52 Weeks To A Simplified Home :With Free Printable Plan

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Our families clutter piles got pretty bad in 2014. I didn’t do my normal Christmas cleaning, which really helps, and I also didn’t join various bloggers in decluttering series all year long either.

52 Weeks To A Simplified Home Decluttering A Home One Inch At A Time(This might be a picture of my teenager’s room but a lot of our home looks like this, time to clean up)

When I was recently reading Ruth Soukup’s new book “Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets Of The Good Life” her chapter on simplifying her possessions convinced me that it really is time I gave the house a top to bottom decluttering.

Now I know most books say clear a few days, and get the whole house done. But, in my current stage of life, finding a few days to do nothing but declutter is next to impossible.

So instead I decided to break up my home into 52 areas one for each week of 2015 .

I am also making a few rules.

Rules for 52 Weeks To A Simplified Home

  •  I can work ahead if time allows, but not to the point where I let other priorities of my life slide.
  • I cannot fall behind more than 2 weeks at any given time. If I do I have to catch up right away
  • I will not save anything for reselling that  has a reselling value of under $20. All items below that price point go straight to a locally run thrift store that uses the proceeds they earn to run their soup kitchen.
  • I am setting up an area in the basement for resale items. I plan to date items with a sticky note when I place them in these boxes. I will go through them at the end of each month and any item that have been in them for longer than 4 weeks must be sold that very day, or it is off to the thrift store they go. No exceptions no matter what the value of the item.
  • I am approaching the decluttering like I am moving, if I wouldn’t want to take the effort to pack, move and unpack the item,out it goes.
  • I am going to be realistic about what I can do at this stage of life and not save things for the “hopeful” next. As in  “when the kids have graduated and I no longer need to devote hours to homeschooling,  I can sew and then I will want all these yards of fabric”.

I plan to use you my readers to hold me accountable and to humble me. By showing you my mess I hope that I won’t let things slide this bad again. I am also hoping some of you will join me so we can support each other.

Every Tuesday I will write a short 52 Weeks To Simplify Your Home, with a before and after post of my decluttering area that week, as well as tips I am learning that are helping me to simplify my home, and links to helpful resources on the topic of decluttering, organization, house cleaning, and simplifying your home.

Join me as I declutter my home one inch at a time52 Weeks To A Simplified Home Plan

Here is my list of 52 areas in my home that I will be decluttering . These 52 areas cover my entire home except for the basement and our shed. Those are my husband’s domain, and hopefully seeing me declutter will inspire him to do the same.

I divided up each room into areas. My plan is to work one room until it is 100% done and then move on to another room. I don’t plan to follow the areas in the order listed here, but pick and choose as I go to satisfy my creative spirit a bit.

Library

1. White bookcase

2. Brown bookcase

3. Black cabinet

4. Basket table

5. Shoe containers

6. All table tops

Dining Room

7. Dresser

8. China Cabinet 1

9. China Cabinet 2

10. Baskets under folding table

11. Top of folding table

12. Dresser top

13. Black side board

14. Bay window

15. Floor

Family Room

16. 1 side of white cabinet

17. other side of white cabinet

18. TV cabinet one side

19. TV cabinet other side

20 Side tables

21. Desk

22. Baskets on floor.

Kitchen

23. Upper cupboards

24. Lower cupboards

25. Cupboards on fridge wall.

Boot Room Area

26. Coat rack

27. Boot bins, and bin on floor

28. Counter top area

29. Upper cabinets

Landing Area

30. Top of stair area

31. Storage area on the way down the stairs to the basement

Upstairs storage closet

32. Black side shelves

33. Upper 1/2 of wire shelves

34. Lower 1/2 of wire shelves

35. floor area and peg wall.

Bathroom Downstairs

36. Under sink cabinets and counter

37. Tall cabinets

Upstairs Bathroom

38. Tall cabinet

39. Counter and under sink cabinet

Hallway closet

40. All shelves

Study area and hallway

41. All

Master Bedroom

42. Dresser

43. My bedside table

44. Hubby’s bedside table

45. Under bed

46. Wall down Jack’s side of the bed

47. Wall down my side of the bed

48 End of bed area

49. Half of closet

50. Other half of closet

Attic

51. Longest wing

52. Shortest wing & wing lined with shelves.

How to join along in the 52 weeks to simplify your home challengeWill you join me?

I would love to think that perhaps I am not the only one out there with a home that has become more cluttered than it should be. I would also love to think that I am not the only one that can’t declutter it all in a weekend or even a week.

If you too have too much clutter, and your daily life doesn’t allow you to tackle it all in a short amount of time, I would love to have you join me in my 52 weeks to a simplified home challenge.

Grab a notebook, pen and a cup of coffee. Spend a few minutes going from room to room looking for clutter and giving each clutter hotspot its own week. Keep the spots small so that they are doable in a small time frame each and every week.

Make your own list of rules. Keeping a few things in mind. Will you donate items or sell them? If donating them when and where? How high will you let the donation pile build before you donate it?

Make sure if you are thinking of selling things, that you have a plan of how to sell them before you begin, and set yourself a deadline to sell them. Life just might be too busy to both declutter and sell, and if it is, isn’t a decluttered home worth the money you might lose when you donate the item instead of selling it.

Don’t forget to also think of those you might be helping by donating items. Find a locally owned thrift store that donates funds to causes you agree with. This really helps me feel okay with donating over selling when I know we could put the money made by reselling to good use if I just had the time, but in my current stage of life I often don’t have the time.

Once your list is made make sure to do one more thing and join the Snail Pacing Goal Achievers Facebook group, where you can share your progress see how others are doing, and get encouragement and tips.

52 weeks to a simplified homefree printable planI made it even simpler for everyone to join by making a free printable for those of you who would rather fill in the blanks and follow my preset rules than make up your own. Download it here.

If you want to say thanks for the free printable. say it with a follow on your favorite social media site, whether it be  Facebook ,  Pinterest, or Instagram,  or have my posts delivered directly to your email box as I publish them.

Lets get on with it. Lets toss the clutter and embrace the awesome feeling of a simplified home.

Linked to Mom2Mom, Thrifty Thursdays, Frugal Fridays,

 

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10 Goals For 2015

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I didn’t do so well with my goals for 2014. Some of it was due to health issues that came about but a lot of it was because I got so concentrated on my wow goal that I put most of the other goals on the back burner so I had more time to reach it.

goals for 2015

It was a bit discouraging to see so many goals left undone, but I don’t really regret it since reaching my wow goal was an amazing feeling. This year however I am going to try to be a bit more balanced and so some of my yearly goals are the same ones I have already achieved in past years, that I think I just need to do year after year to live a well rounded life, like reading 52 books each year.

Other goals are new but I took the time this year to plot out exactly how I was going to pursue each one. Breaking goals down into snail pacing steps gives me a feeling of already succeeding when I have barely begun.

I also didn’t follow my formula for the 3 areas of my life with 3 goals in each, and a wow goal like I did last year.

Instead I just stuck to 10 and really thought about which ones on my “would love to do it” goal storming list I felt the strongest about.

10 Goals For 2015

My Mind

1. Read 52 books this year. 

I truly believe that I grow so much by reading. I also think it sets a good example for my kids, who I want to be life long learners too. Those two things made me want to make 52 books a year one of my permanent yearly goals.

My Health

I had a few health problems pop up last year, that left me thinking I have reached that age where I should be paying more attention to it so I set two goals for my fitness and one goal  for eating habits.

Make A Fitness Goal For This YearHow to set and track a yearly milage goal (med)

2. 1200 Miles Ran in 2015

Thursdays post will explain this goal in more detail but essentially I want to run 100 miles each and every month of 2015.

3. Take an overnight, multi-day bike ride trip with my son

I wanted to do this with my son in 2014, but my doctor told me I had to stay off the bike for a few months during prime biking season. So I am going to make it happen this year, as my son was very disappointed and so was I.

6 habits to form this year for healthier eating creating good eating habits one inch at a time (med)

4. Take six small steps over the year to build better eating habits

Wednesdays post this week will explain my plan for this in more detail but basically I have come up with 6 habits I want to make a part of my life that will fix bad eating habits and instill new good eating habits.

My Marriage

These goals are ones I set and made in 2014 and I liked how they strengthened my marriage so much that I am doing them again.

5. 1 real date a month with my hubby each and every month (no quick bite to eat and an errand).

6. 1 weekend getaway per season just the 2 of us.

My Home

52 Weeks To A Simplified Home Decluttering A Home One Inch At A Time (med)

I am very excited about this goal and I am hoping others will join me. Tomorrow’s post is going to share all the details of my goal and a challenge for you to join me.

7. Declutter one area of my home each and every week of the year.

My Business

8. Write a 30,000 word ebook.

I have had write an ebook on my goal list for years, but never pursue it to the end.  This time though, I have set deadlines for myself from picking the topic, to word counts to hit each week, to when I need to send it to editors and when I want to launch it.

My Spirit

9. Do a word study in the bible  of the words, discipline, diligence and self control.

My Wow Goal

10. I like keeping my wow goal very private as it is so dear to my heart. It is just as big as last year if not bigger.

Did you set any goals for yourself this year? If so tell me about them in the comments. Also consider joining my Snail Pacing Goal Achievers Facebook group where I will be sharing my goal updates as well as creating and environment that will encourage women to reach their goals one inch at a time.

If you find yourself constantly making goals but never pursuing them or reaching them, I recommend reading 21 Days To A More Disciplined Life. An ebook by Crystal Paine that will help you break down your goals and develop the discipline to reach them.

10 Things To Do Now To Set Yourself Up For A Thrifty Christmas

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If you want to make the most of a tight budget at Christmas time, the days following Christmas are sometimes more important than the days before Christmas .

10 things to do now to set yourself up for the thrifty Christmas

It might seem strange to some to think of next Christmas in the days after this Christmas but what you do now to prepare for Christmas next year can make or break a tight Christmas budget.

10 Things To Do Now To Set Yourself Up For A Thrifty Christmas

1. Join point programs and make a plan

Point programs can not only help pay for Christmas they can actually pay for all of Christmas if you sit down and make up a plan for how to incorporate a few  point earning actions into your day.

If you are on a tight time budget here are the 4 I would recommend for maximizing your earnings for time spent.

  • Swagbucks: With over 24 ways to earn, you are going to find some way to earn that you love and can stick to and earn anywhere from $10 to $100 a month  depending on how many ways you want to work.
  • Bing Rewards: With a few minutes spent each day you can earn a $5 gift card each month.
  • Paid Viewpoint: A survey company that is not time consuming and pays in Paypal.  Approx. $4 a month for simple and quick surveys.
  • InstGC: A newer to me point program that I am liking for its instant and low gift card cash outs. Gift cards start at just $1 and you get the code instantly. I think it is fair to say you could earn $5 to $20 a month if you stick to the simple earning tasks faithfully.

If you add up the earnings from just programs above that is $24 to $129 a month meaning with Christmas being 12 months away you would have $288 to $1548 available for Christmas.

2. Make a list of needed Christmas supplies now

Take a few minutes the day after Christmas to figure out what basic Christmas supplies you need for next year that you can buy on deep clearance now.

  • tape
  • wrapping paper
  • tissue papper
  • gift bags
  • mailing envelopes
  • large hooks for hangs wreaths and such
  • ribbon
  • Christmas lights
  • Christmas cards

Your list might differ than mine a bit but use it as a guide to get you started on things that you can buy and store now that will save you money later.

3.  Join coupon apps and use them

Coupon apps are a great way to earn cash-back on items you buy anyways that you can use to cash in for gift cards and cash you can use for Christmas.

The trick is remembering to check them before each grocery trip until it becomes habit. Try posting a note to yourself on the fridge or a kitchen cabinet that says “coupon Apps” so that as you are fishing through your cabinets to make a grocery list of what you need, you are reminded to take a peek at this weeks coupon app offerings.

4. Keep your eyes open for deep discounts on gift items

Every Christmas all of us give a few generic gifts to people. Items like scented candles, tins full of homemade treats,and coffee mugs. Instead of paying full price for these items pick them up when you see them on sale for 75% off or more during the year and put them in a storage bin with a lid designated for gifts that you keep in a cool area of your home. This way you will know where they are, know that they are dust free and safe from heat damage ( a candle that has melted and then re-hardened is not pretty) and save money too.

5. Add up those bills

Sometime between Christmas and New Years take a few moments to add up all the costs of this years Christmas. Not just the gifts but also, the events, the food, the cards you sent, the clothes for special activities, the extra giving you did, the extra money for the gas you used to go to all those Christmas events and anything else related to the Christmas season.

Once you have the total, decided how you are going to save the money before Christmas rolls around again. You can either divided the payment into 12 payments or pay it off in either a few bigger payments or all at one go.

For instance in our family my husband gets paid every other week, so twice a year we get 3 paychecks in one month instead of 2. We often use that 3rd paycheck to pay for Christmas . Other years we have put our tax return away to pay for Christmas or money earned from reselling items. Or you can use the methods shared in this article to help pay for Christmas such as point programs, coupon apps and cash back sites.

6.  Note where you shopped

While looking through those receipts take a moment to note where you shopped most and what you spent there. Make a note in your Christmas budget to check Cardpool for discounted gift cards to the stores you shop at most for gifts a few weeks before Christmas shopping season begins. This tip saved my family 20% on our annual  family Christmas 3D movie night, plus another 10% on Black Friday deals.

7. Sign up for Brad’s Deals emails

Brad’s deals is a daily hub for the best deals out there around the web on name brands like North Face, Under Armor, Kitchen Aid, and more. Stock up year round on name brands your family loves for less and add them to your gift tote.

8. Like and get notifications for your favorite stores that offer free deals

I have not only liked Shutterfly on Facebook but have also clicked the “get notifications”  in the box under the “like” thumb so that I see free codes as the come available for making photo books , calendars and more. These would all make great gifts.

Another company that offers great free stuff is Bath and Body Works,  often they have trial samples for free when they come out with a new sent. These would make a great add in to a gift basket.

Money Saving Mom also mentions free offers as they become available so I also have her facebook page in my facebook notifications as well.

9. Make a DIY gift list

If you like to make gifts, now is the time to figure out what you plan to make for gifts for next Christmas. This way you can make sure that you get your supplies on sale, and have enough time to complete all your gifts well in advance.

10. Join cash back sites and use them

Cash back sites are a great way to save money on your online purchases all year long. Save up your savings and cash them out for gift cards and cash to help pay for Christmas. These rebates can really add up. On Black Friday  alone, I earned $75 in gift cards through My Points on my online Christmas shopping, since they had a special high cash back offer going on for the store I happened to be making 90% of my Christmas purchases at.

How do you prepare well in advance for Christmas?

 18+ point programs to help you earn $50 or more in gift cards each month (small)Visit my Point Programs resource page for a list of 18+ point programs you can use to help pay for Christmas.

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Merry Christmas

mary and josephThe nativity scene in our local park has seen better days. Jesus is missing. Mary is without a hand. Joseph’s paint is chipping. But I still love it. It is a humble nativity scene of a humble birth.

I am taking the next 2 days off to take time with my family to celebrate that humble birth.

I pray that you and your family enjoy Christmas together this year. Thank you for being such a gift to me.

See you on Friday.

Not familiar with the Christmas story? Take a moment to read it here.

Tuesday Links: Last Minute Gift Ideas

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Tuesday links 30 or so link to articles on one topic for you to explore, learn, and apply to your lifeThere are now only 2 shopping days left until Christmas and that includes today. If you are not already done with your Christmas shopping I am guessing you might be scrambling for last minute ideas. Do not fear! I have some good ones rounded up in today’s post.

1. This Redbox Neighbor Gift Idea found over at Over The Big Moon work for so many more people than your neighbors. Free printable too!

2. If you have canning jars and a few piece of material lying around you have most of the supplies needed to make these darling Snowman Candy jars by Make It Love It. Fill them with whatever candy your recipient loves!

3. If you are not into DIY and you don’t want to leave your house in fear of the long lines. It is not too late to grab a gift card. Amazon has great printable gift cards in various Christmas themes that you can print out. If you are not seeing the person who the gift is for before or on Christmas day you can e-mail them the gift card and a personal message.

I have written a few posts of my own that you also might find helpful

Need a good read after your shopping? You can grab all 4 Bailey Flanigan series books for just one low price of $2.99 on kindle . I really enjoyed the series when I read it. It is one of those series you just don’t want to put down. Price could change at any time to make sure to look before you buy.

Take Time This Christmas To Pause And Ponder

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This week I will be enjoying my 18th Christmas as a mom. I know those of you with newborns get so sick of hearing “in the blink of an eye they will be grown”, but moms it is true. I feel like I blinked and suddenly those precious babies I use to cradle in my arms  became teenagers that are taller than me (well one isn’t yet but give her a year or two and I think she will be).

Take time this Christmas to pause and ponder A few Christmas’ ago while reading the Christmas story in Luke one morning I came upon Luke 2:19

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart”

Since then every Christmas I think about that verse again and again as I try desperately not to get caught up in the hustle and the bustle of the Christmas season the world  has created.

As defined by Meriam Webster. com the two words of great important in this verse mean

Treasure:

something valuable (such as money, jewels, gold, or silver) that is hidden or kept in a safe place

something that is very special, important, or valuable

a person who is greatly loved or valued especially because of being very helpful

Ponder:

to think about or consider (something) carefully

My children of course are not the son of God, as the newborn that Mary held in her arms was, but they are still amazing gifts from God. Gifts that I need to take time to treasure, and ponder about.

It is so easy during the Christmas season to get caught up in “doing for our children” but we need to take time to also “treasure and ponder” how blessed we are to have them.

During these last few days, I challenge you to take sometime to really observe your children. To take in what amazing gifts they are.

Grab your mug of coffee or tea, and quietly enter the room in which they are playing and sit down and watch. Don’t direct, don’t even speak, just treasure and ponder quietly the blessings of your children.

Store those moments up, the smell of their hair, the softness of their little chubby cheeks, the way they say “mommy” (well at least the times they say it without demanding something from you :)  ). Give them a hug and really take a moment to fully feel the embrace.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heartTreasure, and ponder moms. Treasure and ponder  some of your greatest gifts.

(the figurine is from one of my favorite nativity sets, willow tree)

Linked to Mom2Mom,

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10 Last Minute Gift Basket Ideas For Under $10

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Christmas is less than a week away. It is now too late to shop online unless you are willing to shell out for speedy delivery. There is still time to repurpose items into gifts if you can find the time between all the other Christmas events that are packed into the week before the big day, if not don’t fear  I made a trip to my local dollar store to help you out.

10 last minute gift basket ideas for Christmas for under $10 For young and old, married and single.

In our hometown Dollar Tree is our local dollar store but I am assuming you can find similar items at whatever store is in your area.

With items being just $1 a piece plus tax, you can easily make up a basket of items that can suit any gift recipient for under $10 . I wandered around my local Dollar Tree snapping pictures of items and writing down ideas of what type of baskets you can make.

(please note, these pictures are all taken on my older model Tracfone LG  smartphone, since I thought taking picture with  my cannon rebel while I shopped  might draw too much attention to me, so they are not as clean and crisp as my normal photos)

10 Last Minute Gift Basket Ideas Under $10

popcorn gift basket Under $101. Movie night in a basket

I got really brave and  put together this gift basket while in Dollar Tree then made room to photograph it, because I really wanted you to see what one complete gift basket would look like.  Yes people did stare. I mean really how many people do you see while shopping assembling a basket and then make room for it on  a shelf and start shooting photos of it? But you are worth it.

This basket is has a total of 8 items. You can make it a complete gift card by putting enough for one Redbox movie in an envelope.

gift basket idea mugs and cocoa

2.Personalized mugs for the whole family

Another great family gift would be these white mugs. Of course you are not going to leave them white. Head over to the office supply area and grab a sharpie and follow one of the many sharpie mug tutorials on Pinterest and make up personalized mugs for the whole family. Place them in a colorful tote and add in hot chocolate and peppermint sticks that they can use to stir.  (psst….I think nail polish would also work to decorate mugs)

Gift giving ideas for the dollar store

3. Car Fanatic gift basket

Grab one of the cleaning buckets seen above and fill it with a sponge, car interior cleaner, car tire cleaner, towels, and perhaps a few towels.

tool kit idea for a gift basket

4. New home basic tool kit

Grab one of the cleaning buckets, or a tool kit or belt if your dollar store has them and fill it with, basic tools like a hammer, screw drivers, measuring tape, crazy glue, duct tape, all the things that come in handy for a quick fix repairs.

kitchen supplies for gift baskets5. New home kitchen basket

For this one use a either a wire basket or a wicker one and fill it with all the things a new home owner needs in their kitchen. Pot holders, slotted spoons, can openers. Perhaps even a few glasses and dishes depending on how much you want to spend.

little artist gift basket

6. Craft basket for the little artist

fill a colorful plastic, with coloring books, crayons, craft kits, glitter glue, stickers and journals. You could also fill a cleaning caddy as this makes an excellent container for little artists to keep their supplies organized and portable.

fashionista gift basket

7. Dress up gift bag

Grab one of the giant gift bags and fill it with fairy wings and a wand. Or perhaps a dinosaur hat. A knights armor and shield. There were lots of different items for  young dress up fanatics at my dollar store.

hair accessories for gift basket

8.  Hair accessory basket

Whether you want a gift for a teenage girl who loves trying out different hairstyles or for a little girl with a love of hair bows, the dollar store has a tonne of great items you can make a basket out of.  Fill a colorful wire basket with a selection or brushes, and hair accessories that suit your recipient. You can also add shampoo, conditioner and hair styling products if you wish.

notebook and pens gift basket

9. Journal basket

Know someone who is always jotting things down in a notebook. The dollar store is a great place to grab them a gift. Mine had several blank journals to choose from as well as one that had a blank cover so you could add in colorful pens and stickers for them to personalize it with. There are also pens and highlighters.  Place these things in small reusable book bag, to complete the gift.

dog and cat treats gift basket

10. Don’t forget the family pet

The dollar store I went to had dog bowls that you could fill with dog treats and dog toys that you could give to your four legged friend to keep him or her busy while the family opens up their presents Christmas morning.

Hopefully this post assures you that even if you are out there this week shopping last minute you can still get some great gifts on a small budget.

Thrifty Christmas Tips (small)

 Visit my Thrifty Christmas resource page where you will find all my thrifty Christmas tips and more.

 

 

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Snapshot Thursdays: A Story & A Few Of My Favorite Things

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Snapshot Thursdays 3 pictures from my week to give you a peek into my daily lifeWelcome to Snapshot Thursdays. Please join me on  Instagram  to see more pictures I share all week long.

Keys

We added another licensed driver to our household this weekend. My eldest son got his driver’s license. Handing him the keys to the family SUV for his first solo drive was kind of nerve racking.

I got to say though I am already noticing that I now have more time on my hands as I have one less child to drive places, and if all 3 children are going to the same place, which they often are, I don’t have to drive them then either.  On a regular week I figure this will add at least another  hour to the time I get to be at home. Oh what I could do in an hour, laundry, blogging, reading……. tulsi teaLately I have been enjoying a mug of hot Tulsi tea in the evenings. I find it really calming. I enjoy mine with just a tad of stevia.

Have you ever tried Tulsi tea? Do you have another type of herbal tea you like? Leave the name of  it in the comments below, I love trying out new teas.

thermal socksYes they are ugly, and yes they are not the typical black or white socks this plain Jane gal wears but oh how I love my  thermal socks in winter time (link is example only I have no idea what brand mine are). Okay so they are not really mine, they are my husband’s really but he doesn’t wear them any more since he stopped forestry work to become a nurse 12 years ago.

Yep these socks are 12 years old and still going strong. I wish I knew the brand as I would love to get more of these exact brand since obviously they are worth every penny spent on them. (oh and don’t worry, I take these off and put on my plain black or white ones when I got out of the house :) )

Do you have a favorite pair of warm socks? Let me know the brand in the comments below so perhaps I can check them out, this pair is starting to show its age.

Here are a few random coupons for you today:

Don’t forget to checkout my coupon resource page for links to complete listings of printable coupons.

Save 20% on any single purchase of loose Grapefruit at participating retailers. See offer info for complete details. Check back every Tuesday for a new Healthy Offer..Expires 12/22/2014.Save 20%.

Save 55¢ when you buy any ONE (1) 5lb bag of King Arthur Signature Flour. .Expires 12/31/2014.Save $0.55.

Save $2.00 on any ONE (1) package of Pull-Ups® Training Pants (Jumbo Pack or larger)

DIY Knitted Christmas Tree Ornament

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The pattern for this knitted Christmas tree ornament was born one Saturday afternoon when my husband and I had a Christmas party to attend that included a Christmas tree ornament gift exchange and I forgot to pick one up when out grocery shopping earlier that week and didn’t feel like going out again.

DIY Knitted Christmas Tree Ornament

DIY Knitted Christmas Tree Ornament.

I gathered what I had and spent a few minute cruising pinterest for ideas. I saw this picture of a Christmas tree ornament that was basically a dead pin, meaning all I had to guide me was a picture, no instructions.

It took me about an hour to figure out how to make it work, and another hour to make it , and yes I know in 2 hours I could have driven to the store picked out an ornament, driven home, showered and been dressed for the party, instead of the rushing around I ended up doing that evening. However, I really loved the way it turned out and I think a handmade Christmas ornament means so much more than one  from a store.

I tweaked the pattern the second time around, and I like it even better than I did the first one.

Supplies needed to make knitted Christmas tree ornament

Here are the materials you need for this Christmas ornament

  • size 7 needles (I use bamboo and love them)
  • green yarn (I used cotton, but I think other types would do)
  • red yarn (again I used cotton, but you can use other types I do however think the type you use should be the same for both colors)
  • buttons for ornaments (I used round but you can use any shape)
  • star buttons ( I got a large package of these at a yard sale one year)
  • small amount of green material (I just used an old t-shirt for this)
  • ribbon (I used some that I had bought on clearance, basically anything small enough to fit in the hole of the star button, will work)
  • Yarn needle (eye has to be big enough for yarn to go through)
  • needles for sewing on buttons

Start your christmas tree ornamentYou are going to start by knitting up the tree first. To get it started cast on 3 stitches making sure that you leave an ample enough tail end to do use  in the knitting together stage (say 3 or 4 inches).

How to keep track of what row you are one for the Christmas tree ornamentNow comes the tricky part. The pattern has a pattern of increasing that I found a bit hard to remember but I did find a few tricks that made it easier.

The pattern for the Christmas tree sides is as follows

  • knit one, knit in front and back in second (like you do a wash cloth, so that you make 2 stitches out of one) then knit to end of row.
  • knit full row
  • knit until second to last stitch then in that stitch knit in front and back (so that you are again making 2 stitches out of one) then knit last stitch.
  • knit full row
  • repeat until you have 16 stitches on your needles
  • knit a full row
  • cast off your row
  • At this point one side of your Christmas tree will be complete and then you can repeat the whole process over to make the other side.

To help me remember if I was near the start of a row , or near the end of the row, or if it was a non-increase row I did the following

  • I put a twist tie on the end of one needle, which helped me know if this was an increase row or not. Each time I was loading stitches to that needle I knew was an increase row, each time I was unloading stitches I knew it was a non-increase row
  • I made a chart on a piece of scrap paper that said F E F E F E F E………..This meant increase in front of row, increase near end of row. I crossed it off each time I did it so I knew what to do next time I was knitting an increase row.
  • You could also do a chart that goes like this  F N E F N E F N E…….. This would eliminate need for twist tie as the N would stand for the non-increase row.

knit up two christmas tree ornament piecesOnce your two Christmas tree pieces are done it is time to work the ends in so that they are hidden.

tieing in the ends of the christmas tree ornamentEssentially all you do is thread the tails on your needle one at a time and then work each one into the stitches itself. I like to work through at least half a dozen or so and then un-thread your needle and cut off the yarn sticking out.

cutting the material for the inside of the christmas tree ornamentsNow it is time to cut your material (um…ya I know the ends are not done in this picture, it is out of sequence but really it doesn’t matter what order you do these two steps).  The cutting doesn’t have to be perfect, as you can see from mine. What matters is that the pieces of material take up most of the inside of each tree but do not spill out the sides.

Also as long as the material is green so that it blends in between the holes of the knitting it doesn’t matter what type it is. I used an old t-shirt of my daughter’s, since it was free.

make a tree sandwich Christmas tree ornamentNow you want to make a tree sandwich, putting one knitted side on the bottom then the two green pieces of material and then the other knitted tree. Play around with them a bit until you have them all laying flat and all the green material is safely within the knitted sides.

Christmas tree ornament sewing the sidesTo sew the piece together cut off one piece of yarn roughly the length from you finger tips to mid bicep. I tied mine on to one corner of the tree, leaving a long tail to work in just like I did when the tree was in two pieces. Slip stitch around the tree watching your tension not so loose that you have gaps but not so tight that it causes puckering.

Christmas tree ornament approx. size

When my tree was put together is was right around 6 inches in height. Of course yours might be smaller or bigger depending on your tension, so let this be your guide and not a strict rule. After I was done stitching the sides of the tree together I knotted together the ends and then stabbed them into the tree with the yarn needle  so that they were hidden.

Christmas tree ornament attaching bucketTo attach the red bucket to the Christmas tree you need to work your needle into a few of the bottom stitches. I did this by folding the tree in half and taking 2 on one side and 3 on the other. I suppose you could make it 3 on each side since there really was no plan to my bucket except that it look like it was in the middle and not too small but not too big and 5 stitches looked about right to me.

tree ornament knitting bucketWork the red yarn in the green . Knit 8 rows of it and then cast off. Leave a long red tail at end.   I knotted the red yarn to the green yarn near the first stitch after I casted off. I don’t know if that is the proper way to do it but it worked.

Christmas tree ornament bucket stitchingTo finish the bucket I folded the red bucket in half. I  knotted the two ends together and then used the long tail of yarn I left to slip stitch the red yarn to the bottom of the green tree and then closed one side. I then used the other tail to slip stitch the other side shut. After the bucket was all sewn shut I cut off all but an inch or so of the yarn tales and then used the needle to hide them in the bucket.

Christmas tree ornament tree done, now to decorateOnce you complete the tree you are going to want to decorate it. You can use matching colorful buttons like I did. So that each side of the tree looks the same or you can use random buttons on either side. I had a friend who made some of these trees for her aunt and used buttons from her aunt’s antique button collection. It meant a lot to the aunt to see her pretty buttons on display on her tree.

Christmas tree ornament Laying out buttonsOnce you know what buttons you want to decorate your tree, take some time deciding just where you want them. Once you have them arranged in a way you like, snap a picture with your cell phone before removing them all. This will give you something to look at should you forget where you wanted them.

Christmas tree ornaments threadInstead of running out to the store to find matching green thread, I snipped off a piece of yarn and split the four strands up. This way I had an exact match to the yarn . You can use green thread though if you rather. I won’t report you to the thrifty police LOL.

Christmas tree ornament putting on buttons (2)

To  put your buttons on securely, first thread your needle and then put a knot about 3 inches away from end. Pull the thread through the entire tree and stop at knot. Place the needle through one button hole and pull it down the thread then insert button into other hole and through the tree again to another button on the other side.

Christmas tree ornament buttons secure

Go through from one button to the other 4 or so times until the buttons on either side are securely in place.

Christmas tree ornament wrapping thread around buttonTo finish off the buttons once you are done securing them to tree take the ends of the thread on both sides and wrap them around the base of the buttons. This will hide the ends.

Christmas tree ornamentattaching starHow you attach the star to the top of the Christmas tree is really going to depend on what type of star button you find. The ones I currently have are more like beads with holes through the middle.

To attach them I first thread them onto a narrow ribbon.

Christmas tree ornament star on topI then used the needle to poke the ribbon through the top of the Christmas tree. and pulled it through the star bead again. To finish it I knotted it just above the star, so that it won’t move much, and then knotted the top of the ribbon so that it will hang on the tree.

And with that it was done!

DIY Knitted Christmas Tree Ornament Step by Step tutorialI really like how it turned out and plan to make several more to give as gifts.

 Simple Fingerless Gloves (small)Looking for more simple Knitting projects? Try my Simple To Knit Fingerless Gloves tutorial.

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Tuesday Links: Cooking Christmas In A Crock-Pot

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Tuesday links 30 or so link to articles on one topic for you to explore, learn, and apply to your lifeIf you cook the Christmas dinner at your house like my family does chances are you run into the same problem as we do. How on earth do we get the whole thing cooked with only one oven?

Luckily for us, I found a counter top oven at a yard sale that we use in our camper in summer time that I keep on a shelf in the basement in winter just for such occasions. (link goes to one like ours but not same model).

If you don’t have an counter top oven though chances are you might have a crock-pot, and I am finding out that you can cook more Christmas dinner dishes in there than you might have thought. Today I am sharing 3.

1. Stock Piling moms has an article on how to cook the Christmas ham in a crock-pot.

2.  Cranberry sauce can me made in the crock-pot. (recipe by The Frugal Girls)

3. Although you can’t completely make mash potatoes in the crock-pot. You can cook them up ahead of time and then make up these amazing sounding creamy crock-pot mashed potatoes by Recipes That Crock.

For more great ideas out there enter crock pot Christmas into the Pinterest search bar and see all the yummy recipes that come up.

Here are some coupons for items that might come in handy when cooking the Christmas Dinner

Coffee because you are going to need it, a few baking items for the Christmas baking, bacon because everything tastes better with bacon,  a few coupons for DVD’s to keep the family busy while the dinner cooks and one for pain reliever because if the cooking doesn’t go well you might need it :) .

For more coupons check out my coupon resource page.

$4.00 off any THREE (3) Starbucks Packaged Coffee

$2.00 off TWO Starbucks Packaged Coffee products

$2.00 off TWO (2) Starbucks K-Cup Packs

$0.50 off (1) BOTTLE of Coffee-mate2Go creamer

$1.50 off ONE Seattle's Best Coffee K-Cup Packs

$1.00 off two HORMEL BLACK LABEL bacon products

$1.00 off TWO (2) Seasonal Nestle Chocolate Bags

$1.50 off ONE (1) package of Truvia Baking Blend

$2.00 off (1) package of Truvia Brown Sugar Blend

$1.00 off OFF 2 MARS Holiday candy

$1.00 off one Stevia In The Raw Box or Bakers Bag

$0.50 off any HERSHEY'S or REESE'S Baking chips

$0.55 off ONE (1) Simply Homemade Cornbread Mix

$2.00 off any Aleve product 40ct or larger

$3.00 off any 2 participating Excedrin products

$2.00 off (1) MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET Blu-Ray

$5.00 off HOME ALONE 4-FILM DVD Collection

$5.00 off Mr. Peabody & Sherman DVD or Blu-ray

$2.00 off A CHRISTMAS CAROL on Blu-Ray

$5.00 off Rio 2 DVD or Blu-ray