Top Menu

Smart and Final Grand Opening in Upland, CA

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ChooseSmart #CollectiveBias 

Have you been to Smart and Final lately? I visited the brand new Smart & Final Extra! store in Upland, California on preview night this week, the night before it opened to the public and I was totally surprised by what I saw inside. Smart & Final really changes what you think of when you think of a warehouse store.

The Smart & Final in Upland, CA has a welcome feel - I love the sign at the front of the store!

The Smart & Final in Upland, CA has a welcome feel – I love the sign at the front of the store!

All inside the store were tables with samples of the various food items Smart & Final offers every day. The kids especially loved the beef brisket from the fresh meat section and the fried rice from the frozen foods. At the cheesecake table, a man was discussing the price of cheesecake with the lady serving the slices, saying how you could get the same amount of cheesecake at other warehouse stores. Sure buddy, you totally can get cheesecake alot of places but at Smart & Final you don’t have to pay a membership fee – anyone can stop in and get a delicious cheesecake for an amazing price! That’s one thing I really appreciate about Smart & Final.  We can stop in any time and purchase what we need without worrying about membership fees or if we have a membership card – none of that is necessary at Smart & Final! Also, the store is easy to navigate, making it easy to get in and out with the products you need without spending hours in a giant warehouse.

All of the new So Cal Smart & Final locations that are opening are so exciting because it means more convenience for all of us. This Smart & Final is on the way home from work for several of my friends as well as my husband, making it a great place to stop off and pick up groceries or even dinner for that night. Besides frozen and fresh foods, Smart & Final offers pre-cooked ready to eat chickens and other prepared foods to make dinner prep a breeze! In addition, Smart & Final stores offer affordable options for any budget. You can literally shop at Smart & Final with pennies, according to the marketing rep at the store, by shopping in the bulk food section, where product can be purchased by the ounce:

Shop the Bulk Foods section of Smart & FInal to save money and get exactly the amount of anything you need.

Shop the Bulk Foods section of Smart & FInal to save money and get exactly the amount of anything you need.

The head of marketing who was at the store told me that the “Extra!” on the name of the store means just that: Smart & Final plus something “Extra!”. In this store, the “Extra!” is an expanded deli and cheese section, larger fresh meat section, and extended beverage and cold beer section. Here’s at a look at some of the things that make a Smart & Final Extra! store unique:

This Smart & Final Extra! store has an expanded Cheese section, Beverage Wall, and Fresh Meat Area.

This Smart & Final Extra! store has an expanded Cheese section, Beverage Wall, and Fresh Meat Area.

We love fresh produce, from juicing to eating paleo, so fresh produce is a must for us and I bet it is for you too. Smart & Final has a produce section to impress! In the kale section, there are several varieties of kale, not just one like most other stores carry. I love the variety of produce, from apples to citrus to vegetables. There’s really everything you need and more in one store.

From citrus to fruit ot vegetables, like kale, Smart & Final stores have a wide variety orf produce for every cuisine!

From citrus to fruit to vegetables, like kale, Smart & Final stores have a wide variety orf produce for every cuisine!

What am I going back to the store to get next? Bubbies pickles and sauerkraut! This upscale, gourmet yet health conscious brand of pickles is delicious and their sauerkraut is a great addition to my paleo menu. These are located in the expanded cheese and deli section of the Upland Smart & Final Extra! while the bratwurst can be found in the fresh meats aisle along the back of the store. Grab a bag of apples from the produce section to cut up and put in the sauerkraut for a sweet and sour, paleo-friendly dinner!

Pair these gourmet Bubbies pickles and saurkraut with bratwurst from the fresh meats section of your local Smart & Final.

Pair these gourmet Bubbies pickles and sauerkraut with bratwurst from the fresh meats section of your local Smart & Final.

If you’re local to So Cal and in the Inland Empire, head on over and check out this new Smart & Final Extra! store on the corner of Mountain and Foothill in Upland. I just might see you there!

Find out more about Smart & Final here:

Keep up with our adventures, craft ideas, and frugal living tips by subscribing to the Hydrangea Hippo Crafty Newsletter.

Jennifer Signature Block-Fall 2014

0

Front Door Ideas for Spring

It’s still super chilly in some parts but I am so ready for Spring! Aren’t you? Spring is a great time to spruce up your front door and I recently shared a couple of easy projects that can help give your front door that fresh and so clean feel we all love. Here’s my front door ideas for spring:

Here;s my front door for spring - I'll be adding flowers in pots to the left side once the danger of frost goes away.

Here’s my front door for spring – I’ll be adding flowers in pots to the left side once the danger of frost goes away.

 

Adding a new wreath is definitely a great way to add some warmth to a front door. I created this wreath using sewing themed supplies, from Bernat Softee Chunky Yarn to a cross stitch kit I completed to making flowers from sewing patterns. See the tutorial here: Spring Yarn Wrapped Wreath

Make this sewing themed wreath - wrapped with Bernat yarn by Jennifer Priest

Embellish your wreath with anything! Here i used ric rac, felt, and sewing patterns to make flowers paired with a fun cross stitch project from a kit to dress up a yarn wrapped wreath.

 

Another way to spruce up the front door is with paint. Krylon has some great spray paints that make changing the color of your front door super easy. I painted our front door red a few years ago with enamel paint and boy, was that a pain! I am thinking about using a nice teal or turquoise paint on our door for spring. What color would you paint your door? Krylon shared a door they had painted over and over and over when we visited them in their booth at CHA.

Who knew you could paint a door over and over and have it look so good? There are lots of finishes of Krylon to choose from, like these:

2015-01 CHA 2015 Krylon Spray Paint new packaging with project ideas on can

 

A fresh door mat is also a great way to spruce up your front door. I used Krylon spray paint to turn this ugly sisal door mat that I got on clearance into a fun, unique door mat with a Stencil1 stencil. I’ll be honest, the stenciling did not come out as well as I would have liked but that’s no problem – in a few months I’ll spray paint this mat again and change the motif and colors for Summer. Easy peasy!

Pattern stencils work great for spray painting on uneven surfaces like this door mat. I went with a random pattern because it is easier than lining things up.

Pattern stencils work great for spray painting on uneven surfaces like this door mat. I went with a random pattern because it is easier than lining things up.

 

Now that Girl Scout cookie season is over and the weather is warming up, that means more unwanted door to door sales people! Keep them away with a funny but serious Attack Cat Warning Sign. I got mine on etsy and you can find them with all kinds of warnings, not just attack cats (though I think attack cats are the best!):

Get this Attack Cats sign on etsy - customize to allow GIrl Scouts, packages, or whatever else besides friends and family.

Get this Attack Cats sign on etsy – customize to allow GIrl Scouts, packages, or whatever else besides friends and family.

 

And finally, coordinate your keychain with your front door for the season! I used the leftover yarn from the wreath project t make a coordinating, chunky keychain: Easy Giant Yarn Tassel Keychain

How to make a giant DIY Yarn Tassel Keychain with Bernat Chunky Yarn by Jennifer Priest

 Do you have plans to pruce up your front door this spring? Let me know in the comments! 

Keep up with our adventures, craft ideas, and frugal living tips by subscribing to the Hydrangea Hippo Crafty Newsletter.

Jennifer Signature Block-Fall 2014

0

Disney Centerpiece

I created these fun centerpieces for a Disney Villains Mad tea Party! The secret is the Styrofoam Balls in the bottom of the flower pots, that serve as the base. I stuck bamboo skewers into the Styrofoam ball and then added paper straws over top to disguise the skewers. I then sewed rosettes from crepe paper to top the straws, adding paper punched shapes with EK Success Paper Punches.  

Disney Villains Centerpieces for a Mad Tea Party - Crepe Paper Rosettes - by Jennifer Priest Disney Villains Centerpieces for a Mad Tea Party - Using Styrofoam Balls - by Jennifer Priest 2 Disney Villains Centerpieces for a Mad Tea Party - Using Styrofoam Balls - by Jennifer Priest

Supplies:

  • Styrofoam Balls
  • hot Glue
  • Krylon ColorMaster Spray Paint
  • Flower Pot, Ikea
  • Shred Paper
  • Paper Straws
  • Ribbons and Lace
  • Crepe Paper
  • Yarn Darning Needle
  • Craft Thread
  • Glitter Cardstock
  • Printable Disney Villain Faces
  • Bamboo Skewers
  • EK Success Punchs – Circle, Scalloped Circle, Mickey Head

Instructions:

  1. Spray paint the post with Kyrlon spray paint and allow to dry.
  2. Cut the Styrofoam balls in half and glue ot the inside of the pot. 
  3. Add shred on top of the Styrofoam balls.
  4. Insert bamboo skewers into the Styrofoam balls.
  5. Slide paper straws over the skewers. Trim skewers.
  6. Sew rosettes from crepe paper.
  7. Hot glue rosettes to the top of each skewer
  8. Adhere a paper Mickey head cutout to one side of each rosette
  9. Adhere a punched villain and scallop circle cutout to the other side of  each rosette.
  10. Tie ribbon and lace to the straws at the base of each rosette.

Keep up with our adventures, craft ideas, and frugal living tips by subscribing to the Hydrangea Hippo Crafty Newsletter.

Jennifer Signature Block-Fall 2014

0

Make a Giant Tassel Keychain – How to Never Lose Your Keys Again

Are you always losing your keys? I am always misplacing my keys under a pile of mail! And when they are in my purse, I usually cannot find them as they drop to the bottom of my bag. I created this giant tassel keychain from Bernat’s super soft Softee Chunky Yarn so that I can always spot my keys and easily fish them out of my bag, whether I am looking in the bag or not. I’ve entered this project into a contest over at FAVECrafts – please VOTE FOR ME!

How to make a giant DIY Yarn Tassel Keychain with Bernat Chunky Yarn by Jennifer Priest

I have to laugh about when I had brought this giant keychain out of my bag at Target – the lady was so excited! I don’t know who she was but she was in line behind me and she just loved the giant tassel and how soft it was. Another bonus is that this key chain touches my knee but doesn’t bang against my knee while driving because it is soft. I have had key chains in the past that bang against my knee. My dad always said it was bad for the ignition to have a heavy key chain so this is a perfectly HUGE and lightweight key chain to save the ignition too!

Here’s what you’ll need to create one of these of your very own… I’ve linked some of these supplies to Amazon to make purchasing easy for you:

Supplies:

Never Lose Your Keys Again with this giant DIY Yarn Tassel Keychain with Bernat Chunky Yarn by Jennifer Priest

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Cut a notch into a piece of 5×7 chipboard about 1″ down from the top on the 7″ long side. The notch should cut into the chipboard about halfway. Slip a 6″ piece of yarn into the slot.
  2. Wrap the 5×7 chipboard along the 7″ side with Bernat Chunky Yarn, about 15 times. Cut the end of the yarn when the tassel is the desired thickness.
  3. Tie the scrap of yarn in the chipboard slot around the yarn bundle in a tight knot. Remove from the chipboard form.
  4. Tightly wrap the tassel top with Bernat Chunky Yarn, securing with hot glue every so often until the wrapping is the desired thickness.
  5. Slip a Binder Ring through all the loops at the top of the tassel.
  6. Attach a stitched Dimensions Wood Pendant to the Binder Ring with a jump ring.
  7. Add keys and enjoy!

I also created a video showing the process start to finish:

Keep up with our adventures, craft ideas, and frugal living tips by subscribing to the Hydrangea Hippo Crafty Newsletter.

Jennifer Signature Block-Fall 2014

0

DIY Wreath for Spring

I still love the look of yarn wreaths but man, oh man, do they take forever to wrap! So when I saw Bernat’s Softee Chunky Yarn I immediately thought how amazing it would be for a yarn wrapped wreath! The Chunky Yarn is soft and wide, covering the wreath easily but having a much softer look than using equally thick rope or sisal. In the same vein as the yarn, I decided to create a sewing themed wreath for spring to dress up my front door:

Easy Yarn Wreath with Bernat Chunky Yarn and Cross Stitch Hedgehog by Jennifer Priest

Make this sewing themed wreath - wrapped with Bernat yarn by Jennifer Priest Sewing themed spring wreath - wrapped with Bernat yarn by Jennifer Priest

 Supplies:

  • Bernat Softee Chunky Yarn
  • Floracraft Wreath Form
  • Simplicity Pattern
  • Kunin Eco-Fi Premium Plus Felt
  • Dimensions Hedgehog Cross Stitch Kit
  • Westcott Scissors
  • Swarovski Crystal Beads by Prima Bead
  • Ric Rac by Wrights
  • Flower Die by Eileen Hull for Sizzix
  • Circle Die #1 by Sizzix
  • Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue
  • Scrap of chipboard

Bernat Softee Chunky yarn made covering this Floracraft wreath form a breeze! I stitched the Hedgehog using a cross stitch kit from Dimensions. Flowers were cut from felt and a Simplicity Pattern using Sizzix dies, then embellished with Swarovski crystal beads.

Instructions:

  1. Wrap the Floracraft wreath form with Bernat Chunky Yarn, adding a bit of Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue under the yarn every inch or so.
  2. Following the instructions on the package, complete the Dimensions Hedgehog cross stitch project.
  3. Roll the ric rac onto itself to create a ric rac flower. Use hot glue to secure the ric rac in place every few inches.
  4. Die cut flowers with a Sizzix die from a Simplicity pattern. Thread Swarovski beads from Prima Bead onto wire and insert into the middle of the flower layers. Fluff the layers.
  5. Die cut 6 circles from felt with a Sizzix Circle #1 die. Fold 4 of the circles into quarters and glue to one of the flat circles to form a pie cut into quarters. Fold the final circle into quarters and glue into the center of the four other quarter-folded circles. Fluff to make a flower.
  6. Adhere the elements to a strip of chipboard. Adhere the chipboard strip to the wreath form using hot glue. 
  7. Hang and enjoy!

Keep up with our adventures, craft ideas, and frugal living tips by subscribing to the Hydrangea Hippo Crafty Newsletter.

Jennifer Signature Block-Fall 2014

1

How to Paint A Door Mat that the Dog Won’t Chew

The last couple of years I have been somewhat of a miser. Penny pincher. Cheapskate. I haven’t been spending much money on things for myself or the house. It’s a long story about the WHYs of why that was happening but it was a change I made for the better in trying to keep my finances in order. In light of all of this misering, it was a big deal that I decided to treat myself to a new backdoor mat. We needed a new backdoor mat as the current mats were not keeping the dirt from coming inside of the house and the best mat of the 3 had been claimed by one of the dogs as a bed, dragged across the yard and never anywhere near my door.

You see, though there was a drought this year, here in the High Desert in Southern California we got a LOT of rain. This would probably be equivalent to one day of rain in Seattle or North Carolina that we got over the course of a month but still, it was alot for us. Our yard has a drainage problem so that meant that our backyard was a muddy swamp for about 90 days. A cold, muddy swamp. With clay-like dirt that sticks to your shoes and won’t come off until you’re INSIDE the house. You see, the dirt KNOWS that it just needs to make it inside the house and then it can release and stain my carpets and make chunks on my floors and totally gross me out when I step in it barefoot. So we really truly needed a new backdoor mat to help scrape all the crud off our shoes.

I found the perfect mat. The Cadillac of backdoor mats, it was nearly 4 feet wide and made of crusty rough sisal stuff that likes to scrape off mud. It was $24.99 at Target and that is more than I have ever spent on a back door mat. I mean, I’m going to put my feet on it, no one is going to see it, it is going to be in my backyard for Pete’s sake! But I bought it. I was so happy to have this mat and when I laid it across the porch at the backdoor, it stretched the entire length of my sliding glass door like no mat before has ever done! We cleaned the floors and I enjoyed a night without little pebbles stuck to my socks or in my slippers. It was pure ecstasy.

The next day, I looked outside to see my mat ripped in half. I thought I took photos but I must have deleted them.

Obviously, some dog, that shall not be named, had a death wish. Seriously. The dog CHEWED my awesome amazing, functional and expensive backdoor mat that I didn’t have for 12 hours in HALF! What is wrong with that dog?! It knew it did something wrong. I just couldn’t even deal with it. People online suggested that I tape it back together or something… no. It was a lost cause. I had the kids pick up all the pieces and toss it in the trash. Stupid dog.

A few months went byand the rug in my living now had brown tracks all over it and it was disgusting. There’s only so much steam cleaning you can do when there mud ground into the rug. It’s not that we are pigs – it is that you can’t go outside without getting mud all over and well, those pesky dogs need someone to go outside and feed them. One solution could be to get rid of the dogs but they are kinda cute:

Kind of cute Thor who chewed my mat in half. He is lucky he is cute...

Kind of cute Thor who chewed my mat in half. He is lucky he is cute…and can you see all the mud?! Argh!

Kinda.

The BEFORE picture. I never liked this color combo. Through the magic of spray paint, I can change my mat with the seasons!

The BEFORE picture. I never liked this color combo. Through the magic of spray paint, I can change my mat with the seasons!

I was in Pier1 looking for some dessert plates for a blog post I did last week and I started cruising the clearance section,. I had not been in Pier1 in MONTHS and it used to be my go-to home goods store. I saw a backdoor mat that was on clearance for $19! It was even bigger than the one the dogs ripped up. The back was woven – the previous mat was a piece of rubber with the sisal glued to it but this one, it was all woven together tightly. I figured that was step one in defending the mat from the dogs.

Step 2 was to make the mat “not ugly”. It was hideous. I mean, sure, Xaver liked the stripes but he loves stripes everything burgundy and hunter green…blech! There had to be a way to change this mat to be cute like my other mat was. Or cuter. 

And then it hit me: spray paint. 

Step 3 involved even more dog proofing of the mat. The side benefit of spray painting the mat was that the dogs would want nothing to do with. YES! Success! 

Pattern stencils work great for spray painting on uneven surfaces like this door mat. I went with a random pattern because it is easier than lining things up.

Pattern stencils work great for spray painting on uneven surfaces like this door mat. I went with a random pattern because it is easier than lining things up.

Here’s what we needed to make this mat miracle a reality:

  • Krylon Spray Paint in awesome rad colors that were not burgundy and hunter green. We used Krylon Color Master Spray Paint in Oxford Blue and Bauhaus Gold.
  • Stencil1 Stencil. Why? Because Ed Roth is one of the coolest people I know. .
  • Drop cloth. We used an old curtain that shrank in the dryer and has now become a drop cloth. It’s upcycling at it’s best.

And here’s how I did it:

Put the drop cloth down to cover your work surface, aka, the driveway. Side note: move your cars so the overspray won’t get on them. It’s always windy here so I always have overspray.

Next, lay the mat on the drop cloth and shake those paint cans super well. It took two coats of Krylon Color Master spray paint in Oxford Blue to cover the mat. It’s because the mat has ALOT of fibers and you gotta get the paint into all the crevices. 

After that dries, lay the stencil onto the mat and spray with one color of spray paint. You can add newspaper or cardboard to the stencil to create a larger mask around the edges to prevent any overspray getting on the other parts of the mat. You’ll want to spray each color of the stencil separately, waiting for it to dry before moving the stencil over and painting the next image. I used one color of paint with the stencil for a more uniform look, to compliment a wreath I also made for the front door.

After letting that dry, I decided the mat was too special to be in the backyard and it should go at my front door.  Mission accomplished? Thankfully the mud in the backyard has dried so I guess I’ll get another backdoor mat when I need one. And if I do decide to move this one back to the backyard, it’s totally dog proof now. The dogs will not want to chew it with all this paint on it. Next project – painting  their dog house!

If you don't like the way the mat turned out, spray paint it again!

If you don’t like the way the mat turned out, spray paint it again!

Keep up with our adventures, craft ideas, and frugal living tips by subscribing to the Hydrangea Hippo Crafty Newsletter.

Jennifer Signature Block-Fall 2014

 

2

Basketball Cupcake Toppers

Are you ready for March Madness?!?! All week I have been sharing sports themed projects from game day snacks like Bacon Cheeseburger Fries to cool ways to show your pride with Clearsnap’s NCAA Temporary Tattoo Kits. Today, I want to share a simple papercraft you can make to dress up your game day party:

Add Alexia Crispy Onion Rings to Sliders - game Day Grub - Jennifer Priest

Basketball Cupcake or Slider Toppers

These are super easy to make and you can use them as cupcake toppers or to top mini burgers or sliders on game day.

Supplies:

  • Sports Ball Stamp set – the one I used is from Close To My Heart from about 10 years ago. You can find these online and at most craft store
  • ColorBox Archival Dye Ink – Pumpkin
  • ColorBox Archival Dye Ink – Wicked Black
  • Toothpicks
  • Tombow Xtreme Adhesive
  • White Cardstock

Here’s how to make them:

  1. Stamp basketballs all over a sheet of white cardstock.
  2. Using a circle punch, punch out the “balls”.
  3. Apply Tombow Xtreme Adhesive to cover the back of one ball. Lay it on the table with the sticky side up. Lay a toothpick on top of the adhesive, with about 1/2″ of the toothpick in the adhesive. Lay a second ball on top, pressing the back to the back of the previous ball.
  4. Insert into a cupcake or burger and enjoy! Just don’t try to eat the paper ball ;)

Just a little way to add a fun “party” touch to an already fun game day ;)

Next week visit the Tombow blog to see how I used these same basketballs to make a mini banner! Check out these other game day posts:

Keep up with our adventures, craft ideas, and frugal living tips by subscribing to the Hydrangea Hippo Crafty Newsletter.

Jennifer Signature Block-Fall 2014

 

 

 

1