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31 Days of Decorating on a Shoestring Budget Day 1

Hello friends!  In an amazing moment of insanity confidence I decided to join one of the coolest bloggers out there, the Nester, in her 31 day blogging series challenge.  If you're not familiar with the 31 Days Series and why it is such a big deal let me explain... it's 31 days of blogging about the same topic in a row!  In a row, people.  That is like a whole month... that IS a whole month!

My topic is 31 Days of Decorating on a Shoestring Budget.  I plan on sharing lots of budget friendly decorating tips and tricks.  Real stuff and real posts for 31 days in a row (crossing my fingers here).    By "real posts" I mean, I'm going to write the blog and take my own pictures, I'm not going to "cheat" and steal a bunch of pretty pictures off Pinterest and make comments about them.  But I might have to do that once, like if one of my kids gets sick or something, but I'm not planning on it.

So let's get right down to it...

Day 1: Don't be scared to take a risk 

When you're decorating on a shoestring budget you probably don't have the cash flow to do things exactly how you want to.  In the dreamland of "perfect decorating world" you could go to Pottery Barn and pick out everything you wanted and have it delivered.  You could even use their "free" decorating service to help you make it just right.  In "perfect decorating world" you could pay a contractor to come in and tear out your kitchen and install all new cabinetry, counters, backsplash... the works.

In "shoestring-budget decorating" land you gotta work with what you got.  When we moved into our house a little over 3 years ago it needed some things before we could move in (carpet, air duct cleaning, appliances) and I wanted some things, like new kitchen cabinets and granite countertops.  The cabinets were disgusting peachy-pink white washed.  Yeah, gross.  (You can see the "before" pictures HERE.)  New cabinets were not going to happen because they are crazy expensive and there wasn't anything wrong with the current cabinets besides their disgusting color.

Something had to be done.  I knew the look I wanted, an antiqued off-white.  Very expensive when you buy them.  I decided to take a risk and glaze and antique my kitchen cabinets myself.  I had never glazed or antiqued anything before.  I researched like crazy and talked to a pro about the process.  Most pros are very willing to answer questions if you don't take up too much of their time and explain from the get-go you're going to do it yourself.

Kitchen cabinets are risky because if you mess them up it can decrease the value of your home.  Of course you can always paint over the mess up but still, it is definitely a risk.

In the case of my kitchen cabinets, I have actually increased the value of my home slightly because I took a risk and now have lovely custom-glazed kitchen cabinets.  I also saved thousands of dollars that having a pro do this would have cost.

Tomorrow Start 31 Days of Decorating on a Shoestring Budget Series!

In an amazing moment of insanity confidence I decided to join one of the coolest bloggers out there, the Nester, in her 31 day blogging series challenge.  If you're not familiar with the 31 Days Series and why it is such a big deal let me explain... it's 31 days of blogging about the same topic in a row!  In a row, people.  That is like a whole month... that IS a whole month!

My topic is 31 Days of Decorating on a Shoestring Budget.  I plan on sharing lots of budget friendly decorating tips and tricks.  Real stuff and real posts for 31 days in a row (crossing my fingers here).    By "real posts" I mean, I'm going to write the blog and take my own pictures, I'm not going to "cheat" and steal a bunch of pretty pictures off Pinterest and make comments about them.

I hope you'll join me in my attempt at breaking a blogging world record by posting 31 days in a row!  

Ok, it's not a blogging world record but I'll definitely be breaking my own record of blog posts in a row.   Pretty exciting to me but I probably won't be making Guiness Book of World Records quite yet.  ;)

But really, I so hope you'll join me for lots of great tips and tricks for decorating on a shoestring budget.  See you back here tomorrow!  

2nd Annual Flaunt your Fall and Halloween Party!

Happy Fall Ya'll!!

Fall is my favorite season and I absolutely love everything pumpkin-esque!  It's a great time for a special Fall themed link up party!

mercury glass pumpkin

As usual, anything goes for the link up meaning decor, recipes, crafts, etc.  (no etsy shops or businesses please)  Just keep it Fall or Halloween themed.  If you want to link up something un-Fallish (new word!)  go to my Flaunt it Friday party HERE.

Please link back to my blog so you can be considered for my "Flaunt your Fall Features" post where I will post several link ups featuring your picture and a link back to your blog.

Flaunt it Friday 121!

Hey there!  Can you believe that September is almost over?!  I think I say that at the end of every month but jeez, time just flies!

Don't forget, this Sunday is the 2nd annual Flaunt your Fall (and Halloween) link party.  I will post Saturday night at 7:30 central time.  I can't wait!!

Last week I showed you my easy burlap wreath, I'm still working on my tutorial, I got a different kind of burlap ribbon this time and it did not work at all!  Back to the craft store I go...

burlap wreath at Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Click the text below to continue to the party... :)

$2 Personalized Halloween Totes

Hey guys!  Just wanted to pass along this deal on personalized, reusable Halloween totes from Vistaprint.  They come in lots of cute styles which can be personalized with your little trick or treater's name and they are only $2 bucks!  You do have to pay shipping and handling which starts at around $5.  Still a great deal!

I'm grabbing some for my little ghost and goblin.... Halloween will be here before you know it!

Click the box below to check out the spook-tacular designs before this deal disappears!  

Mwuah-hahahahahaaa!!! (that was my best creepy laugh) ;)

*Disclosure:  I am an advertising affiliate for Vistaprint but all opinions are 100% mine.  I'm sharing because it's cute and a cheap! :)

Burlap Fall Mantle

Hey there!  How are you on this lovely fall weekend?  I am doing great.  I did absolutely nothing this Saturday but hang out in my favorite hoody sweatshirt cuddled up on the couch with my boys.  Isn't it nice to just have a lazy day sometimes...

The boys were choosing the tv shows, lately they've been filling up our DVR with reruns of America's Funniest Home Videos.  Instead of deleting them after they watch them, they will actually watch the same ones over and over again and laugh hysterically even though they've already seen it.  It cracks me up to hear them belly laughing at this silly show so I don't mind.

I'll let you in on a little secret... now don't tell my boys but Mommy doesn't think the show is all that funny  (how many times can you watch someone get hit in the groin by a 3 year old with a plastic baseball bat, seriously) so Mommy spent a lot of time staring at the fireplace enjoying her fall mantle. ;)

Anyway, I kept my mantle pretty simple this year, burlap ended up being the theme although I didn't plan it that way.

fall mantle Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Flaunt it Friday 120 and Flaunt your Fall Party Invite

Hi there!  How are my favorite party animals??

Before we start partying I want to personally invite you to another party!  I am full of parties today... somebody stop me.

I'd like to invite you to my 2nd annual Flaunt your Fall (& Halloween) Link Party!

Join me here on Sunday, September 30th to link up all things Fall and Halloween.

Flaunt your Fall link party at Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Show off your pumpkinlicious mercury glass like I did HERE, share your favorite fall recipes, flaunt your creepy Halloween decor... anything goes because I am not a picky party host.  All I ask is that you link back to my party somewhere in your post.  That's it!

Pin my pumpkin button above, mark your calenders, tie a string around your finger (do people still do that?  I never really got it but whatev, do it if it works for you)... just don't forget!

Now time for Flaunt it Friday!  (and a page break, read why I'm doing it here)

Pumpkinlicious Mercury Glass

Hey there!  How are you on this beautiful fall day?

I'm so excited that it's finally starting to feel like fall around here... brisk evenings and sunny beautiful days that are perfect, not too hot or too cold.  Too bad fall weather didn't last all year round, at least not here in the Midwest.

But that's part of the reason it's so special.

With the arrival of some fall weather I finally got my fall decorating mojo back and put out some of my pumpkinlicious decor.  I just coined the turned pumpkinlicious, awesome... yes?

mercury glass pumpkin
Small mercury glass pumpkin

Handmade Burlap Wreath Sneak Peak

Hello there!

I made an easy and inexpensive burlap wreath that is perfect for Fall!

I'm not quite done with the tutorial but thought I'd give you a little peak. (which means, I'm too tired to do my whole blog post so maybe this will hold you over?)

handmade burlap wreath

I'm working on a tutorial that I'll be sharing with you soon.  

Thanks for all the great info you shared in the comments in my posts about loser blog thieves, truncating posts and disabling the copy and paste feature to deter thieves.  I'm still researching more and better options to stop these bad guys and I'll keep you posted.

How to Stop Your Blog Posts from Being Copied and Pasted aka. Stolen

Hello there,  What's shakin'?

I'm no longer going to truncate my posts!


I found a way to protect my blog from the loser blog post thieves that I'm going to share with you.  It's not a guarantee that it won't be stolen but it will definitely help deter the loser blog post thieves, aka: scrapers.

After posting about my decision to truncate my posts I received lots of love from my readers saying the will happily make that extra click to read my posts.

Thank You!!  

Some of them said they will continue to read my blog but when they come across a new blog with  truncated posts they won't bother reading it.  They said it just takes too long to go back and explore a blog when you have to make all those extra clicks.

Thanks for sharing, that's good to know, and thanks for still reading my blog!

No one said they'd stop reading my blog because I am going to truncate my posts.

At least no one told me they'd stop reading my blog.  :(

So I started thinking, maybe I'll lose some readers and maybe some new readers won't even bother to read because of the truncated posts.  Even I think truncated posts are annoying.  I'd hate for a new reader to stop by my blog only to leave and never come back again because of my truncated posts.  There has to be a better way.

I did a little more research and found a good solution for Blogger blogs and I will happily share it with you.  I'm no expert on this stuff, just sharing what's working for me.

Down with loser blog post thieves!

Here's what you need to do...

Log in to your Blogger account and back up your template.  If you're not sure how to back up your template check out the instructions here.  DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!!

If you mess up something in the next step and haven't backed up your template well... good luck with that.

Go HERE and follow the steps.  

I would've listed it here but you can no longer copy and paste from my posts!  

Don't forget to save it to your template.

That's it!

This makes it so no one can select your post and copy and paste it!

This by no means protects you from all loser blog post thieves but it will definitely stop some.

Here are some other methods to stop the losers from stealing your posts:

  • Watermark your photos.  I have been doing this for quite some time (thankfully!).  There are many free online photo enhancer programs where you can do this.  (Photobucket, Pic Monkey I can think of off the top of my head).
  • Link back to one of your previous blog posts in your new posts, some of the thieves disable your links after stealing your content but the dumb ones don't (I think they're all dumb).  This will lead a reader back to your site and off the thieves.
  • Put a copyright footer on your blog and at the bottom of your RSS feeds.
  • Post a Copyscape badge in your sidebar so they know you're aware of their loser thieving ways. (copyscape did not sponsor this post)
  • Truncate your posts and RSS feed.

I've decided to quit truncating my posts because I feel pretty comfortable with the copy and paste option being disabled.  I will continue to monitor the web to see if I'm being stolen from, if the thieves strike again I may be forced to truncate.  But for now, I'm truncation free!!

Do you have any other tips to avoid your blog posts being stolen by losers??  Please share, we're all looking for ways to protect our hard work.

Flaunt it Friday 119

Hi friends!  What happened to this week??  It's already time for Flaunt it Friday... I can't believe it!

Let's party!

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Remember, I'm truncating now thanks to the loser blog post thieves so click the green words below to get to the link up.  Thanks for making that extra click!

Flaunt it Friday 118 and Blog Thieves

Hey there!

Before we party I have some serious stuff to talk about.


Who starts a party with serious stuff?

Bad idea... but it will be quick!

I'm sure you've heard around blogland that content is being stolen from blogs and being used on other blogs without permission of the original blogger.  Not only is the original blogger not being asked if their work can be used but they are not even being credited for the post.  These blog thieves, "scrapper blogs" as their known, steal the blog post and then pass it off as their own!  Some are stealing entire link party posts (Flaunt it Friday anyone?) and putting them up on their sites.

The nerve of these thieves!!

I can't send you to any scrapper sites because that would just increase their traffic so they could make more money off their stolen posts.  I saw one on Facebook that was in Spanish, their page had over one million "likes".

Over one million!!


And they are stealing articles from hardworking and creative bloggers like you and me.


They are totally fired!!

But it's unfortunately not as easy as just telling them they're fired losers.  It's actually quite difficult to get them to remove your stolen post.  Especially if they don't speak English.

One of the ways to stop the thieves is to truncate your post.  This means putting a break in your post and RSS feed so that only part of a blog post shows and the reader has to click on a link that says something like "click here to read the rest of this post".

Many of the most popular blogs already do this.  I find it to be annoying to have to click again but really, what's one more click in the scheme of things.  If you're on the computer you're clicking like 500 times a day anyway, right?

So, I'm going to start truncating to protect my posts and hope like crazy my lovely readers won't stop reading or linking up because of that extra little click.  It's really not that big of a deal but if it will keep you from reading my blog, please let me know.  I don't want to lose any of my sweet Chicsters!

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

So now it's time to party and my first ever truncation (is that even a word? it sounds kinda fun, like a vacation or something, just pretend like when you click the link it'll take you to Disneyland or HomeGoods... which is my happiest place on Earth ;)

Fall Decorating Mojo

Hey there friends!  I hope you all enjoyed the long weekend.  Around here we took it easy and relaxed.  I finished up painting our master bathroom (finally! more on that in the upcoming weeks) and I managed to talk Mr. Chic into helping me drag my fall decor bins out of the basement too.  I have been very excited to get out my fall decor but once I got it all out of the bins I kinda lost my decorating mojo.

Switching out seasonal decor is fun but also means I've gotta put away last seasons stuff and do annoying housekeeping things like dusting everything and peeling transformer stickers off my console table.

I removed stickers and dusted to get everything ready for my fall goodies.  I got one vignette finished and a couple of wreaths up but still much more to do.

My kitchen island was taken over by pumpkins and other fall paraphernalia for most of the day.  Even though I was cleaning it was such a mess!

I'm switching things around a bit this year so I'm trying different things here and there to find just the right look.  This is fun but slows down the process if you are ridiculously picky about insignificant things like pumpkin decorations like me.

I finished today with a look I like to call the "pumpkin explosion" where I dumped everything on the dining room table because I was too tired to finish up.  I'll be back at it tomorrow and will hopefully get my mojo back. :)

Do you have your Fall decorating mojo yet?
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