Tag Archives: Budget

Thrifty Living: Tips for Decorating for the Holidays on a Budget

13 Oct

It’s been ages and ages since I participated on Pinterest, mostly because I’ve been busy and Pinterest is a rabbit hole from which my attention span threatens never to return. There’s just too much good stuff and before you know it I’d be sitting at the computer in my underwear with unbrushed hair shoving cheerios into Isobel’s gaping maw while she clamors for attention because I just have to bookmark one… more… pin…

But it’s Halloween and I love this time of year so I made a board for Thrifty Halloween Decorating Ideas. Now that we’re down to one income I’ve been thinking more and more about inexpensive ways to decorate, and celebrate, the holidays. This is going to become even more important to me as Christmas approaches, and I wanted to share my thrifty decorating philosophy.

Location, Location, Location.

The first thing I did was select the areas I was going to decorate. In addition to having a limited budget, I have a limited amount of storage space for decorations. And anyway, I don’t have the energy to give my house a Halloween makeover every year–I just want to imbue it with a warm autumn spirit.

Handmade.

I prefer small decorations that are easy to store and are fun to look forward to every year. Even with my small budget I was able to add two pieces to my autumn stash: dishtowels and magnets.  (A few people wanted to know where I bought the towels: I ordered them from Zen Threads on Etsy. I love that company can’t recommend them enough.)

Some years I can’t afford to buy anything from Etsy, but when I can I do because it’s an investment I can use and enjoy every year. Especially now that Isobel is older. I remember how important pulling out those yearly decorations were to me as kid, and even now when I visit my parents a wave of nostalgic happiness washes over me when I see my mother’s black cat wreath hanging on the front door.

Some other really great handmade Halloween accessories on Etsy right now:

Candy Corn Bunting

Pin-up Witch Magnet

Super Cute Ghost & Pumpkin Magnets

Spider Hand Towel

Fancy Skulls Towel

Crocheted Pumpkin Towel Set

Use What You Got.

I used some things I already had from previous years, and since I was bored of them I used them in a new way.  I turned a metal sign into a huge fridge magnet, for example, and that was enough to make me happy. I also used stuff I already had in other parts of the house. Thrifty home decorating TV shows use this trick all the time and the homeowners are always thrilled. Something old feels new again, and it costs nothing.

Nature’s Gifts.

Decorating with nature is the ultimate thrifty option, and it comes with the benefit of being an enjoyable way to ignite a curiosity of the natural world in your children. We collected acorns this year, but pine cones, seed pods, dried berries, and, of course, leaves are available nearly everywhere, and they are free.

If you notice from the photo above, the acorns we gathered not even a week ago have mellowed into a deep brown, and their hard shiny shells remind me almost of coffee beans. So beautiful. I found this silver platter while thrifting and thought it perfect for storing the seeds. Larry, Moe and Curly, my paper skulls, look on, unaffected by autumn’s splendor.

I like just putting the beauty of nature on display, but you can take this one step further and turn them into crafts:

Acorn Magnets

Acorn Photo Frame

Preserved Leaf Garland

Crafty.

Other than adding spiders to some thrifted doilies I haven’t done any crafts this year. (Unless you count turning a metal sign into a huge magnet, which I don’t.) Crafts, however, are awesome.

See the nature crafts list above, plus:

Spray-Painted Pumpkins

Make ‘potion jars’ out of terrariums

DIY Luminaries

Lace pumpkins

Spray Paint can turn regular objects into Halloween decorations

Thriftin’ is Easy.

I bring up thrifting so often you probably think it’s my go-to solution for every problem. And you’d be right! You’d be amazed what you can find secondhand. I like to find stuff that’s not meant for Halloween specifically, but thrift stores save seasonal items and bring them out specifically for shoppers looking for decor at a bargain. Even the doily spiders were found in a thrift store! My favorite, of course, is still the skull specimen display created out of a thrifted cheese dome. Holiday decor is a pretty big deal at thrift stores. I once saw a fight break out two feet away from me because two customers saw a ghost-themed wall hanging at the same time.

I hope this post has inspired you to find thrifty ways to decorate. Have your own thrifty Halloween links to share? Share them in the comments! I’d love to add them to the Thrifty Halloween Decorating Ideas board.

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Wherein I Am Not A Laid Off Librarian After All

4 May

So, I got a call from my HR department yesterday informing me that due to procedural errors my layoff notice has been rescinded. I should be glad about that, and I am, but my feelings are mixed.

I’m glad the kids are going to have access to a fully stocked library and the services of a full-time librarian. I’m glad that I’m returning to a job I love where I can connect with kids. I’m glad we don’t have to worry about insurance for me since I am uninsurable. I’m glad I have the whole summer off with a dependable stream of income.

I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to be a SAHM (yet) for Isobel. I’m disappointed that I won’t have as much time to cook and craft and thrift like I’d like. And I’m disappointed that my job was saved by a clerical error and not by a District that saw the precious value of providing a librarian for its children.

What does this mean for the blog? I am committed to posting and have a whole summer to look forward to. I have a lot of projects in the works and a lot of ideas inspiring me. Stay tuned.