Monthly Archives: July 2012

Pinterest Project: Making Oil Rubbed Bronze Hardware

Which do you think looks better? 🙂 It would have been a million times easier if the furniture I bought came with oil rubbed bronze hardware. Unfortunately, I wasn’t so lucky. That meant I had two choices 1) Buy oil rubbed bronze hardware 2) Make oil rubbed bronze hardware. After researching my options, I found it was much easier to just make them. Particularly with the help of Pinterest 🙂 Fortunately, I was able to recycle the hardware from one of the dressers. I did have to buy some hardware new. As you can see above, using the old wood knobs wouldn’t work.

To embark on this project I needed four things: Spray paint for metal, sandpaper, cardboard, and hardware.

I washed the hardware and prepped it by sanding it.

Then I spray painted them. I did 4-5 coats, all done within 5-10 minutes of each other.

Voila, oil-rubbed bronze hardware! This was such an easy project and totally worth the time. It only took about an hour for everything.

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Making Brushed Nickel Hardware

Refinishing furniture sounded scary at first. Then I tried it. While it takes a lot of time, it is definitely worth the effort! Instead of spending thousands of dollars on new furniture for our house, I decided to purchase used furniture from Craigslist and refinish it. While embarking on this effort, I discovered an easy way to go from shiny steel to a brushed nickel look. All it took was the hardware and sandpaper.

Using medium grit sandpaper, I sanded the hardware on every side. I then washed it and voila! Brushed nickel! It would be wise to put a protective coat on this. I didn’t because I was sanding them to spray paint.

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The struggle with frugality

Since getting married, my husband and I have been pretty good with our finances. We’ve made a budget, used cash envelopes, and saved as much as we could. Unfortunately, our savings was whittled away with selling our old house and having to pay in, buying our new house, and buying some items for it. This has left me in an uncomfortable place without our large cushion in savings.

This has been all the more incentive to be frugal with our finances. But, we all have our financial weaknesses.

My favorite artist is Michael Birawer. I’ve been a fan for almost 10 years now and love the style of his pieces. We’ve wanted to commission a piece from him for quite some time, but it’s rather pricey. When I saw his Icons of Minnesota collection I was smitten. They are very limited editions (5 of each available) and I really, really wanted to get some. Hence, the battle with frugality. Obviously art is not a need and isn’t important in the grand scheme of things. I weighed the pros and cons in my head and went back and forth on this in discussions with my husband. I knew that if I waited they would sell out and I’d simply lose the opportunity to get one.

So, I guiltily admit I bought them. It was not my greatest moment in frugality. I was able to get $25 off each because I bought four, nonetheless it was still a large purchase that wasn’t in the budget. We did not put them on credit though – we never, ever carry a balance on our credit cards.

While it wasn’t very frugal, I don’t regret my purchase in any way. I love looking up at them in my office and enjoy my collectable art 🙂

I grew up going to this drive-in so this was a must-have for me!

What’s your not-so-frugal splurge?

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Happy 4th of July!

What does the 4th of July usually entail for you? For my family, we head up to our cabin in the boundary waters on Lake Saganaga. We don’t have internet or cell signal at the cabin, so it tends to be a pretty relaxing and laid back time for us. It’s a great opportunity for us to spend time with my dad, go fishing (and hopefully catch some walleye), and swim. Since I’m constantly on email/internet (literally like 10+hours a day) I’m looking forward to spending time having fun and getting some reading in. What are you doing on this beautiful 4th of July?

My husband driving the boat back to the cabin after fishing

Photo Credit: Eli Christman

Building a community of followers

Building followers and building community are not the same thing. You can have thousands of followers that are uninvolved and don’t check your page – or have a dozen that comment on every post and check your page religiously. Ideally you’ll have both – thousands of active and involved individuals. So, how do you get there?

Building followers: You don’t want to be talking to yourself, so the first step is to get followers. There’s no magic bullet to getting followers. It just takes actively working on it. The first and most obvious thing you should do is ask your friends, customers, family, etc to “like” or “follow” you. Hopefully this will get you started with at least a hundred people following you. From there, you’ll want to continue ask people as you get new customers and friends. You also could consider running a campaign to get more followers. Many businesses have done this quite successfully. For example, some businesses will have coupons but you can only see them if you like their page on Facebook. Another business I am familiar with offered a steep discount to the person who got them the most likes on Facebook. You could also have some sort of competition to incentive people to post about you. For example, have a prize for the best answer to “If our business was an animal, what type of animal would it be and why?” Then people would have to answer it linking your name on Facebook – which then puts you in front of all their friends.Lastly, you could consider purchasing a Facebook ad asking people to like you for coupons, etc.

Building community: Having an active group of followers is ideal for any business. Not only are they frequently posting on your page, responding to your posts, and posting about you – they are also loyal to your brand. By them posting about you/on your page, they are getting your name out there in front of their friends – basically doing marketing for you. Getting that active community is the tough part. There are two essential components: 1) Frequency 2) Content.

Just like blogging, you want to update social media frequently. For Facebook, you’d ideally be posting stuff daily – if not a few times a day. What can you post about? Lots of things. For example, your blog posts, pictures of customers at your business, pictures of new products, articles relevant to your business/customers, polls/questions for customers, contests, funny jokes/pictures relevant to your business, trivia, etc. With many of these things, you can use them to build your followers. For example, when you ask customers a question/poll you can also ask your friends on Facebook to answer it (there’s a button for it) and it will show up on the page of anyone that answers it. The nature of your content will also determine whether your community is active. If you just post an article link, it won’t inspire participation. But if you post an article link, share some thoughts on it, and ask others what they think – then you might get some comments. Similarly, running contests, polls and trivia will also get people to comment. The key is not doing these things just once a week – you should do something daily that encourages people to comment. Obviously you shouldn’t ask a trivia question every single day – but asking one a couple times a week – or at least once a week “Trivia Thursday” will help build commentary. If you post interesting, comment inspiring stuff frequently, it will help pave the path to an active community.

Wondering about social media for your business? Check out 30 days to Becoming an Entrepreneur: Promoting your business through social media

Photo Credit: Picrazy

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