Three Day Stay-cation

Easter weekend is upon us. My work is closed Sunday, Monday AND Tuesday! Wahoo! Three days in a row with no work! What ever shall I do?!

Easter weekend to do list:

- paint living room
- paint bedroom
- paint bathroom
- clean kitchen
- clean living room
- clean bedroom
- garden

My Sara Nicole Designs Etsy shop is going on vacation starting on the 31st for two weeks. This is giving me the opportunity for me to get a break and  introduce new products! I'm looking forward to this!


Tutorial: Fabric Coasters

Yesterday I made the decision to make myself some coasters. My drinks "sweat" a lot here in New Orleans and my tables are not a fan of this. I have collected a lot of fun fabrics and figured this would be a great "stash buster" as some like to call it.


fat square cotton fabric (2 colors if you'd like the front and back to be different)
cutting mat
rotary blade
sewing machine
iron/ironing board

Step 1

Wash your fabric. Washing your fabric first prevents shrinkage and awkward stitching after everything is said and done.

Step 2

Iron all your fabric. Washing your fabric will cause it to become a little wrinkly. If it's being stubborn, spray a little water on it and continue to iron.

Step 3

Cut your fabric and batting. You'll need your fabric and batting squares to measure 4 1/2" x 4 1/2"

Step 4

Pin your fabric together. Place your 2 pattern fabrics together with right sides facing each other. On top, then place your batting and pin along each side.

 Step 5

Sew around your fabric using a 1/4" allowance. Be sure to leave a gap of at least 2 inches so you can flip it right side out. I recommend back stitching at the beginning and end to ensure the stitches stay put and don't unravel when you are turning it right side out.

Step 6

Trim the edges of your fabric. Start by cutting the corners off then trimming any excess on the edges. Do NOT trim the excess where your opening is. You will need this fabric length to close up the hole. Turn it right side out.

Step 7

 Carefully pin shut the hole and top stitch around using a 1/4" allowance. I decided to go back and add a 1/8" allowance stitch as well. This is not necessary, just cosmetic!

Step 8

Because we are using batting, the coasters turn out plump or fluffy. You will need to press them (iron them) in order to make them flat and stiff.

I love how they turned out! I can't wait to make more! These will make excellent gifts for people!


How Time Flies...

My life has gotten pretty hectic in the last couple months. It's hard to believe that March is coming to an end soon. In January I quit my job at Starbucks and started working at a local baker that is only 3 blocks away. They're giving me 40 hours a week...plus tips. I'm also getting trained to do some of the office work (taking/processing/invoicing wholesale orders). I've come to realize this past weekend that this job is EXACTLY where I need to be right now. I have this big dream to open up a yarn shop in a traditional New Orleans style home in the Mid City area. I want it to be a fun place to hang out, knit/crochet, and buy yarn. I also want to offer an after school program (for kids probably middle school through high school) that would be free to the parents. We (me and whoever works for me) would spend probably 2 hours a day working with the kids teaching them a useful skill (crochet/knitting) and providing them a safe place to be after school rather than on the streets while their parents finish out their work day. Awesome, right?! I thought so! This current job that I have is really showing me how a small business in New Orleans runs. I'm trying to take in as much as I possibly can to help me later in my career adventures. I'm starting to do research on small business grants for the NOLA area...as well as business plan writing...etc.

Last post I talked about budget and food, etc. We are doing AWESOME on our grocery budget. Sticking to $50/week has NOT been difficult AT ALL. People thought I was crazy when I told them I was going to do this...We almost never spend all $50. Today I went grocery shopping and spent only $35 (we did buy bananas yesterday and we will still probably have to buy a half gallon of milk before next week as well...but that is aprox. $5 total). We are sticking to buy almost NO packaged foods...It's weird...we go to the back of the store for our milk, juice, cheeses....Then we skip all the middle aisles (except the cereal because my husband is addict and unable to eat oatmeal with fresh fruit for breakfast) and go straight to the meats, fresh fruits and veggies. We do, however, buy frozen fruit and veggies often...mostly in the winter. I like frozen fruit to make oatmeal fruit smoothies :) YUM! I'm drinking a TON of water...especially since I'm not drinking milk and haven't for almost 5 months now. Wow! If you knew me, you'd think I'd lost my mind. I LOVE milk and dairy. Now I only consume dairy via cheese...and that's not nearly as often as before. I have since seen a HUGE improvement in my skin. It's amazing. Cutting out dairy (and all the hormones/antibiotics that are in it) has made a huge positive change...and I no longer miss the milk...or yogurt...

We are doing whatever we can to pay off our credit card debt ASAP. We are playing catch up with some student loans as well as the money we owe the IRS this year...yeah...no refund for us :-(. After this is all caught up we will be throwing ALL excess money we have at our debt. We are looking to be credit card debt free in about 1 1/2 years! WOO HOO! Seriously...WAAAAHHOOOO!! This will be such a HUGE relief for us. It will allow us to grow....as a family...open up a business...get a second vehicle...maybe even plant roots and buy a home?! Sadly, student loan debt will still be lingering...but we really don't expect that to go away anytime soon....blah.

What are you doing to save money!?


New Year.

I really stink at keeping up with my blog. I want to use this tool regularly this year to share with you a little bit of my life and my businesses!

With the changes in our taxes this year...the possibility of me changing jobs (hopefully)...my husband and I are trying REAL hard to cut back wherever possible so we can go after our debt hardcore and also build up our savings. We have a goal of eventually having 6 months worth of income in savings...we currently have about 2 weeks of income in savings. Ouch. So what are we doing?

1. We are refinancing our car loan. It is saving us approximately $25 a month and over $1000 on the total loan.
2. The government claims that the average grocery bill per person in the US is $100. So, that means we should only be spending $200 a month on groceries. Some people include things like soap, toiletries, etc into this category. I have found a blog that gave a great idea on keeping track of your spending each WEEK on food to keep you on track. You can see what I'm talking about here.
3. While sticking to our grocery budget I want to buy foods that are environmentally responsible (grass fed beef, cage free/antibiotic free chicken and eggs, organic dairy products, etc.) and buy less and less packaged and processed foods. This will be tough, but I am a firm believe that if we fill our bodies with REAL food we will be healthier and stronger and save on medical bills!
4. I'm looking into making my own laundry soap, dish soap, and other around the house cleaners to cut back on these minor expenses.
5. We are an iPhone family. Scott is in the film industry and needs to be able to stay on top of e-mails, contacts, etc. I run 2 etsy shops and find it easiest to be able to respond to my customers almost immediately. Scott's job said that they were going to pay for his phone...we just haven't really figured that out yet. I want to push this because this could save us anywhere from $80-100 a month! NICE! Plus this would be in the first half of the month where our bills are heaviest due to rent.
6. We plan on resigning our lease at our apartment. We live in a really nice neighborhood, surrounded by large, mansion-like homes. We, however, live in a small, wood paneling, out of date electrical one bedroom apartment. Really not our ideal place, but it's affordable and in a safe area. We have done some repairs and updates of our own to make it fit us a little better. This place helps us keep on track with our monthly budget.

What sort of money saving tips does your family do? What do you recommend? I would love to hear your secrets!


Adoption? I don't know.

Some of you may know that, for me, having a child or becoming pregnant in the future may not be an easy thing...it may get super super expensive just go get pregnant. I'm not quite sure that I want to go through all of that for a pregnancy when there are so many children already alive and in need of a mommy and daddy. I feel like God has placed adoption on my heart for a reason. It's been weighing a lot heavier lately.

I'm now 25 years old...everybody and their sister is pregnant and having babies. I've been married almost 3 years now to a husband who is scared that a child will prevent him from being young or having a career. I disagree.

International adoption i think is the way we will go if/when we adopt. I'm leaning toward Russia for multiple reasons. I'd love to have a little girl to raise.

Adoption is EXPENSIVE. There are many many many foundations, grants, tax credits and such to help assist those who do not have a lot of money...like my husband and I.

I had this idea today that....when we get to the point of seriously looking to adopt...of making little matryoshka dolls and sell them on my Etsy shop...having all proceeds of the sale help support the adoption. Then I started thinking...how do people FEEL about a family raising funds to help support an adoption?

As a Christian I feel like we are called to care for the orphans. Are we all called to adopt? Of course not...but I almost feel it's like how we look at missionaries...we're not all called to GO but we should all be supporting those who DO. Should adoption be viewed in the same manner in the Christian community? Is it tacky? Scott and I are far from wealthy, currently we have a verrrrrry tight budget. We wouldn't start the adoption process until our credit card debt is fully gone (student loans will exist until my death...I'm convinced). We want to be at a place financially that we can support a child...but paying out adoption fees, flights, etc is so much money. The $13k tax credit from the gov't wouldn't help til AFTER the fact...

What are your thoughts?


We Made It!

After being in a truck for 3 days we made it! Phew! The cat traveled very well! He slept most of the way wrapped up in a blanket on my lap! So thankful he did well! Our first day we drove to my husband's parent's in Normal, IL and stayed the night. The second night we stayed in Memphis. Ugh, what a nightmare. We were supposed to stay in an apartment-like hotel. They were pet friendly too! Well, we go to check in and they say that they are only DOG friendly! Their website did NOT specify! Oh well, we decide to stay at Scott's brother's hotel because they accept cats. So, when we get there we find that the hotel is in one of the worst parts of town. We did not feel comfortable leaving our truck/car parked in an abandoned parking lot across the street over night. We were also just about out of gas - yay! We pull over on the side of the road and make phone calls for about an hour or so while we sent Scott's brother for a gallon of gas for us! Finally we found a reasonably priced hotel that accepts cats --- on the other side of town. Finally, we get checked in and get to have dinner at about 8pm..rather than 5. We decide to just hit up the Wendy's close by. Well, the cashier there did not want to wait on us. I stood there for at LEAST 5 minutes...probably closer to 10 before she acknowledged my presence. Now, if people of another skin color walked in she said hello, etc. FINALLY we order our food and get it, well the order was wrong! Finally get eat and get back to the hotel and crash for the night! On Saturday we drove to Lafayette! We got there around 2-230pm. Scott's boss and 2 kids helped us move everything into the apartment!!! YAY! Then we went out to eat at a Cajun restaurant!

Now I just have to find work...somewhere :)

 our fitness center

our swimming pool


The Last Day...

Today is our very last day in Michigan! YAY! We leave tomorrow morning. We are taking 3 days to drive down to Louisiana since we have a 16 ft truck and we are pulling our car in a trailer behind that...also, my 1 year old cat is traveling with us! Thankfully I was able to pick up some sedatives from the vet for the little boy!

Day 1: Drive to Bloomington/Normal IL and sleep at Scott's parent's
Day 2: Drive to Memphis TN
Day 3: Arrive at new apartment in Lafayette LA

We're hoping we can locate some furniture to pick up on Sunday or Monday because we don't have to return the truck until Tuesday morning. *crossing fingers*

The new apartment complex has 2 swimming pools, 2 tennis courts, a fitness center. Our actual apartment is on the 2nd floor and has a balcony! We have 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a dining room, living room and washer/dryer hook ups IN the apartment! It's 1050 sqft!

Hopefully I can post some photos of our journey AS it's happening :)