACHINE (puns, haha). I budgeted my buns off. Worked two jobs that left me working 6 to 15 day weeks – with hours all over the place. And I cooked exceedingly budget meals. One of these meals was so well received that it became a staple on the menu and I still serve it to this day. This recipe is great when you want a hot meal that doesn’t take too long to prep, not to mention it’s a great vegan/vegetarian dish that anyone can enjoy.

This recipe is great when you want a hot, tasty meal that doesn’t take too long to prep. Not to mention it’s also an awesome dish that vegans or vegetarians can eat! I myself am not vegetarian, but I find it’s always good to have some meatless dishes under your belt. After all, you never know when you’ll need to accommodate for someone who does have dietary restrictions. Remember friends, it’s not cool to bully people for what they eat.

I’ve actually even made a variation of this since Cog was born, that at 10 months was totally okay for her to eat. Just skip out on the sauce!

When I created this recipe, I did so because meat can be pretty darn expensive, and you can get a surprising amount of mileage out of tofu. A package of ground beef can cost double what a brick of tofu does. And when you are scrimping and saving, every dollar counts. This dish has always made enough for either guests or leftovers.

Funny story, the first time I made this was the first time I worked with tofu. Gear is a bit of a picky eater; so when he came home in the middle of me cooking it, he asked what it was, I told him it was ground chicken. He fell for my ruse, and after he ate it, and told me he loved it, I told him what it really was.

So without further delay, here it is!

Tofu Wraps

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

 

Ingredients

-1 Brick Extra Firm Tofu

-½ Cup Sauce of your choice (I do BBQ sauce normally, but I’ve done it with soy sauce too)

-2-4 Cups Baby Spinach

-1 Can Corn (frozen corn is fine too)

-2 Tbsp Oil of your choice

-Tortilla Wraps

-Extra toppings (Salsa, sour cream, sriracha, whatever floats your boat)


Directions

1: Pour the oil into a medium/large frying pan (err on the side of large, if possible), and set the heat to medium-high

2: Pat your tofu dry; begin crumbling it with your hands into small chunks, then toss it into your pan to cook for 5-7 mins, or until it starts to change colour. Once that’s done throw in your sauce, stir it up until all the tofu is covered, you can pretty much play how much sauce you want by ear, I never measure it tbh. Next dump that can of corn all over and mix it up. Let it cook for about 3 minutes.

3: Once everything else is done cooking, throw your spinach in. I know I said 2 cups, but I generally just do a few fistfuls until it feels right. Let the spinach get good and wilted, and then your recipe is ready to toss into a wrap, or if you want to make this recipe Gluten-Free you could use a lettuce wrap instead of a tortilla. I’ve even thrown this on top of a salad!

4: Toss on whatever toppings you like, then enjoy!

The point of this recipe for me was to be quick, easy and cheap. I wrote it up to be the same way I cooked it back when I was penny-pinching. but there are definitely ways that you can jazz it up with spices or extra ingredients. I often like to add zucchini, onion, or peppers.

If you are in the market for a new frying pan, I’ve tried a few brands and I really like these T-Fal ones. They are so easy to clean!

vegan vegetarian meal