Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gimp Free Photo Editing Software

Years and years ago, back in the stone age, I found a program for editing and adjusting photos. I loved it, used it for everything, used it until the disk was so scratched it would read anymore. Then it became obsolete and you couldn't find it anywhere to replace the disk. Even then I copied the files onto a CD and still used it.  I've used it so much I can make it do almost everything I want. Almost.

But I kept seeing all these fabulous things you could do in Photoshop, so I went looking to give that a try. Holy canoles! The price tag ranges from $400 to almost $1,000! And that's not including all the little $79.95 add-ons.

Nope. I am far too cheap frugal for that nonsense!

Then I found Gimp.  It's an open-source program (which means someone else is far too cheap frugal and created a program that is free to everyone! Kudos, fellas!) that rivals Photoshop in all the things it will do. They actually encourage everyone to distribute it, and contribute to making it better. Did I mention it's FREE?

It takes a lot of getting used to - it's not a program you can just pick up and use like a pro, you have to learn all the cool things that it does, and how to access them. I've been at it for a few weeks now, and I'm still learning.

So, being the cheapie frugal girl that I am, I'm passing it along to all my frugal friends.

Download the program, and learn more about it HERE or at

Happy Gimp-ing!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Season is (Almost) Upon Us

It's almost a month till Halloween (a holiday I can't stand) and already I'm seeing Christmas (a holiday I absolutely adore!) in the stores!

The holidays are almost upon us. Every part of that makes me happy (-except the snow, I like snow about as much as I like Halloween).

Last year, I made a project that turned out very well, so I'm posting it here.  Every year, we find it a bit of a struggle to balance the fun of the season with the reason for it. We're out of the Santa stage at our house, and it has left a bit of a hollow spot which we parents try to fill up with the better, and real, reason for the entire Season. this project went a long way toward that cause.

Our Advent Tree

I found a tiny little (fake of course) evergreen tree, and made the ornaments to go on it. Here's how:

I found wood sticks at the craft store in the wood section and cut them into different lengths. The shape doesn't matter, as long as the ornament will fit a scripture reference. I painted them different bright colors. You could easily fit this project into any color (or shape) scheme to match the rest of your decorations.

When the paint was completely dry, I cut out slips of paper with the chosen scriptures on them and glued them to each ornament. 

Then, a little eyelet screw on one end (or you could punch a hole through, whichever fits your own design) to make a place for the hanger.

I used these adorable stamps to number each scripture for the day it was to be read.

When the glue and ink dried completely, I used clear varnish to seal each one. 
(Be careful going over the paper strips- some printer inks smudge very easily when you try to varnish.)

Our little tree sat on our entertainment center - which doubles as our mantle, since we don't have a fireplace. Every evening of December we read a scripture. Sometimes it only takes a minutes, sometimes we end up talking about what we read. Either way, it's a small reminder of what we are really celebrating - 
the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Here's the list of scriptures I used.  This list includes scriptures from the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ as well as the Holy Bible, since I am LDS. If you don't have a Book of Mormon, but would like one, Request a FREE copy HERE. Or adjust the list to include your favorite scriptures.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Christmas Craft - Pine Cone Christmas Trees

Wouldn't these be cute to keep a bunch of kids amused during the Season?

I'd love to say I thought of this, but I didn't - you can find the original post and tutorials

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Deck Boxes for Collector Card Games

Sonny Boy (my ten year old son) and all his friends are really, REALLY into Pokemon.  Nana, being Nana, has bought him hundreds of these cards. I figured if he was going to have all these cards, he might as well learn to play, so I learned with him.

That's how they get you, you know....

So now we both have hundreds of cards.

Official decks are sixty cards each, and we both have enough to make several. If we're going to take the time to organize them into playable decks, we have to have a place to put them, right?

If I'm going to make something, I might as well share it!

Here is my template for a Decorate-It-Yourself  60-card deck box!  Kids can color them however they like, or you can print designs on them yourself. Put them together with tape and they are perfect for the next TCG* party. (*Trading Card Game - see how geeky I have become?)

Right click and "Save As..." to download. Print as an 8"x10" on heavy cardstock, cut out, fold, decorate and tape together along sides and bottom.

Here are a couple more pre-decorated. Save, print actual size and cut out.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bucket List: Lousy Movie, Great Idea

I'm a little slow at times, but I finally watched The Bucket List. I love Morgan Freeman, and since I stumbled across it channel surfing, I watched it.

Sorry, Morgan, but that movie was awful.  I don't like tearjerkers, and it was one. So if you haven't seen it, consider yourself warned.

That being said...

I like the idea of a bucket list - a list of things you'd like to do before you die. There are several things I would like to do, so why not make my own list? So here's my start.

I'm from the West Coast - and I love the ocean. But I've only ever seen the sun SET over the water, and once in my life I want to see the sun RISE over the sea.

I hope my list is long, and I have the time to do them all. Some of the things on my list, long before the idea had a name, will go on this new list as I go. Some I've already done, I'll add those as well. After all, I should get credit for the ones I've already done, right?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dandelions and Other Free Things

Dandelions aren't appreciated in all circles. They mar that perfect lawn, grow in odd places, and you just can't get rid of them no matter how hard you try. However, they are a beautiful flower, most parts are edible, and they are hardy - they can thrive in any situation, no matter how sparse. They're imperfect, and you don't have to buy seeds for them, they come free.

That's EXACTLY why I love them!

I consider myself a dandelion sort of person. I'm a free spirit, I try to do good for the world, and heaven knows I work on thriving in a place that isn't where I'd rather be. I can out-frugal most frugal people, (those magazine articles on how to save money make me laugh) and I love to reuse and repurpose things rather than throw them away.

So I figured I'd share a thing or two, in case someone else might find it useful, too. If nothing else, maybe we can share a smile (another one of those free things that is totally underestimated)!

Click this photo to find an article on good uses for dandelions!