A New way to flip through, search, and read books online before you buy

The French Inspired Home

I wanted to share a great new resource with you, that I have really been enjoying this month!

A while back I wrote an article on my website called: Great Ideas For Finding Cheap Books, Discounted Books, and Free Books

The article has lots of ideas for saving money buying & selling books. It also show you some methods of researching books before you buy them.

Since that article, I have been enjoying another new method of “flipping through the pages of a book” before I buy it. It’s similar to sitting down in a comfy seat at Barnes & Noble reading bits of the book to see if it’s something you’d like to take home with you or not.

This new method, is a brand new service offered by google called – google books. Although it’s still in beta testing, it is available to use fully right now – and it’s FREE of charge!

Here’s how it works:

You simply go to the book section of google, type in a book title (or keywords that you may like to look into – such as gardening, home decorating, etc.), and click search books. Then, a list of available books will come up for you to look through.

Even though you might not be able to read the entire book (they omit some pages to make you still want to go buy the book – as well they should), they usually have a large portion of the book online for you.

I have used this service to look through many different kinds of books, and have found it to be very helpful in determining if I want to go ahead & order the book through amazon. Although Amazon does have a service to allow you to “flip through” the book, the amount of content is extremely limited compared to the new google service.

Perhaps you’d like to look through some of my favorite books on topics such as; home & garden, home decorating, kitchen, art, etc., then go over & peek inside using the google service before you buy!

Finding New Uses For Old Things

Using a vintage advertising box as a vase for flowers

vintage advertising and flowers

For those of you who might not know… I have had an online newsletter, and a home & garden website for several years now. Because of this, I tend to get lots of email from readers. I love to exchange creative ideas for our homes & families.

Feel free to respond in the comment section below. I’d also love to hear from you 😉

Letter from a reader:

Hello Pearl,

I hope that my frugal-living-goal may be helpful to you and your readers. Notice that I said “goal” as I’m still trying to achieve it. Here goes:

I live in an economically advantaged county, probably one that has a higher average family income level than other counties in the state. Whether it’s right or wrong, many households in this county have enough disposable income to want to update or upgrade their possessions. They feel free to either donate items to thrift stores or to throw the items away outright. I take advantage of this.

It is my personal goal to show that a person or a household can live in a comfortable and attractive way, with all possessions being second hand (with many items being free). I rescue items from the curb, I shop at thrift stores, flea markets, and yard sales. I take in many more items than I can use personally, so I fix things up and donate them to other families or to thrift stores.

Fortunately, I love the cottage and shabby look, and have small collections of pretty collectible items. I try to have all my possessions serve a double purpose, but some items are purely decorative.

I find that this is a very motivational goal – plus it’s FUN!

Hope you can use my idea – Best Wishes!

* Dear Reader,
I share your love of finding new uses for old things! Most of the time, items can be used in many more ways than one! If we would just look a the items that we come across with eyes of creativity, a whole new world of ideas would be opened up to us! Bravo for your efforts in helping bring new life to the old things you come across, and we WOULD LOVE to see some pictures of your creativity!

Here are a few ideas to get everyone started in thinking “outside of the box” – the garbage box that is 😉

Vintage Aprons to decorate a bedroom
Aprons on the wall

Vintage birdcage as an artful planter
Vintage Birdcage

Vintage slip becomes an evening dress
vintage slip

Vintage glass bottles become a fabulous chandelier
vintage glass

Scraps of vintage fabric come together as a wonderful apron!
Pretty Ditty Aprons

Licence Plates turned into charms!

Stained glass windows used as headboard
stained glass windows

Vintage salt shaker turned into a beautiful little doll/jewelry
vintage salt shaker

Old soda caps made into magnets
Soda Bottle Caps

Get Free Hair Cuts for Your Family

After reading a recent article that I wrote in the Article section of our website called “Money Saving Hair Care Ideas for the Whole Family“, Anna sent in this tip for us:

Hi Pearl,

I was reading tips on how to save money buy buying hair products at the local beauty supply, so I thought I would share my own tip with you.

Since 1993, I have been going to the Supercuts training center in my city and having my hair cut free of charge (although I usually leave a tip ;). Every new hairstylist that Supercuts hires has to go through a week long training session. It doesn’t matter if they’ve just finished beauty school, or if they’ve been cutting hair for 20 years – and these hair cuts are all free!

All you have to do is call a Supercuts hair salon in you area, and ask them for the phone number to the TRAINING salon. Then, call the training center to make an appointment. They will ask you what kind of cut you want, and schedule your hair cut (they usually schedule hair cuts Wednesday – Friday). Occasionally, I have gone on a Monday and the director has used me as a model.

The stylists are carefully watched, and your hair is checked to make sure that it meets the Supercuts requirements. If they are not busy, they will even style it for you too!

Most major cities have Supercuts Salons, as a matter of fact, Houston has two of them. I have also been to the one in the Phoenix/Metro area (Scottsdale).

Another hair salon chain that trains their stylists is Visible Changes. Check the salons in your area for more details.


Dear Anna,
Thank you for such a great tip. I’m sure that everyone could use a little more savings with their hair care!

Victoria Magazine – Active Again!

I wanted to share a letter that Leslie just sent over to me. She was so excited about what she found, that I had to pass on the excitement 🙂

OH Pearl,
I’m so excited! I just discovered that my favorite magazine of all time, Victoria (by Hearst Publishing) is going to be published again!

It was first published in 1987, I believe, and they stopped publishing it in 2003. People buy the old copies on eBay, as well as hardcover books that range from decorating to poetry to Christmas to recipes to…well, there’s lots more.

What they all have in common are the wonderful photographs! I don’t know if you were already aware of Victoria magazine, but I wanted to spread the word! I figured what better place than a blog, that also has photographs. I know I read a blog & like a picture & click on it & get taken to another blog sometimes & one thing leads to another, and hours have gone by!

There’s almost nothing more relaxing, than to sit back one evening & find that your Victoria magazine has arrived, so you can thumb through it at your leisure! I went to the Hearst publishing site to see if there was a list of the various “Victoria” books, and lo and behold, there was a message that they were going to start publishing it again!

I’ve already entered my subscription, which will begin with the Nov/Dec issue, to be mailed out in October 2007. I had to stop and think of who I know that might enjoy this magazine (my effort to help “up” the interest in the magazine!) I thought of you, so here I am!

I hope you enjoy it!

Victoria Magazine

* I want to thank Leslie for letting us all know about this new update. I LOVED Victoria Magazine, and I am very excited about it’s return!

Great New Updates to the Site!

Great New Updates to the Site!

1. I’ve spent a bunch of time learning how to work with Photoshop, because I wanted to add some new graphics, logos, backgrounds, etc. to the site. Let me know what you think!

2. I’ve added a few new categories that you will see soon. Two of these new categories are;

* Featured Etsy Shop – This is where I will be featuring great Etsy shops that I come across

* Featured Sites – This is where I will be featuring some of the best Home & Garden sites

* The Best Home & Garden Pictures – This will be a section that is intended to bring you great inspiration for your home & garden!

These new categories are intended to help readers find great products & information, as well as help site/shop owners to enjoy new visitors.

3. The Best of Home & Garden Website Directory
I’ve put together a directory that will ONLY list “The Best of Home & Garden” – which is where you will be able to find some of the best sites on the web! Sites have already started being added to the directory, and many more will be added on a regular basis. I believe this directory will become a great resource for all of us! * The new banner will be up at the directory soon 🙂

4. I’ve installed a “Top 5” section to the site, where I will post the top 5 people who make the most comments during the month. The list is updated in real time, and will include both the name & direct website link of the top 5 contributors (I may decided to include up to 10). I am excited about this section, because I know that it will help many with increased visitors to their sites, as well as increased page rank from search engines like google.

Doing my best to bring you the best…


You’ve Got to Laugh – A funny Video

I had to share a recent video clip of my little nephew. He’s such a cutie, and he makes us all laugh! I thought you might be able to use a good laugh since the bible says… that laughter is like a good medicine. So…. here’s your daily dose!