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Unconventional ways to make money, decorating the sun room

March 24th, 2010 at 09:22 am

Yesterday I drove into New Haven to participate in a medical research study. It involves three visits, answering a lot of paper questionnaires, 2 blood draws and urine samples. For this I'll earn $200 at a minimum, more if I agree to have my interview with the psychiatrist videotaped or if I win any money in their little gambling games (of the "would you rather have $20 now or $100 next year? variety).

The subject they're researching is the connection between emotions, stress and overeating.

I got a little lost trying to find the place, but this was probably the first time having my cell phone with me really came in handy. As soon as she told me "the big white building," I knew where it was.

Tonight I'm attending a Masonicares talk on estates and wills. I consider it entertainment and it includes a free dinner. It's right here in town.

Friday I'm doing an all-day market research study for which I'll be paid another $200. I tried to get 2 of my friends enrolled in the study, too, but they must've filled up the slots quickly because neither could get in. Unlike the medical study, which pays by check via snail mail several weeks after the fact, the market research study pays in cash before you leave for the day.

Since I opened up the sun room, I started thinking about how to deal with cushioning for the built-in benches. I realized that due to the way they were built, it would not be possible to buy ready-made cushions and it would also be real expensive to get custom-made cushions.



There's a 4-inch piece of wood that separates each window, and that wood extends down and touches the benches. The cushions would have to include a notched section in the middle to accommodate that piece of wood.

So to save money, I decided to buy standard and king-sized pillows for a more casual look, covered in nice shams that look as un-bedroom pillow like as possible.

My first stop was Wal-Mart, where I bought 3 king sized pillows and 2 standards, and on the way home I also stopped at Target, where I ended up buying 5 turquoise shams for those pillows. They have kind of a pebbled quilted look with the opening in the back, not the end, so I thought they'd work well.



When i got them home, i could quickly see that the pillows they were WAY too high and fluffy. I also realized I had 2 extra standard pillows in a closet that were fairly flat, so I decided to return all 5 pillows and not replace the 2 standards.

Then I checked out Target's pillows and decided these were much flatter and better for my needs, though they cost $25 each vs. $17 each at Wal-Mart.

Yesterday, after finishing up with my medical research study session, I stopped at Ikea, which was just around the corner and a place i rarely get to since it's close to an hour's drive. Ikea, I noticed, sold king-sized pillows for $9! Quality doesn't matter so much to me because they're just for sitting on, not for sleeping.

So....you guessed it, this morning I returned the 3 king pillows to Target for the credit and when I return to New Haven for my next session with that medical research study, I'll swing by Ikea and pick up just 2 of the king-sized pillows. (I've decided I don't need every inch of the benches covered in pillows.) It'll save me about $33 on the pillows alone, plus $25 for one returned sham.

I also picked up a set of 3 little white shelves I can put knickknacks on without worrying the cats will knock them over. They look really good.


The 3rd shelf is very small, so it may look better in one of the bathrooms.

Finally, I also ordered a 4 x 6 bamboo rug for $68 and spent $22 on a gallon of Ace paint for the floor (taupe).

It seems like I'm spending a lot, but I've decided to indefinitely defer the ceiling fan (with installation probably $400 range) because I'm concerned the box that would have to be built to hold it to the exposed ceiling wouldn't look good. For now, I can run a floor fan anywhere in there or in the family room, blowing through there.

I got my $4,000 IRS refund, so I've maybe spent $230 total on the sun room. I already transferred $3,000 to my online money market account, where I actually have a bigger balance than before I was laid off 6 months ago.

Oh, the large blue glass jar you saw in one of the photos above? I plan to get some white sand, fill it a third of the way, then put some seashells in it. I hate to pay for sand, so I may have to schedule a trip to the shoreline to take some from a public beach!

Not much else new. I spent a part of every day for the past 5 days or so, when the weather was so great, finishing cutting back my forsythia hedges and then cutting their long branches into 3 foot wide sections that will fit in my trunk. I keep the trunk loaded so that anytime I'm going past the dump, I can unload them. I still have more burning bush branches to drag from the yard to the driveway, which is command central for all my pruning leftovers. There's quite a pile.



The crocuses are in bloom...



...and Waldo is enjoying some catnip.


3 Responses to “Unconventional ways to make money, decorating the sun room”

  1. Analise Says:

    What a clever solution for cushioning the sunroom benches! Waldo and Luther will enjoy them, no doubt, and you can easily wash the shams.

  2. pjmama Says:

    I've always thought about doing market research type stuff... but never got around to it. Glad to hear it's working out for you!

  3. elisabeth Says:

    I went to visit my son in NC and noticed there was a large building advertising to buy plasma (blood). You can give plasma more frequently than blood. Don't know the pay. But I thought it an interesting way to make a little bit of unconventional money.

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