Amanda Dorough | She's Paying It Off

The Story of My Journey to Debt Freedom, One Tiny Step at a Time


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Frugal DIY Greeting Cards (from Magazines!)

Hey all!  How are you doing with this whole social distance thing?  Surviving?  I’m just so ready for it to be over but alas, it is what it is right now I guess.

So, considering so many of us are stuck at home and finding ways to get creative and pass the time I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite frugal DIYs.

Now before we start, this project depends on having a stack of old magazines at your disposal.  If you don’t have that you can always get creative in other ways, using construction paper or whatever you may have on hand, but for the sake of my project I’m using old magazines.

Ok, now onward to the craft!  Today folks we’re making DIY greeting cards, which, if you’re on a no spend year like me is great because it means you won’t feel the temptation to spend money on cards.

What you’ll need (and hopefully you already have on hand):

Old magazines
Glue
Scissors
Cardstock or printer paper
Pen/Pencil

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Step 1:  Flip through your magazines looking specifically for pages with large areas of solid colors OR cool looking prints.  Tear out the pages.

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Step 2:  Go through and cut out the solid colors from the pages, attempt to keep the pieces a straight as possible (think rectangles).

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Step 3:  Cut the pieces into small squares

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Step 4:  Now take your glue and cardstock/printer paper or whatever you’re going to use to make the body of the card.  I had a bunch of blank cards I got at Michaels a while back so that’s what I used.  Begin gluing the small squares to the card in whatever pattern you like, going line by line.  Don’t worry about letting parts of the squares overhang the sides, we’ll take care of that on the next step.

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Step 5:  Now that you’re done gluing on the squares flip the card over and trim the edges.

Step 6:  Now is the time to embellish.  You can do this however you’d like.  You can even just keep the card as a plain pattern.  If you want to keep the frugal concepts going you can cut out shapes from other magazine pages or extra printer paper (like I did here).  OR of course you can use stickers, glitter, whatever else you may have on hand.

And there you go, you have some easy frugal greeting cards and (hopefully) didn’t even have to visit a craft store!


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Lets Get Crafty: DIY Greeting Cards Pt. 1

DIY Collage Card

Back at the beginning of the year I wrote about my journey with Financial Peace, or, at least the beginning of it.  These last 8 months have been a huge learning experience in how to manage my money, and most of all make good decisions with it.  I’ll admit, I’ve slipped up a few times… usually at Target (lets be honest, that store could take all of my money if I’m not careful), but for the most part I’ve really impressed myself with how well I’ve done.

Part of the journey in learning how to manage money well is also learning how to take advantage of your resources and get creative with what you have, so I’ve spent quite a bit of time brainstorming ideas.

Which leads me to this post!

Chances are you give out a fair amount of cards every year.  Birthdays, thank yous, graduation cards, Easter cards, the list goes on and on.  When you consider the cheapest cards in the store are $1 the cost can really start to add up.  I know it has for me, so I tried to think of creative ways to make my own by brainstorming with the materials I already have.  I came up with a couple different ideas so I thought I’d share with you all!

This first DIY card is super easy.  You can literally crank one of these out in 15 minutes or less, so grab some old magazines and lets get to work!

First of all, here’s what you’ll need (Plus a pencil, I forgot to get that in the picture.  Lo siento!)

DIY Collage Card

First you’ll want to trace the card.  I like using cardstock for the card itself.  It’s heavy and has a really nice smooth feel compared to traditional construction paper.  I typically by big packs of it at Joanns when it goes on sale for $2 every so often, and usually I can cut out two cards from each sheet, so it works really well.

DIY Collage Card

Next it’s time to cut the card out.  I usually use a ruler and exacto knife to get a really straight edge, however I got these really great American Crafts scissors at Tuesday Mornings, and they rock!  They’re so exact and sharp!

Then, once the card has been cut out, go ahead and fold the card in half.  If the cut wasn’t perfect go ahead and trim the edges.

DIY Collage Card

Now  you’re ready to collect your materials.  As I go through my magazines I typically look for pages with lots of the same color (usually adds) so that it will give me a lot of room to work with.  A lot of times I’ll try to fit a specific color scheme as well.  Below are the ones I picked out for this card.

*Tip:  If you want to use white, try to use a page that doesn’t have a lot of print on the backside because once you glue it down the print will show through.

DIY Collage Card

Next cut out the pieces from each page that you want to use and from there cut the strips into little squares approx 1 in x 1 in (and no, it doesn’t matter if they’re perfect).

DIY Collage Card

DIY Collage Card

DIY Collage Card

Now you’re ready to start making your card!  Bust out your glue stick and get to work.  I personally like to alternate colors completely, but this is your card, get creative with it.  Also, don’t worry about lining up with the edges, you’ll be able to cut off the excess in the end

*Tip: Put the glue on the back of each piece instead of spreading it on the card first.  Each piece will overlap just a little bit, so in order to make sure the entire piece is glued down the glue will need to be applied directly to each piece.

DIY Collage Card

DIY Collage Card

DIY Collage Card

And viola!  You have a card!  Aren’t you proud?  I love these colors, they turned out so fun. Perfect for summer!

DIY Collage Card

But you also don’t have to stop with just the collage.  You can start adding other elements on top if you would like as well.  Here are a few other cards I’ve made using some of the leftover card stock scraps.  They’re obviously still a work in progress for the most part, but you get the jist.  The possibilities are essentially endless.

DIY Collage Card

So there you go, DIY cards using materials on hand.  Saving a little money and creating something personal for those special people in your life.  I have a few other card ideas swirling around so stay tuned for those.

And on another awesome note, this is the last post that will feature pictures taken on my poor little broken Canon Rebel.  The camera served me well for 7 years but it was time to move on.  I actually broke the screen on it while I was in Boliva so I wasn’t able to see any pictures I took until they got leaded onto my computer, which was a huge pain.  But, after more than a year of drooling over a new camera, and spending 5 months stalking Amazon.com to see if the price would budge I finally went for it and got a Canon 60D, and folks, it’s beautiful.  It’s amazing how much technology can improve in just a few years.  Oh, and the screen on it is one of those where you can flip it in and out and around (you follow?), so hopefully I won’t break it this time.

Yay for Gods blessings!   I head down to Mexico in less than two weeks so I’m excited to see what it will do!  (Ironically enough Mexico was the first big outing for my rebel too, this time I will prepare for all the dirt and dust involved).

Thanks for stopping by!

XO,
Manda

 


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DIY Anthropologie Journal

I love Anthropolgie.  The items they carry are so exotic, unique and quirky.  The type of things that make me happy.  The one thing I do not like however, are the prices.  I realize the prices stay high because of the uniqueness of all their items, but this twenty-something can’t break her budget to splurge on Anthropolgie goodness.  Dreaming….

The other day I perusing the Anthro website, just searching for eye candy when I came across this journal. And boy do I love journals, almost as much as I love Anthropolgie.  But $28 for journal?  That’s not even a little to steep for me, that’s a sheer cliff type of steep.  When I purchased my first Moleskine back before I left on the WR I debated for months, and that was only $12! (Maybe I’m just cheap?).

So, as the avid DIYer that I am I decided to make an attempt at creating my own version of this journal, and here’s how you can make on to.

It all started out with a composition book and some spray paint…

DIY Anthropologie JournalI bought this composition book way back in August, not because I needed it for a class but because it was 25 cents and I knew it would come in handy eventually!  To be useful for this project the marbled yellow on the front had to go so I headed you to my garage armed with newspaper and spray paint and went to town.

My first step was to paint the inside of the front and back colors.  While having multiplication tables can by useful in some instances they are not appealing to the eye and need to go.  So I wrapped the bound paper with newspaper and masking tape so that I wouldn’t get any paint on them, grabbed my can of gold spray paint, and sprayed away.

IMG_4399It took about 2 coats to make the black lines completely disappear, but I think it turned out well!  Then, when the front flap was finished I flipped it over and sprayed the back flap as well.

DIY Anthropologie JournalWhen the interior had dried I flipped it over, pulled out my purple spray paint and painted the front and back covers.  Unfortunately I didn’t realize my paint was glossy, so it didn’t give me quite the look I was going for, but the modge podge fixed that later.  The covers took about 3 coats to get right, and in the end that was some dripping issues (totally my fault) but it turned out ok, and the “blemishes” would be covered by the lace design anyway.

While I was letting the layers of paint dry I set to work on the lace design that would be applied to the front.  I used a piece of just plain printer paper to do this, however in hindsight I would have used a thicker paper like card stock and I think it would have turned out better.

Before I painted the composition book I traced it onto the piece of paper so that I knew exactly how big my design needed to be.  Then, look at the Anthro journal I sketched the design onto the paper that I wanted to use, tweaking it a littler bit.

DIY Anthropologie JournalNext, using my exact knife I cut out all of the little pieces, yes, all of them.  It was pain staking work.  I powered through like 3 episodes of Downton Abbey while I worked on it.  Love that show!

DIY Anthropologie JournalThe final detail was to add dots along the scalloped lace line, but instead of using my exacto knife to do this I used my hole punches instead.  I have 2 different sized punches so getting the look I wanted was super easy.

DIY Anthropologie JournalBefore attaching the paper to the book I lined it up to make sure it was just right then I grabbed my foam brush and modge podge and set to work, first covering the books cover with the sticky solution.  Can you see the places where the paint dripped and pooled?  Thankfully that paper covered them.

DIY Anthropologie JournalFinally it was time to attach the paper.  I laid my intricate cutout onto the cover and brushed the modge podge over the top, then, HORROR.  It looked awful!  Like a toddler had smeared paste all over it.  It wished I could just take it back, figure out a different way to fix it but it was to late. I nearly cried.  So instead I had to just was for it to dry to see if it would turn out ok.

DIY Anthropologie JournalIt took a day for it to fully dry, but this is how it turned out in the end…

DIY Anthropologie JournalYou can still notice some of the places where it puckered and creased, but overall I don’t think it looks so bad.  And like I said, if I were to try this again I would probably use a thicker paper and hopefully avoid the creasing issues.

Hope you liked it!

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DIY Anthropologie Mirror

Man I love Anthropologie.  There’s something about exotic chic home decor and fashion that can leave me in a puddle of drool.

So when I stumbled across this picture of a bone inlay mirror online awhile back the reaction was no different.

Isn’t it gorgeous?

Anthropologie Beech Fern Bone-Inlay Mirror

But like everything at Anthropolgie, I couldn’t afford it.

Then one day a few weeks ago, as I was going through my bedroom purging things I didn’t need I looked up and saw my mirror.  The white frame blended so well into my white wall that I rarely noticed it let alone used it, and that’s when I light bulb went off.  What if I painted it? And not just paint it but do my own faux bone inlay look.  Granted the shape of the frame is nothing like the scalloped Anthro beauty but still full of potential.

So that night I headed to Walmart to pick up some spray paint and the next morning I was out in my garage, armed with my can of “watermelon” paint going to town.  Let me show you just how it turned out…

anthro-mirror

First things first.  I took some old newspapers and some masking tape and painstakingly covered all the spots on the mirror I didn’t want any paint to get on, which of course meant the reflective area but also the rope in the back (the mirror is about 60 years old, it actually belonged to my great grandma originally).

Mirror DIY

And then I sprayed away.

Mirror DIY

If I could do it over again I would have opted for a paint with a matte finish instead of gloss.  First because it ended up taking about 4 coats of paint to get an even look and second because I’m not a huge fan of the shiny effect.  Thankfully the paint from the flowers toned down the shiny-ness a bit.

Next up it was time to paint the flowers and vines.  I first drew the basic shapes on with a pencil and then went over them with a thinline paintbrush.

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The original outline with paint looked like crap (as you can see above). It was all splotchy and uneven and I must admit I had a bit of a freakout moment, but once I started filling the shapes in and smoothing out the lines it began to look a lot better.

It took about three coats of white paint to get an opacity that I was happy with, then I propped it up to take a look and it brought a smile to my face.  Man it looked good!

Mirror DIY

I thought for a moment about just leaving it like this, but then I decided to go ahead and paint on the gold accents like I had originally planned.

Here’s a shot of how the corners turned out…

Mirror DIY

And how the center’s turned out…

Mirror DIY

I wasn’t 100% pleased with how the gold additions turned out.  They ended up being a little chunkier than I wanted, especially in the large central flowers, but overall I’m still loving the look!

So what do you think?  How did I do?

Mirror DIY

Supplies-Used

1 Can indoor/outdoor spray paint
White acrylic paint
Gold acrylic paint
Thin paintbrush (for outlining)
Thicker paintbrush (for filling in)
Pencil
Old newspapers
Masking tape

total-cost

Because I already had most of the supplies, including the mirror, the only item I had to buy was the spray paint, bringing the cost of this project to the whopping total of $3.75!  That is quite a win if I do say so myself.