When I look back on my life… as a DIY devotee, as a crafter, as a thriftress, and as a Christian, I can’t help but tip my hat to my grandmother, Dorothy (or as we affectionately call her, “Dot”) as she has embodied all of these things — and more.  And I mean this as no slight to my mother, because I think she would agree that she has these same qualities and values, too.  (The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree… three generations in a row.)

Dot has always been thrifty, but well before it was cool to blog about it.  And as long as I’ve known her, she has always shopped at Goodwill — before the hipsters told us it was “in.”  In fact, the very first time I ever went to Goodwill, I was accompanied by Dot.  (She wasn’t going to get ironic t-shirts in the kids section that she could re-fashion into workout clothes.  #guilty.)  I don’t recall what we bought that day — if anything — but I remembered feeling so inspired, watching her go through the housewares section, seeing all of the figurative diamonds in the rough, explaining to me the potential of each item.

On another Goodwill trip, we bought this silver cuff bracelet; I say “silver,” but it looked more like burnt tin foil.  It was tarnished, gross, even a little smelly, and I couldn’t for the life of me see the big deal.  But that afternoon, we took it home, she taught me how to polish silver, and MAGIC!  That thing was gorgeous and good as new.  (Consequentially, this is where I developed my love for polishing silver, which is equal to my love for spray painting anything and everything.)

While she loved thrifting, she really excelled in all crafty endeavors.  One of my favorite Dot crafts EVER were the heating pads she made for herself.  Being about 5’2″ and approximately 75 lbs., she was ALWAYS cold, so these were a necessity for her nighttime routine.  She made a sort of sleeve out of scrap fabric, filled it with rice, sewed it closed, and attached handles made out cording on either end.  Apparently microwaving raw rice brings out the water inside the grain, thus making for a steamy, soothing heating pad.  Genius.  (One time I needed one, but we didn’t want to take the time to sew one, so she just took an old tube sock, filled it with rice, and tied the end.  And since I don’t sew, I still use this method all the time.)

And well before the words “upcycle” or “repurpose” became household words, she was doing just that to anything and everything she could — old jars, Pringles tubes, spent drapes (think Maria in The Sound of Music).  Being born in 1927, saving things to recycle them later was just a way of life for a Depression Era lady, and she passed that on to my mother, and her to me.

But it wasn’t just things that she cherished.  She could see the value in anyone.  She was kind.  She was patient.  She was loving.  She was slow to anger — though prone to “tizzies” as we called them, moments of stressed-hands-in-the-hair-loud-sighing-and-general-harumphing.  But these were rare and typically a result from receiving a gift, to which she’d respond “Well, it’s beautiful and I love it, but I certainly don’t need it and you didn’t need to spend the money!”  And while she may not have found these moments endearing, we certainly did.

In addition to her tizzies, she was known for her crooked finger.  My mother always said that Dot rarely had to raise her voice because she could display that crooked finger, point it in your direction… and yessiree, you could bet that you’d sit up real straight in that church pew.  And while I was basically a model grandchild (of course!), there were a few exceptions where I was witness to the crooked finger  (and by then her crooked finger had became a crooked set of fingers, so you can imagine the power it held over me).

And did I mention she’s a wordsmith?  She coined the term “thoughty,” which bears a striking resemblance to the word thoughtful, and — you guessed it — means the same thing.  (Don’t get me wrong — this had nothing to do with lack of education.  Dot earned not one but TWO degrees.  In College.  In a time and in a part of the country where it wasn’t exactly old hat for young women to go to college.)  And if Dot called you thoughty, well… you were pretty special.  Thoughty was usually only reserved for people who did great philanthropic deeds… and anyone who ever wrote her a thank you note.  (Woe to you if you’ve ever forgotten to write her one.)  She was never slow or conservative in her expressions of gratitude, so she expected the same from everybody else.

And always full of surprises, this same woman who made me dozens of frilly clothes for my American Girl dolls, has always been the biggest sports freak ever, especially when it comes to the University of Tennessee basketball and football.  She has loved Peyton Manning before he was “Peyton Manning.”  And if my father is away from a radio or TV and needs to know “the score,” he’d often call Dot because of course she’s sitting in the den, heating pad behind her back and eyes on the TV screen.

As for Dot’s accolades, I could go on and on:  an incredible gardener, a devout and faithful Christian woman, a loving wife, a mother of four children, a seamstress extraordinaire, an excellent athlete (in her prime), etc., etc.  And aside from all of the lacy, doily-covered grandmother type stuff, she’s always been a spitfire and a half.  Even if her opinion wasn’t the popular opinion, she’s never hesitated for a minute to express it… while reminding you that “I’m only telling you this because I want you to be happy.”  And she truly did.

About a week and a half ago, Dot passed away.  After 85 years on this planet (sorry, Dot, I told them your real age anyway), and after a bout with emphysema and congestive heart failure, she has gone on to Heaven.  While her passing did not catch us off guard, it has been hard nonetheless because our loss is so great.  However, I’m comforted with the belief in my heart that she is no longer suffering, and that she is reunited with my grandfather (who we tragically lost back in 1996).

And while it hurts to know that I can’t pick up the phone and call her or drive four hours to Knoxville to see her — something that I wish I had done more while she was alive — I know I can always count on her memory to remind me, to nudge me, to kick my butt… when I’m lazy about saying my prayers, when I’m less than generous to my fellow man, when I even consider not writing someone a thank you note…

Because that’s not how Dot would have done it.

She would have gone out of her way, past the point of convenience, past her means, even past the point of her patience, if she thought that might make a difference to someone or something.

Talk about thoughty.

 

 

I love you, Mama Dot.  And I always will.

 

Dot and me

Great deal alert:  As always, Michael’s has their one-of-a-kind stationery for a few bucks in the wire racks at the font of their store (I’m a big sucker for these impulse buys as evidenced in this post of yore).  Well, right now they have some of this great stationery in their clearance (usually somewhere in the middle of the store towards the back-ish), as they often do, but this time it’s cute as a freakin’ button.  Check it:

 

SAMSUNG

 

Excuse the frenzied camera phone photography — I actually do have a fancy new camera, but I was in a hurry driven by great deal deadlines — and please excuse the unvacuumed carpet — I’ve been out of town (I’m also not big on vacuuming).

Let’s focus on what’s important:  These note cards.  They draw their inspiration from vintage dress patterns and cheese ball women’s fashion mag advertising, and oh, I’m all about it.

Close up time:

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Gingers in green dresses doing their best Tallulah Bankhead impressions FOR THE WIN.

 

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Oh, and that’s a fake pearl glued onto that card.  We’re talking three dimensions, y’all.  They come six to a pack for FIFTY CENTS!

 

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Girl, you wear that birdcage veil.  You look GOOD.

SAMSUNG

 

What to wear, indeed.  #toughquestions  Let’s just watch Fox News try to sort this one out.

(Also, she’s wearing a dress with a tassel pattern — not a real tassel.)

SAMSUNG

 

A lot of good things going on with this card.  I would like that teal coat with the fur trim very much.  Please and thank you.

 

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Nothing like a good pun.

And like I said, only fifty cents for a six pack!

See?!

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As you can see, I bought all of them.  There’s no limit to my affordably priced, cute and/or clever note card zeal

And they’re blank inside, which affords me the opportunity to come up with even more fashion related puns.

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Ah the possibilities… :)

Oh, and did I mention the envelopes?

 

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Love.

Go grab them now, before they’re all gone!  (I got mine on Saturday at a Michael’s in Chattanooga, but there were plenty there, so it might not be too late!)

I think they would be perfect in simple white frames or (conversely) ornate gold frames.  In a future where I have a grand walk in closet or my very own dressing room in my home (you know, in lieu of a man cave for Josh), I would cover the walls in cuteness like these fun cards.

SAMSUNG

 

Run to Michael’s. Now.  Do not pass go.  Do not collect two hundred dollars insert time wasting thing here.

(Why would I stop you from collecting two hundred dollars?)

 

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Josh and I are no stranger to road trips.  We’ve driven up and down the East Coast a dozen or so times going back and forth between NYC and Atlanta, and a half dozen times before that when I lived in Amish Country (no, really).  We’re talking serious road trips… Fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, even seventeen hours (the latter being the average duration of an ATL/NYC trip — which is what we’re doing right now as I type this post on my iPad).

 

It’s not that I don’t like flying (I don’t like flying), and it’s not that we can’t afford to fly (I’m the Ginger Penny Pincher), but we really do enjoy big crazy road trips together (this last one isn’t a lie).  Probably more than all of that, we’re crazy about our dogs and like to take them with us everywhere.  Always.  And the thought of leaving them behind or sticking them in crates and boarding them like suitcases on an airplane freaks me out.  So there’s that.

 

And going back to the money issue — yeah, two people flying round trip probably isn’t much more than two people driving round trip, but not having to rent a car when we get to our destination is definitely some savings…. Along with just being in control in general.

 

I also don’t really like flying.

 

I’m not talking about vomiting into a bag, having panic attacks, screaming while taking off, seeing colonial milkmaids on the wings of the plane (haha).  My aversion manifests itself in a more subtle way: Clammy palms, white knuckling the arm rest, mild and silent weeping (the kind where people think maybe you just have allergies because your eyes are watering so much), and saying awkward things in a too high-pitched voice that could be misconstrued as having terrorist undertones: “Hope there aren’t any bombs on this thing!  Ha… Haha!”  (Followed up with nervous laughter.)

 

And I know the argument for flying over driving is that it’s faster… faster than driving, faster than taking a train or ship or llama.  But for me, I don’t really see that I gain that much time — or that I am greatly benefited from the time I do gain.  When I fly, I don’t sleep at all the night before (nerves), I have to get there HOURS before my flight (God forbid there be delays), then there’s the actual duration of the flight, the taxiing around the tar mac forever, the retrieval of luggage, the actual getting to whatever destination you’re headed to, then I’m pretty much done for the day because the relief I finally get (when I land safely and realize I haven’t crashed over the Pacific, been brainwashed by the Dharma Initiative, and been eaten by a polar bear) is so great that I basically go to sleep.  And there goes that whole day.
I realize not everyone operates this way, but that’s my jam.  I know.  What a pansy-whiny weirdo I am.

 

Or there’s option B, where I hang out in a car with my handsome and always entertaining husband and two perfectly magical dogs, sing classic rock and musical theatre songs at the top of our lungs, and Instagram the crap out of the countryside.  Oh yeah, and we have a marriage built on love, good communication, and knowing when to change the radio station to less annoy the other.  So that helps.

 

All that to say: We are freakin’ road trip warriors.  We’re talking expert status, which I feel gives me more than enough cause to share all of our secrets (secrets!) in hopes of helping those that are Aeronatucially Apprehensive (that’s PC for skeerd a-flyin’), and for those who just like to see more of this country along the way, but don’t think they’ll have the stamina and patience for it.
Let’s call this one:

 ”Sunflower Seeds, Sunscreen, and Singing: How to Road Trip Like a Boss”

…Or in boring SEO Speak:

“Tips and Tricks for Surviving Long Road Trips”

 

Stop every three hours or less.
I know in long road trips the temptation is to go-go-go, cramming as much driving into as few hours as possible to get to your destination earlier.  But when you’re talking about trips that go into the double digits, numbers-wise, I have learned this isn’t as wise as the alternative.  There’s a lot to be said for getting out of the car and just walking around for five minutes.  Josh and I know because we’ve tried both ways and always find that we’re happier and less drained by the end of the trip if we’ve stopped every three hours throughout.

 

Plan your stops ahead of time, and consider each upcoming stop to be your destination, not necessarily just the final destination.
I use the incomparable Google Maps to make this happen.  I put in my Point A, my Point B, consider what time I’ll be leaving, look up my ETA from there, then pick a  city or town to stop in for all three meals.  For example, right now we’re driving from NYC to Atlanta.  We decided to leave at 5:00 a.m. (leaving early being another important tip in proper road tripping).  We figure around 7:00 a.m., we’ll be hungry for breakfast.
Looking at the map, I can see that about two hours in we should be in or around Allentown, PA.  We chose to add a destination in between our point A and our point B (this is an option in Google Maps) and typed in “Waffle House near Allentown, PA” (we don’t have these in NYC and we haven’t been to one in a couple of years… Oh, and we had our first date at a Waffle House).  By zooming in on the map, I can see which one is closest to the highway, i.e., the least out of the way.

 

When we first get in the car and begin our trip, we don’t set the destination to the address in Atlanta… which is a painful sight because I think it’s just over NINE HUNDRED miles.  Instead, I navigate it to that Waffle House in Allentown, PA.  That’s just two, maybe two and a half hours with traffic.  Easy peasy.

 

Then when we get ready to leave Waffle House, we navigate to our next destination.  Again, not Atlanta… somewhere four hours down the road for lunch (of course I decided all of these stops before in the same way we decided on that particular Waffle House in Allentown).  If you look at the trip as a bunch of short baby trips instead of one big ginormous painful one, it gives you so much more hope throughout (you may even feel you have little internal victories every time you reach the next predetermined destination).  It’s these little mind tricks that make all the difference for your sanity on long @$$ road trips.

 

Don’t be afraid of “slower” food options.
The natural inclination is to settle on fast food, i.e., McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, et al.  However, I challenge you to pick slower things like Waffle House (or maybe a local place or chain restaurant).  Again, it takes a smidge longer, but I think there’s a lot to be said for changing your scenery for the sake of your sanity.  There’s also a lot to be said for what most fast food options do for your energy level, i.e., not that much.

 

Make a list of local radio stations that you’ll pass through.

This takes a little planning too, but it’s pretty easy.   I looked up every holidays radio station in every major city/town from New York City to Atlanta (as far as radio coverage goes, I averaged about two stations per state, just to give you an idea).  While I realize not everyone shares such a fervent love for holiday music like I do, this would work just as well with whatever your music preference is — Top 40, Classic Rock, Lite Mix, Country, whatever.  Just look at the map of your route, take note of the major cities/towns (the ones that are bigger than the others), and Google for each one “(Name of City) (Music Preference).”  It really only takes a few minutes, but it’s well worth it, and it’s another good way to pass the time.  (And it also prevents you from running down the battery on your mp3 player or phone, so you can save that for the whole trip.)

Sunflower Seeds, Sunscreen, and Singing

Ah, the goofy title of this post.  This is just a small rundown of a few tips and tricks we’ve used over the years.  They didn’t exactly warrant a paragraph, but they’re useful nonetheless.

  • This one comes from Josh, the husband:  To keep himself awake during particularly drowsy parts of the trip, he eats sunflowers seeds in the shell.  This way he has to work the “meat” out of the shell, so it gives him a task to focus on, and then he spits out the broken shell into a cup in the car (just a little gross, but it works).  of course, this is where I do my PSA and remind everyone that if you’re sleepy at all while driving, switch off with someone else, or pull over to a well-lit area and take a nap!

 

  • Piggybacking on the previous idea, I keep myself alert by singing.  It just works out conveniently that I am already a singer, both in the car and out (and in the shower and out) so this isn’t a surprising pick for me.  However, I do it to keep myself awake and in good spirits.  I mean, isn’t there something about singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” from beginning to end that just elevates your mood?  (Forget that “mama just killed a man.”  Details.)

 

  • This one is also brought to you by myself, a very gingery ginger:  Basically, if the sun is shining, I’m going to get a sunburn.  Somehow.  Even if I’m inside a car.  So this is where I warn everyone: pack your sunscreen and reapply every time you stop (particularly on your arms, as well as your neck if you have your hair pulled up).  For real-real.  No one looks good like a lobster.  Or resembling a saddle.

 

  • Before you leave, get a plastic grocery bag so you have something for trash (tissues, napkins, whatever).  Just so you don’t feel like you’re livingin your own filth for seventeen hours.

 

  • Clean out your car and vacuum the interior before you go.  I might not worry about this if I was going for a day trip somewhere nearby, but for a big serious monster trip, I need to be sitting in a clean car.  Biscuit crumbs and dog hair do not a happy road trip vehicle make.

 

  • Road trip games don’t really thrill us, but I figured I’d include these in case that was someone’s thing.  Here’s a link to an article from Edmunds with a bunch of fun road trip game ideas.  Count the cows.  Track the license plates.  You know.

 

That’s all I got for now!  What about you folks?  Got anything fun to while away the hours behind the wheel?  Share in comment form below (but first click on the title of this post to take you to the permalink).

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Stop what you’re doing.  We need to discuss hexagons.

 

I know they’re not exactly new to the home decor world.  They’ve been sneaking up for the last year (or more?).  Even one of my favorite bodegas in Brooklyn had a hexagon covered notebook that I bought about a year and a half ago — and this place only carries Diet Pepsi, if you know what I mean.

So I’m really diggin’ hexagons nowadays… maybe because they’re reminiscent of beehives?  And not in a scary death-by-bumblebee-stings-à-la-the-My-Girl-movie.  I mean, more like a “yum… honey” kind of way.  

I decided to do one of things that I do best: play and pin things on Pinterest.  And of course, the logical progression of events would be to share some of my favorite pins with you.  So I did.

***Everything below is linked and captioned back to its original source when available.  Please please if you are going to repin, do it from the original website and not from this blog.  With liberty and justice good blogging karma for all.

I started off on a hexagonal tile kick…

{Source: Unknown, via Pinterest}

And I loved this idea: a vertical hexagonal tile backsplash (definitely a big bang for your buck):

{Source: This Old House}

Then I saw this mother of pearl hex tile, and I was done…

 

{Source: Artistic Tile via Decor Pad}

 

And check out this fun metallic hexagonal wall:

hexagon

{Source: At Home In Love}

 

And though I have no interest in acoustically engineered wall tiles, I thought these were definitely fun (and designed by Swedes, no less!):

sptiles1.jpg

{Source: Apartment Therapy}

 

More fun hexagonal wall stuff…

Inspired By: Honeycomb Hexagons

{Source: Amanda Nisbet Design}

LOVED this hexagonal wallpaper…

{Source: Verde via Apartment Therapy}

Ok.  Then I went off on a honeycomb tangent… as in naturally occurring hexagons (that still applies, right?).

{Source: Silk Purse Sow’s Ear Etsy shop}

 

{Source: At Home in Love}

 

And I would very much like this lamp in my home, please.  (Also, I am love with the framed peacock feather.  I love peacock stuff so. hard.  #futureblogpost).

{Source: The Secret Life of a Scientist’s Wife}

Then I couldn’t get enough honeycomb lamps…

{Source: Houzz}

{Source: Haute Look}

I thought this next idea looked like a fun DIY project with hexagonal netting (alas, the source is unknown, but I first saw this on Pinterest).

{Source: Unknown via Pinterest}

Another great Etsy shop find — Handcrafted hexagonal bookshelves:

{Source: Hause Handcraft}

And here’s something I may buy.  Metallic + Gray + Honeycomb/Hexagonal Patterns = Magic.  (Oh yes, and I’m in the market for new throw pillow covers, so there’s that…)

{Source: Kyle Wayne Taylor}

 

That’s all I’ve got for now!  I just added like five projects to my already reeeally long project to do list.  Eesh.

 

***Follow me on Pinterest!  I have over fifty boards and almost 1,000 pins.  Obviously, I’m a little crazy (but I’m also a great resource, yeah?).  

 

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***Keeping it Real:  This post does contain affiliate links.  But only because I truly believe in these products.  You know I wouldn’t do it any other way.  :)

 

As I mentioned in my previous post, I finally took the plunge and switched what used to be thegingerpennypincher DOT wordpress DOT com to the new and improved www.thegingerpennypincher.com.  And it was a slow and surprisingly complex process.  Slow because I couldn’t make up my mind and commit… Complex because I had already been blogging on a WordPress-hosted blog for almost two years, so switching with that much content, that many confused and redirected subscribers, and that many other logistical things that I’ll go into in a minute… yeah, I got the same overwhelmed feeling I get every time I walk into Ikea by myself and don’t really know what I’m looking for.  Clammy palms.  Fidgeting gestures.  And the urge to run back to my car.

But instead of running back to my car, I just sort of quit blogging (in spite of myself). But you can read about all of that in the previous post.  Once I finally decided to jump back up on the proverbial horse, I had a lot of decisions to make: domain purchasing, web hosting, themes, templates, ads, affiliate programs, etc. etc.

So let’s start with the purchase of the actual domain — www.thegingerpennypincher.com.  This was actually the easiest decision to make, as Josh and I have both used GoDaddy for all of our domain purchasing in the past (actor websites, Josh’s dog training website, et al).  We’ve never had a problem with them before, so why change now?  And truth time:  I’d actually purchased the domain shortly after I started the blog in September 2011… just in case.  So I say it was an easy decision, but really it’s the one thing I had already done.

So I had an address on the Interwebz, but no “house.”  This is where web hosting comes in.  I knew I wanted to stay with WordPress as my blogging platform, so I turned to WordPress.org (where you can download the blogging software — same thing as WordPress.com, but for self-hosted blogs only).  Their top recommended hosting company was BlueHost.  Not seeing any problems with them, I just dove in and signed up (I started off at just a year of hosting in case I change my mind about them — time will tell and fingers crossed!).  Then it was a simple matter of pointing my URL nameservers to BlueHost (if you’re not familiar, this sounds far fancier than it is — you can just Google the process — super easy and it only takes a minute).

Then I downloaded WordPress as my platform under the BlueHost Simple Scripts area (again, super simple process — they walk you through the whole thing, or… you can Google it).

Then the painful, hard part.  For me, at least.  The look of the blog.  Seeing as this blog is about home decor and design half the time, this kind of thing was especially important to me.  I tried tried tried to fall in love with one of the free themes offered by WordPress, to no avail.  I never really loved the theme I had going on at the WordPress blog, but I figured it was better than any of the other alternatives.  I decided that, this time around, settling wasn’t an option.

When I’d first bought my domain waaay back in 2011, I had done a smidgen of research into customizable themes and had stumbled upon the Thesis framework, but not wanting to get into a DIY endeavor of that magnitude yet, I filed it away as something to look into… later.  This time, I knew Thesis would be ideal (and even better — they had a newer version — Thesis 2.0).  No, it is not free, but seeing as they have a 30-day money back guarantee, I figured I had nothing to lose, so I did it.

I paid the price, downloaded the theme, then got overwhelmed.  Again.  They advertise it as the theme where you don’t have to use much code (HTML and CSS, that is ), but for someone who doesn’t know any code (well, aside from the speck of HTML I learned in the late 90′s when I created my own Angelfire website — that’s right), it was a bit too much to figure out.  Until I found the awesome Thesis Video Tutorials Youtube channel (created by the super precious and helpful Aussie computer goddess, Amelia Briscoe).  She literally walks your through, step-by-step, even the easiest of tasks and helps you build a website using the Thesis 2.0 framework.  It’s definitely a time investment (it took me a week of late evenings/early mornings to get through all of the videos), but it’s worth it, as you start learning coding, simply by doing it so much.  It’s more than  possible to get through all of these videos in a day, but I chose to spread it out because A) I have a full-time job, and B) I actually wanted time to digest everything and walk away having learned something, not just copied and pasted what she told me to.

And dare I say it, I actually know some computer code!  Like, for real-real.  I mean, I won’t be making websites from scratch on a regular basis, but I know enough — and with help from Thesis and Amelia — to take what began as a blank white page (name that band) to what you see right now (and if you’re reading this in an e-mail or on a reader, do me a favor and go check out the website — let me know what you think!).

So just to clarify, Thesis is not a theme or template in the traditional sense.  You’re not going to upload a background image, select a link color, and be done.  This is why I say that the newly dot com-ified blog is my biggest DIY effort to date.  See that thin grey border around the main white box where all of the blog content is (what you’re reading right now?)  That’s all code.  Notice how the corners of this main box are slightly rounded?  That’s all code.  The different fonts for the post headline and sidebar (some of which I’m still working the kinks out of)?  That’s a Google Fonts plugin… then a lot of code.  Nothing you see was an arbitrary choice made by a template; it was all coded that way.  And of course this is why there are still plenty of “that looks kind of weird” and “did you mean for that to overlap?” and “wouldn’t this be better if it was centered and a little bigger?”  Yep, I still have a lot of work ahead of me.  In time.

As far as money spent for this migration, that was it.  I bought the domain (super cheap), bought the hosting (relatively cheap), and bought the Thesis framework (meh… it was an expense).  As for the other design-related stuff you see, I created that using Picmonkey. The background, the header, the little “hello” button on the sidebar — all made with Picmonkey (y’all know how I love this free service).  And because I basically threw it together — picture spaghetti successfully sticking to a backsplash — it’s definitely still a work in progress.  We’ll get there.  But in the meantime, it should be relatively navigable (thank you Google custom search button in the sidebar), and I can start featuring ads and links to things that have the GPP seal of approval (check out the “Things I Love. Hard.” part of the sidebar for some of my faves).  And we all know what that means (anything to finance the Greek-yogurt-pop-chips-Diet-Coke habit is always a good thing… right?).

Let me know what you think!  And again, if you read GPP from a reader or e-mail subscription service, consider taking a moment to browse over to www.thegingerpennypincher.com, and you can see what on earth I’m talking about.  I love feedback!  (Please be gentle.)  :)

 

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***Hey, GPP E-mail subscribers, this is for you:  I have recently changed my blog to a DOT COM!  Read more below.  And this means you (probably) won’t be getting e-mails when there’s a new post, unless you RE-subscribe by visiting the new website:  http://www.thegingerpennypincher.com/.  Go check it out — it’s super easy, just enter your e-mail address in the right sidebar.  That, or no more inbox surprises from me.  :(  Go update it now!  This is the last post from the old WordPress blog.  Ever.
Who’s got two thumbs and finally transferred her WordPress blog to her very own, self-hosted blog?!
 

 

This girl!

 

(Yeah, the whole “two thumbs” thing doesn’t work as well when it’s typed out.)

 

That’s right! No more thegingerpennypincher dot WordPress dot com… It’s just good ol’ (or new) www.thegingerpennypincher.com (though WordPress is still my blogging platform).  It was one of my biggest DIY efforts to date, and I’m so dorkily proud and excited, I can’t stand it.

 

So first order of business, update those bookmarks and readers or whatever subscription method you’ve got going on.  I’ve already installed an automatic redirect, but you may have to clear some things for it to work the first go ’round.  Or not (still working out the kinks).  And I’ve got some subscription options in the top of the right side bar, so go check them out!

 

(And if you haven’t subscribed, why not do it now?  You’ll be in on the dot com ground floor, and everyone will be jealous of you. Then they’ll subscribe.  Then their friends will subscribe.  Then we’ll start a revolution — a ginger-lovin’-Diet-Coke-swiggin’-bargain-huntin’-DIY-doin’ revolution.  And we’ll take over the world!  …Well, maybe just Pinterest.)

 

My reasons for doing so are probably obvious.  When I first started this blog, I posted every weekday, Monday through Friday, and I loved doing it.  It held me accountable for spiffing up my new — well, new to me — apartment, for getting out and doing things in my new — again, new to me — city, and for saving and being as thrifty as possible, when possible.  And it was good.

 

It was also a fantastic outlet for me that had nothing to do with the performing arts, which otherwise consumes my life if I’m not careful (if you’re a new reader, I’m a professional theatre actress and singer living in one of the most competitive markets in the world: New York City).  Having an outlet outside of that world kept me sane and balanced…. and happy, especially when rejection is a part of everyday life (even for the most talented).

 

Then after two months, the blog started growing like crazy.  Overnight my stats went through the roof, I had a dozen or so posts that were in the number one spot in Google searches, and I gained new subscribers every single day.  It was exciting, which made me think monetizing it would be exciting (read: lucrative).  But to do that, I had to for real-real get my act together: buy a domain name, buy hosting, buy a theme (because I was not a fan of any of the free ones), maybe buy a more appropriate camera for a blog that deals largely with interiors… not to mention finding time to do all these things.

 

I got a little overwhelmed, because:

 

A.  It was gonna cost a little money (but not that much).
B.  It was gonna take a little time that I didn’t think I had (and I actually underestimated that — it took a lot of time to make this happen, and I am definitely still in the beta stage).

 

And finally…

 

C.  I don’t exactly ascribe to the “build it and they will come” mentality (oh, how I wish I did).  I have a big fear in general that I’m gonna put all this effort into something — a project or endeavor of some sort — and go through the proverbial ribbon cutting ceremony, and… cricket, cricket.  Nothing happens.  No one jumps on the bandwagon.  People lose interest.  And then… apathy… over something that I’m not initially apathetic about.

 

I know.  This is no way to live.  But I do this nonetheless, and it takes a lot of energy (and sometimes time) to talk myself down from this place.

 

Back to the blog.  Somewhere around July of 2012, I started posting only once a week…

 

Then every other week…

 

Then once a month.

 

And all those awesome stats and numbers I talked about took a toll.  Obvs.

 

And believe me when I say I wasn’t apathetic at all; in fact, I thought about the blog every day and how I wanted to get back to it, I just didn’t.  True, I was busier than I had been the year before when it was booming (this had a lot to do with me getting so sick that I couldn’t audition or do much of anything for a few months, so all I really did was blog).

 

I’m not sure what changed, but I woke up one day charged and ready to get the blog up and running again, and I decided if there was any positive reception to this, I would consider dot com-ing it and monetizing it once and for all.

 

And it worked!  I certainly haven’t gone back to posting daily like I used to (hopefully those days are coming back soon, because I have a long lost of topics and projects I want to explore), but my biweekly posts here and there have generated interest (again), and I’ve even gotten some lovely e-mails of encouragement (thanks y’all!) so I feel good about moving forward.

 

Because yeah, while I should do it for me, I really do like to feel like I’m writing to an audience that appreciates the help… Or tips… Or whatever I’m doling out (even if it is home or shopping or thrifty design related).  So getting a little love from you guys was just what I needed/wanted, and here I go again!  This time, dot com style!

 

By no means is this website a finished product.  I’m still experimenting with everything: layout, design, color, ad space, etc. so expect a lot of changes coming your way.  (And if you’re an e-mail or reader subscriber, make sure to check back here on the actual website and see what I’m up to!).

 

As for the “what, how, and which one?” to the blog migration, I’ll save that for my next post.  Let’s just say the word logistics will probably be used a lot.

 

Say tuned.  And una mas for all subscribers and would-be subscribers: Check out the e-mail or reader subscription options in the upper right portion of the sidebar, and remember the new URL is www.thegingerpennypincher.com.

 

 Thanks for checking stuff out, and let me know what you think!

 

new gpp signature

Consider this Part 543 in an ongoing series in my thrifty life called: Something-Else-Awesome-that-Josh-and-I-Found-on-the-Road-on-Trash-Day-and-How-it-Changed-Our-Lives-Hashtag-Only-Slightly-Exaggerating.  

Previous beloved installments in this unofficial series include…

butcher block dining room table

I’m offended by how blurry this picture is… I don’t blame you if you feel the same way.

This butcher block top Josh saved from the streets one trash day – and after we Googled a similar sized piece of block for pricing, we realized it was worth almost $300 (and it had no damage!).

We also found those beauties…

SAMSUNG

We saved these antique crystal door knobs from an old door on the street.  With a little elbow grease, they were removed from the (probably) lead paint ridden door, and placed into my happy hands.  And oh, how I love them…

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However, this past trash day’s prize takes it all.

A monstrously large, solid-as-a-rock, mostly-undamaged French Provincial dresser:

???????????????????????????????

NO, stained wood — especially this orange-y color — is NOT usually my thing.  I have plans o’ painting.  But wait… I’ll get to that in a minute.  First: Storytime!

So… as Josh and I often do, we were walking to work together (#americandream), and we spied this hunk of loveliness hanging out on the street all “You can’t have me because you live in a 400 sq. ft. apartment, but wouldn’t you love to refinish me with a slate grey milk paint with crisp white accents?  But you CAN’T!”  Such a tease.  I cursed whoever was giving up such a beautiful piece of furniture — with such potential — but passed it up because (like the piece of furniture said in my strange metaphor), Josh and I live in 400 sq. ft. so adding things like a huge French Provincial dresser (it’s over six feet long and about three feet high!) or removing enough of our current furniture to fit in (when we don’t want to get rid of anything but our old slipcovered couch) is a no-go.  Cue a deep sigh.  And that was the end of that.  Until…

I was walking the dogs the next day and –

Pause.

Aren’t my dogs the cutest things you’ve EVER SEEN?!?!

SAMSUNG

My heart breaks a little every time I look at them because I’m pretty sure they’ll never fully comprehend how much I love them…

Unpause.  Slight rewind for dramatic effect.

I was walking the dogs the next day when I saw the dresser again.

{Insert picture of dresser in street here}

Obviously I didn’t really take pictures of it because it was hard enough to say goodbye the first time.  I didn’t want to accidentally stumble across a picture of it in the future…  and cry.  Or something equally irrational.

But again, I passed it up… but not before determining its structural stability (sturdy and sound) and whether or not the drawers stayed on their track (yep, brilliantly so).  Oh, and of course, I saw this sexy detail for the first time:

???????????????????????????????

A dovetail joint.  Va-va-voom.

Then I fell in love.  Hard.

But it was more like summer lovin’, like in the song… where you have to go your separate ways at the end — Australia and Rydell High, or in the case of the dresser and me: to the nearest landfill and to my shoebox apartment, respectively.

…That’s not to say I didn’t dwell on the dresser for a disproportionate amount of time afterwards.

Fast forward to later that night when Josh and I were walking our dogs again — my life in New York City is 70% walking and 30% everything else — and we checked out the dresser yet again.  I say “checked out,” but really I gave it a cursory glance while Josh really got in there (#thatswhatshesaid).  Like I did before, he checked the drawers, did the whole push it and see if it wobbles test (passed with flying colors, of course), and gave it his general approval, while in the same breath reminding me — “I know, I know” — that we had nowhere to put it.

The following day — trash day — we walked past it, realized it was now or never, and in an insane fit of French Provincial passion, hefted it half up a block and up four flights of stairs.

The problem is, when I I type it all out in one sentence like that, it undermines just how. much. work. it was.  Like, I don’t even want to guess how much it weighs.

So, Josh and I took out all the drawers and took those upstairs (twelve drawers, four flights, three trips).  Then we carried the body of the dresser (did I mention it was half a block + four flights of stairs?).  We still didn’t have a clear plan as to where it would go, what would be lost with the gain of said dresser, and how many drawers of this dresser Josh would get to use (spoiler alert: zero).  But we knew we loved it, it had a little damage (just a couple of dings on the side that wood putty can save), and we knew it would be valuable to us in the coming years (we’re not going to live in apartments forever, I can promise you that).

Ok.  Enough storytime.  You all knew how it ended anyway.  Let’s look at substandard pictures of her in relatively poor nighttime/indoor lighting:

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

IMG_0199

On behalf of my neat freak husband, let me apologize for the dirty rug.  I don’t really care so much, but he almost wouldn’t let me take pictures because of the way it looked.

???????????????????????????????

Medallion deliciousness…

Oh, and I know this was a burning question you all had, so I’ll answer it for you:  Yes, I ABSOLUTELY took a fully-clothed boudoir style photo atop the dresser:

dresser boudoir shot

I have no shame.

And like I said, I don’t care for orange-y stained wood, so I’ll mos’ def be painting it.  I had images of grey and white milk paint, so I decided to Google image search and see what popped up (rather than always trying to imagine it, I sometimes like to look up an example from other crafty bloggers and see how it turns out in the end).

I found this great example from Mustard Seed Interiors:

{Source: Mustard Seed Interiors}

It’s literally EXACTLY what I had imagined (slate grey with white for the trimmy bits and medallions), and it looks even better than I expected.  Imagining this against a darker grey or light blue wall with this couch…

EKTORP Sofa IKEA Easy to keep clean with removable, dry clean only cover.

{Source: Ikea}

And this kind of natural jute rug:

And throw pillows in these patterns and/or colors:

{Source: Fabric.com}

{Source: Pookadella’s Home Decor Etsy Shop}

Pair that with the turquoise silk pillow I already have….

Add some long curtains in this fabric:

{Source: Fabric.com}

Repaint and stain my current end tables to look like this:

{Source: Centsational Girl}

Buy this quirky lamp and spray paint the base lime green or yellow and replace the current shade with a drum shade:

{Source: Boscov’s}

Maybe throw in a fixture like this one:

{Source: Shades of Light}

….along with my slew of awesome accessories that I already have and…

future living room moodboard

Yeah. I’ve pretty much redecorated my whole apartment in my mind.

Trash day scavenging is a dangerous thing.

I don’t know when I’ll get to painting the dresser — much less all these other changes — but  I’ll keep you posted along the way of course.  Ohboyohboyohboy.

P.S. — I finally joined Facebook (as the GPP that is)!  Click here to follow me!

courtney gpp signature 2

Picture me wagging my finger at you.  Why?  Because YOU forgot that Mother’s Day is this upcoming Sunday (as in: May 12th, 2013).  For SHAME!  Your mother didn’t forget it was Mother’s Day.  Well, maybe she did.  I wouldn’t know about that.

(And maybe you didn’t forget at all, in which case, disregard the last few sentences where I put on my disciplinarian pants.  Then pat yourself on the back.  I’m proud of you.  Now go have a Diet Coke.)

Ok, for those of you who did forget (it’s okay, I forgive you — you can have your Diet Coke, too) — it’s not too late.

You can always go the intangible gift route, in which case there are dozens of options…  Like this mother’s day luncheon that I did for my mother last year:

Or you can go the handmade route (duh, of course I did a post about that kind of thing last year).

But for those of you going the store bought route, this post is for you!  I’ve scoured the Internet (if by scour, I mean just Googled a little here and there), and found some Mother’s Day gift ideas that are fun…  maybe even unexpected.  I don’t mean like… giving your mother a spittoon (unless your mother is into… spittooning, er… spitting).  I mean like…

This gardener’s seat from Uncommon Goods:

Now I couldn’t keep a cactus alive, but I’m also not a mother. (I pretend the two correlate, so I assume that one day in the distant future when I do have children, I’ll suddenly wake up with the ability to know how much water a geranium should get.  And what a geranium looks like exactly.)

Another gift idea from Uncommon Goods

Did I say gift idea?  I meant humorous intermission from gift ideas.  Mostly I just like knowing this is a real thing and it’s out there in the world (and it costs $65).  Ok, back to the real task at hand.

For the mom that’s in 15 different clubs, volunteers for a few dozen organizations, and hosts the occasional book club or bunco game…

Blue Glass Yorkshire Dispenser

It’s pretty!  It’s blue!  It holds beverage!  (I want one myself… mmm…. Sangria.)  It’s only $19.99 and it’s from Cost Plus World Market.

As is this one… slightly more neutral but nonetheless lovely (and party-practical) for $19.99:

Beehive Drink Dispenser

Speaking of delightful beverages, and other cool things from Cost Plus World Market, I think this cast-iron tea pot is pretty boss.

And I mean that in a “I-don’t-really-use-boss-as-an-adjective” type way.  (Only $19.99!)

I love the idea behind these apothecary jars with chalkboard labels:

These are available from Pier 1 for $10 and $14 (respective to their sizes), but they’d be easy to DIY if you already had the paint and jars (if not, it’d probably cost pretty close to the Pier 1 price to but it all together from scratch, so that’s actually not a bad price).

And you know Etsy’s my boo and I can’t resist handmade things, so here’s a few findings from my most recent browsing…

Mother's Day Gift 8x10 Custom Map - USA Map With Heart - Two Locations, Any Color - United States Wall Art - Digital Art Print

Sooo sweet.  Especially if you and your mother are geographically apart.  (And you don’t have to be bicoastal for this to work — the seller will customize it appropriately.  Check her out:  Paper Plane Prints.)

The next item, this hand painted silk scarf, is definitely not in lines with the typical GPP gift budget, but there’s no denying its beauty and one-of-a-kind uniqueness:

Hand Painted Silk Shawl Blue Hawaiian Hibiscus, Blue Silk Scarf, Floral Shawl. Evening Wrap. Silk Charmeuse Shawl. 22x90 in. Made to order.

Gorgeous.  You can check out the seller’s other items here:  Silk Scarves Takuyo

I actually gave my mother a similar item for Christmas a few years ago…

Custom Rubber Stamp: Southern Label

(A rubber stamp that creates that inked image, that is.)  But I still think it’s a good gift for any occasion, and certainly for Mother’s Day.  Makes bill paying go by faster (that is, assuming your mother is like mine and does most of her bill paying through snail mail).  The one above can be found at Sincerely Yours Paper (or you can search on Etsy for monogrammed address stamps and get a whole slew of options).

And there’s no end to the amount of awesome tea towels you can find on Etsy (seller’s pages linked and listed under each image):

Whip it, Whip it Good Flour Sack Tea Towel

{Etsy shop: French Silver}

Just Beat It Flour Sack Tea Towel

{Etsy shop: French Silver}

100% Cotton Tea Towel

{Etsy shop: Caloway Creations}

The Mr. Tea Towel (hand painted) Mr.T - funny gift - housewarming gift - for him - new home - retro

{Etsy shop: Lucy’s Art Emporium}

I have a secret tea towel obsession, but I don’t act on it because I’m afraid I would use said tea towel to wipe up some kitchen-related mess that would forever stain the tea towel and thus sadden me.  But I really like to look at them.  (And think about how I’d like to frame them all and hang them on the wall.)

OK, stepping away from Etsy.  And onto Amazon… one of my favorite places to shop.

It’s no secret that Amazon has EVERYTHING, but getting back to its ol’ multimedia roots, Amazon is a great place to shop for books.  Obviously, it’s one of the cheapest — if not the cheapest places — to buy books, but it also features lots of helpful lists if you’re just looking for a certain kind of book, and not necessarily a specific title.  One book I’m particularly excited about is And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (same guy who wrote The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns).

My mother and I have both loved the previous ones, so I look forward to this one as well.  (Hint: Mom, DON’T pre-order this book, or the Mother’s Day fairy will have to deliver multiple copies.)  #subtelyisnotmyspecialty

That’s all for now.  What’s everyone else doing for Mother’s Day?  Handmade?  Store bought?  Non-tangible?  Spittoon-gifting?

courtney gpp signature 2

Happy Earth Day, y’all!   (And thanks, Google… you always come through with your clever home screens right when I think I might forget medium important holidays and random botanists’ birthdays.)

But seriously, I love the planet, I love DIY, and it’s no secret that I love saving the murnies, so logically I love upcycling like nobody’s business.

Bring on the Earth-Day-themed-upcycling-posts-throwback-round-up-trip-down-memory-lane-smorgasbord-of-April-twenty-second’s love!

Ok!

(Click on the image or the link above the image to take you to the original post!)

Vinyl Record Bowl

free dog toy toilet paper roll

Nice Knobs!  (Salvaged Crystal Door Knobs)

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Vintage Yardsticks and Rulers

{Source: Corner House Blog}

Wine Cork Crafts

{Source: ewehoo!}

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