Hope Wissel

How to Make a Gallery Wall

If your walls could talk, what stories would they tell? For some, like me, that would be a scary thought.  LOL.

For many of us, we would like them to simply share our milestones, memories and mottos, right?  I created one of these one our walls of our wedding pictures – some of the family who are in the pictures are no longer with us so it has great memories BUT is definitely doesn’t tell the whole story.  I am hoping to add some memories to it by using some of these tips.   Whether it’s in your kitchen, above your couch or along your staircase, choosing unique pieces is the key to making your display so special.

Here are some GREAT tips for adding one-of-a-kind elements to more traditional framed photographs and oversized initials – all to help you create something truly personalized.

1. Game boards & pieces

What was your favorite childhood sport to play? Which board games does your family reach for over and over on rainy evenings? Your local Goodwill or thrift store is a great place to score retro board games and sports equipment you can use to add character to your gallery wall or shelves. (That broken-in, well-loved look actually boosts the cool factor!)

2. Vintage numbers

Whether they’re antique license plates, framed playing cards, tin stencils or old scoreboard tags, vintage numerals are a fun way to express a number that holds a story or memory for your family. Do a quick online search or browse flea markets, yard sales and antique shops for the digits of your address, anniversary or favorite Bible verse.

3. Flowers & wreaths

Add a sweet touch to the gallery wall in a nursery, craft space, laundry room or even your front porch with an arrangement of dried flowers or an artificial wreath. Check your local craft store for oversized fabric blossoms to match your décor, swap in a seasonal sprig for a traditional frame, or create a cute wreath with fabric scraps – we tried this easy-to-make one from Kelly at Typically Simple. And faux greenery looks great mixed with antique window panes and grapevine wreaths arranged on an outdoor wall to welcome guests.

4. Quotes on canvas

Share the special names, dates and words in your life with customized Statement Canvas Wall Art. Scour a social site like Pinterest® for cute quote ideas, then choose from a variety of sizes and printed designs, including white text on black canvas, your choice of 16 colors on natural canvas and even your personal photos! Have a budding artist in the family? Scan your kids’ original artwork and have it printed on one of our durable canvases.

5. Shadowboxes

These deep-set frames are built to hold dimensional keepsakes and, depending on their size, the options are practically limitless. Highlight a single object like a sculpted key or bridal bouquet. Simply fill one with wine corks, seashells, fabric flowers, bottle caps or Christmas tree bulbs. Or adhere some items to the back, layering pieces over each other to add visual interest – think baby shoes, blocks and photos; use wooden letter game tiles to spell out names or places; arrange keys, ticket stubs, medals or pressed flowers; or design your own artwork out of buttons or plastic building blocks – even crayons! (Jamie at The Trendy Treehouse offers step-by-step instructions for putting together your own crayon letter shadowbox.)

6. Photo tag galleries

Turn moments to remember into personalized keepsakes to treasure with Thirty-One’s Close to Home™ Collection. We make it simple to tell your family’s story on your gallery wall with pieces like our Close to Home™ Table Gallery and 9″ Close to Home™ Round Frame, both available in Natural or Grey Wash Wood. It’s easy to switch out the keepsake-quality iron Photo Inserts for the season and to commemorate trips and events as your family grows. Remember to personalize the wood frame with your family name, saying or special date in your favorite laser-etched design.

Bonus tip: Don’t forget the sofa underneath!

Fluff up a few perfectly personalized Statement Canvas Pillows in black and natural – choose an embroidered monogram, printed design or your own family photos to continue your theme even below your gallery wall. Toss a cozy Super Soft Blanket over one arm of the sofa, and you’ll be ready to hibernate all winter!

Share your gallery wall with us….. Have a blessed day!

Hope Wissel

Tips for Saving on National Savings Day

National Savings Day was set up by Capitol One.  A great way to market their business, right?  Despite the marketing aspect, it is a great way to encourage people to gain confidence about their relationship with money.  Believe me I get it!  Savings accounts have come and gone in my life and at the ripe old age of 60, I think I am finally feeling better about my relationship with money.

Most of us are great at collecting sentimental items – pictures, scrapbooks, or jewelry passed down through generations of family.  Why?  Because they mean something to us and they evoke emotion. These collections are the thing which helps me on the days when brain fog and MS lesions cause me to forget.  To same it is just “stuff” while for others it has a different meaning.

Why is it then so hard for us to transfer this concept to a portion of our paycheck every month?  Why is it so hard to pay ourselves FIRST in preparation for a rainy day or retirement?  What if you were to consider a savings account like your junk drawer or the sock basket?  Would it make it any easier?

Growing up my mom had a bottle she kept half dollars in.  When she was at work, if someone paid with a half dollar, at the end of the shift/day, she would swap bills for those coins.  She took the coins home and dropped them in the bottle.  Her savings account when she started working.

Life and my addictions got in the way of my saving money.  From drugs to credit card debt, I always had an excuse NOT to save.  I needed money for bills or groceries or whatever.  I know I am not alone, right?  Does the thought of paying yourself first and NOT touching the money seem crazy?

Here are a few tips which might help you get started on the savings road:

1. Organize your grocery shopping

Being organized when you go grocery shopping can help you save money. Have a list of what you need to buy, and coupons (I’m still working on this one).  Shop early in the week to avoid the stress of over crowded stores.

2. Eliminate one service each year you can do without

YIKES  Scary, right?  We cut our cable bill by almost half.  We went from what seemed like 1000 channels to about 300 although the cable company said there are only 143.  We use our cell phones all of the time.  We have a landline for doctors to leave messages.  So I cut the cost to less than $30 per month.

3. Don’t buy “off the shelf”

There are so many ways to buy things – Facebook, Craigslist are on top.  Then there are thrift shops, yard sales, and church rummage sales.  Surf the web for the lowest price, or upcoming sales.  You may not want to do this for small purchases but maybe say $50 and above.

4. Participate in – and use – your rewards programs

Admit it!  You have tons of reward cards, right?  How many of them do you actually use?  Sign up for them where ever possible, and keep tabs of your points. I love Ebates because the notification pops up about a rebate when I am shopping online at a store which offers it.

5. Sell what you no longer need

Instead of throwing away items you no longer use, try selling them first to make some additional money. Then put the money towards a bill.  We are not allowed to have yard sales at our condo complex so I have tried Facebook and Ebay.  Those require a little bit more time and organization.  When items don’t sell, donate them to a local non-profit and be sure to get a receipt for tax purposes.

6. Buy clothing in thrift or discount stores

I have been a fan of thrift stores for years, since before Belinda was born.  Thrift stores don’t have a huge selection, but you can often come across the perfect item from time to time, sometimes barely used. This is great  for kid’s clothing since they outgrow them so fast.  If thrift stores aren’t your thing, then take a look at discount stores like T.J. Maxx or Marshall’s.

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Thirty One’s Soft Utility Tote is perfect for these kinds of trips.  It can be a large purse and then expands to carry all of your treasures home.

7. Buy when everyone else is selling

Retail sales usually fall off in January, so nearly everything goes on sale. Wouldn’t it be better to do the bulk of your buying in January rather than November and December.  Buy your winter clothing in late winter or early spring, when winter items go on clearance.

What are some of your best tips to save money?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Clothes Shopping on a Budget

Today, I am excited to be helping out at St. Paul’s UMC Rummage Sale.  This annual event is HUGE.  People stand in line just to get in the door and grab some deals.  WHY?  Seasons are changing – finally.  Warmer weather is coming and we can always use something new (at least to us)

You know the saying “one woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure”, right? I will admit, clothes shopping is not something I really enjoy. Yes, I have lost most of the weight so I can shop off the racks BUT I still see the “fat” person of yester year.

Growing up, we didn’t shop in thrift stores. In fact, I am not even sure they were around in the 60’s and 70’s. I do remember donating items to those who were less fortunate but I don’t think I ever saw where they ended up.

As a single mom, thrift stores were a fun place to go – not just for me but also for my daughter. We checked out rummage sales at the local churches and scoured the thrift stores for goodies. From toys to books to kitchen stuff to clothes. We always found some treasure which would make the day a success.

There are two sides to most thrift stores – you get to help out a charity by donating and then again when buying from them. You get to make a difference in the lives of others. When donating items you no longer need or want the charity is then able to sell it to someone who needs or wants the item. The money raised helps others in need with food or other essentials. A win-win for everyone.

Let me say, I do know there are some “not so good” charities or thrift stores.  The ones who sell items to feed the pockets of their administration staff or some corporate big wig.  I am not talking about those because honestly, the best deals are not usually found at those “stores”.  I am talking about the local church rummage sales or the thrift store whose money goes directly to help those in need.

Here are some myths about thrift store shopping we are going to BUST!

Myth #1: It is shameful to go into a thrift shop.

Remember you are giving to a great cause and getting yourself a bargain at the same time. The items you are getting aren’t dirty but have been carefully sorted. Give your items a quick wash once you’ve bought them and they will be just like new. I even think for a period of time, this was the preferred way to shop.

Myth #2: Sometimes thrift shops can be considered ‘expensive’

I know, kind of crazy, right? The truth is everything is not “cheap” – a dollar or two. Things will be cheaper then buying brand new but there are those occasions when they could be a little bit more expensive than what you expected. Thrift store employees know value too. Their goal is to offer items at a reasonable price while helping raise funds for their cause. So, the designer dress may be cheaper than a brand new one but it is not going to be given away for just a few dollars.

Myth #3: You should just stick to one thrift store

The truth is frequenting the same thrift store on a regular basis is good. Don’t limit yourself to just one – find your favorites and stick with them. How else are you going to bag yourself some amazing bargains? Check in once a week to see what they have new. Every once in awhile, mom and I will spend the day exploring some new thrift stores. We meet some great people, and get some bargains.

Myth #4: You can’t try the stuff on!

Yes, you can actually try the clothes on in most. Don’t see a dressing room, ask if they have one. If they don’t, ask what their return policy is so you can try it on at home and return it if it doesn’t fit. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Just like shopping at the mall. the most important part of all this is to have fun. Thrift store shopping isn’t grimy or dirty. It’s a fun thing to do while grabbing bargains at the same time.

Remember to keep to your budget. It can be just as easy over-shopping in a thrift store as it is at the mall. The idea is to keep within a budget, when the purse strings are a little tight. Don’t go overboard otherwise you’ll defeat the objective of thrift shopping!

Heading out for a day of shopping.  Grab your Thirty One Large Utility Tote to keep all of your treasures in.  You’ll be amazed at how much this classic tote can hold. The structured metal frame keeps it open for bulky items and provides strength for durability. Use it to keep your closet in order, carry toys or groceries while you’re on the go, haul camping gear and so much more. It even collapses for easy storage!  The best part is they are on sale this month!

Let me know what you think about second hand shopping. Share some of your favorite places with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Clear the Clutter

A New Year, A New Closet

15781155_10208468036846971_1206639155970620493_nDo you know what today is?  Yes, it is HUMP DAY!  For some it may be a short week since many places considered Monday a holiday, I can almost guarantee many are focusing on their Resolutions.  I am always trying to get organized….Yes, this bag lady can help the messiest get organized but she still struggles with her own hot mess

Whether you are a fashionista with a perfectly color-coded closet or a man who wears five of the same type of shirt every day, chances are your bedroom and closet could benefit from a good cleaning and reorganization.  Here are some tips to help in you tame the messiest of closets

#1 GRAB A BAG AND A BOX

It doesn’t matter what kind of bag or box you use, the goal is to divide and conquer your cluttered closet and dresser drawers.  The bag will be for trash and the box will be for donations. If you think you’re going to need more than one of each, grab as many as you need.

#2 PREPARE YOURSELF

The secret to a good clean is ensuring you have everything you need BEFORE you start.  Then comes the “mental preparation”.   Get yourself in the mood to clean out your wardrobe, put on some upbeat music to set the tone.

#3 DESIGNATE YOUR PILES

Now, put everything — and we mean everything —from your closet on the bed. That includes accessories, hat boxes, shoes and whatever is in your closet. Make sure the closet is empty.  Why the bed?  Well, isn’t it a great motivator to get things done since you won’t be able to go to sleep until everything is off the bed?

Sort the items into three piles –  “keep,” “trash” and “donate.”  My “keep” pile always gets put away in the closet or the drawers right away.  You may have a fourth pile — maybes. These are clothes you rarely wear but want to hold onto for some reason.  Once you are done sorting everything, go back through this pile  and ask yourself these questions:

Have you worn the item within the year?

Does it look better on the hanger than it does on you?

Could someone else use it today?

If you answer “no” on the first question, it goes into the donation pile. If you answer “yes” on the last two questions, it goes into the donation pile.

#4 MAKE YOUR BED AND FINISH UP

After you have narrowed down your wardrobe –  remove the trash and donation piles from the room. If it is left in the room, you may never get it to the trash bins and your favorite thrift store.  I put the trash right out and the donations go in the trunk of the car to be sure they get to the thrift store.

Here is a another tip from a friend, when putting all of the clothes back in the closet, turn the hangers the wrong way.  As you wear something, you turn the hangers the right way when you put it away.  At the end of the season (or year), any hangers still facing in the wrong direction – those items get donated.  If you haven’t worn the item in 6 months or a year, there is no need to keep it.

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What is your best tip for cleaning out your closets?  Share them with us or how about a Before and After picture….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Hope Wissel

Tis the Shopping Season……

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The first day of November…. temperatures are cooler, it gets darker sooner, pumpkin is everywhere and in everything.  The best part of November is people are starting to get into a holiday mood.  I know, it is EARLY but the stores have been decorated for Thanksgiving and Christmas since the beginning of October.

With the holiday mood comes lots of shopping, right?  How many of you have suffered from “buyers remorse“?  Whether it was a $25 item or a $1,000 item, we have all been there.  You start by shaking your head wondering what you were thinking.  Then you think how you could have spent the money on something more worthwhile.  This leads to regret and being mad at yourself for wasting money and going into debt.  Okay, this may be a little extreme for a $25 purchase but if $25 is out of your budget, you know what I mean.

You vow to never make the same mistake again.  I mean doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results is insanity, right?  So, the next time you get ready to make a purchase not in your budget, ask yourself these questions to help you make a better decision….

1. Can I afford it?

If you can’t afford it, then you should not be getting it.  It’s really simple.  By affording it, I don’t mean putting it on a charge card so the great deal now costs you twice or three times as much. I mean, money in the bank or cash in hand.

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2. How long did it take to earn the money to pay for it?

Think about this: If the item is $100 and you make $20 an hour, then you had to work 5 hours in order to purchase it.  If it is’t worth you working 5 hours for the item, then you may end up regretting the purchase later.

 

3. What else could I spend this amount of money on?

What else could you possibly use this money to buy. This reminds you of about your goals – paying off debt, saving for a trip, etc.  It helps you decide whether or not you truly need to make the purchase.

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4. What mistakes have I made in the past with a big purchase?

Let me count the ways… oh, no let’s not because it will open the door for the inner gremlins to start bashing me!  Have similar decisions in the past made you happy or have you felt regret.  You never know, you may be about to make the same purchase mistake yet again!

5. Can the large purchase wait 24 hours?

If the purchase can wait 24 hours, then you should delay it. This let’s you think about the purchase longer.  Believe it or not, you make a more rational decision about a large purchase after you think about it for at least 24 hours.  Wouldn’t you be surprised, you realized you didn’t need the item at all!  The more time passes, you tend to forget, which means you most likely didn’t need it.

7. Where can I find the best value?

Shop around at other stores – even thrift stores.  Check both offline and online.  Prices can vary from store to store, as well as online, so get the most bang for your buck.

 

 

8. Is there a return policy?

Regardless of the purchase, return policies are important. I mean if you aren’t 100% sure, you want to have the return option for a refund.

9. Do I really need it?

Sounds easy right?  Truth is, it is the most important question to ask when making a purchase.  Really dig deep and ask yourself this simple question. You may think you need it, but is it a want or a need?  “Wants” are fine, as long as you are realistic with your budget and your spending. Living paycheck to paycheck, have a large amount of high-interest rate debt, or anything else, then you may want to skip any splurges and stick to what you REALLY need.

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What do you do before making a large purchase or making a purchase not in the budget? Share your best tips with us…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!