Some time last summer a friend of mine mentioned how much money she saves couponing. When she tried explaining it to me it all seemed cryptic and she used weird coupon lingo that was over my head. Register rewards, stacking, ECBs... huh??? Since then I've googled things here and there; she even had an impromptu how-to pow wow with me at a neighbor's house. I was still confused.

With much patience and chewing of hair, I think I've figured out how some of these savvy ladies nail hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise for so little out-of-pocket money. One of the most helpful links that helped break down the process was I've been checking it just about every day to see price and merchandise comparisons in the local area. (I'd become a tad shopping ignorant.) For the longest time I've stuck to the military commissary for the convenience factor. I shop at Walmart if I am desperate for groceries and the commissary is closed or if I'm looking for an ingredient that isn't available on base. On the website's blog the author also posts shopping "scenarios" on how to spend as little as possible by combining products/rewards/coupons. It's been extremely helpful.

I've decided to take this slow. I've been collecting coupons from the Sunday paper inserts for a few weeks and I feel like I'm up to my eyeballs in paper. It is pretty exciting getting 3 or 4 copies of each paper and finding coupons for things that we buy every week. (I'm seeing dollar signs for how much small savings will add up to over a year!)

I'm going to start with Walgreens and CVS. Both stores are easy to get to and offer money back on purchases - also, they are good places to score free swag. It's easy to shop there because they have weekly circulars about their deals and coupons, which makes combining and saving at these stores easy - hence the reason why I'm starting out there.

As a teenager I had mountains of bath, beauty and makeup products - nowadays I have just what I need and I have a pretty consistent makeup regimen. Certain things like foundation, face wash, face moisturizer and deodorant are items that I don't cheat on - it's all love-em or leave-em. Everything else is negotiable though - I'm certainly not brand-loyal to things that end up in the trash or down the drain.

So, after hours of pouring over coupons and organizing my saving attack, I got my feet wet in the couponing world. I don't think I'll ever be happy seeing "Savings: $2.00" on a receipt again. Up until today I've saved a dollar to max (one time) $20 on a single shopping trip. I shopped at CVS and Walgreens for items that I needed or would definitely be using soon. I'm not ready to stockpile and I don't have the room...yet!

Tonight I bought Almay and Revlon makeup, toothpaste, household basics, bath stuff and beverages. After adding everything up I saved 40% off the original price. What I bought retailed at $89.51. How much did I pay? $35.94!!! That's $53.57 in savings. It was stressful shopping in stores I don't often frequent and trying to figure out what to pay for first, but I did it and it was a success. I used to pay $15-20 for two boxes of hair color and tonight I got two for $4. 99 cents for eyeshadow? I'm hooked.

Drugstores seem easy enough, but shopping for food at multiple stores (with a baby and a husband who hates shopping when he has to come) is something that I need to warm up to. I know there are some stores that double coupons, which would more than make it worth it, but like I said, I'm trying to take this slow. I'm already overwhelmed trying to figure out how to organize all my coupons.

My goal is to bring down our shopping expenses by an average of at least 30%. Can't wait to see what deals I can score this Sunday! :)
This week for Interior Design Tuesday I'm going to be featuring some of my favorite knit or crocheted kitchen items from Ravelry.

Check our these adorable knit fish from Taterbaby!

Tired of bruised apples? Tuck your mid-morning snack into a comfy, tiny cozy from Theresa Grant.

Clutter Control : Stash Baskets
. Not knit, but crocheted. I think I need to make some of these to store hand towels in our bathroom as well :)

Definitely not your granny's doily. Look at that beautiful yarn... Pania nailed the pattern-yarn combination on this one.
That's all for this week! Enjoy!


You're not even a memory, you're just a debt we have to pay off. Like you, the money comes and it goes. And it's forgotten. Like you. I know you're reading and I don't know why you bother. You know who you are.

Enjoy your tattoo.

I didn't write much about the transition from 2009 to 2010. Although we enjoyed the holidays and some extra time together as a family, it was not without sadness.

My last surviving grandparent, Oma Irma, passed away on an unknown day sometime between the 23rd and the 25th of December. She was found by the lady that did her shopping for her. My father has mentioned the gruesome scene that him and his wife encountered post body removal and I wish he wouldn't. Her ashes were spread in an anonymous urn field, a typical form of burial in Germany.

Over the years I have often felt guilty for not keeping in contact with my Oma more. Life being busy is an excuse that anyone can pull out of their pocket. The real reason we didn't speak much was mainly just the fact that I hardly knew her. When I did speak to her she was very hard to understand. She had a way of speaking... words, sentences, topics all blending together and before I knew it the telephone line would go dead before I had a chance to say goodbye.

I saw her growing up until the age of 5, then we moved to the States. After that I saw her twice when I was 13 - once because my Opa was dying (we were only 4 hours away when he passed), and another time that year for our scheduled vacation. During the 7 years that I lived in Germany I only saw her two more times that I can recall. Every time my Dad went to visit her I had to work or I was out of the country. It was a long haul to see her back then. We had to travel from Heidelberg to Bremen... Four times. That's it.

The last time I saw her was the only time we were able to have a fully understandable German conversation with each other. My Dad and I went together. I wanted to see Oma and the city that I grew up in once more before leaving Germany. For the first time I heard the stories of my Oma's hard life: the poverty, the war, the sicknesses. She gave me her family history in short, sometimes intelligible bouts of half-mumblings between puffs on her cigarette. It was also the time that she bestowed upon me her jewelry, special treasures and her wedding china. She must have known we wouldn't see each other again.

Oma suffered many years under one affliction after another. I should probably be happy that her suffering is over, but all I feel is an emptiness. Hollow. Like my heartbeat echos off the empty places that my loved ones left behind.

I am now orphaned of all grandparents.
As I mentioned in my last post, I'm going to be posting about specific topics. So, without further adeu, this is the first installment of Interior Design Tuesday. Today I'm going to focus on wallpaper. All too often accessories seem to steal the limelight from a room's biggest area of focus: the walls.

Some sources say paper has been around since 4000 B.C. Around 200 B.C. the Chinese glued rice paper to their walls, thus wallpaper was born. Wallpaper wasn't widely available until the invention of the printing press, but until then some wealthy people hired artists to paint on portable rolls of paper. Wallpaper has certainly come a long way since then.

Inspired by 19th century Japanese textiles, this gold chrysanthemum wallpaper makes a delicate, yet bold statement. I love the empty birdcage as tabletop decor. It's available here and designed by Graham & Brown.

Emma Hack also uses Asian inspired wallpaper in her living art exhibitions.

Check that out! Want fully customizable colors? Nineteenseventythree designed this color-in wallpaper. Besides this wallpaper they also offer a whole line of modern and quirky papers and gifts. The possibilities are seemingly endless, aren't they? You can buy the wallpaper here, but it's not available on Nineteenseventythree's website.
Since I was a kid (or significantly younger) I've enjoyed watching HGTV. I haven't done any research on how long HGTV has been airing, so I can't quote an exact age range... My mom, who also loves everything home-decor and beauty, got me hooked. Now that we've been back States-side for a year I've had the opportunity to watch it on a consistent basis again. I can't watch it constantly because at certain times I get bored with the designers and the repetitive nature of the trends/shows. Not to mention the surplus of girly men, but that's a whole different topic.

While living in Germany and exploring all the neighboring countries I was exposed to many perspective-altering design concepts and different types of architecture. Everything was quite different from the type of design and decor I was used to in the Midwest. It was fascinating. Then, one day while eating an early dinner after my waitressing shift, I came across Architektur & Wohnen - a German magazine about architecture and living. I went home that night and signed up for a two-year subscription.

I'm always going to keep my collection of magazines. One of the best parts of the subscription were the extra inserts about hotels and other best-of types of pamphlets. Through those, my ideas of design and decorating were challenged and broadened. Now, I have a difficult time accepting everyday interior decorating. Everything seems so pale and lackluster compared to the potential a space holds.

Obviously I'm aware that the majority of people with a desire to make a house a home don't find it in their financial means to acquire designer pieces of furniture, don't have local venues offering non-standard decor elements or are simply unaware of their own creative abilities within the home. We're no different. Our house, with its eclectic collection of possessions obtained because of a practical need or availability, doesn't give away much of who we are or the kind of home we desire. We like most of our stuff, but we love very little. How much we like our stuff may also be a question of just how accustomed we are to looking at it.

I brought up HGTV because when I watch the home staging shows I privately covet those warehouses stuffed with interesting design elements and everything one needs to put together a cohesive, practical and beautiful interior for one's home. Hopefully, one day when we own a home that we plan to live in for an extended period of time we'll be able to start over inside and truly make it the kind of place that we want to live instead of having to work around what's already available to us and practical for the small space the military allots us.

Also, as this blog is gradually taking a downhill turn in terms of interesting reading material I am going to devote a couple days a week to features about things that I think are awesome. I'm considering a knitting, design and cool blog feature. I'm tired of posting about my ho-hum days because I don't have the time to knit and blog more about my own knitting.

Design, oh ye lovely beast. One of the ideas that air is home staging. Home staging is basically setting up your home to look
Literally, I suppose.

I've been doing plenty of cooking, baking, mothering and cleaning up. And I feel like I haven't accomplished anything. Maintaining some semblance of household cleanliness while picking up after 4 males is a challenge. The fact that two of said males are canine is a moot point, of course.

The other night I stayed up furiously crocheting a scarf that a friend of mine requested for Christmas. She was fully aware that it would be a late Christmas present and I thought it might be hoo of me to get it in her hands before February rolls around... It's about seven and a half feet long, at least two feet longer than I'd planned on it becoming. As usual, I didn't use a pattern and though normally self-rolling fabric is somewhat of an annoyance, I like it in this case. Thought it's loosely crocheted, I think the sheer weight of the garment makes it curl in a bit.

I crocheted 13 individual circles and then worked on some "invented" method of joining them together while forming the monstrosity into something that looked like a rectangle. Mission (kind of) accomplished. It wraps around my neck three times and it looks lovely. The colors of quite lively and it makes me long for a neutral (read:black) coat to dress up with colorful knits. For the life of me I can't remember what yarn the circles are made of.. some wool/acrylic blend and I put it all together with some LB Homespun in my stash. My silent New Year's Resolution to stash bust before buying anymore yarn is off to a running start.
Except it's Tuesday.

Hubby and I have been stressing out about what to do with the confined space that we label home. Baby proofing is going to be a must ASAP and that entails rearranging most of our livingroom and well, honestly, the whole damn house. We're not kid friendly! There, I said it. Everything in sight around here is choke-kill-bruise inducing. We've gone the majority of our time living together never having to think about how safe our household is for little ones - until now, that is. With little Mr. Curious Grabby around I feel like our house is riddled with landmines of danger.

Over the holidays my son mastered rolling from his back to his stomach, walking across the house while being supported under the arms, sitting up on his own, sprouting out little white bumps of soon-to-be teeth and saying both Dada and Mama. Breathe. I thought things were supposed to progress sloooowly? He's not even six months old yet. The last month has been hard. Milestones. Teething. Hardly a moment to myself before bedtime. And even if I haven't knitted a single thing in over a week, I've been having the time of my life watching my baby take infant steps towards becoming a man.

Now I just have to find a cereal that doesn't make my son sputter in disgust (he hates rice cereal) and he'll be eating cereal and real food soon. Although I have a love-bored relationship with breastfeeding, I am looking forward to sharing family meals in a more decent fashion and literally, wearing more fashionable bras.