Too Many Books?

Although it seems as though it would be impossible to have too many books, there comes a time when every book hoarder has to part with a few. Recently, I took the advice of a friend and signed up for a website called Paperback Swap. It’s a site where you can list books that you’d like to trade. There are guidelines for the shape they must be in, but it’s easy to list them by the ISBN numbers on the back of the book.

I thought I would share the info with you on Tuesday’s everyday ideas.

By listing ten books when you start out, you can receive one bonus credit to be used towards any available book you’d like to order. When someone requests a book on your list of books, you package the book and mail it out at your cost. When the recipient logs in and confirms that the book has been received, you’ll receive a credit that can be used towards ordering a book from another member. If the book you’d like is not available, there is a wish list feature where you can be on a waiting list (if it isn’t unreasonably long).

In the first 2 weeks, I traded 20 books! That means for the cost of postage for sending out the books people requested from me (around $2.36 per book), I can obtain a “new” book to read. Yes, that’s a lot of books to wrap and mail, but they have printable labels and you can purchase postage online if you’d prefer not to drive to the post office.

Isn’t that just perfect for book lovers on a budget? Think you’d like to try it out? Follow my links and I’ll receive credit for a referral. try Paperback Swap for yourselfTrade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.

Are you really into DVD’s? They have a Swap-A-DVD too.

Don’t forget to check back and let me know what you think. 

Transformation- Roman Shades from Ugly Drapes

When we moved into our house, we inherited the drapes. I wanted to get rid of them, but the living and dining area have three big picture windows and when I did the math, it was impossible to afford to replace them with something more attractive. So after living with them for a while, I finally came up with a solution that cost me just $30 for supplies for the three huge windows. 

I had already painted the paneling and while that was an improvement, the drapes were still just blah and misfitting. 

See how they were too short?

I saw a demonstration of making Roman shades on HGTV and decided I could do that! I did make a few modifications that kept the cost down. First, I used small metal washers instead of the white plastic rings. Metal washers were cheap! Then I discovered that in the boating section of our Menards store, the rolls of string were much cheaper than buying the same stuff by the yard at the fabric store. Finally, I needed a cleat for each shade to tie up the string when the blinds were open. Back to the boat department I went. What sold for $3 at the fabric store was just .79 cents at the home improvement store.

I scrounged wood for the header and dowels from our scrap bins which kept the cost down as well.

Now, the big challenge was where to find enough fabric for Roman shades. That’s the trash to treasure part of my makeover! I used the old drapes and cut them up. I cut off the pleats at the top to leave a large square panel for each drape. Here’s a close-up of how that fabric looks as a roman shade.

I also added a valance topper which I picked up at the Goodwill. It was a big flat panel of fabric that I cut into thirds to sew into the valance. Then, I purchased the side panels on a big clearance at Wal-Mart. They were connected in the middle, but I cut them in half to put a panel on each side of the window. For drapery rods, my husband fashioned something out of small PVC pipes.

Not too bad for a VERY cheap transformation. If you look close enough, yes, I do have some seams in the middle of my shades from the seams in the drapery fabric. I was okay with this, mostly because if I can’t do it cheap, I can’t afford to do it at all. Weigh it out with me: seams or drapes, seams or something much much better even if it isn’t perfect.

Want to make your own Roman Shades? Here’s another demonstration of the how-to on Denver Fabrics if the HGTV link above wasn’t quite what you are looking for. It takes some sewing and some engineering to get it all right, but if I can do it, so can you!


Trash to Treasure Decorating
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Let’s Do Lunch

I’ve just finished reading “Let’s Do Lunch” by Roger Troy Wilson, a story about how the author lost 230 pounds to go from 425, to 220 and the plan he devised that helped him lose the weight.

I suppose you saw the blog title and hoped I was inviting you to lunch. I wish I could do lunch with every one of my readers. Wouldn’t that be fun? For now, we’ll have to have a virtual lunch date. You at your computer and me at mine. I’ll work on my next blog post for you, and you can check out my review of Roger Troy Wilson’s book.

Let’s Do Lunch- My Review

“Eat all the calories and carbs you want to lose weight.” That’s how Roger Troy Wilson subtitled his book “Let’s Do Lunch. It seemed a little too good to be true, so when I received a copy of the book from Thomas Nelson publishers for review, I was eager to discover this unbelievable possibility.

Roger Troy Wilson is a success story, evidence that his plan does work. And the book is filled with testimonials from others who have successfully lost large amounts of weight with the plan. However, the subtitle is a little bit misleading. After all, once I began reading the book it was clear that I would not be allowed to eat ALL the calories and carbs I wanted. For instance, Wilson makes it clear that the Let’s Do Lunch plan cuts out bread, pasta, potatoes, and white rice. That’s a significant amount of carbs. There’s no cereal either. So that’s not exactly eating all you want.

What the follower is allowed to have is an unlimited amount of fruit. In fact, supper is all fruit, as much as you want. Lunch is the big meal of the day with the bulk of the day’s protein, and breakfast pretty much fruit and a source of protein.

I know it would be much more helpful if I were writing a review having tried Wilson’s plan. However, I cannot afford to purchase enough fruit to follow the plan accurately. Although it begins with eating limitless amounts of fruit in order to cut the craving for sugar, in the end, Wilson’s plan boils down to a controlled calorie plan. From the food plans and recipes in the back, it’s light on fat, light on carbs, and light on calories. Although he says the reader does not have to exercise, the plan is still a calories in, energy out balance.

What the plan is good for, is the person who has massive cravings for sweets. Testimonials from Wilson’s followers is enough evidence to prove that the plan diminishes craving for sugar and fatty food. That in itself is a good benefit.

If you’re looking for a plan to get you started in a better direction and you’re tired of everything you’ve tried, you have nothing to lose by checking out “Let’s Do Lunch”. You’ll find a simple description of the plan, daily meal plans, and recipes—everything you need to get started. And you’ll find group support on the message boards on the accompanying website

Note: I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson publishers in exchange for my fair an honest review.

Photo of the Week

I live in Amish country and it isn’t unusual to get delayed behind a buggy on my way to town.

I often wonder what it would be like to live in one of their households for just a week. I imagine the simplicity…No telephone, no blaring television or battles for a remote. No worries over what mischief my children might get into over the internet. And think of all of the trash to treasure ideas it might inspire!

But, then I think of how I sit with my laptop in my air conditioned office when it’s 90 degrees and humid outside. Of my windows sealing out the stifling, oppressive air that makes me cranky.

Then, I imagine the long sleeved dresses and heavy layers of aprons and bonnets and I’m thankful for a minute of peace out on my back deck sipping lemonade in between moments of complication in my high-tech world. And I think of of quickly I can travel to town in my minivan, no matter how quaint it might be to listen to the clip clop of horses and the clatter of buggy wheels. Still, it’s fun to imagine.

Do you ever imagine what it would be like to live in someone else’s world for just a week?


Trash to Treasure Decorating
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Photo of the Week

The bees do what they were created to do. How often do we try doing everything but what God designed us to do before we finally give in and discover His peace?

Keep the comments coming, but…

I hate to do this to all of my loyal readers who are so wonderful about leaving kind comments. But I’m going to have to change my policy and moderate all comments because some spammers are making life difficult. You don’t want to weed through all their garbage, right?

So, keep your wonderful comments coming, but just be aware that they will show up after I approve them. Thanks so much for understanding and for your patience. I love reader mail!

T2T Owner


Trash to Treasure Decorating
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Edit Your Own Photos and Save $$

For this Tuesday’s everyday idea, I’d like to encourage you to save money and explore home photography. With today’s cameras and the free editing programs available on the internet and via free software, almost anyone can be a better-than-average photographer. I recently read a statistic from a photographer that said the average senior high student spends between $700 and $1200 on senior pictures. I almost choked on the number.

For many students, that’s how much they’d spend on their first car, and I know my sons would rather have wheels that an airbrushed photo on the wall. So, with my small $160 Kodak and a good editing program, I’ve set out to save money as my first son enters his senior year in a few weeks.

This past weekend, we had some time to kill, so I brought the camera with and we spent a little time at a nearby park snapping shots. I know we will do some more in a few weeks, but this gave us a good start. And a few weeks ago, I shot senior photos for another friend of his. Let me show you what I was able to do with a mediocre camera.

The first picture is the unedited shot, taken in a dark woods on a rainy day using a low light setting on my Kodak and no flash.

 With a little editing using Picnik, an online program, the picture has drama. I darkened the edges, corrected the color, and added text. Then I brought the picture into a free program that I downloaded called GIMP and added the light you see coming from the side.

You can even clone areas if you don’t like something about the picture. Notice the picture below where I have added the corner on the bottom of the dress. Very easy to do!
The secret to taking your own pictures is editing them. You don’t have to have the world’s best camera if you have the right editing software. Just be sure when you edit that you save them in high quality and you’ll be happy with your prints.

Here is another example of what editing can do. I took this picture of my son this past weekend.

I like the pose, but it’s a little washed out because we took it during the brightest time of the day. With a few tweaks, this is how it turned out.

I used Picnik.
Step 1: Auto color correct
Step 2: Darken the exposure slightly and increase the contrast a little
Step 3:Touch up blemishes with blemish feature
Step 4: Use the airbrush and wrinkle remover to fix lint on shirt and airbrush harsh lines.
Step 5: Darken exposure slightly more.
Step 6: Add a “fancy focus” where the subject is in focus but background is not.

Of course,  you can do whatever you wish to suit your own taste and it’s easy to undo any move you make so it’s fun to play. I’ve probably added a little too much color, but that’s easy to fix!

You can upload your photos to one of several companies or department stores for developing and either pick them up in the store or have them arrive by mail.

I’ll leave you with one last little secret for getting a bargain price on your own photos. If you’re looking for wallets, the cheapest is to design a 4×6 picture “canvas” in your photo editing program such as Photoshop with two large wallets (4×3) or 4 small wallets (2×3) pasted onto the page. Then develop that as a 4×6 and cut it apart. With a corner rounder punch (purchased from a scrapbook or craft store for a dollar or two) you can round the corners.

Need me to back up a little? Okay. Open your photo program (you probably got one with your camera on a CD). Open a new document. Set the canvas size to 4×6 inches. Then add one photo and then the other resizing them to fit side by side within that canvas size. Don’t worry is some hangs off the edge. Just be aware that it will not appear in your printed photo if it hangs over. Save it. Then upload it or take it on a disk to get it developed as a 4×6.

Here’s an example of the 4×6 I had printed of my boys a few years ago:

I added the year on the corner with my photo program.

I hope this inspires you to play around a little bit with your own pictures and do some editing. Who knows, maybe you can save $700 too.

More Furniture Transformation

I promised I’d show you more of my furniture makeover, so for Transformation Tuesday today, I’m featuring the chair-and-a-half reupholstering re-do.
When I ordered my chair, I was really into country plaid. But several years later, I wasn’t so in love with it anymore. Here’s what it looked like, and let this be a lesson to you when you order furniture. Choose something NEUTRAL and let the pillows be the pop.
Now, I must issue a little disclaimer here, as I didn’t exactly go neutral when I chose the new fabric. However, it was cheap and it matched my color scheme and I can’t pass up a bargain.
The only sewing involved was on the chair cushion. I used the zipper from the old cushion and took apart the fabric pieces to use as a pattern for the new one. I also sewed what was basically a big pillow case for the backrest part. The rest of the project was stapling.
There are some secrets to upholstering that make it so much easier than most people think. It’s important to have strips of medium weight cardboard on hand. I know they make tack strips specifically for upholstery, but I make my own by cutting mat board into strips. What is this for,  you ask?
Check out this edge:
It’s on the back of the chair and the side where the puffy part meets the flat part. The rough edges of the puffy arm part is stapled down behind this straight edge. When I’m working on the straight edge, I flip the fabric up, leaving an inch behind my cardboard strip, and then I staple the strip to the chair. Believe it or not, there is a wood framework under most chairs. 
Once the strip is secure, I can flip the fabric back down and I have a nice neat, tight edge. Then I staple the bottom edge of the fabric under the bottom side of the chair. 
On edges that show, I use upholstery tacks where I can’t do the flip and staple technique.

Here is a helpful video from on how to do the back of a chair.You’ll see what I mean by flipping the fabric the other way and using tack strips.
And here is another video that shows a chair from start to finish. This one comes from
I’m a little lazy I guess, because I don’t always remove all of the old fabric. Often, I go right over it when I can. If the chair is too old or the cushion has an odor issue, then I consider a bigger transformation. Otherwise, I look for ways I can fold and staple to avoid sewing.

Looking for a good place to start? Try dining chairs or a footstool and see how it goes. Then move on to something a little bigger. You’ll be amazed by how reasonable it is to remake furniture instead of throwing it out and buying new.


Trash to Treasure Decorating
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Book Excerpt from Peggy Nelson

In the last of the guest posts from Peggy Nelson, she describes their whirlwind romance. If you’d like to read more of Peggy and Byron’s story, check out Life with Lord Byron: Laughter, Romance, and Lessons Learned from Golf’s Greatest Gentleman.
Life with Lord Byron: Laughter, Romance, and Lessons Learned from Golf's Greatest GentlemanTeeing Off with Byron
By Peggy Nelson
Other than my new penchant for prevaricating, the breakfast was delightful, and soon we were on our way to the first tee at NCR Country Club, where the pro, Jeff Steinberg, was waiting for us. I had at least had the good sense to alert him that Byron was coming and to let him know not to noise it about, because I certainly did not want a crowd around for my first drive in front of Byron Nelson and possibly the entire membership, their spouses, and a gaggle of children.
As luck (and the Lord) would have it, I hit a whopper of a drive, for me at least. It sailed high off the elevated tee and far down the hill, tailing off just a touch to the right and a few feet into the rough. Byron looked a little surprised, though my subsequent play lived up to my earlier bad expectations. I remember very little of that round, other than just enjoying being with him and wishing I could play better. But he did not seem to care about my score at all, though he did show me a great little chipping technique I could do with my six-iron when I was close to the green but a ways from the pin. It has come in handy many times since.
About the rest of his stay, I don’t recall a lot. The Bogey Busters event that year was played at a different course, and naturally I went out to follow my hero. As it happened Byron was paired with none other than Johnny Mathis, the singing legend and a great part of my high school fantasy life from twenty years before. Wow! Here I was with two celebrities, pretty tongue-tied, and just living in a state of suspended animation, wondering to myself, Will I ever recover from this out-of-body experience?
By the time Byron flew back to Texas, we both knew we had the start of a wonderful friendship . . . that was rapidly becoming far more serious. The phone calls and letters came and went more often now, and soon we were talking about marriage, even though this was just July and August, only a couple of months after we had reconnected five years after our first meeting.

Excerpt taken with permission from Life with Lord Byron: Laughter, Romance and Lessons Learned From Golf’s Greatest Gentleman by Peggy Nelson (2010) available at:

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WWYD with tile?

Last week on WWYD, I asked what you would do with extra tile left from a project. We had one idea submitted via e-mail and one anonymous comment left here on the blog. Here’s what I’ve done with some of my extra tile.

The first project is one that I made from tumbled marble tile. I printed photos of my grandparents onto tissue paper. It’s actually easy to print on tissue. Just cut a piece of white tissue to the size of 8.5 x 11. Then using 2-sided tape along the top edge of a piece of 8.5 x 11 card stock weight paper, affix the tissue. Then, feed it through your inkjet printer.

I sprayed the tissue with Krylon spray to set the color, then tore it down to the size of my tile. Then I used decoupage glue to attach it. When it’s all dry, I coated it with several layers of water base poly.

This was an easy tile project. I saw a sheet of 8 stickers at my Dollar Tree store that were made to add decoration to your kitchen tiles. I used them to create a set of coasters. Just peel and stick!

I used the plain ceramic tile for them.

For this last project, I used the tumbled marble tile and rubber stamps. Using Staz-On ink, I stamped the images onto the tile. Then, I colored them with chalks and a q-tip. Finally, I sprayed everything with Krylon clear spray to seal it all in. If you plan to use yours for a coaster rather than for decoration, be sure to give it some coats of poly to protect it.

So now that I’ve shown you what I did, maybe you have some inspiration. Feel free to leave other ideas in the comments below. Happy WWYD Day!


Trash to Treasure Decorating
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