DIY craft

DIY Home State Canvas


I have a few projects up my sleeve, that have been wandering around aimlessly in my head for the past several months. My idea is to have a “travel wall” in our home to document our travels while we are living in England. Well, I made these “home state canvases” as part of the “travel wall”. I am still working on the other projects, but I will be sure to share with you after they are completed! ūüôā

They turned out way better than I had imagined. Especially considering I haven’t been to a craft store in almost a year. I know, “poor me”. But just think of all that money I have saved! LOL. So I made these with only what I had around the house. So, guess that means they were FREE!



  • Cardboard
  • State Outlines (found online and printed)
  • Scissors
  • Box Cutter
  • Paint
  • Paint Brushes
  • Sharpie Marker
  • Hot Glue Gun & Glue

DSC_0490 DSC_0491

Steps to Make DIY Homemade Canvas:

  1. Use box cutter to cut cardboard in a 8″ x 10″ rectangle. Or whatever size you want your “canvas”.
  2. Use scissors to cut out state outline.
  3. Using a black sharpie marker, trace the outline of the state on the cardboard.DSC_0492
  4. Paint the inside of the state your chosen color. I used acrylic paint. Some areas needed 2 coats of paint. Cardboard does “soak up” more paint than you would suspect.
  5. Paint a small heart in the approximate location of your “home town”.DSC_0493
  6. Paint the outside of the state black (hence the black sharpie). If you want a different color than black, you may want to use a pencil to trace the state or same color of marker as paint.
  7. Use the box cutter to cut out sides for your “canvas”. I used 1″ strips that were 10″ and ~7 1/2″.
  8. Use glue gun to glue the sides of your “canvas” on.
  9. Paint the sides of your “canvas” black.

And… after a couple of hours (because of waiting for paint to dry) you have your finished product! Extremely easy and beyond affordable!


This post was shared on Living Well Spending Less and Lamberts Lately.

Organizing a Small Kitchen with DIYs




Welcome to my small English kitchen! Okay, so I may have exaggerated slightly when I called it an “apartment” sized kitchen. But notice the refrigerator is not full size and one of the “cabinets” is actually a dishwasher. So I have a total of ~4′ of linear counter space, 3 drawers and 5 usable cabinets, with one of them being a horrid lazy susan. I hate those things! Is it just me who thinks its a complete waste of space?

So our state side kitchen is at least twice the size and believe it or not all of my “stuff” and food filled up those cabinets without trying. So, to say the least I got a little “creative” to make this kitchen an organized and functional space.

Both my husband and I enjoy cooking and baking and with our frugal food budget we cook A LOT at home. So, the key focus was to keep as much counter space intact as possible. When FMO delivered a 3-foot microwave that weighed 75lbs. (no joke), I couldn’t stop my jaw from hitting the floor. Where was I suppose to put this gigantic thing that is¬†as big as my oven???


So, we made our laundry room part of our “kitchen”. It is right off the kitchen and it even had counter space with a shelf. So we set up our microwave and our two appliances (coffee maker & KitchenAid) that we use most next to a transformer. Check out that microwave! It’s almost as big as the washer! LOL!¬†Come to find out the microwave is actually a microwave oven, as in you can use it like an oven.

We also used the above shelf to house our coffee supplies and pitchers, as well as our food wrap & sandwich bag type of things. It is also the house of my husband’s lunch box (the empty space). I was tired of seeing his lunch box on the counter, so we gave it a “home”. LOL.

10 DIYs Organizers for a Small Kitchen!


  1. Use a Magazine Holder to organize your plastic wrap, wax paper, aluminum foil, and gallon size bags.
  2. Use a Hanging Shelf to utilize “dead space” in your cabinets. I bought the wire hanging shelves at ASDA for a couple of squid. But I am sure you can find them at places like Walmart or Bed, Bath, and Beyond. In this cabinet, I have all our small plates stored on the hanging shelf. In our drinking glasses cabinet, I have our coffee mugs stored on a hanging shelf and in the storage container cupboard I have the small containers and lids stored on the hanging shelf.
  3. Use Hooks (bought at IKEA) to hang up measuring cups and spoons off of the hanging shelf. It makes them conveniently located and not using up valuable drawer space.
  4. Hang your Pans from the ceiling. Fortunately the previous tenants already had this installed, so we didn’t have to get permission from our landlord.
  5. Use all that cardboard from your move to create a 3-sided “box” to help Store your¬†Baking Sheets¬†Vertically. This makes it a lot easier to get them in out of the cupboard, rather than stacking them all on top of each other. I covered the cardboard with wall paper¬†(bottom picture) to¬†give it more of a finished look.
  6. Store your Oven Mitts on a Hook. No need to waste cupboard space.
  7. Organized Baking Drawer. The blue storage tubs are flour and sugar. It also includes frequently used items while cooking: salt and pepper and cooking spray. This is the only food that is actually in our kitchen (excluding the fridge).
  8. Spice Box. I originally had all our spices in the baking drawer, but it just made it too easy to get messy and difficult to locate things. So I DIY’d this cardboard box to store all our spices. I wrote on the lids the name of the spices so it would be easy to locate the spice I need. It is stored in the pantry, but when I am cooking and need several spices, I just¬†place the whole box on the counter until I’m done cooking.
  9. Store less frequently used Appliances in the Pantry. We only use these appliances once or twice a month so no need for them to be on the counter or using up prime real estate in our cupboards.
  10. Use Storage Outside of the Kitchen. I store our kitchen towels and washcloths in a storage unit in the living room. Although, semi-inconvenient. It has came in really handy with the occasional water spill in the living room. Yes, we¬†are¬†child-free and we still have spills. LOL. I also store a¬†few kitchen things that I use once or twice a year in the storage unit in the living room. For example: my cheesecake pans and a couple of serving dishes. My original¬†thought was to have a nice buffet table (or something similar) in the dining room, but that idea was shot down when we had to put our clothes dryer in the dining room. Oh the joys of making our American necessities fit into our English home. ūüôā

Thank you for not judging me too harshly based on my kitchen. Yes, we have mismatched dishes and my home is far, FAR from making its way to¬†Better Homes & Gardens Magazine. But it’s small and functional and it works for us. So I suppose that is all that matters. I do dream of the day when there will be no more military moves in our future and we will own “nice” furniture and dishes. ūüôā


Do you have a small kitchen? How have you made it functional for your family?


This post was linked on Living Well Spending Less and Lamberts Lately link parties.

DIY Wall Art


I have been a complete slacker when it comes to bringing you frugal DIY ideas and frugal meals. So, this week will be an attempt to get back into that groove! ūüôā Today, I am going to share with you my DIY wall art that I used to spruce up my craft room. Yes, we have¬† a big enough house in England for me to have a craft room. I know, I am completely spoiled! ūüôā

Any of you who have done a military move, or really any move know things get broke with moving. That’s just part of moving. Well, with my love of photography I have a LOT of frames. But I sold or stored about half of my frames before moving to England… and with a 4 bed + office (turned into craft room)¬†house I knew I didn’t bring enough frames to “decorate” all the rooms in my “new” home. So, I got creative and was inspired by a few pictures I saw on Pinterest. LOL.

I used cardboard to make the faux canvases. We had and still have plenty of cardboard from our move. I used the same principles as when I made the DIY storage box to glue together the cardboard pieces. I used two large 12″x12″ pieces of scrap book paper and cut them in 6″ squares. The left side (which is difficulty to see in the picture, sorry) is the lyrics of our first song we danced to as Mr. & Mrs. I painted the sides of the “canvas” black with acrylic paint and called it good.

The most difficult part of this project was trying to hang 9 separate pieces “straight”. If I were to do it again, I would probably just do a 4 piece square. LOL. But because they are so light, I was able to use tiny nails and barely put them in the wall so our landlord doesn’t have to a fit. LOL.

Anyway, it is an easy and cheap DIY¬†Wall Art! I am working on putting together DIY solutions to make a small kitchen organized and functional. Yes, we have an¬†American apartment sized kitchen in a 4 bedroom house. LOL. ¬†I will be bringing you these ideas next week! ūüôā


Christmas Travel – Free Printable Activity Books

Free Printable Activity Books Christmas

Many of us will be traveling to visit family and friends sometime soon for Christmas festivities. I thought your children (as well as you) would enjoy a free activity book to entertain themselves for at least a couple hours without “I’m bored” or “are we there yet?” exclamations.

I complied a list of FREE printable activity books. They should be direct links so all you have to do is hit the link below the picture and hit print. I have attempted to separate activities by age group, but please take my suggestions with a grain of salt. ūüôā There is also a short list of FREE educational apps at the bottom of this post! Enjoy and safe travels!

Free Printable Activity Books
Ages 3-5

(photo credit: Oriental Trading Company)

Reindeer Coloring Page

Santa Coloring Page

Christmas Maze



(photo credit: KidZone)

Christmas Numbers: 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5

Letter Practice “S” is for Santa¬†all other letters HERE

Car Bingo

Free Printable Activity Books
Ages 6-7

(photo credit: Oriental Trading Company)

Santa Coloring Page

Santa Color-by-Number

Christmas Picture Crossword

Christmas Maze

Scavenger Hunt

Free Printable Activity Books
Ages 8-10



(photo credit: DLKT’s Growing Together)

Christmas Crossword

Learn to Draw a Christmas Elf or Reindeer

Christmas Tree Maze

Winter Scene Hidden Pictures

Christmas Present Mad Lib or Christmas Tree

Spot the License Plate Game

Scavenger Hunt


FREE Educational Apps

Preschoolers: Funbrain Jr., Read Me Stories,

1st-3rd Grade: SpellingCity, The Opposites, The Electric Company Worldball

4th-5th Grade: Stack the States Lite


What Do You Think?

How do you entertain your children while traveling?
How far will you be traveling for Christmas?
Best ways to entertain kids in the car/plane?



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