Every year I try my best to create an inexpensive capsule wardrobe for back to school on a budget – which for me is $150 or less. I’m sharing what I’ve pulled together for my big boy this year in the hopes that it will inspire you to shop some stylish looks for your little big(ish) guy, for less.
I’m back – with more birthday party inspiration! My big girl is turned 6 years old which means she got to have her first friends party – and has had her heart set on a pool party for, like, ever. She seems to have inherited the party planning gene, dictating #allthethings that had to happen for her party. Her favorite colors are bold and bright, so the theme morphed into a Malibu Barbie inspired vibe.
Here are six budget-saving areas I used to design a custom birthday bash on a budget of around $50:
Set the Tone with an Eye-Catching Tablescape
My favorite tip for creating a custom look is creating an eye-catching tablescape that guests will see when they enter the party. This whole tablescape was set using inexpensive supplies that, when layered, created a big impact. I purchased several plastic tablecloths that I cut into scallops and layered for an ombre effect, and finished the look with a few draped leis and netting. Total cost: $7
Today I’m sharing how I made my own DIY custom cookie cutter, for my daughter’s Peppa Pig birthday party, for less than $1.
I’m planning a Peppa Pig birthday party for my youngest, and knew she would get a kick out of themed cookies. There are some great Peppa cookie cutters online, but I didn’t want to pay for a cookie cutter I planned to use just one time. Instead, I decided to make my own DIY custom cookie cutter.
I’m so excited to share the final reveal in my vintage dollhouse series today.This has been such a fun project, but I’m so ready to turn it over to my girls who have been impatiently waiting for me to complete it.
The last room in this project is the dollhouse play room. I left this room for last because it was the most awkward space – narrow with no windows. And since I knew I would finish it last, I knew there was a chance I’d run low on budget. I designated it the play room because I felt it was the least important room, and I wouldn’t need to make many purchases.
As it turned out, I was out of budget, so my original ideas for this room fell by the wayside as I found ways to make it work.
My daughter sacrificed her Shopkins ice cream truck sign to make an art easel, and of course you can tell I used Scrabble tiles to decorate the wall.
Sharing the love on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a huge investment. This year we started a new family tradition: love notes to each other. Every day leading up to Valentine’s Day, one family member wakes up to balloons in his or her room. Each balloon has a sweet note from another family member.
Do you love the look of those great pallet signs on Pinterest (my own version here!), but not the time and labor that goes into them? You’re in luck! Today I’m going to share with you how to make a faux pallet sign in just 10 minutes using inexpensive wood print paper.
This summer I picked up this vintage doll house from the thrift store for a few dollars. I can’t explain why I picked it up, but I was thrilled with the find. So, what to do with a 1940’s era doll house in disrepair? I originally had delusions of restoring it, because it certainly had charm. However, once I started trying to do some touch ups I was faced with the reality that this baby needed a complete overhaul.
I have to admit, versions of this recipe sat in my cookbook unused for years. This was one of my husband’s favorite meals growing up, and my mother-in-law had provided me all his favorites years ago. However I never made it, mostly because anything that uses coconut as a key ingredient is not edible, in my book.
Recently, however, I relented. We were in a meal rut, and I was looking for ways to lighten up some of my existing recipes. Plus, my mother-in-law had never led me astray before! I’ve seen many versions of this recipe online, and I have to say her’s is the best I’ve found. However, I adjusted the recipe just a bit to suit our tastes and using what we had on hand.
This is one of my favorite projects to date – also the easiest and least expensive: the children’s artwork display located in our Family Command Center – otherwise known as the mud room.
I wanted plenty of space where the children could hang their artwork and good grades with pride, without that messy cluttered look on the fridge. It also needed to be really flat to the wall, since the area I’d designated is in a space the width of a hallway.
Here’s how I did it:
Buy these eye hook screws and wire at the hardware store for less than $5 total (or spend a few extra bucks and shop Amazon at the links above if you want to save a trip to the store).
Drill holes into the wall where you want your eye hooks to go. Screw the eye hooks into the wall by hand. Then, wrap your wire around one of the hooks a few times. Stretch it to the other eye hook, pulling and straightening as you go. Wrap it around that eye hook 2-3 times and cut the wire.
I already had these cute little inexpensive clips on hand, leftover from Eve’s party favors.They work great for holding the various art and school papers the kids bring home.
Voila! Children’s art center complete in 20 minutes and for less than $5.
As for the rest of our family mud room command center, it’s still a work in progress. I have dreams for this space!
I found that sign at the thrift store. I think it was from a hotel long ago. I just love it!
What do you think of my low-tech art center for the kids?
I was browsing Anthropologie recently and fell in love with this Striped Heart Tank by Sundry:
So. cute. But the price tag is not so cute. $70 for a cotton tank? No thanks! But it kept popping up in my Facebook feed, willing me to buy it.
That’s when I decided to try to make it myself, but finding a plain white tank was a lot harder than I expected. I ended up just getting a Faded Glory tank from Wal-Mart on a recent grocery trip. It was the first white tank I found without a pocket, and at $3.96, the price was right!
I whipped up an 8″ x8″ template in Photoshop:
I then loaded the pattern into my Silhouette software. My usual method is to use clear contact paper in my Silhouette to make a template because you can get a giant roll for less than $5. Then I use a Tulip soft fabric paint, making sure to insert cardboard into the shirt first to prevent bleeding to the other side. The best part of this application method is that it’s incredibly inexpensive and long lasting.
This time, however, I happened to have some leftover heat transfer vinyl from a project last year. I ran my design through the Silhouette, removed the excess vinyl, and ironed it on.
Next, I added a bit of contrast stitching along the bottom hemline to give it a more expensive, custom look.
I adore this tank and have gotten so many compliments on it. When Eve first saw it, she insisted on a matching tank (I found two great , inexpensive options here and here). I just shrunk the template slightly ( to about 5.25″ x 5.25″) and applied it using the same method. Again, in retrospect I probably would have gone bigger for this one, as well. For this top, I did more stitching to more closely replicate the inspiration top. Instead of using the sewing machine, I hand stitched the hemlines using flossing thread to get that perfectly imperfect look. think it’s even cuter in this mini size!
I hope you’re a fan of my copycat chic Striped Heart Tank. Thanks for stopping by!
*This post contains affiliate links. Please read my affiliate disclaimer in the sidebar.
I was dreaming of a very feminine, girly-girl look for the girls’ shared Jack and Jill style bathroom when I stumbled across these gorgeous Anthropologie Keepsake Brooch Knobs. They were perfect! But as I did the math, I just couldn’t justify spending $120 for seven pulls (including shipping and tax) in this particular room.
I searched high and low and found a few options for less. If you’re not the DIY type, these are great options for getting this glam look for less.
I like these (smaller) jeweled pulls from Hobby Lobby. Pair them with their weekly 40% off coupon and the patience of a saint and you could score each of them for $4.20 each before tax.
Or how about these, much more simple, rhinestone knobs? You just can’t beat that price – only $1 each!
I wanted to try to replicate my inspiration knobs from Anthropologie as much as possible for quite a bit less, and came up with these.
Aren’t they lovely? Here’s how I made them. I bought these pretty rhinestone brooches – the closest match I could find to my inspiration knobs – just $2.25 each, total.
I then bought these inexpensive drawer pulls for $1.28 each. It is important that the diameter is close to the size of the brooches – not only to make it easier to affix, but for the long term durability of the knobs. I’ve seen other bloggers attempt to affix a brooch to a much smaller knob or pull, which significantly impacts long-term durability. The aim is that you will naturally pull using the knob and not the brooch. I was able to achieve that with this combination.
I then used some Marine JB Weld epoxy we had on hand to attach the brooch to the knob. Since these fit so perfectly together, we just hooked the brooch pin over the knob for simplicity, and then used the epoxy. I’d originally planned to remove the pin fixtures from the brooch and then affix the epoxy around the outer diameter of the knob, but this way was far easier and worked just as well.
If you’re not familiar with JB Weld epoxy, it’s a product that works as a chemical weld. It’s meant for marine purposes and is water proof. These babies are not coming apart any time soon!
The grand total for this project was just shy of $25 for seven knobs – that’s just $3.50 per knob. I saved nearly $93 compared to my inspiration hardware!
Here is what they look like installed. I think they add the right amount of sparkle to this shared little girl bathroom.
It’s incredibly hard to get a photo because they are in the narrow Jack and Jill bathroom that gets no natural light. Pictures don’t begin to do these beautiful fixtures justice!
Ever since I’d planned my first born daughter’s nursery 7 years ago, I had a vision for adding vintage Barbie prints to the room that they could grow with.
My inspiration came from places like Posh Tots, Rosenberry Rooms, and other upscale design stores who were selling the framed prints for upwards of $135 each.
Fast-forward to this year. In the process of moving I realized we had four matted square frames that we’d never used! I think it was one of those things that I thought my husband had returned, and he thought I’d returned. Regardless, it was a sweet score that inspired me to revive this decor idea as we began decorating the kids’ new rooms. This time, I found a way to create this art on the cheap. I scoured Amazon for used vintage print Barbie calendars, and found that there are usually at least two 12×12 calendars available for a reasonable price. I believe I bought mine for around $10.
I spray painted my black frames with Rust-Oleum Metallic spray paint I had on hand (love this stuff), inserted my favorite prints, and voila! Vintage Barbie art for less than $15.
I love the look of three frames above the crib, but I’m debating adding the fourth and making it a square formation when Belle moves to a big girl bed. What do you think?
As for the rest of the room…
It’s needs some love. I have big plans, but I’m taking my time.
I recently tried to convince my husband to paint an entire wall of our dining area with black chalkboard paint. He didn’t quite have the same vision I had, so he asked me to hang a chalkboard until we could come to an agreement.
I agreed. After all, I’ve had a giant frame in storage that’s been waiting to be used for years. I bought it at a garage sale for around $10 which was a steal…but how do you fill such a large frame without spending a fortune? The chalkboard was the perfect solution.
If I hadn’t already had the frame, what I really would have wanted is a rustic wood frame. However, since this was likely temporary, I wanted to make this as easy and inexpensive as possible.
The problem: the frame was gold. Really gold. I debated on what to paint it. Silver? Weathered white? Blue? I haven’t committed to a color scheme in our new home yet, so I went with a safe, muted silver. I spray painted it with Krylon Brushed Metallic paint. I had planned to rub wax or wood stain to bring out the details, but I didn’t love that effect on the test areas so I just left it silver for now.
For the actual chalkboard, we bought a piece of thin plywood and I sanded it with a hand sander until it was really smooth. After cleaning it with a lint-free cloth, I painted four thin coats of Rust-Oleum Chalk Paint in black, using a foam roller. I sanded lightly between layers when necessary and removed all the dust with a lint-free cloth. When the paint was completely dry, I rubbed entire board with a large piece of sidewalk chalk to cure it, and then rubbed it with a lint-free cloth to erase it.
You can wipe it clean with a damp cloth for a clean crisp look, or with a dry cloth, which I prefer, for a true, messy chalkboard look.
So far, our family loves this addition to our home. We post fun quotes and verses, and the children love to use it for creating their own art, as well.
In addition to being shared on the fabulous blogs to the right, this post was also shared on Stone Gable Blog.
*Please read my affiliate disclaimer on the right sidebar. Thank you for your support!